Scheduled Downtime for Database Upgrades: Reviews

29 Aug

At 2AM, August 29th, GMT-7 US Pacific Time, the reviews database cluster will be undergoing scheduled upgrade. During this maintenance period, the review feature will be unavailable. Scheduled downtime is estimated at 15 minutes.

UPDATED 2:09AM. Upgrade completed and reviews now back online.


  • You can now view Private Messages from users that have the PM feature disabled. Previously, once a user has disabled PM, their messages went into hidden mode.
  • PM messages are now displayed in a  more traditional layout. Previous floating chat mode created problems for some browser and very wide monitors.

Posted by on 08/29/2012 in upgrade



71 responses to “Scheduled Downtime for Database Upgrades: Reviews

  1. kaleidocherry

    08/29/2012 at 2:38 am

    Thanks for the PM layout changes; it’s nicer this way. Any chance of the outbox messages actually becoming deletable someday? When I try to delete it says “Message Successfully Deleted” but the messages never acutally go anywhere.

    • Torchwood Cardiff

      08/29/2012 at 7:09 am

      Same here. I have 600 in my outbox. Please make it so we can delete or an auto delete messages older then thirty days.

      • Donny Sterbinszky

        08/29/2012 at 7:47 am

        I dont think it would be awesome to have the messages being auto-deleted. what if some people -like me- have important PMs which we want to keep. and i have RPd in PM as well, and would love to keep them and re-read if i want to.

      • Guest

        08/29/2012 at 9:46 am

        Back when FFN overhauled the PM layout to the current system, I could have sworn they announced all private messages would be automatically deleted after 90 days. It had something to do with the sheer number of PMs being a burden on their servers.

        Obviously, they don’t do this.

        I do know there was a 90 or 120 day period to backup messages from the old system, but this had to do with the new system. Does anyone else remember this announcement or am I imagining it?

      • yemi hikari

        08/29/2012 at 3:19 pm

        @ Guest – I just remember a message for the old system, not the new one. Deleting PM’s could be problematic. Let’s say someone takes a six month vacation from fanfiction and long into their accounts, or even a three month. All the PMs sent to them would be gone with the wind. I’ve known users who don’t log on for an entire year too.

      • ~Cherry!~

        08/29/2012 at 3:29 pm

        If you don’t log in for longer than two months then what difference would it make if they were removed? If people want to know what mail they have they should read it asap? The only excuse I can think of is tech problems but it should be that long…

      • Guest

        08/29/2012 at 6:21 pm

        @yemi hikari: Thanks. I must be getting the announcements mixed up in my head. If the PMs have been marked read, I wouldn’t mind if they are auto deleted after a specific period. I like a clean message box. 🙂

      • yemi hikari

        08/30/2012 at 1:19 am

        @ Cherry – School, illness, family issues, work, wanting to not touch the net for a certain period of time, there are many reasons why a person would be gone for two-months or more.

  2. Donny Sterbinszky

    08/29/2012 at 3:01 am

    Ah nice. One of my friends was complaining because of this. Thanks for fixing it. And btw, will we get back the ‘links change color once visited’ on the forums as well? The names of the members dont change color once i click them… this way on large forums it is almost impossible to see new posts…. Thanks.

    • Lorraine

      08/29/2012 at 5:52 pm

      I agree with this -I would like all links to change colour after being visited.

  3. Doodle

    08/29/2012 at 3:40 am

    Is it possible for there to be a change of color of the major line seperators in the account settings menu page(s) where it seperates:





    Private Messaging +


    Image Manager+





    And ECT…, maybe a bolder color? It’s pretty hard to distinguish main-menus from the sub-menus.

    • Siretha

      09/02/2012 at 8:22 am

      Yes, this would be an incredible upgrade. It’ll be easier to navigate through the menus and distinguish where I am.

  4. Shooting Sword

    08/29/2012 at 4:28 am

    Hi, could you make it so that if someone who has PM switched off either PM’s you or reviews you that we can reply!?

    A lot of people review easy questions but have PM switched off so we can’t reply! They can be so annoying!

    • S.

      08/29/2012 at 10:19 pm

      Yes! Yes, I would love this feature, too!

