I've been working on some major changes for FiPG for awhile now. Probably the most major of which is a move to a different forum software, and a general clean-up effort of this mess of code we have. I just completed a test conversion to the new forum software, and it highlighted an issue that has been at the back of my mind for awhile. The conversion took [b2346aca383]29 hours[/b2346aca383] to run on my 3.5Ghz quad-core 4GB desktop machine, against a local web and database server. Why did it take so long? Two words Private Messages.
Back when Admin first rolled out FiPG, and there were relatively few members, he generously allowed each member 2000 PM's in each PM box (Inbox, Save, Sent, and Outbox). This is almost unheard of with most major forums, where members are limited to as few as 100 PM's or even less. As a result, over the years and with the population explosion that FiPG has seen lately, we have amassed a staggering amount of PM's in the database. [b2346aca383]1,481,169[/b2346aca383] to be exact, at the time I write this. Yes, you read that right almost 1.5M PM's. That's almost twice as many PM's as there are forum posts (over 763,000) across the entire forum. This is also why the PM Export feature was disabled a long time ago, because just one user activating that feature could cause such a database load that the server came to its knees.
The upshot is that our forum database performance is currently being impacted, and our upcoming conversion is going to be painful if nothing is done about it. While the conversion is happening, I will have to take the current forum offline, and it has to stay offline until the conversion is finished and the new forum is completely setup and tested. Given that the live server is slower than my own desktop, it could take possibly two days to convert and the better part of another day to get the new forum ready -- that's assuming we don't hit any snags. We'd be looking at 3 days minimum of downtime, and we'd still be faced with an overloaded database. Therefore, the staff and I have discussed this, and we've decided to get this under control.
[b2346aca383]Two (2) weeks from today, which would be Saturday, March 29th, I will be purging old data from the database.[/color2346aca383][/b2346aca383][/size2346aca383]
Take note[list2346aca383][li2346aca383]All PM's older than 6 months will be deleted.
[li2346aca383]All members will have their PM limit lowered from 2000 to 250. 250 is more than enough to keep important PM's. If the 6 month purge doesn't reduce your PM count to under 250, then you won't be able to receive new PM's, or send them if your Outbox or Sent box is full.
[li2346aca383]All forums (and their posts) under the Obsolete section of the main index will also be purged.[/listu2346aca383]
Here's what we need you members to do, to make things easier on yourselves and us[list2346aca383][li2346aca383]Go through your PM's and delete all unimportant and unneeded messages.
[li2346aca383]If you have important messages older than 6 months that you wish to save, then figure out a way to export them to your local computer. Unfortunately, I can't re-enable the PM Export feature because until the database is brought down to a manageable size, that feature just kills the forum. Besides, it exports to an XML file that isn't terribly useful to most people anyway. So you're just going to have to cut & paste into a text document, take screenshots, hire a monk to transcribe them onto parchment, or something equally clever.
[li2346aca383]Likewise with any Obsolete forum posts. If you posted something witty in the old Gratis forum 3 years ago that you wish to save for posterity, you better grab it now.[/listu2346aca383]
The more you folks can do to help us out with this, the easier our job will be and the faster the forum conversion will happen.
I do NOT have a timeframe to give you on when the new forum will go live. That will take some time as there are some crucial mods that must be re-written, primarily the Trading Module and the CoE/Ratings page, both of which will be "new & improved" rather than a straight port. My time is limited and I'm the only one doing this, so I can't make any scheduling promises.
If anything changes related to this, I will post to this thread. Otherwise this thread will be locked to keep the noise level down so that any updates are more easily noticed. If you have questions or concerns about this, then feel free to create another discussion thread (search for an existing one first, don't create a dupe), or PM one of us staff members.
Thanks for your help,
Tomorrow is the day! Better get busy saving any old messages and posts that you want to preserve!
This topic only has 152 views as I type this, and I know that a lot of people viewed it more than once, so I'm concerned that many members won't get this message. Oh well, I tried. Can't say I didn't give fair warning!
Shutting it down in about 15 minutes (Noon EDT). It shouldn't be down very long. No more than an hour, but I'm not promising that, in case things go pear-shaped. Yes, we have backups in case that happens. )
Alright, back up. Sorry it took so long, but it was an even bigger task than I imagined, and I got called away a couple times in the middle.
The old PM's should be gone, which cut our database size in half. I'm still working on deleting the Obsolete Forums and their posts (I'll leave the OLD Trading Post for awhile yet).
If I run into issues doing things while the forum is online, you might see it go down again sporadically, but I think I can finish working with it running.