We are somewhat broken

Hello and welcome to the 367th edition of “autostraddle is broken,” starring whiskey kitten and my soul and your achey breaky heart. I am writing this post on a mobile app because I can’t get into the WordPress dashboard, so forgive the choppy talk and lack of kitten photos. The site should be working on your end, we can all read and comment, but we can’t get in to write or publish more posts today and I can’t upload photos. We have decided instead of freaking out about this all day, we will let go, admit defeat re:this day, and instead focus on tomorrow and all subsequent tomorrows!

You may wonder why we are so often broken or running so slow. From what I understand, the answer is that this website was built when we had about 6,000 views a day and now we get 75,000 views a day and have expanded the breadth of the site to include much more than just a bunch of posts – the social networking element is a big drain, for example.

We are running approximately one billion plug-ins. (30, actually.) Imagine a cardboard house with a lot more cardboard taped to itself. That is this website. We just kept adding plugins and making galleries and adding features and so forth. At this point there’s not much our host can do (we pay $900 a month for hosting), it’s on us to rebuild the theme and more effectively code the things, I think? We’re handling a load of features and traffic that usually is only handled by actual companies with salaried employees and full-time paid tech support OR by unfunded but mega popular blogs with very simple coding (eg hyperbole and a half).

We want to be more than we can be, but we didn’t know it was too much until we built it. Today’s problem is somehow related to JavaScript, but most of the problems we’re having are that there are too many queries on each page due to our haphazard expansion.

It’s frustrating and embarrassing and all of those things, and we’re sorry. And we’re taking the rest of the day to get our shit together. Tess is, as per ushe, working her ass off (on top of her full time job running her own business) to fix the javascript issue.

Our next step will most likely involve a kickstarter campaign to help raise funds to get the support we need to rebuild the theme and implement a redesign and make social networking work once and for all. Well, first I’m gonna cry softly in the shower while clutching tinkerbell to my chest (wrapped in a plastic bag to avoid water damage), then we’ll get in to the rest of it.

You should peruse the archives and watch “words with girls”! It’s funny and has cute girls in it.

You guys have always been the most patient, generous readers in the world, and we thank you for bearing with us and hopefully helping us get through this to the other side where you can all read posts underwater and chat with your mom. Right? Okay. I hope this is okay.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3202 articles for us.


  1. I have my final essay for the semester due in approximately 12 hours. I’m going to look at this as one less procrastination opportunity and celebrate my freedom on the other side by donating funds relative to the size of my love for AS to your kickstarter.

  2. The part I miss most is the pictures of whiskey kitten that should be attached to this post. Their absence signals the severity of this issue.

    I hope the world gets better by tomorrow.

  3. *Resolves to put all pennies aside for the kickstarter campaign*

    But yes, pimpin’ ain’t easy, as they say :P
    Plus, dunno about the rest of y’all but I like to spend disproportionate chunks of my day procrastinating on the Autostraddle archives…and now I feel no “I should be studying/working/exercising instead” guilt by doing so, because Riese totes just ordered it. And Riese is God, right?
    Keep on truckin’ guys! Hope you can sort it out!

  4. You guys! It’s too bad you are just so awesome and popular and have such a huge following :) I am ready to throw my money at you whenever your fundraiser is ready for it. Thanks for working so hard for us!

  5. Sending love and positive vibes your way! Please don’t stress too much Reise, hope you and Marni have fun celebrating her birthday tonight! I think I speak for all of us when I say we’ll still be here and just as loyal come tomorrow.


    Also, I'm making a collection jar for my small change just for that kickstarter campaign, even though I wish I could give soo much more since you all are so amazing!

  6. You know what would maybe be an idea for raising moar moniez? Sell merch with Whiskey Kittens on it. Seriously, I’d buy that shit. (But I buy and throw moniez at you guyz for everything, so I may not be impartial. Mebbe.)

  7. You guys are using WP Super Cache, right?
    The browser inspector says there is an unexpected token in dropdowns.js.
    And… jquery.js is not found.

    Personally, I think it’d be best to separate the social features from the main WordPress installation. Since WordPress wasn’t really designed to fulfill that role, whatever plugins you add are going to tax the database more than it was designed to handle, and the groups thing isn’t really ‘social’ in the way people have come to expect. Maybe have a plain old forum on a subdomain and give it a separate database instead.

  8. Just take some deep breaths and make the best out of today. There is so much love and support here for this site, this vision, I refuse to believe it won’t triumph over all of the hang ups. In the meantime, I’ll look up all the whiskey kittens and think happy thoughts. Also, kickstart away!

  9. I just want you to know that I will 100% donate to a kickstarter campaign. Like everyone, I’m flat ass broke but I bet if alot of us broke-asses can afford to donate at least $5.

  10. Riese, it’s like you’ve given birth to your own baby girl, except she’s like a big giant girl who smokes and says “shit” a lot. You know?

    Now the giant girl has fallen ill, but you don’t need to worry. We can all help heal her.

  11. The title of this post makes me want to quote Stitch… ahem…

    “This is my family. I found it, all on my own. Is little, and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good.”

  12. Riese,

    You matter. What you are doing matter. You. Are. Not. Alone. Thank you for creating. thank you for giving a voice to people who need to hear their own voice. thank you thank you thank you. We are holding you up.. don’t worry

  13. “Imagine a cardboard house with a lot more cardboard taped to itself. That is this website.”

    Yes, that’s exactly what I did, then I pictured the whole Autostraddle team in a room with furniture like this:





    I like how Autostraddle still keeps a sense of humor when shit hits the fan, as that is my usual default mode as well. It’s like, “Oh fuck, I’m going down the highway, a rock just put a crack in my windshield, I now have a flat tire and I’m in Getmethehelloutofhereville, with a can of mace and 10% battery life on my cell phone, grrrrrrrrrreat! Maybe aliens will abduct me next and if I’m lucky, I’ll live to tell about it!

    Sidenote: As I was writing this very response, my computer did some weird shit and logged it self out somehow (apparently the alien abduction is already taking place with my computer). *cue X-Files theme http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAAlDoAtV7Y)

    Anyways, on that note…


  14. Whisky kitten is my facebook cover photo. Whisky kitten is how I feel for the next 23 days. I get broken. You get my hard earned cash for your kickstarter.


  15. No no no, Team Autostraddle! :(

    I have been in your exact. same. shoes. with a website that blew up from being a little niche blog/forums/other junk to a mainstream-for-its-crowd place (we have similar traffic numbers on Alexa as far as I can tell.) There are definitely things that have to be done to realign your site for larger traffic–everything from page compression to backend server junk–but this is not what concerns me.

    Paying $900/mo. does. You can do better. I push 2-2.5TB with control over ALL THE THINGS for…$100/mo. 100Mbit line. Bandwidth’s more or less unmetered on a Tier 1 provider mix. I know great places (and the people who work there!) across the country, from the datacenter in the Midwest to the datacenter which uses 25 percent of all electricity in San Francisco (!!!)

    Contact me–I totally want to help you guys out.

  16. You AS folks know we love you, right? If the site’s even up, we’re grateful. If we know you’re trying to fix things, we’re grateful. Hell, we’re just happy you exist.

    As long as you’re here sometimes for us to come home to, we’ve got one extra reason to smile. You help people from all over not feel quite so alone.

    Hope you had a decent day. We’ll be here for you when you need us.

  17. Is the “your comment is awaiting moderation” part of the brokenness too? I’m getting that all of sudden. *holds patience by the hand and frolics in the hills somewhere yonder singing, “The Hills are Alive with Music.”*

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