OOOPS!

Apologies. A coding glitch has meant that adverts have been inadvertantly appearing on users diaries if the right conditions were met, despite our assurance here.

I’m actually surprised that no-one complained, but anyway, no-one did so perhaps you all don’t mind them as much as you said you did a while back! But either way, the glitch is fixed and adverts no longer are being delivered on users diaries again… For those that are interested, it came about because the code for delivering the ads is in a common file, shared by all files. It knows which script (editor.cgi, custom.cgi, viewer.cgi etc) called it, and filters itself out if its called from viewer.cgi, index.pl and a few other places.

When I changed (or rather, added to the) way diaries could be accessed, to add the /show/diaries/username method, the ad banner script didn’t realise it wasn’t allowed to show ad’s for that script, because I hadn’t told it. So it happily did deliver them… Its now been notified of its mistake and promises not to do it again :-)

Which reminds me, you can now get to your diary by the following methods;

  • www.deardiary.net/show/diaries/username
  • www.deardiary.net/show/diaries/username/latest — latest entry
  • www.deardiary.net/show/diaries/username/welcome — welcome page
  • www.deardiary.net/show/diaries/username/index — index page
  • www.deardiary.net/show/diaries/username/random — random entry
  • www.deardiary.net/show/diaries/username/entryid — specific entry, when replaced with a number.

Replace username with your specific username of course :)

Steve.

Abuse

Please note, we’re not laying the law down here, these are our thoughts and feelings and perhaps some suggestions.

The number of requests going to the abuse address seems to be on the rise and while we are not saying don’t email us – after all, the abuse address is there for a very good reason – it would seriously make our lives easier if everyone could take note of a few simple things:

1. Ask before you borrow. Please ask before you borrow. We can’t stress this enough. It’s written at the bottom of every diary page, everything on there belongs to the diarist so you must ask them. Even if it’s on their own homepage and not on the Dear Diary website, it’s not too hard to drop them an email first and ask now, is it?

2. If you have a problem with someone or some group on the site we would really appreciate it if you could try to resolve the problem with them directly. Sometimes a polite email to someone saying ‘please could you change that, you didnt ask permission to copy it’ might solve the problem either by them complying or writing back and apologising and asking for permission. If you get no response or the answer isn’t to your satisfaction then definitely mail us and include all dialog that has gone on to date so we know what has happened, who has said what. Keep all mails until a situation is resolved.

Reviews of diaries on the site are becoming common and for the most part I am quite for them because they are a superb way for newcomers to the site to quickly find diaries that others enjoy. The problem with writing a review of a diary is that sometimes the reviewers forget that there are real people writing those diaries, they forget that those people aren’t writing it to be reviewed they are writing it for themselves. If you’re going to be negative about a diary please understand what it is that you’re being negative about. If it’s their colour scheme that makes you want to yack up then that’s one thing, i’m sure we can all have a bit of a laugh about that… but if you are saying that X person is boring, or doesn’t have much to say or something like that then you need to be careful. Make sure you state that you personally don’t find anything that grabs you in that diary, don’t just say ‘this diary sucks, they ramble on about nothing important’ because what is important to you is not the same as everyone else.

Nobody will complain if you write something positive about their diary, you can bet your bottom dollar that the diarist will complain to us if you write something negative about their diary.

So what’s the solution here? We don’t want anyone to feel they are being battered around or mistreated at all, we are trying to build a community here where everyone feels they are welcome (which ofcourse, they are!).

My personal suggestions are as follows:

If you don’t have something good to say about a diary, don’t mention them. Tell people about the diaries you do like, if you don’t list ones in the top ten then let people read between the lines on your thoughts about those ones.

Remember the Acceptable Use Policy at all times, personal insults are not going to be tolerated.

If you put anything on the web you should, in my opinion, be prepared to accept criticism whether it is justified or not, critics will always be critics and they have a bad reputation for a reason.

In order for this community site to work, and trust me this community is going to get bigger and bigger as we add more and more sites to it, everyone needs to talk to each other like a community. Feel free to email us if you want to discuss this :-)

Oh, and I hope I haven’t offended anyone with this entry, please email abuse@deardiary.net if I have. :)

Ad creepage.

