As an extension to this question, there are always problems after a site goes down for any reason and then comes back up.

Users complain, especially if there is some sort of item system/gamification/reward for being around and being active that they missed out on while the site was down.

Short of apologizing profusely, what can I do? Should I give in and reward users for every downtime out of my control?

  • See last paragraph of my answer: Tell your community in advance, to mitigate the complaints.
    – user98085
    Jul 30, 2014 at 2:28
  • 1
    This only works if it isn't, say, a DDOS attack or something that you don't have control over.
    – user12
    Jul 30, 2014 at 2:32
  • I did post this as a comment for a reason. Of course it doesn't always apply - but any time you know in advance that there might be downtime, let your users know what's going on ... preferably in as much detail as possible.
    – user98085
    Jul 30, 2014 at 2:36
  • @FEichinger makes sense to me. Transparency and all of that. :)
    – user12
    Jul 30, 2014 at 2:52

2 Answers 2


If your site isn't for the monetary gain of the users, and they're not paying customers, then treat the complaints as a complement of sorts: people really like your site and miss it when it's down. You've succeeded in making a community which people visit frequently and it's important to their lives. Do apologize, do post a detailed blog post or other notice explaining what the problem was, why it happened, and how you intend to prevent it in the future. But you're under no obligation to compensate the users in any way. If your system is gamified do not give them additional point. There's nothing they've done to earn this reward, and it doesn't fall in line with the meaning of the points.

If your site is a service which users pay for, or a support forum which users depend on in order to get assistance using your product, compensation might be in order. If they've paid for the service monthly, you should have an SLA and you should issue refunds according to that SLA. If this is a support forum, consider offering credits for paid technical support services, coupons, or other discounts.

If you're running some sort of service which the users can actively earn money from and the service goes down, then monetary compensation may very well be in order. (E.G. if the gamification aspect includes monetary rewards) Again, you should have a good SLA in place, and stand by it.

You didn't make it clear if this is planned downtime. If it is, make sure that's covered by your SLA, announce it ahead of time and there's no reason to be sorry. All sites need planned maintenance.

  • I was considering cases outside my control, and I have edited to reflect that. :)
    – user12
    Jul 30, 2014 at 3:15

These things happen. Since it is out of your control, you are not obligated to compensate the users. If they missed something that they needed to be active for, I would see that as something you may need to compensate.

You will get complaints. The users are frustrated, and they vent to you so you can fix the problem. Do any compensation as required, apologize, and listen. From experience, I have found that users are understanding of downtime. Cover your bases and move on.

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