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Old 04-10-2019, 12:42 PM   #1
statler
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New Forum Discussion

Hey all,

As some of you are aware forum member DrFreewind has started work on a possible replacement for archBoston.org.

Justin has also created an alternate forum as well, but I think(?) that was intended as an emergency back-up in case this forum disappeared completely.

I spoke with DrFreewind via PM about his forum. What I explained was that, assuming Briv doesn't return between now and then, I will help support a move to a new forum as long as a large majority of members agree to the move. (As I told him, I doubt there will be much resistance) Personally, I was/am holding out hope that Briv will return, but that is looking less likely by the day. The truth is, the ever-aging software plus not being open to new members is unsustainable.

Unfortunately, there is not much I can do prior to getting the new forum up and running. Neither Van nor I have any kind of access to the forum software nor the database storing all the data on the site (i.e. member info, posts, etc.) so we can't help move any of that information over. DrFreewind is working on some software that should allow him to scrape the current posts in some form or another and move them to the new forum. I'll let him explain more about that.

Once this site is scraped and ported over to the new site and a majority agree to move, what I can do is lock the threads on this forum, so that there are not two competing forums. I will also put up an announcement directing people to the new site.

There is no time frame on any of this. As long as this site is operational and we have a viable Plan B, DrFreewind can take as much time as needed to get everything in order over at the new site. In the meantime I think we should take the opportunity to discuss the new forum and bounce around ideas (not demands) for the new forum and pitch in to help where we can.

Lastly, I just want to remind everyone that nobody knows what is going on with Briv. As a personal favor I ask that nobody speculate or assume anything. It is just reasonable to assume that he is simply unable to check in on the forum as it is to assume anything else. He is the only reason the place exists at all, so let's give him the benefit of the doubt. Thank you.
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Old 04-10-2019, 01:31 PM   #2
BarbaricManchurian
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Re: New Forum Discussion

This is my latest and most relevant post from the other thread:

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Originally Posted by BarbaricManchurian View Post
So we already have 5 potential patrons? Awesome. Anyway, we should figure out some important questions, such as hosting (this looks OK from a google search: https://www.a2hosting.com/xenforo-hosting), how much the total cost of everything is, what our long-term business model is (hopefully nonprofit and patron supported), and possibly setting up a Patreon. If DrFreewind wants to assert himself as leader and can work semi-frequently on this, that'll be great, if not, I'd like to be given admin rights in some capacity to keep the ball rolling. It shouldn't be too hard, just pay the relevant companies for the software, hosting, and theme.
Essentially we have already gotten quite a strong response for potential patrons and we should set up a crowdsourcing page on Patreon for ongoing maintenance/possible future expansions when the time comes. As someone who has been on forums my whole live, I recommend XenForo, as it is a new and forward-thinking platform which can integrate social media posts and includes things like likes and reactions (seems silly now, but once we get those, we won't want to go back, trust me). Of course if there is a different consensus I will defer to that. I'm not in a huge rush but I can get a lot done after my next check on the 15th. We can also set up a thread on Reddit to see how many potential new members we have been missing.
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Old 04-10-2019, 01:44 PM   #3
tysmith95
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Re: New Forum Discussion

I believe that Justin's form was not maintained, Archboston.net. I like Archboston.net as a domain name (moreso than a .us domain).
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Old 04-10-2019, 01:47 PM   #4
BarbaricManchurian
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Re: New Forum Discussion

DrFreewind used the domain name archboston.city. I approve of that. Arch.Boston and archboston.forum also sound good if a consensus emerges behind one of those.
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Old 04-10-2019, 01:54 PM   #5
Lrfox
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Re: New Forum Discussion

I'll go wherever everyone wants to. I'm not so bothered by our low tech forum, but the lack of new members (and the lack of ability to have any) is not great. So if the answer is new forum, I'm on board.

*edited to add* I'll also donate if that's an option. I've gotten 13 years of joy out of this forum. I can contribute.

Last edited by Lrfox; 04-10-2019 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 04-10-2019, 02:14 PM   #6
fattony
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Re: New Forum Discussion

I'm also on-board with moving and I'll chip in a few bucks if needed. I would happily donate annually if there are recurring costs as well.

I'm not picky about what type of forum software, though this one does seem pretty limited.
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Old 04-10-2019, 03:06 PM   #7
DrFreewind
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Re: New Forum Discussion

Hi all,

As I discussed with statler, i will make a couple polls to see if a majority are in favor of moving to a new forum and what software to use.

As for scraping this forum. I have been following some tutorials for scrapy using python, but I have very little previous python experience. And looking ahead, without basically spending all of my free time learning python, it looks like the best i will be able to do at the end of the tutorials that I'm watching will be to scrape 1 thread at a time, and have the information come out as an excel file. This will obviously take a long time to complete as there are around 4000 threads on this site.
I have been looking on some sites to see about hiring someone to do this for us. It looks like we can get someone for $100-$200 (possibly) and they should be able to do this much more efficiently and I'm hopeful they can also make a bot to repost all the content so that we can just continue where we left off.

