Warning, thread hijack
Ok, well, this is as good as anywhere to give some kind of an idea as to why OHM is in the state it's in, and what is being done about it, because you're quite right - it's hopelessly broken right now, and fixing it hasn't been straightforward. So the story goes like this:
OHM in its current form is the end result of some organic PHP development and is, for the most part, unmaintained. The code is, to be polite, not in-keeping with current best practises and is difficult to
maintain as it currently stands. It is, however, just barely functional as things currently stand.
Some time earlier in this year I performed some maintenance on Orbiter Forum
itself, moving us up to the latest 3.8.x version of vBulletin and at the same time bringing the underlying linux server up to date with recent developments within Digital Ocean, our cloud hosting provider. This was necessary, partly because the server up until that point was limited to PHP 5.3, which had not been supported for a good while by that point.
This, however, has had a dramatic impact on the functionality of OHM. The site uses a lot of long-deprecated functions, which now result in spurious warnings being kicked out (things like the old-style mysql_connect
functions in early versions of PHP). For this reason, and because I was worried about the potential for SQL injection attacks - and it should be noted that OHM operates its own database and also has access to read the forum's user table (this is how the authentication works), so protecting the security of the site is paramount. As a result, I put cloudflare in place in front of both sites, and left the orbithangar site in "I'm under attack" mode permanently while the replacement for OHM is being developed in earnest.
So this causes some issues with connectivity, I am aware, and has resulted in a lot of problems in terms of usage on OHM. This is not ideal, but I find the potential end result of leaving the site unprotected could be far worse for all concerned.
Since 2017, I have been working on a replacement for the OHM site. It's taken a long time to develop, partly because of my own free time, and partly because it's been something I've wanted to do in the correct way, in a considered and designed fashion, to future-proof the way OHM works to some extent. As of the last few months, I've stepped up development in response to the issues that OHM has faced, and essentially split development into two primary divisions - a REST API, and a frontend which leverages that REST API. I've been primarily working on the API backend, while work on the frontend has mostly been done by IronRain in concert with the development on the API side, and we are approaching the point where we can publish the API and a version of the old frontend which leverages it - this is very close, though I can't say exactly when, so I'll just say "Tuesday", but a Tuesday very soon.
This has been a very long road, and I can only apologise for the state OHM is in at the moment, but hopefully the decisions I've taken make sense in the context I've given. The new site will leverage Digital Ocean's "Spaces" product, which is essentially their version of Amazon's S3 storage (it's even compatible with the same clients), and edge caching should make the experience using the site much more pleasurable - especially for users not in the continental United States where the primary server is located.
All that remains to say is that I am continuing to look at each report of issues with the current site and trying to solve problems where I can, and I really do appreciate you reporting the issues you're facing when you hit them, so I can try to keep things ticking over until the new systems are ready. Thank you so much for your continued patience with the site (and me!).