Just Curious Why I Get This Message On Some Threads

Usually, I see this when I follow a link that someone has posted in another thread. I’m pretty sure my account hasn’t been disabled, since I access other threads and post there just fine. What kinds of situation lead to this kind of message? I ask because I’ve hit this several times today.

The thread has been moved to a mod-only forum (AKA “wished to the cornfield”)

Usually, spammer or sock.

Great *Twilight Zone * (also Jerome Bixby short story) reference. Love it.

Actually, that’s the common phrase the mods use. And yes, it is a direct reference.

This question comes up so often that maybe the admins should consider changing the message.
This post or thread has been removed by the Straight Dope’s moderators. Reasons for removal include:

  • Spam
  • content posted by a previously banned member
  • illegal or offensive content
  • other violations of board policy.
    Something like that would stop all the questions.

You mean it might some some of the questions. But, yeah. It is kind of jarring the first time you see it. Even a long time member might not ever see one, you have to hit a pretty specific set of circumstances to get that message.

The admins don’t have the time to do such a thing. If they don’t have the time to put the old rolleyes smiley back in then they certainly don’t have time for this.

A lot of people bitch about the smileys as if it’s a simple copy and paste, a two-second job. I’m not involved in that aspect of the software, but I really doubt that’s the case, and I think it’s really an unfair criticism.

If it’s a simple copy and paste, the obvious question is where do you copy the old smileys from? My best guess as to what happened is that the old smileys were overwritten. So you go to copy… and there’s nothing to copy. They’re gone.

Now what?

If it was something truly important, the old files probably do exist on a backup tape somewhere. But where do you restore that backup tape to? Are you going to restore it back over the SDMB and completely undo the upgrade, just so you can copy a few smileys off of it and then completely re-do the upgrade? That would be silly. Are you going to restore the backup tape to a spare computer that you have lying around? Do you have a spare computer lying around? Most companies don’t.

And then the next obvious question. Exactly which files do you copy? Are they named the same in both the old and new versions of the software? Are they in the same place? Are they in more than one location?

I personally don’t know any system admin who has so much free time on his hands that he has nothing better to do than to keep track of every trivial file on every one of the hundreds of software packages that he has to maintain on dozens of different systems. So really, this probably requires a bit of research just to figure out which files would need to be copied.

Like I said, this is really just my best guess as to what happened, but I seriously doubt that we’re talking about a two-second copy and paste job.

Personally, I’m not at all surprised that the company doesn’t want to allocate several hours of valuable IT time and possibly purchase a spare computer system just to restore some smileys, just because a few people bitch.

While a lot of the above is pure guesswork, there’s one thing that I can tell you from actual personal experience. The admins here are nowhere near as unwilling to do anything as people who complain about the smileys make them out to be. When we request things like IP bans and name changes (things that can’t be done at the mod level and require an admin), those things are taken care of very quickly and without complaint. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes, and the admins of this site actually do care about it and do put effort into it.

Characterizing them as people who won’t even do a two-second copy and paste is absolutely, flat out wrong. They do a lot more than that for us every week, and instead of being constantly criticized, personally, I think they deserve some thanks for keeping things running behind the scenes.

You usually see that kind of message because when a mod moves a thread, there’s an option to leave a redirect. The option is checked “yes” by default. Often a mod will forget to uncheck the “yes” box because most of the time you want to redirect members to the thread if it’s a legitimate forum change and you want to keep the thread visible. But for cases where you want to put the thread in Coventry, you do want to uncheck that “yes” box.

The problem with changing it is that the message is basically saying that you are trying to access a resource that you don’t have permission to access, and that’s the same message used for all privilege denials. As a user, you likely only see the message on posts that have been moved into a mod/admin only access area, but if you were to somehow figure out the URLs for any of the behind-the-scenes stuff like the mod forums, you’d get the same error message, even if you were accessing a forum list and not a disappeared post. As the message indicates, you also get the same message if you haven’t completed the registration process or if your account gets suspended or banned.

Yep, we’re human. We make mistakes. If you see a redirect that goes into the cornfield, send us a PM and we’ll fix it (we’ll remove the redirect).

A few comments on the above and the entire post from which the above came . . .

I doubt that anyone here is impugning the admin(s) intentions. (There’s more than one of them?) I really doubt that. ISTM we’ve been told (or it’s been suggested or implied) that the higher PTB won’t allocate a millisecond of their time for board maintenance more than absolutely necessary (if even that); so I think that any gripes along these lines are more likely directed at the higher PTB. Note, as an aside, that with Jerry’s departure, we the Teeming Millions now know nothing about the new admin(s).

As for the technicalities of restoring a single little GIF file: I’ve done some time as a sysadmin, and I think I can offer some not-entirely-WAG thoughts:

– The task probably is just as simple as restoring one file. Although, as you suggested, there might be some complexity involved in finding that file or extracting it from a backup tape. But . . .

– All the nightmarish scenarios you’ve imagined for doing the restore are probably wrong. Any decent backup/restore program should have options for restoring any individual file, or any individual directory or sub-directory. Furthermore, there should be an option to restore the file(s) to any place you want, like a temporary directory of your choice. You could restore an entire sub-directory tree to somewhere, then pick-and-choose which files you want to copy back to their original places.

