Eilistraee.com back up

This is the place where the leaders of the Chosen post news. News about the Chosen, news about drow/Eilistraee, news about NWN/NWN2 and news generally considered interesting to us. This is also the place where you can comment on those news items. :rss:

Moderators: Shir'le E. Illios, Bhaern Quel

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Shir'le E. Illios
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Eilistraee.com back up

Postby Shir'le E. Illios » Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:41 pm

As you can see when you're here, Eilistraee.com is back up, mostly, after having been down for nearly two weeks.

So what happened?

Long story short, it turns out my web host decided to suspend my site because I was using an older version of the phpBB forums (phpBB2) and they were afraid of it being exploited (or it was being exploited already; they weren't quite clear) and that this would endanger the other websites they host. And they neglected to inform me of this fact, taking me nearly a week of chasing up support requests to get them to tell me that.

Then the struggle began to get the site back up again. They had agreed to put the site back online if I upgraded to phpBB3. But they'd wipe the site before they'd do so. Luckily I had a backup of the entire site (and managed to get a backup of the entire database as well as I still had access to that). While I waited for them to put the site back up I set up a local Apache server for development so that I could do the upgrade locally. This threw up a few problems (I hadn't upgraded before because I'd heavily modified the old forums and knew that upgrading would be a pain), but finally managed to solve them. In the meantime getting the site back online took forever, but in the end they upgraded my hosting package (waiving the upgrade cost) so now the site has about five times more disc space and unlimited data transfer.

There's more there, but I'll spare you the details. At least the site is back.

So what's the status of the site?

All the "Chosen of Eilistraee" webpages should be back (with one notable exception). The translator should also be back and fully operational again (in fact I fixed a small bug with the mini-dictionaries under the translations).

The forums are also back in an enhanced phpBB3. All old accounts and post should still be there. The documentation for the conversion process did note that passwords don't always convert across properly, so if you find that your password isn't working use the forgotten password feature or contact me for help if that doesn't work.

I've decided to try and keep the number of mods fairly minimal this time around, in an attempt to prevent future upgrade issues. I did install a fairly extensive mod adding new ubbcode (mostly to get the old ubb code tags we had to work again by just installing one big mod instead of several smaller ones, meaning we've got a bunch of new ubb code tags now). I also installed a points mod, renamed it to "experience" and took across all the old experience (which was also done with a renamed points mod) from the old board. The new mod has a lot more features (like giving points per word posted and a banking feature), but for now I'm keeping it simple. Finally I also installed Smartfeed (link at the top of the forums) which allows you to make custom rss feeds for the forums. This seemed a good way to create a news feed for the news forum without having to do all the added coding myself.

What's not working yet is the news page; when you go there you'll get a "phpBB Fetch All" error... because I haven't installed that mod for the new forums. I have to do some work to get the news page working again; hopefully it'll be as simple as parsing the rss news feed, but we'll see.

You'll also notice that the forum currently has the default phpBB appearance. The biggest task ahead of me yet is implementing the old drowMoon theme for these forums again (starry background, parchment-looking posts, website links at the top, etc). That would also include a fancier display of experience (showing level instead and the progress bar). But all this will take some time to implement again. Until I do at least the forums are fully usable again.

You'll also notice that a lot of your profile options have gone, such as character name, gender, race, classes, etc. phpBB3 offers the option of specifying custom profile fields (i.e. not requiring another mod to do that as the old forums did), but I've yet to decide the best course to take. I could probably easily add custom text fields for classes, for example, so that people can enter whatever classes they like. For other things I can probably specify drop-down lists. But I haven't decided on what the best course is yet and part of it depends on how to display it. I've got a few thoughts in the back of my head as well, but those would require a significant amount of work so I'll probably keep it simple. Either way you'll most likely have to re-enter this information by hand (I might have a look at copying it across from the old forums, but that might be more hassle than it's worth).

