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

Strainu strainu10 at gmail.com
Wed May 25 12:27:51 UTC 2011

What I understood from this thread is: if you have a planned
maintenance windows between 13 and 14 GMT, it would be appreciated if
you could:
- create a simple page that says: "We are working on our servers
between 13 and 14 GMT and Wikipedia might be unavailable during that
- replace the usual error message with the newly created page as close
as possible to 12:59
- reinstate the usual error message at 14:01 (or whenever the maintenance ends)

Nobody (of the millions of anonymous users) really cares about whether
a certain db server is down or up at 13:49, or some router is
rebooting at 13:23. They just wanna know when they can come back to
read about spark plugs (sic!).

AFAIK, this is the way big websites like Yahoo do it.

It seems like a simple thing to do, so perhaps you could explain
calmly and without ironies where is the difficulty?


2011/5/25 Domas Mituzas <midom.lists at gmail.com>:
> 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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