Recent difficulties

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Re: Recent difficulties

Postby TSS42 » Sun Mar 13, 2022 6:45 am

Le Baron wrote:Do you think he's just pissing about to annoy everyone? Calm yourself man.


Just asking some obvious questions that nobody else would ask.
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Re: Recent difficulties

Postby rdearman » Sun Mar 13, 2022 10:37 am

Simple answer is that emk is the technical genius behind a startup company worth millions of dollars and for the last six or eight months has been doing 16/18 hour days driving his company forward towards an IPO. Which means he barely even sees his family and I don't like putting pressure on him for what is in reality a hobby website.
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Re: Recent difficulties

Postby TSS42 » Sun Mar 13, 2022 10:44 am

rdearman wrote:Simple answer is that emk is the technical genius behind a startup company worth millions of dollars and for the last six or eight months has been doing 16/18 hour days driving his company forward towards an IPO. Which means he barely even sees his family and I don't like putting pressure on him for what is in reality a hobby website.


Thank you for the honest answer. I suspected as much.

So in conclusion we'll simply have to put up with the unavailability of the forum until EMK finds the time, which may be next month, or next year, or never.

Not attacking EMK personally, because he has to look after number 1, but how is this situation different from the old HTLAL situation?
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Re: Recent difficulties

Postby iguanamon » Sun Mar 13, 2022 2:09 pm

With HTLAL, FX never addressed any concerns about the forum. Both emk and rdearman have been communicative with us. It seems emk has moved on. That's life. I understand. Hopefully, soon, he will get time to pass control over to rdearman. The situation was more serious at HTLAL when the site went down for weeks at a time with no access at all and no communication with FX. FX charged for elite "pro" memberships. I actually paid for a pro membership stupidly thinking I was helping the forum. FX sold ads. His site was a for profit site. The image and perception was of someone who was collecting money and didn't care about keeping the forum up and running or improving the site. Perception is reality.

The membership was at the point of rebellion. The main fear people had was "losing the archive". We have several technologically-minded people who are members on the forum. Rdearman created the first version of the forum a couple of months before the exodus happened. Emk was a popular member who also had the technological chops to do something about the situation and he joined with rdearman to make LLORG happen.

We all moved over to the new forum fairly quickly in and around July, 2015... almost seven years ago. This forum was started with good intentions. There was to be a foundation set up to make sure that it would not be dependent upon one individual. The administrators were/are technically capable. To be fair, the 502/503 errors, while extremely annoying and discouraging to new and old members alike, have not shut down the site... yet. It is still usable for those who are determined to use it... but , obviously, this is a situation that is not tenable and which will not be tolerated for long.

I do not have either the technology skills, nor the money, nor the time, to design and operate a new forum that would keep our non-profit status and ideals alive. If someone wants to come up with and run a similar forum with similar status and ideals without technological problems, well, go ahead and start one. Time will tell if it becomes a viable alternative. My vote is to give our administrators time to resolve the issues rather than re-invent the wheel.

I do not think we have reached this point. I know what it's like to be so busy as to not have time for much else. I think both emk and rdearman have earned a lot of leeway and goodwill in these matters. If not for them, where would we be right now? How long this tolerance will last is an open question. If emk can find the time to make the moves rdearman suggests, it sounds like we will be able to return to stability and grow again. If this doesn't happen within a couple of months, then goodwill and leeway will begin to erode in the same manner as before and a crisis point may be reached where the forum will either survive in its current form or blow abandoned in the wind.

I think what this incident underlines and highlights is that no matter how well-intentioned, we have left ourselves vulnerable to the problems with having the forum administration and management in the hands of a limited amount of people. What happens if rdearman himself loses interest in the forum or becomes incapacitated in some way? The original intent when this forum was started was to eliminate this weak-point. This is a wake-up call to once again design a mechanism to make sure the forum is as independently strong and self-maintaining as possible. If emk is indeed leaving the forum, I wish him well, but I would like to see someone else take his place.

