Site extremely slow? August 22, 2014 2:43 PM   Subscribe

Hey, I've been experiencing some extremely long load times and a few load failures on the site all afternoon. Chat seems to be normal, but other folks in chat are also reporting the site being slow. What's up?
posted by KathrynT to MetaFilter-Related at 2:43 PM (60 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Yeah, the two Ferguson threads have been dragging down the server. We just rebooted everything and it feels speedy again, but those monster threads do eventually suck up all the memory/processing when they're active for weeks on end.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:44 PM on August 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


I was gonna say, in between the time I submitted this and the time it cleared the queue things sped right up. um carry on!
posted by KathrynT at 2:51 PM on August 22, 2014


Is it that time of decade again where we unload the shoe pile from atop the server, drag it out of the closet, and dust the fan vents?
posted by carsonb at 2:54 PM on August 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also, according to a meTa down the hall, Phire tweeted the link and it got retweeted a lot, so that might've contributed too.
posted by rtha at 2:56 PM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it was all Phire's fault. :)
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:58 PM on August 22, 2014 [5 favorites]


is it time for Phire to write a new update on Ferguson? (I had a feeling it was that thread that was slowing down the system).
posted by el io at 3:01 PM on August 22, 2014


I was just, uh, thinking of ways to drive traffic to MetaFilter for, um, ad revenue purposes.

Yes.
posted by Phire at 3:14 PM on August 22, 2014 [41 favorites]


Also, tweet from Ta-Nehisi Coates.
posted by epersonae at 3:17 PM on August 22, 2014 [7 favorites]


This is the tweet I was referring to - 380 retweets so far. And I've seen it manually RT'd a bunch of other places. That TNC tweet isn't gonna help.
posted by Phire at 3:20 PM on August 22, 2014


The rest of the site is working fine for me, but I can't load Phire's Ferguson thread.
posted by Weeping_angel at 3:37 PM on August 22, 2014


I don't suppose there's any way to show a cached version of the thread just to anonymous users, so it's not hitting the DB every time someone clicks on that link?
posted by Phire at 3:44 PM on August 22, 2014


It seems all long threads (e.g.) are intermittently slow or don't load at all. Which isn't surprising; it would be odd if it was specifically recent/active large threads that were slow. I don't know much about how Mefi uses EC2 instances but presumably there's a case for some kind of caching somewhere along the line? [on preview, what Phire said]
posted by matthewr at 3:46 PM on August 22, 2014


Yeah, the two Ferguson threads have been dragging down the server.

Can't you just, like, I don't know, call in the National Guard to make things work right again?
posted by MoonOrb at 3:47 PM on August 22, 2014 [6 favorites]


I was thinking that the presence of the comment editing feature might be increasing the number of page loads and other activity as compared with the mega-threads of yore; maybe disabling it on just those threads would help? If monitoring and rebooting the server becomes onerous, I guess.
posted by XMLicious at 4:16 PM on August 22, 2014


That thread isn't even loading for me at all. ("MetaFilter is over capacity at the moment. Please try reloading the page after a few seconds.")
posted by aubilenon at 4:28 PM on August 22, 2014


Everyone in the world needs to stop sucking so we don't have to have any more threads like that.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 4:42 PM on August 22, 2014 [11 favorites]


Still really slow for me.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:42 PM on August 22, 2014


Is it time to upgrade the hardware maybe? If funds are low, we could have a proper fundraiser this time around.
posted by travelwithcats at 4:48 PM on August 22, 2014


Attention everyone, we just hit 3500 supporters! Look up to the top of the page!
posted by travelwithcats at 4:50 PM on August 22, 2014 [7 favorites]


I was thinking that the presence of the comment editing feature might be increasing the number of page loads and other activity as compared with the mega-threads of yore; maybe disabling it on just those threads would help?

