[READ FIRST] Outage Communication Rules

If you’re reading this, you probably saw it as a link in a forum banner or outage announcement, which probably means an outage is currently happening.

If an outage happens, many (new) people come to the forum to learn more about what’s going on, when it will be fixed and what they can do themselves. This usually results in many more messages and topics being created than usual.

In order to make sure everyone gets the information they need, the following rules and policies go into effect. Please read this carefully or your messages may be removed without warning.

TL;DR

  • Read the outage announcement and discussions carefully.
  • Carefully asses whether you are actually affected by the outage.
  • Keep the messages about the outage in the outage topic.
  • Put questions not related to the outage in their own topic.
  • If you do want to post in the outage topic, only do so if it actually adds something to the discussion.
  • Posts that do not follow these rules will be deleted.

If you think you may be affected by the outage

You’re probably reading this because you are or think you are affected by the outage yourself.

Here is what you should be doing first.

Check the pinned outage topic(s)

If an outage has been confirmed, almost always a single topic will be pinned to the top of the topic list. This topic is typically posted in the System Issues category.

As a first step, carefully read the information in the pinned topics.

Carefully assess whether you are affected by the outage

The first post of the outage topic usually has details as to what the outage means and who is affected. This generally involves a list of specific error messages or error codes, the functionality that is impacted, and which users are impacted (usually in the form of a website IP or domain name).

Always carefully check whether the error message you see matches the error message in the outage announcement, and that you are part of the affected user group.

  • If you have the same (or a similar) error message, and know for sure that you are part of the affected user group, you are very likely to be affected by the outage.
  • If you have the exact error message as described in the announcement, but are not part of the known affected user group, you may still be affected, for example because the announcement is incomplete. You can check/ask in the outage topic for your account/domain/website to be checked to confirm this.
  • If you have a different error message than what was described in the announcement, but you know for sure that you are a part of the affected group, the error may still be caused by the outage (again because the announcement may be incomplete). You can check/ask in the outage topic for your account/domain/website to be checked to confirm this.
  • If you have a different error message (even if only slightly) and you are not part of the affected user group, the outage announcement probably does not apply to you. If so, please follow the usual support process (check the KB, search the forum, create a topic in Hosting Support) to get help.

If you want to talk about the outage

If you have followed the instructions above and have confirmed that you may be affected, you may want to join the discussion

Carefully read the information that has already been shared

During an outage, we provide an official announcement with information about the issue, such as any workarounds you can try or when it will be resolved. Additionally, many other people are also asking questions which are usually answered.

Always check the existing posts before asking a question yourself. Many times, the answer is already there.

Think twice about what your post contributes to the discussion

Outage topics are usually joined with many people. In order to keep the discussion concise and relevant, think very carefully about what additional information your post contributes to the topic.

Posting things like “I have the same issue”, “please fix this”, “when will my site be back up” or “what can I do to fix this” are examples of posts that do not contribute to the discussion. This information is available in the first post.

Useful posts are relevant questions about the outage that have not been answered yet. Or, if a staff member asks for example, affected sites/domains/accounts.

Refraining from posting unhelpful posts helps keep the discussion relevant so everyone can easily catch up on the available information.

Always include something specific in your message that can be verified

When posting in an outage topic, always include something specific that can be checked. Examples of this are website URLs, account usernames or domain names. If you say you are affected, clearly state what you have is affected.

Please do not say things like “this IP address has the same issue” when it’s your website that’s not working. Even though your website may be down because of an issue which affects the entire IP address, we cannot confirm why your website is down if we don’t know which website you are talking about.

Do not create separate topics about the outage

Please keep all posts about the outage in the pinned topic. Do not create additional topics to talk about the outage.

Keeping the discussion centralized helps ensure that there is a single place where all information about the outage is available. It also helps keeps the rest of the forum clean so we can continue to help people who are not affected by this outage.

Do not send emails, submit tickets, etc.

All support discussions are done through this forum. Even if it is clearly a system issue, please do not send emails, tickets or messages through other channels. No additional information or help will be provided that way. All such messages will be ignored.

What will we do to help keep the forum clean

As moderators, we will keep the forum clean by removing messages that do not follow the rules detailed above.

If you find your support topic deleted, it means that there is an active outage announcement which has all the information.

If you find your reply to the outage announcement to be deleted, it means your message was not helpful to the discussion, or your issue was very clearly not related to the outage.

What can you do to help keep the forum clean

If you see posts that do not follow the rules above, please do not respond to the posts and create more off topic messages. Simply use the Flag button to report it to a moderator so they can take a look.

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