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  #1  
Old 02-20-2020, 01:35 PM
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Hello? Mods? TubaDiva?


It's been 2.5 months--76 days--since the server time out errors first started with a vengeance. Some days have been better than others, but it's clearly an ongoing issue that hasn't been resolved. Won't someone at least tell us what's going on?

Are TPTB ignoring our beloved TubaDiva? I can't understand why they're not telling her something like, "The problem is X. We haven't been able to fix it yet because of Y. We hope to have it fixed by Z." I get it that the SDMB is not a top priority for TPTB, and I'm sure they don't want to pour a lot of money into this site, but in all this time, surely, surely, they at least have some idea of what's causing the extreme sluggishness and time out errors.

We're a difficult bunch at times. Trying to get us to follow the rules must be like herding porcupines. I appreciate your tireless, thankless efforts, mods and TubaDiva, but won't you please give us an update, even if it's that TPTB are incommunicado?
  #2  
Old 02-20-2020, 03:06 PM
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I bet John McAfee could figure out the problem. We'd probably need guns/drugs for barter, though.
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Old 02-20-2020, 03:16 PM
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I say Cecil needs to come back and say Hello. Especially to me. ()
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Old 02-20-2020, 03:19 PM
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I bet John McAfee could figure out the problem. We'd probably need guns/drugs for barter, though.
He is a very busy man, running for president and all.
  #5  
Old 02-20-2020, 03:24 PM
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I bet everyone's in a meeting working on this right now.
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Old 02-20-2020, 03:27 PM
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We have top men working on it. Top men.
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Old 02-20-2020, 03:54 PM
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This situation reminds me of the network support we had at the AT&T data center...which was pretty lame to say the least.

We were the on-site techs and had no access to the software side of the equipment; everything was administered in India or Singapore. As the "remote hands" crew, we had to work at their direction and their troubleshooting skills were abysmal. Problems would linger for months and months, they couldn't find any trouble and would consider the problem fixed. Then the problem would re-appear and they would try the same thing over and over again with the same (non) result. I can only hope the situation isn't like that here.
  #8  
Old 02-20-2020, 04:03 PM
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Hi there.

Yes, TPTB are aware that the system is thrashing around and they've been talking to DesertNet about it.

Apparently the problem is greater than just restarting the server (the usual solution to many of our problems). A solution is not yet in place (obviously) but they are still looking at it.

In the meantime we ask for your everlasting patience and your forbearance. Not easy times and truly truly annoying and we are all experiencing it and it sucks. I don't know what else to tell you.

Jenny
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  #9  
Old 02-20-2020, 04:12 PM
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Thanks, Jenny, for the sort-of-update. We do appreciate your efforts. But our patience wears especially thin on a horrendous day like today.
  #10  
Old 02-20-2020, 04:17 PM
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Thanks TubaDiva.

(Have I ever mentioned that for the first 10 years or so that I lurked/posted, I was sure that TubaD's name was "Tuba Diver"? I kind of like that image; it was such a disappointment to discover my reading skills were lacking. )
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  #11  
Old 02-20-2020, 04:25 PM
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After months of this nonsense you'd think TPTB would address us directly. But no, these feckless cowards would rather hide behind Tuba.

So frustrating!

Funny how they never experience any "technical difficulties" when it comes to taking my money.
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  #12  
Old 02-20-2020, 05:08 PM
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Thanks much, Tuba Diva! While we'd all really, really like to see the situation fixed, it's helpful to get an update.
  #13  
Old 02-20-2020, 05:19 PM
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Funny how they never experience any "technical difficulties" when it comes to taking my money.
I actually have had that problem years ago . Though in that case I was a little more inclined to put the blame on PayPal, who in years past didn't always make it so easy to use a credit card instead of their service.
  #14  
Old 02-20-2020, 05:22 PM
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After months of this nonsense you'd think TPTB would address us directly. But no, these feckless cowards would rather hide behind Tuba.
She gets paid big bucks just to deal with all of us.
  #15  
Old 02-20-2020, 05:27 PM
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I've started doing what I did back in the dial-up days- I keep a book of crossword puzzles beside the computer for the times I'm waiting for a page to load.

