A not-so-funny thing happened on the way to the forum

06 May 2007

In my blog post last week about our new forums, I was both remarkably up-beat and singularly uninformative. Well, heck, I wrote the post at the beginning of the week when we were just about to switch to the new forums, but, because of one reason or another, we didn't. So, early on Friday morning, when we did switch over I just posted it with a huge sigh of relief without changing it.

Why should I change it? Well, a couple of reasons I suppose. 

The first was that on Friday morning the new forums were horribly unresponsive. Customers were reporting 10, 20, 30 second delays in opening up posts, in doing anything with the system at all. We were affected by this ourselves (nope, we don't have a hidden 100Gbit connection into the back of the server: it's hosted somewhere completely different from our offices): we use the newsgroups for internal communications between developers on a team. So all of a sudden the support team and I were looking at a meltdown, both between our developers and our customers. Yes, I know -- hindsight is wonderful -- we should have done more load testing, but we didn't and we were wrong.

We immediately got in touch with our hosting company to get more bandwidth and to throw more hardware at the problem. Slowly throughout Friday the responsiveness of the system got better. At the moment, it's pretty snappy, but then again, it's Sunday evening and only people with no real life, like me, are online ;-). We shall see what tomorrow brings.

The second reason for changing the original post is that I didn't know (or more likely Max told me but I promptly forgot) that the forum software (Community Server) supports NNTP. There was I holding a torch for the new forums and (sob) bye-bye newsgroups, when in reality you can have your cake and eat it too. You can use NNTP quite easily just as before in your newsgroup reader. This page shows you how.

Now, due warning: I'm told that Forte Agent 4.2 has problems with this NNTP server, but I'm going off now to try it myself (yes, it's what I use -- I'm old-fashioned).

So, my apologies for all the kerfuffle at the end of last week, but please give us a chance again with our new peer support system.

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