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Site Update for March 2022 - Block Admins and Change Your Name

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  • Site Update for March 2022 - Block Admins and Change Your Name

    I had one of these update posts already written and submitted last week, but some things happened with the site.

    What Happened?

    There was a new version of vBulletin released, which we are actually on right now. However, I had a problem where I was simply unable to edit longer posts that contained a mix of media (lots of text, lots of images), such as the reviews I've done. In trying to edit the posts to fix something, it would just sit on "Working" for a while and then a generic 500 server error would pop up.

    Editing these longer posts on the previous version of vBulletin would still take a while, but it never errored out on me. At the same time as I updated vBulletin, I had also updated some of the backend server stuff. So, I thought that maybe those updates caused a problem.

    I fortunately made a full backup of the site prior to this update, something I never do because the vBulletin updates almost always go super smooth. I restored the site starting around 3AM that night after having spent literal hours trying to troubleshoot the problem before that. As this was happening, I noticed something in the error log that I missed, but the backup restoration had already started, so I figured I'd deal with it tomorrow. I was still up when the restoration was complete and turned the server back on around 5-5:30AM before getting some sleep.

    The next day I was working on things again. I decided to not update the backend server stuff and only update vBulletin as I thought maybe those updates changed a variable or messed with some important files.

    Nope, the error still happened. I did a search for the error I found in the log the night before and some results suggested a couple of things, namely increasing the PHP max execution time. I raised it once from 30 seconds to 180 seconds. Didn't work. I increased it again to a whopping 900 seconds, or 15 minutes.

    This allowed the edits on long posts to go through, albeit very, very slowly. What used to take maybe a couple of minutes (still bad, but manageable) took almost 10 minutes now to complete.

    To make an already long story short, I had a back-and-forth discussion with the vBulletin team. It looks like having one of their new features enabled just causes the server to choke on longer posts. They are now aware of the issue. Whether or not it gets fixed in a future release is anybody's guess.

    That feature was a nifty hashtag feature that would quickly create links to tags, site sections, even threads just by using a hashtag. But despite those posts not having any hashtags, the feature still had a massively negative impact on the performance and had to be disabled for now.

    However, there are other things that I enabled for you.

    Block Admins

    Go for it. If there's a mod or admin you want to block so you cannot see their content anymore, you can now do so. This isn't new but I only now enabled it. I thought I had it enabled before but apparently I didn't.

    This means you can now block an admin like me, or maybe another "admin" that sometimes posts on the main page. *coughcough* This will prevent you from seeing content that person posts (in theory). So uh, yeah.

    Better Name Cards

    Also not a new feature, but a slightly updated one. You can now see little name cards for users anywhere on the site. If you see a username, you can click on it and you get info like their title, join date, post count, and you can choose to "Subscribe" to the user or ignore them. You can also send them a PM from this card.

    Change Your Display Name

    You can now change your display name upwards of two times per day. This is different from your username, or rather, your login name. By default, your display name is the same as your username.

    For instance, my username is "Shawn Zipay" right now, but maybe I want my display name to be like "xXxBubba42069axXx." I would still log in with "Shawn Zipay" but everyone would see my posts as "xXxBubba42069Xx." You can still see someone's original username by checking out their name cards. You can also continue using the @ to tag people in posts, only now you can put their username or display name to tag them.

  • #2
    Just a quick update for May 19, 2022:

    The site has been upgraded to vBulletin 5.6.8 today, seemingly without any issue.

    There really is no major front-facing features with this update. I may try to re-enable the hashtag support that was broken in the previous update, but I am unsure at the moment.

    There are some new attachment features included in this update. Supposedly, you can now upload mp3, mp4, and webm files and the software should recognize them without issue. I'm going to upload some tests in this post to see if it works as it should.



    I tried to get the MP3 working and it doesn't seem to want to work. Will look into it more later.
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