All in all, if we decide with Xenforo and the high end of getting someone to scrape the site, it will be around $360 to get together (18 people pitch in $20, 9 for $40, etc)

I will post the poll shortly, and will look at the end of the week to the results. And will post more information here. I will also look into setting up a patreon. As for yearly costs, it should be pretty inexpensive year to year, I was able to get a promotion deal for the first year, but we will see what it will be to renew.

For those people out there who are not able to post here please visit https://archboston.city and register there. I will set up some threads there for discussion.
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Old 04-10-2019, 03:36 PM   #8
Blackdog
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Re: New Forum Discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrFreewind View Post
Hi all,

As I discussed with statler, i will make a couple polls to see if a majority are in favor of moving to a new forum and what software to use.

As for scraping this forum. I have been following some tutorials for scrapy using python, but I have very little previous python experience. And looking ahead, without basically spending all of my free time learning python, it looks like the best i will be able to do at the end of the tutorials that I'm watching will be to scrape 1 thread at a time, and have the information come out as an excel file. This will obviously take a long time to complete as there are around 4000 threads on this site.
I have been looking on some sites to see about hiring someone to do this for us. It looks like we can get someone for $100-$200 (possibly) and they should be able to do this much more efficiently and I'm hopeful they can also make a bot to repost all the content so that we can just continue where we left off.

All in all, if we decide with Xenforo and the high end of getting someone to scrape the site, it will be around $360 to get together (18 people pitch in $20, 9 for $40, etc)

I will post the poll shortly, and will look at the end of the week to the results. And will post more information here. I will also look into setting up a patreon. As for yearly costs, it should be pretty inexpensive year to year, I was able to get a promotion deal for the first year, but we will see what it will be to renew.

For those people out there who are not able to post here please visit https://archboston.city and register there. I will set up some threads there for discussion.
I was searching around for some vBulletin scrapers and found this github.

Detectorist Scraper

I'm a developer but I don't have much python experience though I might be able to do something with this. The problem is that I haven't had much time recently so posting this to see if anyone else out there has some python experience.
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Old 04-10-2019, 03:43 PM   #9
Justin7
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Re: New Forum Discussion

I still own the archboston.net domain. I did take the forum down because most of our members were against moving. I'd be happy to put something back up or point the domain wherever is needed if you guys prefer .net to .city (I do personally, but this is trivial).

I do need to point out that if someone is simply scraping this forum then any migration would be a simple static archive and not something integrated into the new forum. People did not seem interested in this before, but I think it's a reasonable trade-off to allow new members to join.

Also, while I've nothing at all against Dr. Freewind, I'd definitely be more comfortable if one (or better yet a group) of our long term, more active members has a hand in this at all levels (domain ownership, hosting, server administration, and forum administration) so they we do not end up back in a situation similar to our current predicament.
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Old 04-10-2019, 05:22 PM   #10
bobthebuilder
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Re: New Forum Discussion

I'm for moving to a new forum. I think we definitely need the influx of new members to breathe new life into the forum.

All the current data could live in an archive section of the new forum, and we can look at this as a sort of clean slate for some of the ongoing projects.

Wherever we end up, is it possible to have for each project as page that someone can go to toe see current stats, latest renderings/photos etc? I think that has been a long standing complaint about this forum, is that when someone wants to find the stats/renderings for a project they have to search through pages of discussion to find the latest.
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Old 04-10-2019, 10:53 PM   #11
bakgwailo
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Re: New Forum Discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin7 View Post
I still own the archboston.net domain. I did take the forum down because most of our members were against moving. I'd be happy to put something back up or point the domain wherever is needed if you guys prefer .net to .city (I do personally, but this is trivial).

I do need to point out that if someone is simply scraping this forum then any migration would be a simple static archive and not something integrated into the new forum. People did not seem interested in this before, but I think it's a reasonable trade-off to allow new members to join.

Also, while I've nothing at all against Dr. Freewind, I'd definitely be more comfortable if one (or better yet a group) of our long term, more active members has a hand in this at all levels (domain ownership, hosting, server administration, and forum administration) so they we do not end up back in a situation similar to our current predicament.
Agree with all of the above.
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Old 04-11-2019, 05:31 AM   #12
meddlepal
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Re: New Forum Discussion

I'm a very experienced Python dev and I could take a look when I have time. Extracting the data on the forum is the easy bit. Reconstructing it elsewhere would take serious work.
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Old 04-11-2019, 06:18 AM   #13
tysmith95
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Re: New Forum Discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin7 View Post
I still own the archboston.net domain. I did take the forum down because most of our members were against moving. I'd be happy to put something back up or point the domain wherever is needed if you guys prefer .net to .city (I do personally, but this is trivial).

I do need to point out that if someone is simply scraping this forum then any migration would be a simple static archive and not something integrated into the new forum. People did not seem interested in this before, but I think it's a reasonable trade-off to allow new members to join.