      The old feature was the best – it was possible to reply to reviews using the PM system if you wanted a conversation, but review replies also had their own *separate*, one-way system so that even people who turned off PMs, perhaps because their parents didn’t want them giving out personal information online or something, could still get answers to their questions in reviews and thanks from an author. I’ve had lots of reviews from people who I’ve wanted to thank, but not been able to because their PMs were turned off. :/

      This new review reply system is also really rubbish because when you click the reply link in emails, the subject of the message doesn’t even come up automatically, it’s just a normal PM. I always have to go to my reviews page because that is better than the reply link provided. Which is ridiculous and wasn’t a problem before things were randomly changed.

      Being able to reply to reviews is such a great feature and it’s sad to limit it. So if you could please go back to letting review replies have their own separate system, ffnet, I’m sure a lot of authors would thank you.

  5. nazanin

    08/29/2012 at 4:39 am

    hey,im sorry i have a problem and i couldnt find another way to contact you,from the day you updated the site i have some issues seeing some of stories summeries,im using nokia 5800 right now,but when i use ipad3 i dont have this problem,so is this my device’s problem or something else,plz help me with that its really important to me i really appreceate it 🙂

  6. ShikiKira

    08/29/2012 at 5:57 am

    I don’t mind the new changes for this update. They don’t bother me, unlike some of the others that have happened.

    Can we please return the Favorites and Alerts pages back into a one-page list?! It is getting really annoying to have to sort through several pages to find a specific story to delete. The sorting system does not help in removal of stories and authors especially when you have many stories on Alerts and Favorites that are in the same category.

    Please do not add these same features for community manager’s archives. It would only be a nightmare for story removals as the archive is not sorted by titles. Sorting in the manager section of the community archives would be nice. Kind of like how we used to have the Favorites and Alerts pages.

    When we are sorting stories, can we have two categories? Some stories are crossovers and belong in two separate categories. However, with current system the stories in Favorites and Alerts are selected through whichever category the author had first selected. It would e really help to be able sort with two categories for crossover readers.

    • Lurker

      08/29/2012 at 4:22 pm

      Will you please quit begging? I’m sure Xing already saw your message (she had to approve all comments I believed) so no need to keep repeating/copying and pasting. This is like the third one already so you’re almost at the point of spamming.

      Either way, your suggestions are good and hold a lot of promises, especially with crossovers.

      It’s just that…I’m very sure that Xing already know your comment-upgrading takes time. Just don’t try and rush her and her team. That is all I can say. Give them time and I’m sure you will get your wish.

      • tiquatue

        08/29/2012 at 11:14 pm

        Xing is a he. Just sayin’.

      • Shooting Sword

        08/30/2012 at 12:52 am

        I was wondering about that. It says he on Wiki.

      • ~Cherry!~

        08/30/2012 at 4:08 am

        Comments just need to be approved once and after that their all accepted. So the reason it seems people are ‘spamming’ is because their comment was probably under moderation before being seen on the site. That or more people agree with one subject – like the different colors for unread PM’s.

      • Lurker

        08/30/2012 at 2:27 pm

        @Cherry, I was referring to ShikaKira. She had the exact same message (same wordings ‘n all.) in few other posts. I wasn’t referring to other people, as they didn’t spam.

        Sorry for the confusion. :/

      • ~Cherry!~

        08/30/2012 at 2:52 pm

        Ah okay then.

  7. Shooting Sword

    08/29/2012 at 6:07 am

    Can you add a feature to crop and edit Avatar positions. Sometimes the Avatars don’t fit right, or need adjusting slightly to fit in.

    Thanks, and keep up being awesome,

  8. harrypotterencyclopedia24

    08/29/2012 at 7:47 am

    Hi, I noticed that when I receive PM messages, the message box doesn’t highlight itself as it used to. Is it just me, or some kind of an update?

    • Tune4Toons

      08/29/2012 at 12:14 pm

      Yes, I’ve noticed this as well. It’s hard to tell which PMs haven’t been read yet and which ones have already been opened.

