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I run the website for my old car club.  Three years ago our ISP arranged for a 'third party' (I don't know who and didn't ask, but believe they were based in India) to migrate the club forum from Snitz to the Simple Machines platform.  The ISP supervised the process and it was done very successfully at a cost that just clipped four figures plus VAT.  All the previous content survived with the exception of a few posts that were made during the transition.  We looked at Invision but rejected it because of the subscription charge. The reason for the change was that Snitz did not have the facility to host photos but SM does, and it works well.

Simple Machines claims to have a 'converter' that will do the migration process from Invision but no doubt like all these things, it is not for beginners.  I don't know any details about the process.

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I have used another SMF converter - it was easy enough, but the result needed work (at the database level) to get everything just right.  Usually the problem with such converters is that they worked when written, but haven't been updated as either the source or the target changed format, even in small ways.

Mind you, going from one major version of a forum to the next can be as tricky!

But keeping the forum going as is (if that could be arranged with the company's liquidators) would require a commitment to something over $40 a month for hosting (+VAT. I presume).  Is anyone here happy to pay that indefinitely for such a small active community, when there are free alternatives?

Paul

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2 hours ago, john carter said:

I am grateful to Steve for rapidly setting up a trial alternative that provides an "insurance policy".  However attractive it is, I don't think we should be rushed into "decamping" until we know,  for certain, the status of the existing forum.  Nothing in this life comes free and we cannot expect Steve to bear the sole responsibility for operating a forum for the rest of us to sit back and enjoy.  A time may come when Steve is unwilling or unable to continue as host, so an alternative needs a proper constitution from the start and possibly a sponsor.  However boring legal matters are, we also need to ensure that a public forum complies with Data Protection regulations.   

I don't want sole responsibility! If the forum takes off then I'd want at least 2 or 3 other people to be administrators/moderators. As long as one or two are technically competent then the future should be secure. If anything happens to me, or I get fed up, anyone who knows what they are doing could move the entire forum off my server to another host somewhere else in a few hours. Sure, the web address might change but all the content, users, etc would be unaffected.
You are also right that we need some forum rules and a privacy policy and I'm happy to sort that IF the forum takes off. What I don't want to do is to spend hours sorting all this out now before we really know if we need the new forum or not.

Steve

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2 hours ago, pwhodges said:

Is anyone here happy to pay that indefinitely for such a small active community, when there are free alternatives?

I'll be blunt.  I would not be willing to pay an ongoing subscription fee unless it is quite nominal. In any case, even if I were, I don't know how much longer I am likely to live and I know there are members who are older than I am. Is a subscription basis really viable?

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I'd be as happy as anyone if this forum could somehow be allowed to continue as is, or perhaps be replaced by a similar one as has been suggested by several people.
However, I see there has been no further comment about an existing forum - 'Organ Matters - Organs Matter!' - which someone suggested a couple of pages ago (sorry, but I can't remember who first mentioned it).  That site lives right next to this one in my list of tabs at the top of my Chrome browser.  I look at it every day, only to find (sadly) that hardly anyone ever posts on it!
I'd like to suggest, once again, that if all else fails we could rely on that site to provide what we have lost.
One should never look a gift horse in the mouth!

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pwhodges wrote:  "Is anyone here happy to pay that indefinitely for such a small active community, when there are free alternatives?"

Vox Humana wrote:  "I'll be blunt.  I would not be willing to pay an ongoing subscription fee unless it is quite nominal." 

Gentlemen, I imagine you pay for your internet access and you probably paid for your computers.  How can you expect to get the services of a forum free of charge when it requires both equipment with a finite life and internet bandwidth?  To set up the trial forum, Steve Goodwin is generously paying for both out of his own pocket. The cost may be small, but it is more than zero.

The only long term alternative to subscription is to find a sponsor, as Manders have been. The inclusion of digital organs could make the forum attractive to a wider range of manufacturers, who might value the opportunity to reach an audience interested in their products.  General advertising could be an alternative, but the narrow forum topic and the potential views are probably too limited.

