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GR ---- ANY CLOSER TOWARDS SOLVING THE PROBLEMS?

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SylviaInCanada

SylviaInCanada Report 30 Nov 2011 08:27

GR

I'm just wondering whether you are any closer to solving ANY of the problems that we have been reporting on this Suggestions Board, and which have been causing such hassles for members for weeks?

I know that the members who post on this Board are NOT the only ones who are having problems ........... there are threads on General Chat and Genealogy Chat reporting, or asking about, problems. Plus people responding to those threads saying basically "Oh, I thought it was my computer" or "I thought I was the only one having problems".

I am really really disapointed in GR.

I thought there would be real improvements after BrightSolid took over.

And I thought there were positive steps in the changes you made in August ........... except most of them don't work properly, and have caused other problems on the site.

And, worse of all, you seem unable to correct the problems and make the site workable.


I very probably will not now be renewing next year

............. . I have only a small fraction of my tree on here, and I do not use GR records .............. so my leaving will be your loss more than mine, as I use GR for nothing except helping other members find information, and chatting with friends.

The friends I can meet on other sites.


The frustrations of this site have finally got to me.



sylvia

InspectorGreenPen

InspectorGreenPen Report 30 Nov 2011 09:25

To put all this into perspective......What are the problems?

Looking through the first two pages of Suggestions, General Chat and Genealogy Chat we find they are:-

1. Time outs and site performance issues

2. Print preview problem.

3. Issues with HotMatches

4. Issues with new Message system

On reading Phil's Blog Technical update for the 21st (updated 24th) we can see:-

GR continue to work on code changes to improve the performance. The final results of this will only be seen when they are fully complete. (The No1 problem)

No mention of the No 2 problem.....!

Improving features that support the website including an overhaul of the Hot Matches (The No 3 problem)

They have also worked on other areas, improving the features that currently exist on the website This month saw the initial phase of the Message Centre revamp.

GR and members identified a few bugs after the Message Centre was first released on Monday 21st November. GR made some changes on Tuesday, and applied a few more on Wednesday. that should resolve most issues that have been experienced. (The No 4 problem)

 Lindsey*

Lindsey* Report 30 Nov 2011 11:07

Problems with number 2.s constantly ! Have we hit rock bottom ?

I've never had so few lookups 5 this week, where is everyone ?

It seems common sense to make the site work properly before making any changes, you know all this started to go into decline when the Find living board and avatars were introduced, and we have been struggling ever since.

Joy Kentish Maid

Joy Kentish Maid Report 30 Nov 2011 11:52

It seems not:

I received one of the error messages when attempting to delete a page of sent messages, and again when trying to open this thread.

The site is slow most of the time.

I received an email notification to look at my new messages - there were none.

All above reported to GR.

JerryH

JerryH Report 30 Nov 2011 14:03

It seems to me that not all the "problems" may be caused by Genes.
On Monday of this week for example, the Internet itself seemed to be experiencing major problems.
Connection speeds were terrible and I had to reboot my Broadband Modem twice to find a decent connection. Also I was without email for 12 hours as the pop3 server to which I connect refused to accept my passwords.

Perhaps it is also just my impression but the reported problems seem to relate to differences in the operation of different Internet Browsers and in partivular, Internet Explorer Version 9 ?
This would perhaps explain why some people are having problems whilst many others are not.
From Phil's Technical Blog it would certainly seem that way and IF that is the case then how much blame can be attributed to Microsoft?
I use IE version 8 so most of the reported problemms have not affected me. Only perhaps the inability to use Print Preview - which I do not miss and would not use.

Someone on one of the posts talked about the location of the Website in UK as "the server". I would be very surprised if Genes was operating using one server alone. Most large websites have a whole cluster of servers working to share the load for the many people connected to the site at any one time.
Sometimes a server can start to play up or fail and may require rebuilding or replacement. This would also result in the other servers having to work harder to deal with the increased load and could result in sluggish connection times.
Replacement of servers can take several weeks to source, configure and synchronise: I am told that even when ready, it can take a further week to 10 days before the World Wide Web will recognise a new IP Address.

I do believe that Genes is sometimess its own worst enemy. When things don't work as they should, then this creates tension and nervousness for the users.
Trust is something which is hard to earn and by only admitting to problems "after" they are fixed, they are in danger of adding to a spirit of mistrust.
I am sure we have all seen the glib one liners from the help desk that give so very little away. Feels like trying to get blood out of a stone. Phil's Blog does however give some hope.

What I would really like to see is a newsfeed on the homepage - perhaps replacing "Facts for Year" summarising in a few lines what is currently going on and what is planned to resolve.
Perhaps something like:
"You may have problems connecting to the site during the next few weeks. This is because . . ."
or
"Some people using IE 9 may be experiencing some problems with functions in the new messaging system. . . ."

