Slash Boxes

SoylentNews is people

posted by martyb on Friday December 31 2021, @12:02AM   Printer-friendly
from the Woo-Hoo! dept.

Happy New Year!
As the final hours of 2021 here's wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

In light of the holiday, I am inviting the editorial staff to post stories on a weekend/holiday schedule. Thank you for all your hard work in 2021. Here's wishing for a better year to come! Enjoy!

We did it! [*]
([*] I think).

Current Status:
Thanks to a VERY generous subscription of nearly $1,000, we reached our fundraising goal for the second half of the year THANK YOU!: $4,132.81 on a goal of $3,500.00 (all amounts are estimates):

mysql>  SELECT  SUM(payment_net) AS Net,  100.0 * SUM(payment_net) / 3500.00  AS GoalPercent, MAX(ts), MAX(spid), NOW() FROM subscribe_payments WHERE ts > '2021-06-30' ;
| Net     | GoalPercent | MAX(ts)             | MAX(spid) | NOW()               |
| 4132.81 | 118.0802857 | 2021-12-30 17:36:36 |      1744 | 2021-12-30 23:45:49 |
1 row in set (0.00 sec)


And for those of you interested in the details:

mysql> SELECT spid, ts, payment_gross, payment_net, payment_type FROM subscribe_payments WHERE ts > '2021-12-29 22:06:03' AND payment_gross > 0 ORDER BY ts ;
| spid | ts                  | payment_gross | payment_net | payment_type |
| 1728 | 2021-12-29 23:16:21 |         20.00 |       18.81 | user         |
| 1729 | 2021-12-30 00:15:05 |        100.00 |       96.80 | user         |
| 1730 | 2021-12-30 01:08:02 |         20.00 |       19.12 | user         |
| 1731 | 2021-12-30 01:13:58 |         30.00 |       28.01 | user         |
| 1732 | 2021-12-30 01:45:50 |         50.00 |       48.25 | user         |
| 1733 | 2021-12-30 02:35:54 |         40.00 |       38.54 | user         |
| 1734 | 2021-12-30 03:12:48 |         20.00 |       18.81 | user         |
| 1735 | 2021-12-30 04:24:07 |        924.43 |      897.32 | user         |
| 1736 | 2021-12-30 07:05:37 |         20.00 |       18.51 | user         |
| 1737 | 2021-12-30 07:50:05 |         20.00 |       18.51 | gift         |
| 1738 | 2021-12-30 09:23:14 |         20.00 |       19.12 | gift         |
| 1739 | 2021-12-30 12:22:42 |         20.00 |       18.51 | user         |
| 1740 | 2021-12-30 12:24:24 |         20.00 |       18.81 | user         |
| 1741 | 2021-12-30 13:59:52 |         40.00 |       38.11 | user         |
| 1742 | 2021-12-30 17:33:36 |         20.00 |       19.12 | gift         |
| 1743 | 2021-12-30 17:35:13 |         20.00 |       19.12 | gift         |
| 1744 | 2021-12-30 17:36:36 |         20.00 |       19.12 | gift         |
17 rows in set (0.00 sec)


That's great news! So why the equivocation?

Looking Closer:
Actually, it's more of a stepping back to look at things over the course of the entire year:

mysql> SELECT SUM(payment_gross) AS Gross, SUM(payment_net) AS Net, ts, max(spid) AS SPID FROM subscribe_payments WHERE ts > '2020-12-31' ;
| Gross   | Net     | ts                  | SPID |
| 6916.61 | 6611.75 | 2020-12-31 21:47:25 | 1744 |
1 row in set (0.00 sec)


The fundraising goal for the first half of the year was also $3,500.00. So... (2 x $3,500.00) is $7,000.00 but we have a total of... $6,916.61?

The Crash:
And then I remembered. Early this year we had a server (fluorine) crash. We had backups (yay!), but they were borken (Boo! Hiss!). We lost over a day's worth of activity, including a number of subscriptions. I *was* able to manually reconstruct people's subscriptions (time) based on information displayed on a window I just happened to have open at the time. But that was in a table separate from what is used to generate these numbers. After 3 days' effort, I'd patched things up as well as I could. Thankfully the official numbers (on which income and taxes are calculated) are kept on a completely separate server. Whew! One that I DO NOT have access. I'd concluded that we'll just have to sort things out at the end of the year. And that time has draw nigh.

We're probably all set for the year, but there is also the matter that (unknown to me) we had previously been running at a deficit for a couple years. So anything additional you can contribute will go to replenish our funding base. (NCommander and Matt_ each put up $5,000.00 of their own money that to get us started.)

