Copied over from the topic on the Dragonlance Forums (at the Nexus):
I recently got a message from Shannon Appelcline, who hosts this forum and the Lexicon
on the RPG.net servers. They are making some changes on their end, which means that I'm faced with a choice. I can either move the forums and Lexicon, update them to a new format, or in the case of these forums, kill it. Or I could take over this server at a cost of $20 a month. Note that I am not a server admin.
The Dragonlance Forums have existed for 17 years. However, the version of vBulletin that it's on is severely dated. The back-end gets hammered with thousands of spam accounts.
The simple truth is, as much as I love what we have built here, it's become a very niche forum with little traffic. So I am considering shutting it down.
I can set up a new instance of vBulletin and start over, moving over the threads that are the most important to keep. Or we could go to the vBulletin Cloud format, which would have automatic updates, but would cost $15 a month.
I'm really sorry to see this. I've had an account here longer than I've had an account at The Piazza. And would be sorry to see these forums go.
Is there any way you could migrate the vBulletin database over to phpBB? phpBB is free to use and many hosting companies support it.
If you set up the software correctly, you can have questions that block spambot sign ups. And if you add in a Stop Forum Spam module, you can report anyone who manually signs up to spam, so that all forums using Stop Forum Spam automatically ban that spammer. (So you can join a neighborhood watch" organisation that keeps spammers away.)
That would be a bunch of work, but it could get rid of your vBulletin costs forever and maybe give you the option to raise funds for a one-time-process to save your forum (instead of having the forums leech cash).
I've not spoken to the rest of the team at The Piazza yet, but I know that we would be happy to have the DL fans here come to our Dragonlance forum (and Taladas forum), if it comes to that.
I don't think we could promise the large range of forums you have here, but The Piazza has a long history of supporting projects, that includes private project forums (for things like the Mystara fanzine and Spelljammer fanzine). So we might even be able to help you transfer over a small number of Nexus admin projects, that you want to continue running on forums.
I don't think we could have the massive range of forums you have here, replicated at The Piazza, but, if things have slowed down here, concentrating all the discussions into a central Dragonlance forum, will create a situation where all the Dragonlance fans see everything that people want to talk about. (And if people wanted to build up to having things like an Adlantum subforum, they could use '[Adlataum]" tags, and that could be looked into later. Check out the Mystara forum at The Piazza
, to see what a campaign setting forum, with lots of projects looks like on our website.)
What sort of deadline are you up against, if you decide to dump these forums?
You might want to put out the word, to see if anyone can make a script to suck posts out of topics.
You might also want to see if someone can make a script to crawl the Dragonlance Forums and submit every single URL to the Wayback Machine, so that you can store a backup there. (You might also be able to reach out to someone who works for the Wayback Machine, to see if they can crawl the Dragonlance Forums for you.)