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Old 04-17-2019, 09:06 PM   #61
Riverside
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Re: New Forum Discussion

I would like to add my voice to those requesting some sort of archive -- particularly for threads that are beyond (say) 10 pages. That would cover Crazy Transit Pitches, Reasonable Transit Pitches, Green Line Configuration, NSRL, Regional Rail, General MBTA Discussion and other threads where there really has been a lot of ink spilled over the years developing and hashing out ideas. It wouldn't need to be super super accessible to still be useful.

That said, I also agree that the question of the archive (and ArchBoston.org in general) really is separate from the question of moving to a new forum. It seems clear that it'll be challenging if not impossible to integrate the old into the new (without Briv's help), which in some ways is liberating. We can get the new forum going in parallel to developing the archive -- they are not sequentially dependent.
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Old Yesterday, 07:05 AM   #62
Equilibria
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Re: New Forum Discussion

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Originally Posted by DrFreewind View Post
But with that said, I think I would like to get sorted out first: who is going to host the site, and what forum software to use. It looks like Xenforo is in the lead, and I have never used it before (as a host) so I'm interested to see the new features it will bring.
Excuse my ignorance, but in the lead where? Is there a poll for this that I'm not seeing?

I don't actually have a preference, I'd just like to see what people are thinking.
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Old Yesterday, 07:43 AM   #63
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Re: New Forum Discussion

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Excuse my ignorance, but in the lead where? Is there a poll for this that I'm not seeing?

I don't actually have a preference, I'd just like to see what people are thinking.
There is an "unofficial poll" (read: not put up by Statler). I personally think a little more discussion would be helpful before any voting.
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Old Yesterday, 07:54 AM   #64
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Re: New Forum Discussion

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There is an "unofficial poll" (read: not put up by Statler). I personally think a little more discussion would be helpful before any voting.
Honestly, I think we should identify admins who know how to build this stuff, give them a features list, and let them pick whatever they'll find easiest to work with. I don't have the knowledge to vote and the admins may be comfortable with something in particular.
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Old Yesterday, 08:10 AM   #65
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Re: New Forum Discussion

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Originally Posted by Equilibria View Post
Honestly, I think we should identify admins who know how to build this stuff, give them a features list, and let them pick whatever they'll find easiest to work with. I don't have the knowledge to vote and the admins may be comfortable with something in particular.
^Yes; non-experts should weigh in with solution-neutral feature/functionality needs/considerations. Then those with appropriate expertise should work with those user-driven requirements to implement the solution. (e.g., a best-practice engineering process).
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Old Yesterday, 08:10 AM   #66
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Re: New Forum Discussion

Some more thoughts addressing previous posts:

1. Who is in charge?

My idea for this is as follows: We elect an "admin council" of 3-5 trusted members. Once we choose a webhost, each of these members is given the login/password for the host as well as admin privileges on the forum itself. This way if someone vanishes the forum is safe.

I think this much needs to be sorted out before any move.

This group would also be in charge of finances and moving donations wherever they need to go.

This group would also be in charge of forum bans. This is hopefully not something that will happen often, but it would be a good idea to have procedures in place and it may be helpful to have an odd number of "council members" in case voting is necessary.

Any decisions should obviously be made taking into account the desires of the community.

We can further discuss how the council members are replaced if necessary or desired.

2. Moderators

There is no hard limit here and this can evolve over time. If someone is trusted, willing, and capable of moderating posts then the council can give that person moderation privileges. Someone may have a defined interest in a certain subforum and therefore be a good fit to moderate that forum. This is less urgent and can be figured out now or later.

3. Subforums

See #2. Adding/combining/removing subforums only takes a minute or two. It doesn't hurt to have these discussions now. It's good to formulate these ideas, but keep in mind that these decisions don't necessarily need to be made before moving and that aB will evolve as needed.


I'm interested to hear what others have to say, especially concerning #1.
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Old Yesterday, 08:18 AM   #67
bigpicture7
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Re: New Forum Discussion

^Regarding donations/finances, I feel we should find a way to divorce this from forum participation and username. E.g., have the funding be through a separate go-fund-me (or similar) setup where one's identity is not linked to one's forum identity. My suggested reason for this is that, so long as we agree donations are voluntary, I can't see the positive value in requiring that we know forumers' relative wealth / symbolic financial power / financial dedication to steering the forum. For instance, monetary contribution is only one form of contribution (albeit perhaps a necessary one)...others contribute in other ways that are just as valuable (e.g., posting tons of amazing photos, bringing unique domain expertise, etc).

