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

Theo10011 de10011 at gmail.com
Wed May 25 11:33:44 UTC 2011

On Wed, May 25, 2011 at 4:40 PM, Domas Mituzas <midom.lists at gmail.com>wrote:

> Hi!
> > That's... completely missing the point. Yes the specific errors faced
> were
> > unexpected or unforseen, BUT they were a* direct result* of the
> maintenance
> > between 13:00 and 14:00. I am simply passing on the feeling of our
> > readership; which was that the situation was badly communicated to them.
> As majority of our users are anons, who visit us once a day or two, we
> should probably have started a communication campaign at least two months
> before the maintenance.
> We practice a lot during fundraisers :-)
> OTOH, if there's no downtime, maybe we're causing quite some frustration
> with superfluous communication? :-)
> > I am trying to share my experience here as a sysadmin and website
> operator;
> Oh, finally we got some sysadmins and website operators here.
> As a sysadmin you sure understand that in larger distributed systems which
> are not all built on a set of SPOFs there can be various failure modes,
> happening at various layers and various fuzziness.
> As a website operator you sure know that it is lots of effort to prepare
> boilerplates for every possible situation :-)
> > users hate downtime/maintenance, and will complain about it endlessly.
> You have some annoying users, our users are awesome and don't complain
> endlessly!
> > Improving our communication of planned maintenance is definitely a good
> idea.
> So is curing cancer.
> Marcus Buck wrote:
> > Domas, what are you trying to achieve with your comments on Tom's
> > suggestions?
> Put some clue in?
> > The sensible reaction (from a person who is involved in the maintenance)
> would be:
> I know nobody likes this, but sensible reaction is to work on good
> operation rather than standing in front of a mirror and trying five hundred
> different "I'm sorry" phrases.
> You look too much from that single position, that "communication is good",
> without weighting costs or other options.
> Cheers,
> Domas
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I have no idea what Domas is trying to say.

I agree with Thomas that there should be a better option to communicate with
users about downtime and possible performance issues. I don't know how one
would expect a user to discern between a planned downtime for maintenance
vs. actual performance issues. There has been several issues earlier this
year with performance and even temporary outages, not to mention there might
have been more pronounced performance issues in certain locations.

Instead of diverting users to IRC, how about an outage/error page with a
twitter/identi.ca feed with updates from the tech team, or at least a page
with customized message in case of previously planned outage. Most of the
tech staff already use Twitter/Identi.ca to update users, maybe we can look
for a way to incorporate that feed in the outage page itself or point them
to it.

How would someone who is not on any of the mailing lists, or has suppressed
the banners supposed to find out about the difference between these issues?


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