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May 13th, 2022, 19:47
Originally Posted by Myrthos View Post
Next week, I'll let you all know ifwhen there is a potential "restart" of RPGWatch.
Please?

And to do a little more conspirancy theory… perhaps the new solution has something to do with Larian?
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May 13th, 2022, 21:35
As Larian does, this was the announcement of the announcement. In that announcement there might even be an announcement…. or not
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May 13th, 2022, 22:06
Originally Posted by Myrthos View Post
As Larian does, this was the announcement of the announcement. In that announcement there might even be an announcement…. or not
Was that a teaser?
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May 14th, 2022, 00:56
Larian's taking over RPGWatch? I'm running with that… Hook, line, sinker.
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May 14th, 2022, 03:28
If you could see my eyes glaring at you right now.
As I hate when we get an announcement of an announcement.
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May 14th, 2022, 05:24
Originally Posted by Redglyph View Post
Was that a teaser?
I suspect perhaps, that it was merely an announcement of a teaser…
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May 14th, 2022, 10:16
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
If you could see my eyes glaring at you right now.
As I hate when we get an announcement of an announcement.
Wait until you see the Early Access of the new site!

OK, I'll show myself out


I've had a very brief look at Drupal and its forum modules, but they don't seem very good or even to match what we're looking for. There's a new one that looks better, Harmony, but it's in an early stage. So if we had to make a new site ourselves, I think we would have to create a custom interface to another forum, and probably maintain it (I don't think there's an actual API on either side but I haven't looked, it depends on the forum engine too).

Another option, at first I dismissed it but WordPress and wpForo seem good (at least the functionality). I'll probably do a test with that instead, at worst it'll be an experience.

Yet something else: phpBB was very easy to install, to use and to interface, last time I messed with it, and it had tons of add-ons (IIRC it had CMS-like modules), but it also had security issues and it was necessary to watch the security alerts very closely. It was long ago, so it may have changed entirely.
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May 14th, 2022, 10:25
Originally Posted by Redglyph View Post
Wait until you see the Early Access of the new site! [emoji317]

OK, I'll show myself out


I've had a very brief look at Drupal and its forum modules, but they don't seem very good or even to match what we're looking for. There's a new one that looks better, Harmony, but it's in an early stage. So if we had to make a new site ourselves, I think we would have to create a custom interface to another forum, and probably maintain it (I don't think there's an actual API on either side but I haven't looked, it depends on the forum engine too).

Another option, at first I dismissed it but WordPress and wpForo seem good (at least the functionality). I'll probably do a test with that instead, at worst it'll be an experience.

Yet something else: phpBB was very easy to install, to use and to interface, last time I messed with it, and it had tons of add-ons (IIRC it had CMS-like modules), but it also had security issues and it was necessary to watch the security alerts very closely. It was long ago, so it may have changed entirely.
À very early version of phpbb allowed users to take over as admin simply by changing your cookies. [emoji16]
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May 14th, 2022, 10:43
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
À very early version of phpbb allowed users to take over as admin simply by changing your cookies. [emoji16]
Those damn cookies! I'm not surprised, when something is wrong they're always the usual suspect!
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May 14th, 2022, 10:48
Originally Posted by Redglyph View Post
Wait until you see the Early Access of the new site!

OK, I'll show myself out


I've had a very brief look at Drupal and its forum modules, but they don't seem very good or even to match what we're looking for. There's a new one that looks better, Harmony, but it's in an early stage. So if we had to make a new site ourselves, I think we would have to create a custom interface to another forum, and probably maintain it (I don't think there's an actual API on either side but I haven't looked, it depends on the forum engine too).

Another option, at first I dismissed it but WordPress and wpForo seem good (at least the functionality). I'll probably do a test with that instead, at worst it'll be an experience.

Yet something else: phpBB was very easy to install, to use and to interface, last time I messed with it, and it had tons of add-ons (IIRC it had CMS-like modules), but it also had security issues and it was necessary to watch the security alerts very closely. It was long ago, so it may have changed entirely.
Yeah, I wouldn't use Drupal, myself, and the forum modules for CMS software I think are not as good as the pure forums. I lean towards having a very simple news site that mirrors the Watch front page layout, and then embedding a separate, dedicated forum to show posts, similar to what we have now. Then, pretty much everything happens on the forum side.
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May 14th, 2022, 11:39
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
Yeah, I wouldn't use Drupal, myself, and the forum modules for CMS software I think are not as good as the pure forums. I lean towards having a very simple news site that mirrors the Watch front page layout, and then embedding a separate, dedicated forum to show posts, similar to what we have now. Then, pretty much everything happens on the forum side.
The problem with that is the necessary layer to link the news and articles and the database; if there's a robust way to integrate them I wouldn't dismiss it. Many have expressed the desire to keep the current functionality, which is a plus for the site.

But sure, let's not put just any forum. What do we need, beside the obvious?
  • threads and pinned posts
  • search
  • multiple access rights (for the moderators and the team subforums)
  • overview of the activity to keep track of posts (in general and the user's)
  • enough formatting options for the posts
  • sanction system
  • PMs
  • notifications
  • overall easy-to-use and clean interface
  • quotes, and preferably mentions
  • like or similar counter system
  • polls

Am I forgetting something?

