Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby dablasian » Wed Oct 18, 2017 3:02 pm

Are there plans to update Neg5 or do something with the servers this weekend? I ask because we are planning to use Neg5 for our tournament, the Secret City Classic, this weekend (October 21).
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby dablasian » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:10 am

Also, about 3-5 times a day in the past week at my school, the website for Neg5 cannot be reached for some reason. Is this an issue with the server or is it more likely an issue with the wifi at my school?
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby dablasian » Thu Oct 19, 2017 10:29 pm

Sorry for the many questions but Neg5 is not letting me delete a team from the entry because that team has a game already saved. However, when I attempt to click the game to delete it, an error pops up ("Could not load game"). Is there any explanation for this? We even added additional games to see if they could be deleted and they could be.

Edit: To be more specific, the game score is 20 - (-10) for the glitchy game. I created another Neg5 entry and tried to delete a match whose score was 20 - (-10) and the match couldn't be loaded there either...
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby BlueDevil95 » Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:57 am

dablasian wrote:Sorry for the many questions but Neg5 is not letting me delete a team from the entry because that team has a game already saved. However, when I attempt to click the game to delete it, an error pops up ("Could not load game"). Is there any explanation for this? We even added additional games to see if they could be deleted and they could be.

Edit: To be more specific, the game score is 20 - (-10) for the glitchy game. I created another Neg5 entry and tried to delete a match whose score was 20 - (-10) and the match couldn't be loaded there either...


Hmm, that's odd. I'm not entirely sure why you'd be getting that error, but I doubt it has to do with the scores. Could you give me the tournament's id in the url?
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby Joshua Rutsky » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:59 am

Mostafa-

With the increasing number of people who are using Neg5, and the obvious value of a cloud-based system for tournament management, I would love to see this project continue to develop, especially in a couple of key areas that are important to me personally (worksheet scoring and NAQT acceptability, for example). However, I know you are extremely busy being a full-time student and doing all the work that entails. Do you have plans to work on this system in the immediate future, or are you tabling development for the foreseeable future? If you are, are you ok with other people cloning your work and trying to work on improvements in a different development branch, with credit for the software's original design remaining yours? I ask because I have a few people around me who have some experience with .json, and think they might be able to help move the project forward in the areas I need, but I certainly don't want to step on your toes. As I've said before, I know that I would personally be happy to contribute to a crowdsourced funding effort if that would make continued work worth your while! Your software is extremely useful, and I hate to see it stagnate when it has come so far.
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby BlueDevil95 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:16 pm

Hey, Mr. Rutsky, I absolutely do plan on continuing work on Neg5; a lot of my recent work has been all "behind the scenes", if you will - none if it's been pushed to the website, but I have a lot of work that I've done on my computer and on Github.

Joshua Rutsky wrote: However, I know you are extremely busy being a full-time student and doing all the work that entails.

Heh, I actually graduated this past May and moved to Seattle, so I've been busy with a new job and the stuff that comes along with moving. Once things die down a little bit, I'll have more time to spend on the website.

Joshua Rutsky wrote: If you are, are you ok with other people cloning your work and trying to work on improvements in a different development branch

Of course! That's why the project is on GIthub, it's meant to be worked on by other people. I do have quite a few bit of changes I've made that might interfere with new work that would start now, so starting on this would need to be a coordinated effort.
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby AGoodMan » Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:39 pm

Neg5 is down right now.... this is not ideal considering that we're in the middle of HFT. Anybody know what is going on?
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby BlueDevil95 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:43 pm

The database is under a lot of load for some reason - I'm rebooting the db and I'll post here with any updates

EDIT: Restarting the server to see if that helps.
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby BlueDevil95 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:32 pm

The reason the database is under a lot of load is because of stat calculations (the backend is essentially doing a fresh calculation each time stats are requested, so basically for each person that goes to the stats pages). It's the same issue that happened at PACE. I should have had more foresight and implemented some some of caching mechanism after that.

The next release of Neg5 will have this stuff in place so this is no longer an issue.

There's no good way to immediately fix this problem besides asking people to not hit the stats page as the tournament is happening. This completely defeats the purpose of Neg5 and I'll be addressing these issues in the next few weeks.
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby AGoodMan » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:19 pm

Neg5 is unfortunately down again; we have reverted to using Google Spreadsheets.
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby AKKOLADE » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:13 pm

Nobody should use neg5 until this is fixed if you think anyone at all is interested in following your tournament remotely. It will cause significant delays for your tournament.
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby UlyssesInvictus » Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:55 pm

We discussed this a little locally at the tournament, but as Neg 5 grows and becomes a more popular tool, perhaps it's worth exploring monetization opportunities? This comes from someone who loves open source, but it seems reasonable to help pay for servers and give something back to Mostafa for his hard work.

