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Tumblr is Down – Fans Angry (centernetworks.com)
44 points by obilgic on Dec 5, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 41 comments

> Tumblr appears to host their status blog on the Tumblr platform

Words fail me.

"How do we find the index file? Of course, if we had an index file, we could look it up in the index file under 'index file'."—Tegan, Doctor Who

Ya, http://status.foursquare.com is also on Tumblr. Due to tumblr reliability issues we've been thinking about moving it. sigh

Tumblr was perfect platform to create these types of blogs. Simple, customizable, free.

Keyword, I think, being “was.”

It still is a great blogging platform. They just really need to sort out reliability issues.

Not right now for sure, Maybe 1 hour later..

It's a typo. I think they're referring to Twitter.

Is that "down in <cityname>" some kind of meme or do all those commenters think that's helpful?

I wouldn't be surprised if people really think it's location-specific.

The main text of the article says "As always please report in if Tumblr is down where you are – either the main Tumblr site or your personal Tumblog," so it's not just the commenters who are confused.

Frustrating, sure. Something to be "angry" about? No.

Its a free service. With no advertising. When you use Tumblr you are consuming their resources which they are giving to you free of charge. Its not like they deliberately pulled the plug either. They can deal with the problem in their own way.

Honestly people need to get over this sense of entitlement to online services. We should feel blessed that Tumblr or Twitter or Facebook or HN exist, for free, in the first place.

Tumblr has grown to be one of the 50 biggest sites in the world with over a billion page views a month. They've done this with (iirc) a fairly small team.

Sure they've got growing pains. It saddens me that some here are labeling them "morons". The problems they're now facing aren't trivial. How they handle them will really be the test,

Twitter had huge stability problems. They got over them. Even Google has had serious downtime (not since 2001 however).

It's not whether or not you make mistakes that matters. It's how you deal with them when you do.

Well put. It's embarrassing, but it's the sort of thing that is bound to happen when you scale so fast so leanly. I'm sure they'll come out of this with a number of improvements and be much the stronger for it. And if they don't, then that tells a different story (but it's one I don't expect to hear).

Different type of growing pain, but this reminded me of when Foursquare forgot to renew their domain back in March (http://tcrn.ch/gk73zQ).

3 billion a month now, actually.

Nothing new there then.

Posterous must be planning some marketing stunt around this. :D

I get frustrated when sites I use are down, but I don't get angry. It's not like they're down intentionally.

Just my opinion, and I certainly don't speak for everyone, but as an engineer, it's frustrating to see a talented group of devs and boatloads of funding behind a great site, yet almost zero transparency about downtime. When was the last time they used the staff blog or Twitter account to do anything besides promote popular users? I'm fine with unscheduled downtime — it happens — but when there are few/no announcements, and barely any post-mortems, that's when (at least for me) it gets very frustrating.

I agree, this is something that should be addressed far more often, especially after this prolonged outage.

To be completely fair, they did make a twitter post a couple of hours ago: http://twitter.com/#!/tumblr/status/11570891053862912

Let’s compare:

http://twitter.com/tumblr/status/11570891053862912 … 130 characters, 21 words, no actual information other than that which could be assumed: we’re working on it (can be assumed), we’re sorry (should be hoped).

https://github.com/blog/744-today-s-outage … ~2,000 characters, 335 words, and an absolute plethora of transparency and information. In fact, more than we probably needed to know, even the techies among us… but nonetheless, quite reassuring and friendly on GitHub’s part.

I’m sorry, Tumblr. You’re failing. Not technically; nobody cares about a little downtime, you’re not Google, you don’t make aircraft stay in the air, you don’t track weather patterns that could tear apart an entire coast, the world’s not going to end. No. What you’re failing at is being that which it is absolutely most imperative for you to be, being which itself being the single impetus for your existence: a friendly, transparent, communicative tech entity that your users can trust.

I don't think it's fair to compare those two. One is a while it's still happening tweet, the other is a post mortem from after the incident.

Tumblr's engineers are likely very busy right now working on getting things back up and running. You can't expect them to take time out from that to write a detailed incident report for the public. Wait and see what they release tomorrow before making a judgement.

Simply put, what mcdavis said. GitHub also has a history of being communicative during issues; not to mention near-instantaneous fixes of problems (anybody remember how unbelievably quickly they re-architected their entire site to deal with the scaling and speed problems that had barely started to surface? how about the lack of speed issues since?) as opposed to these things I’m hearing of people seeing the same, obvious, bugs over the last two years or so.

If Tumblr typically (or ever) posted posted post mortems, you'd be right. Usually, it's odd for them to tweet about issues.


tumblr is awesome, worth it to use even with horrible downtime, but it's getting really weird how they never talk about anything relating to ops/roadmap/product (good or bad)

Long version:

I'm hesitant to dis tumblr to an audience i'm not sure has tried tumblr. i'm always scared i'll send the wrong message. Tumblr is mostly amazing, extremely valuable, and actually trying to do something interesting + valuable for its users. (From the outside it's hard to see. But as with Twitter, the inside view of using it reveals all sorts of interactions and relationships that make it awesome + addictive.)

