We've been having a lot of problems with the forums lately. Unexpected downtime, SQL crashes, features disappearing ... You are probably wondering what the heck is going on.
Well, there's a couple of things. First, we were having some gawd-awful lag - on all of my websites, but it was especially noticeable here. After going back and forth with our data center providers for awhile, they decided to replace our network interface card. The first replacement didn't help but the second one apparently did.
Unfortunately while they were working on that they managed to take down our server - the physical box that hosts all my sites - a couple of times ... and rather unexpectedly. That messed up some of the SQL tables, which caused the errors a bunch of you have reported over the last couple of days. I figured out how to manually repair the tables but I seem to have missed a few. (I've just manually repaired 68 tables, by the way. This makes me grumpy.)
As an aside: The extended downtime yesterday and today is entirely my fault. I was out of touch all day yesterday, came home and went straight to bed, and just got up a little bit ago. I know (from the many e-mails I've gotten) that looking at an incomprehensible SQL error for over 24 hours was extremely frustrating to many of you and I'm really sorry you had to deal with that.
But that was just one source of unexpected downtime. The other problem that popped up involved an update to the forum software (phpbb
). I've had some problems in the past updating the plugins, but not the core software.
This time, though, what should have been a 3 minute update turned bad and we were down for half an hour while I figured out how to manually fix it. And because my fix involved over-writing some of the template files, we lost a lot of the plugin functionality (like the topic title in the most recent post field on the main page).
When I tried to fix that, I broke the board again
, threw up my hands, admitted defeat, and went looking for new forum software. (Only to find that if I want a decent forum I'll have to write the bloody thing myself ... which is just silly.)
So that's where we are. None of these circumstances should
happen again anytime soon but ... things happen. And since you are unlucky enough to be part of a community that is pretty much run by an amateur - me! because even our hard-working moderators
can't help when the SQL tables blow up - I can't promise that everything will be smooth from here on out.
But we will do our best. An amazing community like this one deserves everything we can give it.