About my recent comments at VPF

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
Some of you might have noticed I've been hounding AJ for some answers and information concerning all the downtime his server has been suffering the past month or so. Don't think that I'm anti- VPF, because I'm not. I'm simply disgusted with the situation, and would like AJ to be more open and above board about what might be happening.

My comments and opinions are mine alone, and not being fed to me by anyone. They are being fed by my respect and friendship for shiva, but again, I think and speak for myself. It just so happens that I support shiva 100%, which is why I've added a shivaSite Donation link here at Pinball Nirvana. I offered to add the link, and even add some shivaSite forums, and shiva agreed to the donation link, but said no to the forums, at least for now.

It's my opinion, based on my dealings and past experience with AJ, that he needs to be more open about not only the recent server problems, but other web sites of his that may or may not receive financial benefit from VPF donations. I know on one other web site he has run in the past, and suspect several others. That's entirely AJ's business, unless VPF donations are helping to make those other sites possible.

Now I could be wrong, but I don't think I am. But unless AJ comes clean and communicates with us, we'll never really know the truth. I stand ready to make a full apology to AJ if I'm proven wrong. But I doubt if he will all of a sudden do the right and proper thing, which I feel is to explain everythig concerning the server problem, VPF donations, and how they are being used, and if he is selling VPF or not. I'm asking no more of AJ than shiva has done on his own.

tiltjlp
 

Kinsey

Pinball Wizard
I believe he stated in that thread that he's been looking for someone to take over the site. If he no longer has the time nor inclination to maintain the site (okay, he hasn't for quite a long time), then perhaps he should hand it off to someone(s) that can keep it running smoothly.

I realize some of the arguments in AJ's defense were "He's a busy man." and "It's only a website, people.", but considering it and Shiva's are two of the more popular sites on the web for all things pinball.. when someone finds them in a search engine/link/word of mouth and go to the site and there's nothing but error messages, that's detrimental to the popularity of the sites which are already suffering from stagnancy of the scene. When it comes to search engines, traffic ranks are important. It's even been said here "oh those don't matter". Well, if you truly believe they don't, then you've answered your question why VPO and this site aren't getting more traffic. Unfortunately, that's how the web works.

Downtime = less traffic = less popularity = less members = more stagnancy
 

shiva

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
I believe someone was already found, two weeks ago.

I already stated a few things, I could have stated more, but why do so when all it will cause it a lot more destruction. As K has stated, things will work out in the end.
 

bob

Add-a-ball specialist
Site Supporters
tiltjlp said:
and if he is selling VPF or not.

You heard AJ was selling VPF?

Could you elaborate on this? Who wants to buy it? How much is it worth?

This is one of the areas I have a problem with, he asks for donations, but makes no guarantees. I think the money that is collected should be public knowledge and posted in the forums. I like to know what the expenses are and what the balance is in the bank. I would like to see a bar graph showing how long the forums is paid up for, I'm not donating to a site if the bills are paid up for more than 6 months down the road. I'm not donating to a site if I feel I'm not even liked by the site owner or I'm not privvy to what's going on.

I like the community concept, but there is no real community Visual Pinball forum yet. I really don't like checking out 5 forums, but I do, it's obvious that most people won't do this though. Like it or not, VPF is THE Visual Pinball forum and until one of the other sites goes out of it's way to cater to the public, it will stay that way. VPM will continue to rule the Visual Pinball world, if you want the posters, then get the VPM tables. If you want donations, then sell the downloading rights like AJ does. If you really want a popular site, then try to get Pacdude to release his tables and WIP threads exclusively at your site. 8)
 

Kinsey

Pinball Wizard
From information that has passed my way, there's less than two months in the VPF coffers. Basically enough to close the account when someone(s) takes it over and moves it to a new server. And I don't believe he is planning on "selling" it per se.. simply traferring the control to another person(s) and leaving them responsible for the "AJ" type decisions and financial obligations.
 

bob

Add-a-ball specialist
Site Supporters
Thanks Kinsey, I hope someone takes over that is more of a people person :) I would like to see it become more like a church :) by this I mean, I don't mind a minister running the sermon or being a figurehead, but I'd like to see more involvement by the congregation who can always fire the minister. If you're going to pass the collection plate, then you had better offer them pinball salvation or a little piece of ownership. A little fun never hurts either, this is a game and a hobby, but alot of people treat it like it's a business and a job.
 

