Collections: Some works occasionally not revealed (may also happen with anonymous setting)


Steps to Reproduce

These steps will not always reproduce the bug, but here is the process:

  1. Log in

  2. Browse > Collections > New Collection

  3. Fill in required information

  4. Check “This collection is unrevealed”

  5. Press “Submit”

  6. Follow the “Post to Collection” link

  7. Fill in required information (the collection info will already be filled in because you used the “Post to Collection” link)

  8. Post Without Preview

  9. Repeat previous 3 steps until you have your desired number of works

  10. Return to the collection, e.g. by following the link in the work meta

  11. Follow the “Collection Settings” link

  12. Uncheck "This collection is unrevealed"

  13. Press "Update"

What happens

Most of the works are revealed, but not all of them.

What should happen

All of the works should be revealed.


The CollectionItem for the work correctly has its unrevealed column updated to false. However, the corresponding Work does not get its in_unrevealed_collection column updated to false. It's not a case of the work belonging to multiple unrevealed collections, as you can see from the following example (identifying data removed):

2.3.0 :007 > work = Work.find(000)
=> #<Work id: 000, expected_number_of_chapters: 1, created_at: "2018-10-01 18:06:16", updated_at: "2018-10-19 01:59:30", major_version: 1, minor_version: 2, posted: true, language_id: 1, restricted: false, word_count: 0, hidden_by_admin: false, delta: false, revised_at: "2018-10-01 18:07:07", backdate: false, imported_from_url: nil, hit_count_old: 0, last_visitor_old: nil, complete: true, summary_sanitizer_version: 1, notes_sanitizer_version: 1, endnotes_sanitizer_version: 1, work_skin_id: nil, in_anon_collection: false, in_unrevealed_collection: true, anon_commenting_disabled: false, spam: false, spam_checked_at: "2018-10-01 18:10:38", moderated_commenting_enabled: false>

2.3.0 :008 > work.collection_items
=> #<ActiveRecord::Associations::CollectionProxy [#<CollectionItem id: 000, collection_id: 000, item_id: 000, item_type: "Work", user_approval_status: 1, collection_approval_status: 1, created_at: "2018-10-01 18:06:17", updated_at: "2018-10-01 22:40:14", anonymous: false, unrevealed: false>]>

Quite possibly a race condition and quite possibly related to AO3-5533.

CollectionItem.update_work is one of the few after_commit callbacks we have that tries to read data that was just written in the previous commit. Because it's an after_commit callback, not an after_save, the database queries to look up user_approved_collection_items (in update_anon_unrevealed, which is called by CollectionItem.update_work) occur outside of the transaction, which in theory would allow them them be routed to the read-only SQL servers, which have some chance of lagging behind the master SQL server by a transaction or two. (h/t ticking instant for the discovery and explanation.)

AO3-5532 can also cause some works in a collection to stay unrevealed, but the major difference is that involves a 500 error when updating the collection settings. This does not have an error.

This can probably happen with anonymous works, too, but we’re not sure.


Because this cannot be reproduced at will, it is unlikely the fix can be tested. All we can do is take several shots at posting to and then revealing an unrevealed collection to confirm the correct behavior still happens and watch for any new reports of this bug after the fix is deployed.


November 1, 2018, 4:55 AM

This might be relevant:

Worker ao3-app02:8284 on *COLLECTION* at *about 15 hours ago*

Class Collection


--- 151992

--- reveal_collection_items

Exception NoMethodError

Error undefined method `save' for nil:NilClass

That’s an error that appeared in Resque after a collection updated their settings to reveal works and had only some works revealed. However! I’m 95% certain that was a different bug, since as far as I could tell, the CollectionItems did not have their revealed status updated.

January 11, 2019, 3:56 AM
  • Created a collection: open, unmoderated, unrevealed, anonymous.

  • Posted without preview 10 works to the collection, they all had blurbs like "Unrevealed: <work> by Anonymous".

  • In the collection's settings, unchecked "This collection is unrevealed" and updated.

  • All the works got revealed, with blurbs like "Anonymous: <work> by Anonymous", since the collection is still anonymous.

  • In the collection's settings, unchecked "This collection is anonymous" and updated.

  • Surprise: it was me who posted those 10 works all along.

Looks fine so far.

January 11, 2019, 10:46 AM
  • Created an open, unmoderated, unrevealed subcollection

  • Posted 1 gift work and later edited it to add the collection; it was correctly made unrevealed

  • Posted 1 gift work directly to the collection; it was also correctly unrevealed

  • Unchecked the collection’s unrevealed setting

  • Works were correctly revealed and gift notifications went out

This is the collection:

Lady Oscar
January 11, 2019, 7:26 PM

Looks good as far as we can test, so setting to PAOB.


ticking instant







Affects versions

Fix versions






Internal 0.9