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Post by weber » Thu, 22 May 2014, 16:26

acmotor wrote: It is not up to the webmaster to open or close the forums to AEVA members without a directive from the AEVA national council, surely also after consultation with all AEVA and forum membership ...
I quite agree. But it's hilarious that, at the same time, you think it's OK for you and Andrew to make this decision without a directive from the AEVA national council, or consultation with all AEVA and forum membership. Image
Perhaps the AEVA could exercise responsibility in ownership and taking an informed vote.....
A vote of members who use the forum. What a great idea. Oh wait, this forum software doesn't do voting, and oh, even if it did it doesn't know who is a member and who isn't.

And no, non-AEVA-members who use the forum do not have any right to have their opinions considered in regard to its future. But they are still quite welcome to post to it and I believe the vast majority of AEVA members, myself included, want the forum to continue to be open to non-members in that way.

However it would have been nice if this thread could have been members only, to avoid airing our dirty laundry in public. Something else the present software does not allow.
2. Transfer this forum data, i.e. All posts, images, threads with chronological integrity, user logins, search function, edit function to new forum software on the present webmaster's server.
Clearly this can't be voted on unless it can be demonstrated not just promised and then reneged on after the vote.
I think some folk are under the misapprehension that this transfer process is going to be simple and then confuse the delay in transfer of the forums with the technical issues.
This is my preferred option, and yes the technical issues need to be explored. Perhaps Andrew could provide rhills (thanks for your kind offer) with a snapshot of the current forum on rhills' own computer and he could liaise with Karl to do some experiments to see how hard it would be to convert to the new software.

[Edit: Fixed two spelling errors in the last sentence. Removed excessive white space after quotes.]
Last edited by weber on Thu, 22 May 2014, 13:08, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by weber » Thu, 22 May 2014, 18:22

My apologies for the typos and large vertical gaps in my last post, but I find that I am not allowed to edit it, or any other message of mine in this thread. There is no "Edit Post" item in the "Post Options" menu for these. It is still there for my build thread.
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Post by acmotor » Thu, 22 May 2014, 19:17

Weber, if this is true then you should investigate with one of the admins ( I am not one ).
But perhaps you are trying to edit another poster who quoted you. I'm sure that you know what you are doing though, quite despite forgetting forum etiquette re using names.

IIRC, in 2007, the AEVA voted to set up the forums. There has not been a vote since to bin the forum content nor has there been an offer to preserve them in the case of a platform change. I keep pointing this out. Not certain you are listening quite despite firmly agreeing.

I am glad we share a preferred option and even better, you are coming to realise that it is not that simple to achieve and has been investigated.
One day you may thank some of us for preserving the forums that would have been binned without some people standing their ground.

Yes, let us hope that rhills may be part of our future.
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Post by karlg » Thu, 22 May 2014, 19:51

Hello,

There seem to be a lot of issues which are tangled up here. Some of them are orthogonal, but some inter-related. For example, implementing membership restrictions would require moving the forums, but moving the forums themselves has nothing to do with membership restrictions (unless you see it conspiratorially).


I think it is important to look at the overall perspective - look at what requirements were specified at the time of implementation of the forum, and how well it is achieving them, and ask if they are still valid. What's the purpose of the forums? How well is it achieving them?

This means that from time to time, the implementation needs to be re-evaluated in the light of changes in the internet. Sure, there is a strong 'if it ain't broke..' argument, but if we stood by that, we'd still be ploughing the fields with oxen. So, while it's important not to wilfully make changes, it is also important to be open to developments which will help us.

Here is an example of one such change: it is what I think of as the commodification of internet services. There was a time when the best way to set up a service on the internet was to set it up yourself, from the hardware and cabling to the core software (remember the OS wars?) to the settings of the routers and the server software. Nowadays, you can 'spin up' a service on a whole new virtual computer in under a minute (e.g. https://www.digitalocean.com). Increasingly, software writers are taking advantages of new capabilities, and other writers are utilising what they create to provide even more capabilities.

Further, services are coming out which offer the new capabilities and as they become increasingly accepted, the expectations of the people using them are raised. On top of this, we see fashion as a driver of change: how many people looking at our web site (http://aeva.asn.au) don't see it as old-fashioned and uninviting?

