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Thread: What happened: 2016 edition.

  1. #61
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    Hi Guys ...
    this thread now has 130+ views with 15 of them being from subscribers .... based on that and the 27ish actual subscribers.... my guess is we have around 200 regular active members here

    If Robert could confirm those figures or tell me i'm completely wrong it would be appreciated...

    I have been looking at cost effective alternatives to the forum as suggestions to Robert to keep forum costs to a minimum and within the current annual $3000 budget
    there is a wiki with forum comparisons which looks interesting https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compar...forum_software

    Although my background is not IT, my work is Factory Automation systems involving robotics and mass networks ... so im not a technical dumb ass by any means

    Looking at the comparisons the http://fudforum.org/forum/

    seems to have really good features with a great support forum and is open source, and is "free" ... they also have conversion software to convert existing forums over to Fud forum format

    Robert what are you views on this and would it be difficult to convert over from Vb ?

    all the best

    Karl

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    What a lot of people seem to be missing is the colossal amount of work required to decide what content should be kept and what should be ditched; you can be certain that there will be someone that disagrees that any particular thread is irrelevant when it's been decided that it should go.
    The ONLY sensible course of action is to keep the entire archive when the move is made.

  3. #63
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    Spec.... when you say "let's start a discussion", that should include you too. Care to chime in? We're 63 posts deep at this point.
    PM Sent...

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    Just feeding back, I managed to contact the Admin at Civinfo, that site is running a custom version of VB4. Obviously the customisations make all the difference, so probably not an option as they won't sell a copy of the template.

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    I know personally (and I haven't posted here in a looooong time), it does take money to run a website these days... Forums or not, I've been running Vibrations Of Doom Magazine for 24 years now... Haven't made a dime... And the costs to keep the hundreds of hours of audio online costs me around $200 a year... Thank the gods for IX Webhosting, but yeah, I foot the bill for everything myself. So I know how it is... I have put issues out late due to bands' late responses to interviews and radio promo spot requests (if at all). I still love the music I support and support the music I love, and I get serviced from labels all around the world. Still, people don't realize how long it takes when you write all the html coding yourself. Vibrations Of Doom has been a one man operation for just about every one of those 24 years, so I can only imagine how much work it takes to run this place. Still, there's a lot of technical data here (like when I first "hacked into" the Spencer Party Laser), and some material that I've referenced from time to time. You think I still remember the 6 character keypresses LaserBoy uses to turn a laser image into format 0? Luckily I don't have to do that anymore, but someone is gonna have a burned out diode on one of those Spencer lights and gonna do a google search... Guess what's gonna come up first??

    I dunno, I guess I got off track but the point is the work we do takes hours, days, weeks, hell in my case years. That's WORK, people, that we're not getting compensation for. It used to be better when record labels were giving us journalists actual CD's from the bands; at least we got SOMETHING for our work. Nowadays, the digital promo pools are all we have access to and sometimes, labels aren't that forthcoming with their artists' music. Still, the privilege of getting music two and three months before actual release date means unique opportunities for me. But what does our "sysop" get? Besides a place to watch people post and respond, it's the modern day equivalent of local bulletin board systems people used to have to tie up their phone lines to keep running...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bradfo69 View Post
    Spec.... when you say "let's start a discussion", that should include you too. Care to chime in? We're 63 posts deep at this point.
    Sorry for the delay. I had a big nasty project show up at work that involved making a widget that takes GPS coordinates and tries to spam them over 20+km(or better). Turns out that range is a magic number based on LOS/curvature of the earth. Upside: I've found out how to melt down chinese made GPS modules and get 5 decimal places reliably after a couple minute lock time. Also got a cold, so if I'm not pressing buttons I'm trying to nap it out.

    This will apparently be in reverse chrnological order because I made the mistake of pasting to the top in the notepad doc here. Sorry about that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Banthai View Post
    If Robert could confirm those figures or tell me i'm completely wrong it would be appreciated...

    ...

    Robert what are you views on this and would it be difficult to convert over from Vb ?
    Heyo. The currently active members on the front page is accurate and I don't do any goofy shit with the data to make it look more active than it is. Right now it shows 2669 users online, 125 members and 2544 guests. This is a "last 24 hours" calc. Members are those that logged in, or refreshed the page with their login credentials intact. the 2544 guests are comprised of a lot of known spiders and a large number of unknown users. Likely a google search redirect or those not logged in. The stat in the next block called "active members"(365) is known registered users who, in the past 30 days, did almost anything on the board while logged in.

    The number of current subscribers is 26(down from the 27 the other day). This comprises of those that do the monthly thing and 4 users who have made one off donations going back a few years that I manually placed in the user group and never removed. Paypal fees are, for US members 2.9% +30c a transaction.(5.9%) International are 2.9% and 40c(6.9%) - for the sake of a quick calc I will assume 6% and that is 2481.60/yr. Bill here at "host" was $240USD last month. Net negative of 33.2USD/m - This, in my opinion, is better than a net negative of 240USD/m. To reiterate, this is not a business and I don't treat it like one.

