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Stability returns ... ?
One of the more unstable periods we've had for a while has hopefully been put behind us. The problem was obscure, and was not related to new code but to the first-ever heavy use of existing code. While the crashes were frustrating to us all, some things just don't rear their ugly heads until 500+ characters are thrown into the mix.
This code is powerful and extremely flexible, and gives us the ability to do things we couldn't dream of in the past. The brief problems will have been well worth it. Of course there always exists the potential for a crash, but the string of them we've experienced over the past few days from this problem have been highly unusual. (Sometimes we forget what it's like to have been running stable for so long.)
Many thanks to Thoric, Altrag and Edmond for their attention to and eventual resolution of the problem.