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Are we fed up yet?

shiva

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
As I write this, the entire server has collasped for VPForums, and shivaSite. This is the 3rd time in the last 3-4 months, and that's on top of the weekly slow-down that also seems to affect the server.

This one looks pretty bad as well, even ftp is not connecting, it appears it's a speed thing, and AJ has done either another disappearance, or he is not able to fix the problem.

As to the cause, it points to either a bad setup on the server, hardware failure, or software at VPForums end. At the best, the server should be changed, and a new host will have to be found. The problems at shivaSite last year caused the entire setup to be moved to new hardware, but it was the same server host, and to be honest, a different host would have been better, as you all can see. AJ was paying a pretty good wack for this host, and as far as I am concerned, it's time to find a better one.

But despite all of this, there's still one problem that needs to be solved above all else. The forum needs to be fixed, and you guys need a scratching post. So the question is...

You guys want me back?
 

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
You're always welcome here, shiva!

As you might have noticed, I've added a lot of forums, and am moving away from simply flipperless and novelty. Let me know what you want and /or need, and you have it, even a shivaSite section until you're up and running again, and Admin/moderator status, although we don't do much moderating.

Either PM me or e-mail me at zifbob1@juno.com, and I'll set you up with anything you need or want. While we can't host all the tables you had on your site, any of the resources, such as sound and images should be OK. With JPH gone for a while, there's a limit to what I know how to do, but maybe we can figure it out together.

Jon has said this site is mine to do with as I see fit, so as I've said before, whatever you want or need, if I can figure it out, you've got it, Big Blue.

tiltjlp
 

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
As I said on our Homepage, thank goodness both shivaSite and VPF are back. I don't know if you got the answer you needed, shiva, but my offer still stands. We are ready to help provide a place to store at least a portion of the valuable resources that shivaSite has amassed.

Maybe VP Originals can also provide space for part of those wonderful and important resources, so at least if something like this occurs again, we both can ease the burden. To paraphrase a well known saying . . . with a little help from your friends.

tiltjlp
 

bob

Add-a-ball specialist
Site Supporters
I see the sites were down again for a day, they are back now, but are slower than crap for me. I see no posts referring to this problem by anyone. It seems no one cares if they are up or down, what a sad situation for the VP community.

This site and VPO still seems to get little posting traffic even when the big sites are down. My conclusion is... No one gives a rats arse either way, VP is no longer an addiction to most of the posting members.
 

shiva

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
bob said:
I see the sites were down again for a day, they are back now, but are slower than crap for me. I see no posts referring to this problem by anyone. It seems no one cares if they are up or down, what a sad situation for the VP community.

This site and VPO still seems to get little posting traffic even when the big sites are down. My conclusion is... No one gives a rats arse either way, VP is no longer an addiction to most of the posting members.

I agree with you Bob, last week, I was the only one that even posted, no one else bothered to do it. This community is sick, and it's dieing, and it's one of the most fustrating things I have ever seen, because I've played such a large part in builting this community, and it's pretty apparent what needs to be done, and yet there is nothing I can do about it. The situation is stupid, idiotic, and beyond reason.

As far as I am concerned, because of all of this trouble over the last year, shivaSite is dead. There's no use continuing under these circumstances, there's nothing I can do except accept that my site will only be up 5 days out of 7, and that every time the server goes down, and goes back up, fewer people visit. It's just not reliable, and that's where it's very fustrating, because my fate is in someone else's hands, there is not a damn thing I can do about it.

It's a shame, but that is the way it is now. We all still have VP to play with at least, but beyond that, this community is dieing a very slow and painful death.
 

shiva

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
More than the community has been willing to support in the past Kinsey. I know all the best hosts, and their prices, and the present donation level wouldn't be enough
 

PacDude

Pinball Wizard
because I've played such a large part in builting this community

"This" community or the old one you abandoned/quit, after which AJ had to take over the forums so the early VP community wouldn't die off? I can't really think of any "large" parts since then. Shivasite has never really gotten much traffic since the original shut down and the forums moved elsewhere from what I've seen, at least not the forums section, probably in larger because it doesn't differentiate itself from the existing VPF forums very well. Developers never flocked there and it wasn't geared for much else that doesn't already exist. Using the same server, it has the same slow problems as VPF.