I'd also like to remind people that HTLAL is still up and running for the time-being and can be used to communicate about outages, if not for actual active discussion- our numbers would soon overwhelm the site if we tried to make it an alternative site for language discussion en masse. The twitter account designed to communicate with the membership appears to be no longer active.
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Re: Recent difficulties

Postby TSS42 » Sun Mar 13, 2022 2:51 pm

This is why the model of independent single-interest forum is doomed to fail, unless the forum is a source of significant revenue for the owner.

I have seen this happen with just too many forums: German Forum, Koohi Forum, then its successor Unseen Japan Forum, etc etc.

This is bound to happen to every indie forum sooner or later. Reddit is the only permanent option, even though it is utter shite as a forum.
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Re: Recent difficulties

Postby rdearman » Sun Mar 13, 2022 6:36 pm

Let's take a breath. It isn't all that bad, and we did learn some lessons from HTLAL issues of the past. For one thing the DB is the forum, it is the one thing you need to recreate it is on AWS, and we've given the DB information to more than just EMK and me. The DB is backed up, and the login details have been distributed more widely, and the backups are also archived elsewhere. Which means another member of the moderation team could fire up a new version of the opensource and available phpBB and point it to the DB, and Bob's your uncle new site.

I could start a new instance of the system, now, but the problem is really I would have to find a different domain name. None of that is a concern if it was a permanent change of domain, one of the moderators could get someone like Luke to do it for them in a day or two.

This is why the optimum solution would be a charity organisation, without a reliance on individuals. If the charity owned the account and the domain, etc. then the charity can just hire people to switch things around. So I'll speak with the moderation team, and our charity consultant and see what we can do about making that option active again.

In the meanwhile, I have no intention of becoming dis-interested or incapacitated, so we'll get things switched over and sorted out soon. Honestly, I use the site more than almost anyone, and these things annoy me as much as they do you. :oops:
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Re: Recent difficulties

Postby zenmonkey » Sun Mar 13, 2022 7:36 pm

Well, part of the problem is also that the forum has been over engineered. You’ve now got a professional system in the background that has allowed for rapid redeployment, multi developer testing, instancing, etc. And that’s great when we where developing, testing and deploying add ons. I appreciated participating in that.

It’s solid enough to support dozens of developers pulling different codes, etc… except no one is doing that. And therefore the admin overhead results in this one person bottleneck.

Does EMK want to pass the reigns if he doesn’t have the time to manage these issues?
No judgment either way.
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Re: Recent difficulties

Postby zenmonkey » Sun Mar 13, 2022 7:42 pm

rdearman wrote:This is why the optimum solution would be a charity organisation, without a reliance on individuals. If the charity owned the account and the domain, etc. then the charity can just hire people to switch things around. So I'll speak with the moderation team, and our charity consultant and see what we can do about making that option active again.


When you have that discussion, consider that a US nonprofit does not need to declare to the IRS if revenue is below $5000.
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Re: Recent difficulties

Postby iguanamon » Sun Mar 13, 2022 7:56 pm

rdearman wrote:Let's take a breath. It isn't all that bad, and we did learn some lessons from HTLAL issues of the past. For one thing the DB is the forum, it is the one thing you need to recreate it is on AWS, and we've given the DB information to more than just EMK and me. The DB is backed up, and the login details have been distributed more widely, and the backups are also archived elsewhere. Which means another member of the moderation team could fire up a new version of the opensource and available phpBB and point it to the DB, and Bob's your uncle new site. ... In the meanwhile, I have no intention of becoming dis-interested or incapacitated, so we'll get things switched over and sorted out soon. Honestly, I use the site more than almost anyone, and these things annoy me as much as they do you. :oops:

This is what FX never did in the last years of HTLAL, come to the forum and address the issues. This is how it differs from the HTLAL situation. Anyone who was an active member at HTLAL from 2010-2015 knows how bad the situation got over there which forced our move. We are nowhere near that point. As I said, both emk and rdearman have earned leeway and goodwill over the past 7 years. If it weren't for rdearman and emk taking the initiative, we wouldn't be here. Thank you, rdearman!
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Re: Recent difficulties

Postby zenmonkey » Sun Mar 13, 2022 8:31 pm

Absolutely.
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