And a proactive approach is always in my opinion far better than the reactive one.

KenSE

KenSE Report 30 Nov 2011 14:32

Well I use IE9 and don't have the trouble that most seem to be reporting. If I do get a problem a refresh usually fixes it.

I did find the Internet a bit slower earlier this week.

Good point about the servers. I wonder if GR do maintenance on the severs between 00:01 and 06:00 which might explain why there is often a particular problem around that time.

Personally I woulld like to see less on the homepage as I think the amount on it contributes to the difficulty some have getting onto Genes. I tend to go directly to the community page or to a particular board.

SylviaInCanada

SylviaInCanada Report 30 Nov 2011 17:08

In the interest of full disclosure, I use IE6 (my favourite, even though I do know it is out-dated), and Mozilla Firefox as my servers.

IGP .............

Thank you for summarizing the major problems



Jeremy ..................

re the server(s)

After BrightSolid finally took over control, the servers used by GR were replaced earlier this year ........... with new ones in Scotland. I have Dundee in my mind, but am uncertain about that.

There were major problems with GR for some time after that event as GR got the servers to work properly ................ but some of those problems still exist even now.


If it is the internet at fault ............ why are we only having problems on GR?

In that event, I would expect every other site that I access (family history, social, shopping, etc etc) to ALSO be slow and have the same or similar problems.

But the opposite is true ........... all other sites that I have accessed in the last months, including sites such as ancestry, FB, and sister sites FriendsReunited and findmypast, etc, have worked just fine, thank you very much.


As for OUR servers, which is GR's favourite place for laying blame .......... we are all in different countries, and different parts of those countries. There are many, many servers involved .......... you can't convince me that every single server all around the world, other than GR's, is having the same problem at the same time.

Even IE6 has not caused problems on sites such as FB, familysearch (until the most recent changes this weekend), and private sites.


Everything comes down to the problems being laid at GR's feet ............ and their seeming inability to correct matters.


I mean, why should we, the members, have had to work out at various times over the last 2 or 3 years that it is easier and faster to access GR through their Australian, New Zealand or South African sites than to use .co.uk?



Ken .................

IF GR is doing maintenance on their server, or updates or whatever, between 1:00 am and 6:00 am, then it behooves them to post warnings about that.

There are many members in other parts of the world who want to use the site between those hours, and are badly affected by such down times. Not to mention insomniacs in the UK.

Ancestry can give warnings. Familysearch can give warnings. The various free sites can do it.

.................... so it should be possible for GR to produce a banner that appears across the top of the site (not just on Home Page, Community Boards page, or whatever), saying that the site will be unavailable from whenever to whenever for maintenance.

Then we would know to go off and do other things, instead of continuing to attempt to access this site.




Jeremy suggests posting a notice on Home Page ..........


Like many others, I enter GR through My Favourites, and that is set to open on Community Boards. I almost never look at Home Page, so never see any notices posted on there.

That Home Page is just one more extra waiting step so far as I am concerned!




Lindsey* mentioned the lack of members asking for assistance. This is one aspect I did not raise.


There has been a most definite, conspicuous reduction in the number of requests for help on the boards over the last few months.

That reduction began earlier in the year, after problems, but seems to have accelerated since August.

And I am not surprised .............. this site has become so frustrating, with waits for pages to load, time outs, Errors, OOPS, etc etc, that it is no surprise that people have given up.

Who but dedicated members will make 6 or more attempts to load a page, or open the Message Centre or Message Inbox?


In case you have not noticed, there has also been a loss of long-time members since August, including several of the most respected and knowledgeable helpers. Some of them have not renewed their subscripitons, while others that I know have actually left in the middle of their subscription period, and have removed even their tree(s) from the site. Others have stated publicly that they will not be renewing when their sub comes due.

Will those members come back? Who knows. But it could be at a significant cost to some, who will end up paying double their present subscription..



I have been a member since April 2004, and active on the Community Boards since May 2004, just one month later. There have been problems over the years, but this site has slid slowly downhill over the last 2 or 3 years.

The last couple of months have only been the culmination of all those problems.


............. and that fact has led me to seriously, and cynically, wonder whether there is an ulterior motive behind BrightSolid.

They had to convince the Competition Board that taking over the FriendsReunited family, and thus put 3 of the 4 largest genealogical sites in the UK in the same hands, would NOT result in a loss of service to the public.

If, however, one of those sites becomes unusable, then they presumably could close it, or convince members to move to one of the othe 2 sites in their control, without compromising that agreement.


