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Thread: Russian Cars Forum migration

  1. #1
    Administrator av8or1's Avatar
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    During the past few weeks I have been approached offline by a few of our members concerning our current forum hosting. There appears to be a growing concern regarding the long term viability of Lefora. From my perspective there is evidence to warrant such a concern, though I cannot predict how long Lefora will or will not remain in existence. I can say that monitoring the Lefora support forums on a regular basis in order to receive some word of its future, but yet receiving no such word has gotten old for me. I continue to do it nonetheless, no worries, I consider it my duty as founder. And it's not the work that has gotten old, it is the lack of a good answer, or any answer really that has caused this result. There was also a fair amount of complaint from those who have sent me PMs regarding all of the advertisements on the Lefora forums, especially those pop-up ads that appear at the bottom of an attached picture or document.

    The general notion that seems prevalent amongst those who have brought the issue to my attention is that even though Lefora may last for some time to come, it is also possible that it will disappear rather quickly. Therefore, rather than just sit around and keep our fingers crossed that this result does not occur, these members would prefer to take proactive/preemptive measures by moving to a new hosting platform now. It's a plan-and-do-it-now instead of react-later kinda thought pattern, if you will.

    So. Based on this feedback, I have formulated a plan for how our forum can migrate to a new home. The basic idea is that we create our own website and forum so that we do not rely on anyone's forum hosting services. Our only dependency then is our new web hosting company, which is something that every website must ultimately rely upon. However these folk are paid, so there is incentive to retain good quality services in the long term, whereas Lefora was free and thus does not have this incentive. Here are the details of my plan:

    1) I would secure a domain registration for our new website as well as web hosting services using the same web hosting company I have used for a few years now with the other websites that I maintain. This company is widely recognized in the website hosting industry as one of the best, if not the best in the business. I have never experienced any website downtime with them in over 3 years and they have a very good customer support system. This company's name is HostMonster - feel free to research them if you'd like via Google or their website http://www.hostmonster.com/

    2) I would purchase a license for vBulletin, which I consider to be the best and most feature-complete forums software in the Internet. This is a one-time license with no renewal fees. The only fees that might come later on would be if an upgrade to a newer version of vBulletin was desired. I suspect we could continue with the 4.x suite of products for many years to come. You can check out vBulletin at http://www.vbulletin.com/ or via Google search.

    3) We would continue to use Lefora for now, and in the meantime I would migrate our forum's content to the new website and test it. This would include users, posts and attachments. Only once it was up-and-running in a stable manner would we make the final switch. After that, I would close the Lefora russiancars forum and leave a note that we have moved for all those who might return to look for us in the Lefora community in the future. Ergo, I would provide a link that clearly spells out our new website address for all to find.

    4) One of our members who has approached me also had an additional suggestion. We could grow the website a little in the future to perhaps include a store, etc. However our first priority would always remain - naturally - to be a community where Russian cars and all subjects that pertain to them are discussed/information exchanged.

    A couple of pertinent notes to this plan. I would personally donate my time and software development expertise to this project, as well as cover the up-front costs of our migration. Hopefully all of our members would contribute their feedback and we could continue to evolve the look-n-feel our new forum. During the work, I would be willing to accept small donations to cover our expenses, but I wouldn't formally request them and certainly NOT insist on them. There will be no cost for you to be a member whatsoever. Russiancars is free to all who would like to join us and contribute. Later on, if we decide to create a store then we could apply whatever proceeds we receive from that store to the maintenance of our website/forum. It would never be a business for me or anyone else, all proceeds would be reinvested back into the care and feeding of our new home.

    It seems like there is another aspect to this announcement that I wanted to mention, but hell if I can remember what it is now. So I will reserve the right to add that commentary within the next few days, provided I remember.

    EDIT: Ok I remembered what I wanted to add: the selection of a new domain name. Should we decide to go in this direction, we will need to decide on one. Any suggestions/preferences? At last check these names were available:
    www.russiancarsforum.com
    www.russiancarforum.com
    www.russiancarclub.com
    www.russiancarsclub.com
    www.russiancars.net

    Not available were:
    www.russiancars.com

    Open to suggestion from here.

    And with that, I would like to turn the speaking podium over to all of you for your feedback on this idea. If you have an opinion one way or another on the subject, please post with a clear "Yes" or "No" regarding your position on this idea of a new home, along with an explanation if you would like to expound upon your vote. Thank you for your time.

    Jerry
    1983 GAZ Volga 3102
    1987 GAZ Volga 3102
    1970 Plymouth Road Runner
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1992 Toyota 4X4 - 324,000+ miles and still kicking
    2000 F350 XLT SD 7.3L PSD DRW CC LB 4x4

  2. #2
    you the boss.

    i will follow your descision
    1957 volga gaz-m21B
    2016 BMW X4M
    2012 ducati monster 796
    www.volga21.com

  3. #3
    Administrator av8or1's Avatar
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    Thank you for the feedback Dmitri. No other input from you other folk?

