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posted by NCommander on Saturday May 27 2023, @04:00AM   Printer-friendly
from the perdition's-edge dept.

I'm going to simply write this quickly now. I have had very long discussions with a member of the community known as kolie who has been negotiating to try and keep SN operational, and help provide a realistic plan for both rebuilding the site, and migration. I was approached after the shutdown post was put up via public contact information. He has offered help in the form of hosting, capital, and helping coding a replacement for rehash. He has convinced me that there are enough people in the community that it might be possible to pay down the technical debt.

I was asked to formally take the gun off SN's head, since it doesn't help recruit volunteers if there's a death sentence.

I am more than a little reluctance to do this, simply on the basis that there has been a long history on this site of saying "we'll do X", and then X never happens. The situation was also discussed prior with Matt, and quite a few other people before I finally made the decision after it became clear to me that the situation had become completely untenable. I spent weeks looking for an alternative before I finally resided myself that there were no other viable options. But sometimes you can be wrong, and sometimes you can get outside help.

One of my cited reasons for shutting down SN was that calls for help were left unanswered. However, said call finally got answered and came at the 11th hour, and as an unsolicited DM by someone who wanted to see the site go on. We have been discussing this at length since Monday, in a conversation that at this point has been longer than everything said in a private, staff channel for the last six months. So, I accept the possibility I can be wrong. More specifically, I hope I am wrong.

So, ultimately, I will put my faith in someone I have never met before. It might be absurd sounding, but that is ultimately how SN started. A bunch of people who never met coming together to make a replacement for Slashdot. I will take steps to keep SN going past the 30th. This may involve the legal entity changing, as the PBC already voted to dissolve itself. I will write more on this next week, since frankly, I need time to sit back and reflect. I also need to write some emails.

The staff have told me that they will not work with me going forward. For my part, the feeling is mutual.

There are also the facts that I listed in the shutdown letter. SN's codebase is effectively unmaintained since the departure of TMB. I've already discussed the state of infrastructure to death, but there's an objective truth here: SN's VMs were exposed to the open Internet on end-of-life operating systems for years and the database cluster had been in an extended failure with corrupted log tables. As I see it, the staff allowed SN to degrade to the point that it was about to entirely fail. As I understand it, they see me as acting rashly and irresponsibly in attempting to address the situation. I freely admitted I could have done better.

At the end of the day, the only worse outcome than a volunteer shutdown is one where the site is either compromised, or lost in a crash. SN was one hard shutdown from an unrecoverable cluster failure.

That is not a viable state of affairs. That is a liability nightmare that at the end of the day the PBC is responsible for, which was the basis on which I intervened.

Finally, I'm only still here because SN has never been able to accommodate people leaving, especially as no one has historically been willing to take over legal responsibility for the operation of the site. I resigned three years ago. SN needs actual governance by people who can ultimately say that Z, Y, and X need to be done, and have the ability to either have it done, or can help raise the money to help get it done.

So, I guess we'll see if miracles happen twice.

~ NCommander

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by oregonjohn on Saturday May 27 2023, @04:46AM

    by oregonjohn (6105) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 27 2023, @04:46AM (#1308426)

    I'm not a coder, more a business office script kiddie. But I can kick in a little money and am pretty good at emotional support. I read Soylent News everyday, it's how I follow tech news and some of the personalities are entertaining.

    Thank you NCommander. I watched you live one day some time ago coding to keep it running - you amaze me.

    And your patience has been extraordinary, and your willingness to reconsider in this way is beyond compassionate.

    I too hope the new leadership follows through with their commitments and I support them in any way I can.

    John in Medford Oregon

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Kell on Saturday May 27 2023, @05:00AM (1 child)

    by Kell (292) on Saturday May 27 2023, @05:00AM (#1308428)

    Some of us here are keen but lack skills... but some of us also have means to contribute financially. When we say "pay down the tech debt", can we put a dollar figure on that? Is it 6 months of a coder's time? Is it a year? Give us a figure to work to and maybe we can rub enough beans together to make it happen?

    --
    Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
    • (Score: 5, Funny) by canopic jug on Saturday May 27 2023, @08:30AM

      by canopic jug (3949) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 27 2023, @08:30AM (#1308447) Journal

      Some of us here are keen but lack skills...

      Hey. I resemble that remark.

      --
      Money is not free speech. Elections should not be auctions.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by dalek on Saturday May 27 2023, @05:31AM (1 child)

    by dalek (15489) on Saturday May 27 2023, @05:31AM (#1308430)

    I was one of the people who criticized you for, as you say, holding a gun to SN's head, and the impact on recruiting volunteers. I posted that as an AC, but you can probably see who posted AC comments, so I'll own my comment. I try to call it like I see it. I appreciate you listening and writing this story in good faith. As a community member, that means a lot. My offer to help edit 2-3 stories each week stands. Why wouldn't I do more? Just as you've said you have your own obligations and in real life, I have mine as well. It's what I think I can do given my other obligations and my need to pay my own bills.