That is why I have asked several times in several places whether FindMyPast has been having anything like the problems we have been dealing with on GR.



colour me cynical if you like




sylvia

Sallie

Sallie Report 30 Nov 2011 21:03

Well said Sylvia. Thank goodness we members have someone that can speak up on behalf of us. I fully agree with the last part of your post, and also think that GR is up to something and not being honest with their members.

I am so fed up with not being able to send any pm's since GR bought in the new message centre. Each time I've typed out a message and pressed send it doesn't do anything at all, I've also tried contacting Phil and also Estelle but it is just the same.


I thought that the site was a bit faster when I posted on a thread this afternoon, but by the time I came back on this evening it has again got slower, sometimes showing error pages.

Sallie.



 Lindsey*

Lindsey* Report 1 Dec 2011 08:50

This says it all

Current member activity
Let’s see what’s happening on Genes
19 new posts in the last hour
10 messages sent in the last hour
399 names added to trees in the last hour

KenSE

KenSE Report 1 Dec 2011 09:18

It doesn't really Lindsey because less than half an hour later it says:

18 new posts in the last hour
38 messages sent in the last hour
526 names added to trees in the last hour


That is a noticeable rate of growth (except for posts). :-)

InspectorGreenPen

InspectorGreenPen Report 1 Dec 2011 10:24

And now up to:-

33 new posts in the last hour
29 messages sent in the last hour
732 names added to trees in the last hour


In practice, only a handful of members use the message boards. The majority of members are completely oblivious to the discussions going on on her.

In fact only 43 members have bothered to read this thread

Joy Kentish Maid

Joy Kentish Maid Report 1 Dec 2011 16:10

:-S

This webpage is not available
The connection to www.genesreunited.co.uk was interrupted.
Here are some suggestions:
Reload this webpage later.
Check your Internet connection. Restart any router, modem, or other network devices you may be using.
Add Google Chrome as a permitted program in your firewall's or antivirus software's settings. If it is already a permitted program, try deleting it from the list of permitted programs and adding it again.
If you use a proxy server, check your proxy settings or contact your network administrator to make sure the proxy server is working. If you don't believe you should be using a proxy server, adjust your proxy settings: Go to the wrench menu > Options > Under the Hood > Change proxy settings... > LAN Settings and deselect the "Use a proxy server for your LAN" checkbox.
Error 101 (net::ERR_CONNECTION_RESET): The connection was reset.

SylviaInCanada

SylviaInCanada Report 1 Dec 2011 17:20

:-S :-S :-S :-S

SylviaInCanada

SylviaInCanada Report 1 Dec 2011 17:44

WELL !!!


I posted on the GR wall on FB yesterday, re all the problems and asking if GR was going to be doing anything


and I have just seen their response:-


Hi Scilly - I can absolutely understand your frustration and can only apologise. We have now halted all releases and the performance of the site is our main concern. We are hoping to have the issues totally rectified within the next 2 weeks. Unfortunately it is our members using the boards that are being most effected, mainly because you are on the site a lot and navigating from page to page experiencing more errors. Please please bear with us. We will write another technical update soon.

--------



sylvia

philmoir

philmoir Advisor Report 1 Dec 2011 17:47

Just so that you are aware that I am reading this, I have posted an update on Message Centre thread. And I will try an provide a brief update on the various issues reported above tomorrow when we've had a chance to investigate.

Regards Phil

SylviaInCanada

SylviaInCanada Report 1 Dec 2011 17:55

Thanks Phil



............. although all the problems have been previously reported over the past weeks and months!

That is why I am so frustrated.




sylvia

Nala

Nala Report 1 Dec 2011 20:18

I really miss those great Hot Matches.

Can't wait till i see them again.

Alan S.

Laurence

Laurence Report 12 Dec 2011 09:57

I wish I'd taken my friends' advice and used Ancestry from the start. :-|

JerryH

JerryH Report 12 Dec 2011 10:20

Laurence

Perhaps you missed the latest announcement at
http://www.genesreunited.co.uk/boards.page/board/announcements/thread/1287448

Personally, I think this site is far better than Ancestry, and yes we may have been critical on how long it has taken to sort out the many problems but there is light at the end of the tunnel

SylviaInCanada

SylviaInCanada Report 12 Dec 2011 20:19

PP


That is EXACTLY what I have been thinking of as the "ulterior motive"

............ and presumably what the Competitions Board did not want to happen, as it does reduce the number of choices of English sites.


I do not believe that this site is anywhere near the best, nor adequate, for records etc. I've heard that you can't even get them to make changes in wrong records.


It is extremely valuable for the help on the Community Boards, and contacts made

......... and that is well worth the £10 per annum that I pay, although more recent members pay £20 (wonder when our sub will get increased????)


So I would hope that any merger would keep these boards and aspects.




sylvia