Cheezland’s future

Nobunny panic. We can has one. :-) I promise! But plz to read, everybunny, it’s important.

Okies, so… we’ve been getting hammered intermittently by hackers. I’ll spare you the details since most Cheezpeeps aren’t much into technical stuff, but here’s what it adds up to: when they attack, they slow down the whole site by hitting the same page on the site repeatedly at high speed. There are no resources left for Cheezland to function normally. It’s coming in waves, and things seem normal between them.

This is highly unlikely to be a personalized attack. Apparently several million (!) hacker attacks occur per day – depending on how you count, even many times that. If you want more info on what hackers gain from attacking WP sites, click the link for a good article on it.

We’ve been working with our hosting company. They’re trying, we’re trying. We’ve taken several steps that have helped, but they haven’t been entirely successful. We don’t have infinite options, and my skills are limited.

Possibly we can keep going with irregular periods in which they swamp us, but I doubt anyone wants to be uncertain whether they can reach Cheezland on a given day. There’s also the risk to personal info (admins and mods can see the email address you use when you comment, and also your IP address – we don’t do anything with it but it’s automatically saved). And possibly the site could be vandalized, defaced, or entirely destroyed. It can then be used to attack other sites, along the lines of a computer that’s been infected with a virus.

Please take note of this: putting in your name and email address to leave a comment isn’t logging in and does not require a site account. Cheezland is NEVER going to ask you for a password.

I’m also going to increase the frequency of backups.

We can take a fairly extreme step that will keep our community intact and make sure we have a safe playground still, but I need your thoughts on it.

This site is going to be seven years old on August 14th. That is impressively old for a website – most don’t exist nearly that long, or at least not without periodic massive changes. Over time, there have been plugins, like apps or small add-ons, that have done good things (or less good than hoped) but have since been abandoned and not maintained by the creator, or we no longer needed them. They usually do not go away cleanly, they leave bits of themselves scattered around. We also have 19,000 posts and over a quarter of a million comments and 14,000 images. Really! The attic and the basement and that cubby under the stairs and the back hallway are all cluttered, piled with so many dusty boxes that only CC and BC know what’s in them all.

I do not want us to lose any of that history. But I also want us to have a present and a future as a family with a safe home online, and I don’t want to risk the history to a successful hacker attack.

So I’m going to suggest this:

Jackie and I will register a new domain, something easy to remember. It won’t cost much to get the domain, and we won’t need to pay for extra hosting or anything. I will create a new site there, where we can play in peace. Maybe it will take another seven years before anyone finds us to harass us! And when I do that, I will archive the current site: I will close it all down so no more content can be added, but it will still be there to visit and look through old posts for reference or nostalgia (possibly on a separate part of the new site – I’ll look into the best approach). I will not allow it to be lost.

The present and the future can take place in a new house, one with up-to-date wiring and plumbing and all, instead of some jury-rigged patchwork repairs here and there that cause maintenance headaches.

Obviously we don’t want to have our irregularly-visiting Cheezpeeps arrive to find a locked-up house. We also do not want to be followed by automated bots that can read text and get the new link. So the last thing to go up right here will be a picture that includes the address of the new site. Bots generally can’t read lols, but Cheezpeeps have some experience at that. :-D

Jackie and I feel strongly that the best approach to give us the most stable site for the future is to wind the clock back a bit.

  • We’ll start clean and fresh, not importing that immense amount of history. We won’t lose it. It will all be safely available. That matters! We just won’t be active in the same place.
  • No more forums – they’re based on a plugin that isn’t as well-maintained as I would like, and if something is happening that could best stay pinned where people can find it for a few days, we have a couple of other options. Mostly that will mean asking a mod to step in and add a “sticky” post. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but between me, Jackie, annipuss, maryqos, and puddy_tat (and I’m open to distributing other whappity spoons, maybe someone more West Coast North America will volunteer?) there’s generally someone around.
  • I won’t install the rather heavy plugin that allows logging in directly from a WordPress account, which means also no getting notifications of replies to your comments. Daily digest of posts will still be available, since that comes from a different source. This plugin can slow things down and is a potential security leak, despite having a few handy features.
  • The whole site will have as little extra stuff as I can manage, which means less that can break. After all, the whole point of Cheezland is the people, whether human or furry, and the lols, not the bells and whistles. (But so many people requested the burger likes for comments that I’ll try to keep those!)

We could move the entire site, exactly as-is, to a new domain and just continue on. It wouldn’t be seamless. Internal links that point to locations on the site would all break, because the domain name would be wrong, although possibly I could find tools to more-or-less fix that. And we would have the same clutter and maintenance headaches and glitches that occur now, just without the hacker attacks and maybe with less spam for the blocker to catch.