I've also noticed that a number of special characters aren't displaying properly. Or rather that they didn't copy across properly from the old board. Probably something to do with character encoding differences. I'll look at whether I can fix these issues, but for now don't be surprised if you see odd characters in old posts. I've yet to investigate exactly what's going on (I only noticed it yesterday).

There might be a few other, smaller issues as well that I haven't noticed yet. Like old ubbcode tags that we don't have support for yet in the new board (I've had to add a couple for which the mod had a different name, like the "center" one). Any issues that you run across, let me know.

This is also the time when I'm most likely to consider new board features that you're interested in (particularly if you can point me to an existing mod that does what you want). I won't guarantee that I take up your suggestion (as I said I'm keen on keeping the number of mods fairly limited), but I'll definitely consider any requests.

Overall I'm hoping that the end experience will be better. A few things might take a bit getting used to (many of those more due to the difference in board theme so should fix themselves once I implement the old theme) and there's definitely still work ahead. But I thought that it would be better to make things available again now instead of waiting for who knows how long until I've got everything perfect again.

In the end I want to thank everyone who showed concern while the website was down and I want to apologize for the inconvenience the downtime might have caused you. And welcome back. :)


Love -x-x-x-

Shir'le
F'sarn natha tithaur wun l'su'aco.

-= Shir'le E. Illios =-
Chosen of Eilistraee

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Re: Eilistraee.com back up

Postby Inriiaynrae Jaelre » Thu Oct 06, 2011 6:27 pm

YAY its back its back!!!

Bhaern Quel
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Re: Eilistraee.com back up

Postby Bhaern Quel » Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:33 pm

Yes s back, however being exploited more by spammer then before. Took what i could out of RP section already.

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Shir'le E. Illios
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Re: Eilistraee.com back up

Postby Shir'le E. Illios » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:51 pm

Yes, I noticed. I thought that phpBB3 would have improved spam protection, but seems that isn't so. So at the top of my list now is putting in better spam protection.

Spam isn't the same thing as exploiting though.


Love -x-x-x-

Shir'le
F'sarn natha tithaur wun l'su'aco.

-= Shir'le E. Illios =-
Chosen of Eilistraee

Bhaern Quel
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Re: Eilistraee.com back up

Postby Bhaern Quel » Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:20 pm

Spamming is only one way of exploiting, yes I know of others.

Nice to know when the search bots are active on site.

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Re: Eilistraee.com back up

Postby Ra'Sona Races-The-Wind » Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:51 am

All right! We're back in business! ^^

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Re: Eilistraee.com back up

Postby Zarae Zyne Kilanatlar » Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:05 am

alright! go Shirlie!!!
*cheers*

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Shir'le E. Illios
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Re: Eilistraee.com back up

Postby Shir'le E. Illios » Fri Oct 07, 2011 9:29 am

Yesterday evening I put some anti-spam measures in place, though it looks like that might not have been enough because overnight we got a lot of spam again. So I'll look into putting more measures in place. Though it looks like those spam accounts might all have registered before I put the measures in place.

Part of the measures I put in place make it so that people aren't able to put anything in their profile/signature until they've made at least two posts on the forums. Spam bots tend to fill that stuff in once upon registration and then proceed to spam the forums where real users shouldn't suffer too much from first having to make a few posts.

Either way, please bear with any spam that might happen and don't reply to it (though feel free to report it with the report button on the spam post). I'll delete all spam posts once I see them so any replies to them will just look odd.

On another note, yesterday I found out (thanks to a friend) that the Members Roster currently isn't working. I'd forgotten that I was using phpBB Fetch All for that too. I'll fix that as well. And similarly I'm sure that the join button doesn't currently work (though at the moment that doesn't matter since it's only on the members roster anyway). But that will need some work as well.

I also found out yesterday that I seem to be unable to change file permissions on the website. I've contacted my web host to fix it, but considering my experience with their support staff until now I'm not holding my breath to getting it fixed quickly. Luckily this should impact the site negatively (it just means that I can't activate features such as allowing uploads of portraits and such, which I never had on the old forums anyway but am considering allowing now that I've got more web space and unlimited bandwidth).

