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Author Topic: Forum crash.  (Read 3227 times)
MTAS Boss #1
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« on: March 30, 2009, 12:42:23 AM »

We lost the forum database and have been unable to recover it.

Sunday, March 22nd, I turned of the visual verification routine for new members joining the forum.  Someone at RV.NET had tried to join MTAS but couldn't because the visual verification image wasn't showing up.  I tried creating a new account myself and ran into the same problem.

The visual verfication routine is there to help prevent software 'bots from creating new accounts and posing spam.  I didn't think we were encountering that problem so I said "What the hell ..." and turned the routine off.  I was wrong.  In less than twelve hours, we were hit with three spam accounts, which Leeann killed and deleted the spam they posted.  I deleted a fourth later on Monday.

While I was turning off the visual verification routine, I noticed the forum software had gotten seriously out of date so Leeann started updating the software.  When she got to version 1.1.6 (current is 1.1.Cool, she encountered an update conflict dealing with security issues in the shoutbox package we were using.

At that point, things really started going to hell.  As far as I can tell, the new version of the forum software uses a different, somewhat incompatible database structure than the version we'd been using.  Adding to that, the forum software and our host server backs up the data in slightly different forms.

I really tried but I couldn't restore the database intact.  I still have several database backups and can extract parts of old forum data, piece by piece manually.

After many frustrating and unfruitful hours, Leeann and I decided to bite the bullet and rebuild the forum from scratch, as a new install rather than an upgrade.

Simply put, the forum is starting over.  All our users will have to create new accounts.  You can use your original username and passwords to create the accounts.

I will manually extract and repost some of the old threads, especially the jokes and recipes.  It'll be a long tedious process and may take me several months, doing a little bit whenever I have time.

If you have anything in particular you'd like me to try to retrieve, please let me know via a PM and I'll try to find it.

Leeann and I also have most, if not all, the images that had been posted and can try to find any you especially want saved and/or reloaded.  (The thread text and attachment images were stored separately and connected via encoded links so following the links to repost the images is even more difficult than simply reposting thread text.)  We think the attachment files included your avatars so we might be able to pass your avatar back to you to reuse on your new account.

I have created a special email address for contacting me if you're unable to send a PM or don't know my other email addresses: crash@mopartrucksandstuff.com  (Yes, I know the Internet 'bots will find this before too long and start filling it with spam.  However, I feel I need to provide you with an alternate means of contacting me regarding the forum crash, other than a forum PM.)

Leeann and I both feel really bad about what has happened and apologize for losing the forum data and for causing you to have to recreate your forum accounts.

Griff (aka MTAS Boss #1)

P.S.  The replacement we are looking at for the shoutbox (AjaxChat) includes chatroom capability so we may gain a chatroom out of this mess.  (A chatroom always was on my MTAS To-Do list ...)  We need to look at AjaxChat more and test it out before deciding to go with it.

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MTAS Boss #1
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Posts: 2


I'm not happy


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« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2009, 01:36:01 AM »

Well, I turned off forum maintenance mode and promptly discovered we still have a problem with the visual verification routine.  (For some reason, the verification image doesn't load.)  Leeann and I had hoped the software upgrade would solve the problem but it appears to be something else.  (Time to dive into the forum's PHP code and try to figure out what's happening.

So, I'm going to turn off the routine to allow people to register again and begin using the forum again.  Leeann and I will try to stay on top of any spammers that show up while we try to figure out what's going wrong.

Please be aware some posting may come from spammers and don't click on any links from unknown users.  If you see something you think is spam (they tend to be somewhat obvious), please let Leeann and I know.

Sorry it took so long to get the forum back up.  I was delayed by (1) trying to remember how I set up the forum way back when and (2) kept running into real-life things that just wouldn't wait.

Again, I apologize for losing the forum database.

Griff

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