We Apologise For the Inconvenience

by Arthur B

A brief explanation of Ferretbrain's bout of existence failure.
Welcome back. As regular visitors to the site will have noticed, we fell over for a bit there, with the site being inaccessible and various fascinating error pages popping up in its stead for over a month.

The downtime happened because of the sort of occasional mistake you sometimes get when running this thing. It lasted for as long as it did because this website is a hobby for everyone involved, not a day job, so we didn’t really act with an enormous amount of urgency once the nature of the problem was realised.

Sometimes it’s useful to pull the blinds down, flip the sign over to “closed”, and have a think about what you are actually doing. In the hiatus Wardog and I talked a bit about the site’s future. As you’ve probably noticed, activity on the site has been tailing off lately, and Wardog herself hasn’t been as active of an editor as she was in the site’s early days.

There are (good, happy) reasons why that’s the case, but in effect I’ve been acting editor for the site for a while; during the break Wardog has given me permission to take on the role properly and provided me with the backroom access needed to keep this steam train running without her help. If Wardog ever wants the editorial chair back then it’s hers for the asking.

The editorial e-mail address - editor at ferretbrain dot com - now forwards to my e-mail instesd of Wardog’s. If you’ve sent requests in there which have lingered for a while unanswered, have at it and I’ll get to them as soon as I can. If there’s things about the site you want to tighten up, make use of the “Ideas & Issues” button over to the left there. If I am fucking up or allowing upsetting nonsense to go down on the site, call me on it via the e-mail address or comments section.

And if there’s an article you’ve been meaning to write, now’s the perfect time to pitch it to me.
Themes: Topical

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Comments (go to latest)
Arthur B at 08:48 on 2015-11-18
O, brave new world that has such butts in't!
https://ronanwills.wordpress.com/ at 10:09 on 2015-11-18
Welcome back! I was getting pretty worried for a while there, I thought I had lost one of my favourite sites on the whole wide web.

Robinson L at 15:30 on 2015-11-18
So glad to see this old place up and running again. I've been faithfully reading through the new articles, if not always commenting, and I'd fallen a bit behind by the time of the shutdown, so I'm looking forward to catching up. I ... may or may not have been checking daily.

Heck, maybe this mini reopening will inspire me to revisit some half-baked article ideas I've been sitting on for a while. Or maybe not, we'll see.

(But seriously, Arthur, you can tell us where the site's really been at all this time: was it the Dreamlands? Yuggoth? The Plateau of Leng?)
Arthur B at 15:35 on 2015-11-18
Down the back of the sofa.
https://bishopsreviews.wordpress.com/ at 16:27 on 2015-11-18
Glad to see y'all back. I was afraid you might be gone forever.
Cammalot at 19:34 on 2015-11-18
Oh, thank goodness! You SCARED me! :D

Very glad to see you back. I was dang near heartbroken to think of the loss of all your (plural)detailed writings.

Shim at 21:18 on 2015-11-18
The autonomous AI that does not exist, and certainly does not regulate Ferretbrain operations, did not suffer an unexpected memory failure. This non-failure did not result in electromagnetic fluctuations in the purely imaginary Faraday hypercage in which Ferretbrain is not located. No DeQuincy loops formed, and therefore it is logically impossible that a localised space-time-space distortion resulted in Ferretbrain temporallarily existing only in the past and the future, but not the present. The resolution of this non-problem did not require an undisclosed visit to CERN lasting several subjective weeks for outside observers. Tindalosian beings were not encountered and no Trismegistine was deployed. No participants in this non-event were exposed to unclassified energies. The crystalline substance that has replaced the flesh on one-quarter of Arthur's torso is not in any way related to these incidents which did not occur.

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Michal at 01:32 on 2015-11-19
On a more serious note, I admit I haven't been visiting this place nearly as much as I used to, but then G. Jennings' biggest (only?) superfan decided tracked me down on my personal site, and that brought back a flood of memories and a panicked "where'd all our stuff go?" response. Which is to say--glad to see Ferretbrain up and running again, and all our articles safe and sound.
Arthur B at 08:29 on 2015-11-19
Oh, was this the person who posted on your article with OpenID a while back?

I'm very pleased that we had readers who cared enough to worry when the site was down, but also I'm deeply amused that we got under some people's skins enough that years after the fact they came out of the woodwork to celebrate our apparent demise.
Michal at 16:00 on 2015-11-19
Oh, was this the person who posted on your article with OpenID a while back?

The very same!
Arthur B at 16:09 on 2015-11-19
Their "remoulding human bodies like putty"-based fantasies must be very, very precious to them.
Janne Kirjasniemi at 17:27 on 2015-11-19
Nice to see the site again! I was getting worried and fretful, but now all is right again. In relation to this site's onliny existence, that is.
Andy G at 18:51 on 2015-11-19
Glad to see the site back! I mostly lurk myself these days, but do still check the site regularly.
Alasdair Czyrnyj at 04:32 on 2015-11-20
I'm glad to see you're back, Arthur. It's always really shitty when sites vanish from the Internet, and there's a lot of stuff here that should be preserved.

On that topic, I tried to access a copy of Ferretbrain through the Internet Archive while the site was down, but it kept spitting out an error about how the "robots.txt" weren't configured or being blocked or something. Damnedest thing is, I checked the archive today, and all the recorded versions of Ferretbrain are back up. I might be something to look into, in case the site ever goes down permanently some day.

Finally, I'd also like to thank you for sparing me the time and hassle of editing and reposting all my old articles over on my blog. Now I can focus on not generating content in new, more exciting ways!
Arthur B at 10:40 on 2015-11-20
I will ask Rami about it but it sounds like something to do with the way webfaction's own robots.txt is set up and it may be out of our control.

If Ferretbrain ever has to permanently go away I'd hope to be able to do it in the form of a controlled demolition rather than a sudden disappearance, if you see what I mean - announcing what is going to happen ahead of time to give people a chance to archive what they want and post whatever contact details/URLs for replacement communities they want to and then leaving it archived in a static format somehow.
Alasdair Czyrnyj at 20:29 on 2015-11-20
You may also want to consider grabbing something like HTTrack or Wget that can copy an entire website in one go and putting it on Google Drive. Sometimes the Archive misses pages while scanning sites, so backing it all up yourself is the safest way to go. There's someone I used to read who died in 2012; his site went down about a year later and Archive was rather fussy in recording it, so getting someone's scanned copy of it was the best shot I had of preserving his writing.
Arthur B at 01:23 on 2015-11-21
Weekly archiving on something like that might be the way to go.
Daniel F at 04:29 on 2015-11-21
Ah, good to know what happened! I was worried that the entire site archive might be lost for a moment there.

Well, all the best to Wardog and Dan, and I hope the site keeps running in the mean-time!
http://brandiweed.livejournal.com/ at 16:28 on 2015-11-21
Glad you're back!
Melanie at 06:11 on 2015-11-22
Oh, hey! I'm glad the site's not gone after all; I was kind of worried there. Welcome back!
Sonia Mitchell at 19:53 on 2015-11-22
Welcome back! And I'm glad that Wardog's reasons for stepping back are good happy reasons.
Craverguy at 11:00 on 2015-11-23
Long live the Ferret! May it reign ten thousand years!
Guy at 12:18 on 2015-11-27
You're back! Welcome back! :)
I'm so relieved and glad to see the site back!
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