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Forums in Read Only mode, when closed

CBI Web

Well-known member
#3
Me too, indicated by my Like of Floren's post, which negates the need to actually post this post, which means I've defeated the purpose of my Like. hehe
 

Dean

Well-known member
#6
Under what conditions would this be desirable?

It would be handy when moving platforms (___ -> xf), when else?
 

Cezz

Well-known member
#7
Under what conditions would this be desirable?

It would be handy when moving platforms (___ -> xf), when else?
When doing minor maintenance tasks, that you wouldn't want people adding records to the database??

It would come in handy for me to put a site into this mode once a week to make a DB backup instead of closing the site all together... Would need to make no writes to the DB at all though so no session tracking etc...
 

James

Well-known member
#8
I would love a read-only mode. If I'm doing permission changes, database backups or anything that requires modifying the database. Users can still read posts and search engines can still index, they just can't reply until the forum is out of read-only mode.

Like x100
 

Ryan

Well-known member
#13
Not a bad idea, but I do see at least one potential problem with it, and that's unread/read thread marking. Say I'm a member of a forum and visit a couple times per day. I happen to visit during this read only mode and read a bunch of stuff - do those threads get marked as read or no? On one hand, if they are marked as read, then I may never remember to actually post in those I would like to post in...because the next time I come to the forums and am able to post again, they're all marked as read. On the other hand, if the posts are *not* marked as read, then I get annoyed when I revisit after read only mode because posts that I've already read are being marked as unread.

With this in mind, a read only mode might (?) make your members a little bit happier since they can still read the latest on what's going on, but I don't think it does anything positive for the activity in your forums...I have a feeling activity when you come out of read only mode would actually be a little bit lower than activity would be if you just had closed the forums all together as is done today.

Another very obvious problem with read only mode is the simple fact that major upgrades/migrations often break lots of things - and you don't want your users to experience this, hence closing the forums completely. Now, as you're doing maintenance on the forums, you should probably know the difference between a change that is minor and one that will break stuff...but not all admins will always be able to differentiate the two. Keep in mind that just because people cannot post does not mean that the database is not being updated frequently. There's a lot of database activity involved just in browsing the forums.
 

Onimua

Well-known member
#14
When doing minor maintenance tasks, that you wouldn't want people adding records to the database??

It would come in handy for me to put a site into this mode once a week to make a DB backup instead of closing the site all together... Would need to make no writes to the DB at all though so no session tracking etc...
But that would cause confusion to users when you re-enable the board. Threads that were read by the user wouldn't be marked as such, so when the board is turned back on all of these threads they already saw are marked unread.
 

Cezz

Well-known member
#15
But that would cause confusion to users when you re-enable the board. Threads that were read by the user wouldn't be marked as such, so when the board is turned back on all of these threads they already saw are marked unread.
True but it keeps the board readable and crawl-able
 

Onimua

Well-known member
#16
True but it keeps the board readable and crawl-able
At the cost of user-friendliness, unfortunately.

I like the idea, but I think it would cause some issues I don't want to deal with every single time I shut the board down, and Ryan brought up some valid points as well.
 

James

Well-known member
#17
Not a bad idea, but I do see at least one potential problem with it, and that's unread/read thread marking. Say I'm a member of a forum and visit a couple times per day. I happen to visit during this read only mode and read a bunch of stuff - do those threads get marked as read or no? On one hand, if they are marked as read, then I may never remember to actually post in those I would like to post in...because the next time I come to the forums and am able to post again, they're all marked as read. On the other hand, if the posts are *not* marked as read, then I get annoyed when I revisit after read only mode because posts that I've already read are being marked as unread.
Valid point... that's something I guess there'd have to be a workaround for (perhaps cookie-storing the read status in read-only mode then converting the cookie-stored to database-stored when you come out of read-only mode).
With this in mind, a read only mode might (?) make your members a little bit happier since they can still read the latest on what's going on, but I don't think it does anything positive for the activity in your forums...I have a feeling activity when you come out of read only mode would actually be a little bit lower than activity would be if you just had closed the forums all together as is done today.
If I was in read-only mode, I would put up a notice that I was performing {insert action here} and that they may browse the forum as normal, bar being able to post. My users would understand this and either return (if I specify a time limit for the read-only period) or wait around.

Another very obvious problem with read only mode is the simple fact that major upgrades/migrations often break lots of things - and you don't want your users to experience this, hence closing the forums completely. Now, as you're doing maintenance on the forums, you should probably know the difference between a change that is minor and one that will break stuff...but not all admins will always be able to differentiate the two. Keep in mind that just because people cannot post does not mean that the database is not being updated frequently. There's a lot of database activity involved just in browsing the forums.
If I was performing major upgrades I would, of course, take down the forum. Things like database backups that don't take too long, or permission manipulating, things I am sure won't break the forum, I can just put the forum in read-only mode with a notice letting users know what's going on.
 

Enigma

Well-known member
#18
In read-only mode you'd want to not do any writing to the database, since you might have it read-only for the express purpose of doing work on the database. The one exception would be to all sessions-- ie, allow admins (and probably anyone) to log in/be logged in. So thread marking would be a non-issue, since nothing gets written to the database.
 

Ryan

Well-known member
#19
Also a true "read-only" mode would need to disable ALL database updating which would mean disabling all sorts of stuff, not just post creation...but editing user accounts, profile, updating user status, private messaging, all modifications (chat, gallery, blog), registrations, login attempts...yikes, the more I think about it, the longer this rabbit hole gets.

I think I'm just fine with disabling my forums completely when I perform maintenance. With enough testing/preparation, no forum should ever experience extended maintenance anyways. I've migrated huge forums with a few hundred thousand posts in just 15-20 minutes before. You've just got to have all your ducks in a row and be fairly handy with SSH and database commands.
 

James

Well-known member
#20
In read-only mode you'd want to not do any writing to the database, since you might have it read-only for the express purpose of doing work on the database. The one exception would be to all sessions-- ie, allow admins (and probably anyone) to log in/be logged in. So thread marking would be a non-issue, since nothing gets written to the database.
If my first idea isn't considered (converting cookie-marking to db-marking when the forum is re-opened) I'd like the option to set forums to read-only but allow thread marking for when I want the forums on read-only and I'm not doing anything that will affect marking.

The alternative is to just disable logging in when the forum is in read-only mode, this way threads won't be marked because the user isn't logged in.