Database damage causing problems with some users' accounts

On Monday, the The Oil Drum website suffered a crash that damaged the database table that holds information about the site's users. As a result, some users are not able to log in and their comments are not appearing. This issue will persist until we can restore the data from our backups. The restoration will take place Tuesday evening U.S. Eastern time.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

[UPDATE 9/6/11 9:40a EDT] This problem also applies to some TOD staff members, and their articles are not appearing either.

[UPDATE 9/6/11 11:25p EDT] The problematic database table has been restored. This should fix 95-100% of the problems we've been having. Those users that created duplicate accounts have had their newer accounts merged with their older accounts.

I was really scared yesterday because I got an "Access Denied" screen shortly after I had posted a typical comment from me. I thought, "They've banned me and my comment was innocuous." I tried my wife's computer and all she got was a blank screen so I just waited a few hours and you were back. Hurray!!!

However, I have a question, over the years a few people have been banned. Do you email them so they know they have been banned?


By coincidence the breakdown seemed to occur during the repeated use of the ad hominen expression "denialist" - as if the computer was applying a variant of Godwin's Law.

My query on KIC1, the tight hole drilled in ANWR also disappeared

Something seems to have happened to dates on some articles or just some query results as well. Those shouldn't be related to a users table. The "Related Articles" section has some Dec 31 1970 dates, and links to missing articles.

Ooh. What if this is some kind of foreshadowing, and we're about to replay the 70s! Oh wait. Gas and oil up, the economy doing badly, gold up, stocks doing badly. Heck, even bell-bottoms were back for a while. All we need is some inflation instead of liquidity trap, and we're already there!

I love the article link by anonymous for 1969. Maybe we should keep it!

Best to all,


I was wondering if a wormhole to 1969 had opened here, causing some local disturbances fracturing in the fabric of space/time. Its a wonder nothing worse than a little database corruption occurred!

It's more likely that the data was just written to zero.  The Unix epoch begins 01-01-1970 00:00 GMT, and in time zones west of Greenwich that falls in the final hours of 1969.

If TODers got tranported electronically to 1969, we could solve many of the world's problems, knowing what we know now....Then again, some posters may never be born :-0

...I was thinking more of sending a message to my young self - like "find Steve Jobs and lend him money!"

Woops, didn't read the article fully. Is the site being hacked? (I've personally had a Drupal site hacked...)

So now I have a question: since the site itself was back up but I couldn't log in or post, I tried re-registering. You know, just to see what would happen? I used the same user name (my own name, duh) and expected to get a response saying that that name was already in use. Nope! It accepted it and gave me a shiny new user account. No links to anything I had posted before, and no magic restoration of vanished comments.

Question now is, is this new duplicate account going to befuddle the restore process? What's the restore script going to do when the account it's trying to restore conflicts with a new account that seems to be valid? As a former software engineer, I can see a range of possibilities, depending on whether the script's author happened to anticipate the problem (unlikely, but kudos, if they did) and what checks were included with what default actions. Most likely outcome being a hang or a job abort.

Sorry about that!

I did the same thing, expecting to see "account already in use". I made my new sgage account with a different password and sort of carried on. Looked at "My account", and I was a "Member for 5 minutes" :-(

This morning, I had to log in again. On a guess, I used my old password, and it worked! I looked at "My account", and there it was: "Member for 5 years 6 days".

Good work on restoring the database! I'm glad to have my old identity...

Good luck. Not much to say but, hardware crashes suck! I know there is likely a flurry of behind-the-scenes hair pulling as you try to get this worked out. Here's hoping the backup was a good one.



Thanks for the alert. I come here of the best sites. Was seriously worried!

There was a big DNS hack going on at the same time so I wasn't too worried, figured it would get fixed. Old network engineers' rule, go away and have a coffee, it'll probably have worked itself out by the time you get back


Well done Super G - You keep this brilliant place running 24/7/365 . What a feat :-)

What he said! Thanks. :-)

Yup, thank you!