By the way, what's a five-letter word for 'frustrated'?
  #16  
Old 02-20-2020, 06:06 PM
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I've started doing what I did back in the dial-up days- I keep a book of crossword puzzles beside the computer for the times I'm waiting for a page to load.

By the way, what's a five-letter word for 'frustrated'?
Answer: TSDMB (TheStraightDopeMessageBoard)
Use: I’m so TSDMBed, I had to do work at work today because of all the server timeout errors.
  #17  
Old 02-20-2020, 06:12 PM
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Thanks TubaDiva.

(Have I ever mentioned that for the first 10 years or so that I lurked/posted, I was sure that TubaD's name was "Tuba Diver"? I kind of like that image; it was such a disappointment to discover my reading skills were lacking. )
I'm also positive we had a thread about that once. My ex said the exact same thing once when she was looking over my shoulder.
  #18  
Old 02-20-2020, 06:13 PM
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I bet John McAfee could figure out the problem. We'd probably need guns/drugs for barter, though.

Good grief, no. I worked at McAfee many years ago. We're better off if he never notices us. Eccentric is putting it mildly.
  #19  
Old 02-20-2020, 09:02 PM
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I've started doing what I did back in the dial-up days- I keep a book of crossword puzzles beside the computer for the times I'm waiting for a page to load.

By the way, what's a five-letter word for 'frustrated'?
Pissd.
  #20  
Old 02-20-2020, 09:47 PM
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She gets paid big bucks just to deal with all of us.
"Big" is a relative term. And in this case, not near as big as you might think; I got some puny relatives here. It should could be bigger. Some days I should get combat pay. And scotch and roses and dark chocolate wrapped in pictures of presidents. And some mead and roast beast for my intrepid warrior mods. AND a pony.

Today would be a good day to start. Don't be shy. Just saying.

Jenny
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Line forms to the left.
  #21  
Old 02-20-2020, 10:15 PM
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I just sent you a pony. Please be home, you have to sign for it.
  #22  
Old 02-20-2020, 10:25 PM
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Today really has been a bad day, I tried three times to respond to this thread (usually I don't wait for the error message, when I see that it's hanging I just go somewhere else and try again later). So I just want to thank nelliebly for starting this thread, since the other thread has been going so long I sort of assumed that further complaining was pointless and that no-one was listening.
  #23  
Old 02-20-2020, 10:43 PM
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I like this thread... it loaded!

Perhaps if the PTB are not wanting to upgrade... would they consider a revamp of the archives? And archive older threads from say 5 years and older?

But that doesn't really explain posts posted this (day/week/month) not loading.

Unless all those smart threads (not threats) that fought ignorance are now in high demand? I can believe that...

I'm going to suck the most I can from paying for a membership for as long as this group exists or until.. well, I get tired of trying to read (I don't post much). <--true threat cos... I love this place but if anyone sticks around I know where to read synopsis.

(I copied this in case when I click Post... it doesn't.)

Last edited by mistymage; 02-20-2020 at 10:46 PM. Reason: (bad grammar)
  #24  
Old 02-21-2020, 06:25 AM
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as long as the money keeps flowing in from the ads they have no reason to fix it quickly. As they said in watergate, follow the money
  #25  
Old 02-21-2020, 06:46 AM
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It could be a hardware problem. I don't know what they have for servers or how old. Not enough hard drive space can have some surprising effects, and old servers are ... well, OLD. Our Powerschool server is so old it's actually a SCSI ("scuzzy") server from the turn of the century. Let's just say that it's "cranky".
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  #26  
Old 02-21-2020, 08:50 AM
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On another site Im on this is happening (Also VBB) and the admin said its search engines and robots bogging it down.... I wonder if that could be going on here also?

The thing I dont understand is he has all bot UAs blocked in his robots.txt file (User agent *) and they are still getting on somehow...... Its aggravating!


Thankfully the site usually seems OK when I come......


EDIT:

I just got a 502 error

Last edited by Dude111; 02-21-2020 at 08:53 AM.
  #27  
Old 02-21-2020, 09:04 AM
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"Big" is a relative term. And in this case, not near as big as you might think; I got some puny relatives here. It should could be bigger. Some days I should get combat pay. And scotch and roses and dark chocolate wrapped in pictures of presidents. And some mead and roast beast for my intrepid warrior mods. AND a pony.

