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Old April 27th, 2010, 02:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Thread Subscriptions Purged

Some of you may have noticed your thread subscriptions instantly disappeared. Yes, this did indeed happen - and not just to you.

Some of you may also be aware of the email problem we are having - as well as site stability.

Rob and I made the command decision to purge subscriptions, yesterday. There is a lot that ties into this but here is the short rundown of why:

- We are having a massive email delivery problem due to being listed on on various spam/black lists. When emails bounce, this digs us deeper into the hole.

- Our server(s) are getting hammered from various angles, one being the TONS and TONS of emails we send out every minute. Every second, literally. Largely because of....

- There were just short of 200,000 subscriptions. Almost all were subscriptions made unintentionally because we have had the "instant email notification auto-subscribe" subscription model on by default for the past 2 years. We didn't intend to do that. Holy-whoops! Many of these users have moved on, email accounts had changed, etc. So, when Joe Shmoe would come on here and post on a thread that's a few months old or whatever - ten emails would shoot out. Half would bounce back and harm our spam list ratings. Half of what made it would get hit with "Mark as spam", etc etc. Now imagine what it is like when a spambot hits 20 threads before we get to it. And then when the end user sees that quoted spam in their inbox, coming from us.

So we did what we did. We made the choice, gritted our teeth, and clicked "purge". This helps with both the email delivery problem as well as site stability seeings how now it is doing that much less work. We DO apologize for the inconvenience. We know this is bad for some of you. We did it because we know for MOST people it's not a big deal or won't even be noticed. And for those it is, the subscriptions can be rebuilt. The trade off was worth it in this particular case. Please bear with us while we try to work though the problems we are having.

We chose to not notify users on the change because:

- Sending out emails to all is obviously not something we can do at the moment, we'd instantly be having a harder time trying to fix our email delivery problem seeings how most would bounce. Part of the reason we want this fixed so bad is not just because of all the incomplete registrations, but because we can't send mass emails ATM.

- Sending out a mass PM wouldn't work because for a good while we had it set by default to email you when you got a PM. I'm not sure how many of these there are.

- We talked about posting a thread to warn, but given the pressure we were and are under to relieve all the stress we can, didn't want to post something only xxx people would see while having to wait 24 hours or whatever - with only x even caring.

We're not QUITE done. We still have to get one of our guys to run a SQL query to reset all the instant subscription/notifications back to "none" by default. (We'd do it ourselves but we're skeeeeeeered). This *shouldn't* affect any subscriptions you set back up, I guess it kinda depends. I will post here when completed, or if we decide not to do it.

(Side note, we HAVE turned it off for future account creations.)

Also.. If you have subscriptions we want to set back up but are unsure how to easily find them - start with reviewing your post history to see what all you've been posting on. You can alter your subscription model in User CP.

Sorry again for the inconvenience everyone, and the delay on this post. I meant to post this yesterday and it slipped through the cracks.

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Old April 27th, 2010, 02:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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i think a lot of forums using the auto-subscribe method. I've had to change that to "none" on a lot of other sites. 200,000 is a bunch
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Old April 27th, 2010, 02:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Couldnt you simply have reset everyone back to subscribe only rather than a purge?

Could have also killed the email code in VB as a temp fix to buy time.

The admin at Briskoda did these when our VB was going belly up which bought some time to fix long term.
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Old April 27th, 2010, 02:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by nx1977 View Post
Couldnt you simply have reset everyone back to subscribe only rather than a purge?

Could have also killed the email code in VB as a temp fix to buy time.

The admin at Briskoda did these when our VB was going belly up which bought some time to fix long term.
I don't know what you mean. Setting them back to "don't subscribe"? It's all the old subscriptions that were killing us, so that would have done nothing for us, although we are looking to do that next, so we can avoid doing this again in the future.

As for killing the email code, yeah we could have commented that out and still may, but we want it to be working for current users who subscribe. We realize they have to be rebuilt, but starting fresh and being quick was our goal.

Do apologize though.
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Old April 27th, 2010, 02:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I don't know what you mean. Setting them back to "don't subscribe"? It's all the old subscriptions that were killing us, so that would have done nothing for us, although we are looking to do that next, so we can avoid doing this again in the future.
I meant rather than having everyone with email subs, you did a blanket reset of the notification method, so everyone was subscribe only - no more emails sent out en mass.

Much less painless than a purge, and the same net result.

We'd have all had our subscriptions, which as "subscribe only" shouldnt put any load on the servers.
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Old April 27th, 2010, 03:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by nx1977 View Post
I meant rather than having everyone with email subs, you did a blanket reset of the notification method, so everyone was subscribe only - no more emails sent out en mass.

Much less painless than a purge, and the same net result.

We'd have all had our subscriptions, which as "subscribe only" shouldnt put any load on the servers.
Oh I gotcha.

1. Wish I'd thought of that, but we don't have that ability in a way other than a SQL Query - which isn't something Rob OR I do.. therefore,

2. Would have had to wait until who knows when to have our programmer do it. We never really know when the next time we get him is.

But yes, admittedly - aside from the benefit of a cleanup of 200k items in a database - that would have been great. We'll have that happen when we have the default changed back to none. To help prevent this from happening again, by ensuring only people who WANT them, have them.
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Old April 27th, 2010, 03:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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it would have been nice to save those but I'd much rather a fast working server... so no fault for what you did
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