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TWRackers

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What is (or will be) the status of all old threads? I haven't heard any official word yet if they're lost for good or if that's still being resolved.
 

Nerull

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Merging the databases would be pretty difficult. It's something that should really only be done with a clean forum, so I wouldn't expect to see them ever return here. A second archive forum is a possibility.
 

Nerull

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Though I've been reading the vB manual and it might just be possible - it seems to support merging of users and such.
 

SpartaChris

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Bump. I'm curious to know if any of the older threads will be brought back. I have a couple of build threads that I put a lot of time into that I'd like to see resurrected.

Thanks in advance.
 

WillMarchant

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I'm going to try and grab the old databases and extract some threads. I'll let you folks know how it goes. This is one of those things where it could be relatively easy or virtually impossible. I won't know until I have a chance to mess around with the data.
 

sandmantoy

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I have been gone for awhile and every thing has changed. I even had to sign up again. What happened? Wow all those threads lost, there where a lot of good ones too :(
 

Sheri

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...
 
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kelltym88

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Bump. I'm curious to know if any of the older threads will be brought back. I have a couple of build threads that I put a lot of time into that I'd like to see resurrected.

Thanks in advance.
Chris,
This is intended in a kind way, but with your gift of gab and witticism, I don't think it would be too difficult for you to pick up where you left off, right Broseph!!:D:D
 

troj

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If it cant be merged, can they be linked somehow? Maybe just title them Archives or something with a link from TRF somewhere.
That's option #2; the ideal (option #1) is to get them integrated in.

Dunno how possible that is; it's a matter of whether or not readable files can be obtained.

-Kevin
 

sandmantoy

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I agree with Sheri. linked would be good, I always went back to some of the old threads just for some of the great ideas and brain storming that was in them.
 

JRThro

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If it cant be merged, can they be linked somehow? Maybe just title them Archives or something with a link from TRF somewhere.
Being no kind of database expert of any kind, I'm guessing that would be the quickest and simplest thing to do.

So... Agreed!
 

Pat_B

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I don't see the problem with merging at all. The fact that all of the threads have a date and time attached makes the merge that much easier. In fact, due to the time lapse in between when the old forum went down and when it came back up again, makes it that much easier. The old threads would just be appended onto the new database file rather than 'merged' in between.

The old threads wouldn't necessarily have to be attached to their owners so long as the threads were still searchable. And the searching task is a function of the system software anyway rather than something that is inherent in the database model.

The only slight to the whole procedure would be the time it takes to accomplish the task- the delay in between when the new database is downloaded and uploaded again (with the appended data) would result in some lost threads. However, that's a small price to pay for the benefit of getting all that history back.
 

troj

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I don't see the problem with merging at all. The fact that all of the threads have a date and time attached makes the merge that much easier. In fact, due to the time lapse in between when the old forum went down and when it came back up again, makes it that much easier. The old threads would just be appended onto the new database file rather than 'merged' in between.

The old threads wouldn't necessarily have to be attached to their owners so long as the threads were still searchable. And the searching task is a function of the system software anyway rather than something that is inherent in the database model.

The only slight to the whole procedure would be the time it takes to accomplish the task- the delay in between when the new database is downloaded and uploaded again (with the appended data) would result in some lost threads. However, that's a small price to pay for the benefit of getting all that history back.
It's a really neat theory, but without knowing the database structure, I cannot tell you how easy it may or may not be.

One potential nightmare is how to handle user IDs. Every post should identify who posted it, and ideally, if the data is merged, it should reflect that user's current ID. Which means the need to run a merge on the user data and figure out old versus new IDs -- folks may have changed IDs, someone else may be using the same username as someone else, etc. Lots of permutations, just on figuring out who to attribute each post to.

Once you do that, you then have to figure out how to get it all into the forum tables. Depending on how the code is written, it may confuse vBulletin if a message with a higher internal ID has an older date than a message with a lower ID.

Also, what about marking messages as read? vBulletin obviously tracks this at a fairly detailed level; while in the process of merging the data, every user is suddenly going to see years and years of messages appear as unread in each forum. But, if they go look, the first page shown would be the latest (by date) and they wouldn't see them, so they might think the software is broken.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

Theoretically, it's easy. Getting the computer to understand what you're doing and handle it appropriately isn't necessarily so easy.

-Kevin
 

Pat_B

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That's why I mentioned that it isn't important to connect the old posts with the new user names- I'm aware of the difficulties with that. Just populate the posts into the database without any unnecessary fields except for the text itself. Perfection just isn't going to happen.

Isn't there a way to mark all posts as being read on a bulk basis? That would solve that problem.
 

georgegassaway

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It's a really neat theory, but without knowing the database structure, I cannot tell you how easy it may or may not be.

One potential nightmare is how to handle user IDs. Every post should identify who posted it, and ideally, if the data is merged, it should reflect that user's current ID. Which means the need to run a merge on the user data and figure out old versus new IDs -- folks may have changed IDs, someone else may be using the same username as someone else, etc. Lots of permutations, just on figuring out who to attribute each post to.

Once you do that, you then have to figure out how to get it all into the forum tables. Depending on how the code is written, it may confuse vBulletin if a message with a higher internal ID has an older date than a message with a lower ID.

Also, what about marking messages as read? vBulletin obviously tracks this at a fairly detailed level; while in the process of merging the data, every user is suddenly going to see years and years of messages appear as unread in each forum. But, if they go look, the first page shown would be the latest (by date) and they wouldn't see them, so they might think the software is broken.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

Theoretically, it's easy. Getting the computer to understand what you're doing and handle it appropriately isn't necessarily so easy.

-Kevin
Of course, all this is moot if the data is not recoverable to begin with.

