denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
Denise ([staff profile] denise) wrote in [site community profile] dw_news2009-05-04 11:30 pm

Monday Report: May 4, 2009

Greetings from the bombed-out wreck of Dreamwidth headquarters! (, really, the place is a mess. We had a party yesterday and we haven't had the time to clean up yet.) We've survived our open beta launch -- with a few speedbumps, admittedly, but we made it -- and [staff profile] mark and [personal profile] janine are currently on a plane back to the Bay Area. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we bring you this week's updates.


The biggest glitch we had before the sale was discovering that if we didn't expire the upgraded accounts of everyone who'd been participating in the beta back to free before we turned on payments, many people would be prohibited from buying accounts. We'd been saying all along that we'd do the expiration before the payment system was turned on, but then in last week's update, we said we'd be able to do the expiration a day afterward, to ensure uninterrupted service. Turns out that wasn't actually possible, and we're really sorry that we said last week we'd be able to do that before we realized it wouldn't work out.

There've also been a few glitches with the process we use to upgrade/downgrade accounts, which we're working on fixing. In the meantime, if your userpics are in limbo, visit the Upload Icons page and hit "save" without actually changing anything. That will properly re-set your icons to the number you're supposed to have.

The three biggest glitches we had during our sale were:

* A bug that prevented people from creating new accounts -- we fixed that one within about 40 minutes of the launch.
* A bug that caused the URLs being sent out in email to error. We fixed that one about an hour after the launch.
* Realizing that we'd accidentally left off the option for people to make credit card payments without actually having a PayPal account. This one's a little more complicated: PayPal has two APIs that we can use to accept payments, and of course (Murphy's law) we'd implemented the one that doesn't allow for the "guest payments" option. [staff profile] mark's going to be working on fixing that problem.

After the launch, we quickly discovered another problem: email from us is being intermittently blocked by Earthlink, ATT, and SBCGlobal, and Yahoo appears to be routing email from us into the spam folders of their customers. This means that if you receive mail at one of those ISPs, you will not be getting any mail from us. This includes payment confirmations and, unfortunately, account creation codes. We're working to fix the problem with those ISPs directly.

If you made a payment to us to create an account and you haven't received the account creation code yet, contact us at from an email address that isn't at one of those domains. Give us your PayPal transaction ID -- or, at the very least, the email address you use for your PayPal account (which will help us locate the payment). We'll get back to you as soon as possible to re-issue the account creation code.

If you've already opened up a request because you didn't get the code, we've responded to everything that was sent to us before today. If you didn't receive our response, it was also victim of this problem. You can open another request from an alternate email and we're happy to handle it.

In general, if you have any problems at all with a payment-related issue, you can open a request in the Account Payments area of Support or email We'll get back to you as quickly as possible. You'll likely get a response from me or my wife Sarah, who's doing our bookkeeping and admin work, although you might also get a response from Mark or Janine. The four of us are the only ones who have access to that category.

(The biggest glitch we had over the weekend: PayPal flagged our account as suspicious, despite us having warned them ahead of time that we were opening on Thursday and expecting a lot of sales. They haven't actually blocked us from receiving payment, but we had a nice chat with one of their security department reps on Sunday, and oi, the paperwork. Fun times, fun times.)


For journal customization, we've always intended that free accounts will have access to the customization wizard, while paid accounts will have the ability to create custom layers and styles. We accidentally left that out of the config files, so that all accounts had access to the advanced customization area during closed beta, and free accounts retained that ability after launch. We discovered this shortly after launch and corrected the configuration problem so that free accounts no longer have the ability to use the advanced customization area.

We're really sorry about the mix-up, and even sorrier that it resulted in us having to take something away from free accounts that they'd had, however briefly. We know that our current layout options are kinda sparse. All users can already use the customization wizard to make basic customizations such as changing colors. Our medium-term goal in the next month or so is to get the customization wizard usable to the point where anyone -- paid or free user -- can use it to style their journal however they'd like.

Our styles team is adding in more options to the wizard as quickly as possible, and they've finished porting another style to use our new core2 backend. (It won't be available until our code reviewers have a chance to review and commit it, but it will be done shortly.) We'll also be soliciting different layouts for each style that we already have, so if you've figured out a way to style one of our system styles with CSS to make it look awesome, keep an eye on the [site community profile] dw_styles community for more information coming soon.


As we mentioned in [site community profile] dw_news the other day, we've seen a number of instances of people registering multiple communities with the intention of hoarding the usernames. In order to fix that, we've temporarily instituted a rate-limiting of no more than three communities created per week. This is to prevent the automated abuse of the system. We're also taking steps to free up the usernames that are being squatted.