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We all pay for things that cost as much or more - but only for as many things as we feel justified.  As for the cost, Steve's offer is presumably free even to himself, apart from the time he spends on it.  I would also be happy to set up a forum and run it - free, gratis, on my own equipment - as it would count as a hobby (and not be my first forum either).  But (a) I'm 74 (and currently healthy, I hasten to add), so the longevity of my offering could be seen as uncertain, and (b) Steve got his in place first!

Paul

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There have been many invaluable discussions over the nearly fifteen years that I have been a regular contributor. I don't know how feasible it is to "lift and shift" the contents across to another (preferably free) website or to to merge them with an existing site (I am also on Organ Matters and contribute, albeit less frequently though mostly because this forum seems to be busier). I would personally be willing to pay a contribution for one off costs and if a Mod wants to gather interest in members I am happy to be approached.

It would be a travesty to lose the knowledge shared over the years here; would BIOS or RCO have any interest in archiving the material and making it freely searchable, even if we contributors move over to another existing website such as those mentioned?

A decision may need to be taken quickly and without warning; the sooner we can archive existing content the better.

Once again I would like to thank John Mander for the foresight in setting this wonderful discussion medium up in the first place.

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36 minutes ago, Contrabombarde said:

Once again I would like to thank John Mander for the foresight in setting this wonderful discussion medium up in the first place.

I'd like to second that.

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1 hour ago, Contrabombarde said:

Once again I would like to thank John Mander for the foresight in setting this wonderful discussion medium up in the first place.

Hear, hear!

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9 hours ago, pwhodges said:

We all pay for things that cost as much or more - but only for as many things as we feel justified.  As for the cost, Steve's offer is presumably free even to himself, apart from the time he spends on it.  I would also be happy to set up a forum and run it - free, gratis, on my own equipment - as it would count as a hobby (and not be my first forum either).  But (a) I'm 74 (and currently healthy, I hasten to add), so the longevity of my offering could be seen as uncertain, and (b) Steve got his in place first!

Paul

... and I'm 70 so not far behind you!

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A quick thought - I wonder if one of the universities might be willing to host the forum (I seem to recall that Emmanuel College Cambridge used to host the NPOR for example).  One could argue that there is academically interesting content in it.

Or BIOS or the RCO perhaps?

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One of our members who is involved at the RCO is aware of the current situation and will raise the matter at the RCO as soon as he is able. Meanwhile ,i tis good to see that a number of active members of this current forum are joining the new one, though I realise that isn't the end of the story as Steve still needs a preparedness from one or two to play a part in its management.

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I would be happy to take on responsibility through my company, although we would seek some form of fundraising to ensure it is viable, as a small company we probably couldn't afford to pay the full ongoing costs. However, I am open to the idea of saving the forum in its current form.

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Thanks to Steve Goodwin for setting up a new board. Initially I joined but then had second thoughts and asked for my membership to be deleted. It's time to call it a day!

I shall continue to read this board and to post if I feel the urge but once it has gone that will be the end of it.

Good wishes to all. Stay safe.

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I am with S_L on this one..a little too much rush to create a substitute that does not in my opinion quite reflect the unique position the Mander Forum has/had . Since there was no appetite from other organ builders to take it over, its time is over. Just like Rotunda the Mander Forum was a snapshot in time.

Good wishes to all

Stay safe in these troublesome times

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I joined the new forum, and I am grateful that someone has stepped in to continue the good work of this, the Mander forum, should it cease to exist.
I shall also be pleased to continue to visit this forum for as long as it continues and thank those generous people responsible for its upkeep over all these years.

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9 hours ago, John Robinson said:

I joined the new forum, and I am grateful that someone has stepped in to continue the good work of this, the Mander forum, should it cease to exist.
I shall also be pleased to continue to visit this forum for as long as it continues and thank those generous people responsible for its upkeep over all these years.

Agreed. Sadly the probability of this forum not having long to run is potentially high.

 

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21 hours ago, philipmgwright said:

I am with S_L on this one..a little too much rush to create a substitute that does not in my opinion quite reflect the unique position the Mander Forum has/had . Since there was no appetite from other organ builders to take it over, its time is over. Just like Rotunda the Mander Forum was a snapshot in time.

