(Frequently Asked Questions)
2. Unavailable Pages or Stories
3. Main Servers / Mirror Servers
Q. Some of the stories on your site could be classified as being kiddie-porn. I'm almost afraid to come here these days for fear of being associated with the site. Are you going to remove them?
A. I hear this probably more than any other complaint. There is no kiddie-porn on StorySite and never will be. Most members of the CD/TG/TS community would love to have an opportunity to "explain" to a convicted child molester just how we feel about somebody harming a child, either mentally or physically. The stories involving minors on StorySite are usually written in first person because they are the author's fantasy about being the victim, not the perpetrator. The key word in that last sentence is fantasy.
Second, if the above is not sufficient, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that fiction is EXEMPT from pornography laws UNLESS it contains pictures or drawings that depict minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. No child is harmed when an author writes his or her fantasies. If stories alone could be used to convict someone, Stephen King would have been convicted of mass murder and mayhem decades ago.
If you'd like to read the ruling covering child pornography for yourself, go to:
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Q. The What's New page lists a story by my favorite author, but when I follow the link to the author's page, the story isn't listed. What's going on?
A. There are two possible scenarios here.
First, if the author has multiple pages, the story may be listed on a different page. Only ten story titles are listed per page, and the StorySite system is only capable of pointing to the last page of an author's listings. If the new story is an additional part to a previously posted serial or incomplete story, you may have to use the link at the bottom of the author's page to look through the other pages that show the author's available titles. The listing on the What's New page will tell you if the story has multiple parts.
Second, and much common, is this situation. Computers have what's referred to an 'Internet Memory Buffer'. Your browser will actually store, on your computer's hard drive, all the pages that you've accessed recently. It does this to save the download time required to access frequently called pages. Designed before the days of DSL and cable broadband connections, when slow telephone modems were the rule, browsers use this feature to save time when accessing fairly static sites. StorySite, on the other hand, is a very dynamic, content driven site, and this feature can cause problems. If you feel that a page should contain new data, and don't see it, try clicking on your browser's reload/refresh button. This "forces" your computer to download the newest version of the page from StorySite. You can adjust your browser to "always" load the newest page through the Options features on your browser screen.
Third, but becoming increasingly uncommon, is the storage of frequently called pages by your ISP. Some large ISP's once stored frequently called pages in their computers to save accessing the sites repeatedly. The pages were rarely stored more than two days, but that's enough to frustrate visitors of highly dynamic sites. There's nothing you can do here except complain to your ISP, but as I said, the practice of storing pages by the ISP is rather uncommon these days.
Fourth, it's possible that you've come to StorySite while I'm updating the pages and you might be trying to download data that isn't on the server yet. Normally, it takes about five minutes to upload the new pages to the main server, and another five minutes to copy the pages to each of the mirror servers. But, and this is a big one, if I encounter a problem, that time could stretch out considerably. 99.9% of the time, the pages will be available throughout the system within ten minutes of the time I begin the upload.
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Q. I've seen references to main servers and mirror servers. What does that mean?
A. StorySite appears to come from one source, but actually is housed on a collection of computer servers around the United States. If I do my job correctly, few visitors will even notice that they might be reading something from a server on the East Coast one minute, and something from a server on the West Coast the next. The system works quite well, most of the time, but as you can imagine, keeping multiple servers updated with the proper information on a highly dynamic site is a task, and occasionally, a page, or certain data, may be missing from one of the servers. That's why you might click on a link and get a "page not found" message, or images might appear as empty boxes.
At present, the StorySite network utilizes 3 servers. Our main server is hosted by DuPage Design at their data center in New Jersey. The main server drives the network, and problems in the data center there can cause StorySite to disappear from the internet until they are resolved. The situation is that the worldwide DNS server network that directs you when you key in our URL (www.storysite.org) sends you the physical address of the NJ server. If that server is off-line due to power or hardware problems, it can't redirect you to the other servers. Piper, Kim, and Pickles do a wonderful job of keeping you connected to your favorite site.
We have two mirror servers. One is hosted by Tgsa.net in the Midwest. That server delivers most of the new stories during their first month after being posted. It also contains the search engine that allows you find stories more tailored to your individual tastes. Since coming on line in May of 2002, it has helped tremendously to ease the load on the main server. Ave has created the search engine interface and works hard to keep the server updated with the latest changes. Recently, our chatrooms were moved to the Midwest server when Bob Arnold decided to discontinue his server operations.
Our second mirror server is hosted by FaerieManor on the West Coast. Although very underutilized since coming on-line in June of 2003, I hope to make better use of this valuable resource in the future to spread the load on the other servers. I've been involved in a major re-design of StorySite for well over a year, but doing the daily posting work prevents me from spending more time on that project. Once complete, it will make StorySite much more flexible and responsive to changes, and we'll be able to better utilize the valuable resource that Robyn has provided.
If you ever wonder which server you're accessing, look to the URL window of your browser. The NJ server is www.storysite.org. The Midwest server is www2.storysite.org, and the West Coast server is www3.storysite.org.
I'll add to this list as I receive new queries that I feel should appear here.
Please report any problems to Crystal