    For those that will say "240/m is insane!?!" my only reply is "Exactly" - Hence the start of this thread.

    Fudforum is an unknown to me. So I can't estimate how difficult it would be to merge over. What I can say is that initially this board was run on PHPBB and that fell apart really quickly and warranted to merge over to Vbulletin, which has "mostly just worked" aside from the resource limitations and generally being a fat pig that seems to always grow into whatever size pen I throw it in. The conversion from phpbb to vbulletin was messy, and that conversion system was made by vbulletin in house. Given their financial interest in getting users to merge over it was odd that it was as problematic as it was.

    Vbulletin isn't what it used to be either. Kier(original dev) was bought out and then, much later, started xenforo, which I also have an old license for. Testing said conversion from vbulletin to xenforo was also screwy. All that being said, I suspect moving to another bulletin board package would be equally good at making me rip out my hair.

    Quote Originally Posted by White-Light View Post
    Well it's only my opinion and I agree there would be a need to be selective over what to retain and what to lose, but realistically, for people coming to PL, do they really want to read through a 10 year old thread of how DJ Knobhead though it was OK to audience scan with high power lasers and with no precautions and measurements, and the 20 page in thread argument that followed?

    Are we really going to expect people to wade through 30 or 40 similar safety related threads full of argument and inaccuracies running to hundreds of pages and thousands of posts, to get try to get to the facts?
    The technical process of storing and serving the "ancient" data is not really a drain until you are looking at millions of posts and fast search DB updates. I'm hesitant to quantify the costs but I would have to say it's negligable compared to running the board itself.

    The other point you touched on was information validity - The Wiki was supposed to act in this role and would do a far better job of keeping the SNR up. Can't really beat curated content after personal biases have been removed.

    Quote Originally Posted by neobenedict View Post
    You should keep IRC on freenode. That channel is not big enough to warrant its own irc server.

    You are 100000x better going with a dedicated server from a reliable host such as OVH, hetzner, leaseweb, etc... instead of spending thousands colocating.
    We've been on 4 different IRC networks and the amount of current users is near half of what it used to be.

    Running an IRC server is a matter of pride, though I will concede that freenode likely does it better than I would. heh.

    Dedicated servers from "reliable" hosts is certainly an option and prices are marginally better than what I'm dealing with now.

    Quote Originally Posted by hitekvoop View Post
    Anyone run the numbers for AWS, Azure, SoftLayer, etc?
    Did a while ago with amazon. AWS is stupid expensive for what they offer and this was reiterated by google as they nope'd right out of their original "cloud plaform" offering and made it more in line with AWS.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueFang View Post
    I'm just glad to know it wasn't something I did... as I was editing a post in the Maxwell thread one minute - and then the next minute everything died. I kept thinking... uh oh... what did I just do....
    True story, if that was the case you could sell that exploit for pretty good money.

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnYayas View Post
    Yea, I am currently stuck on this and that doesn't include donations that are from leftover SELEM fees. Maybe it does cost that much and more but I don't get it. So, until there is some transparency into what the costs are I don't have an inclination to donate anything. I know it sounds ungrateful but I'm just being honest. I am glad that others are willing to foot the bill so that I don't have to worry about it, though. Have at it.
    Then don't?
    Just went through paypal for the overage at SELEM the past couple of years. Going through that new layout they use is a pain the in ass but I saw 200 and change one year and 300 and change another year. These numbers seem about right historically if my memory serves. If you want something to hate me for, cool: I probably paid the insurance on my car or another bill instead of funneling it back into PL. Nice jab further down calling me a charity case. I hope you never find yourself having to go through what I did.

    Quote Originally Posted by absolom7691 View Post
    Agreed, I want to pay $15/month instead of just $10. I don't think $15/month is egregious.
    Quote Originally Posted by discothefunkyhippo View Post
    I would be open to increasing my monthly donation as well as kicking in an initial lump sum.

    This forum is invaluable and my life would be a bore without it.

    -Sal
    This seems to be a common theme. Though I want to reiterate that it really feels wrong to poach those that want to pay more. The simplified system as it stands now is largely philosophical in nature with a dash of market research. I wanted to avoid the common problem of "I pay more than you so my opinion is more valid by transitive property of association" and other board seem to have similar structures, albeit more restrictive from the get go.

    I guess I trust people will act rationally way less than you do. heh.

    I suppose I could enable differential donation classes, or just offer up a one time yearly thing at the same rates. Net income would be about $4/sub/year higher.


