What's Going On With SideReel?

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  • Updated 2 months ago
  • (Edited)
For a while now SideReel has been experiencing more and more technical difficulties. You've seen it. Outdated videos, broken pages, shows not available to track even after they air. We've needed to rebuild the entire site in a short period of time in order to keep SideReel alive and kicking.

When we relaunch later this week, you may be seeing some of the core functionality not available at that time. Basic things like logging in, accessing your profile, tracking shows, rating and reviewing TV shows, and using your tracker are being worked on as we speak.

There are some beloved elements like badges, leaderboards, daily emails and Cancellation Buzz that are not likely to return, simply because  very few people use them and/or the current staff is not able to continue working on them.

Our hope is that shortly, SideReel users will be able to log in, track shows, and contribute reviews so we can all go back to our normal lives: Watching TV.

UPDATEhttps://cf.sidereel.com/tracker will be available through the weekend if people want to log in (via Facebook or email address, sorry Twitter users) and see their progress or screenshot their badges.

Logging in sometimes takes a couple tries, and we could not resurrect Twitter login at this time but hopefully you can get what you need before it goes away after Sunday 5/3/2020.
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Zac, Official Rep

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Posted 2 months ago

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Michael Deininger

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Keep up the good work and thanks for the heads up!
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madelein booth

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Hi there, after the relaunch... Would I be able to view shows? I'm new to the site and I have not been able to view anything. Any show I select an episode on it shows that the site is experiencing technical difficulties and that I should try again in a while. Please help
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Zac, Official Rep

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From our FAQ:

Q: Can I watch TV on SideReel?
A: We don't host any video directly on SideReel, but we can tell you where to find links to high quality, streaming episodes!


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TV Mate

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Hey Zac!

Kinda shi** move from sidereel part no?!

Should have allowed the users to at least download their data before hand.
Have been using this website for a long time, and overnight cannot even access the info I entered, and no info on when the service will be back.

From the beginning was willing to even contribute with keeping the info updated for the other users. And now same users just get a message without an explanation?! 

Should not treat your potential customers like this mate...

Regards



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Zac, Official Rep

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I understand the frustration.

The bottom line is that SideReel has not been able to support itself for several years. All of the previous staff has been let go over the past 18+ months and in order to get the costs for running the site down to something that could hopefully be managed, we needed to make fast decisions before the end of the month.

This new structure is much leaner and our small remaining team will be able to fix bugs and repair some of the things that have been falling apart for several years.

We wanted to get as much in as possible by April 30th and we simply could not re-create the existing user system (meaning logging in, creating a new account, viewing your watch lists, writing reviews, tracking shows) in the timeframe we had.

The other option was having SideReel shut down forever and we hoped that this would be a better solution.

It will be several weeks before we can log in and create accounts on SideReel again. Hopefully we can speed up that timeline but when we do come back, our intention is to have all of your previous reviews, watch lists and show tracking information in place.

Thanks for your patience.
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Jennifer

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Wait, "several weeks"? I thought you said in your initial statement that you'd be relaunching later this week?
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Zac, Official Rep

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When we relaunch later this week, you may be seeing some of the core functionality not available at that time.

The site relaunched yesterday. We are now in the period where login functions are not functioning. We're working on enabling those but it is a complicated process.

(Edited)
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Fritz

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Yeah, nothing in your post explained why you did this with no warning to users whatsoever.  You should have made an announcement and allowed us to save off any info that we wanted to save.  The fact that you didn't has nothing to do with the site not being able to support itself or the fact that people have been laid off.
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Zac, Official Rep

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We're working on getting a backup version of the old site available to users now so people can take screenshots of their data or write down where they are.
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Al Soto

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So, to be clear: SideReel is not gone forever, but will be back soon, right? If you went with a subscription model, I would be glad to pay. SideReel is an essential, critical part of my TV/streaming tracking and watching. I am lost without knowing what's on or when it's on. Please assure us you'll be back and how soon. Thank you. I appreciate all your efforts.
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Zac, Official Rep

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The site is up and available to browse and see the schedule of shows. You can read show reviews and look at the calendar of shows that are airing tonight (and yesterday and tomorrow).

It will be a few weeks before you are able to log in and see the specific shows you are tracking.

https://www.sidereel.com/tv-shows/game-of-thrones

https://www.sidereel.com/calendar








(Edited)
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Warblood War

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Will the old calendar be back?  The awesome one that showed series premieres and finales?
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Zac, Official Rep

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We don't have anybody on staff to maintain the Premieres and Finales but we'll see what we can do.
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sararielle

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I wonder if, down the line, it could be done programmatically?  Like, perhaps you could just set the system to auto-update them based on what the airing schedule is?  Or is the issues about maintaining the code base for those pages?
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Zac, Official Rep

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UPDATE: https://cf.sidereel.com/tracker will be available through the weekend if people want to log in (via Facebook or email address, sorry Twitter users) and see their progress or screenshot their badges. 

