Growing Pains @ Threadwatch


Im sure some of you have noticed that we're having a few server issues -- namely MySQL maxing out on is. Funny, it's not that big a site really, so you'd think my shared hosting plan would do the job, apparently not.

Im not sure what to do about that yet, but will most likely email one of the kind chaps who offered us a box when we switched from Brian's servers. Hang in there, it won't happen today.

Other Stuff

You might have noticed that i've been somewhat AWOL this last week also. It's partly due to simple time issues -- im in the middle of another project, and the early days are the toughest, but, it's partly deliberate also. Let me explain a bit..

In order for Threadwatch to continue to work, it needs to be less dependent on me posting. In order to get to a state where that works, (ie. we're getting some good stories posted to the homepage and all have some fun stuff to discuss) we're going to have to go through the pain barrier i think.

I don't think i can do a lot more to the site in order to encourage folks to post, so by not posting myself, or at least posting far less frequently it rather forces the issue.

Whether or not this is a good idea remains to be seen :)


If we manage to ride this period out, I think we'll grow, and change for the better, but it could be tough, and i don't think there's much getting away from that, though im open to suggestion of course.

In an ideal world, this is where i'd like TW to be next year:

  • To have a good few posts of quality going up to the homepage daily
  • To redesign, the present form does not fit the next item
  • To lose the ads -- not be entirely ad free, but try as i might, and despite them working well, advertisers are just too afraid of the [adv] threads you know? I'd like to put in a small ppc link unit in posts where folks that want to get your attention can do, in a manner they're more comfy with.
  • To possibly put in a "post vote" system to vote which stories make the homepage -- if i can weight it so that I and editors have a bit more say, or can bypass, we still keep the editorial slant, whilst actually giving some control of the homepage to those that read threadwatch.

Your thoughts welcomed

If i was sure what i was going to do, i'd not have posted this, hence the above title -- let me know what you think, im all ears!


I don't post much here, but

I don't post much here, but I stop by everyday and read, I promise :)

Anyway, if the only problem is a MYSQL issue, it's probably moreso errors in the syntax than actual server load.


Maybe just ban all bots.


Voting never worked on my sites just led to mob rule.

MySQL and Pair

I know everyone loves Pair, but I've got 2 sites there that regularly have MySQL problems, and they're not big sites (therefore on shared). Pair look at things for a couple of days, usually come back with 'we've removed a couple of accounts for doing something they shouldn't', and things settle for a while.

Last time this happened I had a mini tantrum and they moved us to another server (just the MySQL) - been fine since then. Although still not as fast as I'd expect.

Nick - Have you really

Nick - Have you really experienced issues with the [adv] threads... I was about to switch SEOmoz over to that system - being envious of your great idea as I am.

Why are folks gunshy? Just pricing?


Threadwatch isn't a huge site in terms of diskspace and bandwidth, but it can be very demanding, especially in bursts.

What it really needs is good access to processor resources - probably a reseller plan at minimum, though you may find a VPS solution is a good middle ground before a dedicated server.

A VPS will at least provide you with a specific share of processor resources on top of space and bandwidth, and allow you more direct control of the server processes themselves.

In terms of future development - you may find that Drupal isn't up to the task if the databases get too large, but that may be another story.

Also - as for you and Threadwatch - sorry, Nick, but you are :)


Nick i have always thought of threadwatch has you blog !!and to be honest no offence to the Editors... I come he to read you no one else


threadwatch - nick = just another forum

i think DaveN and Brian hit on a key point -- the big differentiator and appeal of TW was that it was pretty much nick's blog, with the occassional post from someone else, and a lot of good commenting. this meant that TW was a community with a *proactive* leader, not just a forum with an admin/mod that made sure order was kept. this is what made TW so appealing, IMO, and without a dedicated and committed leader, i think TW stands a very good chance of becoming just another forum, and the age old problem of the tragedy of the commons will rear its ugly head: there will be visitors looking to come, learn, and take information, but not nearly as many will be interested in giving quality information.

