1. 108

Hey folks,

The recent research done on Lobsters’ access patterns discovered, unfortunately, that Rails can’t scale. Which is just as well, given that Rails is dead.

This morning, we’ve completed our migration of the Lobsters community to the world’s premiere forum software, phpBB 2.0.1.

This release includes some new features like a “Who’s Online” display on the homepage, and you can go to your settings to set your location, avatar, and signature.

2018-04-02 Edit: Thanks for having fun with this one, folks. And special thanks to @aleph and @calvin for some last-minute testing and suggestions. Here’s a few screenshots for anyone who missed it.

    1. 26

      Aprils Fools day is over, can this please go away?

      1. 11

        April Fools is always a pain in the butt here in New Zealand…… it hits us first and then just goes on and on and on.

        It’s several days before we can trust anything on the ’net again.

        I always thought that if the Russian’s were serious about attacking NATO, they just had to paint their tanks pink and invade on April 1st.

        They’d be at the english channel before everybody stopped laughing.

    2. 11

      Honestly, I like it.

      Maybe that’s just the nostalgia talking.

      1. 10

        Honestly i don’t know how i ended up on things like hn/lobsters/reddit. Forums are better.

      2. 5

        I’m right there with you. Simpler times.

      3. 3

        im just dissapointed. it is supper ugly and looks horrible on my phone.

        1. 1

          oh gosh

      4. 1

        I’m still a mailing list kind of guy, but that’s mainly because I like the threading.

    3. 10

      Egads! My rails app is ruined!

      But what if I were to install phpBB and disguise it as my own website?

      Do-ho-ho, delightfully devilish Peter!

    4. 8

      A reminder for everyone to get some userbars to make your taste known - some are biting and relevant political commentary, some let you be known as a 1337 programmer, and others as an MLG pro gamer.

    5. 8

      I see the site is still being served via nginx.

      ~ curl -I https://lobste.rs
      HTTP/2 302
      server: nginx

      This is really bad for scalability and security. Please switch to apache with php-cgi.

    6. 7

      Oh hell, IE6 is broken because you’re using experimental TLS and cipher versions ;_;

    7. 7

      It will not only scale: it will be more reliable thanks to the recent, formal verification of the Lobsters code. That required a formal semantics of PHP, the Web, and Lobsters itself. I’d like to thank Derek Jones for tackling that project for his Ph.D. thesis in formal methods. His commitment to getting the automated solvers working on each new challenge that previously required manual proof has consistently surprised and amazed us. He promises to detail all the experiences in an upcoming book that others can use to verify PHP apps. He said he plans to tackle Electron after that.

    8. 7

      i put on my robe and wizard hat

    9. 6

      I honestly like this better than the actual site. Maybe it’s just nostalgia, but it feels more personal with the gifs and signatures.

      Also, where’s the old-school like button on comments? I remember phpBB and vBulletin forums having that. At least our MMO guild had that feature in our forums.

      1. 4

        Also, where’s the old-school like button on comments? I remember phpBB and vBulletin forums having that. At least our MMO guild had that feature in our forums.

        On the top row there are very faint arrows, maybe the admins could exchange them for something more prominent.

      2. 3

        I… like this better too. Nostalgia is strange and confusing. Back in the day I always thought forums like this were clunky and poorly designed, so I really disliked using them. But I wouldn’t be opposed to this being a permanent change.

      3. 2

        I really love this skin as well

    10. 5

      nntp://lobste.rs seems to be down.

