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Survey suddenly empty - All questions lost
I have been working on a survey with about 70 questions, give or take, dispersed over 3 pages. There were about 7 'profiles' to the survey (profiles = the selection of questions you get depending on an initial selection made). Not terribly complex, but not a 30 minute job by any stretch either.... So, I built it, began to test it and sent it out to my team to review and QC it.
All seemed well until the next morning. One person asked if I had taken it off-line as he couldn't get to it any longer and as I was working on a reporting engine for it, I thought I might of and simply forgot. I said yes, went back to the LS admin to turn it back on. It was in fact inactive, BUT, more importantly, it no longer contained any questions whatsoever. The first page (the bio page) was gone completely, the first page of actual questions was there, but empty. The last page wasn't there at all either. Nothing. I had an entry that one of the QC team had put in, and they had collected some screen shots while they were working through it, so I know it was up and working well at one point, but now, there's nothing there.
Suffice to say I'm not particularly pleased, not just because I have hours of work to redo (I didn't backup the survey since it was just at the initial build state, and because of my years of experience with LS, I didn't feel I needed to do that ..... sadly I was wrong), the real issue is the fear I now have that something like this might happen again. I use LS for on-site opinion collection during live field events. Lots of people are flown into an area, spend a week beating the hell out of a piece of equipment, and flying back out. Sudden inexplicable losses of entire surveys won't go over well, and I have no idea how this happened.
I have looked into the database and it seems that all the questions are still there in the question table. Obviously there is another table that somehow got corrupted and the link of which questions belong to this survey is lost. While it would be great to reconnect things, I suspect that approach would be tedious, haphazard and likely unreliable and I'll just rebuild from scratch. I would like to know if anyone here might hazard to guess what might have caused the issue and see if this has happened to anyone else. I'll become more vigilant with my backups of course (used to just do an pre-flight backup of the survey and daily backups of the results tables) but I'd like to avoid this happening again. I'd rather not move away from LS as it is much more flexible solution that the alternatives, but obviously I can't have this sort of thing happening.
Sorry for the long explanation, just wanting to cover all bases.... speaking of, I'm running Version 2.06+ Build 160129
Thanks for your input.
Who is Administrator for the web-server and the database server? To me this looks more like a issue with the database. Since you're on LS 2.06 you might consider to update on the LTS version but I don't remember any bug that could cause that kind of issues.
jskeesick wrote: I have looked into the database and it seems that all the questions are still there in the question table. Obviously there is another table that somehow got corrupted and the link of which questions belong to this survey is lost.
I don't know, it's all (frustrating) guesswork at this point.
A broken DB table seems to be the best explanation. It could also be a partially re-stored DB backup (did you receive any emails about server maintenance going on or a DB being restored?).
One last solution you can try is copying the broken survey. If you are very lucky it may fix the missing references of the questions but I doubt that.
You probably have to create most of this from scratch. It is the most reliable way to make sure there will be no problems at survey runtime.
Best regards/Beste Grüße,
Dr. Marcel Minke
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Thanks for the thoughts on the matter.
It still sounds fairly strange but I had never heard of anything similar here in the forum. This doesn't mean it can't be a bug in Limesurvey, but it makes it more unlikely.
At this point it's all speculation s the survey is rebuilt. The situation does make me a bit nervous though, which is a shame as I have otherwise had very good experience with LS... and it may have nothing to do with the software. In the airport now headed out to the effect to use this survey, so fingers cross, no matter where the problem came from, that it was a one off.
It really depends on the kind of technology used on your server and what kind of migration has been done. E.g. your installation is in a virtual machine the migration might had no impact on the database tables or Limesurvey.
jskeesick wrote: However, shortly before the rebuild I got notified that our server had just completed it's migration to a new box..... (I wasn't informed that this process was starting)