It probably wouldn’t be worth just transferring as-is. Cheezpeeps look back and remember our history and our loved ones, but we keep moving. New comments on any post over twenty-four hours old are uncommon, and I can only think of one Cheezpeep who regularly does so – and that’s still only on quite recent ones. A redone new site should make everything run more quickly and reliably, and that is more useful, I think.

We’ll continue the current schedule, but I do have to remind peeps that I am deeply grateful for either captioned lols or caption-me photos as often as I can possibly get them. We’re running heavily on the storehouse of lols created by some peeps on ICHC, and I’m down to only three with any left… and they won’t last forever. (Well, possibly Maryh Cookie’s will…) I know life gets stressful sometimes (I can relate!) and it’s hard to think of funny things to send in. I’ll keep going even with classiclol reruns for as long as anyone is still coming here. :-) But new ones are always great. To the peeps who do send me things to use, thank you with a muchness!

Okay, folks… thoughts, please? I do the maintenance and set up posts but Cheezland is a community. I can give you my recommendations but decisions shouldn’t be just up to me. You have a voice in this too. What features of Cheezland do you consider essential? What can you live without, especially for increased speed and reliability and safety? Do you have any other thoughts on this?

Cheezpeeps have clung together to ride out rough spots before. I have absolute faith that we can make it to the other side of this one intact! I will do everything in my power to make sure this family has a home!

41 Comments

  1. I know nothing about computers, nor websites. You do. I will go along with whatever you decide is the best for us as a community. I do not want to lose you all! I may not speak up much, but I do love you all, and would hate to lost touch with everyone!

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  2. Susan Jeswine O'Shea

    In all honesty I’m willing to do whatever is necessary in support of this community. My only caution is that I’m becoming forgetful.
    p.s. I’m very grateful to you.

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    1. p.s.
      I’m Mrrphh, in reality.
      Susan Jeswine O’Shea was the name foist upon my by FB

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  3. Pamela A Barbeau

    Do what’s needed to be done. I’ll follow y’all over there, even though I mostly lurk. I just don’t wanna lose everybuddy.

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  4. I’m not a “web person” in any stretch of the imagination, so can’t help there.Hate to see the loss of any of the “old stuff” (ie – the stuff in the archives, Cheezland Wiki). The loss of all those pictures that were sent in by Cheezpeeps (albums with “tons” of pictures) was bad enough. Kinda worried about loss of WordPress signins and losing comment replies. BUT (isn’t there always a but. . .), with the hackers getting better all the time sometimes drastic measures have to be taken. Give it a whirl, let us do a “test drive” and then you/we can decide which suits everyone for the better. Hopefully the new place won’t be a Firefox “no can do” (donut like IE adn donut use Googlol access fur da Cheezland)

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    1. The gallery started on one service, moved to another when the first changed the interface and terms of use, then the second one turned out to be deceptive. We did have them in a self-hosted gallery here, but it broke and I didn’t get as far as trying to repair it because no one was using it. But I do have it backed up and could plausibly recreate it.

      The Cheezland Wiki still exists, I think it was just excessive amounts of labour to continue with the project. It’s at https://cheezland.fandom.com/wiki/Cheezland_Wiki

      The loss of WP sign-ins shouldn’t be a problem: no one actually has to be logged in to leave comments anyway. But that plugin was disabled in the first attack nearly a week ago, and apparently no one has noticed. :-) One can still leave replies to comments, there just won’t be a little orange box at the top telling you that someone replied to your comment. That can possibly be a little inconvenient if one’s only around every few days, but otherwise… well, as far as I know, very few people are making use of it. There just isn’t that much traffic on Cheezland these days.

      The goal here is maximum safety and reliability without sacrificing ease of use or our history.

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  5. 7 years already. Wow. Whee da cheezpeeps am flexible an happy to take da o’easy road if that is the safest road. Let’s pack up our bags and move!

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  6. Lauri no e the bommomme

    I agree with the other comments, I lurk and mostly at the picture/memes since I am completely not computer savvie. Do what works best for the commune and I will adapt.

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  7. I have some miscellaneous computer skills, but nothing special in the way of programming social media – I’m all about medical tech IRL. I will very happily accept whatever gurus decide to do to keep the community talking, and if that includes donations, I’m in. Also, I suspect that I may be the cheezfrend that posts on older pikkies – I sometimes can only make time to pop in every three or four days (that paycheck thing, such a bore) – and if access to older pics has to be curtailed, well, okay. I’ll just make my sparkling witty remarks on current pics. (humor.) Just LMK how I can help keep the fambly talkin! Love, Duffy in Owhyo.