    For what it's worth, I appreciate your concerns about being liable for data breaches. As I posted in another comment from this account, those are valid concerns, and I don't blame you one bit for being worried about that. I don't have experience in Perl, nor do I have any experience running a website of this scale, so I'm not qualified to help you there. If I were the right person to address the technical debt, I'd do so, but I don't have that expertise. As I said in my AC comment and in an email to one of the staff, I'll help as I feel I'm able, which means editing a few stories.

    Thank you, NCommander.

    --
    THIS ACCOUNT IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by janrinok on Saturday May 27 2023, @07:15AM

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 27 2023, @07:15AM (#1308438) Journal

      Your offer to edit an occasional story is gladly accepted! There is also another task that I think is right up your street, as they say. We can discuss it privately.

      --
      I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by pkrasimirov on Saturday May 27 2023, @05:36AM (11 children)

    by pkrasimirov (3358) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 27 2023, @05:36AM (#1308431)

    Glad to hear man! Thank you again and let's see what the future holds. I still hope we can get a Github or something where we can try to help a little.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by turgid on Saturday May 27 2023, @10:45AM (7 children)

      by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 27 2023, @10:45AM (#1308460) Journal

      Github? Where Microsoft can scrape all your code?

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by acid andy on Saturday May 27 2023, @10:51AM (4 children)

        by acid andy (1683) on Saturday May 27 2023, @10:51AM (#1308462) Homepage Journal

        Are you suggesting that Copilot could wind up using Rehash to Take the Pain Out of Building Websites [soylentnews.org]?

        --
        Consumerism is poison.
        • (Score: 3, Touché) by maxwell demon on Sunday May 28 2023, @02:03PM (3 children)

          by maxwell demon (1608) on Sunday May 28 2023, @02:03PM (#1308656) Journal

          Well, they don't promise to take the pain out of maintaining those web sites, do they? :-)

          --
          The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
          • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Sunday May 28 2023, @02:49PM (2 children)

            by acid andy (1683) on Sunday May 28 2023, @02:49PM (#1308660) Homepage Journal

            True but these days obliterating everything and starting from scratch seems to be more trendy.

            --
            Consumerism is poison.
            • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Sunday May 28 2023, @03:11PM

              by acid andy (1683) on Sunday May 28 2023, @03:11PM (#1308666) Homepage Journal

              I just got *whooshed*. Need to go back to sleep.

              --
              Consumerism is poison.
            • (Score: 5, Interesting) by janrinok on Sunday May 28 2023, @06:20PM

              by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 28 2023, @06:20PM (#1308687) Journal

              Whether you were 'wooshed' or not doesn't matter - you make a valid point.

              Currently all options are still being considered but, no matter what happens, if we stay here then we have to rid ourselves of the effectively unmaintainable Perl code. That doesn't mean throwing it away on day 1. But currently it a a monolithic blob - it might be possible to break it down into functional parts and start by recoding the various parts into different, more appropriate languages that will be maintainable into the future. The Perl code appears to be kept in logical functional modules. I'm not saying that is what we will do - but it is a possibility. There is no reason why the creation of new accounts or the management of existing ones needs to be in Perl. It does not require an instantaneous response, the displays don't need real-time updating, a second or two will make no difference. The management of submissions and their processing to the story queue could be done with lots of existing packages (no - please - no VIM/Emacs war now) They could be written in almost any language and probably still work. But the result would be something that could be more easily maintained and, more importantly, modified as needs and requirements demand. It wouldn't need the entire Perl package to be recompiled each time a minor change was introduced. We would still have to follow the best software management and control techniques, the testing, and then system integration, but it would be easier to accomplish.

              The problem with sticking it into a container is that once we have done so I suspect that it will require significantly more effort to maintain than adding a few lines of Python, or Rust, or whatever. The Perl build might be automated, but who will be doing the merges of patches accepted from the community? If we have a Perl programmer then our single point of failure becomes that programmer. That is what finally happened when TMB left; he had become our single point of failure. But this is not my area of expertise and I will defer to those who are more current than I am. I used to have to work with multiple systems, all written in different languages by different manufacturers, but which all had to operate as a single airborne entity. The interfaces were critical, but it made the system far more flexible in the longer term.

              I thought that lots of smaller programs that each do one thing but do it well was the Unix/Linux way? A stand-alone CMS, a web interface, a moderation module, etc etc.

