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 I will start with an apology...our server suffered a total debilitating crash, one that was so bad we didn't think we would ever recover from it. We need time to rebuild all the pieces that make up our system, and so here is the readers digest version of what happened.

The server that crashed held our immensely popular whatbird.com web (20 million people visit every year). It also held this forum since 2005, our iBird.com web site as well as much of the iBird app content, my personal mitchwaite.com web site, all our birding content management tools, and much more. The good news is we had a backup strategy. The bad news is some of the backups were corrupted. The even worse news was our host was useless is helping us.

Murphy must have been having a big day, because this crash happened just as our administrator, back-end expert, programmer, manager and app creator, Rick, was about to leave for a long planned vacation with this extended family. So, Rick threw himself into a heroic 72-hour marathon and managed to get most of whatbird.com up and running as well as our iBird for Android streaming data. The iBird customers paid for their app so we put them at the top of our priority list.

Which takes us back to this forum. We first tried to recover all our original posts, images, etc. About 1/2 of the posts were impossible to recover because of a corrupted backup. Keep in mind this forum started 13 years ago and so we had hundreds of gigabytes of postings of very old photos of birds. We then discovered that all our images, which we had recently moved to Amazon AWS to lower our bandwidth costs, had disappeared. We had no idea where they went. There is perfection and there is just getting the job done. We finally decided we needed to reinstall the forum software and get it working from scratch, particularly the most popular Help Me Identify a Bird forum. We could slowly add the other forums.

Our forum host was a company called GoGrid who had been recently bought by another company called Datapipe. Since that event we were finding customer service had deteriorated. To add insult to injury, the company was almost no help in recovering our server, so we decided it was time to move to a better host. We installed Whatbird and iBird on Microsoft Azure, which has a much better business model for hosting (you only pay for what you use). While those web sites worked fine, the Invision forum software needs to run on Linux, and we kept having issues with running Linux on the Azure host. All this took us weeks to work though. We finally bit the bullet and moved the Invision forum software to a generic Linux server running on GoDaddy. And that is where the story is right now (Thursday June 21, 2018).

I am currently in the process of setting up the forum topics. I'm not going to add them all back as its just too many and I want to keep it simple. If there is a particular forum you want just post it on this thread. I will also be sending out an email to everyone who has joined the forum over the years (~100,000 people). The only bummer for past members is that you will need to sign up again. At minimum this means picking a user name (your old one is still available), entering your name and email address in the signup page,  and waiting for the email to arrive that confirms who you are. (be sure and check your junk mail folder for it). Once you are signed up you can change the password and enter profile information if you wish, like icons, and other details.

Again please accept my apology for the inconvenience you have endured as I know for many of you this is a very important and gratifying hobby. Of the large number of emails I received about the forum being down everyone expressed disappointment, but not anger, and I really appreciate that. You can be sure we have instigated a backup and recovery system that is much more robust. 

Sincerely,

Mitchell Waite

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Thanks a lot for all your hard work, it is greatly appreciated! 

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So glad this is back up. I was devastated and a little mad when it happened, but figured there was a good reason and it would be back soon. All in all, better a smal forum than none at all. A few quick questions: are we still allowed to make posts and topics? Also, could you bring back the general topic and polls thread? 

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Thank you for all your hard work.  I have missed you.  I'm sorry this all happened. It must have been devastating.  Welcome back and here's to another 13 years of bird addiction. 

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I have missed you so much! I did not realize just how important this site is to me until it was gone. I have been lost for weeks, checking multiple times per day for your return. Welcome back and thank you so much for all the hard work that goes into keeping this site going! 

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4 minutes ago, JackieL said:

checking multiple times per day for your return. Welcome back and thank you so much for all the hard work that goes into keeping this site going! 

Ditto!

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Posted (edited)

Glad to see the forum back at least. All of that valuable information, gone....time to rebuild. I frequented the forums for several years now, formerly known as Mike Mars. I mostly identified amphibians and reptiles in those forums. It would be great to see them back and I would be willing to help moderate those forums. Combining "amphibians and reptiles" into one forum might be a better approach if you are looking to streamline. 

Edited by Mike Tricolor
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Thank you for all your hard work and effort in restoring Whatbird!

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Thanks a million times to everyone at Whatbird for creating such a fantastic site, especially this fantastic forum, which I missed dreadfully. I am so grateful for all that you have done, and all that you do!! Please know how deeply it is appreciated and how much joy and enlightenment it brings into all of our lives.

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How do I post my avatar again? I have been to edit profile and see no place for it.

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3 minutes ago, bearcat6 said:

How do I post my avatar again? I have been to edit profile and see no place for it.

Go to your profile and click on the button at the lower left of your profile picture.

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Sometimes you have to step back and punt!!... sounds like some real serious work went on behind the scenes, Crashes/hacks suck, been through it before, Thanks for the long days and hard work to get back, I think I speak for most of us in saying that a loss and inconvenience of some posts doesnt amount to what you guys went through to get us back...

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A fresh start is better than no start! Thanks for all the time and effort to bring this site back, it was missed. At a time when many photographers and birders have migrated to social media sites for image sharing and info, I still feel there's a place for forums like this and I appreciate it. Thanks again!

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I looked at some other birding forums while this one was gone but I couldn't find one I liked as much as this one so I joined none. I'm really glad Whatbird is back.

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Thank you for bringing the forums back.

any chance of getting the chat room back?

 

 

 

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Really glad the forums are back.  I really did not like any other bird ID websites.  Really missed my evening routine of studying bird photos.

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3 hours ago, Johnd said:

Thank you for bringing the forums back.

any chance of getting the chat room back?

 

 

 

No, that's not likely to happen.  Our vender discontinued it.

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Another couple of revival questions.

Is it possible to easily restore the 'Location' field to user profiles?  It's very handy to have someone's location easily referenced when tackling an ID.  If not, the comments section of the profile will have to do.

I notice someone has already posted a library with a large number of photos in the gallery.  Are the limitations on total size higher / gone?

Regardless, thanks for reopening the fun house!

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Hey!  New emojis!  The new ones are a bit more detailed (and there are far more of them), but they're also a bit smaller and may be hard to differentiate on phone and tablets.

Compare and contrast.  In each pair, the old style is the first one.  :classic_biggrin:😁  :classic_cool:😎

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