Also, while I've nothing at all against Dr. Freewind, I'd definitely be more comfortable if one (or better yet a group) of our long term, more active members has a hand in this at all levels (domain ownership, hosting, server administration, and forum administration) so they we do not end up back in a situation similar to our current predicament.
I also agree. I think it would make sense to use both archboston.net and archboston.city. The current form has multiple domains.
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Old 04-11-2019, 01:00 PM   #14
Blackdog
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Re: New Forum Discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by meddlepal View Post
I'm a very experienced Python dev and I could take a look when I have time. Extracting the data on the forum is the easy bit. Reconstructing it elsewhere would take serious work.
I put a couple of hours into it last night but when I tried to run the script with the archboston.org it had errors. I'll try again when I have some time.


Do these forum sites not have an upload feature? If they do the reconstruction would be easy once we scrape the forums.
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Old 04-11-2019, 03:41 PM   #15
DrFreewind
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Re: New Forum Discussion

It looks like all the forum website have a way to import data from other forums with varying degrees of difficulty (although I have never done this so it could be simple, just the descriptions sound like some work)
If anyone gets the website scraped, get a database together and once we decide on what software to use we can go from there.

Also, I do plan on having statler as an admin with access to approve new members/regular admin permissions (And Van if he wants.) Also, I plan on asking for those who want to moderate forum sections/the entire forum once everything gets set up, so that we have more than 3 moderators.
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Old 04-11-2019, 04:19 PM   #16
HenryAlan
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Re: New Forum Discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrFreewind View Post
Hi all,

For those people out there who are not able to post here please visit https://archboston.city and register there. I will set up some threads there for discussion.
How do you plan to handle the current user database? Would we each need to register at archboston.city, or would there be some sort of migration?

As for the transfer of data, I'm not sure what platform we are on now, but several years ago, I was involved in a discussion board that we migrated from vbulletin to xenforo, and there was actually a migration tool that transferred the entire database -- threads, users, etc. Perhaps something like that is available, though maybe that requires admin level access to the legacy site, I can't remember at all what the process was now, several years removed.
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Old 04-11-2019, 05:04 PM   #17
DrFreewind
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Re: New Forum Discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by HenryAlan View Post
How do you plan to handle the current user database? Would we each need to register at archboston.city, or would there be some sort of migration?

As for the transfer of data, I'm not sure what platform we are on now, but several years ago, I was involved in a discussion board that we migrated from vbulletin to xenforo, and there was actually a migration tool that transferred the entire database -- threads, users, etc. Perhaps something like that is available, though maybe that requires admin level access to the legacy site, I can't remember at all what the process was now, several years removed.
Im hopeful that we will be able to keep the user database with all usernames, post count, and join dates. The other forum software websites do mention usernames and permissions for migration
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Old 04-11-2019, 05:12 PM   #18
Justin7
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Re: New Forum Discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by HenryAlan View Post
How do you plan to handle the current user database? Would we each need to register at archboston.city, or would there be some sort of migration?

As for the transfer of data, I'm not sure what platform we are on now, but several years ago, I was involved in a discussion board that we migrated from vbulletin to xenforo, and there was actually a migration tool that transferred the entire database -- threads, users, etc. Perhaps something like that is available, though maybe that requires admin level access to the legacy site, I can't remember at all what the process was now, several years removed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrFreewind View Post
Im hopeful that we will be able to keep the user database with all usernames, post count, and join dates. The other forum software websites do mention usernames and permissions for migration
Migration is very easy with admin access to the current forum, which we lack. This is our main problem. Any new forum would require everyone to re-register. Everything would be a clean slate. The archive would likely just be a static website, unsearchable, unusable, just text and images essentially. We could conceivably get around this with a lot of skill and a ton of work, but I'm not sure anyone is willing to go that far. Edit: Though, again, I'd totally take this trade-off.
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Old 04-11-2019, 05:18 PM   #19
Justin7
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Re: New Forum Discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrFreewind View Post

Also, I do plan on having statler as an admin with access to approve new members/regular admin permissions (And Van if he wants.) Also, I plan on asking for those who want to moderate forum sections/the entire forum once everything gets set up, so that we have more than 3 moderators.
I apologize for being rude, but this isn't good enough for me. You haven't spent much time here and I don't really understand why you would be the one holding the keys.

I'd like to see a few long time members, as I've stated, with full access to every facet of this, not just forum admin/moderation. If I'm nominating I'd personally name statler (obviously), data, and beton. I greatly respect many members here but feel these three are very active and virtually beyond reproach.
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Old 04-11-2019, 11:09 PM   #20
bakgwailo
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Re: New Forum Discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrFreewind View Post
Im hopeful that we will be able to keep the user database with all usernames, post count, and join dates. The other forum software websites do mention usernames and permissions for migration
That is the entire problem, though - no one (save Briv) has actual access to the DB. Without it, user migration is basically impossible, and thread/data migration is rather difficult. If we had DB access (legally), then, this all would have probably happened a long time ago.
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