"Here comes the Rooster" -Alice In Chains
 

PacDude

Pinball Wizard
Meanwhile, I'm starting to conclude that due to increasing server issues at VPF, the situation is denegrating into a death knell for VP in general. I can't release tables without a place to release them and a place to host the tables, for instance.

It would probably be best if the traffic were moved to a reliable site. Seeing as this site has what appears to be a reliable server and a new name, the trick would be to actually get people to come here instead. At the very least, that might spur AJ into actually doing something about VPF, which is pretty much suffering from neglect on his end. He should either give his staff more power or hand the reigns entirely over to someone else that actually has time to do the job.
 

shiva

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
As usual, you got it wrong PacDude, but that's okay, we are all use to that.

It's not the site, it's the bandwidth, as well as the internal backbone that runs the server. The problems with the VPF server are the SQL server, with the database exceeding a certain limit. Some hosts has a limit on the size of the databases, and some just can't handle a very large database, especially if it hasn't been maintained or upgraded. The other main problem is the portal that has been saddled with the site. AJ is a "developer" of this portal, but since it also has around 100-110 plus server queries, and a old out of date version of VBulliten, which also has a few more server queries, that can add to a very large stress on the server. It's roughly 4 to 5 times the amount of queries per user than shivaSite. So roughly 120 people on shivaSite takes about the same amount of resources as about 25 people on VPF.

I mentioned about the cost of a new server. The best place I found, with one of the best reps, will charge about 100 per month, but it also is a managed system, everything pre installed.

10.5 gigs space
600 gigs bandwidth
* Unlimited POP3 Mail Accounts
* Unlimited MySQL Databases (limited by webspace size)
* Unlimited Mailing Lists
* Unlimited Email Forwarders
* Unlimited Subdomains
* Unlimited Parked and Addon Domains
* Unlimited FTP Accounts
CPanel/Fantastico (System Control Panel-Automated script installer-Update system)

Other than the hard drive space, it's actually greater than the VPForums server, and you can always get more space later.

The other way is a dedicated server, which will run a lot more in price, and of course, you need IT help to get it all set up.
 

shiva

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
Oh, forgot to mention this, but you can split the site onto 2 servers with this setup, one for the site, the second for the files. So if one goes down, the other will more than likely still operate. It's pretty tricky though, but possible.
 

Kinsey

Pinball Wizard
Not to be a negative nelly here.. but if say table downloads were not available at SS, what kind of bandwidth and server space would it use? (Recreations covered at irp, Flipperless at Pinball Nivrana, Originals at VPO, VPM at AJ's -- so Shivasite is kind of a mirror for tables)

I for one don't want to see shivasite die and I know a few people who deal with webhosting.
 

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
I agree completely with Miss K, I sure don't want to see shivaSite die, which is why the first week I was back online, I donated $25.00. While I don't know the money side of things now, when I was the shivaSite caretaker, we struggled to pay the server fee every month. to think that there aren't enough people willing to donate $5 or $10 dollars every few months to assure that shivaSite can stay afloat is sad.

As for Pinball Nirvana hosting VPM tables, I can't speak for JPH, but I doubt if he can afford the bandwidth needed to host them all. I could see hosting the newest tables for a brief time or a rotatig basis, but on the other hand, our focus is and I hope remains the flipperless and novelty tables only. I just don't see any one site being able to be all things to all people. But that decision isn't mine to make.

tiltjlp
 

bob

Add-a-ball specialist
Site Supporters
At the present time I see 4 private VP forums for 1 VP community. We call it a community, but I live in a community and it is not owned by anyone. I'd like to see a site develope or one of the existing sites become a REAL community, meaning one that isn't owned or controlled by ONE person. Let's face it, one person can't do it alone, he needs money and he needs help and he needs vacations.

