The Dog Days of Summer
August was quiet admin-wise — no serious crises or big changes. We continued to have some problems with site stability, but now that I know how to send up the nate-signal the outages were brief. One remaining issue is new user account emails. They were totally busted early in the month, and now are intermittently busted. This is a resource issue not easily resolved on the current systems. However....
Hope on the Horizon
According to nate, e2's server farm will be moving soon. After the move there will be fresh installs of the server software. This should help to resolve several stability and resource issues and improve site operations. I don't have a schedule for this, but we should anticipate site downtime of moderate duration, likely towards the end of September. Details as they are revealed.
I had some thoughtful responses to my recent user poll on attracting new users. Thanks particularly to Swap, La petite mort, the Debutante, and princess loulou for detailed comments and ideas. I owe each of you a reply as soon as I get time to do you justice, either directly or in another log.
In the poll, "Faster page loads" was the clear winner with 28.91% of the vote. No surprise there. The problem is too much load on the front end. Note that The Kingdom of Loathing, which I suspect has a roughly similar load to e2, recently moved to eight (8) front-end web servers from 5, which cleared up their lag issues. everything2 has two (2) front-end web servers. They get hammered a little bit. I do not know if more web heads are on tap after the move, this was rumoured but not fully confirmed. Let us hope!
Back at the poll, a tie for 2nd place: "A clear mission / vision statement" and "More user level rewards and toys" each at 10.94%, followed by "More quirky/fun stuff, less serious content" at 9.38%. I'll tackle mission / vision in next month's log. I agree about rewards, toys, and fun. As always this is limited by the coder power that we can put on it. If the site's faster in October that'll help with experimentation along these lines, so stay tuned.
The new E2
This didn't do as well in the poll as I expected, maybe due to fatigue with the whole idea. Not to mention that I shovelled some dirt on this in my last Editor log ... but I may have typed too soon. We have serious coder talents who are willing and able. Yet we need to resolve the classic software project issues first: reqs, specs, PM, and scheduling. We have the talent but can we find the time? Another matter for me to return to later, after we see what the next month brings.
Quests have been keeping New Writeups rolling over, which is nice to see. I'll try to keep the monthly Quest logs on the front page, but we'll need your Quest ideas to keep it going.
The current Quest, Wordmongers' Masque, brings up the interesting issue of secondary accounts. It's a long tradition - a number of e2's most interesting and infamous trolls and personalities have been secondary accounts of established users. We have sometimes found a single user with multiple high-level accounts which cross-vote and Ching! each other. We've never had a clear policy on this, which has led to some serious misunderstandings. So let me state one now. Again I'll make mention of The Kingdom of Loathing, where I sometimes play but am not affiliated in any other manner. In their policies, under Don't abuse multiple accounts, they state:
... Here's a yardstick: If your main [account] is advancing at a rate faster than would be possible without multis, then you're more than likely in violation of this rule. ... If you're abusing multis, and your behavior is noticed, all accounts other than what appears to be your primary will be disabled. If you make a bunch more multis and start doing it again, or if the first abuse we notice is really annoying or egregious, your primary account will be disabled.
This seems like an eminently sensible policy, and one worth emulating. (Not to mention a fine example of the word egregious
in use!) If you use multiple accounts to enjoy e2, writing with different voices or on diverse topics, go right ahead. With merit ranking, it is in most people's interest to focus exclusively on one account anyway. But if you use secondary accounts to "game the system" in a way that's disruptive to the site, and the admin team catches on, we can and will prevent it. Note that we also have a general policy of not moving writeups from a secondary to a primary account. You write it there, you leave it there. This prevents "test noding" in throwaway accounts and then taking the successful children home, but leaving the ugly duckling
s out on the stoop
In the spirit of full disclosure, I have several secondary accounts, all level 1 users: Ulrich, created for April Troll's Day; The Grim Reaper, a sort of proto-Klaproth; Susan, used for a Hallowe'en contest, and a new one for Wordmongers' Masque. I sometimes use these in debugging and testing code so you may seem them logged in, sometimes as admins. But I do not use them to vote on or cool my primary account's work. It galls me a little that one of my favourite writeups ever lives in The Grim Reaper's account but our policy prevents me from re-authoring it. Sauce for the goose, Mr. Saavik.
Atom feeds and Podcasts
ascorbic and Heisenberg did some cool things. What does it mean? Beats me! I'm practically a Luddite when it comes to personal electronics. I'm still in the 90s. But I am assured that this is all massively cool, by people who are massively cool, so check it out on ye olde fronte page.
Comings and Goings
panamaus stepped down as an admin. RangyJoeyHondo has decided to work in other forums, and due to ticklish issues of copyrights and whatnot, has elected to withdraw his writings from e2. Thanks and Godspeed to both.
I didn't add new Content Editors in August like I said that I would, frankly things were pretty smooth and it didn't seem urgent. But now's the time for me to get on it. doyle and SharQ have rejoined the Content Editor team, with half a dozen new fish on the line but not yet reeled in. Check next month's log for details or watch for the badges in Other Users. Real Soon Now. I mean it this time.
... and that's a wrap
Funny, I never think I have anything to say until something prompts me to bang one of these out and then I ramble on like and old geezer on the front porch at the crock block. Dang it, where're my teeth?