I'm fairly confident that Neg 5 as is in a fairly stable state, it just needs either:

- better DB servers so that it can handle the repeated queries
- to store individual stats so that they're not recalculated on every view, or at the very least do something kind of paginating so people can't load detailed individual stats in a group vs. for, say, one team

I've looked around at the code a couple times, and as I start up writing QB software again, would love to help contribute tiny things.
I'm also working on tech as a side-hobby outside of a tech job, so I get not being able to really focus a lot on this stuff as the only priority in your life.
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby jonpin » Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:02 am

UlyssesInvictus wrote:We discussed this a little locally at the tournament, but as Neg 5 grows and becomes a more popular tool, perhaps it's worth exploring monetization opportunities? This comes from someone who loves open source, but it seems reasonable to help pay for servers and give something back to Mostafa for his hard work.


I like Neg5 (in theory), and have used it in the past (both to good and bad results), and we all do want a more modern stats program, but it's a bit strange to see the program blow up in a big spot and almost derail a tournament for the second time in six months and immediately think "Should the person who made this start charging for it?"
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby UlyssesInvictus » Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:45 am

I'm not suggesting that Neg5 become paid by default, or rely on monetization to keep its server going, just that the issue here is servers and I'm willing to put money toward improving that issue since it's something that would definitively come back the other way.

Anyway, I don't speak for Mostafa and I don't know what he would prioritize with money if he got it, so this is all just aimless conjecture for now.
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby Snoopy » Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:46 pm

UlyssesInvictus wrote:We discussed this a little locally at the tournament, but as Neg 5 grows and becomes a more popular tool, perhaps it's worth exploring monetization opportunities? This comes from someone who loves open source, but it seems reasonable to help pay for servers and give something back to Mostafa for his hard work.


To be quite blunt, I really don't care how good the software is, or how convenient it is, or how much people like it. I will never pay a dime for it non-voluntarily, especially since an excellent free alternative (SQBS) exists currently, and I'd rather keep paper stats than use paid software. I also will be unhappy if ads are placed, though it wouldn't be the end of the world. (although I will say, if you think the server is slow now, wait until you put ads in it...)

I think you guys found a problem (the stats recalculation) that can be potentially solved and would make the software far better without having to pay for a larger server. I think that is the solution rather than throwing up a paywall.

As for giving something back to Mostafa, I'm sure if he asks for donations he shall receive.
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby BlueDevil95 » Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:55 pm

To summarize the issues Neg5 faced yesterday, here is a quick breakdown.

The main issue was the database being under heavy load from repeatedly running stats calculations, which caused a bunch of requests on the stats pages to time out. The web server itself was fine. This is why pages
would initially load, but would either be empty or have no data on them. Anyone trying to go to a stats page probably noticed this issue.

This is a classic problem when trying to scale up a website, and luckily for me there are a lot of good ways to solve it. The method I will be implementing involves two steps:

1) Server-side caching stats. When someone initially wants some stats for a tournament, the server will do the calculation and save it somewhere. When someone comes along 15-30 seconds later and
asks for the same stats calculation, we'll give them the previously calculated result. This will prevent the database from running too many queries when the results are already saved. We'll mark the saved stats
as "stale" after some short period of time (say like 2 - 3 minutes) and recalculate at that point so stats stay up-to-date.

2) Creating a read-only replica of the main database that stays up to sync. We'll redirect traffic for stats calculations from the main database to the read-only database. This will split the load between the two
databases quite nicely and, in the case that the replica db goes under heavy load due to calculations, a moderator's ability to run their tournament and enter data won't be affected.

I'm currently spending around $30 a month to maintain the web server and database, but a quick evaluation of adding in a read-only database and adding more storage tells me that this will be going somewhere up to $80. This is a considerable amount of money to spend out of my own pocket, and servers are expensive, so I'll be adding a donate button/widget/something on Neg5's front page. I'd appreciate any amount people can help out with!

I think, once the above solution is fully implemented, the website should be able to handle the load for a tournament of any size. I have a big update to push to Neg5 (hopefully) this week which already addresses the first point above. I've also upped the database server yesterday night. It got some activity and seemed to be chugging along just fine when it got requests to calculate stats.

