Is there any way we can help to ensure MeFi uptime? May 6, 2004 4:45 PM   Subscribe

Is there any way we unfortunate non-Californians can help to ensure that MetaFilter becomes a 24-hour operation once more? [More inside.]
posted by MiguelCardoso to Uptime at 4:45 PM (36 comments total)

Even the staunchly loyal MeFi Wiki is becoming ironic.

To wit: "Now it's online. No, wait it's offline. Ah, no on. Hell, this is becoming a labour of love. It's down. It's always down in the morning UTC. Either move to west-coast USA, or continue to wait for Matt to install Apache on the box. That is all. [is he dead in a ditch somewhere? It's still down! arggh. 5/5/04]"

How much does this much-vaunted Apache cost? Can't we all chip in so that Matt doesn't have to do the work?

Or, as I suspect, are East Coasters and Europeans being subtly encouraged to ditch our millenial, time-honoured schedules and adopt the laid-back West Coast timetable, which so far has produced nothing but dross, soft rock, iffy cuisine and downright evil? ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:46 PM on May 6, 2004

The problem, Miguel, is that Matt coded this with a platform-specific application. Unless he wants to rebuild from scratch, apparently, he's stuck working wth this platform, which is very unreliable.

It's funny that you ask how much Apache costs, since it's free.

I'm sure you can make an IIS system much more stable than this one is, but you probably have to throw a lot of time, money, and hardware at it to do so.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:58 PM on May 6, 2004

I'm shooting for major upgrades on June 1st, so expect things to improve after then. It is getting a bit old, I have been waking up very early over the past week, with nightmares that it was down.

We recently had a streak of the best uptime in months. I restarted it last thursday before I left for NYC, then didn't have to start it again until yesterday morning. Less than a week, but in the recent history that's epic reliability.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:07 PM on May 6, 2004

Thanks for the explanation, Ethereal Bligh. But how come the platform Matt chose worked so well - faultlessly even - for so many years? Now it's down every morning and already there's a very noticeable decrease in British and European posts and discussions, as a lot of members do their freshest thinking in the mornings.

Besides, it's the first thing some of us do when we wake up. I keep strange hours so I'm not as affected as some but I miss the British contingent's comments very much.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:10 PM on May 6, 2004

i think you should cancel Iceland and put that money toward a good server ; >
posted by amberglow at 5:11 PM on May 6, 2004

Oh June 1st - that's quite soon! Thanks, Matt. Sorry to be a grouch, then!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:12 PM on May 6, 2004

Ah bless, Miguel misses the Brit's comments :) We shall not forget this soon! (well, at least not until Euro 2004 when a horde of drunken UK Mefiers will descend upon Miguel's beloved homeland, leaving a trail of destruction and upset cocktail glasses in their wake...)
posted by adrianhon at 5:24 PM on May 6, 2004

I have been waking up very early over the past week, with nightmares that it was down.

I was going to make a lame viagra joke, but instead I'll just offer, again, to buy Matt a few beers if and when we ever end up in the same place together. I'm genuinely sorry to hear that your sleep is ever disturbed by this place. Sleep is important, even for community website owneradmin guys.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:33 PM on May 6, 2004

Matt could best answer your question, Miguel, but I suspect it's a combination of A) increased server load; and, B) the general funkiness of the wintel platform where things go wrong apparently for no reason whatsoever but really because no one anymore has any clue what's going on in the codebase and also because this is commodity hardware that is not mission-critical reliable.

You can do mission-critical stuff on a budget, but you have to chose your components (from the hardware, to the OS, to whatever) all very carefully. And, of course, any inhouse code you write needs to be to mission-critical standards, which, I bet, was not at all what Matt was thinking about when he built this neat little place years ago.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:34 PM on May 6, 2004

IIS6 on Windows Server 2003 can be very, very stable and even reasonably secure. However as Netcraft confirms: Metafilter is dying.

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered Metafilter community when blogshares confirmed that Metafilter readership has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all Fark incarnations. Coming on the heels of a recent technorati survey which plainly states that Metafilter has lost memeshare, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Metafilter is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by falling dead last in a recent poll of major blogs read by the self-important.

You don't need to be a Kreskin to predict Metafilter's future. The handwriting is on the wall: Metafilter faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Metafilter because Metafilter is dying. Things are looking very bad for Metafilter. As many of us are already aware, Metafilter continues to lose readership. Unused accounts flow like a river of blood.

ConservativeFilter is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core posters. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time posters ParisParamus and MidasMulligan only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: Metafilter is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

Metafilter project leader Matt Haughey states that there are 17000 users of AskMetafilter. How many readers of vanilla Metafilter are there? Let's see. The number of AskMetafilter versus frontpage Metafilter posts is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 17000/5 = 3900 Metafilter readers. AskMetafilter-related posts are about half of the volume of MetaTalk posts. Therefore there are about 1950 users of Metafilter. A recent survey put AskMetafilter posts at about 80% of the site traffic. Therefore there are (17000+3900+1950)*4 = 91400 Metafilter lurkers. This is consistent with the number of AskMetafilter posts.

Due to the troubles of half-baked liberal agendafilter posts, abysmal attempts to create tempests in teapots and so on, many Metafilter users' blogs are going dark and will probably be taken over by another blabbermouth who will spew more crap. Now Metafilter is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that Metafilter has steadily declined in readership. Metafilter is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If Metafilter is to survive at all it will be among dilettante dabblers. Metafilter continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, Metafilter is dead.

