Author Topic: Temporary forums  (Read 57093 times)

Qhimm

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Temporary forums
« on: 2006-05-08 09:09:06 »
I've switched forum software to SMF, currently running a default install. This will mean there are a whole bunch of new features you can use, but which I strongly recommend against using (moderators can step in if you do). The point here is to try to minimize server stress, because quite frankly it looks like we've gotten a bit too big for my hosting account to handle (MySQL-wise).

Currently all accounts and posts are intact, but I will sometime soon take steps to move older topics to some archive of sorts, again to minimize server stress. Memberlists will also be culled, search bots will be blocked, etc. etc. Also the forums themselves will be customized whenever I have time, to reintroduce things like warnings, etc. Note that all old warnings are still intact, so you have not gotten a clean slate because of the switch. ;)

Also the subject requires some further explanation. These forums are temporary, and if it turns out the server is getting overloaded (again), they can be disabled without warning. Good luck to us all, because the next level of hosting is 3-4 times more expensive than my current hosting plan.

ice_cold513

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Re: Temporary forums
« Reply #1 on: 2006-05-08 11:01:50 »
hay thank you Qhimm you dont know how much i missed the forum

rmco2003

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Re: Temporary forums
« Reply #2 on: 2006-05-08 11:33:58 »
SMF huh? They seem to be popular type these days

Sad Jari

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Re: Temporary forums
« Reply #3 on: 2006-05-08 13:53:13 »
The point here is to try to minimize server stress, because quite frankly it looks like we've gotten a bit too big for my hosting account to handle (MySQL-wise).
Can SMF cache static pages?

I'm going to assume that the account has way more space than you know what to do with, and there seems to be about 10 thread views for one reply, on average. So, I suppose that if the forum cached the static page created during the first view and then displayed it, that should cut down the SQL-activity quite a bit.

Wordpress certainly benefits from creating static pages and caching them, but it is a blog.

Memberlists will also be culled, search bots will be blocked, etc. etc.
Limit searching for members only?

It's very annoying, and guaranteed to generate dead accounts, but it should decrease the server load. I assume that searching is the activity that creates the most load?

And/or limit searches to x times in 10 minutes, for example.

Good luck to us all, because the next level of hosting is 3-4 times more expensive than my current hosting plan.
Have you shopped around? There might be cheaper alternatives.

...and your salary is at least 3-4 times greater than it was during the old forums, is it not? :P


Awww, spellcheck doesn't work.

Qhimm

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Re: Temporary forums
« Reply #4 on: 2006-05-08 15:10:28 »
Can SMF cache static pages?

I'm going to assume that the account has way more space than you know what to do with, and there seems to be about 10 thread views for one reply, on average. So, I suppose that if the forum cached the static page created during the first view and then displayed it, that should cut down the SQL-activity quite a bit.

Wordpress certainly benefits from creating static pages and caching them, but it is a blog.
I'm going to have to look into that. As feature-packed as SMF is, it should, otherwise there should be a mod for it somewhere. And yes, I have way much more space than I have MySQL server resources. :)

Limit searching for members only?

It's very annoying, and guaranteed to generate dead accounts, but it should decrease the server load. I assume that searching is the activity that creates the most load?

And/or limit searches to x times in 10 minutes, for example.
I'd like to avoid blocking guest searching unless really necessary... ironically on phpbb the critical issue was not the searching itself (that is just a quick lookup into a search word index, 1-2 queries), but rather the maintenance of said index, which had to be updated whenever some post content changed. Not horribly performance-intensive (just space-consuming), but it did add 1-2 queries to whatever action you ever took which modified the content.

Oh, and I also expect the blockage of search bots will bring the SQL traffic down by 50% or so. It'll mean less people will find their way here, but hey, at least there'll be a "here" to speak of. :)

Have you shopped around? There might be cheaper alternatives.

...and your salary is at least 3-4 times greater than it was during the old forums, is it not? :P
Hush! :) It's actually about 2.5 times greater, then again my fixed expenses are also 2-3 times greater. And I'd much prefer not having to spend what little remains on additional web hosting just so I can have even more unused space and traffic allowance. Unless more people donate...? (nudge nudge say no more) :P

Jokes aside, I have not looked around at other hosts yet, mainly because allowed MySQL server load is not really something they state on their pages, and moving just to find out that you'll get shut down again is a bummer. And semi-/dedicated hosting is going to get expensive no matter where you look, and very definitely overkill just to power a medium-sized forum (hey, I guess we're not "small" anymore! yay! and d'oh!).