    • AnOnYmOuS

      08/29/2012 at 6:19 pm

      Yeah, I noticed this too. I would like it to be highlighted again…

  9. Guest

    08/29/2012 at 8:31 am

    I like the new PM display. It’s much easier to follow a long back-and-forth conversation. Previously, newer messages in a thread would eventually get squeezed into a narrow column on my display/browser. Thanks, Xing! 🙂

  10. Shooting Sword

    08/29/2012 at 8:59 am

    The new PM thing is nearly no different. The only thing you changed was putting both mine and ‘his’ bubbles in line, rather than one to the right and one to the left. I think it looked better the other way!

    • yemi hikari

      08/29/2012 at 3:23 pm

      While the previous way looks nicer I would rather not have the glitch that occurred with the old format. It was a pain in the neck.

  11. Cindee Luna

    08/29/2012 at 11:29 am

    On mobile, it keeps going on to the web version on default. Any reason for that?

  12. Shooting Sword

    08/29/2012 at 11:58 am

    Mine goes straight to the mobile site for stories, but for replies its going to the main site.

  13. UltronMaximus

    08/29/2012 at 1:54 pm

    Can you please make it so the new pms one get are highlited? I appreciate the upgrade to the pm feature, but now I can’t tell wich pms are new.

  14. Princess of Troy (@Andromakhe)

    08/29/2012 at 2:04 pm

    This might be kind of obvious, but I’d like to suggest a Reply button to reviews. As it is, I love to send replies to them, but the only way to do that coherently is if you get review alerts in e-mail and get the reply URL from there. Would be nice not to have to open e-mail just to reply directly to a review. Unless I’m missing something and there is a button. I only see one to report abusive reviews, though.

    • ~Cherry!~

      08/29/2012 at 2:47 pm

      There is a button to review to replies. It’s next to the report button. You still need an account on the site which requires an e-mail at the set-up though.

      • Princess of Troy (@Andromakhe)

        08/29/2012 at 11:19 pm

        Ah. Thank you for the info. Am a screen reader user so must have missed the button. The reader doesn’t recognize that it’s there. The same problem exists on the pages to edit stories. There’s a way to edit chapter title, save, delete, etc, but the buttons are not announced verbally.

  15. Living For Jesus

    08/29/2012 at 2:04 pm

    I’m adding my voice to those asking for the ability to delete the outbox messages. It’s annoying having so many still in there after so long, especially if none of them recieved any replies.

    • Princess of Troy (@Andromakhe)

      08/29/2012 at 11:40 pm

      After being made aware of the Reply button for reviews, I’ve worked out a way to get my reader to recognize it. So the problem mentioned is not a problem anymore. Also checked story editing pages and I can get the buttons to read there as well. So no worries for now.

  16. ~Cherry!~

    08/29/2012 at 2:46 pm

    I hate the new layout. We should get to choose to switch to the old version and the new version via a tab at the bottom of the screen or something! The new way doesn’t show clearly which messages are new and unread. The only visible change is the removal of speech bubbles to ovals!

    And during the update’s to reviews how come reported reviews are taking so long to be removed!? I’m glad and all that your taking the time to change the site but how about improving and fixing it for a change instead of making it ‘look all nice, clean and faster!’. 😡

    • yemi hikari

      08/29/2012 at 3:27 pm

      Try e-mailing the site admins about the reviews you think should be removed. Particularly if you have an entire list of them. This way you can verify that the reason the reviews aren’t removed is because the site admins don’t consider them to break the site rules.

      • ~Cherry!~

        08/29/2012 at 3:33 pm

        HA! If only my friend, if only! A review was left a month ago on a K rated story mentioning a mis-typed (But clearly a) swear word. A death threat, and for the author to ‘stop leaving negative reviews.’ I think these reasons break the rules (!)
        The admins in the reports section need to get it together, they take to long in responding and the victims are left wondering if their report was even read or not!

      • yemi hikari

        08/30/2012 at 1:31 am

        I’d still e-mail it into the site admins and keep e-mailing it. And yes, death threats are against the rules. So are swear words, though I don’t report ones where the reviewer points out that a character is a particular swear word when the writer intended for the reader to not like the character for some reason.

      • ~Cherry!~

        08/30/2012 at 4:15 am

        The swear word was directed to the author.
        That’s not my point, why should abusive comments still stay on the site for so long? It took someone else 6 years to get a reply from the team so I’m losing hope that their are actually people as admins and not drinking chickens….
        Even if I mail them everyday it might seem like I’m spamming.

