Good guess and quite possibly a factor. Also lots of after-Xmas sales, so new computers aplenty, no doubt. Lotsa bad weather, people are staying in, more computer time, more traffic on the board, there you go.
I know, I know, you didn’t mean that seriously, but every time I’ve observed a halt in the Board’s operations – not just slowdown, but halt – I’ve been able to ping both the straightdope IP and the boards.straightdope IP (…200, …199) and the ping worked fine. Therefore, I tend to blame not the Internet, ISP or DSL connection or even cable at my end, but something inside the straightdope organization. I would think this would be significant to Jerry or any technical person.
And I’ve had various experiences with this of late; sometimes just the board is unreachable, sometimes the entire site is unavailable.
I have no explanation and I have not heard from Jerry on this subject, so I don’t know what to tell you. I do know it doesn’t last and the site comes back and everything works again, usually after a short period. It just bees that way sometime.
Maybe I should look deeper into that Tralfamadore thing.