Now, while it is fair to say that the forums provides an adequate service that meets the needs of the current users, might it not be the case that newer forums software might provide better services?

Some mention has been made of the idea of possible access restrictions. I like to think instead of the advantages that can flow from knowing if a user is an AEVA member. For example, how does a branch handle discussions about their upcoming activities? Obviously, the mechanics or how the activities are set up are not appropriate for general consumption, so some private forum for each branch would be a good solution. Imagine branches communicating with each other? What about discussions about general AEVA policies and activities? Shouldn't this be available to each and every member of AEVA? Where does that happen at the moment, if at all? My understanding is that either these things happen publicly for the whole world to see, or in private groups or individually.

Further, we must not forget that the purpose of the forums is to help fulfil AEVA's aim to promote the use of EVs in Australia. If you want to promote something, do you provide an old-fashioned service, or one which ticks the boxes in terms of usability and current user expectations? How do you best go about promoting EVs specifically in terms of the forum? (Note that re-evaluation of the web site is under way.)


I recently came across some forum software called Discourse (http://www.discourse.org), and was bowled over by it.

Create an account and try it out here: http://discourse.aeva.asn.au - it's a short-term test so all content will be deleted at some stage.


Karl Goiser
AEVA Webmaster

P.S. In terms of some of the statements in this discussion, to be clear:
- As far as I am aware, I do not have access to the data of the forums (I have just sent an email to Andrew asking for this).
- I have hitherto not asked Andrew for control of the forums, or access to the data (before just now). I have been happy that it has been run, and has been operating adequately - and independently.
- As an aside, I would like to note that my relationship with Andrew has at all times been positive, cordial and cooperative.

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Post by karlg » Thu, 22 May 2014, 20:29

Dear acmotor,

It would be preferable to work with the facts and keep the discussion on an even keel.

There is no proposal to delete the current content of the forums.
There is no proposal which would result in the deletion of the forum content.

This has already been pointed out in this discussion.


There is a proposal to move the forums to another server.
There are ongoing discussions on this and no action has been taken.
I acknowledge your current as well as previous thematic contributions.


With regards to the use of names, I would think it important to observers of this discussion to know that you are the father of the person running the forums, and was president of AEVA at the time that it was set up.


Regards,
Karl
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Post by acmotor » Thu, 22 May 2014, 21:22

karlg wrote: .....

There is no proposal which would result in the deletion of the forum content......


Check your out box. Perhaps the drift I get of no demonstrable guarantee to retain content is wrong ?
A change of platform or software in itself will entail a loss of forum content unless a competent database transfer can be arranged. This I don't see being offered. Call me an evil watch dog , but we need to get it right.

I for one are not questioning your plans for change and upgrade. You are the webmaster.

You don't need to sell us on the ideas even though some do sound like political hot air     Image , it is just the lack of appreciation for existing forum content that is a concern as it doesn't rate a mention in your lengthy post and the AEVA has not given the authority to bin that content.

Perhaps you can communicate with rhills and seek his assistance in the task of data transfer ?


P.S. You are wrong regarding the use of names not functions in forum etiquette. I can't help it if you don't get it.
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Post by weber » Thu, 22 May 2014, 21:51

acmotor wrote: Weber, if this is true then you should investigate with one of the admins ( I am not one ).
Thanks, but this is the "Admin Notices" sub-forum, so I expect them to be reading it.
But perhaps you are trying to edit another poster who quoted you.
Ha! Thanks for that vote of confidence in my intelligence. Image
I'm sure that you know what you are doing though, quite despite forgetting forum etiquette re using names.
My apologies for that, but I personally treat my handle "Weber" as just a bit of fun, not something to hide behind. Anyone can go to my members profile and learn that my real name is Dave Keenan, I'm male, 55 and I live in Brisbane, and if they follow the link to my website they can probably find out more about me than they ever wanted to know.
One day you may thank some of us for preserving the forums that would have been binned without some people standing their ground.
I do thank you for that, already. I just think it's safe for you to let go now.
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Post by Andrew » Thu, 22 May 2014, 22:49

Thanks for your words Karl. Keeping these forums up-to-date with the latest internet trends is definitely important and by me keeping the software version updated is a small step forward. However, yes there are many limitations (mainly that financial status is a manual intervention), but in 2007 when I first set up these forums and did a major overhaul of the AEVA main website, it was a big step forward from several years of stale content and absolutely no way of gaining control.