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
Atilla The Hun would be more of a people person than AJ has been. I like the idea of hosting PacDudes tables exclusively, but I don't really want 98% leechers, so I'll settle for being what I am, a guy who has fun running a small site. And while I'm one of the bosses, and can't be fired, I do listen to & use a majority of the suggestions we get.

I personally like having all the different forums and their unique personalities. But then I have plenty of free time, and that helps fill my days and nights. I'm even thinking of adding a Wrenchien Release Story Forum. No tables, just all his goofy stories rathered together for folks to laugh about. Or maybe a Hey Bob forum, so everyone can take pot shots at our favorite good humor man.

tiltjlp
 

shiva

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
should be 3 months. My guy forgot to pay AJ for a few months. :)

Ooops... :)

But corrected. Sorry Bob, can't tell due to certain things at the moment, but...

As I said before, we will see what happens, I already mentioned what I was planning on my front page, I will forever end the download problems, and I still am the OFFICIAL VP forums. I may have a small revolt on my hands when I do tell them, but if they disagree with anything, they can always come up with better solutions. The supporting members will be quite pleased I think.
 

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
Well, dollar wise and time devoted the past three years, I have to be near the top of the list of shivaSite supporting members, and I'm thrilled with the plans you have put on your front page. Anything that will put the focus back onto pinball has to be an improvement over VPF. That entire situation is too important to ignore, but I'm so darn sick of discussing it when I want to discuss the game.

tiltjlp
 

shiva

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
Well, read the staff page post I just put in detailing the plan, and we will see what you say then. :)

Think it should work. :)
 

Anthias

Pinball Player
Every Forum is usefull, every forum is great.... If a forum is wasted,
the VP gods get quite irate....

I love my time spent at VPO, I love this place, and shivasite rocks. VPF - it serves an important purpose to the 'community', as the place, whether you like it or not, VPF is where most pinheads go first.

I don't think its a bad situation for the rest of us if the vpm'ers go there to leach first, before venturing to our sites. After all, VPO is an originals dedicated site, shiva is still the greatest development resource there is, with the added advantage of the greatest single downloads list for original tables anywhere, and this place is that pleasant breath of fresh air when you feel like some good old fashioned hospitality. If VPF is a membership filter, I can live with that. I don't think it hurts us. VPO has allready exceeded 500 members, this place is very active again, Shivasite is moving along nicely as a key site in the equation and the official VP place.

So if AJ fixes the server issues, that's enough for now. If he hands the reins to another, fair enough, if that new person generates a friendlier atmosphere, great. But each and every forum is serving a role, and providing a place for a population of pinheads. We're not fragmented, just delegated :) I do think Shiva should move, and is right in his decision to act. Shiva site is NOT VPF and is deserving of all the autonomy we enjoy at the other sites.
 

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
My major gripe with AJ still remains, the fact that he seems to lurk in the shadows, making a post every so often, so we know he is still among the living. He asked for questions if anyone had any concerns, and so I asked several point-blank questions, and of course he has never responded. Over the years, AJ has become a lot less approachable, I wonder what he has to hide?

I have quit pestering him at VPF. Since he isn't going to answer my questions, why waste my time and energy asking. I would like to know if a transfer of VPF is still being worked on? And Anthias, thanks for your nice comment about this joint: this place is that pleasant breath of fresh air when you feel like some good old fashioned hospitality. Your check is in the mail. :p

John
 

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
Somehow I'm sure you're right Miss K. And since AJ is involved, it could be a -- L-- O-- N --G-- wait indeed. At least if he ever follows through, I'll probably be stunned into silence, and than he'll have something to smile about. Nah, can't give him the satisfaction.

John
 

shiva

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
All I know is after 4 plus weeks, everything is still in limbo land.

Fustrating? Yeap.