I've always really liked VPF's setup, but I have never felt that AJ was involved enough with the community. Most of us regular posters, or the community as we are so called, never know what the hell is going on. The Loafer has been GREAT, I would even vote for him to be the "Mayor" of this new pinball community, but I'm not going to vocally or monetarially support a new forum that is owned and operated by one person and then call it a community. I don't like hearing, "this is my site and I'll do as I damn well please" when someone else is paying for it.

I think it's time for a change. I think it's time for us to become a REAL community. I think it's time for the FUN to return to pinball. I think we need a VP Board of Directors with regulated terms of service so they don't get burned out. I think they should be all men... J/K, I can't be 100% serious about anything. :)

I think people should post in this thread what they think should be done. Then... We should DO something... Together as a community and not as individuals or small groups. All of VP should be available at one site, it would be cheaper, convenient and maybe more exciting. We all want what's best for Visual Pinball, I say we come up with a plan and then together promote it to the community.

You got to admit... There are some pretty mouthy people who have already posted in this thread and if we got together with a plan, we could move a mountain :)
 

Kinsey

Pinball Wizard
I do agree with Bob that the community needs to be a community...

The only problem comes down to.. someone has to be contractually responsible for server bills. Most hosting providers aren't going to make a hosting contract with a "group" of people unless they are a company and licensed to do business.

However, as far as everything all inclusive on one site serving over a terabyte of data per month total (between the four major sites)... if the server goes down.. there goes the proverbial neighborhood. Plus the costs would be quite expensive to serve that much transfer. Probably in the area of $400-500 dollars a month.

On the other hand, if there was a member or members of the community that ran their own server hosting facilities that could toss up a server (similar to how hippie.net used to be), then it may be a reality to have it all in one place.
 

shiva

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
Nice idea Bob, but ruling by commitee never works, because all that happens is that commitee just sits and talks about every little change for weeks before they do anything. VPF is a prime example, a lot of the problems there could have been solved real fast, but evryone is so concerned about not appearing to be a nice guy, or not willing to make the decisions needed, instead, it's pass the buck to the admin, who of course is never around to make even the simplest decision, like the slots for downloads, or the fact that every member has to be pre approved, so one poor guy has to spend a lot of his spare time just looking over every membership. The main problem with VPF is there is no boss

There are also other problems there as well, but I can't betry the trust given to me about saying anything, but the entire place is one big mess. The other main reason is how many people do you know in this community that's able to handle the server end, updating the PHP, Apache, doing all the admin stuff at the server level, plus handle any admin work with the software backbone? On top of it, handles the operation of the site, handle the databasing and the MySQL, do the graphics and handles the site design, and most importantly, be willing to accept the legal/financial responsibility. Maybe a handful of people?

Well, it won't work. I am the admin of my site, but, I also value my staffs opinion, and will even change my policies if they feel it's the best for the site. When that "tough" decision needs to be made, they know I will be around to make it, that's my job, to make the choices even if I have to take a lot of heat for it. Committes don't make those kind of choices, they generally won't make those kind of choices, the best they ever can do is talk about it and give their recommendations, but it's still gonna need one person to take the action.
 

bob

Add-a-ball specialist
Site Supporters
I never really meant totally rule by comittee or totally rule by the community, I meant you can't have just one person who feels he's god and rules forever. I'm not saying that anyone is currently godlike, but you understand what I mean.

I used the term Board of directors because I think there are a few people who just wouldn't become a moderator (which includes me) but could be used in some compacity. The secret is to figure out a way to get donations and always have a surplus of money. In the beginning, this may require a board of directors who donate $5 a month :) and then maybe receive 1 vote per dollar donated :) but eventually you would hope the community would support itself and different people would be involved in the daily operation.

You say a decision takes forever, but not if the voting body is given a deadline, you just don't wait forever for them, 24 or 48 hours could be given at anytime for a vote. But really, how often is a vote needed anyway.