              --
              I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
      • (Score: 1) by Pyro_MX on Sunday May 28 2023, @12:48PM (1 child)

        by Pyro_MX (17697) on Sunday May 28 2023, @12:48PM (#1308642)

        Technically, Microsoft (or anybody else) can already scrape through all public repositories, whether it's Github or not. If your actual concern is Microsoft doing something you don't want with your (open) code, your best bet is picking the proper license for the work.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by mechanicjay on Saturday May 27 2023, @02:51PM (1 child)

      I would note, that the code, such as it is, is already in github and has been since the start: https://github.com/SoylentNews/rehash [github.com]
      --
      My VMS box beat up your Windows box.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 28 2023, @05:20PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 28 2023, @05:20PM (#1308683)

        I had no idea the code was laying around on github. That give me a good starting place for writing a proposed replacement.

        Now to dust off my Perl skills that I haven't used in 2 decades...

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by kolie on Saturday May 27 2023, @03:56PM

      by kolie (2622) on Saturday May 27 2023, @03:56PM (#1308509) Journal

      kolie here

      The goal is to get everything in git, infra, code, build assets, ops.

      A possible roadmap is being worked on that will be published and revised for comments and concerns and to get the wealth that collective input brings

  • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Saturday May 27 2023, @06:44AM (3 children)

    by acid andy (1683) on Saturday May 27 2023, @06:44AM (#1308434) Homepage Journal

    I wonder if kolie is a regular visitor to the site. If they are they were either AC or a registered user who feels the need to adopt a new pseudonym -- at least for the duration of this negotiation. I suppose wanting anonymity at this early stage is understandable. What if they're new to the site though, what brought them here now?

    I want to feel optimistic about this. I really do. But I'll just watch and wait for now and be grateful for the hard work people are putting in to try to save the site.

    --
    Consumerism is poison.
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by janrinok on Saturday May 27 2023, @07:16AM (2 children)

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 27 2023, @07:16AM (#1308439) Journal

      kolie has a user id in the 2000s and a different nickname on the site.

      --
      I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
      • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Saturday May 27 2023, @08:48AM (1 child)

        by acid andy (1683) on Saturday May 27 2023, @08:48AM (#1308450) Homepage Journal

        That's encouraging. Tentatively speaking. Thanks for letting us know.

        --
        Consumerism is poison.
        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by janrinok on Saturday May 27 2023, @09:12AM

          by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 27 2023, @09:12AM (#1308455) Journal

          You are correct to wait until kolie lets the community know what his plans are, explains how he sees the future unfolding and seeks the community's agreement. There will be changes I do not doubt - but I don't know what they will be yet. This solution seems the best path open to us. I think we keep the domain name, the existing site and the community. He is speaking and listening to all parties with the sole exception of the community - which at this stage of the negotiations I personally think is entirely understandable.

          I am prepared to give kolie a chance to keep us together with the same aims and intentions as we have had since 2014.

          --
          I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by janrinok on Saturday May 27 2023, @07:05AM (6 children)

    by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 27 2023, @07:05AM (#1308435) Journal

    You wrote in an earlier statement than you would le the community decide if what you did was right. I am a member of out community. But I hold an almost unique position; firstly, I am on the inside and can see what is being said, written and done, and secondly, I am not directly involved with the sys-admin side of the house. I have stood and watched things develop over the last 6 months. My view of what has just happened has some significant differences to what you write here.

    First, let me acknowledge what you have achieved. You have updated the software so that it is more secure and maintainable. You have fixed, apparently, the corruption of the database (more on that later). You have significantly reduced the monthly cost of the hardware that we run such that we have saved around 50% of our costs. These are all worthwhile achievements and I am very pleased that you have done them. Thank you.

    Before I continue, I would like to leave a few quotes here that you have recently written. I will put them here because I will refer to them several times in what will follow.

    We have also committed ourselves to reaching at least the 10 year birthday celebration too.

    I didn't ask for permission. I didn't wait for people to answer DMs.

    As it was, we had two hard crashes that lost weeks of posts. There were no functioning backups that I could find.

    The biggest problem is that most of the backend is undocumented.

    I had hoped to hire outside help or at least raise enough through livestreaming other SN related work to offset the costs.

    Communication

    You have acknowledged elsewhere that, within a team such as ours, communication is key. So I have a few points to make on the matter:

    Who did you prepare to do any supporting actions that your work would require? If we look back at the quotations that I have presented the answer is clear - no-one. There was no communication of any significance before you started. The start deadline was set by a live stream that you had promised to do on Youtube, which was also to raise money for a charity that you were supporting. Not for the benefit of SN, but for something admirable but of a private interest to you.

