New main site, new forums

As I’m sure most people are aware, we had a forum outage recently. The cause if this was me not keeping up with my responsibilities, specifically I got a message from GlyphGryph that his hosting would be going down, but I misinterpreted this as meaning the website was going down, not the forums, and then I didn’t follow up on it. To be clear his message wasn’t unclear, I was just being dumb.

Once the sites went down I started looking into options (also we have hosting offers from community members), and what I’d like to do is replace with a GitHub sites page (see here for the first draft) and replace with

Why? There are a number of reasons, but it boils down to:

GitHub sites is just free, they have a hosting model that’s not significantly more expensive than serving your source code, so they just tack it on as a value-add.
Discourse is normally a bit pricey, especialky for their hosted service, but we qualify for their open source plan, meaning again, free.

I’m not a very good sys admin, and the people running GitHub and Discourse respectively are good sys admins. Additionally, time I spend managing these sites is time I don’t spend working on dda, so it’s a win win all around.

GitHub sites is pretty much designed to do exactly what we want it to, it’s highly available, wired into repository metadata, and incredibly easy to update. On the other hand is a custom Ruby/Heroku site. I barely know Ruby, and I know nothing about Heroku, which is a big part of why it’s not updated.
Discourse is similarly much more modern and feature full compared to smf. To me the most outstanding features are community management and mobile support, but a lot of the features are really compelling, take a look at the Discourse homepage for the main ones. Also check out their demo site to see how it works.

The GitHub sites transition is pretty much a done deal, it’s already up, though we haven’t flipped the DNS over yet.

The Discourse thing is very much a work in progress though, I got the go ahead to get started about an hour ago and there are a number of technical issues to address before we can migrate. I want to hear from the community whether this is a change people are interested in. Migrating will be pointless if we lose half of the community in the process.

Some questions you might have:
Will the posts in the current forums transfer?
Yes, there’s a content transfer process, and we should be able to copy everything over.
Will my account transfer?
As far as I know, yes, you can keep using the same account.

Traffic rates looked sketchy at first but after an email exchange with Discourse they’re pretty sure it’s not going to be an issue.

So no Discourse site then?

200$ discounted by 50%

What if a patreon to fund the forums got set up? There’s got to be at least 70 of us here who can spare a buck each a month. And as pretty as discourse looks even the $200/mo plan would be completely insufficient.

The hosting is a premium service, if I self host it would be more like $50/mo. That would be a bit of a stretch for me, but not out of the question. The alternative is something like half that and stay on smf.

I’m going to contact Discourse again on the off chance that we can work something out or if the numbers are misleading me somehow.

I’m also going to just get an instance spun up on temporary hosting and see how it handles the level of traffic we generate.

A patron to diffray the server costs isn’t out of the question, though I’d want to earmark some of that to give back to GlyphGryph for the hosting he’s provided for years now.

sigh I’ll honestly really miss this place whenever we move on. I still miss the original forums but if I keep ignoring the move until it happens then I won’t have to worry about it until then.

Can’t argue that change is a very efficient move to make in this case though.

Little update, I contacted Discourse again and they think we’ll be fine, so I’ll be going ahead with it. I need to track down my server credentials or get a new set, which is keeping me from grabbing a database dump to do a migration. I’m being pretty slow with the transition in general, sorry about that.

Reminder for people who will miss the forums, we’re going to migrate all the content, so it’ll be the same threads on a new site.

What about the 100k page loads per month? Genuinely curious, you got some kind of better deal maybe?

Not a deal, based on the other stats and the activity on the site, we are skeptical that the number of page loads is correct, so we’re going to go forward with the migration and see what happens.

Alright, you know better than me here, so I trust you!


Is there a timeframe for the migration? Will the url change?

I’ve been having trouble getting in touch with GlyphGryph to handle the setup for the new forums, noting serious, just both of us being busy. It should go quite fast once I can get some DNS updates committed.

The main url will be, will be some kind of redirect.