    11. 5

      I am an admin of another phpBB board!1!! I started it recently, because I made bad experiences with antidepressants and started doing research about it which hinted me towards the suspicion that these drugs are not as safe and effective as the general public is made to believe. I want to share my experiences with others in germany, because information is available almost exclusively in english. I started translating documents and got in touch with others. A phpBB board seemed like the way to go. Looks like you people have the same idea. This is gettting me into the whole programming thing again after a long break since my times on the Commodore64 and the Atari 1040 ST. After customizing my board learning PHP doing that, I am really getting interested to try myself as a programmer. So atm I am thinking about moving into a career as a software developer. I am really drawn towards Python though. PHP seems much more awkward and has a lot of warts. Python 2.4 is about to be released soon and it seems really promising. But if you people here (who are on the absolute cutting edge of everything) use phpBB, I think I should rather move further on the path of PHP … There are hardly any jobs for Python programmers out there anyway … I am sure in 2018 or so I will be grateful to have followed your technical guidance and go with the safe choice as a PHP programmer rather than learning some exotic language like Python just because my guts tell me to.

      This is my favorite april fools / easter egg this year … actually my favorite easter egg ever. It got me right in the feels, so whoever did that: I love you.

      It reminded me of the time when I was on a crossroads about one and a half decades ago. It reminded me that I followed my gut feeling to learn Python rather than giving up and live my live in a dead end factory job. I am glad I started that phpBB Forum back then because it got me started, but I am even more glad that I followed my love for Python, although PHP looked much more promising back then. My phpBB based board still exists and is growing every year - helping a lot of german speaking people to get off their drugs. I am keeping it going without any financial interest, because financial interest (of others) is part of the reason why a board like that acutally has to exist. I want to keep it free of ads and any outside influence.

      I am employed as a Python developer nowadays. This was a big fat reminder of how grateful I should be and that I should not give up on that board which is becoming more of a burden with every passing year. Live is complicated.

      Here it is: http://adfd.org - it’s in german if you haven’t gathered this by now …

      (yes I am aware that I urgently have to start using SSL, but there is so much to do and so little time)

    12. 5

      Perversely, this kinda feels like home. Brings back good memories. :)

      pours one out

      1. 7

        Please no double posting. Also don’t bump old threads.

        1. 2

          Ah, the old necropost.

      2. 4

        I was really excited to see the “users in chat” link and then disappointed when it turned out not to be an integrated chatbox. :( I miss chatboxes.

        Also, I like how we can now embed images. Being able to drop a graph into a post would have be useful in a discussion or two I’ve had on here.

        1. 6

          I thought about it, but the functionality would’ve taken more time than I had. Embedding images is temporary as linking to outside resources leaks your IP to them, as @friendlysock’s sig notes.

          1. 1

            Could embedded images be a user setting where if you turn off image embeds you get a link to the image instead?

    13. 5

      I love how terrible it looks on a phone :) Not responsive at all.

      Well done, sir!

    14. 4

      I’m viewing this in Netscape Navigator 3 and can’t seem to embed any Visual Basic code in my responses. Help, Moderator!

    15. [Comment removed by author]

      1. 3

        Now that, is a forum sig. Even with the stick figure fight gif. Its like 2001 all over again.

    16. 4

      Too fast and responsive to be legitimately phpBB.

    17. 4

      Really does feel more personal. Maybe that has to do with why the format is also so difficult to quickly grok and faded out of use: each message takes up much of your screen and really gets your attention. You look at the person and their signature and their location and avatar and wow going to be sad to see this go:)

    18. 4

      I feel like a kid asking their parents to keep a dog they’ve found.. but can we keep this?

    19. 4

      hey guys, it’s April 2nd turn it back now.

      1. 5

        It’s not a joke. It’s like this forever.

        1. 9

          It’s not a joke. It’s like this forever.

          If you want a picture of the future, imagine an HTML table stamping on a human face — forever.

          In seriousness, we’re down to the last couple minutes on this gag. I’m taking some screenshots and then cleaning up and resetting the server over the next hour or so.

    20. 5

      Alright can we switch it back now, this is getting painful.

    21. 3

      Is it my dialup or is the site loading a little slower than usual?

      1. 2

        I just ordered AT&T@Home service and it is 1337! Dump that dial-up!

      2. 1

        It’s not you. There’s some 1 + n in the view counts and extra writes for the who’s online view at the bottom of the homepage.