To that credit, here we are today with very active forums and a great website (thanks Karl) which has taken several leaps since 2007. I just hope any changes to the forums are not a step backwards. I'm sure with the help of people like rhills, the current forum content can be transferred to a new platform without any dramas.
weber wrote: My apologies for that, but I personally treat my handle "Weber" as just a bit of fun, not something to hide behind. Anyone can go to my members profile and learn that my real name is Dave Keenan, I'm male, 55 and I live in Brisbane, and if they follow the link to my website they can probably find out more about me than they ever wanted to know.


Haha wow... I've seen exactly this type of behavior on other (motoring-related) forums before.

Thanks Weber - I have noted your comment about not being able to "edit" your own posts. For some reason, this permission hadn't been switched on for all groups and forums. I have now rectified the problem by ticking a couple boxes. As for voting, that is an option which is enabled within certain areas of the forums.

Also, I appreciate your reporting of spammer accounts and spam posts over the years! You've certainly been around on these forums as an active member for quite some time and I can tell you are quite passionate about the future of these forums. We just have to make sure it is a sensible decision which is made in the end. Until something has been proven and the posts have a method of being preserved, I think it's silly to attempt an upgrade.

There are a lot of issues with this upgrade which you may not understand, so I'll forgive some of your comments. The current platform which these forums run is not compatible with the new website. So it'll involve a lot of expertise (from which we might have?) to complete this process.

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Post by suziauto » Thu, 22 May 2014, 22:52

Hi ,

As to date the National Committee has no interest in closing the forum to anyone.

It could only be done if voted in at an AGM.. that would require majority vote and that won't happen.

This is crazy, looks really childish and been going on too long.

I find it totally disrepectful to the National Committee , We are voted in to run the Association.

Back ups can be made , the rxpertise to transfer it is there , the only issue is someone doesn't want to let it go.. seriously?? how old are we here?

come on ... let it go..

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Post by acmotor » Thu, 22 May 2014, 23:49

You are right ( I believe ) that the AEVA will not support closing the forums to members only. But the topic was raised and debated and now hopefully dropped as an intent. It was subjected to the very robust discussion that must take place yet some seem to shy from. We need to keep up with the discussion.

The major stumbling block remains and has always been afaik the existing forum content. You may call it childish to take that matter seriously, well I don't. Perhaps you can assist the IT folk with the transfer or declare no interest in the content anyway and sit quietly back while it gets sorted. Once again, we need to keep up with the discussion. The outcome will be better than just being steamrolled into change.

Now weber, I know you feel you must defend your etiquette slip and I accept you apology. Let me point out a fundamental rule of life though. ' do what you like yourself as long as it doesn't impact on someone else ' i.e. Post your credit card numbers if you like but don't post someone else's. Most owner's EV pictures on the forum have the rego plate obscured. Most folk will resort to PMs for email addresses and phone numbers rather than the forum body. Their choice, probably wise. But it is not for you to post any such information about another person. Sorry, if you don't understand, I can't really help you. I do worry when the AEVA webmaster doesn't understand such forum etiquette though.
Re hiding ??? You are kidding right ? The people that matter already know about you and me, it is the ones who don't need to know that don't need to know. e.g. I see 27 search robots on this open to the world forum right now. So Dave, Image you could have posted the information you so desperately thought was ground breaking without the full names.

Re being safe to 'let it go' ?? It has nowhere to go as it stands. As Karl said, he had not even asked for it. I have been trying to tell you this. There is work to be done but we still haven't agreed / admitted this fundamental point that comes down to the forum content.

It does sound like everyone has the message now though and the IT people can work on a solution.
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Post by weber » Fri, 23 May 2014, 00:32

acmotor wrote:Now weber, I know you feel you must defend your etiquette slip and I accept you apology. Let me point out a fundamental rule of life ...
... you could have posted the information you so desperately thought was ground breaking without the full names.
Give it a break Tuarn Image. "so desperately thought was ground breaking" Hee hee.

