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#1 milestone 11

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 17:24

I am far from alone in the problems experienced on the board. They also extend to the Fantasy League link.
For the last few weeks, the forums are, on occasion, almost unusable. I had hoped that it was something to do with the internal clock not being synchronized but that having now been rectified, there is no difference. I fully appreciate that there have been ongoing problems for the last 18 months or so, nothing though previously has been as frustrating as now.
I have spent the last hour and a half constantly re-opening Autosport to see if I was able to get on to the forums and hooray, success at last. There is no problem whatsoever getting on to Autosport and navigating wherever on the home page, neither was there a problem with the live forum over the four days that it was run during the final test. The problems only manifest themselves when attempting to get into Forums or Fantasy League.
Today, the banner ad for improving my golf swing appears to load perfectly normally, the moment the banner ad loads, the forum will open. Problem is though that every navigation move, i.e. to a given forum and then on to a thread and change of thread, another banner ad has to load. Today, there has been a golf swing, another golf/fitness thing, as well as a "Track day for iphone" banner ad which all appear to load allowing further movement. There is something else though which won't load and because it won't load, the whole thing freezes which is then impossible to get out of. I don't have the slightest problem on any other site that I visit, nor, for want of repeating myself, the home site.
I think collectively,we have been asking for long enough for these idiosyncracies to be resolved. Ignore, appears to be the current philosophy, it simply is not good enough.
For crying out loud, can't someone get this fixed.


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#2 D.M.N.

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 20:04

It might help here if you say what browser you are using - is the issue on every browser?

#3 milestone 11

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 20:42

IE9. Firefox which I don't like, is the same.
The problem does not appear to occur on Safari, which is what, I think, my iphone uses.

Edited by milestone 11, 05 March 2013 - 20:45.


#4 Grayson

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 10:20

Hi Milestone 11,

I'm not entirely sure why you think that the problems are being ignored. We know (and I have acknowledged on the forum) that there are major problems with the forum at very busy times, and have taken some steps to mitigate this (which is why the situation you would have seen a year ago where the forum could be entirely unavailable for up to an hour should be a thing of the past). We have been looking into the feasibility of a major forum upgrade this year, but that still might not be enough to cope with the fact that we see an enormous spike in traffic at certain times (particularly right after a Grand Prix or F1 qualifying session or after a particularly controversial moment during a GP) which utterly dwarfs our normal server load.

One reason for the problems, in layman's terms, is that the system has to load quite a large amount of information from the forum's database before it can start to load the pages. This is why you wouldn't have seen any such problems on the AUTOSPORT home page or other non-forum pages. This is why you will also see far fewer problems using your forum account to use our live chat service (underneath the AUTOSPORT Live coverage) during the race and other F1 sessions - it's still connected to the forum but doesn't need to load quite as much information from the database.

That said, we hear of problems on the site in quite a few different ways (from readers who are in regular touch with us and from readers who use the feedback form to report one off problems, as well as using the the site ourselves from many different computers), and the problems that you're having with the site don't seem to fit in with the overall pattern. When the forum clock was wrong, you were the only person to report that the forum was hanging for the amount of time difference between the forum clock and reality, and our development team was unable to replicate this problem or to understand how the mistake with the forum clock was causing this problem. You also seem to be hit with very long loading times on days when we're less busy and fewer visitors to the forums are seeing long loading times. Since you have been visiting the forums from different computers, that suggests that it's not the idiosyncrasies of your set up and leaves me a bit confused!

Can you let me know which country you're accessing the site from, and also whether the iPhone you're using is on the same WiFi network as the computer you're using or whether you're having the same problems accessing the site via 3G? You can contact me by E-mail at simon.grayson@haymarket.com if you prefer.

#5 milestone 11

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 16:14

Thanks for your reply Grayson,
I appear, I'm sure, to be the perpetual complainer. My wife has been known to call me a miserable (choose expletive), seriously though, I think that I'm a relatively happy soul.

Today, as on many other days, there are no problems, all is working in a fast and efficient manner. Sometimes, being something of a sceptic, I have considered that there may be a built in time constraint for ones browsing. The classic example being yesterday. I had been on in the morning without problem, in the afternoon after an hour or so, it was abysmal. I constantly tried the forum over the next hour and a half whilst on other sites to no avail, it utterly refused to load. When it did load at around half five there was no further problem.

