[Foundation-l] Scheduled intermittent downtime on all Wikimedia projects on May 24

Thomas Morton morton.thomas at googlemail.com
Wed May 25 08:14:14 UTC 2011

I think it's reasonable (and indeed standard) to deploy some sort of
"downtime" maintenance error message.

If that requires improving the error handling code to catch a wider variety
of errors and push people to the error message page then I understand the
time issues :).

If the short term solution is that the error page that kept appearing gets
tweaked (before the maintenance is started) to explain what is happening,
then that seems fine.

IRC was flooded with people who didn't understand what was going on. And
many didn't believe/understand that it was maintenance... so this is
definitely an area worth improving.

I'm not trying to criticise; just passing on some ideas based on the issues


On 25 May 2011 08:56, Tim Starling <tstarling at wikimedia.org> wrote:

> On 25/05/11 17:32, FT2 wrote:
> > I don't get this.
> >
> > Would it be possible in future, if the sites are unresponsive, or will be
> > unresponsive due to planned maintenance, to establish a fallback that
> simply
> > displays an explanatory status message to the public?
> You mean replace the entire site with an error page? But only part of
> the site was down. More and more things became accessible as each
> database server was fixed. I'm not sure how this could work.
> Even if we did prepare an error message saying "Wikipedia will be down
> for 2 minutes while a router restarts", I don't think that could be
> called "explanatory" if it were displayed for half an hour.
> Writing informative error messages and displaying them in appropriate
> places is necessarily a low-priority task during downtime, the higher
> priority task being to get the site working again. Maybe at some time
> in the future, we will have enough 24/7 sysadmin manpower that we can
> respond to any unplanned downtime in the way you suggest. But we don't
> have that capability just yet.
> -- Tim Starling
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