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Apologies for the Outage

You may have noticed that today has been a bit shitty here on Skepchick. We owe it all to our little sister site, Mad Art Lab, where Ryan posted this article about boobplates that seemed to attract a lot of attention. Way to ruin everything with your brilliance, Ryan!

Luckily, Ryan’s Mad Art Lab co-contributor Maggie rolled up her sleeves and rebuilt the server by hand. Practically. It was amazing. Anyway, we’re back up for the time being and as apology and thanks for your patience (and for those of you who helped us load test just now), I give you a photo I just took of my cats mere moments after Brendon (the brown stripey one) vampire attacked Fry (the one with the white). The caption is: HERP DERP, which is also the caption of today’s outage.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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  1. Okay…Ryan took blame as the breaker of the site tonight, but not being internet savvy (said, albeit inappropriately) with a bit of a lilt as per Cap’n Jack Sparrow), I’m curious as to how does something like this happen? Was it the number of graphics? There were only a handful of comments. His post did make me happy. I have nothing against the odd nekked lady or buffed gent in video games, but it has been fun to run around Skyrim and not pay attention to which gender I was playing, except when they were addressing me by the appropriate self-selected pronoun.

  2. @DrJen We got slammed. You wouldn’t believe how much traffic that post generated… It was linked from Reddit and gaming sites and all manner of places and we got buried in hits. And it didn’t really let up. Eventually the webserver was overwhelmed and the web host was too.

    We tweaked some things that needed tweaking and we’re mostly back to normal [for now]. But tomorrow I’m going to reassess things and we’ll go from there. I need to let it simmer a bit and see how the load looks in the morning. There may still be work to do to future-proof the Skepchick network of sites.

    Thankfully, Rebecca’s cats were adorable and kept her calm under pressure. And thankfully I had pizza and a nice lambic. :)

    1. Yeah I was kinda wondering if you guys were getting DDOSed.

      Are you running a shared server or a dedicated server? And how did you manage to balance the load?

      I’ve run a few Facebook games now and I think when you’re running an online service, getting DDoSed by your fans is a right of passage.

      Glad your wizard skills were available in this time of need!

  3. Wow…the surges are impressive. I’m amazed at the amount of traffic certain posts draw. It’s also interesting to compare the *relatively* small scope to what TV/movies draw in. On the one hand, dealing with thousands of folk vs an audience of millions; on the other hand, dealing with thousands of folk, many/most of whom you could personally identify ny face/name vs. millions who are anonymous.

  4. Well done, Maggie :)

    It’s rather worrying that in the way things work today, the worst thing that can happen to a website is to post something so great everybody wants to see it. The fact we all just nod our head and accept this says something about the strange state we’re in.

    In any case, that’s one of the funniest cat photos I’ve seen all week!

    1. But it happens to everyone who does something interesting :). And it’s always the point where you say “hmmm, our plan to handle high load was COMPLETELY inadequate” and in 36 hours, you have designed an amazing new system to balance load.

  5. catbutt (’cause you always need more)

    …and happy it got sorted and Mags ftw (is that ok? I think ‘Mags’ is pretty kick ass for a nickname…won’t do it again if it’s not though)

  6. All hail, Rebecca and Maggie for dealing with today’s onslaught. We at Mad Art Lab salute you! I guess we have to be a little more careful and considerate with our plans for world domination. Tea and scones, anyone?

  7. That was a fun day, in a way. Maggie and Rebecca were tearin’ shit up, puttin’ it back together, all while chompin’ on cigars and cursin’ like sailors. Was glorious to behold.

  8. I love the picture of your cats, Rebecca. Brendon looks like he is thinking to himself, “You fool! You should have known not to lie next to me on the couch, my throne!” and Fry looks like he (she?) is thinking, as he is awkwardly flailing, “What the hell just happened?”

    I have a cat named Fry, too. My Fry, however, is a black long-haired cat.

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