Righteous Wrath Online Community

General => Help => Topic started by: Melbosa on September 17, 2018, 02:05:42 PM

Title: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Melbosa on September 17, 2018, 02:05:42 PM
So you may be aware that Lazy and I have spent time to see what the upgrade will look like for SMF.  It is possible to do so, and its in our wheelhouse to make it happen, but I wanted to know your thoughts on moving out of this traditional software to something more modern.  I know we asked this question a few years ago, but since then there has been some new products released that I am really excited about.

One particular is Discord, and with Discord there are more integration options with other products that could replace SMF really nicely.  One of them to consider is Guilded (https://www.guilded.gg/).  This free product is currently in beta, but I have one large guild I am in is already using it.  It is pretty much Discord + SMF + Game Stat collections + Streaming section wrapped up together (and integrates with Discord).

What I want to know is the active member's thoughts about exploring this new medium?  I can set it up free of charge for us to review if there is interest?

Let me know by Friday, September 21, 2018 what you think about pursuing a demo of it for this group?
Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Lazybones on September 17, 2018, 02:16:34 PM
My personal thoughts.

1. I would like to see HTTPS in use... because well I log in from work, and well passwords in the clear and all.
2. We have a number of private subs for guild and friends chat.. I have some concerns about that being hosted as a SaaS as we lose some control of that data. However I am not opposed to it as I think security wise a SaaS will probably do better than us.

I do like the look and feel of some message / forum systems better than others however I am very flexible on this.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Mr. Analog on September 17, 2018, 02:31:47 PM
Like Lazy I have some concerns about SaaS and privacy, if we migrate existing content it may reveal more than I think I'd like to have out there in the cloud.

That said I'm not opposed to change, I do like the threaded conversation model we have here and how easy it is to access / read. I have a lot of control over how it looks with my web browser, but that's mainly a me thing not a most people thing.

I like Discord but it can get unwieldy (I've been managing my own small community for over a year), I wouldn't mind if we had a Discord on the side - if anything for voice chat and fun bots and such.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Tom on September 17, 2018, 05:01:04 PM
I'm not fussed, though I'm partial to not using some other client for a single community...
Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Darren Dirt on September 18, 2018, 12:26:07 PM
I like what has worked for this long time... I really like the ability to FIND old threads quickly and easily and reliably.

I fear Discord would be too different in how I use this forum regularly.

What are the benefits to switching?
Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Melbosa on September 18, 2018, 12:30:12 PM
Its about the time to switch.  If going to put in the effort want to make sure moving to the right upgrade that is best for us.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Lazybones on September 18, 2018, 01:23:01 PM
Given how little time we typically have to dedicate to patching / administration I agree it is time to change.

I agree with Darren that discovering old content via search however is an important feature, I quite frequently search for past discussion on hardware and various topics on here as well..

I just don't resurrect ;) the thread as often.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Mr. Analog on September 18, 2018, 02:09:19 PM
TBH I kinda like the ol' forums the way they are, I'd like to know more about the other options though. I'm very familiar with Discord and its more of a live conversation type thing (think IRC or group IM chat, but with channels) it does offer some bonuses like having voice channels / screen sharing if we actually want to see or talk to each other.

FYI you don't need the desktop / mobile client to use Discord there is a web interface it's kinda clunky but it works

I have no idea about Guilded, I'll have to do some poking around to learn it
Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Darren Dirt on September 18, 2018, 05:31:02 PM
I VOTE REMAIN



;)

Seriously though... not broke, why fix it? I really appreciate what we have, and the time you admins spend keeping it reliable. No extra time needed if no new system to go to.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Lazybones on September 18, 2018, 06:01:45 PM
I don?t think remain the same is a realistic option, I think this is more about when and what.


Title: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Lazybones on December 11, 2018, 08:17:08 PM
Going to make two suggestions.

1. Replace SMF with https://www.discourse.org/ it can be run as an open source docker image (or hosted as a SAS if you want)
2. Host in AWS on a simplified LightSail instance.. $5 USD / mo (1GB of ram is the minimum for discourse)

Using the above we should be able to wrap the site with Nginx and Free lets encrypt

The above config should be VERY portable to other hosting, and also allow for an offline data conversion on a faster system as we have lots of legacy data to move.

Data conversion doesn't look too clean.. Probably will break BBCode and some custom smilies but there is a documented SMF2 procedure for doing an upgrade / conversion.