This would not preclude someone from sharing that they made a donation, should they choose to do so. I am just saying we should not require that peoples' forum identity be linked to information about how much money they've contributed. It's easy enough to keep those web applications/interfaces completely separate, and mods/admins can certainly still announce fundraising campaigns on the main forum site.

Just my 2 cents (no pun intended)
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Old Yesterday, 09:05 AM   #68
cjbski
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Re: New Forum Discussion

I agree with the move. Good call. No one knows Briv or has access to an email address of his?
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Old Yesterday, 09:21 AM   #69
Beton Brut
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Re: New Forum Discussion

And we're on to page four...

Any thoughts on this?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beton Brut View Post
Point of order:
We're three pages deep in this discussion already. I suggest two separate threads, one for the technical discussions of preferred forum software/platform, scraping and data migration, and a second for content guidelines and governance.
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Old Yesterday, 09:27 AM   #70
kmp1284
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Re: New Forum Discussion

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Originally Posted by bigpicture7 View Post
^Regarding donations/finances, I feel we should find a way to divorce this from forum participation and username. E.g., have the funding be through a separate go-fund-me (or similar) setup where one's identity is not linked to one's forum identity. My suggested reason for this is that, so long as we agree donations are voluntary, I can't see the positive value in requiring that we know forumers' relative wealth / symbolic financial power / financial dedication to steering the forum. For instance, monetary contribution is only one form of contribution (albeit perhaps a necessary one)...others contribute in other ways that are just as valuable (e.g., posting tons of amazing photos, bringing unique domain expertise, etc).

This would not preclude someone from sharing that they made a donation, should they choose to do so. I am just saying we should not require that peoples' forum identity be linked to information about how much money they've contributed. It's easy enough to keep those web applications/interfaces completely separate, and mods/admins can certainly still announce fundraising campaigns on the main forum site.

Just my 2 cents (no pun intended)
Continuing on the topic of finances .... I realize that this wonít be popular and is likely a nonstarter however considering that many of us have spent probably tens of thousands of dollarsí worth of our time on this board, I donít think it would be unreasonable to charge a one-time joining fee in the region of $20-$40 and an annual renewal of around $5-$10 across the board. That would presumably provide enough revenue to keep the site going and I think if one has to invest financially, it might preserve a higher standard of discourse. For new members who were not associated with this iteration of archboston it also might be worth allowing them to join and make a certain number of free posts as a ďtrialĒ and once they hit that threshold they can either pay up or have their account deactivated.
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Old Yesterday, 09:35 AM   #71
bobthebuilder
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Re: New Forum Discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beton Brut View Post
And we're on to page four...

Any thoughts on this?
Probably a couple separate threads

One for forum governance & general administration

Another for technical discussion, would likely be limited to those that know how to build this kind of thing

And I think a third forum for people to just dump their feature suggestions would be good to have. It can be a repository for the developers (someone can maintain a first post with a list of requests), and we can hash out ideas.
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Old Yesterday, 10:11 AM   #72
Equilibria
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Re: New Forum Discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by kmp1284 View Post
Continuing on the topic of finances .... I realize that this wonít be popular and is likely a nonstarter however considering that many of us have spent probably tens of thousands of dollarsí worth of our time on this board, I donít think it would be unreasonable to charge a one-time joining fee in the region of $20-$40 and an annual renewal of around $5-$10 across the board. That would presumably provide enough revenue to keep the site going and I think if one has to invest financially, it might preserve a higher standard of discourse. For new members who were not associated with this iteration of archboston it also might be worth allowing them to join and make a certain number of free posts as a ďtrialĒ and once they hit that threshold they can either pay up or have their account deactivated.
How about a Patreon? Seems to work well for content producers...
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Old Yesterday, 10:20 AM   #73
kmp1284
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Re: New Forum Discussion

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Originally Posted by Equilibria View Post
How about a Patreon? Seems to work well for content producers...
That could probably work. I think it's important though for everyone to have some skin in the game.
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Old Yesterday, 10:24 AM   #74
statler
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Re: New Forum Discussion

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Originally Posted by bobthebuilder View Post
And I think a third forum for people to just dump their feature suggestions would be good to have. It can be a repository for the developers (someone can maintain a first post with a list of requests), and we can hash out ideas.
I considered this, but I feel like there would be a lot of crossover with the technical discussion. What feature we want to see will either inform what software we go with or vice-versa and what software we go with will inform what features we can have.

I'm still open to the idea of a features thread if people it will be helpful to separate it out.
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Old Yesterday, 10:46 AM   #75
Justin7
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Re: New Forum Discussion

You guys are greatly overestimating the costs of running a forum. Everything here is done on a volunteer basis. We're talking about at most a few hundred dollars to get started and then likely tens of dollars per year for hosting unless we grow significantly.

