Alysa Salzberg

Alysa Salzberg
Paris, France
December 31
Writer, copy editor, translator, travel planner. Head servant to my cat.
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DECEMBER 12, 2012 4:07AM

OS Update: What I know about what's going on here

Rate: 33 Flag

Hello out there....

I don't know who will read this, but I know that there are some people still coming to OS, despite the boycott by a majority of its regular contributors and the general problems with accessing the site.  I, myself, have always intended to continue blogging here, but I've often been unable to log in or even access the site.

I've noticed here and elsewhere that people have questions about what's going on with Open Salon. I have no expert knowledge and am not affiliated with Open or Big Salon in any way besides just blogging here, but I feel that maybe just passing on what I know might help those looking for some kind of answers.

So, here goes: 

Where are the regular OS writers?

Right now, most of them are boycotting Open Salon, and are currently posting and interacting on a site called Our Salon.  The boycott was supposed to end December 19, but seeing that this site's technical problems have in no way improved, to say the least, I'm not sure how many of them - if any - will be back, especially because Our Salon is a great site that provides most of what we had here.   I'm afraid to put the link to Our Salon because I tried to write something similar a few days ago and my post completely didn't show up - which has never happened to me in the history of OS.  But if you want to continue reading your favorite OS contributors, just type "Our Salon ning" into a search engine, and you should find it. Once you get on the site, locating a particular person is easy; just use the search bar on the top right-hand side of the page, or click on the "Members" tab to see a list of everyone on the site.

Are the OS regulars coming back to Open Salon? 

I'm not sure.  I do know that some of us (myself included) have continued to blog in both places, and plan to continue doing so.  

What the $&%* happened to Open Salon?

From what I understand, the main problem is that the site is unable to handle the overwhelming amount of spambot accounts.  This may or may not be the case - other theories abound.  But it seems to be the most consistent thing I've heard over the years.  Current OS editor Jacob Sugarman posted an update on the Orphans of Open Salon Facebook page.  I don't have access to this page, personally, because I don't have a Facebook account, but friends have forwarded it to me.  

Here is what Jacob wrote there:

 Hey Guys,

(Takes deep breath, meticulously straps on aforementioned body armor). OK, so it appears that despite their best (and repeated) efforts, our IT team was unable to transfer Open to the new database. As it was explained to me, the software is simply too old and creaky to complete such a drastic migration (what works for one's Jewish grandparents, apparently, does not necessarily work for out-of-date operating systems). They're currently developing a new approach that should be more successful, but it's going to require more time to investigate. 

As of now, there is no concrete timeline for when Open will be restored to its past glory -- or even its decrepit but functional state of two months ago. What I can say is that I promise to keep you abreast of any and all developments. And if I have nothing new to report by, say, the end of the week, I will let you know that too. 

We'll get there, I promise, it's just going to take a little time. I understand if you can't, but I sincerely hope you'll hang around.




Why didn't Jacob post this on Open Salon, as well?

Great question.  Apparently, from things he has managed to post here, as well as what I've heard from others about things he's posted elsewhere, he is currently unable to sign in to Open Salon.  I find that a bit odd, since other people have been able to sign in.  Maybe he doesn't have the time or patience to keep reloading until he's allowed to sign in....


Why hasn't the cover changed in weeks?

Jacob wrote (I believe in the last or second-to-last post he published here) that he is unable to change the cover, due to the havoc wrought by the spambot accounts.  I'm not sure why this is, or if it's just that it takes too darn long to do anything on OS, and the being blocked excuse is easier and far less frustrating than taking the time that would be necessary to change the cover....


Is Open Salon over?

I hope not.  From what Jacob's been saying, and based on the fact that he seems to be going out of his way to communicate with current and former OSers even in other places, like the Orphans of Open Salon Facebook page, I feel like the site is just in dire need of an upgrade.  Why that hasn't happened, is something I've read all sorts of theories about in my time here.  Most OSers, many of whom are far more in the know than I am, seem to think it's because  either: 1. Salon doesn't want to invest money in Open Salon, because it doesn't generate enough ad revenue, etc, to warrant such an investment  and/or 2. The spambot accounts are actually allowed by Salon, which takes a percentage from their earnings.

