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Important Upcoming Changes to Site


RadioRob
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There are a few important changes that are in the works that I wanted to let the community know about so that there are no surprises and that you can properly plan for them.  

  1. Sometime before the end of the year (most likely in November), there is going to be an update to the Invision Power Board (IPB) software which will require users to login with their email address instead of their display name.  This means if you have to login to the site, you would type in your email address to access the site once that update is applied.  Once logged in, your email address will not be shown anywhere.  You current username will continue to be used once logged into the site to view and post.    
     
  2. With the October release of IPB, it will introduce a new feature that allows admins to prune older private messages that have not had any replies within a certain amount of time.  We currently have over 1M private messages exchanged by users going back for 20 years.  This takes up over 1000MB of space within the site's database.  I plan to use the new feature to prune messages that have not been replied to within 5 years.  If you have older private messages that are important for you (for sentimental purposes or contain helpful information), please be sure to save an offline copy for yourself.  You could also simply just reply to the message again so that it has recent activity.  That would automatically exclude it from being pruned.
     
  3. As part of my resiliency planning, I've been trying to figure out how the site would continue to operate if something happened to me.  We've seen what happened when Daddy died...  if we don't have someone who understands how to run a website and how to maintain the IPB software, we could find ourselves in a bad place.  Finding people that understand all of this is difficult if not impossible.  As a result, I've been focused on how to remove this dependancy.  My plan is to have the site moved to being hosted by Invision itself.  They would take care of all of the underlying server technology and ensure the platform is compatible with the software.  Any updates could be applied from the Admin area of the site without needing to understand about the rest of the stuff under the hood.  Sometime before the end of the year (most likely in November), I will need to schedule a day or two to take the site offline for the migration to ensure we don't lose any data from the time I start the export until the time it's migrated and restored.  Having Invision host the site is somewhat more expensive than what we're doing today, but I think it's a critical step to ensure the site's continued operations should I get hit by a bus or something similar.  

I don't have specific dates yet for the above changes.  The first two changes are dependent on the IPB software being released and me being able to test them successfully before applying.  The last change will need to be coordinated with the Invision hosting team to make sure they have someone available on their side to handle the import after I finish exporting our data.  

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask below.  

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32 minutes ago, Coolwave35 said:

Out of curiosity can you read private messages? 

There is not a button to just randomly view someone's PMs.  With that being said however, all of the messages are stored in the site mySQL database.  So in that regard, it is possible.  However it's not easy and it's not pretty.  I would have to:

  • Find the right table in the mySQL database
  • Figure out the user ID of the person I'm trying to investigate
  • Filter results to only to that ID (which would show all replies across every single message ever sent)
  • If there are multiple conversations, figure out which one is the one needed and filter the results again to that conversation.  
  • Convert the raw HTML to readable text
  • Do the above for each reply in the PM.
  • Assemble each reply together in order based on post ID to understand the full conversation. 

Now... if a PM is reported, moderators can view the entire conversation.  So if you (or anyone else in that conversation) report a PM... not only is that single reply available to moderators, but also the full thread that went along with it.

In terms of knowing how many private messages are sent, etc... those sorts of high level statistics are available within the AdminCP.

image.jpeg

You might remember when we first moved from Xenforo to IPB...  the night we did the conversion, it took almost 5 HOURS for the system to convert all of the old PMs that we had!  Luckily the conversion is a one time thing.  But with the huge number of messages that we have that have not been touched in literally DECADES, we're hauling around a lot of old technical debt when we move the site, or when we perform nightly backups.  (It could take a minute or so off of the backup time overnight each night by reducing the database size for example.)

 

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4 hours ago, RadioRob said:

You might remember when we first moved from Xenforo to IPB...

I'm rather new here.  When was this conversion done?  Once in a while, I'll see, "If you look at this old thread...", but then then link is dead.  That's not a complaint.  I know what/why, but just wondered when the conversion happened, so I don't bother when I see things from the old software.

As a former Mod, on another site, I know you often go unthanked, so, "Thank you!"

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5 hours ago, RadioRob said:

There are a few important changes that are in the works that I wanted to let the community know about so that there are no surprises and that you can properly plan for them.  

  1. Sometime before the end of the year (most likely in November), there is going to be an update to the Invision Power Board (IPB) software which will require users to login with their email address instead of their display name.  This means if you have to login to the site, you would type in your email address to access the site once that update is applied.  Once logged in, your email address will not be shown anywhere.  You current username will continue to be used once logged into the site to view and post.    
     
