Tweaks and changes to the new forum

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Angelfish
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Re: Tweaks and changes to the new forum

Post by Angelfish » Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:12 pm

Once again there are words being spoken with different tongues ;). From what has been said in the past it only appeared that there was a hunch that the SMF malfunctioning was caused by data corruption due to the migration from the old Yabb forum. It was never confirmed by the SMF experts, nor by anyone in this thread.
And then, suddenly, the SMF database is busted, broken, destroyed and finito. Ofcourse I don't get the facts right if during the course of the thread they seem to change, depending on who's talking :).

In my opinion migrating the SMF database to the phpBB database might fix any possible data corruption that's there, and that's something that I'd like to test, or see tested. If you don't understand anything about database administration, let me explain it to you in a different way... SMF and phpBB are comparable to the engine in your car. If you constantly feed the SMF engine the wrong fuel (data), your engine (forum) might stop working properly in a future. Eventually the engine stops running. But replacing it with a new engine that has a higher acceptance for the fuel that you're throwing into it, might prevent any future engine corruption.. and I think that it's a cheaper option than trying to revise the old (SMF) engine to working order again and accept the 'non-standard' fuel..
You see, data doesn't corrupt by itself, it's always external sources like a forum or even worse, server side disk corruption that causes this. In this case we can only hope that the forum was doing the corruption, because if there's really something wrong at the server side, we may have to go to the king and tell him that the sky is falling in..

Ofcourse, it's easy shouting from the sideline like me, 'de beste stuurlui staan aan wal', as we say over here, but given the fact that I was still in the process of figuring out whether or not you even want the old posts to be here, I take a bit of offense to that statement.

And, looking at the posting that Eth made, it's quite clear that the option of migrating was considered a non or non-feasible possibility.. But I've given you some tools to work with.

Should you not be able to figure this out, I'm happy to help. But then I really need access to the old SMF database to see what our options are...

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Eth
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Re: Tweaks and changes to the new forum

Post by Eth » Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:41 am

Angelfish wrote:Once again there are words being spoken with different tongues ;). From what has been said in the past it only appeared that there was a hunch that the SMF malfunctioning was caused by data corruption due to the migration from the old Yabb forum. It was never confirmed by the SMF experts, nor by anyone in this thread.
And then, suddenly, the SMF database is busted, broken, destroyed and finito. Ofcourse I don't get the facts right if during the course of the thread they seem to change, depending on who's talking :).
Sorry about the confusion. AFAIK, there's no knowledge about the cause of the data corruption. We're reasonably certain that the problems with the SMF board were caused by some sort of corruption in the database, as Luki stated, though.
In my opinion migrating the SMF database to the phpBB database might fix any possible data corruption that's there, and that's something that I'd like to test, or see tested. If you don't understand anything about database administration, let me explain it to you in a different way... SMF and phpBB are comparable to the engine in your car. If you constantly feed the SMF engine the wrong fuel (data), your engine (forum) might stop working properly in a future. Eventually the engine stops running. But replacing it with a new engine that has a higher acceptance for the fuel that you're throwing into it, might prevent any future engine corruption.. and I think that it's a cheaper option than trying to revise the old (SMF) engine to working order again and accept the 'non-standard' fuel..
You see, data doesn't corrupt by itself, it's always external sources like a forum or even worse, server side disk corruption that causes this. In this case we can only hope that the forum was doing the corruption, because if there's really something wrong at the server side, we may have to go to the king and tell him that the sky is falling in..
I agree with you. It's worth a try, in my opinion. We'll see what Chad thinks.

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Re: Tweaks and changes to the new forum

Post by Scott Irving » Fri Mar 26, 2010 3:19 am

I think it's worth a try but as far as I knew it wasn't possibly, till you pointed out this converter (which i have uploaded to our server). Well except for some kind super tedious manual convert.
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Re: Tweaks and changes to the new forum

Post by Lukipela » Fri Mar 26, 2010 7:25 am

First off, I wasn't saying that you're just sitting around talking. I was saying that it is easy to do that, but that you went out and actually looked for a solution. So the opposite actually. I respect that you care enough about the issue to go out and look for solutions, even if I still think you're looking for the solutions to the wrong thing. That's why I gave you the opportunity to do what IMO is the only reasonable way to bring the old database around without risking harm to the forum.

I think it demonstrates how poorly we understand the problem quite aptly here that there are several slightly varying answers to your questions in this thread. In the interest of clarity, I'll repeat the facts one more time, followed by my personal risk assesment. Anyone is free to disgaree with the risk/gain ratios I see of course, but in the end it's a question of what Chad thinks. It's his forum.

1. Migrating the board from the Gamespy server to the current server did not solve any problems. That makes it seem likely that it isn't a server issue.
2. Creating a new SMF forum on the current server had it working fine. Again, this indicates that the server is fine
3. Importing the old database to the new forum caused the exact same type of problems to appear. This implies that something is wrong with the database.
4. Shopping around for solutions on the SMF forum yeilded some help, but nothing substantial. In the end, we found ourselves in a situation where we'd have to give access to a total stranger and probably pay him without any guarantee that the problem could be fixed

At this stage, we decided to switch software. Migrating the old database wasn't discussed. I assumed that was because everyone agreed that importing a borken database is a silly thing to do. But maybe not.

Like I said before, I appreciate that you feel strongly about this. But you're essentially just offering the same solution over and over. Migrate the old database to the test forum and see how it works. You're completely ignoring the fact that we don't know what to look for. Migrating it over might work splendidly. It might solve the problem completely. But there is no way to know that within the next five years or so.