I'm not sure if either of these theories is true or correct - they're just what I've heard over the years.

The only true thing is that, for now, Open Salon is ailing. It may not be on its deathbed (and I really, really hope it's not), but it's really, really ill.

It breaks my heart to see this site this way. I remember how it was even a few months ago, and at times I almost feel like crying. This place was another, often better, world for so many of us who came here to write, share our artwork, and/or read.  I'm thrilled that the OS community continues to live on via Our Salon, but I wish we'd never had a reason to leave here in the first place.  

If you're a reader or contributor and you managed to get into this post, I hope it's answered your questions, or at least given you some updated information.  I wish I  knew more.  And I wish I were writing a message full of hope and promise regarding OS.   

Thank you so much to everyone who's continued reading those of us who've continued blogging here.  It means the world to us.

I also want to say, to those who've come here to read my posts despite everything, I am so grateful and the reason I haven't been posting more frequently isn't because of the current OS problems so much as just a lot happening in my real life right now. I love OS and for as long as I can, I will continue to blog here.  

I don't know if I'll be able to log back in here anytime soon, so just in case, in addition to wishing a Happy Hanukkah to anyone who celebrates, I'll also go ahead and wish everyone who celebrates a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  I do hope I'll be able to post here again before Christmas and New Year's, though....

Thank you again, dear readers, for continuing to read us, and to my fellow OSers still slogging through the frustrating log-in and posting issues, stay strong and good luck. 


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Managed to fight my way through the incessant IT issues for the first time in several days. Thanks for the update, m'amie. I too hope Open will eventually get fixed, but I fear Salon Media Corp. is trying to let it fade away. As an Internet experiment, there was nothing like it, and I remain grateful for the four years I had here.

OurSalon is a great venue, though, and I trust I'll continue to see you there.
Came over to get some of my things -- how sad that you are the one to write this, not the "editor."
Sign of the times here at the OS deathbed.
I write that with some sadness left, but not much.
OS was a great gathering place in its time -- but OurSalon is much more user-friendly in my opinion, with excellent writing, art, photography and community, happening right now.
I wrote in my bio here on OS the links to OurSalon, noticing that all my old posts together still get two hundred hits or so a week -- how better to guide anyone looking - to OurSalon - than in our bios that everyone sees no matter which OS post they find??
In these troubled times, I have made my blogging about my blogging. That is so Rothko I could and probably will puke. The server troubles, the intermittency, the relegation to "scab" status by so-called friends: it's all been part of "the work." It never would have happened without the challenges we've had to endure. That is Open's gift, though some see it otherwise.

Jacob is a mensch. There I've said it.
well my sweet.. I could not rate but some how I got on here. It's like a wake- one that makes me very sad.
Thank goodness we can still contact each other..
Long live OS.. I never thought I would see the day.. It went down before I did.
Love you much
Hi Alysa.
I rated, commented, both vanished, but thanks for this.
Alysa- Thanks for posting this, I'm sure there are people who come here to read who don't know what's going on. I miss this place being functional, it's heartbreaking to me too.
Judging from the error messages I receive, it looks like the forum software has to parse through pages of SQL queries every time you click on anything. They probably need to rewrite all the code. I kinda sympathize, with the people in charge of all that. It's like being the only person in a large household that does the dishes, or vacuums.
Still here as well ... because ... so much of life ... has been shared ... here ... is still ... for the moment ... held here ... that always has ... always will ... speak ... call to me ...
always will ... remind me of the power of words ...
because I cherish much of what has been ... given here ...
Still here ... if only ... to offer those words ...
and those who gave them ...
belief that they still breathe ...
Excellent post. Thanks. Let's hope.
This scene is not Rothko, it's more like Diane Arbus. I'm nominally on Our, but more frequently in the Red Room and welcome you all to my Facebook page. I will check in every so often and look forward to the new Open when Open reopens.
Is it over? Very good question. If you take any business paradigm in the world (MySpace) it is, essentially, over. But Open Salon was never really run like a business, so perhaps there is hope. Keep it up, Alysa!
well whereever you go, i shall follow.
brilliant subjective-objective analysis of the situation.
the other place welcomes its expatriate gal on the ground in Paris
with open arms.