If you've got a problem related to this, contact us through our Support system (through the Help link in the header of all site pages), using the Terms of Service category. We'll get back to you as soon as possible.

This does not apply to people who are just registering one or two personal accounts and choosing not to use the account after they create it. This is only intended to cover people who are bulk-registering usernames. We will never remove a personal account for inactivity, real or perceived. (What looks like inactivity to some people may be lots of things: someone logging in just to read, someone having been called away from the computer for an extended period of time such as military or Peace Corps deployment/chronic illness, etc.)

Account trading, meanwhile, is not only against the Terms of Service, but renders the account insecure, as the original owner of the journal can use his/her validated email to reclaim the account at any time. Don't accept a traded Dreamwidth account. Don't list Dreamwidth accounts for sale or trade on any account-trading sites. If we find that someone is selling a Dreamwidth account or access to a Dreamwidth account, we will take action on it.


If you're interested in Dreamwidth-the-business, join the [site community profile] dw_biz community. We'll be posting our business postmortem -- how the sales figures look, what our activity levels are, when we've released invite codes, etc -- as soon as we get a spare chance to breathe!


As a reminder, we'll be releasing invite codes on a staggered basis when we feel that we can support the servers and bandwidth it will take to support those free accounts. The process isn't automatic: we have to decide how many invites to release and then generate and distribute them using our distribution tool. No accounts automatically get invites after creating accounts or after making payments, although we are distributing invites with an eye to giving more to paid users. We can distribute invites on a number of criteria, and we'll be using any and all of them over the coming weeks as we see what our usage figures start to look like.

If you have any invites available, they'll be linked on the Invite Someone page. If you're out of invites, you have the option to request more. Those requests are not automatically granted; we look each request over. There'll be a delay before you get a response back. Right now, if your request's denied, it's due to one of two things: either we automatically distributed invites in between when you requested them and when we got to look at your request, or we think that you're requesting invites to squat usernames for trade or re-use. Long-term, we'll also deny requests if we don't feel that we can support additional growth at that time.

We know that we still haven't sent out invites to people who've subscribed to our mailing lists and haven't gotten an account yet, and I'm really sorry about that. The problem is that the mailing list software we use not only doesn't talk to Dreamwidth's backend, it doesn't even let us easily get the full subscribers list out of it. We've still got it on our to-do list, and as soon as Mark gets unpacked from his flight back home, I'm going to sit on him until we can get those sent out.


If you're having problems with Dreamwidth, previously we asked you to comment to [site community profile] dw_news. With the increase of traffic, though, we've switched over to using our Support area. You can read the Dreamwidth FAQ here:

Dreamwidth FAQ

You can see the Known Issues that we're working on resolving here:

Support Known Issues

If none of this answers your question, you can open a request here:

Submit a Support Request

At this point, that's the best way to report an issue or ask a question. Both [staff profile] mark and I are reading comments to dw-news, but we can't guarantee we'll be able to see and respond to every one.

A big thank you goes out to the DW users who have been answering in the support area and approving others' answers. (If you're interested in volunteering for Dreamwidth support, check out the [site community profile] dw_support_training community.)


Most of our development efforts this week went to the last few things to do before open beta, and once open beta hit, in fixing the immediate bugs and glitches that immediately arose. We still found the time to resolve 62 bugs, though (although, okay, a bunch of them were resolved as duplicates, but that totally counts). There was also a big push to clean up some of our admin and backend tools, such as pieces of the payment admin system that we didn't realize we'd need until a particular issue arose. (You always forget something...)

This week will likely also be cleaning up bugs and glitches that are affecting a large number of users, while starting next week, we'll be shifting our development efforts to the long-term view: half cleanup work and bugfixes, half new features and enhancements. You can read our development roadmap in the [site community profile] dw_biz community.

Short and sweet update this week, but that covers the important bits, at least. And now I am off to finish handling all the other issues that have cropped up in the meantime. We'll see you next week for our next weekly update.
glitch: Patrick Stump (Default)

[personal profile] glitch 2009-05-05 03:44 am (UTC)(link)
I feel like I should have a go at saying "first," although I don't think anyone wants someone with the name glitch showing up first to a news post.

