Changes between Initial Version and Version 1 of projects/membership-meeting/2012/reports/support

Oct 4, 2012, 4:59:26 PM (8 years ago)



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     1= 2012 Membership Meeting Report =
     3It has been an exciting, challenging and productive year for the support team.
     4I want to offer deep appreciation to everyone who has participated in support
     5work over the last year.  This includes Jamie, dkg, Greg, Nat, Joseph, Jon,
     6Brandon, Daniel S., Dana, Drew, Langston, Josue, Stephen, and Enrique.  Without
     7the continued efforts of this group of people this years successes would not
     8have been possible and our failures would have been much worse.
     10== Ticket Tracking ==
     12The last year has been the single busiest year for the support team with over
     131600 support tickets opened and over 1700 tickets resolved.  Ticket quantity
     14increased for a number of reasons.  First, we have expanded our use of the
     15system to include accounting documentation (specifically membership accounts in
     16danger of being disabled for unpaid dues) and a translation workflow.  Second,
     17after donating servers to the Occupy Movement, we increased our membership by
     1810% within two months and with the increased membership came additional needs,
     19often from people new to website creation and/or maintenance.  Finally, we have
     20tried to be more explicit in documenting the creation of new virtual servers, of
     21which there have been quite a few.  Over the last year, we have increased our
     22number of servers from 96 to 139, a 44% increase.
     24== Server Maintenance and Monitoring ==
     26To manage the significant increase in our number of servers, we have built a
     27new site dedicated specifically to organizing our servers
     28 .  This site tracks all of our servers and the
     29individual responsible for managing and updating each.  We have also built new
     30monitoring tools to track the disk space on each server as well the software
     31update status.  These things combined have allowed us to keep our systems as up
     32to date and secure as possible in a way that distributes the labor across
     33support team members.
     35== Team Building and Collaboration ==
     37This is the first full year in which we've had consistent monthly face to face
     38meetings of the support team.  We currently meet every first Saturday of the
     39month for 10 to 16 hours to work on various parts of our infrastructure.  These
     40meetings have proven to be quite fruitful, allowing us to pull in additional
     41participants.  Fifteen different people have attended face to face meetings
     42this year, another support team record.  The increased participation gave us
     43the opportunity to figure out ways to include participants with fewer
     44privileges, a historical struggle.  By reducing the barrier to entry, we have
     45garnered a significant increase in participation.
     47== Email ==
     49A number of significant improvements have been made to our email
     52=== Roundcube ===
     54This summer we finalized our Roundcube installation, another free software web
     55mail client, which has a much better interface than our classic Horde client.
     56Members can now choose between Horde ( ) and
     57Roundcube ( for webmail, resolving a long standing
     58member request.
     60=== ===
     62In addition to improving webmail, we centralized the domain needed to configure
     63email accounts.  Historically, members were required to enter their specific
     64server name in order to configure a local email client.  Now everyone shares the
     65same mailing host domain name  This simplifies setting up
     66email accounts and should prove much easier for members to navigate.
     68== Social Networking ==
     70We have been working for some time on finding free software alternatives to
     71popular proprietary social networking sites and tools.  We believe we have found
     72a legitimate alternative to those tools and now have a fully functional social
     73networking site of our own at using the FLOSS tool
     74friendica.  Our hope is that this tool will assist us in building a network for
     75our members in a non-proprietary fashion in which their data will not be
     76controlled or owned by anyone.  Based on extensive testing and use,
     77 is ready for widespread use by our membership.
     79In addition to friends, we have a fully functional mumble server up and running
     80at  This software allows audio conferencing for users who
     81have installed the mumble software.  This stable and widely used software is
     82excellent for audio conferencing, though the software can be a bit challenging
     83to configure.
     85== Security ==
     87After the FBI stole one of riseup's servers from our server cabinet, we
     88installed cameras on all of our server cabinets to increase our awareness about
     89who might be gaining access.  This has already led to the video capture of the
     90FBI returning the server ( ).  While
     91we do not expect any interference with our cabinets, the new security measures
     92should at least keep us informed of any unwarranted or warranted as the case may
     93be invasions.
     95== Internationalization ==
     97In the efforts to build a bi-lingual May First/People Link, a number of efforts
     98from the support team have been undertaken.  We have internationalized
     99both the control panel and the support system so that all primary menus read in
     100both English and Spanish.  Additionally, a translation macro was installed on
     101the support system so that all wiki pages can display multiple languages in a
     102breakout menu.
     104== Challenges ==
     106=== SPAM ===
     108Spam caused some significant problems this year for some members.  A number of
     109email accounts got high-jacked due to members not using adequate security on
     110their accounts.  This lead to a number of cases in which servers were bogged
     111down with email send/receive requests.  In addition, a few sites left themselves
     112vulnerable to spam posting in which up to 5 million pieces of spam content got
     113posted.  These sites generated some significant slowdowns for other members.
     114While the support team handled these problems once they were known, these types
     115of issues need a more robust approach than we currently have in place.
     117=== Server Monitoring ===
     119While we implemented additional monitoring this year, we also encountered a
     120number of situations in which our monitoring needs improvement.  In one such
     121case, an entire server's email capabilities were off-line for over 48 hours.
     122Due to our reliance on members reporting problems, we were unaware of this
     123outage for a significant period of time.  Unfortunately, no definitive secure
     124approach to the type of monitoring we need has yet been decided upon.  This is a
     125challenge that must be adequately met in the coming year, and the support team
     126is committed to it's implementation.
     128=== MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit) limits ===
     130Another challenge encountered by the support team this year was a mysterious
     131reduction in our MTU limits for servers in our xo colocation center.  This
     132problem impacts all servers in this location causing some sites not to load
     133until a reduction in the server's configured limits.  Even though we found a way
     134around this problem, a definitive solution has yet to be discovered.  We
     135continue to research this issue but have yet to find any legitimate explanation
     136for the problem.
     138== Looking Forward ==
     140=== User Interface/Experience ===
     142One of the projects we began this year involves redesigning the member's control
     143panel.  Still in the early stages, our plan is to spend time in the upcoming
     144year revamping the look and feel of the control panel to make it easier for
     145members to navigate.  This includes creating some wizard like functionality to
     146target the most used control panel features.
     148=== Wordpress Web App ===
     150Due to the explosion of wordpress sites on our servers, we have committed to
     151implementing a wordpress web app in the coming year.  Some progress has already
     152been made with this project with a model outlined for implementation.  This
     153should be completed within a few months.