CMSes have connectors to known forums too, like XFtoWP, but we can't get the source of XenForo until we pay the licence (160$/year…) - the only demo they offer is hosted by them of course. Which makes an evaluation more difficult than open-source ones.
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May 14th, 2022, 11:57
My thinking is focused on keeping the essentials as efficiently as possible, as stage 1. The easiest and most robust solution that could provide folks with most of the experience they're used to, in a way I know I could manage without too much effort.

Then I would say, OK, we've got the basis of the Watch - the newsposting and the community. I can handle that. If people wish to, they can then volunteer to do the the work on the database stuff, and phase 2 can be restoring that functionality (though still in a highly maintainable way.)

I think most of the forum criteria you mention would be available in most of the major options. I would be looking at things like how well-established is the software, efficiency (in terms of keeping as much work client-side as possible), their security record, the health of their own communities, and so on. Another major point for me is their tools for moderation and trust. For example, Dicourse has a very good system of community spam control, where as members become trusted, they can report spam, malicious content, and so on. If a number of those trusted members flag it, it gets hidden until a mod can take a look at it. That sort of thing.
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May 14th, 2022, 12:21
RPGWatch comes with a XenForo license, as I already have purchased it last year (still had plans at that time). It would need the yearly extension though to get the updates. That yearly extension is $55 a year.

For the record, my mentioning of Drupal or any other CMS, was based on ideas I had, where Drupal, or another CMS would be strictly for the news site and Xenforo would be the forum part. The two would be linked by using an existing add-on for the CMS, creating it or modifying an existing one, if needed.
However most of the work would have been in being able to use the current database of RPGWatch and getting that imported in one way or the other in the CMS.
It would be quite a loss to start anew and loose all the historic data of the last 16 years of the news site.
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May 14th, 2022, 12:28
Originally Posted by Myrthos View Post
However most of the work would have been in being able to use the current database of RPGWatch and getting that imported in one way or the other in the CMS.
It would be quite a loss to start anew and loose all the historic data of the last 16 years of the news site.
Sure, but in my way of looking at it, I wouldn't necessarily have the right to use the Watch database, anyway. The way it came across to me, the Watch was dead, and a plan for independent continuation was required. In a scenario where my version was where the community went, and we were permitted to use the database, phase 2 could be looking at someone doing that work.
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May 14th, 2022, 12:34
If there is no restart of RPGWatch as it is, a lot of options are open.

From the perspective of GDPR, moving the forum contents to some other site is tricky, but that would be different for the news content. It would be possible to make that move GDPR compliant.
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May 14th, 2022, 12:42
Yes, and I would want to do things in a GDPR-compliant way, anyway. Personally, as long-time readers may have noticed, I'm pretty hardline about data security, respect for privacy, defeating tracking, and so on. More so than the GDPR. In those circumstances, I wouldn't want to accept any data that people might not have expected or intended me to have. But, as you say, the database stuff is another matter - non-personal contributions to a community knowledge base.
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May 14th, 2022, 12:57
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
My thinking is focused on keeping the essentials as efficiently as possible, as stage 1. The easiest and most robust solution that could provide folks with most of the experience they're used to, in a way I know I could manage without too much effort.
Wouldn't it be better to do it the other way round? Finding a system that allows us to restore all the features, and only falling back on an easy solution or a more custom one if it fails? Custom integration is what we're trying not to repeat.

We still have some time to search and test after all. An easy fallback solution can be found very quickly - actually it seems we already have it (XF).

Transferring the content is just scripting, I'm not too worried by that. If the current deal doesn't work, it would be interesting to get a sample of the databases without the sensitive part (like the PMs, team subforums, emails) to do an early test. Once it works, we can even give the script to Myrthos / whoever the new owner is, to limit exposure.

Originally Posted by Myrthos View Post
For the record, my mentioning of Drupal or any other CMS, was based on ideas I had, where Drupal, or another CMS would be strictly for the news site and Xenforo would be the forum part. The two would be linked by using an existing add-on for the CMS, creating it or modifying an existing one, if needed.
Drupal has a very good reputation, so it's a good idea, and an existing connector to link both would be so much better. It's just that I found more existing solutions with WordPress, but I haven't spend a lot of time searching.

Good to know about XenForo. I only saw 160$ on their site so I thought it was the same fee to extend the support, 55 is a much better one. Have you played with it?
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May 14th, 2022, 13:11
Originally Posted by Redglyph View Post
Wouldn't it be better to do it the other way round? Finding a system that allows us to restore all the features, and only falling back on an easy solution or a more custom one if it fails? Custom integration is what we're trying not to repeat.
Well, the conversation is evolving, somewhat. My thinking was based on what I could do alone if it came to it (I take Myrthos's warning seriously), and that I would be confident I could maintain without unreasonable effort. The only integration I'd be looking at, in that case, is embedding some forum comments on the newspage, as we have now. And that's really a trivial and commonplace thing to do - I wouldn't be too worried about that.

If it were the case that the other options don't work out, we all agree it's time to build RPGWatch 2.0, and people commit to doing the work, then yes, I might look at the approach a bit differently.
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May 14th, 2022, 13:16
I've played with Xenforo in the sense that I migrated the forum database. That worked, so all people and posts appeared to be there. They even had the same thread an post IDs, so an automated link conversion could be easily made from the old to the new forums.
What would be missing is the hacks we did in VB. All likes would be gone for example.
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May 14th, 2022, 14:02
The likes have gone once in the past. We all survived.
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