I was in the game and wrote a Log entry. It didn't actually show the completed entry when it was saved. I then beamed to my ship from Starbase One, and it locked up on the loading screen. After about fifteen minutes the screen closed itself and the brief 'prepatch download' launcher opened then closed. Going back in through the (regular) launcher I had the same 'Updating List of Characters' error.
In my potentially ignorant opinion, it seems like the core issue is one of reading from and writing to the database.