It is a popular and well supported forum.. While I don't totally like its look and feel it is build on highly maintainable parts and using docker it should be MUCH easier to keep the host and services patched and secure.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Melbosa on December 12, 2018, 10:04:41 AM
I can host the same thing on Linode for the same price, so either solution is fine.  Its the getting there that will determine how we proceed.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Lazybones on December 12, 2018, 11:02:45 AM
Quote from: Melbosa on December 12, 2018, 10:04:41 AM
I can host the same thing on Linode for the same price, so either solution is fine.  Its the getting there that will determine how we proceed.


Yep.

Really with docker the only big difference is going to be how the storage mount points are setup / permissions on some variations of the OS.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Lazybones on December 12, 2018, 12:01:02 PM
I suppose the recommended install method for letsencrypts certbot does differ a bit by host OS.

The ubuntu option is actually to use a PPA and use a package, it setup the auto renew cron job for you.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Melbosa on December 12, 2018, 01:19:35 PM
I have already setup a letsencrypt with centos on linode using docker.  So I am familiar on how to do it under centos with docker.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Lazybones on December 12, 2018, 03:01:45 PM
Well I guess the question is, are there other forum options?

Is docker a must ( probably a big win on ease of maintenance)?

Is it worth the effort to change ? (Change of some kinds is needed)

Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Melbosa on December 12, 2018, 03:18:43 PM
Discourse is big, phpBB is still in active development, but I think SMF is all but dying out.

I would agree Docker is the way to go for maintenance, ease of installation, ease of use from an Administrative side.

I agree something is needed to be done as our SMF is stalling out on an advancement side.  I'd like to know the thoughts of our key members too before making a decision for us all.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Lazybones on December 12, 2018, 03:32:16 PM
Of note, I think we are 2 releases behind on SMF, we should probably apply those updates.

Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Mr. Analog on December 12, 2018, 04:38:59 PM
I'm all for something new as long as its usable and has some kind of app I can keep track of things with on mobile.

For me it comes down to usability and how flexible the UI is (skin support, threaded conversations, media support etc)

I'm also very interested in keeping all the content we currently have here since it really is interesting to come back to conversations from years ago.

If we can migrate content from one platform to another I think my main concern is keeping private conversations private, obviously moving to a new platform will give us more secure communication options but if we aren't careful our private forums might become public - would hate to accidentally dox people
Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Lazybones on December 12, 2018, 04:47:45 PM
Quote from: Mr. Analog on December 12, 2018, 04:38:59 PM
I'm all for something new as long as its usable and has some kind of app I can keep track of things with on mobile.

For me it comes down to usability and how flexible the UI is (skin support, threaded conversations, media support etc)

I'm also very interested in keeping all the content we currently have here since it really is interesting to come back to conversations from years ago.

If we can migrate content from one platform to another I think my main concern is keeping private conversations private, obviously moving to a new platform will give us more secure communication options but if we aren't careful our private forums might become public - would hate to accidentally dox people


All good points.

For discorse at least it has a modern responsive design, the conversion and security settings should be something we can confirm offline locally. I suspect with any migration we will have some broken links , tags, emojis, and attachments in some areas but I agree it is important to maintain our historic discussions.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Darren Dirt on December 13, 2018, 03:16:21 PM
Quote from: Lazybones on December 12, 2018, 03:01:45 PM
Well I guess the question is, are there other forum options?

Is docker a must ( probably a big win on ease of maintenance)?

Is it worth the effort to change ? (Change of some kinds is needed)


Docker = https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docker_(software) right? AKA virtualization

So you're saying, new forum system, but instead of being a real single instance on a real HD one of you has been nice enough to provide for [omg!] 2 decades, now it would be virtualized... and [therefore?] no longer the current BBS system but something more "new and hip" like Discourse?

As long as it is easy enough to search (you know me and resurrecting ancient threads when a single post on the same subject is all I have to say), plus to quickly get "up to speed" from the previous visit (aka busy week or two, I can still come back here to RW and easily see the most recent "10 pages worth" of discussion).

TBH that's all that matters to me, I really appreciate the time whoever might be investing to keep this *COMMUNITY* alive with my dear friends of half my damn life.  8) :hat-tip:



Post-Grunch: seems like Mr. Analog said similar, but I want to echo this...
Quote from: Mr. Analog on December 12, 2018, 04:38:59 PM
I'm also very interested in keeping all the content we currently have here since it really is interesting to come back to conversations from years ago.