I also quite like the overall "feature set per dollar" of my current host. That, and I have pre-paid current hosting for about $100 worth. :)

Awww, spellcheck doesn't work.
Aww, I hadn't checked but I had a feeling it wouldn't... the necessary programs are installed, but possibly they're not setup correctly. I'm going to have to check if I have access :)

EDIT:
I also hear talk of using AJAX techniques in the newest SMF, to further reduce server load. For those of you who think soccer or cleaning when you hear "AJAX", in this context it refers to page scripts communicating with servers directly and exchanging data without reloading the entire page. For example, one could imagine editing your post (in a popup window, or inline in the topic) and when you're done only your post is reloaded (the rest of the page stays the same). Plenty of browsers support techniques like this, it's helpful to reduce server load, and when you get down to the details it's quite cool to work with as well. :)
« Last Edit: 2006-05-08 15:25:45 by Qhimm »

Sad Jari

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Re: Temporary forums
« Reply #5 on: 2006-05-08 15:57:50 »
I'd like to avoid blocking guest searching unless really necessary... ironically on phpbb the critical issue was not the searching itself (that is just a quick lookup into a search word index, 1-2 queries), but rather the maintenance of said index, which had to be updated whenever some post content changed. Not horribly performance-intensive (just space-consuming), but it did add 1-2 queries to whatever action you ever took which modified the content.

Does SMF use similar index (I suppose it does...)?

Could the updates be cached and and the index itself modified only once per day, for example? If search is the only thing dependent on it, I don't see a huge problems if it's lagging little bit behind.

EDIT:
I also hear talk of using AJAX techniques in the newest SMF, to further reduce server load. For those of you who think soccer or cleaning when you hear "AJAX"...

War rocket Ajax, Flash Gordon.


PS. The smilies are ugly.

Jedimark

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Re: Temporary forums
« Reply #6 on: 2006-05-08 16:03:23 »
Oh this is going to take some getting used to! Glad it's back online though....

 :mrgreen: < heheheheh

Qhimm

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Re: Temporary forums
« Reply #7 on: 2006-05-08 16:24:22 »
Does SMF use similar index (I suppose it does...)?
I'm not sure actually, I think it doesn't. Partly because it has a more feature-rich search than phpBB, and mostly because I can't find a cached search table. It's quite fast though, uses relatively few queries, but I suspect those queries are immensely heavy. Then again, I'm not sure whether it was the intensity of the MySQL queries that forced the shutdown of the site, or merely the sheer number of them (possibly caused by search engines and/or faulty phpBB code). For now I'm assuming search = heavy.

Could the updates be cached and and the index itself modified only once per day, for example? If search is the only thing dependent on it, I don't see a huge problems if it's lagging little bit behind.
Quite possibly, though if SMF doesn't use an index at all, there's going to be some work involved. It might be easier to actually try to structure the forums themselves to make it easier to find things, e.g. a proper FAQ and a real, dedicated, post archive (with proper, indexed search).

War rocket Ajax, Flash Gordon.
*adds to list*


And yes, the smilies are ugly. Dunno what's best though, import the phpBB ones or look for good ones. Perhaps a contest? Suggest the new smiley theme/set, win a ...coconut!

Cyberman

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Re: Temporary forums
« Reply #8 on: 2006-05-08 17:17:26 »
Weee :D

Qhimm I've noticed the Guest to user ratio is quite high.  When I loged in today it was 15:4 it's now 8:4.  This could be part of your SQL traffic issues.  A lot of people lurking in generates a lot of traffic.
I know the day I was doing Wiki stuff when the stuff hit the fans, things were just insane (IE server waits 5 minutes for update then says it shut down then says it's offline then comes back up).
Perhaps you should graph the guest traffic and see if this might be the real killer.  Querrying the forums etc. as a guest is useful however it seems to be a bit excessive for the server.  I'll look at PHPbb and see how it handles it myself. :D (I'm always curious sad isn't that?)

Scarily I've already made two posts.. this make me a bad user? ;)

Cyb


Sad Jari

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Re: Temporary forums
« Reply #9 on: 2006-05-08 17:30:06 »
And yes, the smilies are ugly. Dunno what's best though, import the phpBB ones or look for good ones. Perhaps a contest? Suggest the new smiley theme/set, win a ...coconut!