It all sounds good! I'm really looking forward to the progression of everything, I can't shake the feeling that this site is going somewhere I want to be. Keep on keeping on!
glitch: Patrick Stump (1;)

[personal profile] glitch 2009-05-05 03:45 am (UTC)(link)
... Or maybe I could be first. ::boggles::

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ai: (alice ▪ YOU GOT A FRIEND IN ME)

[personal profile] ai 2009-05-05 03:45 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you for keeping us up to date with everything.
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)

[personal profile] azurelunatic 2009-05-05 03:47 am (UTC)(link)
It was a privilege to be even virtually present for the launch, and I'm impressed that it went off as smoothly as it did, even with the bumps, and I'm proud as all fuckery of how the Support team pulled together to cover the Support board, Twitter, and other places where people needing help were congregating.
zarhooie: Girl on a blueberry bramble looking happy. Text: Kat (#dw YES WE CAN)

[personal profile] zarhooie 2009-05-05 03:48 am (UTC)(link)
I love reading these. I always get sniffly.
citymusings: Aiden - Closed Eyes  (Default)

[personal profile] citymusings 2009-05-05 03:49 am (UTC)(link)
Thanks for the update! Everything looks good.

Question on the free accounts - we'll still be able to use custom CSS to tweak our accounts later, right?
ysobel: (Default)

[personal profile] ysobel 2009-05-05 04:05 am (UTC)(link)
florahart: (writing)

[personal profile] florahart 2009-05-05 03:50 am (UTC)(link)'s May 4th in my time zone... :D

Thank you for all your hard work.
frodo: (Default)

[personal profile] frodo 2009-05-05 03:50 am (UTC)(link)
I want to party with you guys!
geminianeyes: Cute sisters from PW as kids (Default)

[personal profile] geminianeyes 2009-05-05 03:52 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you for the announcement. I just got my account a few days ago, and I am liking what you guys have done so far! :)
girlfight: (»  waiting    i pull out)

[personal profile] girlfight 2009-05-05 03:53 am (UTC)(link)
I'm so proud of you guys :D you worked soooo hard and this was such a huge milestone.
fangirlism: (Default)

[personal profile] fangirlism 2009-05-05 04:01 am (UTC)(link)
I've heard (well, okay, from one person...) that she got an invite code from logging in with an OpenID (her LiveJournal account), and used it to set up her account here, I never got one that way (I used a friend's code to sign up my account).

Is this what you mean by: We know that we still haven't sent out invites to people who've subscribed to our mailing lists and haven't gotten an account yet, and I'm really sorry about that. And would I even get an invite code anyway, as my OpenID account's linked email is the same as the email linked to this account?

P.S. - Kudos for transferring over the editing comments option, even if it's just for paid users. I'm lost without it!
Edited 2009-05-05 04:02 (UTC)
mecca: (The Clock)

[personal profile] mecca 2009-05-05 04:17 am (UTC)(link)
The mailing list and OpenID are two different things.

The mailing list is an email based discussion group where topics tend to flow directly to/from your email. Kind of like Yahoo Groups.

The OpenID allows you to have a pseudo account within to comment on peoples journals and communities.

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riza: ((embarrassed) Jim shirt)

[personal profile] riza 2009-05-05 04:01 am (UTC)(link)
Y'all are doing a lovely job. Keep up the good work! You've got loads of people cheering you on and loving the site.

I know I'll be sticking around. :)
melanie: (stop giving me paperwork)

[personal profile] melanie 2009-05-05 04:01 am (UTC)(link)
I like reading about these updates, makes me feel more informed. Keep up the good work.
dantean: A picture of Dante Alighieri (ninth doctor)

[personal profile] dantean 2009-05-05 04:05 am (UTC)(link)
Regarding #2: It would have been especially nice to alert us to the fact that free users would be losing the customisation ability ... before you took it away from us while many, many people were busily customising our journals into something that, in fact, was nice and pretty and readable. I can't be the only person peeved that I lost my customisations right in the middle of making a lot of involved changes. I understand free users weren't supposed to have it in the first place, but I could not find specific mention of the advanced customisation anywhere on the site (FAQs, the bugs list on the support page, the list of paid account perks, etc.) and who is meant to have it, so I thought it would be available to free users (at least during the open beta period!). And if that was the case... well, in that case I thought dreamwidth would be a site worth paying for. Finding out it's not so is... kind of a slap in the face, and right now the biggest reason why I'm remaining a free user for the time being. I don't intend to be negative about this, really... just honest and up-front about what it looked and felt like from my standpoint.

Otherwise things are looking good, I think there's a lot of good progress being made, and I'm looking forward to see what happens in the next few weeks. :)
scryren: (Dagget)

[personal profile] scryren 2009-05-05 04:23 am (UTC)(link)
Free accounts were never supposed to have access to the development area. As someone who was here before open beta, if we wanted access to it (along with more icons, etc), we had to switch to paid or premium mode. I realize you had no way of knowing that once open beta started we couldn't account hop anymore and we lost all of our goodies (they definitely weren't hiding that fact), but the site is in beta--the amount of bugs they killed last week was amazing.