– I should think that any experienced vBulletin admin would know exactly where those smilie files are and what their names are. In fact, I’ll help you out here: Try

All’s I had to do to find that was right-click on the image in the smilie menu and then click on “View Image Info” and there it was – the list of all the smilies in fact. (I’m using Firefox, but any browser should be able to do that.)

(Yes, I realize that that’s a URL and not the actual directory and file name where it’s located on the server. But it’s probably that as well, or very nearly so.)

– If your admin has to do any further research, there’s a massive resource right at his fingertips: The Straight Dope Message Board, General Questions Forum of course! All he has to do is post a question there about vBulletin, and the Teeming Millions will be right on it! Hey, they’ve answered much stranger questions many many times, often in matters of minutes! Have ye no faith?

– Indeed, we have numerous posters here with experience adminning other message boards, who have often commented here on admin issues. Fenris and Giraffe (and I think Una?) come to mind immediately.

– Very possibly, someone will even have immediate access to an old smilie – maybe from a less-updated message board, or in a backup archive somewhere. Or maybe even be willing to drag a file from their own backup tapes and send it to you. I have every confidence that any poster on this board who is able to help there will be glad to do so, and that there probably are some such people here. I certainly would if I could.

Easy peasy.

Thing is, Jerry has done it before, following the previous upgrade to this last one. The problem as I understand it is that Jerry’s duties under Sun-Times Media no longer have the SDMB as even a low priority. We’re below low. That’s life, I guess.

ECG has a good point in general about how “easy” tasks aren’t really as easy as people like to think. It’s not just making the change, it’s figuring out what change is needed and where, and more importantly, supporting that change when something breaks or an update is applied.

That’s not really the case with the smilies; it’s pretty much as easy technically as Senegoid says. But what’s the payoff? Some people are happier. Some people bitch and moan because they liked the new smilies better. And in the end, it’s a god damn smilie. It’s not like any new feature was added, bug was fixed, performance was improved, or anything of note. I can see TPTB thinking it’s not worth even 2 seconds for that.

I’d say your guesswork is way, way off. Why in the world would it involve restoring backups?

No, it involves a quick Google search for the old vBulletin 2 smileys. Or for the old SDMB smileys, since there’s a script to fix them. Or if you didn’t know that, you could use the Internet Archive. Or, better yet, since so many people were asking for it, you could ask one of use to post a link to the smileys on the board. (which indeed already happened). If no one says they are wrong, you know they’re the right ones.

All of the things you talk about the admins doing require nothing but access to the main admin tools. So absolutely any admin, without even the slightest bit of technical knowledge. The complaint about the smileys belongs not with the admins but to IT.

My complaint has always been with Jerry. He performed the upgrade, and, in doing so, accidentally overwrote the old smileys. A bunch of people complained, and even volunteered to make it as easy as possible on him to fix. But he refused. Despite having fixed that exact same mistake once before, he still refused to fix it.

Now, I say that, but, for all I know, there was some stupid bureaucracy involved. Maybe there were some higher up people who didn’t okay it. But it wasn’t presented to us that way. It was presented as Jerry’s decision. (Plus, I know he had no problem fixing the Games button on the front page–after I sent a fixed file it to him–which required pretty much the same amount of work.)

That said, I know Jerry is no longer with us, and I don’t blame current IT for not wanting to rock the boat after so long. I just seriously do not get why Jerry would not fix the smileys.

Finally, if anyone actually still wants the old smileys, the Greasemonkey/TamperMonkey script that I and some other poster (whose name escapes me) made to fix the issue is still out there, and still works just fine. (On Firefox, you’ll never even see the old smileys.)

And, yes, you’ll need to install TamperMonkey (for Chrome/Opera/Safari/Dolphin/Android) or Greasemonkey (for Firefox/Pale Moon/Waterfox) first, if you haven’t already.

The problem is that that message is the standard message for any attempt to access an feature that a poster does not have access. It is not a specific message for threads that have been relocated to the Mod only portion of the board.

The primary reason people encounter this message is not because the mods moved a thread and the thread has a redirect still listed in the forum list. What happens is someone loads a page that contains a link to the thread, or bookmarks the thread. Then the mods move the thread. But the user is accessing from a previously cached page or a bookmark, so it still appears in their list even though the mods already removed the offending post. A new forum list will not show the thread.

Jerry is gone?

Jerry is gone. Our new tech guru is John.

Ed mentioned it in this thread.

From my limited experience with dealing with IT guys, it seemed to me that, on the wide ranging ladder of abilities, Jerry was pretty much incompetent. I certainly won’t miss him.

I don’t know if he was incompetent, just that the Dope was always the bottom of his list of priorities. He would only attend to us if he had absolutely nothing else to do.

Thanks for explaining the problem concisely. I was getting lost with all the cross arguments about Admins and rolleye icon.

And BTW, when there is an obvious typo in the title would it be possible for that to be corrected when action is taken.

Not unless you ask a mod to do it. You can report it by email or by reporting the OP and it will send a message to all mods.