Update: 10 March 2014 20:20 UTC. Follow here for the latest.
Update: 10 March 2014 19:10 UTC.
At this point Barrabas reports he is exchanging email with the buyer but refuses to say anything. Until we hear from them, we have to hope for the best but plan for the worst. If this link goes down, please go to the linode site where we will regroup. We will use that link as a fallback if necessary.
Update: 10 March 2014 18:30 UTC.
Barrabas reports in IRC he has received funds for the site and has sold the domain name. The terms of this sale, as well as its buyer, have not been disclosed. We await additional information. If you have information on this, please contact us at admin @ soylentnews . org
Update: 10 March 2014 16:30 UTC.
Due to NCommander's personal involvement with the situation he is recusing himself from negotiations. I (Mattie_p) am currently working with the staff to figure out how to address this incident. We have posted a poll which is available and should show up shortly on the front page.
We've been held hostage by John:
Working with NCommander
Am I The Bad Guy
Right now, I can't write a coherent response properly (I'm writing this from a Mac Store right now as some sort of response was necessary). Despite John's offer, we never used the Linode's he purchased for hosting slash, and the two services (forums and wiki) that were hosted on them were migrated. I had hoped that this would have been a private issue between me and John, to be handed by email with a proper agreement, but the site itself is now at risk.
Right now, I'm organizing a response with out staff now, but I won't be home for several hours so MrBluze is currently handling the crisis. He can hand off to mattie_p when he returns, or myself when I have proper net access again. John's offer does not reflect myself or any of the staff here, nor does he have what he says he has. The web server, dev server (fusion forge), and database were always hosted on Linode's on my personal account. John DID have access to the Linode account which was revoked when he left staff, but to my knowledge never had the root password or shell accounts on any of the boxes. That access was revoked. It is possible he has a copy of the database, I do not know for sure. He does not at this moment have access to any of the hardware powering the site. He does however control the DNS register and can possibly yank the site from under us. If that happens, I can send a mass email to every user account to inform them of what happened, and where we are now. We supposedly have until Friday until John drops everything in the trash unless someone pays him $2000 USD. As per the posts, I was willing to pay him, but I had some issue with the expenses as written (my emails are genuine, as is the email I received from John), but I'm currently in Asia, and have no practical way to send him a check until I return to the continental United States on Sunday; I informed John of this on IRC originally.
We're currently in scramble mode to try and organize a new name, and getting migrated as soon as possible. I was serious when I said I was done with the drama but it appears John isn't. I'm personally sorry to have to inflict this on the community, and if you wish to leave us, I shall not blame you in the slightest.
It was fun while it lasted.
Someone should write a case study about this site someday as an example of what not to do.
Good site. GREAT business school case study (sorry John/NCommander, I'm afraid you don't have a choice about this).
I am working on it :)I do not wish for SN to fail but i think that there will be some things to learn from this as SN hopefully continues to grow.
Be sure to properly announce it if you ever do write it. I'd love to read it once all the dust settles.
This site is not going down. That part is FUD. It is likely to relocate, that is all. More news to come.
Could you guys register a backup domain and post it here? It's like 5 bucks... I'm having a difficult time understanding what all this fuss is about.
The temp name is: SoylentNews with the tagline: SoylentNews is people! (http://wiki.soylentnews.org/wiki/index.php/Soylen tNews#Site_Name)
Let's have a referendum on Sunday ; ) (scnr)
we just need to lobby ncommander to dump varnish
Huh? How is varnish relevant to domain names?As I understood it, this site is hosted on the personal accounts of NCommander, so all it takes is another domain name to point, a vhost/site entry and a search & replace on the system. Am I missing something?
Even though I am grateful for the initiative John displayed, it would have been someone else otherwise. I don't now what it is with the MP3 player and the Spanish lessons, but I doubt these have anything to do with this site.
Also, to pay a year in advance for a new site to save some peanuts is an unnecessary risk (and thus bad management decision) on the part of John, so (even though Linode will probably agree to transfer that into credit) I fail to see why NCommander should pay for these overzealous actions out of his own pocket and right now.
It would have been possible to achieve the important parts on a much tighter budget (Why do we need this IRC server again? Why is email not hosted on Zoho for free? etc.).
