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How to Fix Black Diamonds

What Is Covered

Summary
Additional Reading
Fixes
Further Information


 

Summary


Black diamonds occur when posts are stored in the database with one character set, and are read out to the browser with a different character set that doesn't support additional characters (such as extended characters like those used in various languages like Spanish that aren't used in English).

In UBB.Threads 7.5.9 the default character set was updated to be "UTF-8", whereas prior to this it was set as "ISO-8859-1".


 

Additional Reading


If you feel like a little reading, we recommend that you read The Absolute Minimum Every Software Developer Absolutely, Positively Must Know About Unicode and Character Sets (No Excuses!).


 

Fixes


To "fix" this issue you can change your character set, we recommend you read the above article first, via changing your language file entry back to the old setting.

1. Navigate to the Control Panel, and visit the Language Settings (Control Panel > Languages)
2. Select the "Language Editor" tab.
3. In the "Search String" field, type "UTF-8" and press the "Go" button.
4. Here you will see any instances of the string "UTF-8" in your language files, of which you'll see "myfeeds.php" and/or "generic.php" -- Click "Edit" next to "generic.php".
5. At the top of this page you'll see the entry "CHARSET" highlighted in RED. Replace "UTF-8" with "ISO-8859-1" (please be careful to not add any spaces or line-feed before or after this text).
6. Scroll to the bottom of this page and click on the "Update Language File" button.

Note
You will likely experience more Black Diamonds after changing this setting back, this is because any new entries created with the new character set entry will be read out with the old character set, thus causing the same issue in reverse.



 

Further Information


Until around the end of 2005, "ISO-8859-1" was the most widely used character set that sites used for their content.  In more modern times, "UTF-8" is now utilized in the majority of internet sites.

If you are starting a new forum, we would recommend that you use "UTF-8" as your character set. Within North America, you may never see any black diamonds except:
(1) When viewing old content on your site AND you used to/still use "ISO-8859-1".
(2) When you are importing RSS feeds from an "ISO-8859-1" source.

If you are using a "UTF-8" character set and your DB is also "UTF-8", you shouldn't see black diamonds at all.



Unicode Usage Statistics (as of February 2012)

Posted on March 10th, 2015 · Updated on January 13th, 2017
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