Today would be a good day to start. Don't be shy. Just saying.

Jenny
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Line forms to the left.
I keep trying to post a link where you can access a substantial amount of money, in small, unmarked bills, but I got too many timeouts.

Regards,
Shodan
  #28  
Old 02-21-2020, 11:02 AM
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It's getting worse if anything. I'm reaching a point where I'm soon going to give up on the board until it gets fixed, it's too frustrating.

As someone suggested a while ago, if funds are needed for hardware or whatever, I'd contribute and I'm sure many others would too.
  #29  
Old 02-21-2020, 11:50 AM
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I just sent you a pony. Please be home, you have to sign for it.
Now I want a unicorn. Farting rainbows.



Jenny
  #30  
Old 02-21-2020, 01:02 PM
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Thanks TubaDiva.

(Have I ever mentioned that for the first 10 years or so that I lurked/posted, I was sure that TubaD's name was "Tuba Diver"? I kind of like that image; it was such a disappointment to discover my reading skills were lacking. )
If you pronounce her name with a long “I” then it is “Tuba Diver” with maybe a Bronx accent.
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Originally Posted by Bumbershoot View Post
I've started doing what I did back in the dial-up days- I keep a book of crossword puzzles beside the computer for the times I'm waiting for a page to load.

By the way, what's a five-letter word for 'frustrated'?
Vexed?
  #31  
Old 02-21-2020, 01:29 PM
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Pissd.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atamasama View Post
Vexed?
Horny
  #32  
Old 02-21-2020, 02:26 PM
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It's getting worse if anything. I'm reaching a point where I'm soon going to give up on the board until it gets fixed, it's too frustrating.

As someone suggested a while ago, if funds are needed for hardware or whatever, I'd contribute and I'm sure many others would too.
I would also like to step forward and express my support for Riemann contributing funds to fix the boards.
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Last edited by Wesley Clark; 02-21-2020 at 02:29 PM.
  #33  
Old 02-21-2020, 02:38 PM
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I would also like to step forward and express my support for Riemann contributing funds to fix the boards.
I would be in favor of giving Riemann some sort of recognition; maybe a custom title or honorary moderator status, to thank him for his very generous donation.
  #34  
Old 02-21-2020, 02:55 PM
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I would be in favor of giving Riemann some sort of recognition; maybe a custom title or honorary moderator status, to thank him for his very generous donation.
Is Pimp of the year still a title they give out?

NSFW
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  #35  
Old 02-21-2020, 03:02 PM
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Whatever they're doing to fix it, they're making it worse. I wonder how many people we're losing because of this. I may be the next.
  #36  
Old 02-21-2020, 03:12 PM
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Does SDMB have a dedicated server? Or is it shared with other sites? In the latter case, have the episodes been correlated with activity on the other sites?

Is there any reason NOT to assume that SDMB traffic simply exceeds the resource allocated?
  #37  
Old 02-21-2020, 03:28 PM
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Occasionally I get the "Board temporarily offline for maintenance" banner. Is that a sign that the server is being rebooted, or that something is being done to try to fix the issue, or is it just another symptom?

Regards,
Shodan
  #38  
Old 02-21-2020, 04:29 PM
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Does SDMB have a dedicated server? Or is it shared with other sites?
If I'm following this right ... post #8 indicates that Sun-Times Media is using a vendor called DesertNews to host this board. I would expect that means the SDMB shares space with other entities on a remote server (or set of servers) somewhere. Accordingly, it seems that the SDMB is at the mercy of DesertNews and that our own SDMB staffers are well outside of the loop.

It appears to be no longer the case that the SDMB is hosted on its own server, controlled by The Chicago Reader or another proximate entity. I'm not sure that ever was the case. But it seemed in the past (say, before the sale of the Reader to Creative Loafing [2008-ish?]) that Tubadiva and other SDMB staff were in much closer and more frequent contact with at-hand IT assistance -- even on a first-name basis (remember 'Jerry'?).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shodan
Occasionally I get the "Board temporarily offline for maintenance" banner. Is that a sign that the server is being rebooted, or that something is being done to try to fix the issue, or is it just another symptom?
That's not a symptom of the problem -- that's a purposeful message indicating that something is being attempted. Not necessarily remediation ... but something requiring the board's tables to be unavailable.
  #39  
Old 02-21-2020, 05:56 PM
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It's getting worse if anything. I'm reaching a point where I'm soon going to give up on the board until it gets fixed, it's too frustrating.