    Quote Originally Posted by absolom7691 View Post
    Contribute when you can, or don't. That is the beauty of this forum. That is exactly what the Admin was talking about. He hasn't locked down anything on this forum to only paying members. If you look, there are no ads on this forum, you can post right away in the buy/sell area. You can post links in your very first post. Few forums do this.
    Paywalls are grade A bullshit and only seem to work with locked in narrow one-to-many distribution channels, like newspapers trying to jump in on this fast paced digital thing.

    That being said, I'm glad they ran the experiement to prove, at least to me, how ineffective it really is.

    Quote Originally Posted by White-Light View Post
    OK I found out something about the site I linked to earlier. It is Vbulletin but it's completely been customised by their own software engineers to modernise the appearance, the way it works with mobile devices and to increase it's compatibility with management software behind the scenes. So its a long way from the standard software. I guess that's the power of being part of a massive company.

    Vbulletin offers a mobile software thing for iphone and android that's ok. It requires a dev account at both apple and google(about 100 each plaform) and about 200 to vbulletin to license.

    Otherwise we are left with modifying their default mobile skin to get something similar. I suspect the mobile theme(bottom left) is there to push adoption of the mobile suite thing they offer.

    Quote Originally Posted by absolom7691 View Post
    I mean really, if someone comes into your "store" to sell something, why shouldn't you get some monetary acknowledgement considering you own the place? Again, not for profit but to keep the place running.
    I believe that was the intent of the corporate benefactor status. A couple people told me that people told them they were "corporate" here and since there was no way to really check, it was just misinformation all around. Hence why corporate (would)have an orange border/star now.

    I know this is a jump but hear me out: A while ago(years) I started the process of getting a legit storefront here setup that would only sell in stock items because that was a pretty big problem for a while. All the manufacturers I contacted here really didn't like the idea for reasons I can only classify as "Why should I give you a percentage when I haven't had to thus far" - A store with zero products wouldn't do well, and there wasn't really enough volume to allow me to make bulk orders and get a discount worth holding product over. Having higher prices wouldn't do anything other than having people say "Well, he's the only one that has it - shame it's 25% higher." I think the goal was to get stuff cheaper and solve the whole "thanks for the payment, now I'll ship it out whenever I get to it" problem.

    As far as the link control thing in signature blocks, as best I can tell, links are independently controlled from their respective location, so it would have the unintended consequence of disabling linking in post content also. This seems like a bad idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by mixedgas View Post
    Spec, How do I send you 200$ earmarked for VB5?
    All I ask is that you consider adding the line "Creaky Old Award Winning Bastard Technologist " above "I.E.I.L.D" in my ID...
    I suppose paypal will work if that's your thing. I'm not above snail mail if you are more comfortable with that process.

    As to changing your title, as soon as I post this I'm going to go in and add it in even if you don't send over funds.

    Quote Originally Posted by lasersbee View Post
    We haven't seen any real world numbers yet.
    Hard to get numbers down when I'm toying with different ideas to get it done. Dedicated servers all over the place or colo or just another hosting provider are priced all over the place and it's difficult to compare one to the other as some have preconditions like providing your own hardware.

    I really just hoped a discussion would happen, and it has, which is great.

    Quote Originally Posted by White-Light View Post
    I don't know what this forum runs on, but it's one of the best looking boards I've seen and has the much wanted thanks button:

    http://www.civinfo.com/
    Looks like a modified vb5 install. A damn good one too. Looking at their system I see they went full retard with ad platforms though. Including the new breed of captcha ads in the registration page and I count 14 different analytic/ad providers.

    The thumbs up system is likely:
    http://www.dragonbyte-tech.com/store...like-vb5-beta/

    85usd for a lifetime license and 75 for the branding free add-on.

    Times are changing. It would seem that a modern "ad-free" site is one that doesn't go out of their way do disable adblock/ublock origin use.

    Quote Originally Posted by flecom View Post
    also give up on vB, it's junk at this point, pretty much every major vB forum I am a member of has moved over to XenForo

    https://xenforo.com/

    much better software, better features, less load on servers as a bonus too
    Yea, xenforo is a lot better. Kier took all that he learned from his vbulletin days and incorporated those lessons in to xenforo. Hell, even the sane permissions system blew my mind compared to here. Bought a license back in 2010 and asked a number of users here to test it out on a backup of the data at the time. A solid half of them didn't like the interface - either too web2.0 or simply not familiar enough. Conversely the untested merge over from phpbb to vbulletin had a lot less "How does I buttons?!" issues, so I kinda just stuck with VB and told myself I'd find a use for the xenforo license at some point.


    Quote Originally Posted by Banthai View Post
    I also believe that Photonlexicon is too big for the amount of people that are actually using it .... we currently have 3550 members but after going through the member lists it soon becomes apparent that the majority sign up and never visit again, i saw that a lot of members signed up in 2010 ... but their last visit was 2010
    I believe 2010 was the last time I went though and deleted all users who registered but had a post count of zero. If memory serves that removed about 8000 "users" - Lots of users sign up to download something and then bolt.