      • Shooting Sword

        08/30/2012 at 8:10 am

        Swearing in a review is OK as long as its not directed at the author, ie: “Dumbledore was a right b***, he deserved to get his ass handed to him”.

      • ~Cherry!~

        08/30/2012 at 8:11 am

        But in this case it was directed to the author.

      • Shooting Sword

        08/30/2012 at 8:16 am

        Well, that’s not on. Does the profanity blocker at least keep it from kid eyes? I don’t think cussing on anything less than a T should be allowed and the review thing should say to removed the bad words before it will submit.

      • ~Cherry!~

        08/30/2012 at 8:20 am

        It’s visible to little children. Curses shouldn’t be allowed for under T’s. It’s been more than a month and can’t be removed immediately because it’s a signed review.

  17. Unyielding Wish

    08/29/2012 at 3:30 pm

    I don’t like the new FFnet PM setup. Can you please change it back? Thanks

    • bienfait

      08/29/2012 at 4:27 pm

      I hope not. The old PM arrangement was completely unreadable on all three computers I regularly use, as the replies were all squashed up against the sides of the screen. The new way works much better for me

      • Unyielding Wish

        08/29/2012 at 9:41 pm

        The thing is, I can’t figure out which PMs are unread and which PMs aren’t.

    • Shooting Sword

      08/30/2012 at 8:18 am

      I’m not keen on the PM set-up either, but I can deal as I always read my PM’s from the email alert anyway, and if its transed I at least know the name of the messenger, and it should be top of the list.

  18. MyNameIsJeffNImLost

    08/29/2012 at 3:36 pm

    The URLs changed for spaces in stories, throwing off history coloring and browser bookmarks. For example, one of my stories, Castle vs the Law of Averages, had the base URL path: s/6771422/1. From the story page, profile page, and chapter selector, the URL path s/6771422/1/Castle_vs_the_Law_of_Averages. Now, the underscores have changed to dashes: s/6771422/1/Castle-vs-the-Law-of-Averages The underscore URL still works, but I keep track of my progress for stories I’m reading with bookmark tags. Now when I click on the story, the bookmark is not found and I have manually replace underscores with dashes.

    I realize this probably isn’t a widespread problem, but the issue also throws off people’s history coloring. Why was this changed and can it be changed back?

    • Cryptological Mystification

      08/29/2012 at 5:50 pm

      I agree.

    • yemi hikari

      08/30/2012 at 1:33 am

      If it weren’t for the fact it throws of the history I would suggest just deleting the title as that is easier then deleting the dashes and less time consuming.

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost

        08/30/2012 at 10:37 am

        I’m trying to decide if I should do that for many, many bookmarks. It will take a while. I might export the bookmarks, write a replacement parser and re-import. Actually, I wouldn’t mind if the title of the story was not in the URL at all. It’s not in the story alert emails. However when I use the selection box to navigate back to the first chapter and update my tag, FFnet adds the unnecessary story title to the URL. I don’t see a reason for the change from underscores to dashes (other than to annoy me 🙂 ). My preference is consistency. It helps with history coloring and bookmarking.

    • Shooting Sword

      08/30/2012 at 8:21 am

      I haven’t noticed but I have lots of story’s in folders in Thunderbird from chapters I’ve not yet read for stories I read. So this will probably affect me will it? At least now I’ll know to replace underscores for dashes if it does affect me!

  19. Mountain

    08/29/2012 at 4:10 pm

    I have a suggestion- Could all the people who report rule-breaking stories daily switch to weekly reporting instead? I think that might be less work for the admins and possibly make it more efficient to delete the rule-breaking stories. Right now, I doubt that the admins have time to search the site for rule-breaking stories because they spend all the time going through the reported stories.

    NOTE- I’m not suggesting that you stop reporting these stories, just that you report them less often.

    Here’s my reasoning. I’m assuming that the reports are like update alerts, in that if an alert is sent out and then the story is deleted, the alert is still going to be in your inbox. So if an admin deletes a reported story, they still have to go through all the other reports for the same story. Assuming that you report a story daily and get 5 of your friends to do the same and it takes the admin 3 days to work through the backlog to get to one of the reports, they have to deal with 1 valid report and then 17 useless reports. This makes them less efficient in dealing with all the other rule-breaking stories.

