13 Dec 2006
Dec. 13, 2006, SAN FRANCISCO, CA — An unexpected outage at social news site Reddit today is having unintended consequences. At tech companies around the world, morning productivity has surged as geeks habituated to a morning of reddit-inspired web browsing find themselves utterly undistracted, with nothing to do but their jobs.
At Renesys, a company that delivers Internet Intelligence data for competitive intelligence, a hush has fallen over the virtual office. Normally, an IRC (chat) session used by employees echoes reddit, as individuals arrive for work and– choosing the instant reward of procrastination over advancing their personal and corporate success– call out links to wacky videos, stories of technical feats, and pictures of a VW Beetle with a jet engine. Without the fodder of reddit, however, this gang of introverts is compelled to speak mostly of their work.
And how little there is to say. “There’s a big list of links on the bug tracker front page,” said programmer Don Weiden. “I guess I’ll middle-click all the interesting ones so they open in tabs… heh, here’s a good one: clicking ‘Cancel’ causes a core dump. Oh shit, I programmed that. Excuse me for an hour.”
Asked if a competitor news site such as Slashdot or Digg could supplant reddit today, reactions were mixed. “I can’t wait 10 to 14 seconds for a page to load,” said Renesys COO Todd Underwood about Digg, which has a reputation of suffering poor performance due to its popularity. “I’d rather spend 90 seconds bitching about it in IRC.” For software developer BJ Premore, however, the downtime is scarcely an issue. “In all honestly, I check reddit every day or two, and hadn’t noticed the outage yet,” he wrote. BJ is regarded as one of Renesys’ most efficient workers.
EMPLOYEES SHARE THEIR LOSS
United by the disappointment of repeated, unsuccessful reload attempts, workers attempted to cope with their loss by analyzing it. “Look at the dns right now,” typed Underwood. “There are not even any NS records for the reddit.com zone on the servers pointed to by the authoritative .com servers. It’s going to be a long day.”
“I’m shaking a little,” added Premore.
Though reddit continues to be inaccessible as noon approaches, workers are
confident a solution will be found. “In the worst case, it wouldn’t take long to program a brand new reddit,” said Weiden. “I mean, I’ve been dying for an excuse to learn Erlang.”
Renesys is a real company where this blog’s author works. Most– but not all– of the employees quoted here are real, too.