I'm really all for any system that works, but the present system seems to have some flaws and we need to kick around new ideas. I think the days of selling VPM tables for download is going to come to an end as far as supporting VPF.
 

shiva

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
Kinsey said:
Not to be a negative nelly here.. but if say table downloads were not available at SS, what kind of bandwidth and server space would it use? (Recreations covered at irp, Flipperless at Pinball Nivrana, Originals at VPO, VPM at AJ's -- so Shivasite is kind of a mirror for tables)

I for one don't want to see shivasite die and I know a few people who deal with webhosting.

If there are no table downloads, then why even bother having a site? The best solution would be to just close up shop, and I would be free to do other things for other communities then. I am willing to keep going, but it depends on what people want, or what they are gonna use.

The thing is, the main problem with shivaSite over the years has been because I relied on other people for the server level. Hippie was unfortunate, that couldn't be helped, but with every other situation, it was because it was a bad deal, the person didn't come through, the server was never set up properly, what ever. My fate has been held in other peoples hands, and I have been able to do nothing but watch as my name and site have been destroyed because of it. I've had a lot of really really nasty things happen to me by other people, and to be honest, I'm pretty fed up with it. It's affected my attitude, and though it is a little unfair, I also blame the community as well in certain matters.

It's very simple, despite what certain people will say, I have done as much as possible for this community, I've taken the "hits" instead of allowing the community to take them, and I've been kicked in the teeth for my efforts, all for the one reason, I love this community. I still love this community, even if this community doesn't love me back, and am still willing to help out as much as possible.

The only way I can see shivaSite ever becoming stable again is if I finally take control of handling the server and the server issues myself, instead of having to rely on someone else. But this also depends on the amount of support as well. Is it worth the effort to set up everything from scratch, new server, apache/php/mySQL, plus spend weeks setting up the appliances just to have no one use the site, no matter how much better it is (and I know it will be a lot better, the server I have selected is 3 times the speed of VPF servers, the latest generation of Apache/PHP etc updated every month, and it doesn't have the restrictions that VPF presently has)

If this is what you want, then I will do it, and make sure I have as much time as needed available to make it run as smoothly as possible. New site, new CMS (The one I have is limited, and appears to be too anti-leech for everyone's likeing, but at least I would have the option to change it now) and most importantly, backup at admin level so even if I am not around, there will be other people in place to fix problems like resetting the server if needed, etc.

It's more than money, it's time as well. It takes a lot of it to set it all up, and to do it right from the beginning (something I never had before either). It doesn't matter about files, I can just as easy set up a seperate file server with ftp if the members supported it, or just use a database that other people can input their downloads into so there's a centralized listing. But would there be a use for the site then, especially considering the time needed to set it up right from the get go, and to keep it operating as smoothly as possible?
 

StevOz

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
I think there will always be a use and need for shivasite, it is the best place to find the resources needed for VP table creation, without this resource VP can only stagnate and slowly die.

It is to our shame that shiva has taken any hits.

To question policy or decision should never involve character assisination, any case should stand on its own merits though reasoned debate and majority agreement.

I agree decisions need to be taken sometimes before consultation, though there are no death penalties here, so any decisions or policies can be changed, no need to get or be personal about it.

Above all keeping everybody informed and being patient is the key to the smooth running and continued growth of the community.

Thank you shiva, for your patience and support, without you we would all be the lesser.
 

Rockinghorse

Pinball Player
Hi All,

I know that this issue doesn't have a quick fix but if anyone is interested in having their tables hosted at VPO, we are willing to allow members to host their own tables through us and even have their own hosting address. We have discussed this at great lengths and the way we would be able to do this is by file sharing and having both sites VPO and "Pinballs by You" (or whatever) access the same files from the same server.