Andrew's public profile gives his full name and his location as Perth. Yours gives "Tuarn" and location Perth. What do you suppose happens when I google "Tuarn Perth" without the quotes. A bajillion articles about EVs with "Tuarn <your last name>" in them. But I've gone back and edited it out of my earlier post so no more robots will get it. Now what was your credit number again. Image
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Post by weber » Fri, 23 May 2014, 00:40

Thanks for your kind words Andrew. I too thank you for all the work you've put in over the years. (Could you have a look soon at why IMGs and URLs break whenever we edit a post) Image
Andrew wrote:Until something has been proven and the posts have a method of being preserved, I think it's silly to attempt an upgrade.

Yes. I'm very glad you are willing to keep the existing system running until something is proven. I imagine a scenario where you clone the system to another Windows machine running Web Wiz so experiments can be conducted in migrating the data to Discourse or whatever. But we keep using the old system. Then when that looks like a goer, you take the existing forum off-line and <whoever> does the migration for real. And if the new system doesn't appear in a reasonable time with all the old threads intact, you just start the old system right back up again and we carry on.
Last edited by weber on Thu, 22 May 2014, 14:41, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Andrew » Fri, 23 May 2014, 00:53

weber wrote: Thanks for your kind words Andrew. I too thank you for all the work you've put in over the years. (Could you have a look soon at why IMGs and URLs break whenever we edit a post) Image
Andrew wrote:Until something has been proven and the posts have a method of being preserved, I think it's silly to attempt an upgrade.

Yes. I'm very glad you are willing to keep the existing system running until something is proven. I imagine a scenario where you clone the system to another Windows machine running Web Wiz so experiments can be conducted in migrating the data to Discourse or whatever. But we keep using the old system. Then when that looks like a goer, you take the existing forum off-line and <whoever> does the migration for real. And if the new system doesn't appear in a reasonable time with all the old threads intact, you just start the old system right back up again and we carry on.


This sounds more on-track. This is also a response to suziauto in relation to how the forum online hosting is handled:
- I am, of course, willing to continue the hosting of these current AEVA forums, as I have done for around 8 years now (wow, I'm getting old).
- The forums are accessed via a "sub domain" forums.aeva.asn.au which is NOT controlled by me, it is actually under the authority of the AEVA Webmaster, Karl, who simply has to change where the subdomain points to.
- There is no "letting go" because a brand new forums, even with this content tranferred and translated over, is on a completely different server and hosting platform, which as mentioned in my previous point can be easily pointed to the respective host/server. There is SO MUCH involved in transferring over the content, but if someone is willing to put in the man hours...

[ Edited Coulomb: repaired smiley in preparation for phpBB transfer ]
Last edited by coulomb on Wed, 19 Jul 2017, 07:35, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by karlg » Fri, 23 May 2014, 01:49

To rhills and anybody who is at all interested in actually helping: please get in touch!

There are all sorts of things that can be done, and I'm sure there are lots of people who have great ideas about things that could be done.

You can private message me.


Regards,
Karl

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Post by karlg » Fri, 23 May 2014, 01:52

Regarding moving the software to another environment, I think you are overestimating the amount of work involved.

These people promise to do it for a couple of hundred bucks:

http://gconverters.com/convert-web-wiz- ... pal-forum/

Karl

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Post by rhills » Fri, 23 May 2014, 02:10

OK, if all the politicking is over and done with for now, lets get down and technical. I see this current forum is hosted on Web Wiz which is a windoze/IIS/ASP/SQLServer based product while the proposed alternative, Discourse, is based on Ruby-on-Rails and Postgres both of which will run happily on Windoze or Linux (and possibly even Macs). If the forum moves away from being hosted in someone's home office (which is probably a good idea anyway) then the ability to host on Linux will open us up to cheaper hosting options.

Physically moving forum data and metadata from a SQLServer DB to a Postgres DB doesn't present any major problems. The main challenge will be marrying the Web Wiz data structure to that of Discourse.