As someone suggested a while ago, if funds are needed for hardware or whatever, I'd contribute and I'm sure many others would too.
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Whatever they're doing to fix it, they're making it worse. I wonder how many people we're losing because of this. I may be the next.
TBTB, please pay attention! I'm sure we're losing members because of this. Today has been particularly bad. It's great when it's working, but the periods of long delays and timeout messages have been very frequent the entire day. Furthermore, the problem is much older than the two-month age of the previous thread -- at least four months, I'd say, though not usually as bad as today.

ETA: Error: Server error while trying to post the above!

Last edited by wolfpup; 02-21-2020 at 05:59 PM.
  #40  
Old 02-21-2020, 06:38 PM
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Now I want a unicorn. Farting rainbows.



Jenny
Thanks for the announcement re the maintenance.

About the unicorn. I'm working on it.
So far I've got what looks like a large dog with a tumor on its forehead.
And explosive green diarrhea.
But I'm getting close.
  #41  
Old 02-21-2020, 07:53 PM
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Thanks for the announcement re the maintenance.

About the unicorn. I'm working on it.
So far I've got what looks like a large dog with a tumor on its forehead.
And explosive green diarrhea.
But I'm getting close.
That ain't gonna do it. You're going about it all wrong, and putting far too much work into it. What you need is to get hold of an Icelandic one-horned Einhyrningur ram, stick a whole bunch of colorful party streamers up its butt, and you're done! Have it delivered with the pony, and consider our problems solved!
  #42  
Old 02-21-2020, 11:07 PM
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I would also like to step forward and express my support for Riemann contributing funds to fix the boards.
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I would be in favor of giving Riemann some sort of recognition; maybe a custom title or honorary moderator status, to thank him for his very generous donation.
See, I gave them a couple of million, and it's fixed in a few hours.
  #43  
Old 02-21-2020, 11:20 PM
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I couldn't even get on the Boards until just now. I kept getting some weird error message (not a 50x) that said something about data errors. It said the "team" is aware of the issue and suggested I try rebooting the page or contacting someone. Neither link worked. But maybe, I thought hopefully, this means TPTB are finally fixing the issue!

Now I'm on--YAY!--but since TPTB aren't communicating even with Tuba Diva, it's hard to tell what that error message was about. I suddenly understand the desperation that leads people to see Jesus in a tortilla.
  #44  
Old 02-21-2020, 11:22 PM
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There was a message up from Tuba Diva earlier that it was going down this evening for maintenance, so the outage was expected. Since it came back, it's quicker and no error messages for me.
  #45  
Old 02-21-2020, 11:55 PM
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I saw the database outage message and since then it's been fine for the past hour or two. Based on past history, I'm skeptical that this is a permanent fix, but definitely something has changed for the better and let's hope it stays that way.
  #46  
Old 02-22-2020, 12:05 AM
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Fingers crossed.
  #47  
Old 02-22-2020, 12:11 AM
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I couldn't even get on the Boards until just now. I kept getting some weird error message (not a 50x) that said something about data errors. It said the "team" is aware of the issue and suggested I try rebooting the page or contacting someone. Neither link worked. But maybe, I thought hopefully, this means TPTB are finally fixing the issue!

Now I'm on--YAY!--but since TPTB aren't communicating even with Tuba Diva, it's hard to tell what that error message was about. I suddenly understand the desperation that leads people to see Jesus in a tortilla.
Actually that's not the case.

They've been talking to me a lot about what's been happening, and consulting with DesertNet.

They've been reading your posts. They are well aware of what you have been having to deal with here, especially these last few days.

One thing they got out of the discussions with DesertNet is this: the current software is one of the culprits here. (The other is the ginormous size of the database.)

Let me share this with you.