Good wishes to all

Stay safe in these troublesome times

Not sure if such negativity is helpful.

If members wish to continue the 'spirit' of this forum from a different platform then I think this is an excellent idea. The new forum also clearly states at the home page that the new site is a 'continuation' of the Manders forum. There really is far too much negativity doing the rounds at the moment.

The new forum is an excellent idea and those who have set it up should be heartily congratulated. 

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3 hours ago, contraviolone said:

Not sure if such negativity is helpful.

If members wish to continue the 'spirit' of this forum from a different platform then I think this is an excellent idea. The new forum also clearly states at the home page that the new site is a 'continuation' of the Manders forum. There really is far too much negativity doing the rounds at the moment.

The new forum is an excellent idea and those who have set it up should be heartily congratulated. 

That's very good to read, CV. As the person who raised this thread I am really saddened that the good folk above have decided not to keep up their membership of the new forum and that someone has accused us of moving too quickly. I am genuinely at a loss to understand their reservations and, furthermore, I am sure that Noel Mander and John Pike Mander would be thrilled that despite the difficulties that have hit the company, the highly successful forum lives on in its new incarnation, and would give it their generous blessing.

In suggesting that we 'got on with it' I was simply anxious to avoid a situation whereby we woke up one morning to find this forum closed and no idea where to turn to find all those with whom we have enjoyed corresponding for many years. The alternatives, prior to what Steve has set up as the natural sequitur to this Mander forum, gave little hope, frankly of meaningful engagement and correspondence, and I think it is brilliant that he has made something happen so quickly and that a good number have moved across already. 

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56 minutes ago, Martin Cooke said:

That's very good to read, CV. As the person who raised this thread I am really saddened that the good folk above have decided not to keep up their membership of the new forum and that someone has accused us of moving too quickly. I am genuinely at a loss to understand their reservations and, furthermore, I am sure that Noel Mander and John Pike Mander would be thrilled that despite the difficulties that have hit the company, the highly successful forum lives on in its new incarnation, and would give it their generous blessing.

In suggesting that we 'got on with it' I was simply anxious to avoid a situation whereby we woke up one morning to find this forum closed and no idea where to turn to find all those with whom we have enjoyed corresponding for many years. The alternatives, prior to what Steve has set up as the natural sequitur to this Mander forum, gave little hope, frankly of meaningful engagement and correspondence, and I think it is brilliant that he has made something happen so quickly and that a good number have moved across already. 

Thank you Martin. I completely agree with everything you say.

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For many years I have lurked on this forum, visiting every day but rarely posting.  There are many wiser and better informed members, and I feel poorly qualified to contribute.

I am greatly saddened by sudden collapse of Manders, and the dispersal of their wonderful team of craftsmen.  As others have said, their instruments will be a long-lived reminder of their work. 

I hope many forumites will join the new forum and have every expectation it will continue where this one leaves off.  Many thanks to Steve for getting this set up in good time.

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I have bookmarked "The Organ Forum" to move over to if/when this forum is no longer accessible. Because of the way this forum is set up, I would often read it without logging on as we only need to log on to post. That might be a reason for the figures mentioned above. (Another forum that I'm a member of requires members to log on in order to view some of the content, so I am normally logged on when I browse that forum.)

I have used this forum to search for useful information and thus am hopeful that the posts here will not be lost. I assume that this forum will be accessible until the dues are not paid to Invision. It very much helped while away the hours when I was confined to bed for a number of weeks some years ago. I enjoyed reading through the threads; there is humour, valuable information, and insights into human nature, too. 😉

Having once hosted an organ society web site for a number of years, I am able to confirm that it is possible to do so without any extra payment required on top of hosting one's own site. ISPs allow multiple hostings for a given fee. Time is what it takes. Thank you Steve, for doing so.

I also understand that there are times in life when a seemingly small event is the final trigger for a decision to move into a new phase. For those that have contributed in the past but have now decided it is time to focus on other things, thank you for the time you have spent posting to this forum. Go well.

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