Bloody annoying, oh yeah. The stupid thing is I could have fixed most of these problems weeks ago at VPF, but with everything so up in the air, I just watch my site die even more every day. No one will visit a site if it's unreliable, and thanks to all of this, this is what has happened. He's responsible for this, he took the responsibility, but isn't actually doing anything. I don't know what he's waiting for, but I am tired of waiting, and I'm not gonna fix yet another of his problems, it's his site, not mine. There were suppose to be changes, everything was supposely set in place, though I have no idea on the details, but I decided to get out of dodge and find my own server then, because I was tired of being in limbo. At least I will be in control of my own fate, which is a heck of a lot better than it has been the last few years.

What amazes me is people actually still donate to VPF after all of this.
 

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
The only answer can be force of habit, surely not a lack of common sense. At least Wednesday or Thursday shivaSite will be a bit closer to being on its own. That's when I'll be able to make the first of what will be monthly donations. Now if the other folks who made pledges follow through as well, . . . just maybe.

John
 

Kinsey

Pinball Wizard
I suppose it's possible he's changed his mind since Randy is back. Not that it makes a difference really, AJ is still not around.
 

PacDude

Pinball Wizard
At least VPF seems to be running much better now, overall. Other than that last down time, it hasn't really slowed down on me lately. I assume he must have found part of the problem, at least.

OK, I must have jinxed it since no sooner than did I type that I tried to load a thread at VPF and it's delaying like crazy again.... oh well.
 

shiva

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
Yeap, both sites are down again, but it's at least a improvement, because it's only the THIRD TIME this week.

His solution BTW was to do what I suggested 5 weeks ago. Really really sad.
 

PacDude

Pinball Wizard
I just wonder if it's something like massive downloading of Kurt's CV or something that caused the latest bog down. That's a pretty big table file from a very popular author and AJ's gets a lot of traffic for tables.
 

penguin66

Pinball Wizard
Another reason for some people to still be supporting VPF--to avoid the 5 download per day limit. I know that I sent them a tiny amount just so I could avoid the 5 download limit. I did it to accomplish my goal of downloading all the current tables at AJ's. I've managed that and will be sending my support elsewhere in the future. Don't get me wrong, I like reading the forums, but there are other places I'd rather go that are much more reliable. I'm looking forward to the time when shiva get the server and his site is more reliable. After all, his site is the one that led me to most of the other great sites here.
 

bob

Add-a-ball specialist
Site Supporters
At least when I can get on VPF there are posts to read... I'm sorry but no matter how great everyone says the other sites are, people don't use them, they don't post on them, they just say how great they are. I don't get it, it must be some form of trying to say the politically correct thing, but doing or believing the exact opposite.
 

PacDude

Pinball Wizard
I wonder if the unlimited downloads for a small contribution is part of the reason it is bogging down. You might get someone donate $1 and then try to download 200+ tables in a couple of hours or something. With over 50,000 users, even 5 a day could cause massive hits to the server if everyone is trying to download a new table release in a short period of time. I'm not saying I believe that 50,000+ actually do that; I think it's probably a tiny fractin of that, but who knows what effect that has. I do find it hard to believe that even with a non-optimized message board that the message board alone is the cause of the problem given the relatively light amount of posted traffic VPF gets on a daily basis (it's not THAT busy of a board guys). But then maybe they're just on a lousy server provider....
 

shiva

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
all of the above actually, it's a combination of things that causes the problems.

It's not so much the downloads though, even as a supporting member there, you still have a time limit between file downloads, so it makes it quite tough to file strip, because you have to wait 30 seconds each time.

Simply put, the server is a piece of junk, that is overpriced, it uses one of the most resource hogs ever made for VBulletin, there's tons of junk that's not needed that takes resources, all the software from the server root is out of date, unsecure, and not maintained in the slightest, and a crippled staff who couldn't do anything about any of the problems even if they knew how to.

Like it or not, there are only maybe a handful of people who know enough about all facets of websites, administration, and programming to be able to run a site of that size, so the options are very limited, especially if AJ decides to hang on to it. I kind of figured things would end up like this, it's just the latest in a long string of patterns, and as much as I like to fix things, that won't be happening, because that's the way it was decided.
 
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