As you have been made aware of in between missions on the 8th of April, Mavy is stepping down from his position as an Admin and has been given the tag „Regular“ at his own request. I cannot thank him enough for all he has done for the community, spending so much of his personal time working to ensure smooth server runnings, and keeping up the values of FK.
As you all should know by now, most of the servers, licenses and other official things run in Mavy’s name. This is an impactful event, and as such there will be a great deal of work in front and behind the scenes. It is because of this that I ask to not inflate this issue, so the CM and Admin team can focus on handling this as smoothly as possible.
All server and software will be transferred to me (Greybeard) over the course of the next week(s). Due to this, upcoming changes, in particular the tag system, will be on a lower priority until this transfer has been completed. However be sure that everything we wanted to implement in the near future will be dealt with - in time.
Again, I would like to thank Mavy for the fantastic and numerous work he has done, without which this community would probably not even exist today. Furthermore I would like to ask that you direct questions to the CM and Admin team, as they will be able to answer your questions best.
Greetings! As most of you should have seen by now, there's a new role – my role – on the forums: PR Communications Officer. In this (belated, thanks to exams) post I want to clarify what that means, where my responsibilities and jobs are, but also want to ask you guys how you think this job within the community can be put to better use. Ready? Let's start!
First of all: Why me? I never made a big secret about the fact that I have been working in the gaming industry for the last 3, 3 ½ years (for the germans: playnation.de ). Mostly as an editor, but since the company I wrote for had a very large outreach, with time I learned not only to write SEO news and articles, video-concepts, interviews and press releases but also how to communicate with Game Developers, Publishers and how to relay important information to the public, organize meetings, all of that stuff. I know a fair bit about how Publishers work and think, what they want out of their clients and therefore became quite good at selling ideas and concepts to them.
About 3 weeks after I joined this community I asked the CMs if they ever thought about contacting Bohemia in an official manner. This plan is still on the way, stuff like the Repo-Update, the general workload that came with 64bit and other things relayed that plan a bit, also formulating what exactly we can realistically ask from and offer to them has to be carefully established. So much for the official PR-part.
But that's not all. After all, the role says “PR and Communications”, not only “PR”. Communication in a community of this size is fundamental, the issues we have with this should be well known by now. So I won't only be responsible for the official contact but also will be making sure that the information given from the CMs to all of you guys has a clear line, structure and especially completeness. Furthermore I am more than happy to act as a mediator between all of you. Over the years in the media industry I learned to take every possible view into consideration, test systems and ideas for flaws – but also to not feel personally attacked when people criticize my professional work or projects I was part of (seriously, if you ever want to take on a job in the media, learn to not give a shit or it'll break you!). There's always room for improvement, people who have a different view on things or ideas of how things should be run. Sorting out, through open and biased-free communication, what's seen as a problem and how people see room for improvements is vital for a healthy PR – so that's what I'm here for.
So – that's basically what I'll do here. Talk. About the important, very official stuff as well as the feedback and ideas that all of you bring to this community. Take a bit of load off the CMs while making sure that certain things within my power get handled more satisfactory for everybody involved.
Its been nearly 3 months since this last update and a lot has changed since then. So here is a new breakdown.
What do we have:
First lets start with a breakdown of what we/I own, lets start with the easy stuff. There are currently 6 machines that are dedicated to FK activities, these are:
A3sync/Repo #1 - €10,-/month (the first of the 2 repo servers)
A3sync/Repo #2 - €10,-/month (the second repo server)
ARMA #1 - €55,-/month (This one runs the headless clients)
ARMA #2 - €55,-/month (The main arma server)
ARMA #3 - €55,-/month (The test/second arma server)
Gamebox #1 - €85,-/month
Currently hosts teamspeak, minecraft, wargame, farming sim, blackwave. This box has 64GB of ram and a 6 core cpu, in combination with virtualization it is highly flexible so I can swap games quickly depending on demand.
