gojozoom wrote:Hi guys,
Thank you for the constructive feedback - I agree with most of it. I have already made changes to the PM system so that only admins can PM groups. The forum settings are fairly limited so we can either enable PMs to groups and multiple users or disable them altogether - meaning you can only PM a single user. To avoid further Reply All "incidents" I disabled it for now.
I also agree that PhPBB might not be the most modern/secure platform but there is a reason why we chose it. Here's a brief background to those of you that joined us more recently. Until about 4 years ago the forum was run on a forum software from stone-age (defunct now), using a very outdated server and database. We looked at different options for safely migrating everything (and keep all posts and attachments) to a more modern and customizable system that is at least somewhat compatible with the old database and forum software. At the time only PhPBB had migration scripts that were proven working fine so we went with that - none of us had the time on our hands to do a full manual migration. However, to address those security holes we're going to schedule in a software update from v3.0 to the current v3.3.
Another factor is that this forum (as most other forums) doesn't have a full-time admin. We're trying to fit things into our busy lives, work, kids, jobs, etc, therefore a "fully blown" IT support with continuous maintenance and updates is not achievable at this point. I'm open to discussions about options or volunteers to do certain tasks, obviously someone with some IT background and a bit of a change management (ITIL) experience.
All in all you're right, it's far from perfect, but I think a single 24-hours outage in 4 years is pretty good in terms of availability and stability. I'm not trying to use this as an excuse or brag - it's merely an objective observation.
Just looking at your comments around IT support and running the site and looking for volunteers. We mentioned previously the out of date nature of the hosting/server platforms, but I also now see you run 3.0.14 and note that that was end of life in 2015. All in all, this still makes things very old, and gives the feeling of things being neglected (and I say that from a tech point, I know the demands of running communities and real life don't always align and that behind the scenes can be quite demanding at times), so quite a bit of work just to bring the existing up to at least a supported and more secure environment. And I have to say it was the number one factor for me not contributing to the site before now, despite joining quite a while ago.
That said, I'm a sucker for volunteering and I'm happy to help with LAMP server config/snapshots/backups/database management/SSL/patching and upgrades, SEO and hosting config and even bringing the forum upto spec. It's something I do already for a number of forum based sites. However, I would like to ask why stop at there?
There's clearly room for some feature improvements:
A gallery for the screen captures - ongoing photo comps and an interest point to bring in new content
A document storage area for manuals, instructions, modifications, heck you could even monetise it to allow developers to charge for a download.
A decent review system, allow people to recommend equipment/suppliers/developers
An event calendar - get the community together for a flying event.
Bring in community features - reactions, the ability to recommend posts, promote topics, up voting and down voting ideas etc, the list is endless.
Q&A forums, blogs, articles from members willing to act as regular content providers.
With a bit of time, you could bring in tactful donation, sponsorship, advertising opportunities to support the running costs, and if cost is the stumbling block, I would be happy to support a software purchase/license. If time is the issue, I maybe could possibly be talked into potentially doing it for you.
Obviously we'd start off with a ticketing support system and change log and a test environment.
Let me know what you think.