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"your account has been suspended" ... or not

Dear friends,

If you tried accessing MFO at mid-afternoon on Friday, 23 February, you would have encounter an "account suspended" note. I discovered this thanks to the quick action of three or four board members who reached out by email and phone. (Thanks, guys!)

The short version: your account was not suspended, MFO's was. We're at the start of a big upgrade / update to our server and software. Our software is grievously out-of-date (if you call about it, the folks on the phone seem confused and say things like, "well, maybe Old Bill would be able to help. He's been here forever but he's only coming in three days a week now") and our server does rely on a hand crank to get it started in the morning. (Me, likewise.)

We've put off the upgrades because they're expensive and risk crashing the site. Having found a reliable programmer, we decided that we couldn't wait any longer and authorized our site host to create a second server and to move a copy of the entire content of MFO onto it. The idea is that our programmer can then work on that second, offline version of the site until he's worked out all of the bugs in the software. He and Chip then flip a switch labeled "redirect traffic" and there's near-seamless transition to a safer, more stable home.

Our host promised that creating the duplicate version of the site on the second server would have absolutely no impact on the "live" site. You wouldn't even know we were doing it.

Sadly, one piece of software - MySQL 5, I believe - is old enough that just attempting to move a copy of it set off an alarm. Crashed MFO. And triggered the "account suspended."

Apologies for that. We had a nice conversation with them about what "no impact on the live site" means. We will try to offer clear and timely notice if and when the upgrade requires going offline. In the past, that has been early on a Saturday or Sunday morning after about seven days' notice.

As ever, David


  • thanks fot the update and for all the hard work David, Chip Charles and all the other folks that keep things running.

    A labor of love!
  • TY for the update. Appreciate all you do!
  • edited February 23
    @David_Snowball - And here I was wondering what the hell I did this time.

    (Your faith in seamless software upgrades is touching, but misplaced.)
  • edited February 24
    Uh oh!

    URGENT Note to Self: As soon as the missus wakes up today, get her to try to delete the GoFundMe page I started yesterday for legal action against this site! ;)
  • Thank you David and all involved.
    Member/visitor folks; don't forget the donate link is just to the left edge of this page.
  • Thanks so much, David, for the heads-up. And I'm so grateful to all involved.
  • edited February 25
    It just happened again Sunday, 25 February about 12:40pm (CST) when I tried to post comment on a thread.
  • edited February 25
    It happened to me also on Sunday afternoon. I kept refreshing that link/page but nothing - typically, after outages, the bad pages come alive later, but not here. So, I finally decided to check the MFO Home and MFO Discussions DIRECTLY and those were FINE.
  • I'm so sorry to hear it. Occasionally you need to clear your cache (that is, the previously downloaded copies of page) after a reboot. Otherwise, I've got no idea ... but I will go ask Chip what she thinks.
  • FWIW David I did just that, restarted my Mac and I'm back in business, Still weird though.
  • I got "Account Suspended" early this morning. I eventually found a way around this nonsense by entering spaces between Mutual and Fund and Observer in the address bar.
  • Happened to me last night. But I'm back, this morning. :)
  • Ben said:

    I got "Account Suspended" early this morning. I eventually found a way around this nonsense by entering spaces between Mutual and Fund and Observer in the address bar.

    THAT was ingenious.
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