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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by janrinok on Saturday January 01 2022, @10:02AM (6 children)

    by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 01 2022, @10:02AM (#1209121) Journal

    Not entirely accurate. The database going sideways was often as a result of other software which was not playing nice with the database. On at least one occasion it was as a result of running out of disk space during a backup - which clearly should not have happened but is hardly the fault of the database per se. Earlier in the life of the site it was a result of various users trying to corrupt the database intentionally - as time went by we managed to find those gaps and plug them effectively. But this existed in the code that we inherited. There was also a huge amount of meta-moderation code which had to be ripped out because it was a bit of a rats nest and poorly documented - or at least nobody could figure out why it had been written the way that it had. NCommander and PJB took it out because it just didn't function the way it should and was preventing the site from working properly. This is also not the fault of the database but of slash/rehash code but the end result was that the database was being asked to do some pretty weird things and got itself tied in knots.

    One of the major efforts over the last 12 months or so has been to simplify the entire structure and reduce the amount of resources that the site needed. The site is in a much better position now but there is still work to be done - and insufficient manpower to do it. The systems guys (both of them!) have worked hard behind the scenes just to keep it all working without interrupting the community's access to it. MySQL is sometimes but rarely a problem in itself - but more of a result of how our configuration was using it.

    You will probably have noticed Martyb's 'Thanks to audioguy/mechanicjay' on here or on IRC, both of whom live in timezones only a few hours apart. That means that for a huge part of the day we have no support available unless they pause their jobs, private lives or sleep to help out. And the heartfelt and sincere 'Thank you' is often the only reward they get for their hard work.

    Sure, you can maintain 5 nines availability at work - but can you do it for free in the middle of the night in addition to what you do during the day? You might say that you could - but words are cheap and unconvincing. Criticism is easy when you don't have to demonstrate that you have a better plan.

    I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
    Starting Score:    1  point
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       Informative=2, Total=2
    Extra 'Informative' Modifier   0  
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   4  
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 01 2022, @09:38PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 01 2022, @09:38PM (#1209219)

    That is the whole thing in a nutshell. I could maintain that for free in the middle of the night in addition to what I do during the day. The whole point of a high availability system is that once you set it up correctly it handles most of the problems for you automatically. I've offered multiple times to help out or how to fix the setup but when your devop already thinks they know it all about administration but causes most of the recent problems, all you can do is point out the idiocy and laugh.

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by janrinok on Sunday January 02 2022, @02:45AM (3 children)

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Sunday January 02 2022, @02:45AM (#1209268) Journal

      We await your approach to the team to volunteer your services. Thank you.

      I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 02 2022, @04:02AM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 02 2022, @04:02AM (#1209280)

        My very own ticket to the Titanic? How thoughtful of you!

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by janrinok on Sunday January 02 2022, @04:14AM (1 child)

          by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Sunday January 02 2022, @04:14AM (#1209283) Journal

          As I said in an earlier post - talk is cheap. If you wish to convince me that your actions would match your words then we offer a genuine invitation to join the team.

          I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
          • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 02 2022, @10:22PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 02 2022, @10:22PM (#1209426)

            That offer is as genuine as my desire to disco.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by khallow on Sunday January 02 2022, @04:34PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday January 02 2022, @04:34PM (#1209355) Journal

      I could maintain that for free in the middle of the night in addition to what I do during the day.

      You "could", but you aren't.

      I don't want to actually scare off someone who knows their shit, but the level of knowledge you've exhibited so far I could feign with some googling. We've had AC almost from day one harassing and making up shit about SN and its admins. Here's a great example [] from a bit more than a year in:

      You've basically just described SoylentNews, a Slashdot clone that appeared when the Slashdot Beta shit really started heating up.

      And you know what? I think it's clear that it's an absolute hell-hole that's worse than Slashdot today, even!

      That community is small. It's small because many of the regular users there are best described as obnoxious extremists. They naturally drive away most normal users with their toxicity.

      The few remaining normal users tend to get modded out of the community quite quickly, merely for daring to express ideas that the extremists dislike.

      The submissions are affected, too. Many of them are pretty much identical copies of submissions that appeared on Slashdot hours or days earlier. The original submissions are typically from the extremists, and usually focus on some obscure and minor political controversy somewhere, typically without any relevant connection to science, or mathematics, or technology, or computing, or software. Good stories don't have a chance at making the front page there.

      We don't need the same sort of toxic environment developing here at Slashdot. As bad as things may seem here, they are nowhere near as bad as at SoylentNews, in my view. At least there are some normal users here. Letting the extremists run the show here, too, would just drive away these normal users, resulting in yet another imbalanced, biased environment where moderation is used to attack people with original or controversial opinions.

      This incidentally just spontaneously appeared in a thread complaining about yet another potential sale of Slashdot. There was no mention of SN prior to it. Some of the replies further down the thread were interesting as well with accusations that a defending reply sounded "angry and extremist" even though it didn't. Or the heavy insinuation that SN would have a ban list because the SoylentNews code had some urls that had the word "ban" in them.

      Well, it's been more than six years from that and things didn't turn out as foretold.

      So maybe you're legit. But maybe you're just a continuation of a seven year old harassment campaign.