Logging in sometimes takes a couple tries, and we could not resurrect Twitter login at this time but hopefully you can get what you need before it goes away after Sunday 5/3/2020.
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SamMilt

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Hi Zac,

Could you send at least one tweet when something important like this is going on, so people know it's legit? Or has the Twitter account been stolen just like the old blog was?

For a minute there, I actually wondered if the website itself had been stolen...

Good to know it's all aboveboard and we're gonna get most of our content back. Hope things go as smoothly as possible, and we're all back to normal soon enough!

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Zac, Official Rep

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I don't think any of us still have access to the Twitter account. Everybody on the old SideReel staff no longer works here. I'll see what we can find in the way of logins.
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SamMilt

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I see, so now it's just you and one overworked dev? Just kidding (hopefully).

I think you need to launch the procedure to regain access to the account. An inactive Twitter looks horribly unprofessional IMO. Especially when something like this happens...

Sorry to go all 'unsolicited advice', but I think you need to communicate so much more, both to limit the backlash and to limit the inconvenience for the rest of us! The current missing features are very unfortunate, but I think everyone can understand that you guys are just trying to make the best of a bad situation. People losing their data, however... that would be really awful/messy/shameful.

Also, you should give people more time to back their stuff up, and warn them to back it ALL up, in case the site actually does go fully under... Argh, I really hope not! Cos I feel like barely anyone has read your messages here. That info should be on the Sidereel homepage! Look at the current corona crisis: people like being told the truth, even if it's unpleasant, to make better-informed decisions. That would be better for your image than leaving people in the dark...

I appreciate you being very transparent about what's actually happening on this platform, though. :)

Lastly, if the new model still isn't sustainable, I hope you guys will try several other things before shuttering the place. A paid version, a round of crowdfunding, or maybe a middle-ground solution: a donation-based model, like web radio SomaFM does? It'd really be a pity to lose Sidereel after so many years...

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melissa

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Wait wait wait. I’ve used sidereel faithfully to track my shows for around 15 YEARS. And with NO warning I suddenly can not see my tracker? I don’t know where I’m at in my currently running shows and the one’s I’m binging and during quarantine to boot? Very unclassy, sidereel.
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Zac, Official Rep

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UPDATE: https://cf.sidereel.com/tracker will be available through the weekend if people want to log in (via Facebook or email address, sorry Twitter users) and see their progress or screenshot their badges.

Logging in sometimes takes a couple tries, and we could not resurrect Twitter login at this time but hopefully you can get what you need before it goes away after Sunday 5/3/2020.
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scenedamage

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Is there no way to make this available for us to use while you’re working on whatever you’re working on? If I won’t be able to track shows for weeks that’s a real bummer.
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scenedamage

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I’m not sure how to “get what I need before it goes away”.
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sararielle

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Find a piece of paper or a document on your computer. Copy down the list of shows in "Currently Airing" and "Calendar->Premieres and Finales->Tracked Shows". The site has a list of what's airing so you can check your list of shows you follow against it to see if a new ep airs.  It's not a great solution but it gets the job done.
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SamMilt

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@scenedamage :

There's no built-in export feature. You can:

* save the page as HTML; however with "dynamic" websites, often, the resulting saved HTML file will only contain the header and footer, and none of your actual content. I think that's the case here.
* print/save/convert the page to PDF: with PDF Creator, my PDF files are very ugly, but at least they contain searchable text; other PDF converters/printers might work better
* copy/paste the text in a text file: of course, you'll lose all the formatting, pictures, etc.
* do print screens: I use Firefox add-on Fireshot, it saves the whole page in two clicks. That's my preferred solution for now. I've screengrabbed every page, and used the TXT/PDF methods on top of that for a few pages that I deemed the most important.

And of course, you need to do this for every page you want to save.

