Offloading of the SDMB Archives

I guess since TubaDiva had already answered Johanna’s question she didn’t keep checking on the thread after that, but her answer

actually raised further questions. I’ll re-ask them here:

So how far in the future until they are back up? How searchable will this “some sort of archival form” be? A quick look at bigboard’s stats graph makes me think whatever posts you’ve taken offline since January will be replaced within a month or so. Are we in for more pruning? Will there always be some sort of 6-7 gig limit on database size?

I know it’s only the first year and a half offloaded so far but I’m little concerned about this plan’s endgame.

I don’t know. I gave what information I had in the earlier thread and cannot speculate further.

Well, that’s that for now, I guess. Just let it be known that a complete, searchable archive is more important to me than any private messaging or custom user titles. heh.

Same here.

Oh, and I’d pay several shillings for a DVD of the whole database in some browsable format. Heck, I’d pay every year for an annual DVD containing the whole board up until that time.

Hey, that sounds like a good money-making idea, actually.

<bastard mode> And if threads were deleted after they were a year or so old, you’d take in a lot of money. </bastard mode>

This is possible, but quite difficult to do in practice. Given the difficulty of implementing far, far simpler things, this is just not going to happen. IIRC, the Reader has also been very highly opposed to selling the SDMB database in this manner.

Too bad :frowning:

Just out of curiosity, since you’re familiar with vBulletin sw, does it come with any kind of built-in utility for exporting as a series of plain-text tables and a primary-key description explaining how the tables link?

I’m not familiar with the latest version and what exactly it comes with. But I do know you can get the database schema in PDF format when you have the software (or you can just create it yourself quickly using MySQL tools).

The issue is, there is a lot that goes into making the threads actually appear and look right, and the posts flow in a meaningful manner. I’m not saying it cannot be done - on the contrary, there’s a lot you can do if you are good at SQL and PHP and have a lot of time. I’m saying I’m not aware of any utilities that would allow for easy browsing using no additional software of all the threads, posts, etc. in the database. I’ve fielded similar requests on the boards I run, and when you dig into it it always gets pretty complicated, and makes one wonder if the end product could ever be really worth it.

Given the very, very low level of effort the Reader spends on the Board and software, I cannot see them exerting the time or hiring the expertise to grunt through it. And all this aside, not speaking for the Reader, but in the past they have told me when I inquired about this that they are not interested at all in releasing the intellectual property within the SDMB at this time, or at any time in the future.

Until more information is available it’s really best not to speculate at all.

When we have more to share, we’ll share it with you.

Looking at the the stats on big-board, I see that a another chunk of posts has been offloaded. Do you mind telling us how much or what time span has been removed this time?

Any update on the future of getting the archives back up in a searchable form?

I have no information on this subject and have had none since the last time I posted.

Are there some topics in particular you are looking for? Perhaps they’re not amongst those that have gone and other posters could help you find them.

If that sort of exercise were productive I’m sure it would imbue the membership and administration with a sense that making the archives available would be a useful thing to do.

No, there are no topics in particular. I bumped this thread just because I happened to check our ranking on big-boards and notice the total post drop.

Probably like most Dopers, I use the search for a variety of reasons. Sometimes I want a trip down memory lane, sometimes I want to see what’s been said on a particular topic I come across from somewhere else - both to get facts/links and to see if there’s a different general perception in years past.

On the crotchety side, one of the things promised for paid membership was the ability to search the massive SDMB archive. They are removing large chunks of said archive without giving us any info whatsoever as to whether we can expect them back and how much is going to be removed.

We still have nothing new to tell you and no way to answer your questions.

I get the impression that I’m in the minority here… but how many people care, really? I certainly don’t.

In fact, I’m sure there are a lot of threads here from Ye Olde Days (ie, more than six months ago or so) that many people would prefer be simply… Erased. :wink:

Searching the archives is useful, yes- but I also think that when someone comes in and asks a question, and gets told “we covered this six months ago, get with the programme” (so to speak) it’s a bit self-defeating.

It’s interesting to see the old posts from members who are no longer here, but really, I’d rather have a board that works slightly faster than an asthmatic snail with a load of heavy shopping, than the ability to see what a particular poster thought on the Tax Breaks For People With Vowels In Their Names bill that was introduced by some obscure member of a political party in one of those States you never hear about unless someone’s gone loco at the local Post Office with an AR-15.

Having said that, I should mention I don’t usually have many problems with board speed- since when I’m online, you’re all asleep (mostly)! BUWAHAHAHAHA! :smiley:

I think what people are wondering is whether these posts which are being taken off the boards will be able to be searched in the future from a separate read-only server or in some other way, or whether they’re gone, forever buried in that long list of things we’ve [del]been promised[/del] been told they “hope” to get up and running.

I doubt you are in the minority, I’m sure most people don’t care. In fact any given person can probably live without 95% of the archives on the board. The problem is the five percent that they want to keep differs between different people. Without knowing what’s been offloaded when it’s difficult for people to pipe up when they want something kept. I know most subjects have been covered many times but being able to look at the old threads allows you to see how things were viewed at a different point in time (just as an example, to see the mood before/after the Bush win in 2000). Also because some posters with a unique viewpoint or special experience are no longer posting it’s nice to be able to look at their posts (everyone has their favorite poster-who-is-no-longer-here).

The other major problem is that the subscription agreement above says:

If nothing else the wording of that should really be clarified.

Of course all of that has to be balanced with making the boards usable. No point having the archives if the boards run like wading through frozen treacle. On the other hand it’s important to let the powers that be know that the archives were valuable to us so they are encouraged to bring them back at some point.


There is a technical issue with the database limiting the SDMB to approximately 6.72 million posts. We reached that limit sometime in December of 2005. At that time I saved a special backup of the database and then started deleting posts. If I didn’t do that the SDMB would simply die when we reached the post limit. The last two outages of the SDMB are directly related to us reaching the post limit because I didn’t delete enough posts in time.

The reason posts continue to be deleted is we’re currently stuck at this limit until I can get the SDMB moved to a new server. That is in the works. We are going to be moving hosts and upgrading to a more powerful system. During the server move I will resolve the post limit issue as well.

I plan to restore the December 2005 backup offline and then resurrect the threads that have been deleted in some format. Most likely they will be in a format similiar to the Archive.

“Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it.”

Thanks for the update Jerry!

And a note to the Ed and the powers that be:

As some of the other users have said, I’d be willing to pay extra for search capability on older threads. Keep two or three years online, then charge a little ($20? $50?) for access to the search engine connected to the old stuff.

Don’t know how much that would help in terms of performance and revenue, but I’d go for it.