Regardless, we have >2k users, so why not just crowdfund these 2k and distribute shares? Have a survey to figure out how many of us are willing to commit to pay John out, and then split these 2k in shares, collect the money through paypal or whatever and be done with it (some will be willing to pay more, some will be unwilling to pay at all). John on his side, should be willing to wait until this process finishes for the least as to not appear a hypocrite.
If you guys are splitting up, do it pragmatically and without too many emotions, because neither the community nor the team of editors will be sitting there watching you two fight a rose war.
Re: the MP3 player and Spanish lessons: Barrabas bought those and sent them to NCommander as a gift, to show appreciation for NCommander's hard work getting the site up. Now Barrabas demands that NCommander consider that gift to be part of the start-up costs of the site which NCommander has promised to reimburse.
As for collecting money to buy out John, there are apparently ticklish legal consequences to doing so without a proper framework in place, so the team has thus far chosen not to do that. (I'd chip in a chunk for sure if they did.) There's a whole bigger mess of legal consequences over the concept of selling shares, so I'm sure they won't do that either.
Thanks for clearing that up.
As for legal consequences, I'm sure there's some place on earth, where this is possible without a lot of legal hassles. Panama, Cyprus, the Bermudas? Even bureaucratic Germany has a company form, which can be set up in a matter of a day or so: GbR (partnership) [frankfurt-main.ihk.de].
From the horses mouth -- since I worked on the varnish config.
It's completely saving our asses. Apache 1.3 can't handle the load of the site on it's own. Varnish is serving 85% ish requests right of cache. So it's allowing us to protect the fragile apache/perl/slash backend and also run on *MUCH* more modest hardware than we'd be able to other wise....So, remind me, why do we need to dump varnish?
[12:05:26]Â Â Just in case:Â http://li694-22.members.linode.comÂ [12:06:15]Â Â laminatorx unfortunately due to the sheer number of hardcoded shit that won't work if we loose the domainÂ
there's no 'soylent' in slashcode or in mysql schema. Can the varnish config be changed easily to suit a new domain? Dunno what other "hardcoded shit" he could be referring to.
Also, if we can't get something working with apache2 how the hell can we call ourselves geeks? Not that anyone else cares, but I'm not gunna waste time fucking around with code that's embedded itself up apache1.3's ass.
Btw the hardcoded shit was from ncommander replying to laminatorx. I prolly should've wrapped the log extract in ecode tags.
So we can just dump the sql to a file, do a mass find/replace and then restore. Piece of cake.
I'll take a closer look at the schema tomorrow. Hardcoding urls in a db seems really bad; even for an old dinosaur like slash.
They don't belong in either. The base URL belongs in a configuration file. I don't do web development; but that's just common sense.
Hey, use tin cans and string if it works :)
I will say the site performance so far has been uniformly stellar.
Except the drama this site is going through is /not/ that unusual, especially for non-commercial productions. More often than not, there are these little power tussles in the background as the organizers struggle to determine who is in charge of what. As with Soylent, it often comes to a head when the original founders leave for greener pastures, and issues of ownership come up. It even happens - if in a more understated, less personally-involved way - in commercial entities (although those do all they can to minimize the upset lest it affect the bottom line).
What is unusual about Soylent is that the organizers have chosen to air all the dirty laundry to the public. This is both gratifying and mortifying. On the one hand, this transparency allows a greater feeling of community between organizers and audience; there are no "closed-door" deals. This is, of course, a direct reaction to how Dice worked on Slashdot. On the other hand, it paints a less-than-pretty picture of the site to the public, which makes it more difficult to attract audience and backers. Plus, the picture we gets tends to be a bit one sided. And on the gripping hand, while everything is nicely transparent, it remains a facade as ultimately the direction the site goes in will be determined largely by the organizers/owners and not by the commenters (mind you, this is not necessarily a bad thing; democracy is great but you still need a someone with vision and a strong hand to lead).
Anyway, I'm not too worried about what is going on the back room at soylentnews, no matter how strident the organizers might be. These things will ultimately work out one way or another and - despite its rocky road - the (relative) ease with which the site was created should prove to the organizers that they cannot depend on a monopoly over the audience. Soylent will either get its act together (in which case they'll maintain their readership) or they won't (in which case people will migrate to more favorable climes). It's hardly worth becoming partisan over.
It's not mortifying. That's ridiculous. Nobody is dying or getting physically hurt.