New forum staff appointments

by Parsifal

You may have noticed that we've had some forum staff changes in the past day. The goal of these changes is two-fold; first, I wanted to fill the admin position left vacant by pizaaplanet; and second, I wanted to ensure that our moderation team is composed of currently active members.

To start with, I'd like to thank Gayer and Roundy for their service as moderators in the past. However, as both of them have become occasional posters, I decided to replace them with new recruits.

Blanko has been promoted to administrator. This change is largely ceremonial, and a long time coming; he's already been making outstanding contributions to forum discussions, moderation, website design and more for months. Now that he has access to the admin panel, there are fewer obstacles to him continuing to do so.

Your new moderators are Pongo and Rushy. They have both been on FES for many years, I believe they both have cool heads, and they are active contributors in different sections of the forum. Their long years of assimilation into FES culture will serve them well in their new roles.

Please welcome your new overlords moderators, and may they serve you well.

The original Zetetic Astronomy is (finally) available!

by pizaaplanet

After entirely too long a time (I've been working on this on and off since August 2014), it is my pleasure to announce that a copy of the original 1849 pamphlet Zetetic Astronomy : a description of several experiments which prove that the surface of the sea is a perfect plane and that the earth is not a globe! : being the substance of a paper read before the Royal Astronomical Society on the evening of Dec. 8, 1848 by Samuel Rowbotham is now available for your reading pleasure at our library.

To those not in the know, this pamphlet was Rowbotham's first attempt at laying down his model of the Flat Earth, which has then been expanded into the much more thorough book Earth Not a Globe.

Previously, this resource was only accessible on microfilm in a small amount of high-profile libraries around the plane, many of which are only available to researchers. Bringing it back to public access where it rightfully belongs is a substantial achievement for our Society. Further work could include transferring the body of this document to a machine-readable format so as to allow for it to be searched and interpreted freely.

I would like to express my thanks to the US Library of Congress for their invaluable assistance in producing this resource.

Possible weird behaviour in Who's Online

by Parsifal

I've made a couple of fixes (one undoing some of the other; my first fix was somewhat overzealous) to Who's Online behaviour:

https://github.com/TheFlatEarthSociety/forum.tfes.org/commit/0edba326c6638ae6de3f23046955377b3e94d353
https://github.com/TheFlatEarthSociety/forum.tfes.org/commit/26cea71234d9b3d9b2bc42093f72735fda760099

The purpose of these fixes is to get rid of error spam in the database log, so that we can more effectively tune up PostgreSQL, and also to help us notice real problems. That said, it's possible I've missed something important; the SMF code for updating the online log is very weird and complex.

The second fix linked above fixes an issue where the same user could appear multiple times in Who's Online, caused by the first fix. If you notice any other odd behaviour, please let me know.