I suppose that some of the phpBB smiley-sets might have something appropriate.

BTW, the warning that there has been a new post (that you haven't seen yet) when you start typing a reply is rather cool. :)

atzn

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Re: Temporary forums
« Reply #10 on: 2006-05-08 18:22:52 »
I'm surprised no one mentioned how small (in terms of font size) the quoted text is yet. Or is it just me?  :-D

Maybe changing the font-size of the quote from x-small to small would be better. Reading quotes on such small font size does hurt my eyes a bit (Especially long, quoted text). I experimented (Changing font-size) using EditCSS in Firefox (as well as increasing the padding/margin) and it is easier for me to read.

Other than that, I have no complains (Smiley issue has been brought up by Jari, and Qhimm is aware of it anyway).. I think this new forum is good.

The PM interface did took me a while to look for it.. before I realised that there *is* a Help button there after all. :-D

Sad Jari

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Re: Temporary forums
« Reply #11 on: 2006-05-08 18:38:08 »
Yes, it's just you. :P

Nah, now that you mention it, it's kinda small. I would say that that's not the only reason for not-so-good readability; the unfortunate choice of background color and the lack of padding/margins you mentioned affect it too.

Another interesting problem is that if you set font size for a part of your message and that part gets quoted... the specified font size is retained. And since the other text gets smaller, you'll have part of text that really sticks out. You can see it up there when Qhimm quoted me.

No reason to get overly critical though, since this is just the default theme of SMF. And eye candy is not one of SMF's strong suits.

And yeah, the PM interface is without a doubt the most drastic change. Personally I prefer the phpBB kind. Other than that, SMF's features are so nice that I don't care if it's bit on the ugly side as default. :)

Borde

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Re: Temporary forums
« Reply #12 on: 2006-05-08 18:49:36 »
Nice to see the forum back on-line Qhimm! I was missing it too. Thanks for your efforts.
By the way, the smilies are not THAT bad. :-D

odo324

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Re: Temporary forums
« Reply #13 on: 2006-05-08 18:57:36 »
Thanks Qhimm for taking the effort to get a forum back online. :-D

I don't know much about SMF (so slap me if I say anything bad about them :-P). However I have been playing around with phpBB for a couple of years now... Unfortunately, it's design is somewhat dated and Olympus (the modernized version) isn't yet ready for an initial release (-still-).

As far as server load goes, it's searching functions probably cause the most problems for people. Even phpBB.com has introduced it's own search optimizations that they (for some reason) haven't released with 2.2 (i believe that's the case. It has been about 8 months since I've tackled it's code). However, some documents have been published in their Knowledge Base (Decrease search tables' size, Search Engine Optimisation, and Speed Up index.php).

PhpBB.com's main method of optimization (IMHO) lies in filtering out common search terms. Preventing the searching of words like "final" and "fantasy" (obvious example) could lessen the footprints created by unregistered guests (and those uneducated registered users).

Anyway, that's just my thoughts on the subject. At least, I believe it would make a consiterable diffrence. Whatever you chose to do, I'm sure there are many us would agree to help however we can :mrgreen:.

atzn

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Re: Temporary forums
« Reply #14 on: 2006-05-08 20:07:42 »
Yes, it's just you. :P
*Gasp* I need to go to Specs Savers. :-P

Another interesting problem is that if you set font size for a part of your message and that part gets quoted... the specified font size is retained. And since the other text gets smaller, you'll have part of text that really sticks out. You can see it up there when Qhimm quoted me.
Yup. Specified font sizes are absolute values, so they are retained. Good point on the "sticking out" part. I suppose my previous suggestion (Changing it from x-small to small) will eradicate this "standing out" issue though, since the font size will then be standardised.

No reason to get overly critical though, since this is just the default theme of SMF. And eye candy is not one of SMF's strong suits.
If that's the case then we can blame SMF on their eye candy department :lol:
Having said that, I have an easier time reading and understanding their css code (Compared to phpBB's).

Emerald Weapon

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Re: Temporary forums
« Reply #15 on: 2006-05-08 20:39:50 »
I could get all sentimental here, I'm not going to. However, I did miss the forum while it was down. You don't know what you have untill it's gone...

Don't really like this new style either. It's a lot harsher and colder IMHO. Then again, anything can be changed. And it'll surely happen when time is right. About the entire hosting "problem", I am also willing to help in any way I can. Even though I'm just a poor student, I would donate if that would really help.