Hell, they updated the Core 2 code the day after I finished my layout. I wake up the next morning and only my header loaded. Yeah, I was really pissed off that I had to rip through the layout layer to figure out what variables were changed, but that's the risk I choose to take by participating in a beta site. It wasn't a slap in the face, it was an "oh crap, another transition bug! Quick, fix it!" moment. I'm sure there'll be more as we (users) find them.

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[personal profile] fascination 2009-05-05 04:27 am (UTC)(link)
I think all the staff have been fairly good at reporting problems and making sure everything runs smoothly, although I do have to echo some of the complaints the free users have about having lost their customisations so abruptly. I wish it had been made clear that access to the advanced customisation area was a paid-account feature, and was never meant to exist for free users. I didn't notice the changes, as I'm not a free user, but...please try to be more open about who gets which 'perks' so that it's easier for people to comparison-shop, so to speak.

Otherwise? Good job. I'll enjoy using this site.
gypsycaravan: (Default)

[personal profile] gypsycaravan 2009-05-05 04:43 am (UTC)(link)
Thanks for the update! I'm really starting to like this place a lot more than I thought i would.
xenacryst: Dreamwidth rainbow d logo (Dreamwidth)

[personal profile] xenacryst 2009-05-05 04:43 am (UTC)(link)
Hrm -- aren't you using Mailman for the lists? If so, then the list_members script ought to do it for you. Feel free to ping me on #dw if you want pointers; I know Mailman a little bit...
damned: (Default)

[personal profile] damned 2009-05-05 04:55 am (UTC)(link)
I've only been here for a day and I already love this site. :)
jumpuphigh: Pigeon with text "jumpuphigh" (Default)

[personal profile] jumpuphigh 2009-05-05 05:44 am (UTC)(link)
I love your communication to the masses. Just enough geek-speak to keep me satisfied and enough transparency to make me feel like I'm part of the community.
jeroentiggelman: (Default)

[personal profile] jeroentiggelman 2009-05-05 07:30 am (UTC)(link)
Yahoo appears to be routing email from us into the spam folders of their customers

So far it seems that all e-mails from Dreamwidth arrive at my Yahoo e-mail address just fine.

[personal profile] ex_adventuring560 2009-05-05 09:29 am (UTC)(link)

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rebelsheart: Original Concept  by Me (Default)


[personal profile] rebelsheart 2009-05-05 09:05 am (UTC)(link)
Emailed version of news post does not convert links properly for plain text users. ;)
wenchpixie: (dreamwidth)

Re: Pssst!

[personal profile] wenchpixie 2009-05-05 12:15 pm (UTC)(link)
Ditto this :)
ariadneelda: (Default)

[personal profile] ariadneelda 2009-05-05 09:39 am (UTC)(link)
Yahoo appears to be routing email from us into the spam folders of their customers.

I think this happened to me only once. Then I added the DW notifications email address to my contacts and haven't had any problems since.

Thanks for all your work! I'm loving the site. :)
lblanchard: (Default)

[personal profile] lblanchard 2009-05-05 10:59 am (UTC)(link)
Ditto for adding to my Yahoo! address book. Just joined, but I'm sure I'll love the site.
celestineangel: Text icon that reads "I cannot go to bed there is epic shit happening on the Internet." (Miscellaneous - Rolling Panda of Doom)

[personal profile] celestineangel 2009-05-05 10:20 am (UTC)(link)
Yahoo relegates anything to the spam folder. I have a friend I've been emailing for more than a year, and recently her Yahoo! email sent one of my Gmail emails to her spam folder, randomly,for no reason even though I'm on her allow list.

This is one of many reasons I try not to use Yahoo! if I can (I had a website hosted there... Yahoo!'s servers ate it, and when I reported it, the help people were basically "Can't see anything wrong, you must be crazy, have a nice day now!")
raynedanser: (Default)

[personal profile] raynedanser 2009-05-05 11:27 am (UTC)(link)
You know what? You guys are awesome.
princessofgeeks: (Default)

[personal profile] princessofgeeks 2009-05-05 11:53 am (UTC)(link)
lichking: (Battle Stance)

[personal profile] lichking 2009-05-05 12:04 pm (UTC)(link)
The Lich King is proud of watching this domain grow from the view at Icecrown Citadel.
helens78: A blue female humanoid with large horns and small tentacles coming from behind her ears, wearing a bright blue hat. (wow: teuthida)

[personal profile] helens78 2009-05-05 09:47 pm (UTC)(link)
XD XD XD This wins.

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