Database dance party
So. That happened.
For those of you who missed the details, our database decided it didn't want to play anymore. It's possible that this was due to hackers, but it might (more likely) just be lots of use and settings and software that weren't really as 'established' and secure when we set up the site as they would be today. I've mostly done upgrades on the fly, without taking the site down and in the five plus years we've been running Joomla on Google platforms, the site has only been offline (before this) for a total of about ten hours.. split between two occasions. That's not a bad track record... but its also a LOT of work for a mostly unmaintained database.
I've been taking snapshots (not unlike a backup, but done with virtual machines) and doing backups... but whatever instabilities resulted in db failure evidently go back long enough that many of the recent restore points were also unstable or didn't run. So we had to go all the way back to June to get a good restore.
This isn't as catastrophic as it might have been back when we weren't using Discord and had a lot more regular 'foot' traffic on the site and in the forums... but for much of 2020, site traffic has been slow and we've posted a lot of non-canon material. So... not too much lost in critical feedback and discussion of canon stories. No losses on canon and library stories. Unfortunately, though, I'm sure that some of our WhatIF authors will have things they posted to the forums or into WhatIF that they are going to have to reload on their own because we don't (yet) have backups of that info to post.
Of course, that could change... now that we've got a site back up (and the canon/library stories reloaded), I'll spend some time with those unstable restore files and see if I can keep them functional long enough to repair the database. If I do that, I might manage to get everything down to only a day or two lost, because I DO have snapshot that i took right before the database failed hard. So we'll see. And, of course, there's always google archives and the wayback machine. Both might be able to fill in blanks with a little patient digging.
In the upcoming months, I wouldn't be surprised to see the database fail again. My goal before that is to get us moved over to a far newer VM stack with far more modern fixtures and admin tools, with https and some other improved features. We'll keep everyone up to date as that timeline rolls by. Thanks for your patience... and don't forget to donate via Patreon if you can.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you registered for the site since June, I'm sorry but you'll have to do so again. Same if you are a WhatIF author who got promoted in the past six months. Catch me on Discord with a PM or shoot me an email and I'll get it done asap, but my brain cells don't work well enough atm to remember exactly who all this might apply to. Except Jules. Jules is promoted to WhatIF author... this is in my brain because promoting her the other day was the LAST thing that was done prior to the DB failing. So we KNOW it was her fault. :P
Sorry again folks.