Some people, those who are awake at least, may have noticed that there is an advert banner on the front page. We decided to do this for a couple of reasons, firstly, it takes up less space than the logo (LOL, thats pathetic isn’t it?)…

Ok, the real reason, we’re still losing a buttload of money running this place and a banner on the front should help. Since the introduction of the Top 10 and the last 10 Updated the front page has become the second busiest page on the entire site, second only to the viewer script which produces peoples diary screens for them. So its a good revenue generating place, without giving any (or at least minimal) inconvenience to readers.

But, we realise this may worry some people who don’t want adverts on their diaries. Let us re-assure you that we took the decision back in January, or perhaps even December, I forget exactly when, to NEVER have advert banners on individual diary pages. To that end we removed the existing ones and have not, and will not put advertising on users diary pages.

There are two reasons for this, one is ours and one is from our sponsors.

  • We don’t want them there. They’re fine, in the right place. Individuals diaries aren’t the right place though.
  • Creative Freedom. We have various rules at DearDiary, and the biggest one is that we make the rules. If we carry ad banners on individual diary entries then the advertisers get to make the rules on what is acceptable to write about and whats not. And we’re not having that, so the ad banners are restricted to places where we directly control the content. In this way, you, as an author can say what you need to about XYZ Corp, safe in the knowledge that you’re not going to be carrying one of their banners at the top of your entry! Of course, this also goes the other way, XYZ Corp can be safe in the knowledge that they’re not associated with the defamatory remark you posted about GHI Corp, or anything else you write.

If you have any questions, comments or otherwise, please feel free to email us at support@deardiary.net

Remember though, the bottom line is this;

We will not carry advertising on individual users diary pages

SORRY!!

I broke it all during an upgrade to try to get PHP and MySQL to stop barfing over each other. Turns out its a GLIBC bug as a suspected. Anyway, for those non-techie of you, its fixed and should work properly… You can tell this because I am able to login and do an update :)

So, all you people that thought you’d forgotten your passwords, the chances are you hadn’t. And neither had the system, it just couldn’t connect to the database to decide if you’d given it the right one or not..

My apologies. And BOY I never realised just how many people are updating their diaries these days… My mail box was spammed the HECK out of (this is NOT a complaint by the way, if its down like that I WANT to know!!) for the 10 or 15 minutes it was out for… Heh, cool.

Sandy beach and palm trees here I come 😉

DeLancie.

Random changes….

As many people will have noticed, the Top 10 read diaries is now in a random order and the number of hits no longer shown. The reason for this is quite simple and that is that the listing is there to give new people (and perhaps not so new people) an easy starting point to read the popular diaries. It wasn’t intended as a competition that one should win by any means fair or foul. And thats not meant to be suggesting anything at all about anyone. So now it serves its intended purpose and the element of competition is removed.

Some people like it. Some don’t. To those that don’t, well, we’re sorry you don’t but please don’t expect it to go back the way it was. As we’ve oft been told, it’s our site and we let you use it :-)

On other issues we finally managed to get PHP working with MySQL and the PAM modules. I shall start a development diary for a little project of mine shortly, but anyway, we’ve been looking at moving DearDiary away from perl and into PHP4. Except it wouldn’t work with the existing setup which would mean another MAJOR overhaul to the system. Which I pretty much veto’d at the moment on time grounds :) But if the PHP can be migrated in gradually (which it now can) then I’m all for it and happy to help develop. So that was cool.

As part of that investigation we upgraded to the latest version of Apache and nearly died as a result… The process size for each httpd process had multiplied by three from 20M to 64M or so. Not bad huh? Which meant there was room for one more httpd process before the server started swapping to disk and slowing down. I resolved to find a way of reducing it back down to the 20M process size it was…

I did better than that, its now a whole 4M each. The server has so much memory now that its bored most of the time. Which is how it should be. There shouldn’t be any more problems with it running out of memory or swap space for a while… For those that care we now have enough room on the server for around 250 running httpd processes (since each process actually uses only 1M of memory exclusively for itself, the other 3M it shares with all the others). Given that on average it takes a LOT less than a second to deliver a page, but lets say its two seconds to account for increased load, this means we could serve approximately 100 requests per second. Each page requires around 4 requests, so thats essentially 25 pages per second we should be able to deliver. Or 1500 per minute… Or 90000 per hour. Or around 2 million pages per day. If we’re serving 2 million pages per day I won’t mind buying another server to help spread the load :-)

Come to think of it, if we’re serving 2 million pages a day you can probably assume you’ll need to page me to my phone by the beach. Somewhere warm, white sanded and with palm tree’s.

DeLancie.