Of course there are always ways to spend money, but let's take a step back.
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Old Yesterday, 01:53 PM   #76
FK4
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Re: New Forum Discussion

I just wanna say thanks to everyone whoís putting in thought, time and effort on this. I echo the sentiment that this feels a little like betrayal, but thatís because Iím old fashioned and always feel sad when ďthe originalĒ of something gets given up... and I too harbor secret hopes that this site could just magically persist forever. But, it also feels exciting, like when in Mad Men they decide to leave the British firm and hole up in a hotel to get the new, fledgling firm off the ground.

Statler, that was a very thoughtful initial post on this thread. Well said on all counts.

Iím encouraged by this thread, too, since it sounds like this will actually happen. aB is an important site, for me and obviously many others... itís one of a kind. DrFreewind definitely deserves some credit for being one of the main instigators to make this happen, but as others have said, it will be a team effort.

I donít have too many specific thoughts about how the new site could be better, but I do think itís important to remember that what makes this current one great is, in large part, its simplicity. The two major things that come to mind are
1) Having a mobile friendly site (which the current aB decidedly is not), and
2) Better integrative capacity (like being able to hashtag one thread to connect with another).

I know absolutely nothing about the technical aspects of this stuff, so thanks to everyone who is/will be involved.
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Old Yesterday, 03:23 PM   #77
tysmith95
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Re: New Forum Discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin7 View Post
You guys are greatly overestimating the costs of running a forum. Everything here is done on a volunteer basis. We're talking about at most a few hundred dollars to get started and then likely tens of dollars per year for hosting unless we grow significantly.

Of course there are always ways to spend money, but let's take a step back.
Though I love having a clean form, ad-words or another form of advertising would likely pay for all of the hosting costs (and maybe more).

I don't think money is much of an obstacle, and I think we have lots of people willing to pony up for hosting costs (which as Justin has stated aren't that high).
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Old Yesterday, 03:31 PM   #78
Equilibria
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Re: New Forum Discussion

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Originally Posted by FK4 View Post
Iím encouraged by this thread, too, since it sounds like this will actually happen. aB is an important site, for me and obviously many others... itís one of a kind. DrFreewind definitely deserves some credit for being one of the main instigators to make this happen, but as others have said, it will be a team effort.
If we want to keep up this momentum, we should formulate a task list for what comes next. At this point, we're still holding a unanimous mandate for a new site, with the qualifications that the poll has no closing date at the moment and only 28 people (presumably the participants in this thread) have voted.

Perhaps a partial list:

1) Statler can update the announcement he posted about the thread to include the poll, with a closing date. Maybe Friday, 4/26 to give some lurkers time to filter through?

2) Once that's done, change the announcement to link to a thread where we discuss feature requests, and another where we nominate admins. People should be encouraged to nominate themselves for that job if they have skills in bulletin board administration, web development, etc.

3) Set a deadline for making admin nominations for something like Friday 5/10. At the same time, we can set the terms for a vote and governance structure, since qualifications aren't really related to that.

4) Hold a vote for 3-5 admins, somehow on some platform, over another weeklong period in May or early June.

____ After this, take what I say with a grain of salt because the admins will be in charge ___

5) At this point, we'll hopefully have enough feature suggestions for the elected admins to select a forum software and start building. At that point, they can start developing an idea of what help they need from the rest of us to migrate/create content at the new site so that the migration will be smooth.

6) At the same time, we'll need to raise the funds to cover any licensing fees for the bulletin board software, however little that ends up being.

7) Assuming that all happens in June/July, we set a migration date for sometime mid/late summer when threads here will be locked and threads there activated.
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Old Today, 09:47 AM   #79
tysmith95
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Re: New Forum Discussion

Can we assume that the domain archboston.org will renew on June 10th? I know that was brought up last year, but it was automatically renewed for a year.

As far as the poll goes, we don't have one person who voted against migrating to a new site. 32-0. I think we should be able to wrap that up next week and start the process of setting up the new site.

I could assist in helping to build the new site. I've never set up a form before, but I am technically knowledgeable in other aspects.
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Old Today, 08:28 PM   #80
found5dollar
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Re: New Forum Discussion

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Originally Posted by Beton Brut View Post
[*]Do we need a code of conduct to foster robust but rational and respectful discourse?
I'd like to underline this concept. I used to be a regular member adding to the discourse here, but over a year ago the drama got too real for me and I have mostly been a lurker since. I think as we are rethinking this community and how it is structured we should also think of how we want to treat each other.

I generally agree that what we currently have on this site is untenable and moving now before we hit dire straits is the best course of action.
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