The History of RPGClassics
The Great Deletion II - Electric Boogaloo (Late April - Early May 2003):
Around April 24th or 25th, our site stopped responding. If you went to any of the pages on our site, they would have shown up as being unresponsive. The site was down. This had happened every once in a while since we had moved to our current host, but the problem was always rather mundane in the past. The server logs would need to be rotated, or our server software restarted, that sort of thing. But this time, when the words, "your server has been infected with a Worm…" greeted Merlin's trouble ticket, things became more dire.
It was the worm that was causing the site not to load and all sorts of other innumerable problems. But, to make matters worse, it is our host's standard procedure that when one of their clients becomes virus-infected (a worm is a computer virus for servers), they haul it off the network completely as it poses a security risk to the rest of their network. And this worm was the kind that posed this sort of a threat. So, we had lost everything we didn't have backed up. And we had been rather lax backing up as of late…
First the staff had to get their site online before assessing the damage. The three staffers most responsible for getting the site online were Cidolfas, Zero, and Merlin. Merlin handled most of the server-related matters and helped upload material and reinstall the forums and recalibrate administration functions, Cidolfas brought our PHP-related structure back online and assisted with the server/administration matters, and Zero provided almost all of the data restoration. Between the three concerted efforts the site was brought up publicly viewable by the 26th and almost all of our content was back together again on the 27th.
Our losses were not as severe as we imagined. Only site updates from the two weeks prior to the worm were lost, and most people already had those changes on their computers so not much was lost there. The only major site content lost was database work done between late-December through April, but not much had been changed so that was ok. The biggest loss was the Updates Archive, all archive material since we switched to a PHP-based system were wiped out, and the stuff prior to that needs to be implemented manually before it's available again. But much of those lost updates could be found in the site history, so our past wasn't completely lost. Lastly, we hadn't made a backup of our forum data since last December 21st, but we elected just to wipe the boards completely clean and start posting over from scratch.
While the Second Great Deletion did not cause as much structural damage as its predecessor (we were better prepared), we did lose some significant data (not mention lost sleep or time!). However, in the end it provided positive benefits because it taught us how to better handle backing up our material, and demonstrated that the staff works very well under crisis-like situations, which may have been the most important test of all. The site still wasn't yet optimized, and it would take until the first week of May for Black Ninja and Merlin to streamline things.
Staffer Loss Three and More Shrine Additions (May - June 2003):
The month of May was rather ugly as we lost two staffers and mostly a third. First was Orakio, on May 5th. He had recently attested to having extremely difficult health problems, and had gotten into disagreements with some members of the community (and staffers) who expressed doubt over his admittedly extraordinary claims. Regardless as to the truth of his condition(s), because of health problems, time constraints, and the disagreements he had with other community and staff members, he decided to retire from RPGC.
He left almost twenty shrines in his wake, having assembled them in less than two years, an unheard of pace. Various staffers would pick up the shrines and Orakio's subsite, The Orakian Hideout, continues to be hosted by RPGC and maintained by Orakio. Then, after Hiryuu unveiled a shrine on Paper Mario on May 12th (which had been complete for months but never announced by anyone), we lost another staff member as Stonerocker, the StarTropics 2 shrine creator, had to retire due primarily to time constraints. Cless Alvein took over his shrine.
Later that month on the 24th, Red Comet (maintainer of two Gundam-related shrines) announced that he had lost his desire to keep working at RPGClassics. He also felt shame as he felt that he had acted badly around the site and towards other people. He decided therefore to leave; his shrines were given to Crotanks. After some reconsidering he realized he wasn't quite the jerk he thought he was and he elected to instead just go inactive, and while Crotanks still maintains his shrines Red Comet has occasionally come back with fresh updates for them, he may yet fully return to the staff sometime in the future. May ended with Shadow of Death's shrines, Secret of Evermore and Suikoden, being assigned to Kagon and Rirse on the 31st since basically he hadn't been heard from since 2001.
June kicked off on an optimistic note, as RPGC's long-in-development endeavor (administered by Merlin and with contributions from many staffers) to improve the quality of many of our older shrines (since in previous years our standard of quality was not as high as it is now) finally moved beyond the organizational stages with the launch of our "Sekkrit Project" in the beginning of the month. This project, while still ongoing, is expected to update the quality of many of our older shrines, even if it means retiring staffers who no longer have the time or interest in fixing stuff up.
RPGC was given the chance by Sony to review an Arc The Lad: Twilight of the Spirits demo disc; Epicgamer took care of the review on June 4th. Then, with June 7th's arrival RPGC welcomed a new staffer, as SquallStrife joined with a shrine on Robotrek. Two days later on the 9th Sinistral became co-maintainer of the Dragon Warrior 2 shrine with Mr. Saturn. And, just a day later, Hiryuu unveiled another of his shrines; this one was for the freeware Windows RPG Warrior Dragon. On the 28th of June d_Galloway took over the just-completed Castle of the Winds 2 shrine. Orakio finished the shrine after he left the staff and then donated to us.