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Please read - Forum cookie settings changing!

Posted: Fri 16 Nov 2018 8:11 pm
by freddie
In a response to concerns from users about forum performance issues, I will be making some changes to the forum cookie settings at 11:00 UTC on Saturday 17-Nov-2018. The forum will be offline for less than five minutes. This is an attempt to address the following issues:
  • Poor performance of the forum for a number of users
  • The observed performance differential for some users between accessing the board when logged on compared to when not logged on
Poor performance appears to be tied to individual users rather than everybody having the same experience (i.e. server resources being inadequate), and to whether a user is logged in or not. So I have been having a think about what is specific to individual users. This has been quite difficult as I have not experienced performance issues, despite accessing the forum with a number of browsers from a number of devices from a number of locations.

As reports of poor performance don't appear to be browser-specific, then browser choice can probably be ruled out.

The difference between a logged-on user and a logged-off user (or a guest) is one of cookies being set, read, and compared to the database. Each cookie is unique to a user, and is tied to a session identifier within the database. Therefore it makes sense to suspect cookies.

As a result of this I will be performing the following tasks on Saturday:
  • Changing the forum cookie settings - both the scope of hosts that they cover (too broad at the moment) and the identifier they are stored against in your browsers (possibly not unique)
  • Clearing out any session data in the database
This will have the effect of logging everybody off from the forum. Apologies for this side effect. If you can't remember your password, please use the password retrieval/reset function on the login page. If you can't remember your username (!) then please contact me via the "contact forum administrator" function on the login page.

Hopefully this will result in a more even performance experience for all users. If not, then we are down to factors outside my control - i.e. dodgy routes from certain ISPs, etc.

There exists the possibility that a multitude of users will see this announcement and all jump in and test the new settings immediately after they are made. Obviously this will skew the performance experience towards the low end of the scale, so please wait a while (a couple of days?) before leaving feedback about the change. All feedback is welcome - especially positive ;-) - and it will be best left in the "General" section as you have been doing so far. I will wait a while to collate feedback, and then assess whether the change has been a positive one.

Thanks again for your patience while I get this forum bedded in and functioning to the satisfaction of all users!