It's also looking that, if I'm really lucky, I might maybe get my new computer tomorrow. Maybe. If that happens I'll need to spend time setting that up too. Is of no benefit to the website, but is of a lot of benefit to me. ;)

Anyway, I'll keep you all updated.


Love -x-x-x-

Shir'le
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-= Shir'le E. Illios =-
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Re: Eilistraee.com back up

Postby Shir'le E. Illios » Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:25 pm

Using reCAPTCHA now for registration (which is apparently the most secure CAPTCHA and helps digitize books). We'll see how well they get through that, though I might add more defenses regardless.

[EDIT] Might as well add this. Also enabled uploading of avatar images (meaning that if you want to use a custom avatar you don't have to use an external host anymore). Turns out the file permission issues were to do with the way that they set up the server; don't need to set file permissions to enable writing.


Love -x-x-x-

Shir'le
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Re: Eilistraee.com back up

Postby Shir'le E. Illios » Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:43 pm

In an attempt to deal with the flood of bots we've had since the new forums came online I deleted all user accounts (both activated and inactive) created since the board came online. None of them made any posts (except spam) and any anti-spam bot measures I'd take (which mainly target the registration process) wouldn't help with bots already registered or awaiting activation.

There is a small possibility that with this I also deleted valid new accounts and if I did then I truly apologize. If your account was deleted invalidly then please feel free to re-register. And if you have any issues please contact me so that I can help.

Considering how shortly the site has been back, how rarely we tend to get new registrations and how many bots had registered I felt that it was worth the inconvenience to anyone who lost their (so far unused) account this way.

I decided this because a bot account that looks to have registered before I switched to reCAPTCHA suddenly started spamming. So I wanted to cut off any of the other dormant bot accounts.


Love -x-x-x-

Shir'le
F'sarn natha tithaur wun l'su'aco.

-= Shir'le E. Illios =-
Chosen of Eilistraee

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Re: Eilistraee.com back up

Postby Rhei Lor'akris » Sun Oct 09, 2011 6:28 am

I think reCAPTCHA will work well against the annoying spambots.

Glad to see this lovely place back up and kicking. Great job as always Shir'le! :)

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Re: Eilistraee.com back up

Postby Bhaern Quel » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:54 am

Shir'le E. Illios wrote:In an attempt to deal with the flood of bots we've had since the new forums came online I deleted all user accounts (both activated and inactive) created since the board came online. None of them made any posts (except spam) and any anti-spam bot measures I'd take (which mainly target the registration process) wouldn't help with bots already registered or awaiting activation.

There is a small possibility that with this I also deleted valid new accounts and if I did then I truly apologize. If your account was deleted invalidly then please feel free to re-register. And if you have any issues please contact me so that I can help.

Considering how shortly the site has been back, how rarely we tend to get new registrations and how many bots had registered I felt that it was worth the inconvenience to anyone who lost their (so far unused) account this way.

I decided this because a bot account that looks to have registered before I switched to reCAPTCHA suddenly started spamming. So I wanted to cut off any of the other dormant bot accounts.


Love -x-x-x-

Shir'le


It appears, bots of spamming nature still becoming members. I could be wrong however have seen recet new people that have not introduced themselves and user names are suspect to me.

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Re: Eilistraee.com back up

Postby Shir'le E. Illios » Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:36 am

Bhaern Quel wrote:It appears, bots of spamming nature still becoming members. I could be wrong however have seen recet new people that have not introduced themselves and user names are suspect to me.

Since I've swept all of the new accounts there have been three (activated) accounts in as many days. And no inactive accounts. Considering that before that we got about a dozen new accounts in a few hours and again that number in inactive accounts I'd say that the new anti-spambot measures seem to be working.