To use your analogy, we switched out the Yabb engine for the SMF engine. the engine ran fine at first, but after some time it started developing all sorts of mechanical problems. We tried putting in a new engine with the old fuel, but that engine didn't even run fine for a little while, it started smoking right off the bat. Now you're suggesting that we put the same possibly tainted fuel in the phpBB engine. In doing so, we run the risk of seeing the same issue as in the SMF engine. We don't know what is wrong with the fuel, so we don't know how soon will see any possible flaws. And that's a big risk, especially considering the small gain.

I work with oil. If a hydrogen tretament unit shuts down because of a system failure, we don't just stick something new in there and hope it works. Even if the new system might hold for a week or a year, it could eventually fail. We find out what caused the failure first, then act according to that.

And I think the same holds true here. Until we understand what is wrong in the database it does not make sense to transfer it. It might work, but if the same error repeats itself we will be forced to migrate again in another five years. And without knowing what that error is, we can't say how probable such an issue is. On the other hand, if you can find a source that Chad would be willing to hand over the old database to and who can tell us "This is the problem, it won't affect the new forum" then I will drop my current projects (CYOA's, games, site updates and whatnot) and focus on moving the old material over with your help. Sound fair?

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Re: Tweaks and changes to the new forum

Post by Draxas » Fri Mar 26, 2010 4:35 pm

Lukipela wrote:...then I will drop my current projects (CYOA's, games, site updates and whatnot) and focus on moving the old material over with your help. Sound fair?
:(

I don't think anyone wants you to drop everything for this. I know I certainly don't.

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Re: Tweaks and changes to the new forum

Post by Eth » Fri Mar 26, 2010 6:13 pm

Lukipela wrote:And I think the same holds true here. Until we understand what is wrong in the database it does not make sense to transfer it. It might work, but if the same error repeats itself we will be forced to migrate again in another five years.
I think that this is unlikely. When we installed the old database into the test forum it started acting-up almost immediately. Also, one of the reasons we switched to PhpBB is because there is better support.

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Re: Tweaks and changes to the new forum

Post by Angelfish » Fri Mar 26, 2010 6:47 pm

A database, when properly maintained, fundamentally can't corrupt itself. It's the software that handles the database that introduces (the appearance of) corruption and causes unexpected behaviour. This can be caused by two things..
1) The SMF software writes malicious data to the database.
2) The SMF software interprets the data in the database wrongly, and by storing that data again in a slightly different way. Expecting differently typed fields can cause this. For example, you write 'perkele', but the forum software can only handle 4 characters, so it gets stored as 'perk'.

If we migrate the database to phpBB, who knows what will happen. But having both SMF and phpBB write malicious data to the database, is unlikely. The second scenario could happen, if SMF and phpBB are both not 'compatible' with the old YABB data. But since there have been a lot of conversions between Yabb and phpBB, I don't really expect to see much problems. But IF that's the case, then the forum won't corrupt over the course of a few years, but the corruption will immediately be visible.

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Re: Tweaks and changes to the new forum

Post by Lukipela » Sun Mar 28, 2010 7:10 pm

Angelfish wrote: If we migrate the database to phpBB, who knows what will happen. But having both SMF and phpBB write malicious data to the database, is unlikely.
Like I said, you don't have to agree with my risk assessment. If you and Eth want to play around with the database and see what happens on the test forum, knock yourselves out. I'm not going to sacrifice any time on a problem that none of us understand. But if you move to transfer it to the live forum without being able to explain why this won't cause the same problem as last time, I'll oppose you all the way. Though in the end it's Chad's decision of course.

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Re: Tweaks and changes to the new forum

Post by Zeracles » Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:56 am

Good start, just adding my list -
Rider wrote:Smileys - I'd like to see the old ones used, I personally don't care much for this set.
Mmm, this set probably tries a bit too hard, but some are alright. Maybe we can just enlarge this set to include the SMF ones?
Frumple wrote:I also wouldn't mind someone more talented than me working on the header graphic :D There is just way way too much wasted space up there.
Link to the site.
Angelfish wrote:I want all the old board's posts placed here too.. Don't like this 'fresh start', we've had enough of those in the past and so many things were lost back then.. :'(
I would also like this, but as mentioned it's probably too much work. However, it might be worth placing a link to the old forum somewhere in a not-too-obscure location on the board index.

Also, I've noticed that
Zeracles wrote:phpBB doesn't seem to offer a good way of resizing images with height or width arguments in img tags, like SMF did :x
A quick search found this mod which is apparently easy to implement.

Finally (for now), megatext is not very mega. We really need marquee, or at least strikethrough.

And while you're at it, blink.
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Angelfish
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Re: Tweaks and changes to the new forum

Post by Angelfish » Wed Mar 31, 2010 5:05 am

Lukipela wrote:
Angelfish wrote: If we migrate the database to phpBB, who knows what will happen. But having both SMF and phpBB write malicious data to the database, is unlikely.
Like I said, you don't have to agree with my risk assessment. If you and Eth want to play around with the database and see what happens on the test forum, knock yourselves out. I'm not going to sacrifice any time on a problem that none of us understand. But if you move to transfer it to the live forum without being able to explain why this won't cause the same problem as last time, I'll oppose you all the way. Though in the end it's Chad's decision of course.
Being able to explain this won't cause the same problem as last time is as hard as being able to explain why the world will not come to a end in 2012.. there's always a slight possibility that something else goes wrong, but I believe I've already outlined why, if we make a succesful conversion without the appearance of corrupted data, the corruption is not likely to return.

In short:
Data doesn't corrupt by itself, it's the software that handles the data that causes the corruption. I don't see how phpBB would be able to corrupt the data in the same way as SMF did, since they are 2 completely different forums.

But, first things first, let's see if such a conversion is possible. If it works correctly, we can show Chad the possibilities and let him make a decision.

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