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Forum Operator #19

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cbeams opened this Issue Sep 4, 2017 · 21 comments

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cbeams commented Sep 4, 2017

This role is about operating and administering the Discourse forum at https://bisq.community.

Spec: https://github.com/bisq-network/roles/blob/master/forum-operator.adoc

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cbeams commented Jan 2, 2018

@alexej996, I've just assigned you to this role, reflecting the fact that you're actually doing this work.

Could you please do a monthly update comment here for December, per #57 (comment).

Specifically, could you please address the two recent outages of the forum, and what you plan to do to prevent these in the future? I think there are a couple major issues here:

  1. Your ability to see and respond to outages in the first place. In both cases, it took several hours or more to get hold of you.

  2. Getting a backup/secondary operator in place. I believe @Emzy now has access to the Discourse server as well as admin rights, but it's not clear to me whether he's actually signing up to be on call for this, i.e. watching the #forum channel, watching bisq-network/forum issues, etc.

Thanks!

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alexej996 commented Jan 2, 2018

2017.12 update

Discourse forum was upgraded at least once this month during the second forum outage on 27th of December to the current latest version 1.9.0.beta17.
Backups were done automatically every two days as per previous Discourse configuration, but I downloaded them to a local computer at least once a week in case something goes wrong.

There were two outages of the forum for still unknown reasons. First one was on 7th of December and second was on 27th of December. Both happened during work days while I wasn't available until the evening. In future I will try making a bash script to automate restarts of Discourse in case forum is down.
I will also ask @Emzy to be backup/secondary operator for a portion of the BSQ compensation, if he is not available for the role I will try finding someone else.
I already installed today Slack on my phone so I can be available hopefully at all times on the #forum channel.

This month we had increase in users and user visits as well as posts and topics.
There was 1151 user visits this month, which is 33% increase from last month.
We had 283 new users, that makes 180% increase from last month.
Number of new topics created this month was 181. That is 121% increase.
Number of new posts was 913 with 78% increase from last month.
In total there was 137,845 page views this month with 110% increase from last month.

@cbeams cbeams changed the title from Discourse forum operator to Forum Operator Jan 2, 2018

@cbeams cbeams added role and removed role:op labels Jan 3, 2018

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ManfredKarrer commented Jan 3, 2018

@alexej996 Great thanks for the update.
@Emzy Are you available as backup for the forum?

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Emzy commented Jan 3, 2018

Yes I'm available as backup for the forum.

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cbeams commented Jan 8, 2018

Thanks, @Emzy. @alexej996, could you work out with @Emzy what being a "backup" means and add it to the role spec? Doesn't have to be elaborate. Should just make it clear what the responsibility of the backup is, when and to what they are expected to respond, etc.

@Emzy, I've added you as an assignee here to indicate that you're the 'backup' or 'secondary' role owner here (we can figure out that terminology as we go here). Thanks, both.

@cbeams cbeams referenced this issue Jan 8, 2018

Open

Support Staff #64

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alexej996 commented Jan 31, 2018

2018.1 update

Discourse forum was updated once this month to the currently latest version 2.0.0.beta1 on 5th of January.
Backups were downloaded at least twice per week as described in the role specification.

The forum experienced no issues or down time this month and seems to be running as intended.

We had an increase in user visits this month and a decrease in new users, topics and posts, as well as a decrease in total page views.
There were 1217 user visits this month, which is 8% increase from December.
We had 267 new users join our forum, which is around 5% less than last month.
135 topics where created this month. That is a 27% decrease from last month.
839 posts where created in January, which is 10% less than December.
In total there were 114261 page views this month, which makes 19% decrease form the last.

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alexej996 commented Feb 28, 2018

2018.2 update

Discourse forum was updated twice this month, on 3rd of February to version 2.0.0.beta2 and to version 2.0.0.beta3 on 16th.
Backups were downloaded at least twice per week as described in the role specification.

On 9th of February SSL certificates for the old forum domain (forum.bisq.io) were manually renewed.