Also, at the risk of speaking prematurly, we have also discussed creating a new, stand alone, VPM forum site along the lines of "www.vp-originals.com/VPM". This is not set in concrete yet as we are in the process of setting up and testing some new software. BUT, once we are set in place with VP-O we can go that extra step. At this point in time, thanks to the generosity of Snarkpit, we have a broad spectrum for expansion. IF YOU THINK THIS VPM IDEA IS WORTHWHILE THEN PLEASE LET US KNOW.

Anyway, I think that if we can get a consortium of interested parties to a meeting point to discuss the issues it would be beneficial. Maybe find a chat room to use and get together at a given point in time. Just a thought.

Keep the thinking caps on guys, VP's heart rate is still strong.

CU

RH
 

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
Some very good points made here, but there are a few things to consider about having a committee run things. Each of the four forums have a distinct character and direction, which I think is healthy. Both Jon and I have put a lot of time and effort into Pinball Nirvana, and I like how we have grown and evolved.

In theory, if we were to become a "committee ruled site", just maybe it would be decided that flipperless and novelty tables don't have a large enough following to merit a site of their own. Sure, it won't ever happen, but in theory, it could. We ask for, receive, and listen to suggestions, and I feel that is the best approach. You're always going to have a few people dedicted enough to either start a new forum, or at least do the bulk of the work, and they should have the deciding factor in how that forum takes shape.

I think a VPM section to VPO would be great. Maybe having those tables available from several sites would lessen the burden on any one of those sites. I personally visit all four forums daily, and have donated to both VPF and shivaSite. And when I can afford it, I plan to support VPO. And if Jon should decide he needs to ask for donations here, I would hope there would be support for our site also. Since I download form all three other sites, I feel I have an obligation to help pay the freight.

As for a combined donation effort, I think that could be useful, if somehow we could generate enough income to at least defray a majority of costs for all the forums involved. But I do wonder how to determine how the funds would be divided, equally, by some Means Formula, or how?

As for a reliable chat area where first the leaders of the forums, and then any interested members could meet, I'll offer our two chatrooms, where we could set up a private room if needed.

Better cooperation surely can't hurt, but I don't want to see any one site become the Only forum, or labled the Official forum. I feel each forum has a lot to offer, and membership numbers shouldn't be the most important factor in any decision.

tiltjlp
 

shiva

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
Thanks all. I have put the process in place, and looking at stuff at the moment. We will all see what happens from there, but if there's any high level IT people out there who wish to give out advice on stuff like CPanel, image Magic and optimization, be nice to ask questions to. I have talked to a couple people I know (from the PHP-Nuke comunity) and they have pointed me to several things and programs like Fantastico and email programs with spam destroyer etc. The new software will be first rate, been boning up on it, and the servers are located at the The Planet, which are rated as the highest for dependability.

All that's left is for a email back from the person who handles the finances for my site, and to see if there's enough in the piggy bank. Actually K, the prices are quite resonable, it's just figuring out the high end stuff, and taking the time to do things properly from the beginning.

I also think that the 3 VP sites can work together a bit more, but the only problem I see is compatability on the systems used. If it works out, shivaSite will be very high end in terms of software, but will be very flexible as well. It can be set up I believe with seperate databases that are accessable from a mySQL level by people, so we actually may be able to have a single database so everyone can actually use it for their site, containing the downloads for all the sites, so tables for vpo and ss will be in one file, and be displayed on both sites. We will see, it means VPO can add their stuff, and it gets listed on both sites, and they would be able to backup and have copies as well any time they want. It really depends on server capabilities, and a friend who may be able to hack the scripts.

Since VPO is talking about VB, they would have to get rid of Mambo anyway then (They are not that compatable) I can point them to a proper CMS etc. I'm looking at a reseller account, though I have no intention to actually resell space or have other sites, it does open up the capability to do this, as I can set up a second domain just to contain databases and allow full acess to other people.

There's a lot of options, we could even try and hack the download scripts so we can have mirror sites listed as well with each file listing. This site would have to just add their listings, as it uses a completely different system and setup, but since John is also part of shivaSite, I'm sure it will be no problem with getting help on that from the rest of us. It's just typing after all.
 
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