Fact: Metafilter is dying

I'm very very sorry for those of you who don't get the injoke
posted by Ryvar at 5:34 PM on May 6, 2004

Ryvar, you got some of your Slashdot in my Metafilter.
posted by Galvatron at 5:48 PM on May 6, 2004

until Euro 2004 when a horde of drunken UK Mefiers will descend upon Miguel's beloved homeland, leaving a trail of destruction and upset cocktail glasses in their wake...

Wreak whatever havoc you must, Adrian! You're welcome. Like a lot of Lisboans who live very near the two main Benfica and Sporting stadiums, we will be locking and boarding up home and absconding to Arles in the South of France to sit out the barbarians' invasion. Besides, the Portuguese squad are playing like shite on wheelbarrows and, like the coward I am, I can deal with anything except disappointment, shattered illusions, gross ego-deflation and the mockery of lesser nations who just happen, at this uncharacteristic moment, to play football a bit better...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:01 PM on May 6, 2004

adopt the laid-back West Coast timetable, which so far has produced nothing but dross, soft rock, iffy cuisine and downright evil? ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:46 PM PST on May 6

and, you know, computers. ;)
posted by Miles Long at 6:13 PM on May 6, 2004

My understanding is that MetaFilter runs on Windows 2000, IIS, Cold Fusion, and SQL Server, which are all proprietary products, so it's not easy to figure out what's failing. (I wish it ran on Linux 2.6, Apache/mod_perl, HTML::Mason, and Postgres, so I could help fix it!) Matt plans eventually to replace IIS with Apache, which may help or may wreak utter havoc but will probably not be a panacea.
posted by nicwolff at 6:21 PM on May 6, 2004

Heh, he said Lisboans. Heh.
posted by ashbury at 6:22 PM on May 6, 2004

Its tragic whats happened to the portugese team migs , they should have won euro 2000 least you have the diving , cheating bastards of porto to support in the champions league final.......did i mention jorge cadete was playing for partick thistle ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:28 PM on May 6, 2004

First Rusty, now Matt? Sue!
posted by page404 at 6:36 PM on May 6, 2004

I just had a brilliant idea: Miguel, get a T1 line installed in your house (maybe you can find a way to write it off your taxes) and have mathowie ship you the server. Then if you ever find that the 'Filter is down, you can just walk over to the closet and restart it.
posted by timeistight at 7:26 PM on May 6, 2004

See? That's international trade at its finest. Everyone wins.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:29 PM on May 6, 2004

I say, fuggit, wipe the server, put Apache on it, and reinvent the Blue as a Slash or Scoop site

*runs away, ducking the incoming rotten tomatoes*

[on preview]

So, what you're saying, timeistight, is that MeFi should consider outsourcing?
posted by keswick at 7:33 PM on May 6, 2004

It's already 3000 miles east. What's another few thousand miles?
posted by timeistight at 7:39 PM on May 6, 2004

Wouldn't that be best? Modify an existing LAM{P|S} solution from scratch. Convert to static HTML the current db. Only the user tables need be imported.
posted by Gyan at 8:13 PM on May 6, 2004

There's nothing wrong with the server. Matt just turns it off when he goes to sleep.
posted by birdherder at 8:44 PM on May 6, 2004

Metafilter: Like a lot of Lisboans
posted by wendell at 8:55 PM on May 6, 2004

Actually, the correct expression is lisboetas but I feared it would sail well past the Cali crowd. :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:46 PM on May 6, 2004

We Angelenos, Angelinoids, LaLaLanders, Californicators, Valley Doods, O.C.ers, Left Coasters, Hollyweirdos and Beach Boys don't care what you Portugoosers call yourselves.
posted by wendell at 9:57 PM on May 6, 2004

Considering their sole representative here is old enough to be my...older brother, perhaps they should be referred to as Portugeezers.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:46 PM on May 6, 2004

I'm not a windows user, alas, but if there's any possibility of porting the system over to something that runs under linux and is non-proprietary, I'd be happy to donate some hours to helping with development. Heck, I'd even help out with something semi-proprietary like .NET if you go that route. (I can run a lot of .NET stuff with Mono on linux.) I am at least competent in most of the popular web development languages, and very good with one or two of them.
posted by mragreeable at 9:00 AM on May 7, 2004

geezers are old in american english? weird.

i don't mefi being down I've gotten lots of work done!...jk
posted by dabitch at 9:31 AM on May 7, 2004

Ha ha ha...oops, you made me home sick.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:35 AM on May 7, 2004

So just points back to metafilter now?

That didn't last long.
posted by smackfu at 9:54 AM on May 7, 2004

Why waste clock cycles on a slashcode system? There's no ratings on Mefi, it's just a straight, in-line message board. Some good parsing of textboxes for links, a user database... simple stuff. I like that the site is so straightforward.

There's no excuse for the site going down as often as it does, save one: Microsoft. Ditch the albatross hanging round your neck, Matt! :)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:34 AM on May 7, 2004

Portugoosers. hehe
posted by Blue Stone at 11:27 AM on May 7, 2004

unless they are male, in which case they're Portuganders.
posted by taz at 12:05 PM on May 7, 2004

Yeah, but if we switched to Slash, we could karma whore! Oh, think of the wonderful possibilities!
posted by keswick at 3:45 PM on May 7, 2004

Original post in case of mefidotting:

Is there any way we unfortunate non-Californians can help to ensure that MetaFilter becomes a 24-hour operation once more? [More inside.]

posted by MiguelCardoso to uptime at 4:45 PM PST

If you were Microsof$, would you use Linux?
posted by bonaldi at 9:58 AM on May 8, 2004

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