On 19th of February there was a temporary issue with the SSL certificates for the new domain, as they weren't renewed before expiry. These SSL certificates were automatically installed by Discourse software, there were no warnings of their expiry nor did the software renew them automatically.
The issue was resolved in few minutes when I installed them manually after being notified of the issue.
In future there should be a warning for their expiry, just like there is one for certificates for the old domain.

Operating system was updated on 19th of February after SSL certificates were renewed.

There was an increase in response time to topics in the last month, but decrease in overall activity on the forum.
There were 909 user visits in the last month, which is 25% decrease.
108 new users in February, which is 59% decrease.
79 topics, which is 41% decrease.
436 posts made, which is 48% decrease.
102,202 total page views this month, which is 13% decrease from January.

@cbeams cbeams referenced this issue Mar 1, 2018

Closed

Conduct Mar 1st–3rd compensation request voting #44

10 of 10 tasks complete
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alexej996 commented Apr 2, 2018

2018.3 update

Discourse forum was updated once this month, on 8th of March to version 2.0.0.beta4.
Backups were downloaded at least twice per week as described in the role specification.

There were some issues with forum sending emails this month. Gmail seems to be suspicious of SMTP logins from the forum.
There were also some phishing attempts that started this month. Emails are being sent to the forum's email address abusing SMTP login issue to appear trustworthy. Not sure if it these issues are connected in any way.
Perhaps Gmail is suspicious of SMTP logins because of possible attempts by attacker to login over SMTP to either guess the password or create enough suspicion to cause Gmail temporarily locking an account. Either way, I didn't fell for the phishing emails, but the forum maybe still experiences some email login issues due to high suspicion. I will look into it in the following month.

On 26th of Match forum was migrated to the new bigger server.
Switch was made from an AWS hosting to Namecheap, as they support Bitcoin payments, which I prefer of course.
Forum should also be capable now of handling a bigger community as we will hopefully have soon.

There was a decrease in forum activity this month as well. This month we had:
612 user visits, 32% decrease.
107 new users, pretty much the same as last month.
56 topics, 33% decrease.
319 posts, 26% decrease.
80,817 total page views, 24% decrease.

@alexej996 alexej996 referenced this issue Apr 2, 2018

Closed

For March 2018 #52

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alexej996 commented Apr 29, 2018

2018.4 update

Discourse forum has been updated twice this month. First time on 13th from version v2.0.0.beta4 to v2.0.0.beta6 and second time on 27th to currently latest version v2.0.0.beta7.
Backups were downloaded at least twice per week as described in the role specification.

We had more issues with emails this month, although not quite as severe. On 5th of April forum was reconfigured to use Mailjet for sending emails, instead of Gmail.
We currently have an issue of having an hourly limit on how many emails the forum can send (bisq-network/forum#5), but it seems like we will resolve it soon.

This month activity on the forum decreased. We had:
433 user visits, which makes a 37% decrease.
91 new users, making an 11% decrease.
44 topics were created, which is a 36% decrease.
248 posts were made, which is a 35% decrease.
71225 total page views, which is a 20% decrease.

@alexej996 alexej996 referenced this issue Apr 30, 2018

Closed

For April 2018 #60

cbeams added a commit that referenced this issue May 4, 2018

@cbeams cbeams removed the a:role label May 4, 2018

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cbeams commented May 8, 2018

See my comments on this role in the context of @alexej996's current monthly compensation request at bisq-network/compensation#60 (comment)

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alexej996 commented May 29, 2018

2018.5 update

Discourse forum has been updated twice this month. First time to the version v2.0.0.beta9 on 4th of May and second time to v2.0.0.beta10 on 20th. The last one seemed to change the admin dashboard quite a lot, but the old one is still accessible with the link provided on the same page.
Backups were downloaded at least twice per week as described in the role specification.