I'm not going to assume just yet that any new accounts that don't post are automatically spambot accounts. If they start spamming it's easy to deal with them. Seems this new forum has a feature where I can delete all of a user's posts in a single go, so it doesn't even take me more than a few seconds. As long as it's infrequent it's just one of those online realities you learn to deal with. It's when you've got multiple spambots swamping the forums several times a day (as we had before) that there's an issue that needs to be dealt with.

So far it seems fine. :)


Love -x-x-x-

Shir'le
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-= Shir'le E. Illios =-
Chosen of Eilistraee

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Re: Eilistraee.com back up

Postby Shir'le E. Illios » Tue Oct 11, 2011 9:36 am

Hi all,

I fixed the news page. It's mostly the same with a few small changes.

For one the posts are in a slightly larger font now (on purpose though I'm not sure if I'm happy with it yet). And it's missing the number of comments in the link to the forum thread (because I'm now just parsing an rss feed and that information isn't included). Then there's things like them no longer linking to the forum profile of the poster (again information that isn't included) and the date format being slightly different.

I've also parsed through the posts and fixed a lot of the messed up characters; at least the and characters. Though I'm sure that there's others I haven't noticed yet. So if you see any more messed up characters (the old ones looked like '“' and '”' respectively) then let me know and I'll replace them.

Though I've fixed them on the forums, for some reason on the news page they're still broken. I'll probably do a search-and-replace at the point the rss feed is created to replace characters with their html equivalents; I had a whole laundry list of those for the old feed so should just be a matter of copying that.

Anyway, just keeping you all informed of what's happening. :)


[EDIT] Fixed a bunch more characters:

'’' -> '’'
'…' -> '…'
'‘' -> '‘'
'–' -> '–'
'—' -> '—'

There are a few more that I've found, but I'm not 100% sure yet what to replace them with.


Love -x-x-x-

Shir'le
F'sarn natha tithaur wun l'su'aco.

-= Shir'le E. Illios =-
Chosen of Eilistraee

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Re: Eilistraee.com back up

Postby Dostrealt » Sat May 31, 2014 9:54 pm

Shir'le E. Illios wrote:What's not working yet is the news page; when you go there you'll get a "phpBB Fetch All" error... because I haven't installed that mod for the new forums. I have to do some work to get the news page working again; hopefully it'll be as simple as parsing the rss news feed, but we'll see.


The Atom Feed for phpBB 3.0 can be turned on and off within the ACP*, so if you are having problems getting the feed working you might want to check that you have not accidentally turned the feature off.

* = You can even turn it on for some area and off for others. So if you do not want external users to syndicate your content you could turn the other feeds off.

There was actually a security vulnerability related to ATOM feeds, so if you are not running the most up to date version of 3.0.x, you should check the announcements for all the newer versions to see if that vulerability or any other vulnerability affects your forum.

Shir'le E. Illios wrote:You'll also notice that the forum currently has the default phpBB appearance. The biggest task ahead of me yet is implementing the old drowMoon theme for these forums again (starry background, parchment-looking posts, website links at the top, etc). That would also include a fancier display of experience (showing level instead and the progress bar). But all this will take some time to implement again. Until I do at least the forums are fully usable again.


If you have not been able to get drowMoon to work yet, there is a handy tool on the phpBB.com website called phpBB 3.0.x Styles Demo Board. It is a dummy forum with a drop down list on the top that allows you to experiment with how styles look.

BTW: phpBB.com are working on "release candidates" for 3.1.0 Ascraeus, which means that it is probably going to go live in the next few months. After that parallel support for 3.0.x Olympus is going to continue for about another year. You may need to do another version uprade and you may also need to upgrade php or other software on your server. (Otherwise, if 3.0.x becomes vulnerable to hackers after support has ended, you might find that your hosting company shuts you down again to protect their other users at some point.) You might want to keep an eye on the phpBB.com Announcements forum from time to time, because after 3.1.x goes live, you will be able to see what 3.0 styles and mods get converted over to the new version.


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