    22. 3

      slow clap

    23. 3

      C4n w3 h4z pr0p3r BBC0de, l1nk3d n0 w0rk5 4nd h4z n0 1mG t4g. I c4n+ 1nl1n3 m3 c00l p1cs?


    24. 3

      I’m in awe.

      To quote someone’s review of Annihilation: “It’s super upsetting! In a good way!”

    25. 3

      Nice! Nobody is worried about IP addresses and referrers leaking out via external images in signatures?

      1. 4

        56k warning there, bro

    26. 3

      Whoo, I want to keep this as an optional theme :)

    27. 3

      This is honestly the best April fools I’ve ever seen.

      1. 2

        I’m… I’m honestly kinda liking it. wow.

    28. 3

      it’s perfect. never change.

    29. 3

      Brings back memories :)

      Ed1t: Even though this is for today, I would gladly accept the change if it were permanent. Takes you back to a more innocent and unique time of the internet.

    30. 3

      Forums never should have gone away.

    31. 3

      Perversely, this kinda feels like home. Brings back good memories. :)

      pours one out

    32. 3

      I have to admit. I retyped the Lobsters URL twice before trying to read the page content.

      Very well done!

    33. 3

      Wonder if Lobsters is now getting pounded by an army of fresh BBbots trying to get in to a fresh forum?

      1. 2

        Yep there have been 3 confirmed spam bots so far if you look at the Moderation Log

        Methinks @pushcx should delete the accounts of people who signed up through phpBB and got auto-invited, since they circumvented the usual Lobsters invitation system.

        1. 9

          We were never actually running phpBB, it was phpBB’s old markup on the Rails app with some custom code for view counts + “who’s online” box and an awful kludge to put .php in the URLs. Reusing the phpBB signup form was enough for the bots.

          I deliberately opened registration because it seemed like a fun idea when I was wiring up the registration form and, after reflection, I was curious to see how the experiment would go. I hope the 22 new non-bot users harmoniously join the community. But the experience mostly reinforced how unlikely I am to have open registration; I think we’d see a lot more than 12% of new registrations be spambots or people registering alts/throwaways for sockpuppets and other bad behavior.

    34. 4

      Alright can we switch it back now, this is getting painful.

    35. 2

      Alright I see what you did there.

    36. 2

      This is perfect.

      Maybe we could also think about creating an official lobsters widget.

    37. 2

      Awesome! Been wondering why we didn’t have this already.. better late than never I guess.

    38. 2

      Better check haveibeenpwned.com tomorrow

      EDIT: unless phpBB DDoS’es itself before that

    39. 2

      I love how reddit is the new Digg and HN is the new slashdot at the top left XD

      Can’t seem to get gifs to work in my sig, though T_T is it just [img]?

      1. 3

        You need the ! before a link to turn it into an image.

        edit: Contrary to what it says, it’s NOT BBCode, but rather this newfangled “markdown” some Mac nerd invented. I bet it won’t catch on, it’s not HTML-like enough.

        1. 2


          Oh wow, that gif is obnoxiously huge. Hell yeah.

          EDIT - I changed my mind, too much

    40. 2

      I feel as though I have stumbled across Linux help without even looking for it.

    41. 2

      This is truly next level. Well done!

    42. 2

      Honestly this has no right to be making me so nostalgic. Better days there were not but I miss them nonetheless.

    43. 2

      You got me for a few seconds. You really did. Good job.

    44. 2

      This thing feels genuine, but I can’t stop the feeling that something is missing.

      1. 1

        This thing feels genuine, but I can’t stop the feeling that something is missing.

        The BBS interface. ;)

    45. 2

      Very well executed, kudos to all of you!

      (I was tempted to post the extra long longcat meme, but u/liwakura beat me to the “extremely large image joke”)

    46. 2

      That really takes me back to the good ol’ days when I still used global variables to emulate header guards in PHP includes… good times.