Issue bisq-network/forum#5 was resolved at the begging of the month, but the daily limit of Mailjet's free plan doesn't seem to be enough for this forum (bisq-network/forum#5). There was a short term solution applied until we hopefully setup our own mail server for this purpose and not rely on the mail providers anymore.

The change of the admin dashboard gives us new statistics to follow.
Signups (new users) increased to 85, which is 18% increase.
55 topics, which is 28% increase.
350 posts, which is 39% increase.
No. of members that logged in in the last day divided by no. of members that logged in in the last month (DAU/MAU) increased by 14%. This statistic apparently indicates user "stickiness".
Daily engaged users (DEU) stayed at 8 on average, which is the same as last month.
Number of users who made their first post this month is 36, which is 5% decrease.
71355 pageviews, which is a 3% decrease.
504 user visits, which is a 16% increase.
Overall, it seems like we had a bit of an increase in activity on the forum this month.

@alexej996 alexej996 referenced this issue May 29, 2018

Closed

For May 2018 #72

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alexej996 commented Jun 29, 2018

2018.6 update

Discoruse was updated twice this month as well. First time to version 2.1.0.beta1 on 1st of June and to 2.1.0.beta2 on 21st.
Backups were downloaded at least twice per week as described in the role specification.

It appears that our VPS provider had some network issues on 22nd of June, which caused some server downtime for at least couple of minutes. The issue was resolved by itself few minutes after I noticed it was down (bisq-network/forum#7).

We had 70 new signups this month, which makes a 23% decrease from the last.
43 new topics, which is 26% decrease.
286 posts, 20% less than the last month.
DAU/MAU decreased by 17% as well.
Daily engaged users: 7, which is 16% decrease.
New forum contributors: 39, a 3% increase.
Pageviews: 79,947, which is actually a 6% increase.
User visits: 364 which is 28% decrease.
Overall, there was a decrease in user activity this month.

@alexej996 alexej996 referenced this issue Jun 29, 2018

Closed

For June 2018 #85

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alexej996 commented Jul 30, 2018

2018.7 update

Discourse was updated to version 2.1.0.beta3 on 27th. Backups were downloaded at least twice per week.

Due to some users asking questions that were answered in FAQ, I added the link to the FAQ page in the forum's header. Now it can be seen left of the Support link on the top of the page, right after the Twitter link.

57 signups this month, 19% decrease.
37 topics, 14% decrease.
265 posts, 7% decrease.
DAU/MAU increased by 33%.
Daily engaged users: 7, same as last month.
31 new forum contributors, 21% decrease.

Pageviews 75,764, 8% decrease.
402 user visits, 10% increase.

In conclusion, the amount of new users decreased, but it seems like the activity of the older users increased.

@alexej996 alexej996 referenced this issue Jul 30, 2018

Closed

For July 2018 #99

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HarryMacfinned commented Aug 9, 2018

@alexej996 , would it be possible to add also a link to the subreddit r/bisq in the top of the page ?
Thanks

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alexej996 commented Aug 9, 2018

@HarryMacfinned We could, but I am not sure if that would be cluttering the forums header.
There are many candidates for adding to the top of the page (as you can see there are many links I added to the subreddit's sidebar), but there is very little space on the header.

FAQ was the only one I added myself and that is because forum's main purpose is for support so it made sense.

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HarryMacfinned commented Aug 10, 2018

I was thinking to put a reddit link in the top bar because there is already a twitter link. But if you think it may be disturbing, we may let it how it is.
Where are the many links you added to the subreddit's sidebar ?

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alexej996 commented Aug 10, 2018

I know, but Twitter is really popular compared to our subreddit. I guess a lot of people follow it and get their info on Bisq from it, besides it was already there once I became a forum operator so I wasn't going to remove it.

Wow, I guess I never check out the new reddit style in detail, seems like they removed the sidebar by default. You can go to the old.reddit.com to have reddit as it was before, so I never really noticed the sidebar was missing from the new one. Anyway, I fixed that now.