I fully understand the problems with regard "Server too Busy" I have experienced them. Because I am prepared to accept the reasons behind this on GP weekends in particular, I have little or no problem with it, purely a question of trying again in a few minutes, frustrating yes, but not something that's going to send me into apoplexy. However, recent events do, after all, there was not much happening yesterday afternoon.

To try and elaborate a little further and address your queries. First, I do not access from more than one computer, I have though, tried alternative browsers, i.e. Firefox rather than my preferred IE9. The problems are the same on either. My iPhone which I use when sat in the garden enjoying the sunshine, (doubt that you know what that is at the moment), works on the same wi-fi as the computer without problem, I think that is Safari. I do not use 3G, Telefonica who are my connection providers are the wealthiest company in Spain and have the morals of gutter-snipes so it's a no thank you from me. I am in the Canaries and did a Speedtest on my connection this afternoon, the result of which was a ping of 98, download 8.46 and upload of .60, these figures are fairly typical of what I get when I do a test.

Thanks for your concern.

Edited by milestone 11, 06 March 2013 - 16:15.


#6 Buttoneer

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 18:29

Have you tried using Firefox with adblock plus? This will help identify the extent to which this is caused by the banner ads rather than 'something else'.

#7 milestone 11

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 14:36

I am not a fan of Firefox Buttoneer, although I accept that the adblock plus add on is free whilst something similar for IE9 is around €20. I don't really have a problem with advertising per se, other than an iPhone competition one that blares Jingle-Bells out 12 months of the year, advertisements are a critical source of revenue for this site and others. I know that some magazine's websites on detecting an ad-blocker, block the content. I can understand why because ultimately nothing is free in this world.

With regard your suggestion though, thanks. Because the hanging and freezing is intermittent, it will be very difficult to prove, one way or the other, whether the ad-block has solved the problem. Today, the site is working perfectly normally for me at the moment and may remain that way, equally, in 10 minutes or an hour's time it may be unusable and remain that way for an indefinite period.

#8 Jejking

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 17:38

Have you tried using Firefox with adblock plus? This will help identify the extent to which this is caused by the banner ads rather than 'something else'.

I use a combination of Chrome and FF. Tried it with IE at times, and in all cases things stay slow. Latest versions.

#9 Buttoneer

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 18:01

I am not a fan of Firefox Buttoneer, although I accept that the adblock plus add on is free whilst something similar for IE9 is around €20. I don't really have a problem with advertising per se, other than an iPhone competition one that blares Jingle-Bells out 12 months of the year, advertisements are a critical source of revenue for this site and others. I know that some magazine's websites on detecting an ad-blocker, block the content. I can understand why because ultimately nothing is free in this world.

With regard your suggestion though, thanks. Because the hanging and freezing is intermittent, it will be very difficult to prove, one way or the other, whether the ad-block has solved the problem. Today, the site is working perfectly normally for me at the moment and may remain that way, equally, in 10 minutes or an hour's time it may be unusable and remain that way for an indefinite period.

Not suggesting you use it for anything except diagnostic purposes. If you try it for a few days or weeks and get no problems, but disabling adblock brings them back, then you may have a better idea of where to look.

#10 milestone 11

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 17:42

Other than the typical "Server too Busy" problems experienced last weekend, we did after all have a GP, i've had no problems for two weeks. The site has been, once again, almost unusable since around 15.30. Not just me either as was confirmed by other posters earlier.

#11 Tufty

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 20:01

Not had problems today, but as documented in the 'server too busy?' thread it's been an absolute nightmare most of this week.

#12 Zmeej

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 20:09

Grayson :wave:

The Admin/host responses to milestone's posts are a welcome sign that issues are not being ignored. :up:

However, have noticed that such responses are also becoming inflected with a characteristic of "You're In the Big Leagues Now" corporate speak, whose major deflector-weapon is "maybe it's something on your end." Happily, this had been largely absent from admin responses until, say, 6 months ago.

The patent fact is that the fora have been experiencing a spike of various issues, many relating to banner ads.

Once again, with feeling: have nothing against banner ads per se, as revenue streams which keep "free" services "free" are the price that must be paid.

However, it is also a fact that the fora have been experiencing greater than usual difficulties in peak periods, something with which Autosport had been much better at coping until, as mentioned above, until about 6 months ago.

Furthermore, the kinds of difficulties that forumers have been experiencing are becoming more varied, and not simply problems that prompt "Server is busy" messages, but also things like uneven access to certain threads, hanging in the midst of submission, hanging in the midst of edits, etc., etc.

