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The Big Wipeout of 2022

Started by Zeus, 06-May-22, 07:37 PM

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Zeus

So... as you may have noticed, the forum went down in March * lol & big sigh *

What happened?

Been doing some troubleshooting and updating, trying to fix some recent (non-critical) issues. However, things went from bad to worse, sadly, when I decided to upgrade database management system.

Eventually, ended up hastily installing the whole new server OS - and in the process, managed to wipe out the whole server *crying angry face*

I spent following days reinstalling the server, and then went on to see how to salvage the forum itself.

I quickly started hitting more and more obstacles, as the forum we had was really old version, and it was also heavily modified and customised by me, little and bigger things I did to it back in 2013-2014, where I spent weeks and weeks making the forum what it eventually was until the wipeout.

The problem with the forum software being old was that the server now being on its current versions of everything, there were so many code incompatibilities, there was no way to fix everything without spending a month of nonstop work on it, quite literally. We had over 50 mods installed, most further modded to our needs and liking by me back in the day, and it would never work without some massive troubleshooting, updating, and never-ending tweaking. Plus, my skills became obsolete over the years, as did various forum modifications we were running on top of vanilla forum throughout the years.

The forum software version was also in need of an upgrade for quite some time, something I dreaded to do since I knew it would also break things down, as you need to have mods compatible and updated to the right forum software version, certain forum software version needs certain server software versions, the whole thing is quite fragile once you start changing any of it. But also security-wise, we needed to upgrade certain things a long time ago.

To cut it short. I could not restore the forum within the first week of work after the wipeout. The server was back up and running, but the forum itself was a big mess. I fell  behind with my regular job, so I had to stop. I put up the info message you guys saw, and had to go attend to my real life, as my family depends on me.

A month went by, I started to receive emails from you, wishing me all the best in forum recovery, expressing thanks and support. Some even offered to help with the forum revival, citing web development experience. I want to thank all of you for your nice words as well as help offers. It means a lot to me. In April, I finally decided to take a helping hand from one of HQ members with some server/web experience. And even though it led to no progress, it's still appreciated.

Anyway, I got in touch with the forum software makers last week, and they pointed me in the right direction. After another week of researching, hair-pulling, troubleshooting, and doing my best, I restored the forum. Now, mind you, it is now in its vanilla state. All our own tweaks, enhancements, forum modifications, are gone (both visual as well as functional things), as are all our image attachments posted since about 2015 onward (I had NAS crash recently so forum files' backup got damaged).

We do have all of our posts and topics, though, did not lose a single one (did a database backup just before the wipeout), and that's the most important, I guess. I mean, I really did not want to start over with an empty forum, losing all our history.

OK, so what we have now, functionality-wise, is the forum updated to the latest version, that has, however, nothing else we had installed on top of it before. That means no customised visual theme and none of all those dozens of tweaks to improve functionality. Namely, for example, the karma system, something I know a lot of you guys liked, is now gone:(( The forum software makers decided to abandon it, sadly. Not sure what to do about that. We could either raise money to have it custom build for our forum by one of the forum coders who specialize in making custom mods, or wait and hope someone will make it one day again for this latest forum version.

All the other mods and tweaks we had before, I most likely will not have time to work on getting 'em all back. Some are no longer updated (by the mod creators) to work with the latest forum version, some are very time consuming to install or modify to our needs; but if I can find someone knowledgable & trustworthy willing to take this job on, that's an option, and another is to pay one of the forum support coders to have him/her do the work required. I will try to look into what mods are compatible with our current forum version (2.1.1.), or you can look as well here. If it doesn't end up taking too much time, I will install some as we go on. For example, it'd be nice to have the image attachment handling and inline image displaying we had before, that was a mod or two to make it happen, I dislike how image attachments are handled in the vanilla forum state, etc.

Speaking of images, as mentioned, we lost something like 100 000 images. Basically all images from about 2015 until present are gone. Only the ones between the forum's initial years of 2012 - 2014 got restored, so about 20 000 got saved. So it would help if you went at least to your latest posts where the image attachments are now missing and reuploaded 'em again, so your posts don't look so bare to others and provide the intended image information. But overall, image loss is not critical.

What I really didn't want to do was to start over fresh, losing all our posts and topics you guys made over the years. As that is the forum's soul and its legacy. I mean, it's not like we're writing novels here with each post, lol, but restarting with a blank forum was simply only the very last option in my head, as I would have felt like I let you guys down then.


You can also help by reporting any bugs or problems or nuisances you spot as you use the forum. I contemplated whether to spend another weekend testing some more if all the basic forum things are working, but did not want to delay forum re-opening any longer, as you guys waited long enough. If something critical is still happening, I'll put forum back offline to hopefully fix it.
So please report bugs or share suggestions either in this topic or via PM.

Thank you guys once again for your patience and for all your contributions you made over the years to make this place quite a unique & special gathering spot on those crazy internets, for those quite a unique & special interests of ours... 8)

And as I wrote before.. while the forum may have been a labour of love in the beginning, attending it means loss of income in my paid work, so I hope you understand I did my best under the circumstances. Cheers, guys!

Yours truly, Zeus

lazerblu

Just a big thanks for all your efforts restoring the forum.

It's good to be back.  ;D

DR

Great to see the forum back...YAY! :) Thank you, Zeus!

Portifoy

So happy you brought it back, even though it was 2 months it felt like 2 years. Thanks Zeus.

Btee

OMG, so good to be back. Thanks Zeus and everyone involved to bring this forum back to life

I will start uploading and get some new content in the HQ area

marsmen

Thank you to everyone who managed to bring the forum back. Especially you Zeus. ^^^ Cheers ^^ ;D  ;D  ;D

ChicagoAlan

It was so great seeing the forum back again.  Hi again everybody.
Thanks to Zeus for all his hard work. 

magicstar

Hello and many many thanks for all your efforts and for bringing the forum back to life and putting us all together again. Our shared passion has created friendships and it is really great to have the honour to be with you again!!

Randy

Tomorrow is my birthday, this is the best present  ;D
Big thanks to Zeus and all the others for your hard work. Welcome back squeezequeens !!!

RBAP

Amazing effort! Many thanks for all your work!

watoss

god bless- glad we're back online!

wrestling_pi

It's really great to see the forum back up and running, many thanks to Zeus and all the people who put work into it!

Nadf00

Thank you Zeus for all of your hard work in updating and restoring this forum.  We are sure glad that it's back.  Squeezequeens is incomparable, there is nothing else even close.  Thank you again sir.

gbs1

Many Many Thanks Zeus for all your incredible hard work and and effort to bring this fantastic forum back again. :)
Ahh man.. Great to see everyone back again  :clap1:  :yip: 

IGOR

Great Work..Thanks. :brv:

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