Recent difficulties

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emk
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Recent difficulties

Postby emk » Sun Feb 20, 2022 5:51 pm

Hello. It's been a while since I've posted. Startup and pandemic life has been hectic.

I would like to apologize for the various technical issues with the forum. In no particular order:

  • Logins have been somewhat dodgy for a long time, because PHP isn't configured to recognize the reverse proxy server. This means that the forum thinks that every single user comes from the same IP address. Theoretically, I knew how to fix this, but I've forgotten the details.
  • The forum is running on a t2.small, at a cost of $20/month. (There's another $40 a month for the database and other infrastructure.) But a t2.small cannot keep up with all the badly-written web crawlers that try to index the forum too aggressively. (I'm looking at you, Yandex. You were completely banned in robots.txt and you're still killing the forum.) The froum needs at least an m3.medium at $50/month, just to keep up with the crawlers. And that's more than I'm willing to pay. I'm planning to transfer budgetary control over the forum to rdearman sometime soon, because $60/month for all these years is my absolute limit. I love this community, but I've done my part financially. Please, everybody, work with Rick to figure out how to pay for the forum. My guess is that you'll need $90/month to survive the crawlers. It might be worth setting up a Patreon so that people can contribute $5/month instead of just making lump sum payments, beause the bill comes due every month.
  • rdearman tried to upgrade to a brand-new phpBB last night sometime. Unfortunately, the forum's build and deployment tools haven't been used in a while, and they don't work very reliably. And so the upgrade broke the forum. I'm trying to update the deployment tools to run reliably again, but uh, a lot has changed. I've gotten to forum back online for the moment.

Once again, my apologies for the technical problems. The single biggest challenge is performance (all those 5xx errors), which will require money to fix.
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emk
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Re: Recent difficulties

Postby emk » Sun Feb 20, 2022 6:02 pm

To fix a bug in the AWS Lambda function that handles our deployments, I need access to a new feature in the latest version of Terraform. But Terraform tells me I need to upgrade, step-by-step, from 0.11 to 0.12 to 0.13 to 0.14 to 1.0 to 1.1.

This will likely be fun. :roll:
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lichtrausch
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Re: Recent difficulties

Postby lichtrausch » Sun Feb 20, 2022 9:14 pm

TSS42 wrote:We're effectively risking the viability of the entire site for the off chance that someone might want to use Yandex from Russia or Baidu from China to find us. If they really cannot or won't use Google or Bing, well that's more their problem than everyone else's.

Is that actually just an "off chance"? Those search engines have considerable market share.

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MorkTheFiddle
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Re: Recent difficulties

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Sun Feb 20, 2022 10:39 pm

Bad actors like Yandex regardless, I say to emk that you don't have to apologize for anything.
Without you and without rdearman and without the trusty mods, LLORG would simply not exist and there would be no replacement for HTLAL.
I sure would not have liked to have done without LLORG, which has been an excellent morale booster for the way I study and enjoy languages.
¡Un aplauso para todos!
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Re: Recent difficulties

Postby jmar257 » Mon Feb 21, 2022 12:49 am

Chiming in to say I'd be willing to give a small amount a month via Patreon to help the costs of the forum. That's probably a viable path forward towards easing the cost burden on you guys.
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Beli Tsar
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Re: Recent difficulties

Postby Beli Tsar » Mon Feb 21, 2022 10:16 am

jmar257 wrote:Chiming in to say I'd be willing to give a small amount a month via Patreon to help the costs of the forum. That's probably a viable path forward towards easing the cost burden on you guys.

Same here.
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Re: Recent difficulties

Postby garyb » Mon Feb 21, 2022 1:01 pm

I agree about banning the bots. Seems like it could be easier said than done if they're not obeying robots.txt, but maybe a blanket IP ban is possible. I assume there are analytics that can tell us how many people are actually finding the forum through these search engines, which would be much more meaningful than their overall market share. I too wouldn't mind making a small contribution to the running costs, but I'd be reluctant to do so if I felt it were funding crawlers more than real community members.

phpBB is quite an old-fashioned monolithic system by software standards, and it already was at the time the forum started, which does limit the ways to run it cost-effectively at a high scale. But there are plenty other systems of that type still running much higher-traffic sites, WordPress being the obvious example, so it's possible.
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t123
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Re: Recent difficulties

Postby t123 » Mon Feb 21, 2022 2:21 pm

My recommendation would be to set up Cloudflare and block all traffic to the origin server. Then you can manage traffic more easily, see https://developers.cloudflare.com/funda ... ealth/free
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Cerebral_Arbitrage
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Re: Recent difficulties

Postby Cerebral_Arbitrage » Mon Feb 21, 2022 11:01 pm

jmar257 wrote:Chiming in to say I'd be willing to give a small amount a month via Patreon to help the costs of the forum. That's probably a viable path forward towards easing the cost burden on you guys.


Me too. This forum has been more valuable to me than many other language learning books and products I've paid for.
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Re: Recent difficulties

Postby Gordafarin2 » Tue Feb 22, 2022 10:20 am

I'll absolutely chip in a sum or an ongoing monthly contribution to keep the site going and performing well. Just say the word.
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