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Forum Resurrection Advice

Posted: Sun Jul 04, 2021 11:38 pm
by Karak Norn Clansman
The reason old forums are dying is because of their lack of easy direct image upload.

This is a great pity, because forums with their rational layout and archive mode are vastly superior to social media with their gone-with-the-wind setup. You cannot find stuff again on social media, so forums should be the natural go-to-place. Accumulating content on a forum over years and years and showing up on search hits should help keep it afloat.

Now there has recently arrived a solution to the woes of forums! We've tried it out for 1½ year on Chaos Dwarfs Online and it's worked well. There have been some child sicknesses, but the technical warts are surprisingly few and have all been solved.

The solution is called Discourse.

Not Discord, the chat program, but Discourse Forum software.

Discourse has a rational layout and archive mode like any proper forum do. A few small features are missing, but we've seen some implemented over the last year, so they may show up. And most importantly Discourse has easy direct image upload.

I say it again: Discourse has easy direct image upload. Like social media sites do.

Discourse holds the key to our troubles. It has allowed declining Chaos Dwarfs Online (for whom I've fought a drawn-out rearguard battle as a skeleton crew hosting contests and salvaging content) to suddenly resurge in strength. We're back up in numbers and activity and experiencing a new golden age of membership. We've always had good quality of anything on CDO, but now we're back in quantity as well.

The issue is that you need to reboot the forum. Start all over again with Discourse Forum. From CDO's experience I can tell you this is well worth it: Just make sure to advertise the resurrected forum thoroughly on relevant Facebook groups and so on, and don't be shy to mass E-mail forum veterans about it. Be polite, "in case of interest", and describe in short form the new forum with easy direct image upload and mobile-friendly mode.

Now, rebooting a forum means that the old one with all its content is left hanging. Therefore we at CDO (mostly me, but others do help) are in the slow sporadic process of salvaging and transferring all worthwhile content from the old site to the new. This will take years, as we have so much membermade content there: Art, stories, army books, tutorials, you name it. But it will happen.

Remember that forums are treasure troves of hobby creativity. They deserve to live.

I wish to recommend anyone rebooting their forum to scan their archives for the best of the best, and salvage them for re-upload to their new Discourse Forum. Don't let your best gems be lost, folks. It's however understandable if most of the project logs and so on will have to go. Few are prepared to manually salvage thousands and thousands of pictures like I did back in 2017 during the Photobucket crisis.

Keeping the old forum open in parallell with the new means double costs, but we have a pillar of our community chipping in to help, so it's managable.

I will end here so as not to drag on longer: The key point is that we finally have the software needed to resurrect forums! Reboot with Discourse if you wish your forum to be revived, and be prepared to spread the word.

Best of luck, ladies and gentlemen.


Recruitment poster for Chaos Dwarfs Online Discourse Forum.

Re: Forum Resurrection Advice

Posted: Mon Jul 05, 2021 6:52 am
by Calisson
Thank you KNC for the advice.
Your stubborn support to old forums has been admired for years, let's take the opportunity to raise a big thank you.

@Daeron is the one who can evaluate the change. Perhaps there might be an automatic transfert which he would know and which would ease the pain?

Re: Forum Resurrection Advice

Posted: Mon Jul 05, 2021 11:03 am
by Daeron
Well.... We'll be forced to change forum system sooner or later. We're already paying a monthly premium to keep this one working, because we're using a very old version of PHP. At some point, even that option will disappear.
It was on my list of things to do... But it would require a migration for Dnet, Ulthuan and Asrai to get rid of the premium. Originally I was planning to upgrade to a higher phpBB version, since it probably had the best support.

Transferring between different systems tends to be poorly supported. Different systems may have different ways to code formatting, privacy settings etc.

I admit, I hadn't thought of the image upload in a long time. It would be nice to have indeed!
I'll check if our service can host discourse.

Thank you for the suggestion

Re: Forum Resurrection Advice

Posted: Mon Jul 05, 2021 11:17 am
by Daeron
If you don't mind me asking, do you use an online host or do you provide your own webserver?

For our case, we would have to change hosting plans - that much is certain. It's not clear whether we can run both systems without doubling the cost. The new plan would have a limit on disk space so it might be interesting to plan a clean-up.

Re: Forum Resurrection Advice

Posted: Thu Jul 08, 2021 7:23 pm
by Bobba Looba
I for one, would love the change. I believe I am one of the newer (active) members and I have had issues with uploading images. I am editing images before I upload them, because I still don't understand how to post larger images. The hustle makes me post less than if I would have to do so.

Another thing for me is that only Dark Elves is a rather limited subject. Although I have a DE army, I would love to read about other factions too. Especially strategy and such.. So I would see the combining of the three elven races as a positive change.

Re: Forum Resurrection Advice

Posted: Thu Jul 08, 2021 10:32 pm
by Karak Norn Clansman
I'm asking around with the more tech-savvy staff. I promise to get back with answers when they arrive, as soon as possible. We've set up a staff thread to handle any such questions from and other forums.

Re: Forum Resurrection Advice

Posted: Tue Jul 13, 2021 6:07 pm
by Red...
Sadly, I don't think it's the image uploading issue that has killed this forum. There just isn't the player base anymore. Spending a lot of time and energy fixing the image uploading issue isn't going to resolve that.

Re: Forum Resurrection Advice

Posted: Tue Jul 13, 2021 6:23 pm
by Karak Norn Clansman
Really? I see more Dark Elf players than Chaos Dwarf players on local tournaments. A few years out in the cold for an army isn't such a disaster. Chaos Dwarfs have been out in the cold for most of the time during our decades of existence, and we're doing fine. I have a hard time believing the situation to be hopeless to turn around for a popular Warhammer army like Dark Elves.

It's your call.

Re: Forum Resurrection Advice

Posted: Tue Jul 13, 2021 7:12 pm
by Daeron
For me, it's all about cost and what it takes to make it work :D
Other than that it's all good by me. So far, I have only found services considerably more expensive than we have now. I am looking into AWS Lightsail, which seems to be relatively cheap, but might also prove technically more challenging.