I think pb (or cortex, maybe) mentioned on one of the last "hey look mega-thread" that they do have a "turn off the doo-dads to make this thread less heavy" mode?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:52 PM on August 22, 2014


Do we need a new Ferguson thread every thousand comments or something like that? 500 comments?
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:53 PM on August 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm sure you guys have your hands full right now, but have you ever considered making deep links load just the comment itself, and then you could press a button to load the whole thread if interested?

I realize there might be any number of technical and UX issues with that, but seems a waste to load the whole thread when 99% of people coming from twitter probably read only that comment then close it. (On the other hand, it might cut down on people who see a link like that, look around, say "Hey this site is good!" and then join.)

There's also, as I think has been discussed before, the idea of "reverse lazy loading," only loading the 100 most recent comments or something until more are requested. But then what do you do about deep links to earlier comments? It's a tricky problem set.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:59 PM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is Ta-Nehisi Coates Metafilter's Own Ta-Nehisi Coates?
posted by Flunkie at 5:00 PM on August 22, 2014


Yeah, it really seems like this is a good indicator to revisit the pagination issue. I completely understand the desire to have everyone participating in the same conversation, but after 1000 comments it's kind of unrealistic. Maybe pagination every thousand with comment overlaps of 100 to keep the flow moving?
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 5:01 PM on August 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


So, um: it's one _specific_ inbound link that's grinding things to a halt here, in a perfect storm of a massive thread + a massively-popular tweet?

Would it be possible to move the Ferguson thread to a new URL and put a placeholder static page at the URL targeted by the tweet?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:05 PM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


if mathowie would just end racism already we wouldn't have this problem.
posted by el io at 5:19 PM on August 22, 2014 [22 favorites]


Ironically this thread was the slowest of the 8 I just loaded simultaneously.
posted by elizardbits at 5:49 PM on August 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't know how this stuff works. But the entire site is really slow and it seems a bit silly that one thread is pulling everything down with it like this!

Is it possible to move heavy threads to a different server when they're creating this kind of drain on resources, perhaps?
posted by sockermom at 5:49 PM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Attention everyone, we just hit 3500 supporters! Look up to the top of the page!

Are we at an order of magnitude higher than mathowie's original back-of-the-envelope calculations yet?
posted by Jacqueline at 5:55 PM on August 22, 2014


This was my incoming link to the non-loading monster thread. Best of luck to the admins in getting things working again. As a European, MeFi serves as an important window into what's going on over there right now.
posted by LanTao at 6:02 PM on August 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Can't you just, like, I don't know, call in the National Guard to make things work right again?

Sounds like a (street) hassle.
posted by porn in the woods at 6:46 PM on August 22, 2014


Weird, that thread loads ok on my iPhone. Rebooting is magic!
posted by oceanjesse at 7:43 PM on August 22, 2014


Are big closed threads any easier for the system to serve up than open dynamic threads? If so, would it make sense to kick off another new thread and close out the current one?
posted by rmd1023 at 7:58 PM on August 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Cache? Gzip or lzo pages? (Not that that would help processing)? Do you use spiffy cdns?
posted by curuinor at 8:42 PM on August 22, 2014


3,501 now. First we take Manhattan...
posted by arcticseal at 9:40 PM on August 22, 2014


Thank you, KathrynT for posting this Meta. I found the entire site very slow earlier, but I'm near Chicago where I thought we might have a few internet data centers underwater given the recent weather here. Glad to have confirmation that it wasn't just my AT&T connection (which sucks heavily on the best of nights).
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 9:47 PM on August 22, 2014


I'm such a Ta-Nehisi Coates fanboy that seeing him link to Metafilter seems extra cool.
posted by naju at 11:58 PM on August 22, 2014 [10 favorites]


I've spent at least four hours today talking to Comcast ninnies on the phone, live chatting with their monkeys, and I even flagged down a passing Comcast goon because nobody showed up for my scheduled appointment, those buttheads, so if it's okay with everyone, I'm gonna pretend my molasses-like MeFi speed is because of those bastards.
posted by kinetic at 4:46 AM on August 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm sure this has been suggested (and rejected) many times before, but what about adding pagination to monster threads? Would that help?