    Thanks,
    Jerry
    1983 GAZ Volga 3102
    1987 GAZ Volga 3102
    1970 Plymouth Road Runner
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1992 Toyota 4X4 - 324,000+ miles and still kicking
    2000 F350 XLT SD 7.3L PSD DRW CC LB 4x4

  4. #4
    Moderator betauser's Avatar
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    Russia Uzbekistan
    I totally agree with this decision and ready to help at any stage. We can attract more fans of Russian cars or create a useful website. And I like these domain names: www.russiancarsforum.com, www.russiancarsclub.com.

  5. #5
    good names (if available)
    1957 volga gaz-m21B
    2016 BMW X4M
    2012 ducati monster 796
    www.volga21.com

  6. #6
    Administrator av8or1's Avatar
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    I would like to see more feedback here if possible, but thank you to those who have responded just the same.

    So far all of the response that I have received regarding this issue has either been neutral or positive. No one has approached me and informed me that they were/are against this idea. If you noticed, Lefora was down late Thursday and most of Friday, which is another example of something I would like to avoid in the future. Hostmonster does a much better job WRT server up-times.

    So. Based on the responses thus far I will begin the migration process late next week. This will give those who don't log in that often a chance to provide feedback too. My wife leaves next Wednesday to spend time with her family in Ukraine, so the timing of this migration works out pretty well in the big picture. That said, I'd like to make it clear that it will take a backseat to the restoration work on my 3102. Finally, note that the migration of our forum's data itself will require me to write some custom software to complete the transition. Therefore I cannot say how long this process will take, but I will keep you up-to-date as development progresses. I will do that via this thread.

    If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

    Thanks!
    Jerry

    ps-I think it would also be good for us to develop a custom logo for our new website and forum. Does anyone here have graphic artist abilities or know someone who does?
    1983 GAZ Volga 3102
    1987 GAZ Volga 3102
    1970 Plymouth Road Runner
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1992 Toyota 4X4 - 324,000+ miles and still kicking
    2000 F350 XLT SD 7.3L PSD DRW CC LB 4x4

  7. #7
    Administrator av8or1's Avatar
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    Ok gang.

    I have shipped the wife off to Ukraine for a couple of months. I will have a little more free time than usual, though yardwork season is right around the corner. Anyway, the first step in this migration process will be to choose a new domain name. A few have been tossed around already such as:
    www.russiancarsforum.com
    www.russiancarforum.com
    www.russiancarclub.com
    www.russiancarsclub.com
    www.russiancars.net

    Personally I vote for www.russiancarclub.com for a few reasons:

    1) I like to think of our "group" as a club, such that if we all lived in the same area we would form a non-profit organization and do events together. This makes us a "club" even though our geographical proximity prohibits that from happening in real life.

    2) Because the plural version of this domain name possibility (www.russiancarsclub.com) doesn't make sense in English. You'd never say "I am a member of the Russian Cars Club" , you would say "I am a member of the Russian Car Club."

    3) If we want to have a store and other possible aspects to the new home, then the domain name can't include the name "forum." If it does then your website should match it and only be a forum. I like the notion of a possible store since it might help offset the costs of maintaining the website, my time not included.

    To be open about my vote, I would have actually preferred www.russiancars.com, but it is already taken by someone looking to make money selling domain names. No thanks!

    Ok that's my vote. Looking for feedback. Please respond and provide your input. I value everyone's opinion and would like to hear your preferences. If the choice doesn't matter to you that much, I'm ok with that too. 'Just want to make sure that everyone feels included...because you are!


    Thanks,
    Jerry
    1983 GAZ Volga 3102
    1987 GAZ Volga 3102
    1970 Plymouth Road Runner
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1992 Toyota 4X4 - 324,000+ miles and still kicking
    2000 F350 XLT SD 7.3L PSD DRW CC LB 4x4

  8. #8
    Administrator lembit's Avatar
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    Australia Estonia

    Jerry,
    I personally very much like
    www.russiancars.net
    as we are a wide spread network of enthusiasts.
    I would not think of us a club really at all as we really do not behave like a club but more of a loose network of benzine heads.
    I would state besides basic forum requirements should also include an RSS feed and ability to subscribe to a daily digest
    I am happy to pitch in some $ for domain name and hosting costs.
    I am sure others will also volunteer
    I manage an Australian Mooney Pilots Association website and its forum http://mooney.org.au/forum/
    where I use phpBB and it does the job beautifully
    But up to you to make the final call on that.
    Love to come to Texas, I could help you bag all those parts you are ripping out of your perfectly good car. ;-)
    Maybe we could get mockba2 out there !
    We could celebrate his vibration free days and hopefully fuse blowing days too. ;-)

  9. #9
    guys, i honestly don't have a preference on the name.

    anyone is good with me
    1957 volga gaz-m21B
    2016 BMW X4M
    2012 ducati monster 796
    www.volga21.com

  10. #10
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