If we can migrate content from one platform to another I think my main concern is keeping private conversations private, obviously moving to a new platform will give us more secure communication options but if we aren't careful our private forums might become public - would hate to accidentally dox people

Even if worst case scenario there is some kind of "snapshot" of all the previous threads, if somehow a full export is only raw data then I want it even available as like a .ZIP or something. Just the thought of losing what we all invested in for DECADES of our adult life, it gives me the shakes similar to when the IMDB threads gave 30 days notice before #MemoryHole made it all vanish.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Lazybones on December 13, 2018, 04:54:27 PM
The current plan is I will take a snapshot of the current forum and setup a proof of concept for you guys to preview.

The less you need me to carry forward the less work the conversion is.. I should be able to directly convert, forums, messages and users, the things that might be wrong, missing or break are URLs, attachments, custom smilies, and BBCODE in old posts.

Virtualization puts multiple OS on a single physical box by emulating or presenting virtual hardware.. You need to maintain the OS etc under it.

Docker is considered Containerization / Application Virtualization. You wrap all of an applications dependencies in a container then it runs on one OS.

For example you could wrap JRE , the app jars and its files in a container and run it beside another one with different dependence.. You don't install anything on the host OS other than docker.

For the forums this often means wrapping a lite webserver, PHP / JAVA / .net, the app etc in the container.

INstead of Patching  the normally common items like PHP, Java, .net you wrap the latest app with the latest dependencies.. You destroy the out of date container a replace it with an up to date one.. The apps data is stored outside the container and persists.

This avoids having a bunch of conflicting libraries on the host OS and keeps things very clean.

Last night I tried to upgrade the forum from  SMF 2.0.13 to SMF 2.0.14 and it failed because PHP needs to be upgraded on the server.. With docker that would not be a problem as both compatible apps and dependencies would be in the container.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Melbosa on December 13, 2018, 05:13:29 PM
I'll be sad if Attachments don't come over, as I've been running my D&D Thread with lots of attachments... it is something I can fix after the fact but will be some hours of work.  And then there is all my CoH/CoV creations lol...
Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Lazybones on December 13, 2018, 05:16:37 PM
Quote from: Melbosa on December 13, 2018, 05:13:29 PM
I'll be sad if Attachments don't come over, as I've been running my D&D Thread with lots of attachments... it is something I can fix after the fact but will be some hours of work.  And then there is all my CoH/CoV creations lol...


I want attachments as well.. I mention it as extra work because reading the various forums it is something that can cause the import to fail (IE it is way faster to not try).. I will try and bring them over however.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Darren Dirt on December 13, 2018, 05:22:50 PM
I would presume the easiest thing to do as a safety net is a full raw snapshot archive backup dump of the RDBMS back-end, is that where the attachments are located too?

Otherwise who has the time and interest to do a full data dump of some kind, via some kind of Web Crawler wget calls with a bit of logic to "get everything"?

...like what some folks did for the IMDB forums...

[along these lines, one of these is probably the "hit"] https://archive.org/search.php?query=imdb

One attempt used "Scanner: Internet Archive HTML5 Uploader 1.6.3" apparently [but it was like 50k... unlike this which is much bigger -- https://archive.org/details/warc_home-grab-grabs-_imdb-forums_20160802 ]



Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Lazybones on December 13, 2018, 05:32:58 PM
Posts, forums, users are in the DB.

Smilies and attachments are stored with the web content files.


I will try and grab the attachments and import them.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Darren Dirt on December 13, 2018, 05:42:25 PM
If I had time/self-discipline, I could see this kind of "backup everything in a structured way" project being a good way for me to learn node.js or even just properly restart my Java skillset development...

Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Darren Dirt on December 14, 2018, 12:02:14 PM
*** >>> ABILITY TO EDIT/MODIFY POSTS <<< ***

just sayin'
Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Melbosa on December 14, 2018, 01:31:19 PM
Quote from: Darren Dirt on December 14, 2018, 12:02:14 PM
*** >>> ABILITY TO EDIT/MODIFY POSTS <<< ***

just sayin'
For everyone else...
Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Darren Dirt on December 15, 2018, 06:54:45 PM
to clarify:

ability to edit/modify MY OWN POST without being a Mod of any kind.

You know, like what https://gab.com/ allowed from Day One but Twitter will never allow.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Lazybones on December 15, 2018, 06:55:52 PM
You can?t edit your own posts? That is probably a setting we could change.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Change (SMF)?
Post by: Darren Dirt on December 17, 2018, 09:31:05 AM
Quote from: Lazybones on December 15, 2018, 06:55:52 PM
You can?t edit your own posts? That is probably a setting we could change.


I *can*.

And I want to still be able to in the new system.

Some forum software prevents editing a post (often after like 10 or 15 minutes or w/e) so I wanted to make sure.