    47. 2

      Where’s the voting system?! Like usual, it was better before :D

    48. 2

      Looks good. I like it :)

    49. 2

      Best april fools I’ve seen in a long time. bravo!

    50. 2

      Wow the nostalgia factor here caught me by surprise. It was actually Easter Sunday in 2004?) when I first setup PHPBB and learned what MySQL was. Wow. This is my favorite prank thus far.

      Well done pushcx

    51. 2

      This brings on some serious nostalgia, geez. I think I could appreciate this as a custom CSS.

      1. 4

        it’s far more than custom CSS though: there’s a shitload of routing evil going on to make the .php URLs work, and the HTML is prosilver (or subsilver, can’t remember which) grafted onto the .erb files

        it’s an EVIL hack

    52. 2

      This is the first April Fool’s thing I’ve seen that’s brought a sincere smile to my face, what a fun idea.

    53. 2

      Good memories. Love this.

    54. 2

      Wait until I add a signature that shows my uptime.

      Also, it frankly took me a minute before realizing Lobsters didn’t have a PhpBB forum. I guess I’m really old.

    55. 2

      It’s April 2 and the old-style forum is still up.

      What if the real April Fools joke is that they’ve lost the old code and can’t get the old Lobsters back?

    56. 2

      This is fantastic

    57. 2

      Lobsters admin team: “uh… people seem to like it let’s see how long we can keep this up… XD”

      1. 0

        This doesn’t work for anyone. Why is anyone doing it?

        1. 5

          Broken BBcode is a staple of forums, from what I remembered of then.

    58. 1

      Subthread (hit the quote button on this comment rather than the comment form at the bottom of the page) for showing off your sweet signatures. Set your sig in your settings.

      1. 2

        I <3 these signatures thanks for migrating us moderator team!

    59. 1

      Subthread (hit the quote button on this comment rather than the comment form at the bottom of the page) for showing off your sweet signatures. Set your sig in your settings.

      1. 4

        As a community, this is just proof that we’ve lost so much in the last decade.

    60. 1

      Staring at the profile page trying to remember if I ever bothered setting up a Gravatar on this email address.

    61. 1

      In total there are 387 users online :: 42 Registered, 0 Hidden and 345 Guest
      Most users ever online was 23 on Thu Mar 21, 2002 10:18 am

    62. 1

      There are things I like about it too, not to make y’all feel old, but I don’t have that much nostalgia for these things. At the end of the day though, so much emphasis on who is saying something vs. what they’re saying is probably unhealthy.

    63. 1

      …it seems that pagination is fucked in the way that you can’t actually see new posts on the front page if they don’t have any replies

      this is bad™

      1. 1

        Should be fixed now.

        hottest.order("greatest(stories.created_at, (select max(created_at) from comments where story_id = stories.id)) desc")

        1. 1

          Still doesn’t seem to work - I have submitted a few things and they haven’t bubbled up yet?

          1. 1

            Turned the HOT_STORY_POINTS in StoryRepository down and you’re all over the homepage.

            1. 1

              I am, but those are fairly old stories. The ones I submitted would have 0 comments, so they’re not on the front page.

    64. 1

      Mailing list mode users: I fixed the bug that prevented you from replying to comments. I was about to query all your email addresses out of the database when I realized I could just leave a comment. Didn’t seem worth a top-level story, so I’m leaving it on the most recent announce post.


    65. 1

      Jesus people already have those stupid signatures that show you ip and user agent.

    66. 1

      Is there any link to the recent page now? Can’t find one anyway.

    67. 1


    68. 1

      Don’t forget to redirect back to the old locations if you ever migrate back to the old view.

      1. 1

        And… you did forget that!

    69. 1

      First, PHP bulletin boards never died, so this isn’t really nostalgic for me. Hard to be nostalgic for your [i]other[/i] main online hangouts.

      Secondly, where is the real threading? I know PHP bulletin boards can do it. If you’re going to emulate one of that variety of boards, at least emulate a good one, like vBulletin.

    70. 1

      this is gold