    How did you give advance warning to the community about the risks of loss of data, or where to seek information if the site and/or our own IRC were down? This might get a bit repetitive, but it is the same answer. You simply didn't. You knew what you were planning to do but you felt that everyone else would just know too.

    Planning

    Where is your plan of action? I have not seen a written plan of action anywhere. If I had I would probably given the advice that perhaps you should rethink it, but we will cover that in more detail down the page.

    Who did you discuss your plan with? You mentioned that you had briefly spoken to mechanicjay. I had also been speaking to him. We were aware that there were problems in the database. Like you and everyone else on this site, we have lives away from SoylentNews. The same is true of mechanicJay. He was trying to identify the problem and its solution so that it could be rectified and also to find the time to do that task. He was correct in saying that he wasn't 'doing' anything particular at the time you asked him. But I would rather have someone who thinks before acting.

    Whose advice did you seek? Again, the answer appears to be no-one.

    Execution

    Backups. Every schoolboy who works on computers knows that you should backup your data regularly, and particularly before working on a computer system. You have mentioned (in the quotes) that you couldn't find any working backups. Why, where had you put them? The answer is simple. You didn't make any any, but then you blamed other staff for not having done what you yourself should have done.

    Working on the Live system. Another common rule is that you do not work on the live system. You should have started with Dev - that is what it is there for. Once you had that up and running as a fully fledged server, you could swap them over and update the real server. You would have only affected part of the site, and you would have discovered any problems with the the database at that point.

    Loss of connectivity. You seem completely oblivious to the fact that you have stopped some members of staff and the community from accessing the site. We have lost community members. When you updated the software it automatically updated the encryption algorithms. This is normally a good thing, but many who connect to the site using cell/mobile phones don't receive much support from their provider. They do not have the latest encryption. I know this because TMB had discovered the same problem several years ago and he had to restore the old algorithms alongside the newer ones. This would have become apparent during the testing phase - but you didn't have one in your action plan, or even any action plan.

    Recovery

    Where is your recovery plan? I know, it is with the action plan. But when things started getting sticky (around late December) you suddenly went missing. I know that you had real world problems to deal with - that is why a recovery plan is necessary. It tells everyone else what needs to be done to bring the site up to a working condition. But this became a 5 month period of insignificant progress and continuous excuses about why you would have to return later than the last promise that you made.

    Where is the Dev server? The Dev server is an essential part of our system. We haven't got one any more. We cannot attempt to reproduce bugs so that we can identify what needs to be fixed. The community have lots of problems. Try searching for c0lo's inability to moderate anything - there is no obvious ban in place. We cannot access the wikis for training new staff, nor can the community get answers to many of their questions. When were you going to restore the Dev server?

    Where are the wikis? When are you going to restore the wikis? This does not require money or outside help.

    In what state did you leave IRC? We had been forced to switch to the Libera IRC node that we have for emergencies because our IRC was dead. I know that the updated software required a new version of IRC to be installed. Eventually, Deucalion stepped in. He hadn't been told in advance that you would need him to do the work. He had to search for the old files because you hadn't documented where you had put them. You don't want to consult anybody but you expect them to know what you will require of them.

    Who do you expect to dig you out of this hole? The team that has been here from the very beginning along with some new staff are prepared to solve the problems that you have created. Just as they have done continuously since 2014. They haven't taken a couple of years away from the site. The sys-admins have been available on the end of a phone and have responded to everything we asked of them, subject to their own real-world obligations both professional and personal.

    Documentation

    Are the changes you have made fully documented? You have complained (again, it is in the quotes) that things aren't properly documented. I have looked. I cannot find your documentation. What have you changed? What service is on which server? I would normally look in the tech wiki - but that doesn't exist any more. So where have you put your documentation? Does our github repo reflect exactly what the Perl code contains?

    Handover

    I am pleased that kolie (who has a site nickname and a uid in the 2000s) has volunteered to replace you. I do not know him either. But he is enthusiastic and keen to do what is necessary. So why are you imposing a future plan of action upon him that you were not prepared to do yourself? You had decided to simply close the site down. Make a clean break and let him give it a go. He actually wants to do what you are asking of him. He may be content to accept your conditions - but he shouldn't have to. Stop pulling the strings.

    Summary

    This is NOT your personal train set. Being at the head of the tree implies more responsibility to do things properly and communicate your intentions, rather than less. We have a team and a community. Involve them both or end up with a considerable amount of egg on your face.

    You made a commitment to the community to keep the site going until Feb 2024 at the earliest. You indicated that you were not gong to keep to that commitment. This is simply a trust issue.