In a quick scout around the Discourse site, I discovered that they provide very reasonable setup and hosting service for non-profit organisations which I assume the AEVA would qualify for. The benefit of a hosted service is that all the backing up, failover, OS updates, security etc are taken care of. Discourse is also keen to assist with data conversions it would seem.

People who know more about AEVA finance/politics than I do may want to work out if AEVA can afford and is prepared to pay for 3rd-party hosting. I do this for my own personal databases/email/cloud stuff and have become very comfortable with the concept, especially the security.

I am heading off for 3 weeks holiday starting next Tuesday and after I return I am happy to put some time and effort into testing a data conversion and then if everything goes well, migrating to the new forum.
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Post by karlg » Fri, 23 May 2014, 02:45

(Thanks for the details Rob. We agree on many of them. Happy to take the technical stuff offline.)

Let me make this simple:

Everybody agrees that the forum data is very valuable.

What would happen to it if Andrew had an accident or decided to join the ACECA, the Australian Crush Electric Cars Association?

While I, along with the whole of AEVA and beyond are grateful for the service Andrew has provided, we really need to consider survival beyond Andrew (or myself).

Regards,
Karl

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Post by weber » Fri, 23 May 2014, 03:32

jonescg wrote:It goes to the heart of what AEVA hopes to achieve. Are we an old man's tyre-kicking tea party or are we a credible force for changing the way Australia moves itself? Are we an enthusiasts club or a policy-directing association?
Chris, I must congratulate you on a wonderful turn of phrase "an old man's tyre-kicking tea party". When you get to my age, you young whipper-snapper Image, you'll realise there is nothing quite so enjoyable as standing around with other old men, drinking tea, and kicking the tyres of the car (or bike) they helped you build, through some of the most enjoyable times of your life.

I hope there is room for all of those things in this brave new world of which you speak.
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Post by Adverse Effects » Fri, 23 May 2014, 03:43

<a href="http://blog.discourse.org/2014/02/disco ... education/" rel="nofollow">Discourse Installs for Non-Profit and Education</a>
For a flat one time setup fee of $200, and $10/month, we can set up a fully configured Discourse instance in the cloud for you. Unfortunately, we cannot offer any support, but we do include one future update to the latest version.
"Unfortunately, we cannot offer any support"

this dose not bother you?
Last edited by Adverse Effects on Thu, 22 May 2014, 17:45, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Adverse Effects » Fri, 23 May 2014, 03:51

got to love the EDIT bug on links

here is a repost

Discourse Installs for Non-Profit and Education

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Post by jonescg » Fri, 23 May 2014, 04:03

weber wrote:
jonescg wrote:I hope there is room for all of those things in this brave new world of which you speak.


Oh I'm doing it now, no need to wait 'till I'm old! Image

An association which aspires to be professional always has room for the humble tyre kicker. An association which declares itself a tyre kicking club is very limited in it's ability to look professional when the times arise.

One of my aims for AEVA is to bring the average membership age down by a decade, and get more women involved. EVs are for everyone, not just us tyre-kicking types Image

I challenge you to come up with a better invention than the bicycle

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Post by 7circle » Fri, 23 May 2014, 04:11

Just a comment on Discourse Forum engine.

My smartphone Android 2.7 is not supported.
So looked up what is:
https://github.com/discourse/discourse/ ... /README.md

Discourse is built for the next 10 years of the Internet, so our requirements are high:

Browsers Tablets Smartphones

Safari 5.1+ iPad 2+ iOS 6+

Google Chrome 23+ Android 4.1+ Android 4.1+

Internet Explorer 10+ Windows 8 Windows Phone 8

Firefox 16+

Internet Explorer 9.0 is technically supported, but it is our absolute minimum spec browser and may not be fully functional.

Hope your considering Audiance. Does webwiz give metrics on user browser info?

I hope the forum allows for those that stuggle to keep up with the techno-redundency.


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Post by rhills » Fri, 23 May 2014, 09:27

Unfortunately, letting your browser drop too many versions behind the bleeding edge is just inviting hackers to help themselves to your computer.

