Tuesday, August 9th, 2016 09:46 pm
Since there's been interesting discussion on twitter and Facebook but I haven't seen much elsewhere.

So. Tonight is the Australian Census. There has been major controversy since it was announced that the government would be keeping people's names and addresses attached to the data for years, if not indefinitely. Many people said they would boycott or at least not put down their names. This was complicated by the fact that there is a $180 a day fine for anyone who refuses to do it, and that it is illegal to encourage people to not do it. People found round about ways to advise people anyway (This comic is also cute)

Then it turned out that the census questions were massively rigid and exclusionary, eg the only gender or sex choice is "male or female". That's ok, says the ABS website! Just request a paper form, draw your own box, and fill in the right gender!

I only got around to requesting a paper form today, eg too late to fill in the form on census night. I was worried I wouldn't be able to, but the automated system was quick and easy. My friends online who requested one over a week ago haven't gotten theirs yet anyway, so there goes that worry!

Everyone else is supposed to use the online form. It was made very clear we all should do it on census night.

So people did. All at once.

And it fell over. It has been down for hours. It's nearly midnight on the east coast, where the bulk of the population lives, and only one million of our 20 million citizens have gotten through (but it's fine says the Prime Minister. The man personally responsible for our terrible internet...)

People have looked at the source code and apparently the setup makes it impossible to increase load capacity. They just have to wait for demand to drop. From 19 million people all afraid of those $180 a day fines...

They were ready for a million submissions an hour but only expecting 500,000. Because it's not like the, say, 7.5 million residents of New South Wales would all be trying to log in at around the same time or anything. No, we would all wait in an orderly queue to spread things out over the day. Apparently.

Also: it's hosted on an internationally distributed server to bring down load by sending people to whichever node is nearest to them. GUESS HOW MANY NODES THIS SYSTEM HAS IN AUSTRALIA.

Oh well. At least we probably won't all get fined.


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