So now it is time to fast forward a bit. Despite my growing misgivings, and the knowledge that a couple of GameFan network sites have moved to a new family, I continued my duties as co-webmaster of GameSurge. Despite the continuing problems, I finished the task of converting 2 massive content sites into a merger of one site, and was starting to plan out my next task. We had been reasonably successful when we updated the site with new content, enough to continue justifying our existence, as we were seeing both improvement in the site, and the numbers of people who visited us. But when my full attention was firmly placed on the actual operation of the website, I began to notice fully the problems existing. The staff had decreased, and some who left had stated that they were having problems with updating the site, especially with any CGI involved. I myself noticed the greatly slower speed when I used the news scripter and updated, and first thought that the files were growing too large, thereby causing the problem.
It wasn't until I decided in a moment of frustration over the lack of progress in getting the additional CGI up and operational, did I realize just how serious our problems were with the CGI. When GameSurge was moved from it's old host, the old CGI programs were moved with it. And yet, it didn't work properly, if at all. As a webmaster of a site, it is of importance to listen to your viewers, so, after considerable discussions with Falcon, I impressed the importance of viewer feedback upon him, and we got both a Forum, and a poll script up on the site. We used the old CGI to get them up, as neither one of us is that particularly skilled in Perl or CGI programs. And, using the forum as a example, it meant I had to redo some graphics, to better match the design with the present site. The old forum, using a old copy of Ultra Bulletin Board, was updated with the new graphics by our CGI person, and new categories were created for the forum.
So I checked the new forum, registered, and went through the new boards, and was pleased by what I saw. We now had a proper system up and running, and no longer had to rely upon email and forms to gauge viewer feedback. And then, I saw the old pages, before the update. They were exactly the same as they were before. I ended up cursing over the bad job, expressed my frustration at poor Falcon, and waited for the changes needed to unify the look of the forum. And I waited.
A couple of weeks later, I tried to make the changes myself, in a attempt to fix the board. I was successful, but none of the old boards were updating. I decided that we could end up waiting several months, so I loaded in my copy of UltraBoard instead, another forum that I have installed successfully a few times, and with the knowledge that it was stable. It took 3 hours, and was up and running the same night. It performed admirably, and continued to perform as such, till the time I had to make changes to the design.
This was just a couple of files, to change the header to show different text. I made sure I kept a separate copy, and double checked that I hadn't made a mistake, and then I loaded it in. I put up a new post, saw it worked perfectly, and went to bed. The next morning, and much to my horror, the forum had a major meltdown. It wasn't displaying correctly, and posts were not showing up. On top of it, previous posts didn't update to the changes I had put in. So, eventually, I was forced to delete the entire thing, thinking that I had made a mistake, and I reloaded the forum. I put in a couple of posts in the default design, reloaded my changes, and posted and saw the changes. But it still did not update the older, default design, and it never has since. Then, Falcon tried to update the poll, and it refused to except the changes, until it too crashed, and refused to work. Our news poster did not archive at the proper time, and still was slow, and other CGI programs were showing small signs that there was a problem. In the meanwhile, our host was continuing to ignore us, and their silence was starting to become deafening in tone.
It was then decided that it was time for me to get in contact with our hosts. So two weeks ago, I sent this email to the Network admin, asking for help in resolving a few issues. To his credit, I recieved a reply the next day, though only about the new ad banner for straight HTML pages, and a rather "short" reply to my revenue question, telling me to ask someone else. When I placed the new banner though, it showed a problem in that the GFN site was being displayed, and the ad itself was only on the lower 1/3rd of the box. Though it was humorous to look at, it certainly didn't aliveate my concerns over the quality of the host, and by then, my inner child had finally broken though, and it was telling me loud and clear that it was time to find a new home. That was last week.