Site Problems, outtages, missing avatars
I've spent this past week in Ohio, working with technical staff on many of the site issues that we've seen over the past several months. Things are making more sense, but the solution is a very large fix.
What it boils down to is that the site is really old, really huge, on several servers and much of the information that we have about it is also outdated. When the site crashed back in the fall, it was rebuilt and a few months later, new hard drives were added to support the growing membership. Though these things were helpful, what the site really needs is a fresh install of the software and third party applications on a completely new server. The templates will be updated removing the bugs, fixing errors in the RIL and the project system, the article publisher and in the chat room. The process is going to take a few months to do everything and do it really well. We don't just want to patch over things, we want to make it stable and updated.
In the meantime, the site is rebooting just about every morning (EST). If a person logs into the site when it is rebooting, things will look strange. . . avatars, images will be missing, error messages will be in weird places, etc. The best solution for each member is to log out, wait about ten minutes at least and then log in again. I can't say that this will solve all the glitches that you see, but it will make a difference for your user experience.
Thanks for your patience. I hope all of this really helps while the process is still unsteady for a while.