Planning Big Changes for Mazdas247 [Updated 9/30]

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Antoine

Administrator
I'm going to be adding to this thread periodically so please stay tuned! I would like to let everyone know that I'm seriously considering migrating Mazdas247 from vBulletin to Discourse. For now, I will start with...

Why?

Bottomline, we have to move off our current forum platform (vBulletin 4) because it's already outdated and support from vBulletin themselves not to mention the plugin community is in rapid decline.

Why not upgrade to vBulletin 5?

While there was a time when vBulletin was regarded as the best, those days are long gone and now it seems they are playing catch up with fewer and fewer resources. I don't believe vB5 is a competitive product and while it could be someday, I no longer have confidence in the company itself.

What's Discourse?

Here's the official description from https://www.discourse.org/faq

Discourse is the 100% open source discussion platform built for the next decade of the Internet. It works as:

a mailing list
a discussion forum
a long-form chat room

- What's different about it?

Discourse is a from-scratch reboot, an attempt to reimagine what a modern Internet discussion platform should be today, in a world of ubiquitous smartphones, tablets, Facebook, and Twitter.

We're civilized.

Our trust system means that the community builds a natural immune system to defend itself from trolls, bad actors, and spammers — and the most engaged community members can assist in the governance of their community. We put a trash can on every street corner with a simple, low-friction flagging system. Positive behaviors are encouraged through likes and badges. We gently, constantly educate members in a just-in-time manner on the universal rules of civilized discourse.

Uncompromisingly open source.

There is only one version of Discourse – the awesome open source version. There's no super secret special paid commercial version with better or more complete features. Because Discourse is 100% open source, now and forever, it belongs to you as much as it belongs to us. That's how community works.

Everything that most communities would want is included out of the box; a giant collection of complex plugins should not be required to have a great experience.

Simple. Modern. Fun.

Discourse pares all the complexity away and puts just the essential stuff on screen – the conversations you care most about, based on your participation.

All the modern amenities you'd expect from a big social website like Twitter or Facebook are present in Discourse. Mention someone by @name. Paste in a link or an image, and we make it awesome on your behalf. Simple quoting and linking of replies and topics. Reply wherever you are, online or via email.

And it "just works" on your phone and tablet.

Note that a lot of the elements mentioned above can be adjusted (at the admin level) so we can tailor Discourse to best match Mazdas247's community culture.

Are you working on a demo site?

Yes! In fact, it's already up thanks to our tech guru, Enry. I'm currently working on and testing a completely new forum structure (forums are called categories on Discourse). The demo site has not been made public but I may post screenshots of it here in the future.

If we migrate, what will change?

A LOT but for the better! Think of it as a sort of "clean slate" for the community. I will go into more detail in the future so keep an eye on this thread!

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Please note this is currently just a plan and not official yet but I want to keep everyone informed about our future. In order for Mazdas247 to continue serving Mazda Owners and Enthusiasts in a relevant manner, we need to modernize and adopt new and innovative ways to house our Community. I believe Discourse can help us do that and I will go into more detail on how soon!

As always, thanks for reading this and for spending your time on Mazdas247! :D
 

i12drivemyMP5

___ 323F ___
Contributor
Do I need IE11 for this new stuff to display right? Or is view weird for everyone right now? Or a different browser?
 
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Antoine

Administrator
Do I need IE11 for this new stuff to display right? Or is view weird for everyone right now? Or a different browser?

Excellent questions...Please note the official word on browser support from Discourse below...
----------------------------------
What are the minimum browser requirements?

Discourse is designed for the next 10 years of the Internet, so the minimum browser requirements are high:

Internet Explorer 10+
Google Chrome 24+
Firefox 14+
Safari 5.1+

Starting in 2016, we no longer support Internet Explorer 9.
----------------------------------

What browser and version are you using now?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Kedis82ZE8

'15 CX-5 GT AWD, '12 GX 460, '07 G35x
Contributor
:
'15 CX-5 GT AWD
OP Updated 11/3




Cool, thanks!




Good to know...Stay tuned for more juicy details! :D




Cool, thanks for chiming in and glad to know you already have experience with Discourse. (thumb)

How do you feel about the lack of "sigs" on Discourse?

I'd survive without sigs :) I think attachments will easier for most as well.
 

i12drivemyMP5

___ 323F ___
Contributor
Excellent questions...Please note the official word on browser support from Discourse below...
----------------------------------
What are the minimum browser requirements?

Discourse is designed for the next 10 years of the Internet, so the minimum browser requirements are high:

Internet Explorer 10+
Google Chrome 24+
Firefox 14+
Safari 5.1+

Starting in 2016, we no longer support Internet Explorer 9.
----------------------------------

What browser and version are you using now?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Have tried on different PCs with IE9 and IE11 with same result. Wondering if Fortinet firewall at work is doing this? Fixing to try Safari on the ipad and see what happens and also will try on PC at house later.
 

i12drivemyMP5

___ 323F ___
Contributor
must be a firewall thing at work, safari works fine and betting the home pcs will too.........nevermind, site still showing as pwrd by vbulletin using ipad.
 