    You are undoubtedly intelligent and in some aspects regarding programming almost gifted. But you didn't think things through before you started. You dug this hole, and it is deep. The team is willing to try and fix it - when you have no longer any access to the hardware. There is still significant community support for this site despite what you have just done. We have been here before - we believe that we can do it again.

    You have made a huge contribution to this site - indeed we would not be here today without that contribution. There is much that you should be proud of. I am genuinely grateful and when I say 'Thank You' I mean it.

    What has happened cannot be undone. It is a pity that what you have done recently, however well intentioned you thought it to be, was ill-conceived and badly executed. It has tarnished what you have previously achieved. However, I hope that you remain in the community. Drop by and let us know what you are doing. Let us know what other streams you are putting out - we might bring you a few more viewers.

    Now, let us all get back together and start working together on making a better site and restoring the community.

    --
    I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
    • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Saturday May 27 2023, @07:27AM

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 27 2023, @07:27AM (#1308441) Journal

      Sorry for the typos - but it was early in the morning (around 06:30) when I started writing this and my brain/finger interface wasn't working too well. It seems that eyesight wasn't up to much either....

      --
      I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by pkrasimirov on Saturday May 27 2023, @08:30AM (2 children)

      by pkrasimirov (3358) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 27 2023, @08:30AM (#1308446)

      Thank you too for all work you put for all of us! I didn't know about these problems above, thank you for sharing. Don't mind the typos, if any.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by janrinok on Saturday May 27 2023, @08:58AM (1 child)

        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 27 2023, @08:58AM (#1308453) Journal

        You shouldn't have to know really. What you should see is a site running smoothly and keeping the stories flowing.

        This has been a long time coming, but I bear no grudges. Everybody did what they thought was best - rightly or wrongly. But one must own one's mistakes - not start throwing the blame around to others who also think they are doing the best. Everybody makes mistakes, it is part of life.

        --
        I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
        • (Score: 3, Touché) by Reziac on Sunday May 28 2023, @02:34AM

          by Reziac (2489) on Sunday May 28 2023, @02:34AM (#1308592) Homepage

          Thank you for laying it out. Approximately what I'd deduced from the outside, but it's good to know, rather than wonder.

          SN is a more complicated endeavor than most of us knew.

          --
          And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 27 2023, @10:27AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 27 2023, @10:27AM (#1308459)

      Needs to be moderated to leventy-leven or higher. Thank you, janrinok.

    • (Score: 4, Touché) by mechanicjay on Sunday May 28 2023, @12:35AM

      Thank you for a thorough and level-leaded response.
      --
      My VMS box beat up your Windows box.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by DadaDoofy on Saturday May 27 2023, @12:26PM (1 child)

    by DadaDoofy (23827) on Saturday May 27 2023, @12:26PM (#1308475)

    This is good news, provided you let things run their course with medaling or otherwise introducing impediments to this occurring. It has become abundantly clear that you need to step away from the site. Please, please don't take it down with you in a fit of pique.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Saturday May 27 2023, @01:22PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday May 27 2023, @01:22PM (#1308483)

      That would be a rage quit, and better to walk away and let the technical fail happen on someone else's watch.

      Here's hoping that the new support team is at least functional. I know how to build technically excellent things. I also know that things built and operated in the real world are usually far from their best possible form due to real world constraints.

      Better to have something imperfect but functional than to have nothing at all.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by ilsa on Saturday May 27 2023, @04:48PM (6 children)

    by ilsa (6082) on Saturday May 27 2023, @04:48PM (#1308511)

    I haven't been following the SN situation because I browse this site much less frequently than I used to. Having just read the original shutdown notice, I can't say I disagree.

    You can only run an operation like this when you have the emotional investment to see it prosper, and it sounds like that died a long time ago. And quite frankly, based on what I see, I'm surprised it didn't happen a lot sooner. I appreciate NC putting so much personal dedicate into this, but it's unfair to expect him to keep going if he doesn't enjoy it and it sounds like he hasn't enjoyed it for a long time.

    The technical issues are certainly a problem and nothing short of a rebuild is going to fix that. This site is not that complicated compared to other stuff I work on. It will take a fair bit of work, but I don't see that as being insurmountable... provided people can be found to do the coding. And that's the crux of the problem.

    I for one have zero interest in helping because this site is full of alt-right nutjobs who obliterate any interest in participating in this community. I don't even donate anymore.

    People who are completely divorced from reality like khallow and runaway, instead of being permabanned like they should have been a long time ago, are allowed free reign on here to be as obnoxious and stupid as they want. Other diet libertarians, like Janrinok, are better but not by much. If I had the ability to block them, (and ACs while we're at it), it wouldn't be as much of an issue. But this site reveres "free speech" in the most toxic way possible (ie: I have something to say and I will force it down your throat whether you like it or not), which is basically like heroin to alt-righters. And as you right-wingers are wont to do, they've made this community toxic.