to incentivize quality contributions, maybe opening up the blog element of drupal would be powerful -- people will feel like blogging on TW is their chance to reach a key audience. you could even charge for this if you wanted to, or split the cost of running TW among the bloggers. perhaps bloggers would have to apply for the right to blog on TW to weed out those that are deemed crappy. presumably there is some some way to tie this into performancing?

ultimately, i think a significant change is needed if nick is to take a less active role, and if TW is to continue growing.

anyway, just my 2 cents.

threadwatch-nick = !threadwatch

I agree it's about Nick. I yawn everytime he's busy somewhere else. I may be listed as an "editor" but there hasn't been any formality to it... if anyone asked I would have said the same thing. It's about Nick's voice, which fills a void out there in the search world.

All Taken On Board

Well, whenever i explore this topic it's always the same, and that's cool, it just means that im wrong and everyone else is right, which is nothing new :)

I went as far as to tell the editors i was going to close TW tonight, but after a long chat with both JasonD, DaveN and Aaron, have been persuaded that there are other ways of keeping threadwatch, lessing the workload enough to allow me to do some other things aswell, AND keeping a good community together.

Not that it will be easy, but it appears doable.

Im afraid i've not been sleeping, and i tend to get a bit stressed and "reactive" in that state you know? (robyn is teething, badly)

Anyway, the upshot of tonights conversations is that for now, Aaron has kindly agreed to help me keep up with some of the things that need doing at Threadwatch, and also to share his dedicated box with us -- this will be done at the weekend, we'll have to lump it till then unfortunately.

So you can expect to see Aaron posting a bit more here, and to have me posting also -- but almost certainly not the 12-20 posts a day of a few months back.

Im going to work on posting the juicey bits of gossip i like, and the scoops, and more quality pieces where i can. Probably several times a week - which will be augmented (rihght word?) by our good editors, Aaaron and member submissions.

That homepage wont be as active, but we should still be able to find some cool things to dicuss.

Questions, and general abuse welcomed!

> I went so far as

> I went as far as to tell the editors i was going to close TW tonight

Geez, Nick, talk about making snap decisions!

I don't think I ever got the idea that the time crunch or pressure were *that* bad. There has to be, one hopes, a workable middle ground between needing help and closing it down. Since TW is about Nick and Nick's voice and take on things, I'm thinking that finding ways to take other parts of the burden away might be the way to go.

Re the redesign, shoot me an email and I'll see if I can lend a hand. (Well, I'm ridiculously busy, too, but I'm just saying ...)

Diane, there's still some

Diane, there's still some discussion to do on this, between me and me, me and aaron and me and you, but it wasn't sooo much of a snap decision, i think i've been wracking my brains as to how to tackle this for a month now, but the sleepless nights are not aiding my mental capability :)

btw, it's 4:30am again.. sheesh, kids eh? who'd have 'em

Don't bloody say that....

>>>>btw, it's 4:30am again.. sheesh, kids eh? who'd have 'em

I got one coming in a few weeks...... I'm bloody nervous enough.....


I'm so totally lacking words here..

Okay six hours later and I've got words. However I will not post them, as they will royally piss off Nick, especially in his sleep deprived condition. So, the comment which I wrote will have to wait, and if I still bother tomorrow, perhaps I'll post it.


I can say this though:

"Waiting for" on each pageview doesn't make things faster. As it's in the head section of the page code it *will* make the pages hang. That's why any other stat solution like it always has the code placed at the very bottom of the page. Yes, those that made the head section decision had other motives than the benefit of the site owner. You may quote me on that.

Now, there's a file in "C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc" called "hosts" (just "hosts", no extension). In that file you may enter this magic formula which will solve the problem permanently, and also keep you invisible to Google/Urchin:

Just plonk that IP and a space (or tab) and then the domain in the hosts file. At the bottom. And save it. Then you should be safe.

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