  2. With the October release of IPB, it will introduce a new feature that allows admins to prune older private messages that have not had any replies within a certain amount of time.  We currently have over 1M private messages exchanged by users going back for 20 years.  This takes up over 1000MB of space within the site's database.  I plan to use the new feature to prune messages that have not been replied to within 5 years.  If you have older private messages that are important for you (for sentimental purposes or contain helpful information), please be sure to save an offline copy for yourself.  You could also simply just reply to the message again so that it has recent activity.  That would automatically exclude it from being pruned.
     
  3. As part of my resiliency planning, I've been trying to figure out how the site would continue to operate if something happened to me.  We've seen what happened when Daddy died...  if we don't have someone who understands how to run a website and how to maintain the IPB software, we could find ourselves in a bad place.  Finding people that understand all of this is difficult if not impossible.  As a result, I've been focused on how to remove this dependancy.  My plan is to have the site moved to being hosted by Invision itself.  They would take care of all of the underlying server technology and ensure the platform is compatible with the software.  Any updates could be applied from the Admin area of the site without needing to understand about the rest of the stuff under the hood.  Sometime before the end of the year (most likely in November), I will need to schedule a day or two to take the site offline for the migration to ensure we don't lose any data from the time I start the export until the time it's migrated and restored.  Having Invision host the site is somewhat more expensive than what we're doing today, but I think it's a critical step to ensure the site's continued operations should I get hit by a bus or something similar.  

I don't have specific dates yet for the above changes.  The first two changes are dependent on the IPB software being released and me being able to test them successfully before applying.  The last change will need to be coordinated with the Invision hosting team to make sure they have someone available on their side to handle the import after I finish exporting our data.  

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask below.  

Oh 😥 I hope that @RadioRobstays healthy. This site is really well put together. 
thanks for all your work. I wish I knew coding ir something to help. 
be well

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14 minutes ago, FreshFluff said:

@RadioRob Thanks for all you do. I can see why you want to reduce site's data load. Would you give us more time to go through our PMs? I PM maybe once every few weeks, but over time, I've accumulated a lot of threads. 

The IPB software most likely won’t be released until late October.  Once the functionality is there, my goal is to give another few weeks. That means the change most likely won’t be until November. 

Part of my goal from posting this now when I first learned of the upcoming feature was to help give people lead time to prepare. 

How long are you potentially looking for?

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54 minutes ago, RadioRob said:

The IPB software most likely won’t be released until late October.  Once the functionality is there, my goal is to give another few weeks. That means the change most likely won’t be until November. 

Part of my goal from posting this now when I first learned of the upcoming feature was to help give people lead time to prepare. 

How long are you potentially looking for?

Thanks for the reply, Rob. Late November or December should work. 

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I leafed through my saved messages yesterday and found posters whom I can no longer remember, posters who are long deceased, and topics that left me baffled. I save too much old communication as it is (I still have a huge box of personal letters I received when I was in college, before computers were invented), so I probably won't miss much if you clean out the files.

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1 hour ago, InterestingGuy said:

It’s been many years since I originally joined this site - and quite frankly, I don’t remember which email address I provided when I joined. 
 

How do I find out which email address you have for me?

I sent you a PM with that.  You can also simply look at your profile where it's listed.

Kevin Slater

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I just noticed today a request to confirm my email for this board, which I did. It was at the bottom of scrolling through topic headings. I have no idea what my password is because the board opens when prompted according to my handle and the password is never truly requested so my memory fails me. So, a bit confused. After the change, in which I think I enter my email rather than click on my handle when prompted, will I need the password or will the board similarly open by default without the password? 

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On 10/3/2022 at 5:01 AM, SirBillybob said:

I just noticed today a request to confirm my email for this board, which I did. It was at the bottom of scrolling through topic headings. I have no idea what my password is because the board opens when prompted according to my handle and the password is never truly requested so my memory fails me. So, a bit confused. After the change, in which I think I enter my email rather than click on my handle when prompted, will I need the password or will the board similarly open by default without the password? 

It sounds like you are saying you clicked the option in your browser to save your logon and password for this site?  If so, you should be able to look into your browser's settings to find your password.  For example, under Firefox:

Click the three horizontal lines in the top right corner.

Select Settings.

Select Privacy and Security.

