Author Topic: Auto refresh?  (Read 1512 times)

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Offline Jackie

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Auto refresh?
« on: June 12, 2013, 02:47:12 pm »
My question is, Is it ok to have recent unread topics and who's online on a 10 second auto refresh, or can it cause problems for you? It doesn't seem much but i thought i might as well ask out of common courtesy. ^_^
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Offline Mylo

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Re: Auto refresh?
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2013, 02:53:18 pm »
Whoa, someone is a bit eager. :D

Offline Jackie

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Re: Auto refresh?
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2013, 04:58:32 pm »
Whoa, someone is a bit eager. :D

Eager? O.o
* The bear guy * "There's many a slip twixt the cup and the lip." ~ Henry McCarty ^_~

Offline redyoshi49q

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Re: Auto refresh?
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2013, 07:28:16 pm »
There are some existing forum features similar to what you're looking for that you might be interested in:

  • The forums have a thread and board notification feature.  At the top right or bottom right of any thread's page, click the "Notify" text to enable or disable the feature for that thread in order to get notified of new posts.  There's a similar feature for subforums (for example, the RP subforum) which notifies when new threads are posted in that board (it doesn't notify for new posts in existing threads).  You can adjust several settings of notifications in your profile; you can also see a list of threads and boards that you currently have notifications enabled for.  Unless you've changed your settings from the defaults, you will get email notifications for threads and boards you've explicitly enabled them for (they won't be implicitly enabled by your posts), but you'll only get one message for each consecutive unread reply (you won't get another email for further replies in a given thread until you visit that thread on the forums) and the email will lack the message content.  From my understanding, these notification emails are sent more or less immediately, and I myself find them extremely useful when coupled with email notification software.

  • There's also apparently an RSS feed for the forums.  If you have an RSS reader, you'll see an RSS icon when you visit forum pages, and you can add the feed through that.  It's content is essentially an unstyled and condensed version of the Recent Posts page (RSS readers will provide basic formatting to this data, which will make it more human readable).  Having said that, I don't know how frequently the feed updates (the XML doesn't list a TTL for the feed, so my guess is that a standard or client specific default value would be used instead).

One of these two features (or a combination of the two) might be fitting to your needs.


(*A note: the things I say below are my personal thoughts on the subject, not an official staff response.*)

While implementing a crude auto-refresh specifically would probably be simple, an efficient implementation would be less easy, and if some implementation is inefficient (especially if that implementation becomes standard), it could become problematic.  Scripts and other automated tools have a capacity to hog server resources to an extent that dwarfs that of a standard user's browsing environment.  This is because a user has to explicitly click for each pageload, whereas a script might make an excessive number of page requests for the same page load (this isn't relevant to an auto-refresh script specifically) or continue to use network resources for each browser window/tab, even if the user is away (this *is* relevant, though).  In fact, FA has recently had problems of this nature.  A few of the relevant comments from their journal:

Quote
==FA EXTENSIONS
Recently, we have been forced to take action against people using several abusive extensions. These extensions have a tendency to spam the site with excessive requests. There are two known extensions causing problems at this time: the "FA Status" extension for Chrome and the "Fur Affinity Mobile" app for Android. These apps are NOT supported by the site, and their use can potentially result in suspension or IP banning.

In the mean time, if you are using these apps we highly encourage users to STOP use immediately. We are willing to work with users who are suspended in such manner.

Quote
In all instances where we have taken action against an extension, the extension has sent hundreds of requests to resources (the control panel, login page) that haven't made sense. Apps that mass download or pull a lot of resources are generally frowned upon.

Quote
The IP bans are from unbelievably excessive traffic from add-ons, nothing else. As a point of reference, a person who uses the site a lot might have 84,000 requests to the site over some time period from one IP. Users who are getting IP banned are making around 2,700,000 requests to the site from the same IP. Not only is that excessive, but it negatively affects everyone who uses the site. If people want to make their own apps, that's fine, but they need to not be so inefficient they cause issues to the site.


Having a script that refreshes forum pages every 10 seconds would send most of the page's data every 10 seconds (even if there are no changes to that data).  Let's say that a single page load is 6 KB (I pulled that number from Chrome's page analysis tools; I don't know if it's the exact statistic I was looking for, but it seems close).  If a browser with this script running is left to refresh over the course of a day, it will download about 52 MB.  If multiple windows/tabs are set up to do this (whether for a single user or multiple users), *each* would download 52 MB per day.  This is a *lot* of bandwidth for an automatically refreshing page.  While an automatically refreshing page isn't necessarily inappropriate, a polling interval of 10 seconds is too short.  Although it might be theoretically possible to make a less abusive script (either by increasing the polling interval or using metadata requests to minimize requests for full page data), using the forum's notification feature would be both easier to set up and less costly in terms of user/server resources.

It's perfectly okay that you asked about this; it is an appropriate question.  Having said that, I don't think a refresh script is the best idea.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2013, 07:31:06 pm by redyoshi49q »
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Offline Jackie

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Re: Auto refresh?
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2013, 07:33:14 pm »
Thank you yoshi, ^_^ i forgot to mention that i do have a refresh script, and i can change time intervals at a simple mouse click but, i will just turn it off after reading that.  ;)
* The bear guy * "There's many a slip twixt the cup and the lip." ~ Henry McCarty ^_~

Offline redyoshi49q

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Re: Auto refresh?
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2013, 05:33:27 am »
Not a problem!  Believe it or not, I *still* find myself occasionally stumbling across forum features I hadn't previously known about.

Also, I forgot to mention that the email address that's used by the forum software for outgoing emails (for example, its thread/board notification and PM notification emails) is the one that's listed as your email address in your profile.  If you want these emails to go to a different address, you'll need to change the email listed in your profile accordingly.

In addition to being better on server resources, the forum's thread notification system should provide you with more power in terms of choosing what notifications you receive and how you receive them.  If you have any questions on the subject, don't be afraid to ask.
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