TECHWR-L List Problems and our new (old) home

Subject: TECHWR-L List Problems and our new (old) home
From: INKtopia Admin <admin -at- inktopia -dot- net>
To: Techwr-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 9 Oct 2013 10:41:26 -0500


Hi everyone,

Our promised note to you all concerning the last 10 days and our next
steps. The net of this note is that we will not be moving away from our
legacy system for a quarter, and maybe longer, thanks to a major design
flaw uncovered in the new Forum software.

The flaw we're talking about is why those of us who get all emails, all the
time started getting a few duplicates in the afternoon of 10/7 and why our
"Welcome Note" was sent three times on 10/5. The flaw doesn't appear to
occur from notes started via email but when someone starts a conversation
using the online traditional "forum" method. The duplicates were occurring
because the system would not close the form after submission and move the
user to the "new discussion" screen but after 30s, revert back to the still
completed submission form. Two users and myself thought the form hadn't
been submitted so they hit submit again. At least for me, the system only
threw an error on the third resubmission.

But, despite the broken workflow the system was receiving the submissions -
thus the duplicates and pushing them to email. The design flaw has to do
with how the Forum submit form handles sending to email. It appears to be
wired to wait for some "OK sign" from the mail server before clearing the
form. The submit routine gives 30s before there's an error but our list
size and the need to get the "ok" it's been sent was always larger than 30s
so the online form would blow up and try to start again.

When pushed the vendor admitted that they'd never worked with email
requirements like ours and that 50 people was around their highest number.
We were up front from the very beginning about our size and volume. In
fact, they were the ones who uploaded the data and made the final
configuration. This was not a state secret.

They now recognize the flaw and I was told that they will address this
problem in the next quarter road map, but frankly right now our
organizations have a huge trust deficit. We just sent a "next steps" note
asking for written reassurances and a few other things to ensure that our
commitment to this company who has a great website and wonderful marketing
promises, can actually deliver operationally. We'll keep you posted, but we
have no taste for trying anything before 2014.

The next question is what happens with our brand new shiny Forums since
they do exist, they do have comments, and they were growing. But, they were
intended to be a replacement for this list. At this point, it really
depends on what we hear from the vendor, but all options are on the table
ranging from shutdown to working with the vendor to get their email
capabilities up to an enterprise level.

The most likely scenario is that we keep the Forums running and then have
that system do a daily digest to this system with latest discussions (just
the start) and anyone interested in participating can log in and
participate via the Forums. The Forums' Email capabilities were shutoff
shortly after it started firing out test notes that I submitted to it in
August and it remains off right now. We're going to turn all notifications
off for your accounts so you'll have an account, but it won't talk to you
via email unless you want it to do so.

Please just restart conversations using the normal email address
techwr-l -at- and know that some data will be on the Forums and the rest
back into the

We truly appreciate all of you and that all but a small percentage have
given us a wide fairway in this process. Our goal is, and has always been,
to create a wonderful platform to share ideas and to have the technology
get out of the way. The hardest part over the last 10 days is that we
didn't get anywhere near that goal. We obsess on these things and the fact
we bothered even one person was too much. We have never thought perfection
wasn't possible.

One positive note is that we have a great deal of information for a product
review. We always like sharing and thanks to the last 120 days (yes there's
way more), its contents may actually help reverse global warming.

Before ending what I hope is one of my last notes to the list on this
subject, Connie and I want to extend a sincere and heartfelt thank you to
Eric Ray for his help and support over the last two weeks and especially
yesterday. He managed yesterday's cut-over from an Internet cafe before
going to a soccer game. He's a wizard on these systems and we're all lucky
to have him still involved. Thanks!

Take care and happy chatting

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