As such, smells to me that, to use an F1 metaphor, the engine, chassis, and transmission need to undergo a thorough diagnostic, and the way they work in concert with the tyres could too.

Edited by Zmeej, 21 March 2013 - 20:10.


#13 Grayson

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 20:52

Hi Zmeej,

However, have noticed that such responses are also becoming inflected with a characteristic of "You're In the Big Leagues Now" corporate speak, whose major deflector-weapon is "maybe it's something on your end." Happily, this had been largely absent from admin responses until, say, 6 months ago.


I'll happily* put my hands up and say that we have major problems during high traffic times such as immediately after any qualifying session or whenever anything interesting happens during a race. We know, for example, that the dreaded IPS errors hit the forum particularly hard (ie. 90%+ of attempted pageviews) for up to a few hours in total over the course of a Grand Prix weekend.

The times when I give an answer along the lines of "maybe it's something on your end", what I really mean to say is that it's something a bit different to the server load problems which we know about (if it sounds like I'm deflecting or trying to blame the reader then I need to choose my words more carefully). If this isn't a problem on the visitor's end then it could be a new and different bug which we need to know about. The example I mentioned earlier in this thread was where the forum was hanging for the same amount of time as the system clock was wrong by - our development team couldn't work out what could cause that particular problem so I had to quite honestly say that it appeared to be effecting one person and that I had no idea how or why!

(*Well, not quite happily. Happy will be when I can come in here and tell you that we've upgraded the forums and that everything's been fixed)

The patent fact is that the fora have been experiencing a spike of various issues, many relating to banner ads.

Once again, with feeling: have nothing against banner ads per se, as revenue streams which keep "free" services "free" are the price that must be paid.


One fairly important point here - if anyone at all is facing banner ads which seem to be causing problems, can they let me know about them (preferably including screenshots which show the offending banner) by E-mail? We have third party ad networks selling quite a bit of our advertising (if you see something that's not connected to motor racing or to AUTOSPORT, then it's probably been sold by a third party rather than by our own advertising sales team). We try to enforce high standards as to these adverts and ask the ad networks not to serve anything which contravenes our rules - you shouldn't be served any adverts with sound, you shouldn't get adverts which buzz around for attention, you shouldn't see any adverts which expand over the rest of the page without you clicking or somehow interacting with them, you shouldn't be served anything pornographic, etc.

You also shouldn't be being served adverts which significantly slow down the loading of the rest of the page.

We are reasonably hot on policing the adverts which are sold to appear in front of the UK audience, because we are constantly on the site ourselves, so we notice any dodgy adverts. Because we don't routinely see the adverts which are served to our non-UK readers, though, we're relying on you to let us know about these so that we can shout at our ad networks if they're appearing on the site!

I was going to end this message by continuing your F1 metaphor, possibly promising that the upcoming spec changes will improve reliability, but my first garbled attempt at doing so was borderline embarrassing...

#14 SophieB

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 20:53

For the last hour or so, getting a lot of instances of the forums part of the website just not responding, eventually just leading to time-out messages. Obviously, it's working at the moment but I thought I would mention it in case it was of use. Attempting to read the forums via Safari on the ipad if that makes any difference.

#15 Tufty

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 21:47

Again getting IPS driver errors, an unusual error 404 when clicking on the Paddock Club link, and a lot of server too busy pages which are still intermittently locking me out of the forum.

#16 RDV

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 22:29

Even weirder results here...sometimes can click on one thread and have instant response [rarely] other times very slow to load. On multiple computers although on same router. This applies to macs, PCs even one on linux. one macbook opens everything, but still slow. Provider bandwidth averaging 18Mb/s, and every other site opened without problems. One thread opens all pages except last one, which hangs up and freezes, other times just becomes unresponsive[message comes up to kill]. Has been getting worse starting just prior to first GP and now permanent.

Browsers used Chrome and Firefox.

Edited by RDV, 21 March 2013 - 22:30.


#17 Tufty

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 22:36

Glad to know it's more than just me suffering with ever-worsening 'access' here guys, thanks for removing the blame from my laptop/router!

#18 RDV

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 22:40

Works OK on Safari...

#19 Zmeej

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 23:37

Grayson :wave:

Thank you very much for your altogether excellent and comprehensive reply. :up: :)

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#20 milestone 11

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 12:42

At last. Support. Thank you Zmeej, Tufty, SophieB and RDV for relieving me of my position as chief perpetual lone complainer. There is little that is more frustrating than as I am the principal complainant the problem is likely at my end.