    Hell, in the past, when I complained about incidents of bigotry (both outright and dogwhistle) on this site, the response from people was literally "Don't let the door hit you on the way out."

    So now I only view the site occasionally to see what tech news comes up, and rarely engage in discussions. If this place shifts any more to the right, it should be renamed SoylentTruthSocial, and I won't be pour out a drink when it's gone.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by kazzie on Saturday May 27 2023, @06:18PM

      by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 27 2023, @06:18PM (#1308530)

      Did you try the approach of applying comment modifiers to friends/foes?

      (Disclaimer: I've not used them, but that's because I haven't used the friend/foe labels in the first place.)

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by janrinok on Saturday May 27 2023, @07:02PM (1 child)

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 27 2023, @07:02PM (#1308537) Journal

      The problem is that we all have different political views, or views on almost anything really. You seem to be saying that if we don't the same as you then we should be banned. The site was created to let people express their own point of view among other things. If you don't like it then argue against the point of view, not the person expressing it. Being a Trump supporter or a Biden supporter isn't illegal. I am a Brit happily living in France, and I think that both of your parties are right wing, certainly compared to the parties that stand for election where I am. I'll bet we both have different favourite colours. That doesn't make you wrong and me right, or vice versa. They are just opinions. As long as they limit those discussions to the journals I have absolutely no problem with them. You are not compelled to read them.

      But bringing somebody's political views into a discussion about the site's future is very off-topic and trollish - so I will leave somebody else's moderation of Troll in place

      --
      I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
      • (Score: 2) by chromas on Wednesday May 31 2023, @10:46PM

        by chromas (34) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 31 2023, @10:46PM (#1309118) Journal

        I'll bet we both have different favourite colours.

        You dastard!

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Tork on Saturday May 27 2023, @07:37PM

      by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 27 2023, @07:37PM (#1308545)
      I really don't understand the desire to ban khallow or Runaway. I certainly don'r support it.
      --
      🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 28 2023, @05:37AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 28 2023, @05:37AM (#1308609)

      Comrade, some of us still hold true to our Marxist-Leninist-Maoist principles. на здоровье!

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Late on Monday May 29 2023, @03:59AM

      by Late (29764) on Monday May 29 2023, @03:59AM (#1308721) Journal

      "nothing short of a rebuild is going to fix that"

      I wonder. I mean, I don't know anything, but reading over threads and glancing at the code the weakest point I see in the technology is the fact that mod_perl's long term future may be a bit hazy: https://www.perlmonks.org/?node_id=11129853 [perlmonks.org]
      Then there is INSTALL, whose freshness isn't clear to me, giving very precise instructions on how to compile apache, mod_perl, which perl to take, (say, do you really need perl compiled with ithreads when using Apache's prefork (multi process but not multithread) multi-process model module -- the 1.3 like model?), and saying it's at Apache 2.2 and not 2.4 (still true?). Because I did Perl but never mod_perl or web dev, and because I have a philosophy -- probably bogus -- that projects should loosely define dependencies for developers and only tighten in on the exact versions on the QA and deployment side, I'm wanting to see if I can get rehash working in NetBSD with standard pkgsrc packages, but probably that will go nowhere. Anyway, glancing at the code it didn't look so bad to me. Better Perl than what I write, or so I'm told. Oh yeah, there's the occasional comment like "why can't we use the normal get database connection function here?" followed up with "damned if I know" or whatever but, you know, at least code bases I maintain that's how it goes. The whole thing is almost 100,000 lines of Perl. There's just gonna have to be some weirdness if it's not written by someone like Ovid.

      Other than mod_perl I would think the Perl part could be continued fine if you had people who liked to program in Perl, which would appear to be a problem from some of the comments (have to hold my tongue -- Perl is actually still my favourite programming language). And mod_perl is not going to explode in your faces just yet. If you look at the apache thread linked off the perlmonks thread above, it seems at least to be on life support. There are a larger number who want it to survive cause their websites depend on it and they like it. Then (par for the course?) there is an unfortunately small number of actual mod_perl developers who can't commit serious time to it but are at least willing to do whatever Apache needs them to to avoid this attic designation.

      I do maintenance programming. The outlines of these situations are always much the same. There's the old thing and two sets of programmers. One group wants a new thing and disparages the old thing. The other group twitch and mutter a lot but don't have much to say on the topic. If group one stays around long enough and has clout a new thing starts. New thing and old thing run in parallel for some number of years then either there's a Watership Down moment when bunnies of all kinds must make a run for it or else the new thing somehow actually does 75% of what the old thing did while having a nicer more modern UI, so old thing (if it's not hidden in core of new thing) can be retired.