These are easy because these machines are dedicated to FK. The rest of our machines are hosted in combination with some of my other virtual machines, these are:
Web server #1 - €10,-/month (The main website)
Web server #2 - €5,-/month (Test site and gitlab runner, used for compiling missions/templates)
Mail server - €5,-/month
These 3 servers are hosted on 2 dedicated machines I use for testing and some private stuff. Since they are shared I wanted a good way to share the costs between myself and the FK community.
Breakdown of the costs:
The 2 servers that I use to host from both have 8 cores, 32GB ram and several TB of storage. Each host costs €70,- making a total of 16 cores and 64GB ram for €140,-/month. I have decided to base the costs on the ram usage, ram is not shared between the different virtual machines so any ram used by FK machines is unavailable for my machines.
Dividing these makes a cost of €2,19/month per GB, I have rounded this up to €2,50/month (I too enjoy a beer for effort). With these costs now clear we can set a new goal on the donations page.
New upkeep goal:
With all these numbers the new monthly server cost will be set to €300,-/month. The new goal will be €350,-/month, this will allow us to build some extra cash to buy among others a teamspeak license.
Some of you may know that before we created FK, the fellow ARMA clan NoPryl used to host a server for the ZF guys and most of the CM team used to/still play with them. However, they've recently lost a huge amount of players, dropping from the usual 40-50 players on a Tuesday mission to only 20-25. Therefore, to show our appreciation for all they've done, we've decided to give them a shoutout and introduce them to you guys. If you want to learn more about them check out this thread:
From today, Meeting reports will no longer be displayed on the front page. In replacement, we hope to increase the amount of articles, upcoming missions, and other nifty bits displayed!
Meeting reports and other various announcements have been moved to our fancy new community announcements section.
Such as this week's report, which is now up!
As most of you know by now the repo has been down for a few days due to some security concerns. In this post I will try to explain why I took such measures and more importantly what I did to fix things. Let me start by saying that none of my personal info was leaked. The info shared was that of a repo server I was building. It was in no form secret or private data!
Last Thursday the new 64-bit version of ArmA rolled out, and with it a load of new bugs and mod updates that we had hoped wouldn't be needed. As a result I decided on Friday that I would add a new repo server and set up some form of balancing between the 2. As I was in the process of configuring the new setup I had asked the one of the CM's to test some things for me. During this test 2 things happened. Firstly the CM's got so excited they all decided to start downloading, not what I asked for guys. This caused some frustration as I was trying to do some log tests. Second I noticed someone was actively trying to circumvent the blockades I had put in place during the testing.
Now this in itself I don't mind, if anything I applaud people who test our infrastructure. It helps me make things more resilient and allows you guys to enjoy a safe environment to share your stories in. However! I do not want some kid to go on non FK channels and boast about his escapades. Not only is this a gross breach of trust it is also against everything I stand for myself. What ever he found he should have reported to me, and no one else. Sadly for him he didn't really find anything useful. The info he gathered was something anyone could have found with some simple techniques. Hell I am going to share the same details with you guys right now.
The new repo setup:
In the past we had one repo server that would host a simple web server, this would allow arma3sync to connect via http which it used to download the mods. This box had reached its limits with regards to network speeds and caused painfully slow downloads. To expand this setup I would need a new server and a way to "balance" the load, however due to the amount of data we send out a true load balancer was not an option. Instead I have opted for redirect technique. What does this mean? It means we now have 3 web servers for the repo, one front end and 2 back end servers. In detail:
The front end (a3sync.fuckknows.eu) hosts a small webserver that takes an incoming request and redirects you to another url. It does this by picking a random number between 1 and 4, based on that number it knows what repo to redirect you to. This is not real load balancing, however it does allow us to share load over the 2 repo's. It also allows us to add more servers fairly quickly if we decide to expand in the future.
