WSGF Maintenance/Migration - Site Downtime & User Survey

Submitted by skipclarke on 31 October, 2012 - 19:27

We'll be right back!

As part of our never-ending efforts to improve your experience here on the WSGF, we will be performing a major migration and update to the site. Two years ago we moved from a variety of web platforms to a single Drupal environment. We expected that there would be issues after the migration, but we never anticipated the impacts to the site's speed and usability. And, we never anticipated that we wouldn't be able to fix any issues we were faced with. But, that is where we are at.

The Drupal system has been great from a data perspective. It has allowed us to create a robust system for adding entries to our games database, and then serving that data back to you. It allowed us to put that games database, image galleries, articles, news and reviews all into one system. And it allowed us to link entries in the games database to discussion threads in the forums.

The problem is that the Advanced Forum module in Drupal simply isn't up to the task of handling our number of users, topics and posts. It simply cannot scale to our needs. We have tried all manner of caching techniques, and several different hosting providers. But nothing has allowed us to overcome our performance issues.

It's been a long painful journey, but in some ways it was the only option. Two years ago there was not a solid option to integrate Drupal and phpBB. We needed a way to put structure to all the data in our games database, as qualities to the entries was slipping and data was being lost. We didn't want to leave the site split in two, with no way to link the user accounts between the two systems, so we jumped 100% into Drupal.

But, now we're left with unsolvable performance issues with Drupal, and web traffic has dropped in parallel with the site issues. To solve the problem, we are now taking the forums back to phpBB3, as there is now the ability to tightly integrate the two systems. Drupal will remain the primary registration and login system, and those user tables will be synced to phpBB3.

We are using a professional migration company to do the data translation from Drupal Forum to phpBB3. We have paid for a dry-run a couple of months ago, on a beta testing site. The admin team has used that time to theme and integrate the phpBB forums, test the hell out of them, and strip out all the Drupal modules we will no longer need.

We are now going to do the actual live migration. To do this, we will need to place the Drupal in maintenance mode. During this time the site will be unavailable. We will be posting updates on the progress to our Facebook, Twitter and Steam Group, so please follow us there.

To our faithful community...

During this time we will also be posting a user survey via Survey Monkey. We're in our tenth year of existence, and both the web and gaming technology has changed over that time. As we look to making future site updates, we want to make sure we are giving you what you need and want. Your input will be invaluable in helping us shape the future of the WSGF. It will allow us to redesign the site to meet your needs, and place our efforts into projects you want to see. We will be posting the URL for the survey to the Facebook, Twitter and Steam Group, along with a holding page on the WSGF.

I want to thank all the members of our community for their continued support. Your donations of time and knowledge are what makes the resourceful, inviting and friendly community that we are. Your monetary donations this year have been incredible as well. They have allowed us to offset increasing costs, and help us as we work through these issues and transitions. I cannot thank each of you enough for your past contributions, and want to thank everyone in advance for their future support.

Thanks for your patience during this time, and we look forward to being back better than ever.

The WSGF Admin Team