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New Forum Research Thread

Original Online Meeting Group business agendas, notes, topics, and discussions
Forum rules
* All who attend OOMG meetings on Zoom or Mumble are welcome to participate and vote in OOMG business.
* The business of the Original Online Meeting Group of CGAA is discussed. At our monthly business meeting, we make decisions by group conscience, guided by higher power. Everyone has a vote on group matters.
* Back and forth discussion of different perspectives is appropriate. We strive to be respectful of all.
* Anonymity reminds us to place principles before personalities.
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Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:46 pm

New Forum Research Thread

Post by MorganF »

So I volunteered to do this work and, having taken my first look at the alternative forums available, it is overwhelming.

Are we committed to free solutions, only?

How plug-and-play does the service have to be? And how can I tell ones that have some technical management overhead versus ones that don't?

One source I found suggested these 5 forums. From their descriptions, I can't tell very clearly how well any of them would meet our needs.
1. bbPress
2. Simple Machines Forum
3. vBulletin Connect ($250-$400 one time cost)
4. phpBB
5. Discourse

I found another list that has about 20 options on it...
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Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:46 pm

New Forum Research Thread

Post by LND_5678 »

Hi Morgan,

This is a project I'd like to help with. I do not have a lot of time at the moment, maybe two hours a week, but hey, better than nothing.

I have a SiteGround account and I can set up different self-hosted solutions, provided they do not require "sudo" (root/super user) permissions. This is because I have a basic shared site, not a dedicated site/system. I am familiar with PHP, HTML, Javascript, Python, and other web languages. I don't do CSS (the style sheets needed to create nice looking pages) very well, but most packages would come with default themes and so forth. I can get PHPBB, SimpleMachines, and/or WordPress forum plugins site up and running, as well.

Some questions for the group to whom this provides service:

  1. Is this platform for all of CGAA, or only for OOMG?

  2. Does this group have a written set of "requirements" for a forum platform as a document or a spreadsheet? If so, where are they? OneDrive or Google Drive? A previous set of forum threads?

  3. Have these requirements changed since the previous requirements were stated? How?

  4. Has it been decided to self-host this thing, or to use a Software-As-A-Service provider?

  5. What is the goal of having a forum? In other words, what functionality is the aim of this platform, beyond the technologies we are already using? How does it serve our fellowship as compared to other types of technology we are using? Shared network drive (e.g. Google Drive, OneDrive, etc.), the website, WhatsApp, Mumble, Phone conferencing, and so forth.

  6. After we have a good idea of what our goal(s) and needs are, is forum technology the best type of technology to meet our additional needs beyond the other technologies we currently use?

  7. If forum technology is not the best type of technology, then what type of technology would serve our needs?

  8. If we use a SAAS provider, what are our requirements for the Terms of Use and the Privacy Policy?

  9. There are administrative requirements, such as: does the SAAS or self-hosted technology have back-ups which we can download and port to a different platform in the future? Our current forum provider does not provide this, requiring us to do that work ourselves. And, does it have automatic daily off-site backups in case of platform failure? I'm sure there are other administrative tasks - our current forum administrator may have some insights on these.

I know I ask a lot of questions, but I don't want us to dive down a rabbit hole of all the work of evaluating a new platform when I don't have a clear vision of what it is we are aiming at. It would be like axe throwing while wearing a blindfold in a basement with the lights turned off.

thank you for any clarification provided.
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