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A slight suggestion about a Public Warning System

  1. When you're logged into the blog there's a little account strip at the top of the page.

    Why not add a a global application variable like $public_message.

    Then add a snippet to the account strip code that publish a message when you plan to bring the site down for maintenance? If the $public_message is empty, nothing shows. But when you need to bring the site down, for any reason, you fill the variable with a message.

    Then that message is shown in each session throughout WordPress.com in a prominent and hard to miss kind of way.

    That way poor bloggers needn't panic when the server suddenly takes a nap. And you'd save yourself a load of aggression when users storm into the forums to demand to know what's going on... :)

  2. If the servers are down or being worked on, how do you see the message? Seems like most of our down times have been emergency situations and not planned down time.

    I just think they need to post here in the forums when stuff happens a little more quickly. Telling us at the end of the problem does not work and we wind up with people screaming to the high heavens about the end of the world, loosing their data, etc.

  3. No, I'm not talking about the uncontrollable down-times, but when you plan to do some maintenance on the servers that will mean interruptions. You can - in advance - inform the users directly in their blogs about what is going to happen.

    Then when the maintenance work starts everybody will have been informed about it.

  4. I agree but you're missing the two points I've made.

    - They have the forums and are already not giving us any warning there. If they have that and aren't using it, what gives them cause to use the warning system?

    - All of the major downtimes that I recall that we have had have been emergency situations.

    I agree with your suggestion but I think the issue is more of a training issue with Staff to get someone to even acknologe that there's an issue, much less talk about it.

  5. It's common practice to have a 'status page' informing people of current issues. Some examples: http://status.blogger.com/, http://status.sixapart.com/, http://status.livejournal.org/. Ideally (for obvious reasons) it would be hosted on a separate domain and at a different location to the main site.

    But, as I've said before and drmike points out above, there's no point having one of those things if no-one's ever going to update it. And on past form that seems a bit much to hope for.

  6. All 3 (forum messages, a panel "ticker" and dedicated status page) would be improvements. Hopefully they'll pick at least one & do it!

    It's counter-productive to leave it as it is when you consider that the majority of angry reactions come about simply through lack of information.

  7. I wanted to make a post about this, but I'm either getting request timeouts or a 'server maintenance' page. Figures.

  8. I thought no one noticed it. I was just having my "Battle of the Blog" in Blog Explosion when the downtime hits in. I lost the votes as it was hard getting into my site because of the downtime. Can somebody at least post a schedule, hours of maintenance somewhere in the Dashboard in the future? As for emergency downtime, I think not more than 10mins is OK.

  9. /off/ well, I too picked a wrong time (just before the downtime) to post on a recent huge security hole. apparently, such info is rather time-critical ;-)

  10. Surely you should be informing the dev team at automattic about "huge" security holes rather than write about it on your blog for the hole world to see and take advantage of anyway??

  11. It's a UK ISP with that IP address - I know because it's my ISP. So I told them to take a look.

  12. I wish they would pick 1 system. I think my system would be sort of in your face because I suppose most people don't use these forums until something happens. Like in my case when I rush in here to demand to know what's going on.

  13. podz, I can only imagine how they surely should be LOLing after they had look at that.

    btw, are you sure that is a UK ISP (Zen is good on security, though pricy)? -- cause what I've seen didn't seem to me like this is in the UK ;-)

    PS
    frankley, I've been shocked myself nearly to the heart-attack in first moment. no doubt, this is a really cruel joke, but thanks God this time it was just another blond one.

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