There's nothing wrong with our server, or the hardware, or the tech support keeping the current version alive — literally no improvements can happen until we get off vBulletin 3.8.3, because this old version of vBulletin requires a specific type of mySQL table that locks the entire database table anytime there are changes made to it, as opposed to a more modern version that only locks a specific row of the database. Any time traffic reaches a certain level and a great number of people are attempting to post at the same time (or automated internal house-cleaning processes kick in, such as the beginning of the month and/or weekend), it hits a bottleneck.

That is exactly what you have been seeing.

So we can attempt to upgrade to a newer version of vBulletin, but that just kicks the can down the road in terms of being locked into a proprietary platform with a history of intermittent updates.

Going to an upgraded version of vBulletin necessitates making some changes. One of the results from these necessary changes would actually expand the size of the database even more than it is now; I've heard estimates that doing this would quadruple it. We're having enough issues right now with 22 million posts.

TPTB have been trying to figure out what's the best way to go here and also investigating how to answer questions such as:

What is the best platform for the site?

What offers all the things we need -- size, speed, flexibility, serious customer support -- at an affordable price?

How best to sustain this going forward?

And most of all: How to budget and pay for it.

These are all big issues and not decided easily or in a short period of time.

They are not playing with you. They are not ignoring you. They are attempting to make this come out right.

Currently the board does good to break even. This is with all the support costs and my stipend; I love you guys but there is no way I could do this for free. When you add in all the developer hours that have gone into this thus far, the Dope is a money loser for the Sun-Times. But here's what they say about that:

... and we're definitely losing money if you account for the developer hours that my staff spends on it. But that's our problem, not theirs, so I'm not looking for sympathy.

Either way, we have a lot of respect for the community and brand and want to do right by it, and a belief that if we can stabilize everything it'll be a worthwhile investment for the Sun-Times to make above and beyond community good will. The board is an incredible piece of living Internet history and deserves to be preserved and a chance to grow.

Everyone I've worked with on the Sun-Times staff thinks this site is meaningful and special and they want it to not only live but thrive. And they're willing to do what they can within the confines of their business and their resources to make that happen.

If you're serious about fund-raising, I have asked that they allow us to set something up, available to you through the subscription function already in place here. I also want to set up a "tip jar" or other form of donation on the other side of the site and get people reading the columns. I ask if you're truly serious about this that you contact me off the board and give me some idea of how much money we're talking about here -- if I could come up with a meaningful figure that we could pull together --think of it as pledges, perhaps -- that might help this snowball run down the mountain a little faster. Before you get all jacked up about that, please know that there may be legal or accounting issues that may keep this from happening. But I don't yet have an answer for that. I have asked.

I also seriously want to do a podcast -- have stuff in place for that already -- but I would also like a sponsor for it. If you know anyone that would like to do this, please send me an email and we can surely talk about it.

Things are going to get better. Not instantly better. And hopefully what just happened tonight will make us more stable and the site more usable. But it's only a band-aid on a sucking chest wound and to picture it as anything else is not useful.

Y'all have been so good. And everybody wants to make things better. Please bear with us and help us get there.

Thanks.

Jenny
your humble TubaDiva
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  #48  
Old 02-22-2020, 12:59 AM
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Thank you. "Band-aid on a sucking chest wound" is not very optimistic.

I'm not sure what you meant by the donations " on the other side of the site".
  #49  
Old 02-22-2020, 01:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steatopygia View Post
Thank you. "Band-aid on a sucking chest wound" is not very optimistic.

I'm not sure what you meant by the donations " on the other side of the site".
The content side, the columns. Different architecture, not sure if they're even on the same server as the board.

I realize we have people that don't even know we have columns. If you encounter these people on the board, please dispel their ignorance.

I may sound melodramatic there but I'm very respectful of what our current install of vBulletin has borne up under. It's like 10 years old and we have beaten it like the proverbial rented mule. And it has valiantly tried its damndest to work for us until it can't hardly rise up no more. That is yeoman service. It probably deserves a monument for "good and faithful servant." While I would like to believe that the problems we have had are fixed by what happened tonight I have zero faith in that. (I'd be dee-lighted to be proven wrong.) We have the same problems; they just came up with something to get us through at least for now. If it holds it's a blessing.

Jenny
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  #50  
Old 02-22-2020, 01:27 AM
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OK. Band-aid on a sucking chest wound it is.
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