Hope that helps! And if someone finds a good PDF solution, please share here!
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sararielle

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Downloading "Webpage, Complete" in Chrome seems to work.  (I opened it in a different browser with the wifi off so it shouldn't have pulled from caches or the network and it looked fine.)
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SamMilt

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Afff, should have done that then, that would have been faster... Thank you!
(Edited)
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sararielle

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It took a lot of trial an error to find a combination that actually worked.  Make sure you pull every page you need as you obviously can't jump between them without the back end of the site.
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Beth MacKenzie

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I just selected all the text on the page, then pasted it as "text only" into an Excel file.  removed extra lines and other useless text and now I have a copy of my tracked shows
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AmazingSully

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As a dev it shocks me that you would just take the site down to work on it. Do you not have source control? Dev environments are essential to development. It's not hard to copy a database or a site and work on the copy, then when done, publish to your production environment. Is there something I'm not seeing here, because this is something not even a junior dev would do.
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Zac, Official Rep

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Merna

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I just want to say I miss Sidereel a lot and hope full functioning happens soon.  Sad to hear much of staff is gone. It is a nightmarish world we live in now.  Sidereel is essential.  Always wondered how you make your $$.  I've been with you for years.  I don't do facebook but somehow I found this page and a version of Sidereel that is working a bit.  COME BACK...MISS YOU! I would probably be a paid subscriber or donate $..
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Jannat

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For those who did not have the information that the login would be working this past weekend, will they be able to request their data given that the timeframe for the login to be operational is unknown?
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Zac, Official Rep

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Give it a shot:

https://cf.sidereel.com/tracker will be available through the weekend if people want to log in (via Facebook or email address, sorry Twitter users) and see their progress or screenshot their badges.

Logging in sometimes takes a couple tries, and we could not resurrect Twitter login at this time but hopefully you can get what you need before it goes away.

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scenedamage

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So when is that function / page being taken down?
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Zac, Official Rep

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The back door to the old site cf.sidereel.com will be up for as long as we can leave it on the old servers. We intended to take it down Monday so we reserve the right for it to go away at any time.
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Jim

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I don't know how long I have been a member of this site.  Enough time to log a LOT of TV shows.  That is all I want to do, track episodes.  I print screened and tried to save the tracker page a few different ways.  If the site won't be back for weeks and I go enter my data somewhere else, not sure about coming back.  
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SamMilt

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Really glad the "cf" link is still working! I have a question, though: can we make changes to our profiles (mark episodes as watched, etc.), or it is gonna break everything? Thanks!

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Zac, Official Rep

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Any work you do in the cf site will not make it over to the new site.
We've taken a snapshot of all the data and that is what we are porting over.

Good question.
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SamMilt

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Good to know. As long as it's not breaking anything, I'll mark stuff as watched and track new shows, then, and then I'll just do that stuff again when the "new"/"real" Sidereel comes around!

Thank you, Zac! :)

Just logging to express my 2 cents.

This indeed was a very unclassy move. I can try to sympathize with technical back-end type stuff and whatever else is really going on behind the scenes. This could have been handled much better.

I have since been researching alternative sites to track my shows. I have found a couple and I'm currently narrowing it down. There are some really interesting and quite possibly more robust and feature rich alternatives out there. Some I question based on some of their data collection and analysis policies, but then again this data (yours and mine) is valuable to someone and helps support the sites we choose and in some way (hopefully) the entertainment industry. So I guess I'm fine with that.

However, once I settle on a new service, I may not return to SideReel, though I will miss the community.

Just a bit irked that I would have to re-enter my data somewhere else. Thank you for the https://cf.sidereel.com/tracker link. I was able to log in to my tracker, uncheck 'Hide Up-To-Date Shows', and screenshot my entire list.

Hoping SideReel comes back and better than ever.
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Jim

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It is also unclear. If everything is being rebuilt. Will the current shows I was tracking still me on my list when the new site is released?
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scenedamage

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I’ve not read anything that said we HAD to download our data because it might not be available anymore when the site is up and running again. Please can someone confirm? It would also be good to know how long the cf tracker will be available please so we can make sure we have made notes of / screenshotted everything we might need.

Thank you.
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Zac, Official Rep

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The plan is to have the following data be available to SideReel users once the site is fully functional again:

Your previously Tracked shows
Your previously Watched Episodes
User Profile (bio, avatar, etc. although we may ask you to upload a new avatar image)
Your previous Show Ratings
Your Previous Episode Ratings
Your previous Lists
Your previous Show Reviews
Your previous Episode Reviews
Your previous Like (thumbs up) Events on show reviews, episode reviews and lists

Things that likely won't make the transition:
Badges
Leaderboard ranking status
Old comments on user reviews and lists

The back door to the old site cf.sidereel.com will be up for as long as we can leave it on the old servers. We intended to take it down Monday so we reserve the right for it to go away at any time.





(Edited)
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Kenny Stone

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Zac Thanks for the info and for doing what you guys do