If you browse the web, you should have an up-to-date browser.
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Post by rhills » Fri, 23 May 2014, 09:32

Adverse Effects wrote: "Unfortunately, we cannot offer any support"

this dose not bother you?
It doesn't bother me particularly, I use unsupported software all the time. However, I'm aware that for these things to be sustainable in a group like the AEVA, you need support. Nevertheless, I'm still not worried as what the above statement means is "no support at this price". IOW, if you need support you pay extra, or else go to the forums for the software in question and ask questions.
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Post by weber » Thu, 16 Oct 2014, 17:32

About 5 months ago we reached agreement, in this thread, that we should perform a test conversion and transfer of this forum from the WebWiz software on Andrew's server, to the hosting service already used by AEVA for its Web site, while converting it to use forum software that will run on that hosted server.

Some reasons for such a transfer and conversion are:
(a) the ability to tell the forum software which subscribers are also AEVA members, for the For Sale forum and for discussions about AEVA policy.
(b) the ability to use a commercial hosting service for
1. competitive pricing,
2. internet speed,
3. ease of handover between AEVA webmasters,
4. peace of mind, including automatic backups, security upgrades and forum software upgrades,
Not that we have any complaints about Andrew's performance in that regard. However if it was moved to another privately owned and housed server, or if Andrew was hit by the proverbial bus, we might not be so lucky.

Unfortunately, almost all hosting services are Linux based these days, including the one that the AEVA's website and membership database is on, and the existing WebWiz forum software will not run on a Linux server. That's why we must not only transfer the forum, but also convert it to different forum software. This can now be done painlessly by a commercial forum conversion service.

We also agreed that:
(a) the converted forum must be open to non AEVA members just as it is now, and
(b) we must convert the existing forum data, i.e. all posts, images, threads with chronological integrity, user logins, search function, edit function to the new forum software. [quote from acmotor]

I contacted the AEVA webmaster (karlg) about a week ago to see what progress had been made, only to learn that it was sadly none, due mostly to karlg and rhills having had other committments.

Since then karlg and I have investigated the options and come to the following agreement, which was discussed, voted on, and passed unopposed by a meeting of the Brisbane AEVA branch last night: The Brisbane branch will fund a test conversion by gConverter to phpBB forum software on the AEVA's existing web host. PhpBB was chosen as its structure is highly compatible with that of WebWiz, and it is the most popular free forum software on the planet. Many of you will be familiar with it from other EV forums.

I understand that some other branches (Sydney, Canberra and Perth?) took a vote earlier and passed resolutions, not about these specific details but approving the transfer of the AEVA forums to the same host as the AEVA website.

KarlG will liase with gConverter to provide them with the necessary URLs, database admin IDs and passwords. At Karl's request, I agreed to act as temporary admin for the converted forum. And most of you would know that I have a vested interest in seeing that there is no loss of content. Image I am also in full agreement with Andrew and acmotor (and most AEVA members) that the forums must remain open to non-members.

Andrew, you have the option of providing Karl, or gConverter, with the database admin ID and password for the WebWiz forum or providing them with a zipped dump (backup) of that database. They will also need FTP access, to copy images and attachments that are not stored in the SQL database. Please see http://gconverters.com/convert-web-wiz-forums-to-phpbb/ and follow the link to their access requirements, and let us know how you would prefer to do it.

In either case the forum will need to be locked for the duration of the conversion, and a backup by Andrew at that time would be a good idea in any case. gConverter say the conversion can take up to 48 hours but is typically 24 hours.

Assuming the converted forum passes an initial inspection by Karl and myself, we'll put it online for a few days so people can check that their existing usernames, threads etc. are intact. Unfortunately there is no way to convert passwords due to their one-way encryption, so all subscribers to the original forum will be emailed new passwords. So make sure your email address is up to date in this present forum. You will of course be able to immediately change your password back to whatever it was before.

If, after a day or two of this, our webmaster determines that the converted forum has met the above data preservation requirements, the change will become permanent. If not, we will switch back to the WebWiz forum, unlock it and carry on as before. So be aware that anything you post in those few days may be lost.

We would like to initiate this process tomorrow.

Does anyone have any questions about this, or any suggestions?
One of the fathers of MeXy the electric MX-5, along with Coulomb and Newton (Jeff Owen).

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