Select Saved Logons.

In the search box, search for this site.

Click the eyeball icon next to your obscured password to see what it is.

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On 10/3/2022 at 8:01 AM, SirBillybob said:

I just noticed today a request to confirm my email for this board, which I did. It was at the bottom of scrolling through topic headings. I have no idea what my password is because the board opens when prompted according to my handle and the password is never truly requested so my memory fails me. So, a bit confused. After the change, in which I think I enter my email rather than click on my handle when prompted, will I need the password or will the board similarly open by default without the password? 

You can reset your password to one you would currently remember.  To do so, click on your user name at the top of a page, then select Account Settings from the pop-up menu.  From the settings screen, you can reset the password.

Once you reset the password, you will need to use it the next time you log in.  

image.thumb.png.a7bd2b354e5aa32b8e16de9d52d7ac71.png

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The widget on the homepage was actually added before IPB made the announcements about moving to email address as login factor.  I added that widget because we have a large amount of email for private message notifications that are bouncing.  

People signup with an email address and over the years switch to using something else.  However in many cases, that is not updated here...  meaning when someone sends you a PM, we can't let you know.  It also means if you ever lose your password...  we can't send you a link to self-service reset your password.  

So I was simply trying to add a non-intrusive way of asking people to make sure we can reach them if we need to.  

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My question has not been answered. I received 3 seemingly differently worded suggestions. I cannot think of a better way to ask it. Can’t somebody simply indicate what exactly I will need to do, if anything? Never heard of Firefox. I know what my email for the board account is. I use Google as my browser. I have never learned to change a password for any application. I have in the past retrieved forgotten passwords but due to the graciousness of related systems. Please use simple language and apply it to the Google platform. I have 12 years of university but nothing in IT. If mastering unfamiliar tech is the price of membership I will likely just drop out due to diminishing returns. Probably best if RadioRob manages this, keeping it to one person using one tech jargon format. 

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2 minutes ago, SirBillybob said:

My question has not been answered. I cannot think of a better way to ask it. Can’t somebody simply indicate what exactly I will need to do, if anything? Never heard of Firefox. I know what my email for the board account is. I use Google as my browser. I have never learned to change a password for any application. I have in the past retrieved forgotten passwords but due to the graciousness of related systems. Please use simple language and apply it to the Google platform. I have 12 years of university but nothing in IT. If mastering unfamiliar tech is the price of membership I will likely just drop out due to diminishing returns. 

There are three changes that I mentioned.  

#1 -- Eventually when you login to the website, instead of using your display name, you'll use your email address.  However that's still awhile away.  As we get closer, I'll post more information about it.

#2 -- If you have any old PMs that are older than 5 years that are important to you, you might want to print them off or email them to yourself.  Again, the exact timeframe for this to happen is still being worked out.  It won't happen until after Thanksgiving so there is still plenty of time. 

#3 -- Nothing at all you need to do.  Just more informational that sometime before the end of the year, I'll need to take the site offline for a few days to move it.  

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Just now, RadioRob said:

There are three changes that I mentioned.  

#1 -- Eventually when you login to the website, instead of using your display name, you'll use your email address.  However that's still awhile away.  As we get closer, I'll post more information about it.

#2 -- If you have any old PMs that are older than 5 years that are important to you, you might want to print them off or email them to yourself.  Again, the exact timeframe for this to happen is still being worked out.  It won't happen until after Thanksgiving so there is still plenty of time. 

#3 -- Nothing at all you need to do.  Just more informational that sometime before the end of the year, I'll need to take the site offline for a few days to move it.  

Thanks, better. I don’t care about PM Hx. 

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The email address on my profile is one I don't use anymore.  I'm ok continuing to use it for this site but I don't remember my password (for the email) so I can't sign in on the account to get any mail.   Will I need to switch to another email address?

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2 hours ago, Buddy15 said:

The email address on my profile is one I don't use anymore.  I'm ok continuing to use it for this site but I don't remember my password (for the email) so I can't sign in on the account to get any mail.   Will I need to switch to another email address?

You don’t HAVE to, but I would HIGHLY recommend using an email address you can access. This allows you to receive critical emails from us such as password reset emails, etc. It also allows you to choose to receive notifications of certain kinds of messages such as PMs or replies to certain topics. 

Also if we get bounced emails from your old address, the system will force you to update the email on file. This is to prevent our mail account from being blacklisted due to too many bounces. 

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