i too am heartbroken.

i hate it when the elders say, "ah well all good things come to an end"
well whereever you go, i shall follow.
brilliant subjective-objective analysis of the situation.
the other place welcomes its expatriate gal on the ground in Paris
with open arms.

i too am heartbroken.

i hate it when the elders say, "ah well all good things come to an end"
well whereever you go, i shall follow.
brilliant subjective-objective analysis of the situation.
the other place welcomes its expatriate gal on the ground in Paris
with open arms.

i too am heartbroken.

i hate it when the elders say, "ah well all good things come to an end"
well whereever you go, i shall follow.
brilliant subjective-objective analysis of the situation.
the other place welcomes its expatriate gal on the ground in Paris
with open arms.

i too am heartbroken.

i hate it when the elders say, "ah well all good things come to an end"
It's not over!!!! WE'RE STILL HERE!! :)
Thanks for posting this, Alysa!

From my perspective - and I don't blog here all that often - I don't really care what Open Salon's latest excuse is. They've had excuse after excuse for months. All I care about is whether the site works, and too often, it doesn't. If fixing these problems were a priority for the company, they'd be fixed by now. It's not a priority because there's not enough money riding on whether or not the site works efficiently.

I feel like a spouse who must begin laying the groundwork for the divorce everyone knows is coming.
If fixing it was any priority at all, they would have started months ago. There is no boycott there is just a total unwillingness to be treated badly any more.

Alysa, I am definitely here til the last amp plows itself through the most reluctant circuit, to leave one hanging in nether space ...
Wow, I do love this community and all of the people -- even those with whom I've known to disagree with and do not quite feel a kinship. Most here are of the best people anywhere.
I have never had that much tech difficulty here -- yes, there has been inaccessibility of late. I know that these can be fixed with the right fire wall and log in process.
I know that the other site is good -- but it's about us, we are the ones who sustain sites. I'm with Belushi in "ANIMAL HOUSE":
'.... It's not over til I say it's over!'
It's frustrating to see such wildly incompetent handling of this site. First they need to realize they can't have both the spam and OS. So CHOOSE! Idiots. Secondly, if they are going to suspend new accounts they need to be clearing out the spam accounts as well. It's a simple constructive step that requires only time and effort.

If Salon continues to prop up this fantasy then they are essentially making the decision to kill the site. I guess they think that's OK as long as they can say they good intentions - even if there were no good efforts to back that up.
Thanks for sharing what you know! A few weeks ago, during a rough patch, I decided to try to post for the first time in over a year. I knew there were problems, from what others had written, the delays when trying to read, & the cover [~shudder~]. It took forever, but I had insomnia that night so kept plugging away at it. Then no one ever commented on what I wrote, but that could have been for a variety of reasons. I felt sad to have reached out & had no response, because it has always felt like OS is a place people could connect if they needed that, no matter the time of day. Your piece gives me some hope. I wonder if there is anything we can do thru the "Orphans" Facebook page, to let people know that it still does matter very much to us that Salon keep trying to fix OS??
It's a cold and lonely world without OS. Thanks for posting this, Alysa. You're my hero. Will check out Our Salon after the holidays.
Thanks for posting this, Alysa. It sounds hopeful that they are trying to get it up & running. Hopefully we'll see everyone in the New Year...happy and peaceful holidays to you!
OS is back for me tonight December 12, 2012 at 10pm west coast usa time. I could log in and access all my posts. I am happy about it but I am also loyal to Our Salon now too. Two lovers. I can handle them both. I hope.
Let us hope it does rise again. I'm still holding out. I guess hope does spring eternal. R
I am not boycotting OS, but gave up on it after many unsuccessful efforts to sign on. In fact, I assumed it was kaput. I saw Jacob's Facebook post and read that as the obit. Today, I got on and posted for the first time in weeks. Your post was the clearest most rational analysis I have seen yet and sincerely hoe OS pulls through. R
Like you, I certainly hope OS survives, Alysa. It is frustrating to go through all the bullshit necessary to get on, but I keep on truckin'.

