Upcoming site maintenance

As some of you have noticed, Be Communities has recently been experiencing some instances where the site was unresponsive or errored out. These instances have been intermittent, which has made trying to track the cause of this to be a bit challenging. We have tried a number of things to "fix" the issue, but it still persists. So, we have several things planned that should return the site's performance to acceptable levels. These include:

  1. removing multiple attachments from old posts
  2. purging empty blogs
  3. cleaning the member database of accounts that are not related to Bentley users

Some explanation follows:

  • Although multiple attachments were originally supported in Be Communities forums, this customized capability was not brought forward when the site was upgraded in 2010. We have since determined that multiple file attachments was problematic both for the site and performing analysis on the site. Currently, only some posts that are older than two years have multiple attachments, and of those, only one of the attachments is currently accessible. The attachments we are removing are not accessible now, so nothing on the minority of posts that have multiple attachments will change. If you have more than one file to attach to a forum post, you should put all files (including images) that you want to post in an archive (e.g. .ZIP, .RAR, etc.) and attach that archive to your forum posting. Another option would be to upload your files to your member file area and link to those from your forum post. Note that you can insert more than one image in a forum post or wiki or blog article – this is only for file attachments.
  • The blog purge (note that this involves blogs and not blog articles) are for blogs that have no articles in them. The current estimate is that there are 50,000+ blogs on the site, of which a couple hundred (at most) actually have anything useful in them. There is some history behind that regarding why there are that many -- at one point, the system was set up so every new account had an associated blog created. That no longer happens, but what was created previously really needs to be addressed.
  • Cleaning the member database was initially going to be done after single sign-on (SSO) was implemented on Be Communities, since that will add to our existing spam countermeasures. However, we believe that doing this in the near future will be a good thing on several fronts.

Doing each of these things individually is likely to help in some areas, but doing all three (in steps) will help performance across the board. We still have some testing to do (on a "clone" of the site and not on the "production"... at least not until testing is successful), but we anticipate this will have minimal impact on site content, resulting in nothing worse off than what exists or can be accessed today. We also anticipate there to be a need for intermittent site outages. We will try to identify in advance of approximately when those might happen to minimize any interruption of service, but there may be emergency outages that are necessary -- still, we will do everything we can to keep those instances to a minimum.

Our apologies in advance for any temporary inconenience this may cause -- our intent is to provide as good a service as we can, and that is just what we intend to do.