But Kevin does bring up a number of good points. Some of which would not be a showstopper, but issues that definitely have to be recognized before running thru the database to “massage the data”. By “massaging”, I mean running it through a custom-made database converter that sets various data fields to the desired settings to produce the desired effects. For example something I did for a database system long ago (before Y2K) was one where birthdates were typed as 6 digits. Where January 1st ,1980 would be “010180”. And the conversion database converted that into a real date of “01/01/1980”. There were other kinds of data “massaging” that was included in that conversion database too since a lot of the data formats were begin changed (from dBase of the 1980’s to Filemaker-3 in 1997, for NAR HQ).

The biggest issue was not so much creating the database template to convert the data, but identifying what data needed to be converted, and in what way for the desired result. So when the data was imported into the new database system, it all worked like it was supposed to, without being corrupted.

At least in this case we are not talking a conversion to a totally different “system”. But to make it work as desired with old merged with new, with minimal side-effects.

I myself do not know how the forum software works to flag messages as read by various readers. So I do not know how it flags I have read message 98124 but that I not have read message 98125, while flagging that Kevin has not read 98124 but has read 98125. Because, wow, it just now hit me that if say TRF has 1000 members, then every single message would potentially have 1000 flags, one for each member. I would not think it is quite like that though (cookies in my browser?), but it certainly makes me realize how difficult it might be. Or, possibly it would be simple to do, it all depends on the database format and how these things are flagged not just in the data, but by the forum software and how “cookies” play a role in some of it. Databases I have a good handle on. But how forum software works inside a browser (and stuff like Cookies and Java), I’m mostly clueless.

If it was possible to merge the databases together, it does seem it might be too hairy to try to also merge new ID’s with old ID’s. But you know, whose fault it is that people changed their ID’s? Not TRF’s. I did not change mine, a number of others did not change theirs. Anyone who changed their old ID to a new one, if this was the only roadblock to merging the data back? Sorry....

If it was not possible to merge the data, then OK, as an archive. I presume an archive would be just that - No new posts, as new posts would be confusing and messy, even more so by those who had “new” ID’s who were continuing old threads that their “old” ID had posted in.

- George Gassaway
 

rocketguy101

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If it was possible to merge the databases together, it does seem it might be too hairy to try to also merge new ID’s with old ID’s. But you know, whose fault it is that people changed their ID’s? Not TRF’s. I did not change mine, a number of others did not change theirs. Anyone who changed their old ID to a new one, if this was the only roadblock to merging the data back? Sorry....

If it was not possible to merge the data, then OK, as an archive. I presume an archive would be just that - No new posts, as new posts would be confusing and messy, even more so by those who had “new” ID’s who were continuing old threads that their “old” ID had posted in.

- George Gassaway
The ID thing could be tricky. Although I kept my "handle" I have a different member number (now 74, before ??). If the old IDs use the member number, perhaps they could be massaged by adding 10000 or something to offset those members?
 

troj

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George and David, you are beginning to see the difficulties in any attempt to merge the data.

I don't have access to the source code, but knowing how a lot of other stuff works gives me some semi-educated guesses as to what's happening. The reality is, more than likely, there is a table with exactly what George guessed -- it tracks that msg 8195 has been read by user 152. Cookies cannot be used to store this, as then you'd not maintain that information when you logged in from another computer, plus the cookies would grow to be astronomically huge as the number of messages to track grows.

David's idea of just adding a predefined value to the member numbers seems good on the surface, but in the end, such shortcuts tend to bite you in the behind. It may not happen now, it may not happen in a year, but some day, in some way, you'll pay.

If the data can be retrieved, and its usable, then the merger (if it's not too much of a headache to make it not worthwhile) has to be multi-phased....

1) Verify that a forum exists for each message to land in. For those that need to be moved elsewhere, come up with the map of what moves where.

2) Determine how to handle users, and write code accordingly. The "easy way out" is to just prefix every user from the old system with something like "archive:", thus any messages I posted on the old system would show as coming from "archive:troj".

3) Import the archive users/merge the users, whatever, as determined in step 2.

4) Import the messages. As each is imported, flag it as read for every user, so that folks don't come back to find 50,000 unread messages.

This assumes a variety of things about how the software works. Without seeing the table structure and starting to play a bit on a test system, it's hard to do much more than educated guesses about the mechanics of it all.

Database merges are never fun and never straight-forward. And it will only be worse if there's partial corruption of the data.

-Kevin
 

AKPilot

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Am back from a brief sabbatical, but I do need to release the information to both Kevin and Will to get into it and see what they can do.

My recommendation to them will be to bring it up for searching, as full incorporation would be a tremendous effort. However, they're the experts so I'll leave it to them to decide.

Am in a class most of tomorrow, but will get home and shoot them the information.
 

troj

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Speaking of which, How's the Info-Central rebuild coming along?
Progressing.

The biggest thing has been that Tim has to clean up all the HTML or it displays very poorly. It's a very manual process.

-Kevin
 

sunward

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To avoid problems merging, a simple solution.

Just import the database into another site, such as rocketryforumold.com? All threads would be locked.

It would preserve the information, be searchable, and not damage this one.
 

m85476585

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To avoid problems merging, a simple solution.

Just import the database into another site, such as rocketryforumold.com? All threads would be locked.

It would preserve the information, be searchable, and not damage this one.
That's a good option, but I think we should choose a name without "mold" in it.
 

troj

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Just an update....

We think we're close to having the old data in a usable format.

More than likely, it will be setup as a read-only archive.

Merging it into the current system would be....not fun.

-Kevin
 

WiK

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ancient-history.rocketryforum.com? ;)
 

sunward

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new thread has been started in the watering hole and says the archive has been recovered!

Soon to be up.
 
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