I was not able to actually get on for over a week...and thought the ax had fallen, we still are.

Fixing what ails the site ain't gonna be easy, but let's just hope for the best. I'm still reading what everyone writes.
Alyssa, thank you so much for posting this. I've tried for the last week or so to post my blog posts but haven't been able to get in until now.

I found your post by Googling "What happened to Open Salon?", by the way. And once I got in and read what you've written here I hurried up and posted my latest before I got knocked out again. It was slow, but it's posted.

I post in other places but I've always have good comments here and my posts have been picked as "Editor's Picks" a few times, which brought a host of hits to my website.

Even though I'm not here as often as I should be, I've had the chance to read some amazing posts by some amazing writers. It's too bad they don't get the attention they deserve, and I'm surprised Salon doesn't have the good sense to recognize that they've created an exciting place for talent and should be nurturing it. I almost never see any mentions of Open Salon anywhere.

I'm from Michigan, where we're battling the Big Guys and need all the attention we can get, so it was particularly frustrating not to be able to post what I had written about it. Still, if I can continue posting here, I'll do it. I know some don't like the idea of cross-posting, but so far I've felt pretty welcome here.

Thanks again. This was so important to know.

Well I feel like I got fooled again. OS got me all excited after the mop went off on friday and I thought it was back but it is now just as difficult as usual. Thanks for being here Alysa.
Long time no see :)
Long time no see :)
Long time no see :)
Long time no see :)
Long time no see :)
Long time no see :)
Long time no see :)
Long time no see :)
Long time no see :)
Long time no see :)
My message in a bottle. I was born on OS. If you get a chance, visit me at my studio apartment in the poor side of cyberspace:
I'm still around. I haven't been able to get in at all in several days, but today it seems to be running more of less fine. Maintaining my blog here and on WordPress. I hope to see everything fixed, and all of my old favorites around again soon!
I'm still around. I haven't been able to get in at all in several days, but today it seems to be running more or less fine. Maintaining my blog here and on WordPress. I hope to see everything fixed, and all of my old favorites around again soon!
I'm still around. I haven't been able to get in at all in several days, but today it seems to be running more or less fine. Maintaining my blog here and on WordPress. I hope to see everything fixed, and all of my old favorites around again soon!
Alysa, I signed on tonight just out of curiosity. I have been saddened by the demise of OS. I don't think I fully appreciated it until it was gone (or almost gone). Salon has benefited from many OS postings and that has contributed to their bottom line. You would think they would take that into consideration. All we want is a place to write and interact. Thank you for taking the time to post 'what you know'. Hope your holidays are wonderful. R
Boy am I in luck. Just happened by on a good day and was able to read you. I stop by occasionally to print some of my favorite blogs...worried that all will be lost if OS never recovers, but you have given me new hope even with less than perfectly complete information. Now that I'm more settled in my new location, I will be reading/writing more often. Thanks Alysa!
Thank you Alysa. All this was quite a mystery to me. You have gone a long way to shed light on this.
I'm confused. I've never had trouble logging on to this site and though I've disappeared for months or more at a time, I've never been purged from the site either. How could the editor of OS not be able to log on? Is my operating system so old that it is in sync with the antiquated software used here? The whole thing seems ridiculous and incongruous on many levels. If it takes an investment from Salon Media Group to upgrade this site then that's clearly not happening. It's not rocket science. It's computer science and a beginner could handle the task I'm pretty sure.
For kicks I just went to OS on twitter and there was a recent post from whoever handles the "handle" asking Joan Walsh who was in charge of OS these days so they could transfer the admin of the handle to them. There are so many ways that this site could be made to be profitable that would be easy and inexpensive. There is enough content here to "exploit" and the machinery is already built in. Since there are no longer any links to OS from and never any content shared to there like there used to be, I guess it's pretty clear that Salon Media Group prefers to cut the cord and instead of doing it, or offering alternatives, it's just letting the site die on the vine. Guess I'll check out the OurSalon - I'm so out of it I didn't even know about that!!
You have noticed that the date on this is 2012, not 2013, right?