It's obviously not ideal, since it might discourage reading the whole thread, but a) at this stage it's just new updates, b) no one's gonna read a jillion comments anyway, and c) no one can read the jillion comments 'cause the page won't load.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:35 AM on August 23, 2014


> I'm sure this has been suggested (and rejected) many times before, but what about adding pagination to monster threads?

It was suggested right up there, but it's still not gonna happen. (And a good thing too, from my point of view. YMMobviouslyV.)
posted by languagehat at 8:39 AM on August 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


We just moved to a bigger server which should help with the extra load. Sorry about the server bumpiness this week and thanks for being patient while we work things out.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:16 AM on August 23, 2014 [9 favorites]


Wow, thanks. Let us know if it was a financial hardship so that we can help if you need it.
posted by sockermom at 9:31 AM on August 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


This is spreading around on tumblr too. 10,000+ notes.
posted by Gordafarin at 10:01 AM on August 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


If two threads on one topic caused a hardship, then maybe say so there first. Those commenters may want to contribute, and/or the knowledge may affect how they choose to interact with the website.
posted by cribcage at 11:03 AM on August 23, 2014


Does this mean Phire has joined the rare "two callouts in one week" club?
posted by Ian A.T. at 11:43 AM on August 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


She's on phire!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:51 AM on August 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


This is the tweet I was referring to - 380 retweets so far.

Nearly 1,200 now!
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:46 PM on August 23, 2014


From Gordafarin's Tumblr link: "Just read through ALL of this…these people are INCREDIBLY organized and have collected almost every piece of information out - and they are asking some amazing questions."

Smugsmugsmug. Well, smugness of the second degree, since I haven't contributed anything to that thread myself, but still. Smugsmug.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:35 PM on August 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


17,630 notes on that Tumblr post as of current writing. Geeeez.
posted by Phire at 4:43 PM on August 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


these people are INCREDIBLY organized

ohhh, I wish.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:00 PM on August 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


Ironically this thread was the slowest of the 8 I just loaded simultaneously.

You aren't helping. In times like this, it's one thread per user, dontcha know?

I'd mock up a "Have you really tried to decrease server loads?" poster for MetaFilter, but I don't know of any good photos of any of the mods or pb looking stern and skeptical, ideally while turning away from a computer to face the keyboard, with MetaFilter displaying a 503 error code in the background.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:17 PM on August 23, 2014


I just searched for "stern sysadmin" pics, and this is what I found (SFW) - I blame Meredith Stern posting updates her art updates as "sysadmin". The closest I got was pages down a picture of Hal Stern in front of some computer systems (source), and he does not look stern at all. This is getting closer, but it's still too cheeky.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:28 PM on August 23, 2014


> I'm sure this has been suggested

It was suggested right up there


Oh. Whoops.

That's what I get for just skimming a thread full of jokey noise, I guess.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:12 PM on August 23, 2014


There's also a link to a specific comment in the Ferguson thread that's been going around Tumblr.
posted by NoraReed at 10:27 PM on August 23, 2014


of course someone already said that way upthread this is what happens when I check metatalk right after i wake up from a nap

carry on
posted by NoraReed at 10:55 PM on August 23, 2014


It's better than what happens to me when I check metatalk right before waking up.
posted by aubilenon at 11:55 PM on August 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


"The chickens are ORGANISING!"
posted by drlith at 9:42 AM on August 24, 2014


I'm sure it was the jokey noise's fault, NoraReed.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:04 AM on August 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've been trying to use the "load more comments" link instead of obsessively reloading the entire page. It took me until last night to finally catch up with the second post. I was three days behind at one point. I had to take lots of breaks to keep my sanity.
posted by double block and bleed at 9:25 AM on August 25, 2014


Oh wow, I just saw some of those references to that point in the thread where we all collaborated to track down who was behind the Darren Wilson fundraiser. Awesome! (And a hat tip to whyareyouatriangle, dejah420, and phearlez on that.)
posted by limeonaire at 4:27 PM on August 31, 2014


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