We’ve been getting a ton of complaints recently about a few things not working. As the resident BOFH I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who sent in a comment about the bugs and to explain what’s going on.

TTAG had been running on a service called Pressable for the last couple years. They’ve been good to us with zero downtime in the last year and damn reasonable pricing. I would recommend them again to anyone who needs a managed WordPress hosting provider. But we’re shifting ad providers over the next couple months, and that’s going to require a larger more robust infrastructure. To meet that need we’ve moved to WP Engine.

We’ve been working for weeks to get TTAG migrated over as seamlessly possible. We tested the process with TTAK first a few weeks ago. As that went smoothly, TTAG made the move last week. While things went well, as always, a couple gremlins were hiding in the code. Here’s a list of bugs that we have identified thanks to your reports:

Comments Not Appearing [SOLVED] — Comments under articles were not appearing. For example, articles with hundreds of comments only showed a handful on the page. This was due to a misconfiguration added for testing and should have now been fixed

Comments Not Appearing Quickly [SOLVED] — Comments might not immediately appear after posting. TTAG’s code takes a ton of processing power, so to reduce the load on the servers we cache our pages for a short period of time. Your comments should appear within 10 minutes once the cache expires, we are working on speeding that up.

Comments Not Being Approved [SOLVED] — Some comments were being listed as spam and held for moderation. In the move we needed to change our Akismet spam comment API key and start the process of training Akismet on what’s spam and what’s good again. Comments are sometimes still being accidentally flagged as spam, but it is learning and getting better. This should resolve itself soon.

Email and Name Not Staying in Comments Form [SOLVED] — Some users are reporting that their name and email aren’t staying in the comment form and causing issues. TTAG uses multiple servers to provide the processing power required to run the website, and due to an improperly formed cookie some users were being bounced from one server to another while posting comments. This should now be fixed, and those having an issue should clear their cookies to ensure that they have the correct one downloaded.

Users Unable to Log In or Remain Logged In [SOLVED] — Some users were unable to log in or remain logged in while posting articles. Same cause and solution as the previous issue.

Revisions in Post History (Writers and Editors) [INVESTIGATING] — Some writers are stating that they can no longer see post revisions. I am currently investigating this issue.

Site loading slowly [IN PROGRESS] — TTAG is a bloated beast with more plugins running on the backend than any sane individual should have. We have enabled page caching to speed up page loading for most users, and we are working on streamlining the TTAG code to make things load more efficiently. Stay tuned for a possible site re-theme which should help even further.

If y’all see any other issues please let us know (we know you will) and I’ll address them. In the meantime, those still experiencing issues should try clearing their browser cookies and let us know if the issue persists. Thanks for bearing with us while we work through these teething issues. And prepare for a flawless transition [sic] to a major site redesign . . .

68 Responses to Housekeeping: Server Move, Comment Issues, and More

  1. I hate the stock in that picture. I want to spray paint it pea green or school bus yellow to improve it’s appearance.

    • It’s got something like a 3.5-12 scope on it. The deer won’t get close enough to see it, so they won’t care.

    • this. I was in my sysadmin prime when BOFH was a serial on theregister.co.uk

      I still have the book. I’ll be reading that tonight

      • At that time one of my hats was sysadmin of our department’s network, web and email servers. Not quite in Simon’s shoes, but it was the same fun dealing with the lusers. 🙂

    • If you’re referring to the original BOFH, Simon Travaglia, I know someone who worked with him in the early (university) days who found him to be an insufferable prick of a person IRL. The term he used to describe him rhymed with ‘runt’.

      That kinda bummed me out, as his early USENET stuff was hilarious. (Sometimes I just kill me! *clickety-click*)

  2. RF, transition between software versions, routers, blades, cables, servers, providers NEVER go smoothly (“seamlessly”). The inexcusable mistake companies make is not informing their audience beforehand. Prepping the battlefield is not only a wise business practice, but just common courtesy to valued customers. Explaining prior evades unnecessary, self-inflicted damage to reputation and subscriber base. In addition, a “fallback” plan should be in place to revert to the previous configuration at the first hint of trouble. Whoever you hired to manage the switch over to a different hosting system should extend a discount to you for the foreseeable problems the provider did not mitigate.

    On a separate note, the number of times an article linked to “Page not found” was not up to snuff for a modern system. Please take time to work with the new host to ensure those events are history.

      • “It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission.”

        Might be good tactical advice, but really poor public relations. Gibbs defies relations; TTAG needs to take customers into consideration.

        Besides, it is not like the commenters here can grant “permission”.

        • We are not the customers here, the ad companies are. We are the product sold to them.

        • “We are not the customers here, the ad companies are. We are the product sold to them.”

          Understand your observation, but….

          The “customers” disappear if there are none of us left to click the bait.

      • Rear Admiral Grace Hopper said this in the early 1980’s at a lecture I attended and is thought to have used it as early as 1970. I do not know if it is original to her.

  3. P.S.

    Attempting to edit my comment was disheartening. The edit page displayed “loading” for three minutes, before I just shut it off.