      Btw. I like your site. Whatever recent threads on Slashdot say your summaries and comments are way better.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by rpnx on Saturday May 27 2023, @09:01PM (3 children)

    by rpnx (13892) on Saturday May 27 2023, @09:01PM (#1308558) Journal

    Where do I even email you? That's part of the issue. Plenty of people would support the site but don't know how to get in contact other than posting comments.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 27 2023, @09:51PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 27 2023, @09:51PM (#1308561)

      Used to be the IRC link (near the bottom of the left frame) was a useful "back channel" to see what was going on if SN was down or to report other problems. Usually frequented by SN staff. It was easy to log into, and guests would appear as SoyCow#### (name assigned automagically). Just open in a browser tab, no additional software needed.

      It's been replaced with a file list of *.tar.z files, with recent dates -- I suppose I could download them (my laptop runs Win 7) and unpack them with 7zip or something, but the names don't look all that promising?

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by janrinok on Sunday May 28 2023, @06:50AM

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 28 2023, @06:50AM (#1308619) Journal

      All staff have a staff email address: nickname[at]soylentnews.org

      There are also generic names such as admin[at]soylentnews.org or staff[at]soylentnews.org

      Some of us use our site email address all the time, others check their site email less frequently because they are rarely contacted by the community.

      (Unfortunately, the wiki that contains all this information and much more has been dismantled during the site update by NCommander. You are perhaps beginning to see the tip of the iceberg...)

      --
      I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by kolie on Sunday May 28 2023, @07:05AM

      by kolie (2622) on Sunday May 28 2023, @07:05AM (#1308620) Journal

      chat.soylentnews.org #soylent

      - kolie

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by AlwaysNever on Saturday May 27 2023, @10:01PM

    by AlwaysNever (5817) on Saturday May 27 2023, @10:01PM (#1308562)

    I am tired of NCommander making excuses for his misguided intervention when he returned to SN. Yes, the OS were old, yes the MySQL cluster was no longer working as cluster but as a stand-alone instance. So what? The site was working fine, and the inner state of the database was not corrupted, only the log replication was non-functional. He decided that OMG! - I have to save the day!, and proceeded to intervene indeed hard crashing the database and loosing a week's worth of data.

    Also, he returned and after that feat, continued to bad mouth the Mods and the volunteers working the site.

    No, NCommander. it was YOU who crashed the site, and it was YOU who caused data to be lost. It looks like careful approaching complex problems is not your forte.

    I am happy you will soon leave and let others more willing and more prudent take the handling of this site.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by juggs on Saturday May 27 2023, @10:57PM

    by juggs (63) on Saturday May 27 2023, @10:57PM (#1308572) Journal
    You say:

    The staff have told me that they will not work with me going forward. For my part, the feeling is mutual.

    Given that it would seem you will remain involved to some degree does that mean that existing staff should look to depart?

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by pixeldyne on Sunday May 28 2023, @02:55AM

    by pixeldyne (2637) on Sunday May 28 2023, @02:55AM (#1308595)

    As you've said, the staff will not work with you. Goodbye.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by invis on Sunday May 28 2023, @03:13AM (2 children)

    by invis (439) on Sunday May 28 2023, @03:13AM (#1308598)

    All of you - NCommander, janrinok, all of you. Stop it.

    Or are you so deep into this, so invested, so entrenched, that you can no longer see it?

    I've no idea who kolie is, but if they've any sense their first step will be to cut out all the Political crap, and if that means getting rid of people, so be it.

    I spent 10 years (give or take) writing Perl. I could have spent some time on SN but I abhor Politics. Naturally any group of 3 or more people will generate politics, but it takes an organization to create Politics - and I've enough of that in my life already.

    If you want technical people to volunteer their time to help, let them do it without having to go anywhere near the Political cesspool. It's been clear for years that there are at least 2 factions within SN - no volunteer should need to know or care about them, much less pick sides - but there they were, front and centre.

    Good technical people and Politics do not readily mix; the only emulsifier is money.

    I genuinely wish kolie all the best in keeping SN going, and as a token of sincerity I'd like the remainder of my subscription to go to the new organization (lots of assumptions there but you get the idea).

    • (Score: 1) by invis on Sunday May 28 2023, @03:18AM

      by invis (439) on Sunday May 28 2023, @03:18AM (#1308600)

      "remainder of my subscription" - which is zero, as the auto-renew didn't/doesn't work. Hey ho.