Snoopy wrote:To be quite blunt, I really don't care how good the software is, or how convenient it is, or how much people like it. I will never pay a dime for it non-voluntarily,

This is a non-issue, so I'm not entirely sure why you'd bring it up. Neg5 will remain a free piece of software.

As an addendum, I'd love to have some sort of Skype/Google hangout sort of thing in which people interested in Neg5 and/or the code behind it can talk about what they want to see/improve in the program. It's easier for me if I can have everyone discussing at once rather than trying to remember to come back to this forum post every few days.
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby Snoopy » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:29 pm

BlueDevil95 wrote:I'm not entirely sure why you'd bring it up. Neg5 will remain a free piece of software.


Well, Raynor brought it up, I was giving my reaction.

Glad to hear it will remain free.
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby t-bar » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:38 pm

BlueDevil95 wrote:1) Server-side caching stats. When someone initially wants some stats for a tournament, the server will do the calculation and save it somewhere. When someone comes along 15-30 seconds later and
asks for the same stats calculation, we'll give them the previously calculated result. This will prevent the database from running too many queries when the results are already saved. We'll mark the saved stats
as "stale" after some short period of time (say like 2 - 3 minutes) and recalculate at that point so stats stay up-to-date.

What's the reasoning for being so stingy with saving results--is the resulting reduction in storage space a major factor in the cost of your website? Unless I'm imagining the backend completely wrong, it would seem you only need to recalculate anything when a new game is submitted, not when a request to view the stats is made.
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby BlueDevil95 » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:48 pm

t-bar wrote:
BlueDevil95 wrote:1) Server-side caching stats. When someone initially wants some stats for a tournament, the server will do the calculation and save it somewhere. When someone comes along 15-30 seconds later and
asks for the same stats calculation, we'll give them the previously calculated result. This will prevent the database from running too many queries when the results are already saved. We'll mark the saved stats
as "stale" after some short period of time (say like 2 - 3 minutes) and recalculate at that point so stats stay up-to-date.

What's the reasoning for being so stingy with saving results--is the resulting reduction in storage space a major factor in the cost of your website? Unless I'm imagining the backend completely wrong, it would seem you only need to recalculate anything when a new game is submitted, not when a request to view the stats is made.


That would also be a good approach. The problem I saw with it is that you'd also have to recalculate if you change anything to do with a player, team, or match - this got pretty unmaintainable code-wise when I gave it a shot. The calculated stats contains not only ids, but also names, so those would need to be updated. It also get pretty messy when dealing with the different phases a match can be in.

There are some issues with my current implementation that your suggestion would fix. I can experiment with it and see how it goes.
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby jonah » Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:57 pm

I don't know much about the Neg 5 stack, but I'm skeptical that the problem is just what's been described. NAQT's database also recalculates stats for every page load, and handled the demand of a 304-team HSNCT without blinking. (It runs on an AWS T2 small instance.) I have to wonder if Neg 5's calculations are being done inefficiently, or if there are deadlocks or other race conditions, or something like that. It just doesn't seem likely that the loads we're talking about should, on their own, cause such problems.

Given that this issue was well known five months ago (having affected quite a prominent tournament) and not fixed, it probably just wasn't/isn't a good idea to use Neg 5 for anything likely to have much of an audience (like HFT). That defeats the point of Neg 5, obviously, so maybe it's just a bad idea to use it until this issue is fixed. (Not to mention all the other ones.)


If the calculations are being done on the database side, just materializing some views might help.
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby BlueDevil95 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:24 am

I just pushed a massive update to the website. Please look around and tell me if you notice anything funny, This update includes server-side caching of stats and uses a readonly database for stats calculations.

Stats now live at: https://stats.neg5.org. The landing page is somewhat elementary for now.

Repository for the stats application is here: https://github.com/mostafab/neg5.stats.web-server
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby UlyssesInvictus » Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:02 am

It looks really good, Mostafa! Thanks for putting it up so quickly.

One quick question: is the homepage of stats just every tournament by default currently? (And would it be possible to make it a more intuitive single column list?)

I also noticed that the styles for the main site changed as well. Was this intentional? It's too soon to tell whether they make it harder or easier to read, but it's certainly different.
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby AGoodMan » Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:52 am

It sure looks better - but your (-5) and (15) labels are switched, and therefore the total points scored calculation is off.
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby AGoodMan » Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:58 am

AGoodMan wrote:It sure looks better - but your (-5) and (15) labels are switched, and therefore the total points scored calculation is off.