    Common advice these days is to just leave the dead users in place to inflate your user statistics. I suppose I should clean that up again. I'm fine not having dead users in the list.

    It's kind of hard getting stats like who's doing something here but not logged in given the noise floor but I gave a best guess on the number earlier in this post. Even at places like reddit where interactivity between users is fundamental to the core of the site they said the ratio of "active participants" to those that just scroll through the home page is near 100:1 - Given this is a forum and it moves a lot slower I suspect the "active" rate would be a bit higher.

  7. #67
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    Thanks Robert
    You have answered all our questions and a whole lot more ....
    regarding your comment
    For those that will say "240/m is insane!?!" my only reply is "Exactly" - Hence the start of this thread.
    i fully understand and totally agree it is an insane amount that you are being charged for hosting this forum ... and that was what i could not get my head around ... i have been in the same position with some of my business services .... sometimes i don't notice that each year a supplier keeps putting the prices up and after 10 years you realize that their competitors have been cutting prices ... so i end up paying double ... its only when you ring them to cancel the service that they drop their prices inline with everyone else to try and keep you ... Bastards

    Im sure you can get a far better and more reliable deal elsewhere.... I also believe that the transparency that allows members to understand how much it costs you to run this forum will also encourage more people to donate to the cause ... Hosting and Vb Licence plus the bolt on's etc all cost money but should be reachable within the current budget ... with a bit of careful shopping you should be able to get "a lot more for less"

    But i think that its totally fair that you should also be compensated for your time involved making it all work, so i would also encourage you to get the one off $5 or $10 donation system working ASAP to allow those extra donations to help fund the transition, even if it means just setting up a short term external link to a page for paypal payment

    What do you feel is the first step to getting this all moving ? and can anyone here assist you with that ?

    all the best ... Karl

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    I feel I am woefully under-qualified to comment on any of the technical aspects of this thread, so I will defer to those with more direct experience.

    I would like to say that I am in favor of keeping the entire message database, however - even if this means changing to a new software (or even a new database engine) to keep the response speed up. Yes, there is some trash in there, but there is also a wealth of information. There is also a good bit of history. I know that Patrick Murphy greeped the forum extensively when he was composing his document that chronicled the discovery of the 445 nm diodes in the Casio Slim-Green DPL projectors, for example. I would hate to lose all that.

    To the more basic question of how to fund the forum, I agree with the general sentiment that an alternate solution with another provider would probably offer lower rates and better performance, but again, I'm not qualified to offer specific advice on where to shop. It seems there are several people here in this thread who have options that are more affordable, though, so maybe they can all get together and come up with the best option?

    And finally - someone said that PL is now less important for the social aspect and more for the laser knowledge. To that I say no. BOTH are important. Yes, there is a great abundance of knowledge here, but without a sense of community and belonging it's more or less worthless.

    Think back to other forums that have been overrun by trolls and "old guard" members who can't be bothered to deal with neophyte users asking naive questions. If that happens here, I promise you the usage will fall way off. Fortunately, our sense of community appears to be quite strong, so I don't see that happening, but make no mistake: lose the community and you kill the forum, no matter how much information is available.

    All that being said, many of the suggestions Spec has put forward (separate servers, PL-email addresses for members, in-house IRC, etc) sound very good to me. And if there was a funding target to make all of this happen, I'd be happy to contribute extra (beyond my monthly membership) to help us reach that goal. So yeah - let's run the numbers and figure out what it's going to take, develop a plan for the switch, and then "rally the troops" to get those funds raised so we can do it.

    Adam

    PS: Regarding the "PL store" idea, I have some thoughts on that. But I think that is a topic best reserved for another thread. (and in any event, that would be something that would probably need to wait until after all this server upgrading is finished)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Admin View Post


    Looks like a modified vb5 install. A damn good one too. Looking at their system I see they went full retard with ad platforms though. Including the new breed of captcha ads in the registration page and I count 14 different analytic/ad providers.

    The thumbs up system is likely:
    http://www.dragonbyte-tech.com/store...like-vb5-beta/

    85usd for a lifetime license and 75 for the branding free add-on.

    Times are changing. It would seem that a modern "ad-free" site is one that doesn't go out of their way do disable adblock/ublock origin use.
    Speaking to their admin, there's a lot of customisation of Vb but then again they have their own specialised IT people as the company owns 400 websites!

    http://www.autoguide.com/forums.html

    So it's a massive concern. One of the admins suggested to me it is Vb 4 but very highly modified at the back end.

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    Message Sent via PM...

    Software update funding inbound asap...

    Steve
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