Is something wrong with the boards tonight?

It’s been very difficult trying to read the SDMB today. Dozens of time-outs waiting for pages to refresh; or for brief periods the domain doesn’t exist; a page will load, but the graphics are all wrong - oversized, different fonts, no banner. Now it’s taken to not marking threads I’ve read as read. A couple of hours back, when it finally connected, the only posts marked unread were made within the previous couple of minutes. I’ll read a thread, close it, refresh the forum page and the thread comes back as unread. Is the problem on your end, or mine, or somewhere in the middle?


For what it’s worth, I don’t think it’s just you.

Been happening to me for several days now.

Yeah, I keep hearing Phil Collins singing, “Something in the Board Tonight.”

We need to get some major league baseball players as members on the SDMB. And task them with the care and feeding of the hamsters… :smiley:

There’s a lot of NHL hockey players sitting round without much to do…

Board traffic has increased steadily over the past year and we have once again maxed out our server. As of January, page views for the Straight Dope website as a whole were almost 10 million per month, an increase of 58% over the previous year. About two-thirds of the website page views were generated by the SDMB, where traffic has increased 72% over the past year. The server is now housed offsite and my understanding is that the size of the data pipe is no longer a constraint, but you can only cram so much processing power into the box we’ve got and Jerry informs me that we’re pretty much red line for a good part of the day.

Lest you conclude that this is another sign of the Reader’s shameful neglect of the SDMB and so on, I need to point out that the company has made substantial investments in the board up to this point, and while I’m not in a position to make any promises, my guess is it will continue to do so. The slowdown is fairly recent; for most of the year the board ran OK. We’ve just begun planning for subscription renewal season and I think I can safely predict that capital investment needs will come up for discussion. That said, what with one thing or another we’ve got pretty full plates at the moment, so please be patient; we’ll get to this by and by.

Thanks, Ed. Pretty popular place you’ve got here, eh?

Is there a place where we can donate money or is it better for us to just get all of our friends memberships?

Definitely the latter. The anniversary for charter memberships is ~April 28, and assuming we get a decent re-up rate, which I am optimistic about given our current traffic, I will have a strong argument to make next time a server upgrade comes up for discussion. Incidentally, our last server upgrade was in September - dual Xeon processors, 2 gigs of memory, the whole shot. You see how long that lasted.

Is the increase in traffic primarily from more members or more posts per existing member? In other words, are you getting more money out of it, or are we getting more for our money?

You didn’t move the server to say, oh, Cicero didya? I mean, someone could be skimming CPU cycles or something and that’s why the Board gets slow. After all, it sure beats paying some accountant to keep the books who could rat you out …

Huh? Whut?

Just a sec. There’s a guy at the door saying he’s Kevin Costner and he’s wearing a fedora …

I agree it seems the boards are going slower more often. I was under the assumption that this is why the board started subscriptions. If the problem is still with us, what will become of the current subscription rate (Dollar figure) ?

One major contribution to the bandwidth consumption is the lack of delta encoding or equivalent method (?XMLHttpRequest?). If I want to reply to a thread with 40 posts, I will load all of them during preview, and once more after posting. I assume if it was implemented, in whatever way, you would save a lot of bandwidth.

Delta encoding sounds like a winner to me. I’ve never understood why things like banners and icons apparently are resent with every hit.

While delta encoding would probably cut down bandwidth, that’s not the bottleneck. As I understand it, the bottleneck is in processing power, and since delta encoding would require a little extra thinking on the part of the server, it might even slow down the boards further.

My impression was that they started subscrptions or the SDMB closed.

There’s also The SDMB is switching to paid subscriptions, April 2004: