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 en.cataclysmdda.com with a GitHub sites page (see here for the first draft) and replace smf.cataclysmdda.com with discourse.cataclysmdda.com.
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 en.cataclysmdda.com 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.