To further clarify, this is when I try to add a new match or edit an old one. When I increase the number of powers for a player, the total points they scored drop by increments of 5. I am therefore assuming the labels for powers and negs are switched.
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby BlueDevil95 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:33 am

AGoodMan wrote:It sure looks better - but your (-5) and (15) labels are switched, and therefore the total points scored calculation is off.

Fixed. The bug should have only been on the editing a match page.

UlyssesInvictus wrote:
One quick question: is the homepage of stats just every tournament by default currently? (And would it be possible to make it a more intuitive single column list?)

I also noticed that the styles for the main site changed as well. Was this intentional? It's too soon to tell whether they make it harder or easier to read, but it's certainly different.


The homepage defaults to the tournaments from the last month; I'm open to changing how it looks if the current design is confusing.
Yep, I also changed the styles of the main site as part of the update.
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby bmccauley » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:09 pm

I was playing around with the new layout a bit and the scoresheet seems to have some functionality issues. If you select a team and accidentally click on a player score (easier to do on a laptop with the pad click), it doesn't allow you to create a new scoresheet or add an opponent...just locks to that team's tally and doesn't bring up the full scoresheet to the right. It has no way, at least that I can find, to go back and reset to a blank scoresheet.

EDIT: If you leave the tournament completely and then re-enter is does reset...but that's still suboptimal, in my opinion
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby BlueDevil95 » Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:12 pm

bmccauley wrote:I was playing around with the new layout a bit and the scoresheet seems to have some functionality issues. If you select a team and accidentally click on a player score (easier to do on a laptop with the pad click), it doesn't allow you to create a new scoresheet or add an opponent...just locks to that team's tally and doesn't bring up the full scoresheet to the right. It has no way, at least that I can find, to go back and reset to a blank scoresheet.

EDIT: If you leave the tournament completely and then re-enter is does reset...but that's still suboptimal, in my opinion


I'll take a look at this and see if I can reproduce it.

Also, there were at least 3 tournaments today that used Neg5. For the most part, it looks like caching and a read-only database have helped. I noticed that generating full individual stats ran into some issues; either the stats would take forever to load or the stats wouldn't load at all. It's most definitely a slow query issue, and it's probably the bottleneck for the HFT problems. I have a few ideas on how to fix it and I'm going to try and spend the next few weeks addressing the problem. I've also been steadily chipping away at the issues outlined on Github.

If anyone who used Neg5 today has any feedback or ideas for improvement other than what I outlined above, feel free to email me at mostafa0104 AT gmail DOT COM or leave a post here.

EDIT: There also seems to be a bug with tournaments not showing up on the stats home page if its date is the same as the current day. This should be an easy fix but the workaround for now is to just increase the range of the selected dates to end after the current day.
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby cornfused » Mon Nov 20, 2017 2:28 pm

How does one delete a player?
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby BlueDevil95 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 8:38 pm

cornfused wrote:How does one delete a player?


If the player in question has played a game, you can't delete them. Otherwise, you can remove them by going to the player's team and clicking the delete button next to the player's name.
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby dbeck84 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:35 pm

I am currently trying to create a practice tournament to see some of the features of neg5 and how it used, but I can't seem to find out how to create a tournament. I keep getting an error message saying could not create tournament. Is there an instruction page that I am missing somewhere?
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby BlueDevil95 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 4:33 pm

dbeck84 wrote:I am currently trying to create a practice tournament to see some of the features of neg5 and how it used, but I can't seem to find out how to create a tournament. I keep getting an error message saying could not create tournament. Is there an instruction page that I am missing somewhere?


There's an issue with tournament creation that I've narrowed down the cause for. I can fix it in a few hours.
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby BlueDevil95 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:06 pm

dbeck84 wrote:I am currently trying to create a practice tournament to see some of the features of neg5 and how it used, but I can't seem to find out how to create a tournament. I keep getting an error message saying could not create tournament. Is there an instruction page that I am missing somewhere?


This should be fixed now.
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Re: Neg 5 : Quizbowl for the Cloud

Postby Joshua Rutsky » Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:17 am

Mostafa--

We ran Neg5 successfully at the HIT today with no glitches. It handled our 70 teams without a problem, so whatever you did seems to have helped a great deal.

Josh
Joshua Rutsky
Coach, Hoover High School, Hoover, AL
Joshua Rutsky
Rikku
 
Posts: 478
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2005 9:59 am
Location: Hoover, AL

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