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Wednesday, 16 September 2009

A fix for the Get Answers gadget.

Fix it.
This gadget enables visitors to ask questions, submit answers and vote on answers, as well as leave comments on any topic, which, in my opinion, makes it one of the most useful gadgets. It also lets you find related articles on other sites.

However at first, it didn’t work at all, so I posted my issue on the Google help forum and learned that although the bug had been reported to Google no solution was found. Some users suggested there were a couple of bugs in the gadget source code, such as “core gadget data integrity bug” on FF (it stores different data on FF and IE).

Since I’m not an IT professional I’m prone to work around issues rather than solve them directly. My lay mind often drags me along twisted paths, but sometimes such approach works. Looks like it did this time, it turns out there’s no bug and I’d like to share this fix with anyone who is interested.

Here goes the solution step by step. (This is for IE 8, but you are free to check it out in other browsers.)

First of all, it’s better to get the code of the gadget (from GFC page) and embed it into your site’s HTML instead of adding the gadget through the Blogger "Add a Gadget" feature as this will also allow you to fine-tune the gadget, although it works either way.

Once you’ve inserted the code into your site it will show up empty.
After looking into the problem in vain for a while, I compared it to other similar gadgets and it dawned on me that this kind of gadgets require login, therefore “join/sign in” words should be links. But in this case the sign-in gadget/API is missing inside the main gadget.

I got in touch with the creator of the gadget (who else would know more about it?) and he confirmed my suspicions: usually Google gadgets have some internal API for that purpose, but they don’t provide this functionality for third party gadgets for security reasons.
So he suggested placing Google Sign In gadget right above the Get Answers gadget, since these types of gadgets are part of GFC.

After you’ve set up this gadget, the Follow button appears; click it and become the follower of your own blog if you want to post questions and answers yourself (the visitors to your site will have to do the same). From now on, every time you want to edit, post or answer questions, all you have to do is sign in with any of your social accounts (Open ID works best); just make sure you type the text in — it doesn't accept cut/paste action, as an anti-spam measure, I guess.

I hope this will help to fix the glitch. If you still have problems, let me know by posting a question on my Get Answers gadget or elsewhere on the blog. If you check it out in FF and other browsers, please feed back on it.

You can ask your questions, submit answers and vote on the answers you think are the best in the Get Answers gadget below the posts. Just sign in first with GFC (the 'Follow' button) right above the gadget.


  1. Thanks a lot, I've followed your instructions and managed to make it work on my blog at last. It's been really very helpful.

  2. I have no idea how to do any of that. How do I do it to paste the code on My HTML?
    Could yo please help me. I really need this gadget. Thanks!

  3. @ Lexico Grammar,

    Sign in to your Google Account, go to Google Friend Connect directory Get Answers gadget page (click the “get the gadget” link) at

    Follow the instructions to generate the code and paste it in your HTML.

    Then get the Sign In gadget code in the same directory the same way:

    and paste it above the Get Answers code.

    In my case I pasted both codes into the HTML/Java Script gadget via Page Elements → “Add a Gadget” feature → HTML/Java Script gadget. You can use a different gadget for each code or the same for both, that is, add as many HTML/Java Script gadgets as you like, it’s up to you, to make it easier to handle in case you need to move, edit or remove .
    For the rest follow the instructions in my post.

    If you still have problems, leave a comment and I’ll try to help you out.


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