    Yes, you are trying to increase the visibility of your reports. Unfortunately, if everyone is doing the same thing, it’s not very effective. 1 report out of a thousand is just as visible as 5 reports out of 5 thousand, the difference being that it takes the admins a lot more time to go through 5 thousand reports than 1 thousand.

    Plus, it seems that on rare occasions, the author is warned before their story is deleted. You might be sending reports during the warning period or after the author has corrected the issue.

    I also have to feel sorry for the admins. They must be absolutely flooded with reports on top of whatever other work they have to do. It’d be like working all day only to have the inbox even more full at the end of the day than it was at the beginning.

    If I’m wrong about this, please let us know, Xing. We don’t really know much about how the site is run so please let us know how better to help out.

    In conclusion, if you want to watch a story to make sure that it is deleted, please wait a week and then check to make sure that the author hasn’t corrected the issue/ the rule supposedly being broken isn’t vaguely worded/ etc. before reporting again.

    • UltronMaximus

      08/29/2012 at 11:29 pm

      You’re not taking into account that most people who post rule-breakers are massive jerks who gloat at you when their story isn’t deleted soon.

      Your idea isn’t bad, though.

    • yemi hikari

      08/30/2012 at 1:41 am

      If the reports aren’t tagged via id number or grouped by story then the site admins need to find a way to group all of the reports for one story at one time. Of course we don’t know how the system works.

  20. AnOnYmOuS

    08/29/2012 at 4:41 pm

    Can you please add a button that allows you to return to the story after you’ve reviewed it? It only works if you do everything else but that.

    • Shooting Sword

      08/30/2012 at 12:49 am

      You leave the story? I don’t, does anyone else?

      • Princess of Troy (@Andromakhe)

        08/30/2012 at 11:12 am

        I don’t, either. In fact, I like the new review way where we can type directly from the chapter pages. The old way needed an extra click.

  21. Andie

    08/29/2012 at 4:55 pm

    If a user has you blocked from contact, you still can’t view the PM’s, any way to fix that? I don’t care if I can’t respond to the person, but in the case of dealing with someone who was threatening me through the PM system and then blocked me, I would like to be able to access the PM’s so I can copy them into a document to support my case for harassment to the site administrators. The email system truncates the message so I only have part of it. Please fix this!

  22. Jasmine

    08/29/2012 at 7:46 pm

    I am honestly tired of all the updates they are making with the site, it’s really getting annoying seeing a new one almost everyday. This one I have no problem with, EXCEPT I liked it better when the unopened messages were yellow or whatever color they happened to be, it was so much easier to know what messages I had to look at. especially with all the rps I’ve been doing lately, could you please change that back? It was so much easier and I’m getting thrown off when I see I have messages, but they aren’t “lit up”. PLEASE FIX THIS! It’s irritating and confusing. Other than that, the site is really annoying with all these site changes lately.

    • AnOnYmOuS

      08/29/2012 at 11:04 pm


    • yemi hikari

      08/30/2012 at 1:43 am

      On one side there are people who don’t like the fact the site is getting as many updates as it is getting. On the other there were a lot of people complaining that the site admins didn’t seem to be doing anything at all. We can’t have it both ways, simple as that.

  23. Somariel

    08/29/2012 at 7:53 pm

    I would also like it if some way of telling unread PMs apart from read ones was restored. I very much relied on the different colors in the inbox to tell me which ones were new, especially when I had more than one new one.

    • Unyielding Wish

      08/29/2012 at 9:44 pm

      Yes, exactly my thoughts. I apparently have one unread message, but I’ve combed through my inbox and can’t figure out which.

  24. meghan

    08/30/2012 at 5:43 pm

    Theres something wrong with the website I can’t log on and everything screwed up!!!!

  25. Kita Kitsune

    09/02/2012 at 3:33 am

    I cannot access old PMs from a user who has just blocked me. Please look into this?

  26. Law Practice Attorneys

    08/13/2013 at 1:40 pm

    Man, you are a great writer. Your own post is really fascinating. You ought to do it expertly


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