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alexej996 commented Aug 28, 2018

2018.8 update

Discourse was updated twice this month on 8th and 22nd to latest current version of v2.1.0.beta5.
Backups were downloaded twice a week.

There was recent sudden increase in users with Pakistani IP addresses that posted off-topic posts copied from bitcointalk forum. These users are now deleted and their IPs blocked, but I am still not sure of the motive. There are more new users with Pakistani IP addresses being regularly created from last few days ago, but they haven't posted anything yet. I contacted them and locked their trust level and will block their accounts if they don't respond within a short period of time.

There has also been a very likely scam attempt on our forum from a user seemingly providing a cash app support phone number for support about refunding or something. I didn't find that phone number on cash app's website, but I have found it on couple other places on the Internet being posted in similar manner.

As for stats this month:
58 new signups, 5% increase.
64 new topics, 78 increase.
274 new posts, about the same as last.
DAU/MAU and daily engaged users, about same as last month.
27 new forum contributors, a 13% decrease.

128k pageviews, 65% increase.
About the same number of user visits as last month.

In conclusion, I don't think that the valid activity on the forum increased this month (other than @HarryMacfinned's daily offerbook stats), but amount of spam and scam attempts have definitely increased, especially in last few days.
This will require some more vigilance until these attacks hopefully decrease again.

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alexej996 commented Sep 29, 2018

2018.9 update

Discourse was updated 3 times since the last report. On 31st of August and 11th and 15th of September to a latest version 2.2.0.beta2.
Backups were downloaded twice a week as usual.

Spam and scam issues from last month persisted to this day, however they are significantly easier to deal with now that we have some better ways of dealing with it. No new treats, just the old occasional off-topic spam and now regular Cash App support number scam, but nothing to be worried about.

On the sys admin side, I setup certain web server configuration for all the old and the new domain of the forum to update more automatically SSL certificates. It is a lot easier to mange now and webserver doesn't need to restart anymore in order to renew certificates. It all works very elegantly now.

Same number of 58 signups this month.
87 new topics, 36% increase in this period.
299 new posts, about 9% increase.
DAU/MAU increased by 11% in this period.
About the same percentage of daily engaged users as last month.
34 new forum contributors, 26% increase.

113k pageviews, which is about 14% decrease.
418 user visits, about 5% increase.

Overall, I would say things are going pretty well this month, compared to August of course.

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alexej996 commented Oct 30, 2018

2018.10 update

Discourse only needed one upgrade this month to the version 2.2.0.beta3 on 13th of October.
Backups were downloaded as usual.

Scam attempts still exist, under different names of course. They never reached the public this month, due to counter measures. Otherwise, forum is doing just fine, and domain name has been renewed for the next year.

Statistics provided by Discourse software:

62 new signups, 13% increase.
62 new topics, 26% decrease.
377 new posts, 28% increase.
DAU/MAU 24% increase.
10 daily engaged users, 31% increase.
43 new forum contributors, 30% increase.

87,500 page views, 25% decrease.
592 user visits, 41% increase.

More new active users getting more involved with fewer topics, compared to last month.

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alexej996 commented Nov 29, 2018

2018.11 report

Discourse only needed one upgrade this month as well, to the version 2.2.0.beta4 on 6th of November.
Backups were downloaded regularly as usual, twice a week.

This month I added the onion hidden service to support tor use for the forum.
Onion address dnkeu7zlmu7vlyox.onion was added on 12nd November and Bisq users where notified on the forum about it for two weeks. There is still work to be done to increase it's privacy,security and censorship-resistance, but it seems perfectly functional right now as well.

Statistics:
55 new signups, 8 decrease.
63 new topics, 3 increase.
443 new posts, 20 increase.
DAU/MAU 14% decrease.
10 daily engaged users on average, same as last month.
39 new forum contributors, 10% decrease.

89.863 pageviews, about 3% increase.
532 user visits, about 10% decrease.

About the usual amount of new users with new topics, but more replies then past month.
Scam attempts also decreased, as expected.

/cc bisq-network/compensation#176

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