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    1. I didn’t mean that doing comments a few days back was a problem. :-) I look forward to the times you can drop by. It was just an example of how little we need to have posts a month old readily accessible, since it’s pretty much impossible that anyone will be saying anything on them. I can’t think why we’d need to close comments on older posts on the active site. :-)

  8. No one getting lost and the community remaining safe and intact (and easy for the irregular Cheezpeeps to find) is absolutely my priority.

    But the current site includes things like, just offhand, Lungdoc’s last message to us, and I am not going to allow that history to be lost, either. This isn’t ICHC, where the site was sold out to people who were not really part of the community and just wanted the most profit.

    This is my family. Losing people over time hurts. Losing history hurts. Not happening if I can help it.

    *hedbonks*

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    1. So glad you’re keeping as much of the “history” of dat otter place and Cheezland as well. I frequently go to the Cheezeland Wiki to point out a particularly good story to someone that they remember, but haven’t had the chance to re-read through it. Fankies so much Prysma and Jackie – you two do an absolutely amazing job, even in overwhelming circumstances and still seem to come out on top with ideas to continue this community of like minded peeps: Our love for each other and our furr beebehs.

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  9. I have been in tech support in a post luge, but I know very little about web management. I agree with the thought of creating a new site, and archiving all the old stuff, with a possible link on the new site. I personally would still love to access old posts and lols from Lung Doc and others who have crossed the bridge. I am mostly a lurker, but have contributed pictures of some of my cats, along with their stories. I’m not creative or clever or brave enough to create my own lol yet. Give me time! It’s only been seven years! 😁
    Even though I haven’t been an active member of this community,you are all very special to me and always made me feel welcome. And you never hesitated to comfort me and support me when I faced unimaginable tragedy. This community was a very integral part of my healing. And I will always be grateful for that.
    I will gladly support whatever you feel is the best path to take. I just know I don’t want to be disconnected from this group. Sorry for the extensive prattling on. I’ll step off the soapbox now… Teresa Engel, aka Tengel28

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    1. “Past life”, not “post luge”. I don’t even know what that means. Stoopy “smart phone”. 😜

      1. “Post luge” gave me very peculiar and interesting images of a very serious Olympic-level attempt at nawt-sekkund. :lol:

        Also… *hedbonks n hugs*

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        1. I’m wondering if my phone plans a trip to the Olympics without me? πŸ˜‚

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  10. Prysma. The only thing I understand with all this is it has been hacked and that’s bad. I will happily go along with what you need to do – unless this is a hack and you’re really some sweaty guy in a dirty tank top, smoking and drinking vodka in a communist county messing with people’s web sites. LOL

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  11. I know nothing about technology…but we do know our Prysma and Jackie. I trust both of you to build us a new house (can we have big back yard and a trampoline, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese) and will happily support whatever you think is the best way to keep Cheezland going.

    Thank you for all the work you’ve done, all the work it took to figure this out, and all the work it will take to move house. We love you!

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    1. An a fierpit an a BBQ grill an a patio, pleeze pleeze pleeeeeeze! An sum flauerbedz an an an…

  12. Hoo duzzn’t like gnu shineys??! πŸ˜ƒ
    Yay fur gnu shiney! πŸŽ‰πŸ˜„
    Whoot whoot!!!

    1. Just wun kweschun…. 😬
      Will there also be an email subscription option on the new site? πŸ€”

      1. The daily digest will still be available, yep. That’s actually set up via Google’s Feedburner service, and there are others I could use if that one is ever discontinued.

        I think that one’s too useful to some peeps to let it disappear. But possibly I need to make it more visible, because I don’t think everyone knows it’s an option.

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  13. Yup. A Shinee New Innerwebz Cayv sounds eggsalad. The Archive would be lovely to have, but it’s the ongoing dialog with all of you — active or passive — that is precious. {{{{{{{{{{{{{Cheezpeepz}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

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  14. I also am not that tech-savvy, I know you have more information available to you to make the best possible decision for the site and us Cheezepeeps. I do like the idea of setting up in a new house with good wiring and plumbing. Maybe Just have lols and a chance to comment if one wishes to do so. Keep it simple …. We love you …

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  15. Whatever you decide will be great, I’m sure. Just please ensure you are not out of pocket thereby!

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  16. I will follow you
    Follow you wherever you may go
    There isn’t an ocean too deep
    A mountain so high it can keep me away
    I must follow you
    Ever since you touched my hand I know
    That near you I always must be
    And nothing can keep you from me
    You are my destiny
    I love you I love you I love you and where you go
    I’ll follow, I’ll follow, I’ll follow
    You’ll always be my true love, my true love, my true love
    From now until forever, forever, forever
    I will follow you
    Follow you wherever you may go
    There isn’t an ocean too deep
    A mountain so high it can keep
    Keep me away away from my love
    I love you, I love you, I love you and where you go
    I’ll follow,…

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  17. Bought the land for the new house – we registered the domain name. :-)

    Now we just wait a bit for a bit of digital paperwork to clear, and I’ll get going on the foundations.

