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25 July 2007 @ 03:02 pm
LJ downtime  
I'm resisting the urge to write a huge ranting post about the outage and the [fact/perception] that Six Apart brought its other services (i.e. TypePad) back online before it even began working on bringing back LJ.

ETA: See the comments in the news post to see what I'm talking about. This thread is of particular interest, if only because that's where I threw in my 2 cents.
 
 
 
Very inconvenient, as now I have no shaving-glassdzurlady on July 25th, 2007 05:33 am (UTC)
I think it was just that the people working on lj weren't the people updating SA's site. *shrugs*
Jacobyak_boy on July 25th, 2007 05:45 am (UTC)
From one of those people:

"I didn't update the status page till I was positive that LJ was up -- I know there's nothing more frustrating than a status page that says "we're up" "no we're down" "we're up" alternating every few minutes. :P"

So, they made a decision that no information is better than wrong information, and I happen to think that was an insanely poor decision.

Also, note that whilst they have been quick to point out that Vox and LJ were being fixed at the same time by two different groups, no-one has denied the claim that TypePad got preference over both.
sjlsjl on July 25th, 2007 06:07 am (UTC)
Personal take: if I'd been working on it, the first thing I'd do is post a status note saying "Yes, we're down. Yes, we're working on it. Things may be up and down a bit for the next few hours; we'll post saying that it's up when we're satisfied it's stable." If it took more than 3-4 hours to bring the host back up, I'd post a brief update saying "Still working on it", possibly with greater detail about the issues (possibly not; depends on what the issues are.)

As for the TypePad getting priority thing: I'll agree that TP came back faster than LJ, but without info from the company, this could be for several reasons. Maybe TP is inherently less complex to bring up than LJ. Maybe TP has more employees working specifically on that host. Maybe there was physical damage to the LJ box, and LJ had to be moved to another system. I'd not bother to rant about it unless there was a pattern: "once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action", after all.
Jacobyak_boy on July 25th, 2007 06:23 am (UTC)
I don't disagree with any of this. My point is that the PR side of it has been mishandled, even if the technical side has not. And mishandling PR is starting to become a trend for LJ.

I'm sure there are a whole host of reasons why TypePad may have gotten first priority: it may be less complex, worth more money, have more business-oriented content, etc.

Again, the issue is to do with how this is handled. A major problem was the fact that LJ users were directed to Six Apart's page where they were basically told, in black-and-white, that they were the least important of SA's customers. Extraordinarily poor PR.
sjlsjl on July 25th, 2007 06:33 am (UTC)
Yup, you'll get no argument from me about the PR side of things. That is a cockup of major proportions, and it's why I would have posted something to inform users of what was going on (even if only in broad terms.)
Jacobyak_boy on July 25th, 2007 06:37 am (UTC)
That is a cockup of major proportions

And that's what's so stupid about this whole affair. It was a relatively short outage for which Six Apart were completely blameless. But, for lack of any PR management skills, they have somehow turned a black-out into a huge slap in the face for much of their userbase.
(Deleted comment)
Jacobyak_boy on July 25th, 2007 05:47 am (UTC)
Actually, I have a fairly expensive permanent account.

I have this because LJ is the site I use the most, and whilst the benefits of a paid account aren't necessarily that spectacular, I do get good use out of them. Also, I'm happy to support the site, because I want it to continue to grow and flourish.
(Deleted comment)
Jacobyak_boy on July 25th, 2007 06:28 am (UTC)
As I said over at WWDN, what this shows is that the Six Apart takeover of LJ does have its downside. They told us that things would only get better under SA, and here is some concrete proof that that's not necessarily the case.

Instead of being the sole service at LJ headquarters (and therefore priority #1 by default), Livejournal is now a low priority service at SA headquarters.

That's not to say that things would have been better under the old regime (maybe with fewer staff working on the problem, it might actually have been a longer delay), but the perception of favouritism now lingers, and SA now have to scurry (once again) to repair another PR blunder.
there's a rabbit in the moonfrabjously on July 25th, 2007 01:11 pm (UTC)
People have bemoaned the fact that ever since SA took over, LJ no longer gives extra time to paid users for outtages.
Jacobyak_boy on July 25th, 2007 01:47 pm (UTC)
As a permanent account holder that's not really an issue for me, and even if it was an issue, I think it's a bit much to expect too much in the way of compensation for an outage that was only about 7 hours and for which Six Apart are entirely blameless.

That said, any outage does equate to a measurable loss of value, so offering extra paid time equal to the length of the outage seems reasonable, as long as the outage is of a sizeable duration (seven hours is borderline, but something like one hour would be silly).

I think the issue is that when LJ was less "corporate" they would give extra paid time for even the slightest inconvenience. I remember one time when there had apparently been disruptions that I hadn't even noticed - not a lengthy downtime, but users would have trouble accessing the site in short spurts. And they gave everyone like a week of extra time.

People, of course, got used to this small disruption = big compensation model, even though it's not really a very good economic policy for the site owners. So, Six Apart's compensation policies are probably perfectly reasonable, and certainly a lot saner than under the old happy-go-lucky management. But, people have been spoiled by those earlier policies and now feel ripped-off when they encounter the new management working hard to actually make money.

As I say, it's all about appearances, and Six Apart should probably do a better job managing theirs. This has become a much bigger issue than it ever should have been, and it's because they did a poor job of managing the information stream, not because they did a poor job getting LJ back up in a timely manner.