Main point? You should use tumblr. It's not just a blog platform. It's a place to discover awesome content, connect with interesting folks, and get your stuff heard really easily.

But... those of us who have used tumblr for a while have different conversations amongst ourselves.

Aside from performance, Tumblr has been buggy for an extremely long time. Since before its recent spike in popularity and sharp growth. In fact, I almost get bummed when the topic of performance issues come up because i fear that attention to broken things like Dashboard search, saved tags, group blogs, etc... will get overlooked.

Their API is also a bit stagnant, which even if you're not a dev, means less cool stuff you can do w/all the amazing content + people in Tumblr.

As kylebragger wrote above, it's surreal how Tumblr does not mention a thing. They don't have a status blog. They don't have a user forum where we can talk about Tumblr best practices. (There is an abandoned Get Satisfaction presence). They don't have a place to suggest features for users, or developers. No Uservoice. No mailing list. They have a blog which is about 80% recommending fun Tumblrs to follow. They also announce apps. They have a couple of times addressed bugginess around a feature, queues, but only after they felt they fixed it.

This makes me think they are probably working on some giant code bomb that will fix everything, and don't want talk about stuff until they have good news. I understand that, but don't agree with it. It's literally been years. It's just more acute now than it's been before.

Anyway, I don't hate Tumblr, I LOVE tumblr. I recommend it to tons of people. Even if it's down 2 hours every day, i'll still recommend it.

But it is not cool how they never talk about stuff. I get that transparency is not the only style of community and product management. (Something something Steve Jobs Apple.)

But I think it's a bad fit here. Also, even Apple writes (in their own control freaky way) about big issues that everybody is talking about (AppStore scandals, antennagate, etc.)

"This makes me think they are probably working on some giant code bomb that will fix everything, and don't want talk about stuff until they have good news. I understand that, but don't agree with it."

Or, more likely IMO, they could be struggling to keep up with their growth and letting all the fixes and improvements slide.

Normally this would be a reasonable assumption. And it is possible.

But given that many of these issues have been going on for at least 2 years (since i've been an active user), before their recent spike, i don't think so.

Also, i feel they 'code bombed' the queue issue they had earlier. It was really broken, and they were basically silent until they thought they had a fix. The vibe I get is that they basically only like to give good news. I sympathize with that. (But explain above why i think that's bad.)

(PS: for people who don't read my big post above, please know i love + recommend tumblr even with their issues. please try it when it's back up if you haven't already.)

Totally agree. Look at the responses on the Github blog after they explain outages. Transparency builds loyalty instead of frustration.

In fairness, Github's complete transparency is likely to be understood by Githubbers. A technical explanation from Tumblr is far more likely to be met with "so what, where are my cat macros?" than Github's explanations are.

Keyword is "after". GitHub's staff doesn't spend time writing up a post mortem while the site is still down.

Downtime is rarely intentional but it is often the result of intentional choices (especially extended downtime). Criticism of downtime is fair, though personally I prefer to avoid it since usually it isn't productive.

So many entitled morons. It's pretty sad.

I'm doubt their all entitled morons, but it does remind me of my favorite Louis CK bit - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itn8TwFCO4M&feature=playe...

why does this get downvoted? its a free service that probably hosts 98% kids who normally would hang out on myspace if that hasnt lost all its flavor.

Some folks have paid to use Tumblr - premium themes, for example.

Bring on the kittens!

we have reached the pronosingularism. p0rnography is sentient.

it is engaged in simultaneous cyberwars, battling skynet & the alpha-centauri-based bi-located lobster uberbeing, normal service will be resumed shortly.

(and no, joe lieberman uber-alle, there is no agent whom you can call for help with your cyberwars)

added: lol, so many geek refs, and still, hyper sensitivity to discussing the evil surrounding us in our times (joe, not porn) and i am cast out. u down voters suck so hard it just makes me so very lovely happy. this is a sartre moment for me, philosopher borne of french collaboration, his own countrymen: you have created the troll, it wasn't a troll it was humorous references to the darkness...u have created it...oh the humanity, the darkness is you. oh yes, revel in your satisfaction that i am not genteel like you. revel in your blind eyes turning away from the mirror of your own willful ignorance. enjoy the silence of your moneyed minds, the green lawns of hegemony will one day with your hope and silence be restored)

The self-entitled brats flailing their arms is to be expected with someone like this, but with Tumblr, it puts things in a different perspective considering the demographic. I see blogs with thousands of pages and an activity upwards of 50 posts a day. I know I had a lot of time in high school (that I more or less wasted), but it just boggles the mind how much time some people devote to Tumblr and its community culture.

I guess it jives with the anecdotes of people sending scrupulous amounts of text messages every day, but in this case, I feel that I have a better grasp of why someone would react so vociferously to something so seemingly inane.

“… scrupulous amounts of text messages …”

  scru•pu•lous |ˈskroōpyələs|
  (of a person or process) diligent, thorough, and extremely attentive to details
    “the research has been carried out with scrupulous attention to detail.”
  • very concerned to avoid doing wrong
      “she's too scrupulous to have an affair with a married man.”

> What?

Parent is just exercising parent's scrupulous vocabulary. It's enough to drive one inane.

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