    Thank you for all the love and the faith!

    Any other questions / observations / whatever always still welcome, of course. It’s going to take a bit of time before we can move in. Some things can be tweaked afterwards (repainting the walls or a bit of remodelling), some things are hard once it’s live (adding another floor to the house)!

    Part of my mind does keep wondering whether it’s an overreaction, but Jackie has more computer experience than I ever will and she’s certain that we’re still at risk. I’d rather move and never knnow whether we needed to, than hesitate too long and end up with a worse crisis!

    *purrs n hedbonks*

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  18. I am also not at all tech savvy, but cleaning house and moving NOW rather than wait for some $%^&&** hacker to burn the house down seems very wise. I do not believe it’s an over reaction to move. I am glad we will not permanently lose posts from those that have crossed the bridge.

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  19. I support this plan!

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  20. I love everyone’s analogies! Yes, whatever you think is best. Just leave a trail of breadcrumbs – or doughnuts – and we’ll follow. Donut (mmmm, moar d’ohnuts!) hesitate to axe for munneez!

    And thank you. ICHC crashed, and Cheezland came about just around when my father died (7 years ago!) so the timing is easy for me to remember.

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  21. You do what you need to do, Prysma. Thanks to you and Jackie for all your hard work!

    Yes, the Cheezland Wiki still exists (thanks Prysma for the link; I think I had lost it!) Yes, it’s a huge amount of work for just one person to keep up. I still have a lot of stuff to put on it, but it’s a lot of work unless I just copy and paste, which loses the comment nesting, and I just don’t have the time and energy for it. If someone knows how to use Wiki and wants to pitch in, that would help.

    Also, honestly, whenever I would add something and then post in the Cheezland Facebook group about it, there was always someone who would say, “But what about this?” or “You left out my favorite part!” and I just felt like there wasn’t a lot of appreciation for something that was a lot of work. But if there’s still interest, I can try to get to it from time to time to add more stuff.

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    1. Lunarmommy: So many of us did so much work to save as much of “DOP” as we could. If there’s still things to add it would be nice to get more in the Cheezland Wiki. Don’t know how to add things to it, but if anyone else does – please step up. Otherwise, maybe take one item a week and add it. Takes longer, but you wouldn’t wear yourself out trying to do them one after the other in a short period of time. I really enjoy going back and looking at the fun, adventures, songs, parades, memorials, etc. Don’t do it often, but nostalgia does creep in ever so often.

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      1. I have the CD of files you sent me, and it’s been sitting there looking at me and going “Well…?”

        Since there still seems to be interest, I’ll go back to it. One post a week could be doable. It would help if I don’t spend a lot of time fiddling with the formatting, which is very tedious and time-consuming.

  22. Quick update: got the foundations and framing and roof and utilities all done (ie, I have all the functional stuff installed and working nicely)!

    Just gotta put up some drywall (find a theme), paint it (get it to the right colours), and get some furniture and stuff moved in (some basic content, like the Find Stuff page and that sort of thing).

    May have to stop for tonight, we’ve got t-boomers coming in and I still need to do the regular posts for tomorrow. But I’m getting there! And so far, it’s cost less than $40 VLC-monies, so nobunny worry bout that. It’s mostly just time-intensive and making some decisions.

    *hedbonks*

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    1. Wow! You must be working like a demon!

    2. Who’s your contractor? Send him/her over this way!

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  23. Do what you need to do and we’ll follow wherever you go. Lead on!

  24. So far so good! I… think everything’s looking pretty good and working okay? I’m having one small issue with the security plugin but I think I’m going to email them and ask. (Hey, I paid a few $$$ for the full pro version, which comes with tech support!) It loads nice and fast and clean, but then, it doesn’t have seven years of clutter to trip over and work around.

    The mods have the keys and they’re inspecting the place. Gotta make sure I didn’t miss anything!

    I think we’ll probably be going live on Monday! Then we can maybe plan an official housewarming party for a week or two after that. :-D

    1. BETA test. :)

  25. Hurrah! Sounds excellent!!!

    I used to belong to a German Shepherd website. We had our own rooms and kept supplies of everyone’s favorite cookie dough…just sayin…

    I can’t believe how many times I had to type this message to get it readable. I just got back from the workshop — my co-director gave me, as a thanks, a lovely bottle of 10 year old Islay single malt Laphroig. No wonder I can’t type — I shared a glass with Lili’s dog sitter. Gonna fall asleep now, whether I mean to or not!

  26. Watch for the midnight post, kids! *hinthint*

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