now that we have a similar replacement, let's bring this FAQ back and re-write it to discuss the paid user "express lane". information about this is available at http://www.livejournal.com/community/paidmembers/13583.html
whenever a new web request comes in, it goes into one of 2 queues at the load-balancer (perlbal) -- paid users or free users. whenever a web node becomes available to handle a new page request, it takes the next one from one of the queues. but it will ONLY take from the free queue if the paid queue is completely empty. at peak times (or when databases suck, etc) paid users always get high-priority.
whitaker's working on adding support to xcolibur and dystopia, so that when paid users view-source, they see something like "<!-- LiveJournal ExpressLane: You received this page before 123 free users, saving approximately 3 seconds! -->"
the thing is, though, this FAQ needs to be written in such a way that won't make free users think they'll be waiting for a really long time (since pages are still processed relatively quickly), but will make paid users see that they are benefiting ('cause they are).
anyone wanna try their hand at writing a FAQ? please? :)