Antoine

Administrator
I'd survive without sigs :) I think attachments will easier for most as well.

Cool...Yeah, it seems sigs are slowly becoming a thing of the past (just like traditional forums). They are a great form of personal identity but are not really necessary for an online community to function, especially in this day in age.

As for attachments, the way Discourse deals with media is a lot more streamlined than vBulletin. In other words, it's a lot easier and more efficient. One concern is that we can set Discourse to automatically save posted images in order to prevent broken images / links in the future...This is great but I'm not sure how much extra storage capacity will be needed to save every posted image year after year. I will have to consult with Enry on that one!


Have tried on different PCs with IE9 and IE11 with same result. Wondering if Fortinet firewall at work is doing this? Fixing to try Safari on the ipad and see what happens and also will try on PC at house later.

must be a firewall thing at work, safari works fine and betting the home pcs will too.........nevermind, site still showing as pwrd by vbulletin using ipad.

Thanks for the feedback! Please note that I have not posted a link to the demo site so what you're looking at seems to be the current vBulletin site which does say "Powered by vBulletin Version 4.2.2" at the bottom of each page.

That said, it would be great to see how Discourse functions on various browsers etc...You can test this now by visiting the official Discourse forum at https://meta.discourse.org ---> Note that it's utilizing the default Discourse style and we can of course change the color scheme and design to fit our needs.
 

Antoine

Administrator
The discourse demo page worked fine even on IE9 PC....

Cool, thanks for the conformation!


So will you be dropping AV and AMM fee structures to accomodate the cheaper cost of operation?

Cheaper cost of operation???

Before you assume anything, please note that while Discourse is open source our cost will remain the same if not increase because of the time, effort and technical skill needed to migrate / update the site. On top of that, we may loose revenue initially because we plan on moving away from traditional banner ads and instead run our own self-hosted store which will INCREASE costs...All in an effort to improve the Mazdas247 experience for the community and ensure that we can continue to serve Mazda owners as we have done for so many years. We may also host the current site as an archive / read-only site for the older threads so that people can look back if needed.

You should also know that we haven't increased vendor fees in YEARS despite increased hosting costs.

That said, if you're interested in the future of our Vendor programs as well as the community then please stay tuned, thanks!
 

Bashi Bazouk

Living Fast and Easy
:
Mazda Cx-5 Grand Touring AWD
Sounds like a good path to take. Thanks for keeping our experience up to date. Not familiar with Discourse unless I am using it on another forum site. I look forward to the final implementation. I have no need to have a phone/tablet functionality. Do all of my forum experience on the big screen and desktop.
 

Antoine

Administrator
Thank you Antoine!

Thank you for the feedback! :D


Sounds like a good path to take. Thanks for keeping our experience up to date. Not familiar with Discourse unless I am using it on another forum site. I look forward to the final implementation. I have no need to have a phone/tablet functionality. Do all of my forum experience on the big screen and desktop.

Interesting, thank you for the feedback. If we go ahead with this move to Discourse, we are going to say goodbye to Tapatalk (a third-party shared app for forums) and only use Discourse's built-in mobile experience which is already quite good and only getting better (in my opinion).

As for whether or not you're familiar with Discourse...You can search the following list of sites running Discourse...

https://meta.discourse.org/t/please-visit-our-discourse-forum-directory/3102

Thanks again and please stay tuned for future developments!
 

Zed87

The Legendary Hawkeye
:
2006 Mazda 3 Grand Touring S
@antoine If you decide to make the move to swap over to discourse, will the majority or all of the data on the forums make the merge? Also, will the old site still be available after a complete move or will it be shut down?
 
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Antoine

Administrator
@antoine If you decide to make the move to swap over to discourse, will the majority or all of the data on the forums make the merge? Also, will the old site still be available after a complete move or will it be shut down?

Great questions! While I'm not sure what's technically possible yet, the plan is to move threads that have been active within the last 5 years or so and leave the rest on a read-only version of the current vBulletin site (as an archive).

I'm assuming and hoping we can move all account data including PMz etc...There are going to be a lot of technical challenges with the move but I believe it's important for the Community to be on a modern platform that offers the latest features and options.

Thanks for the questions!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Antoine

Administrator
Quick Update!

If you haven't noticed already, the Official Mazdas247 Store is NOW LIVE @ https://shopm247.com :D

Unfortunately I haven't had much time to focus on the transition to Discourse but I plan to now that the store is up and running. That said, we have been doing what we can to enhance our existing vBulletin instance in the mean time. You might have noticed that we removed the vBadvanced homepage and now Mazdas247.com directs straight to the Forum index page. We did this for two reasons, the main one being we wanted to run vBulletin's Mobile style (which would not work with vBadvanced enabled) and the other was that the homepage was becoming less relevant (we were seeing less and less interaction through the home page).

The next enhancement is going to be security...We're working on converting Mazdas247.com into an HTTPS site which will add security and improve our ranking on Google. (2thumbs)
 
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