I note, almost with glee, but without schadenfreude, that the symptoms being experienced by others, entirely match my own. Try clicking on “members posts” in any profile and see the result. Attempting to post anything more than a single word, is on occasion nigh impossible. I happily quote Zmeej where he says “ hanging in the midst of submission” to support previous complaints by me on that very theme which were dismissed as being impossible to replicate by the Autosport web team. This morning, it is impossible for me to write a post, the thing freezes after six or seven letters, I will have to wait probably an hour or so to post this, which, reluctantly, I have written in my office programme. The machine is playing up, in my opinion, because something is trying unsuccessfully to load from this URL, http://img.solocpm.c...city_728x90.jpg

Yesterday, when the problems started, I checked on my iphone,(Safari), which like RDV has said, doesn't appear to be affected. To discover that the banner ad that was running was for Haines of Alaska, travel into the wild. I have no idea if the above mentioned URL relates to that ad.
Whilst on the subject of ads, a response from Grayson yesterday to Zmeej left me dumbfounded, quote, “you shouldn't be served any adverts with sound”, considering that I have been complaining about having bloody jingle bells blast out at me on a regular basis for the last twelve months, I am at a loss to understand why this is still happening.


#21 Tufty

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 15:01

Maybe the advert feels you need to get into the festive spirit... all year round?

I've had similar advert problems in the past, but that's another site. I do sympathise though.

#22 milestone 11

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 16:07

Here's a thought, do my fellow complainers have iTunes installed?

#23 Tufty

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 16:28

On this machine yes, but on the others that have struggled no.

EDIT: Can I just say I'm pleased to see no issues as yet today.

Edited by Tufty, 22 March 2013 - 16:28.


#24 Zmeej

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 16:56

Tufty :wave:

EDIT: Can I just say I'm pleased to see no issues as yet today.


Asking for trouble as always, I see... :cool:

M/onze :wave:

bloody jingle bells blast out at me on a regular basis for the last twelve months, I am at a loss to understand why this is still happening.


In the key of "on your end," does this auditory phenomenon persist when you're away from the computer? ;)

Edited by Zmeej, 22 March 2013 - 16:59.


#25 bourbon

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 04:03

I have an inquiry about a new thread. It concerns the ban on driver threads, so it has to be discussed before implemented.

What do the mods think of having a thread limited to information about drivers as opposed to opinion? Information is the crucial component that went missing with the threads and it would be nice to have it back.

This is where one can list things about where drivers will be going to events (Mark's annual race or Button's marathons) to raise money, or achievements like awards from autosport or country-based; or participation in other charitable or entertaining events for the sport. Perhaps not too many would be interested in a thread opened because Gutierrez went to visit a mission - but if you had a general information thread about all drivers, it could easily be included for those who were interested.

I think it could work.

PS. if this post is moved, please advise me by PM so I can see the answer. Thanks.

Edited by bourbon, 03 May 2013 - 04:05.


#26 SophieB

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 07:39

I have an inquiry about a new thread. It concerns the ban on driver threads, so it has to be discussed before implemented.

What do the mods think of having a thread limited to information about drivers as opposed to opinion? Information is the crucial component that went missing with the threads and it would be nice to have it back.

This is where one can list things about where drivers will be going to events (Mark's annual race or Button's marathons) to raise money, or achievements like awards from autosport or country-based; or participation in other charitable or entertaining events for the sport. Perhaps not too many would be interested in a thread opened because Gutierrez went to visit a mission - but if you had a general information thread about all drivers, it could easily be included for those who were interested.

I think it could work.

PS. if this post is moved, please advise me by PM so I can see the answer. Thanks.


I think this is a really, really great idea! This sort of thing is EXACTLY the human dimension that had to be sacrificed as a result of the cull in the driver threads cull and I'd be really interested in having a thread like this on the boards.

#27 Buttoneer

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 09:50

There is no prohibition on discussing any aspect of a driver. If you wish to start a thread to discuss Webbers charity cycle event, ar a thread to encompass all driver charity events then you may do so. What we do not want to see are catch-all threads which people use to post all information about a specific driver because they are unruly and uncontrollable.

It's not at all an attempt to prevent the dissemination of information, but an attempt to control how it is presented and discussed.