Perhaps asking a small entrance fee could be an idea? It keeps the annoying "I'm-only-going-to-post-once"-users away as well as the spambots. It also creates that community feeling. SA is one of the best examples, I think. On the other hand it's got a lot of negative side-effects too, such as alienating your users. Give it a thought or two.

Anyway, glad the forums are back. Let's keep it coming.

Sad Jari

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Re: Temporary forums
« Reply #16 on: 2006-05-08 21:10:27 »
Perhaps asking a small entrance fee could be an idea?

If one plans to keep offering tech support, it might be a bad idea. It's bit steep just for one question, and there's the issue of Square perceiving it as making money from their games.

Qhimm, could you turn the posts per page setting to 30 (or whatever it was with the phpBB)? 15 doesn't feel enough.  :|

Emerald Weapon

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Re: Temporary forums
« Reply #17 on: 2006-05-08 22:06:57 »
If one plans to keep offering tech support, it might be a bad idea. It's bit steep just for one question, and there's the issue of Square perceiving it as making money from their games.

Hmm...I didn't think about that last part, you're probably right there. One could argue the money was merely to keep the site running, but they would probably still send a batch of lawyers trying to take it down or at least cause Qhimm a huge headache.


Veleiro

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Re: Temporary forums
« Reply #18 on: 2006-05-09 01:43:51 »
Thanks Qhimm, again

I was starting an addiction to this forum then it went down and I ran around in a circle screaming a bit  :-D

Midgar

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Re: Temporary forums
« Reply #19 on: 2006-05-09 04:49:47 »
I miss the old ones  :cry:, but Qhimm is Qhimm, and its  great to see this somewhat famous site once again. The site looks uglier than before, but it won't kill. People are all the same and the
The smiles should have the famous banana, and kaos, or maybe none of them, they would be too popular, like the afroman  :mrgreen: . To get rid of spambots and all, why not disable registration for long times, I believe Jari mentioned it a while ago, and I agree. Why not archive much of the old posts, save it to a hard drive somewhere, and also upload it to an upload site like megaupload or something simular, so that we could rid ourselves of many of those one hit wonders? When they try to access it they would go to a site showing forums and then another showing all the forum posts of a certain game or hacking, uploaded. May this forum live forever.

Qhimm

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Re: Temporary forums
« Reply #20 on: 2006-05-09 08:47:37 »
Speaking of which, a bird whispered in my ear the other day that Eidos is no longer direct-linking to the chocobo patch hosted here. Quite polite, since they never asked for permission before either distributing the patch (bit of a moot point perhaps, as some recent laws makes it border-line illegal o_O) or more importantly eating up my site bandwidth with hundreds of people downloading directly from me (without ever realizing the "qhimm.com" in the URL contained anything more than file storage, for example, oh, the people who made the patch?).

But I digress. The same bird also claimed that the reason they're no longer linking to the chocobo patch is because they're now linking to AnimeVamp's patch instead. So much for politeness. If this is true, I don't know whether to laugh or to cry. Or are they (AnimeVamp) actually crediting anyone these days? Yes I'm lazy since I don't google for it myself, it's just that I'd feel so dirty afterwards...
« Last Edit: 2006-05-09 08:49:34 by Qhimm »

Synergy Blades

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Re: Temporary forums
« Reply #21 on: 2006-05-09 12:42:24 »
I do believe your bird is wrong. Though I'm sure you don't want to stoop to their level, why not rename the patch on your server, then set up a redirect to a porn site or similar on the old name?  :-D

Qhimm

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Re: Temporary forums
« Reply #22 on: 2006-05-09 13:48:00 »
why not rename the patch on your server, then set up a redirect to a porn site or similar on the old name?  :-D
:evil: :-D

Relf

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Re: Temporary forums
« Reply #23 on: 2006-05-09 20:12:16 »
Glad to see it is back, was worried at first when it stopped working for (seemingly) no reason.

Furthermore, perhaps it would take less of your mysql to run just a little faq for the guests, instead of having all these people lurk the forum?

P.S.: Nice taste in comedy Squire Qhimm, wink wink nudge nudge, say no more!
« Last Edit: 2006-05-10 00:34:28 by Relf »

Covarr

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Re: Temporary forums
« Reply #24 on: 2006-05-10 00:04:15 »
I am the bird. I believe that this does in fact link to AnimeVamp's patch. This, however, still links to Qhimm.