What Happened to Neurostars?

What happened to Neurostars?

Recently, we had some technical difficulties with Neurostars that resulted in a loss of data.

How did this happen?

A recent hardware issue with our hosting provider caused a temporary outage with the application. In the process of bringing the application back up, a full stop and restart of the server was required. This unknowing resulted in a loss of the ephemeral storage that was being used to back the application server.

Why was this not being backed up?

The server was being backed-up via our standard procedure, but a relatively small change in the configuration moved the application to a volume that was excluded from the backup retention plan.

So Neurostars was running on an ephemeral storage volume that was not being backed-up?

Yes, unfortunately, that was the case.

Canā€™t we recover the data with some forensic data recovery tools?

We are investigating this with the hopes that it is possible. The problem is that this configuration changed happened some months ago, which means the source drive was constantly being written to after the data was moved, which makes it difficult to recover the data. However, we are exploring options and are hopeful we can get some of the data back from the old site.

How do we know this will not happen again?

First, we are making sure that the backup is working on several levels. We have a data backup of all the underlying server data, and not using any ephemeral storage. We will also be working to publish backups of our user generated content online, making it available for anyone to download and reuse.
We are also ensuring that multiple people are aware of how the application is configured and setup.

Who can I contact with thoughts, suggestions, concerns, complaints, etc?

Please leave your thoughts here or email me or contact me ( Chris Fitzpatrick ) directly. I welcome all feedback.

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Thanks for your time for organizing the site.

I was wondering, there is a lot of questions that could fit in one of the groups at Stack Exchange. Have you tried to take the questions to one of SE groups?


there is a lot of questions that could fit in one of the groups at Stack Exchange. Have you tried to take the questions to one of SE groups?

Indeed, a lot of the questions could fit a number of different places (Quora, StackExchange, and other more traditional mailing lists). When we first started we created a Neuroinformatics group in Area51. However, it did not survive because of the way Area 51 grows a domain. It works beautifully in a general space, but in a specialized discipline it relies on individuals to make this work, and the community was not quite there.

When we moved to the original version of neurostars we bootstrapped it with questions from mailing lists of specific neuroimaging software packages, and moved the discussion of some of those software onto neurostars. As a result, even amongst neuroscientists and informaticians, it built enough traction to generate more than 7000 unique visitors per month.

We may yet add some of the older content into this newer version, but at present we would like to grow this a bit more organically and cover broader areas of neuroscience.

Our long term goal is to ensure that the information curated here can be searched from anywhere including other knowledge exchange sites. Therefore, we wanted to have control over the platform. Both, the original biostars and the current discourse based platforms allows us to hack into it as a community. This was not possible on stack exchange.

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