CTL Blog

Recent Problems with the Discussion Forum

February 20, 2023 | 2 Minute Read

You may have experienced slow loading times for the Discussion Forum main page in the past few weeks. On Sunday, February 19, there was a period of time where the Discussion Forum main page would not load in any course. Individual topic pages would load and display normally, but getting to the main view of all categories and all topics in a course Discussion Forum was not working properly. Why is this happening?

The CoursePlus development team has tracked the problem to the number of messages indicators for “New Since Last Visit,” “New Replies to Me,” and “My Posts” that appear at the top of the main Discussion Forum page. While there are likely other underlying issues, removing these counters resolved the problems with the main Discussion Forum page not loading.

The code for this part of the Discussion Forum has not changed in years. CoursePlus migrated to a new database system in December, 2022, and the new database system does not execute the code for this part of CoursePlus in the same way as the old system. When the CoursePlus development team tested the new database cluster in November and December, they noticed occasional, small slowdowns on the main Discussion Forum page, but nothing like what we’ve experienced these past two weeks. Sometimes performance problems don’t appear until the system is under full, normal load, with some Discussion Forums having hundreds of posts per day. The CoursePlus team has temporarily removed this counter functionality until such time as they can come up with an alternate solution for retrieving this data. The overall stability of CoursePlus is more important than this set of counters, however useful some individuals may find them.

We also continue to see slowness when visiting the “New Since Last Visit” tab on the main Discussion Forum page. This is caused by similar database performance problems as the counters. The CoursePlus development team continues to work on this, but code involved is quite complex. It may take a few weeks for a new solution to be developed, tested, and deployed.

We know that any interruption or slowdown in CoursePlus service is extremely frustrating to all the students, faculty, and staff who rely on CoursePlus every day. The CoursePlus development team takes these issues very seriously, and continues to work to make CoursePlus a great experience for everyone. If you notice additional slowdowns or problems with the Discussion Forum, please reach out to CTL Help right away.