The back end hosts (repo1.fuckknows.eu & repo2.fuckknows.eu) are web servers that hold the actual repo files. They operate standalone from the front end and allow you to directly connect to should you so desire. They do nothing more but serve files that arma3sync downloads.
Al in all this is not really rocket science, it is a fairly simple setup that allows for easy management and expansion.
What happened last Friday in detail? On Friday evening I changed the a3sync url, instead of pointing directly at repo1 it would now point at the front end server. I had disabled this web server while I did the initial setup and synchronization of the new repo server. During a short period of time I brought it online to perform some tests, in these 5 min tops several people connected and tried to download mods. Once I disabled the front end I expected load on the repo servers to drop again, however that did not happen. A quick look at the log files told me someone was bypassing the front end and when I blocked repo1 that same IP jumped to repo2. I did this testing several times and every time the same client IP popped up. That IP was also using a tool other then arma3sync to download with. I responded by banning that IP from the servers and thought nothing more of it until the screenshot posted by Linnet reached me.
What did I do to prevent this? Even tho I can not make the setup 100% obscured due to the way arma3sync works, I can limit the way's people connect. One of the things I can do is limit the allowed user agents to the web servers, anything other then arma3sync gets a 403 error. I have also increased the monitoring of the log files, repeated attempts to access the repo without arma3sync will get an IP ban. This ban will get propagated to all FK servers in a matter of minutes.
Again I encourage people to try and find issues with our infrastructure, however I do ask you do it in a thoughtful manner. I am not asking you to try and ddos our servers because any monkey can do that for a few bucks. I am asking you to find holes in our security and reporting them to me. If I find anyone exploiting our servers or sharing private info I will not hesitate to report you to the police and your ISP. Needles to say such an action will also result in a ban from our community.
As most of you are aware, the ArmA-Repo we use is currently offline. While Mavy was fixing some issues, we had a community member try and connect to the repo despite being told not to. He ignored our commands, circumvented an IP-ban, searched for a loophole and basicly leaked critical FK-information on a public non-FK channel. This is a very serious breach of privacy, an active defiance of admin/CM orders and completely against everything FK stands for.
As a result of the leak, we have decided to bring down the repo for the time being to fix the issues caused by these actions. This means the repo will be down the entire weekend and no official ArmA-sessions will be played until further notice. For his defiance of the admin/CM team and the leaking of critical information on a public NON-FK channel, the instigator called 'Pretmaker' has been banned from any and all FK-related services.
We take the privacy and security of all FK members very seriously. People trying to circumvent this safety will not be tolerated.
We want to thank Linnet for reporting this grave issue to us. We encourage people who experience similar situations that (could) bring damage to FK to report this as soon as possible to a CM/Admin.
You can read Linnet's explanation in this thread.
We want to take this opportunity to tell People they SHOULD NOT feel like they will be shunned if they were to "snitch" so to speak, because, quite frankly, they're doing the rest of the community a favour. If you are one of those people who start shunning others for openly reporting persons for stuff they shouldn't be doing, then you're honestly no better than the people who are being dickheads and/or breaking/circumventing rules. It shouldn't matter if said person is your friend. If you keep quiet about this, the community as a whole will become stagnant as little things build up and eventually collapse under the combined weight of these issues. If you see someone else has reported your friend for being a dickhead, don't be a dickhead yourself and start shunning that person and/or getting others to shun them.
To wrap it up, don't be afraid to openly report any infractions to the CMs/Admins or even Vets to get them to pass it up to us. The Anonymous Feedback system is still there if you feel afraid of backlash from the community, or at least from a small group of people, but we would much prefer if this became a community where the community itself is not afraid to report people for things that they shouldn't be doing. If we find out that anyone is being a dickhead or shunning people for "snitching", they will be dealt with harshly! We want people to be able to bring their issues out in public where we can have a civil discussion about it. Remember though, if you post an issue, make sure to provide valid points supporting your claims!