  4. How do we know it’s really you Nick? We thought aliens took you, and that’s never good, and you can never really tell if you want the taken, back, until too late.

    Where were you on the night of the 33rd?

  5. Comments Not Being Approved [SOLVED]

    If this comment appears, then this problem has been solved. But then again if it didn’t appear, how would you know? If a comment gets held up in a forest, and there’s no one to moderate it, does it make a sound?

    • “If a comment gets held up in a forest, and there’s no one to moderate it, does it make a sound?”

      Is this another chicken joke?

      • Bumper sticker spied yesterday: Someday I hope to live ina world where a chicken can cross the road and no one will question its motivation.

        • It was an altruistic chicken. It was just showing the armadillo that it could actually be done.

          No issues with my posts.

  6. Comments Not Being Approved [SOLVED]

    Nope. I just tried to post on my computer and got blocked. But this post from my phone will appear immediately.

  7. If you guys are switching ad providers, can I expect higher quality ads, and maybe ones that might, just might, actually be relevant to most of us? Right now, they’re all clickbaity bullshit about how “do this and cure your erectile dysfunction!”, or “you won’t believe these pictures!” or “you won’t believe what this celeb looks like now!” Ugh….

    Also, I’m gonna call bullshit on you guys having fixed the issue of having to re-enter your info for every comment.

  8. It’s hard to believe the ads on this site generate as much revenue as I’ve been told. You’d think by now most people would learn they’re all bullshit.

    • Everybody knows they’re bullshit. It doesn’t matter as long as they pay to support the site (and I do _*NOT*_ mean that as a negative. If it keeps TTAG up then I’m all for it! 🙂

      • I think the point is that they wouldn’t be paying to support the site if people weren’t clicking on them. The fact that anyone clicks on that trash, let alone enough people to make it worth the advertiser’s money, is very disheartening.

  9. So will we see more “shocking” videos of Hillary’s toenail fungus? Actually seeing her toenails is preferable to seeing her naked body.

  10. Rule 1: When you touch a working system, it breaks.

    Also, systems can slow down because the bits get stuck in the Ethernet. The zeroes usually go through ok, but the ones can jam up ’cause they’re pointy. You gotta get in there and ream em out every so often.

    Source: me

    • “Test: Posted 8/7/17 @ 5:28 pm Lets see when it appears….”

      Here in Phoenix, it says 19:29, so maybe one minute, maybe 2 hours and one minute, or even one hour and one minute.
      Doesn’t all depend on the time zone of both the writer and the viewer?

    • Discus has positive attributes, like voting up comments, sending you replies, and all that, but the way it posts doesn’t indent replies under the comment, and sometimes it is hard to figure out which reply goes to which comment.

      • Agreed. I won’t use disqus for that reason plus I refuse to use a commenting system that tracks multiple sites for a single account. Setting up multiple accounts (a) is a hassle, and (b) doesn’t eliminate the problem fully.

  11. Cookies cleared as Matt in Fla recommended “since the beginning of time” and it still leaving them blank, Nick.

    Browser is latest FireFox…

    • I 2nd that Tom. Not a Luddite but I’m not commenting as much. Required fields not on THIS phone and I find I can’t comment at all on the wife’s phone. Only the computer works OK…I’m not leaving but I find myself on FB a LOT MORE.

  12. “You’ve got 5MB free.”

    Reading the BOFH was a source of much inspiration while working for a local isp in the mid-90’s. I learned how to deal with customers the *correct* way.

  13. Does the comments section work now? We’ll find out. And so this comment isn’t wasted, I have a fun fact for y’all. Fun fact: the mustard plant is actually named for the condiment, not the other way around; the Romans made a paste of grape must, spices, and the seeds of the now eponymous plant, and called it ‘mustum ardens’ which roughly translates to ‘burning young wine’. The name was later shortened to mustard around the 13th century.

    • More fun facts….
      In the late 1880’s when the typewriter was invented, manufacturers slowly agreed on the qwerty keyboard.
      It is thought that the top row was designed to allow salesmen to type the word “typewriter” using just one row. The other letters were just tossed at random. Then, they had to think about it and re-place keys in order to slow secretaries and stenographers down as they were jamming the machines.
      With the introduction better and faster machines, Dr. August Dvorak reworked the keys for more efficient and faster typing.
      On your smart phone or tablet, you can likely switch your keypad to the Dvorak setup. It does have less finger traveling then the qwerty layout.

  14. Good to know. It was only because one person’s comment regarding comments made it through on a story that I realized that it wasn’t just me…

  15. Now all we need is an upvote/downvote system for comments. Would love to see the best comment on the top as opposed to the typical “I was here first and am gonna post something stupid” comment.

  16. BOFH made me grin. Mostly because the young guys around here have no idea who it is and don’t get a lot of the references. I’m old and been in the business since the mid 70’s so I get it and it makes me laugh. Thanks for that. Good luck on the move. It is never fun.

    • Yes, I loved the reference. I remember being in tears reading it while working as an operator in my college’s computer lab.

      Also, it’s still remembering my posting info so progress has definitely been made.

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