Has the bottleneck in board performance been identified?

My guess in such cases is that someone’s doing an extensive search, and as soon as it ends, all the waiting threads/replies/refreshes go through. They actually already went through, but the feedback to your end was halted because the server was working on a search.

Sometimes, I wonder if we should shut down search altogether. Maybe it’s worth an experiment. We’ll get tons of duplicate threads, of course, but they can be moderated to an extent. Ah well, we’ll see, there may be a reason why this is a worse idea than I think right now.


(Note that some other specs from that thread are known to be outdated.)

Exa is 10[sup]18[/sup] http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Units/prefixes.html

To give you an idea, one terabyte could hold about 500 times our message board database.

From the Hacker Jargon File: http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/jargon/html/entry/quantifiers.html

Nothing official yet. And always forgetting Manfred.

If I am really reading it correctly Why not just turn off the search function when capacity hits a certain level or just somehow limit the amount of resorces a search can have?

If I am really reading it correctly Why not just turn off the search function when capacity hits a certain level or just somehow limit the amount of resorces a search can have?

Yeah, that’s what I’m saying–well, not that people refuse to sign up because the MB is slow, but that people post more when the boards are faster. I speak from personal experience–during fast times, like Saturday mornings, when nobody is here, I can get through all the forums, but on slow weekday afternoons, I’m lucky if I can get through a few threads in GQ (my favorite place).

And, of course, I usually have something to say in all the forums I can get through. :smiley:

See, you are obviously not an SDMB addict yet, Savaka. You, fortunate soul, are still able to pick and choose which of the forums you browse, but the rest of us, poor miserable hag-ridden souls, with the Straight Dope Monkey riding our backs mercilessly, will work our way through as many of the forums, and threads, as God and the hamsters will permit us.

And if Jerry the Tech God happens to have thrown a couple of thunderbolts at the server, causing it to speed up even the tiniest microsecond, we whoop with joy and open even more threads.

And, of course, we think of something to say in most of them. :smiley:

It might be interesting to do for a day (week?) as an experiment, but the search function is so useful, I’d rather put up with the slowness to preserve the search ability.

I realize this might require a hack, but it’s too bad there can’t be some restrictions on searching. Maybe limits on one or more of these – how many searches that can be done at once, how much time between searches for one user, etc.

If searches are indeed the system hog, I suspect part of the problem is in the underlying VB script/code/SQL. It may not be as efficient as possible for quantity searching. Has VBulletin been queried to tackle this? Any improvement in this area would probably benefit other VB sites even more than SDMB – we can’t be the biggest one in their territory.

And what would DDG do without search? :slight_smile:

I just thought of something else. If the search function is turned off, wouldn’t that render the “View New Posts” button inoperative? It seems to work thru a specialized search script. Or am I the only one that uses that button?

OK. Thanks for the explanation Duck Duck Goose. I guess I’d expect some reduction in posting frequency during slow server times, but I still have a hard time accepting that any upgrade would immediately be met with an equivalent demand, thus nullifying the upgrade.

And I’m sure this has been thought of before, but…

If the Chicago Reader won’t accept monetary donations, would they accept a donation of equipment? If the SDMB regulars organized a collection and, with the help of Administrators, figured out the appropriate hardware upgrades and made the purchases, would the Chicago Reader really refuse delivery if said hardware turned up on their doorstep?

Well, the mods could always post a sticky asking people not to search during peak hours. I’m sure most of us would be happy to oblige.

Me too… fwiw.

It’s a good idea to let the SD’ers know the search function cause so much slowness and perhaps to limit or pospone searches during peak times. At the very least narow the search to the forumn and date range. Perhaps a icon can appear during peak capacity stating ‘please narrow search fields as much as possible or search later’

Are there seriously people using this board regularly that aren’t aware of the problems with searches putting added strain on the server?

This may or may not help; it depends on how well-designed the SQL implementation is.

In highly optimized and smartly implemented database languages, it would be possible to search a single forum without touching other forum records (if they’re not in the “index” they will be invisible). But a less efficient design may still have to page thru ALL records, matching each to the filter before deciding to include/discard.

Someone more familiar than I with the SDMB SQL implementation is going to have to step in here to tell us which is the case here.

As long as we have so many concerned Dopers in here, I figured this might be a good time to show off my sig again. I hardly ever search via hamster any more. Just be sure to include the word “straightdope” so you get hits off the right board.

Wow! Thanks, minty! I’d never heard of this before. Henceforth I shall use Boardreader exclusively.

You’re welcome, Savaka. The other nice advantage to Boardreader is that it still retains the threads that were lost from January to March of last winter when the board got hacked. You just have to click on the “cached” link at the end of the thread title that pops up from the search. Cached versions don’t put any strain on the SDMB server either, so I usually click on those rather than the SDMB link in the thread title to identify the thread(s) I’m searchin for.

Only disadvantage is I’m not sure how often they update their archives, so searching for something from yesterday is probably not going to happen. Other than that, it’s the best hamster-saver ever.

Er, well, actually, I rarely, if ever, search the thread archives for what I need. Most of the question-answering and looking-for-links that I do, I do with Google and Alltheweb, not in amongst the old SDMB threads.

So it ain’t me. :wink:

I do Search in the Column Archives, but I believe that Jerry told us some time ago that they’re on a completely separate server, along with the Home Page.

So, why isn’t the existence, and URL, for Boardreader posted prominently somewhere around here, in the FAQ maybe? I didn’t even know it existed, either. Is it legal, to have all that presumably copyrighted Straight Dope stuff on somebody else’s website? :confused:

And, is somebody somewhere harvesting e-mail addresses from it?

DDG, we talked about this not long ago, and even got a response from the boardreader tech god:


Yeah, I saw that thread, and I read it again just now, and I don’t see where Tuba has ever come back with any information on whether boardreader has permission from the Reader to do what it’s doing.

So my question still stands.