    • (Score: 5, Touché) by janrinok on Sunday May 28 2023, @06:31PM

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 28 2023, @06:31PM (#1308689) Journal

      clear for years that there are at least 2 factions within SN

      No there aren't. Politics is not mentioned or discussed among the staff. But everybody who comments has a political viewpoint and a right to speak. We can all use IRC and this site as community members. I am trying to stay neutral in all of these current discussions.

      We are not arguing over politics. It is about the survival of this site. There is a community that still wants this site. Somebody wants to close it down. It is between those who wish to work as a team and those that want to be individuals. There has to be communication and cooperation. This entire incident has proven that.

      As far as I can see, you are the only one who has mentioned politics. Read my response and point out where I even mention it please.

      --
      I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Didz on Sunday May 28 2023, @03:31AM

    by Didz (1336) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 28 2023, @03:31AM (#1308603) Homepage

    I still read the daily email https://soylentnews.org/comments.pl?noupdate=1&sid=10067&cid=250409#commentwrap/ [soylentnews.org] even though I don't usually log in. I also have subscribed for a few years in the past so I have decided to do another year in support.

  • (Score: 2) by its_gonna_be_yuge! on Monday May 29 2023, @12:11AM

    by its_gonna_be_yuge! (6454) on Monday May 29 2023, @12:11AM (#1308708)

    I stopped visiting SG because there were too many MAGA/racist posters on here. But it seems to have cleaned up quite a bit since then. So I hope there's some future.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by separatrix on Monday May 29 2023, @06:19PM (2 children)

    by separatrix (29779) on Monday May 29 2023, @06:19PM (#1308786) Journal

    To NCommander, and everybody -- Hi, I'm new.

    I just joined up, here at the last minute, to assert my presence, and to say, yes, I'd like to help. I do so primarily because you posted this show of faith. Had you not posted the original announcement of a shutdown, the arrival of people like kolie, and these conversations about saving SN, would simply not be happening.

    I don't know anyone involved with this site. I see from posts like this about the shutdown, and their comment threads, that there's been no small amount of internecine fighting over the management and governance of SN. I take no side here, except to say that I'd like to see the site survive and thrive. Even though one of the bitter arguments seems to be about whether the site should be devoted to "politics" vs "tech", the site itself, and the tech that makes it possible, is close to being undone by its internal politics.

    To that end, I'm volunteering to help with the "actual governance by people who can ultimately say that Z, Y, and X need to be done, and have the ability to either have it done, or can help raise the money to help get it done." I have virtually no ability to code. But as I said in my first-ever comments yesterday, I have extensive experience with the technical skills of politics: running meetings, parliamentary procedure, reading legal code. I've served on the boards of not-for-profits, raised money, have founded for-profits. If and when you're ready for a volunteer to help you untangle your governance issues, I'm available.

    I've read SN on rare occasions over the years, primarily because it was trying to pick up where Slashdot left off with development of its codebase. I believe that Slash/Rehash is the best approach to having civil, moderated conversations online. I've always believed this. I hope I can be of help to the organization doing the most to further its development.

    • (Score: 1) by kneutron on Tuesday May 30 2023, @03:58PM (1 child)

      by kneutron (29789) on Tuesday May 30 2023, @03:58PM (#1308905)

      --Yah, I signed up with a new account today as well, because of the post that someone intends to help save the site. Used to read SN years ago, but then I went thru a divorce and kind of forgot about it. No idea what my former userid was, if I had one. But there were good articles worth forwarding.

      --My cautious take is to suggest NCommander turn over 100% to the new maintainers within 60 days and then walk away from it entirely, for sanity's sake. Then it's Someone Else's Problem and he can take a bit of vacation and de-stress. Just make sure that there's a good backup of existing infrastructure when the handover happens.

      --Just my $2.02, with inflation ;-)

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by janrinok on Tuesday May 30 2023, @06:12PM

        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 30 2023, @06:12PM (#1308924) Journal

        I'll reply in this comment but I would like to say to Late, RunningWithWind, separatrix, H_Fisher, richi and kneutron - welcome to the site. The last few days I have seen more genuine new accounts created than in the rest of the month put together. And there are possibly others but I haven't seen any activity from them yet. They are possibly still lurking and looking around. So welcome to them also if they see this comment - you are included too.

        --
        I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by H_Fisher on Monday May 29 2023, @10:12PM

    by H_Fisher (29782) on Monday May 29 2023, @10:12PM (#1308805)

    Came here from /. because (a) I'm old enough to remember when /. was *the* site, but (b) young enough never to have heard of SN. Just created my user account ... even added my early-2000s jaded-brooding-Millennial sig for nostalgia's sake ... and I'll visit and contribute as often as I can. The world needs more places like this.

    @NCommander - this one's for you [youtube.com].

    --
    "Life is pain, highness. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something." -William Goldman
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