a reply to: WASTYT
that's an excellent question you've asked there. I'm sorry that no-one has told you what really happened and why some members have millions of
stars, but it might be because it was a little bit embarrassing.
However as I'm an IT expert and I'm also completely honest at all times, I'll explain how this all happened without any deflection or confusing
This is a custom-built site. Bill, also know as SkepticOverlord, is not only one of the site's owners, he also built most of it. So he's like an
owner-builder, you see. Now, most people think he just wrote lines and lines of code but it wasn't quite like that. There is code and there is a
Matrix™, but there's also various bits of hardware involved and one day, when Bill was shifting everything over from the “old” ATS to the
“new” version that goes by the highly symbolic name of “ATS 5.3” there was a little mishap.
You see, part of the custom way this site is built, is that the earlier members' accounts are set up in lots and lots of long rows, all of them side
by side, then the slightly less earlier members' accounts are in rows stacked on top of them, and so on and so on, up to the new members whose rows
are on top. It's just easier that way and it's nice and stable.
So now you've got the picture of how the accounts are set up I can explain how stars are given out -- and what went wrong.
When somebody clicks on a post to give a member a star, it activates a little lever in the main Star Box that sits on a platform above the rows and
rows of accounts. I'm sure you've heard of platforms in IT? So, there you go. The Star Box sits on one. On rubber mounts so it won't get shaken up
too much if anyone bumps it. And this box holds billions of stars, all of them primed with a sticky layer on the back and ready to go.
So when a member gives a member a star, the Star Box opens and it lets a star fall down in the gaps between the rows till it gets caught by a little
mechanical arm. Each account has one and the coding is so clever that exactly the right little arm reaches out and grabs the star it's supposed to
grab. Then it peels off the waxy paper off the sticky stuff on the back of the star and sticks it on the post so everyone can see it. And when
there's no sticky places left it just leaves the waxy paper on and stows the star away inside the post (at the back, where no-one actually sees it),
and just adds the star to the post total.
I'm sure you'll agree this was a very clever way to use a platform. And in truth, this system worked really well for a long time.
But on moving day, when Bill was shifting the main Star Box and setting it on the new platform, he just kind of slipped on some piles of old code that
were lying around and well... he dropped the box on its side and a whole bunch of stars spilled out all over the accounts!
So, because the little arms weren't there to reach out and grab them (because no-one told them to), all these stars just tumbled down and down until
they fell into the lower layers and piled up, and some spilled over into older members' accounts! The little widgets that count stars went crazy and
just counted them all, but the little arms didn't know where to put them, so the stars basically got lost and they're all sitting on the floor in
the members' accounts.
Luckily, Bill was able to pick up the box pretty quickly and only lost maybe half a billion stars or so. There's still plenty left to go round and he
can order more if the site ever runs low.
But you see, it wasn't only that. When the Star Box fell over it bumped the Points Box that keeps tally of everyone's points and broke it, which is
why no-one even has a points total any more!
Luckily the points didn't really matter, because they're only numbers. But the problem with getting all those stars back is that it's really hard
to reach those little accounts boxes that are so far down. So the stars just stay there.
Anyway, that's what really happened. No conspiracy, just a little accident.