Topaz Discussion Forums Restored

#What happened?
On Wednesday, June 21st, due to an error with our hosting account, all data we had with that specific host was removed from their system. This was done by accident by the team handling our account, and we were left with no recourse but to rebuild the forums from the ground up.

#Where are all my posts?
We lost nearly all the data we had hosted with the provider we were using, which includes posts. Unfortunately, all post history has been destroyed.

#Is EVERYTHING gone?

Here’s what we lost:

  1. Uploaded images
  2. Site modifications and plugins
  3. All posts and replies
  4. All private messages and replies
  5. All group memberships, including Beta Testers
  6. All badges/custom labels (Contest winner, staff, moderators, etc.)

Here’s what we did not lose:

  1. User accounts: we use your Topaz Labs account (www.topazlabs.com/my-account) information to log you in. These were not lost due to the way your accounts are setup with the forums. You will need to login again, but you will be treated as a new user would be.
  2. Site theme
  3. List of 200 most active beta testers. If you have been helping us with beta testing lately, we’ll make sure you are added to the group. We will be rebuilding the group over the next couple of weeks as we work to restore normal functionality to the forums.

#Moving forward

What’s next?

Well… I hate to say this, but we’re going to have to start most of these conversations over. Prior to this unforeseen failure on our host’s end, we had plans to implement a backup system outside of their services (in case something like this happened). Unfortunately, this failure occurred before we could achieve that goal, so most of our files were not backed up anywhere but the host’s location. This was short sighted on our end, because we cannot possibly anticipate everything that might go wrong, up to and including the hosting provider flat out removing our data completely. We’ll be working to restore everything as quickly as possible.

###Is/was this preventable?
Yes, it is preventable. We have been forced by this unfortunate event to accelerate our efforts to put measures in place to prevent this from happening again. Also, we have dropped the hosting provider for their enormous misstep, and will be hosting the forums on our Amazon AWS account going forward, which we have much more control over. We are implementing a multi-layered backup system that should ensure the ability to bounce back from a complete data loss like this, should it happen again in the future.

###A feature/item I’m used to seeing is missing!
Given the element of immediacy this failure has attached to it, we focused entirely on restoring the functionality and experience of the forums as they were. This means that several things are not yet implemented:

  1. Voting plugin
  2. Accept Post as Solution plugin
  3. Translation plugin
  4. Post Signatures plugin
  5. Formatting toolbar plugin (colors, etc)

We’re aware the forum is not 100% back to full functionality, but we had to wait on these so we could get things up and running again. We’ll be adding them back over the coming weeks, so please be patient.

###What else?
As a result of hosting the forums in a location we have more control over, we were able to make a few more changes that we weren’t able to with the previous forums.

####New Image Upload Maximum
Images can now be uploaded as large as 6MB

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Thanks for the status report and for getting the forum restarted.

In the end, maybe it’s a good thing; wiping the slate clean can be rejuvenating.

Best regards

@JoeFedric-TL

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Guess I’m addicted…surely did miss the site! Glad you’re back! :sunglasses:

Couldn’t find my tiger so switched to the giraffe.

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Welcome back. Thank goodness it is over, the withdrawals were painful.
Anything we can do to help out?

Hurray, Hurray we are back…Happy to be back

Glad to have you back - agree that you were missed. Some of us have been posting in this forum and its predecessors since, I believe, 2009.

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As stated by those before me, so pleased to see he forum back … thanks for getting it up and running so quickly after such a huge disaster

It was loke having a tooth pulled. Kept feeling for it but only finding a hole. Welcome bck.

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Glad the forum is back up and running. :grin:

Looking at the new posts every morning hd become a habit I enjoyed.

Anyway to remove the limit on how much “new” users can post in a day?

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There are many configurations that will need to be set again, I’ll take a look at the new user limitations, since so many people are now going to be faced with them.

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glad you’re back :sunglasses:

Glad to see the forum back. Missed it and it is my favorite hang out. Good luck in restoring back to where it was in functionality. I guess the restoration will be slow in getting fully functional. But the good news is your are back and operational. Thanks for the update Joe.

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Thanks for letting us know what happened, Joe.

I appreciate your honesty and taking responsibility for the problem. That is rare today, and while the loss of data is unfortunate, I trust your statement about steps to prevent future problems.

Email notifications are back on! I’d love to engage more, but I can’t just yet. I’ll be popping in from time to time to let everyone know when something has been fixed or re-implemented, on this thread. When I feel the forum is as close to “before/normal” as can be, I’ll close the thread so everyone knows the transition period is over.

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To quote the Duderino, “Bummer, Man.”

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Thanks for the updates

I have noticed that access is denied when I click on Topaz Studio Category.

I’ve disabled that button for now.