Open Salon is in a very different place than a year ago. Back then, it was miserable to log onto and many functions had stopped working altogether, including e-mail notification of comments on your post and, at one point, PM's. And it was flooded with Spam. Now it has none.

Now it functions fine, with two limitations:
1. No new members
2. No editorial action of any kind in well over a month

Our Salon still exists, and it was basically created as a lifeboat by an OS blogger by the name of Lorianne. You can get an account there, but not instantly, because everyone who joins there is vetted to make sure they're not a spammer, given the experience here. Its layout is more cumbersome than this site but it has way more capabilities and Lorianne actually manages it actively. She also takes suggestions to improve it. In some ways it's easier to use, notably if you type a link into your post, it will automatically go active. (If you post there and copy it to here, it will also go active here, which I find easier than going through the OS steps to do that.) Also, its photographs display way bigger. Some things there are less convenient (like pages of comments rather than a continuous scroll and like no Favorites column like you have on the right here), some are more convenient (like that you can arrange to get e-mail notification whenever someone you like posts, and you can also arrange e-mail notification of comments on any post you choose by any blogger, so you can stay abreast of conversations very easily).

So I'd get an account there.

For the time being, you're likely to be more active here because most of us get way more comments here. I do, and I double-post.

If you're an admirer of Art James, post there. He is likely to comment and no longer has an account here, even though he wants one.
By the way, the point of the boycott wasn't to punish this place. The point of the boycott was to make sure that the move took root - if everyone who moved agreed to interact there for a given amount of time (settled on by concensus), we knew that site would function as a community, at least until this one started functioning normally again, at which point people would do whatever they felt like. As it stands, most returned here for most of their activity.
Wow. I guess i missed this completely.
I'm relieved Jacob Sugarman and the IT folks have been working on it. Things must really have broken down if he can't log back in here!!!
Whether, as you say, that's his actual problem, who can say?
it's going to be a lo-o-o-n-ng winter
Hi Kosher - thanks for your lengthy response and yes I did know it was a 2012 post. I was definitely absent then and I guess I'm lucky my whole deal was not completely discarded. That would have been a shock!

Not sure how this post resurfaced today but glad it did.

I checked out Our Salon earlier. I noticed how many are cross posting and what-not. Not sure if I'll do that but I sure do love Art James.
I still want some some actual answers or responses from the Salon group. It seems silly to have an assigned editor who does absolutely nothing. Might as well be anonymous. I guess OS is just something they threw at him as an extra job in addition to his role as an Editor as Salon? Like always I look for justice and corrections of wrongs - real or perceived. In my case almost always perceived. I'm fated to be a Scorpio. Damn it! cheers
Oh, dear. i guess i totally missed the date thing.
I got my silly hopes up over nothing, I guess....
(wanders off into Tink's thorn bushes)
Everyone wants answers from Salon and no one gets them. I'm not going to obsess about it because I just want to blog for the people who read me, read their stuff, and comment, with no one charging me to do it. Not that concerned about EP's. Back when people worried a lot about EP's, a couple of us founded a peer-based function called Readers' Picks, which another couple of us ran until this site became so dysfunctional that we knew we were going to move, at least temporarily.

I can give you details about that whole temporary migration because I was, uh, very involved in it.

Some people here worry a whole lot about the editor thing. Here, that's mainly Tink, who's obsessed with it. Over on OurS, it's Art James, because in the subsequent reset of Open Salon, a lot of people temporarily lost accounts, and Art for some reason wasn't able to get his back, and it bugs him. The result, however, is that he comments a lot on OurSalon, so if you like him, absolutely post over there. He's very active over there.