I’ve given this a thread of its own because I hope discussion here will focus on the practicalities, not recriminations and the like, which are being well aired elsewhere. I am linking to it from the STF in the hope of catching everyone with a potential interest in the subject.

To paraphrase someone or other, to get where we want to be we should really start from somewhere else. But here is where we are.

If there were a consensus of interested parties the content of could be transferred to a new, independently-managed instance of the Discourse software, and this may best preserve and restore faith in a truly valuable local resource. But that’s a big if .

Since a community group has no real business being its own software gurus (whatever skills we may have) I would suggest the ideal solution is to migrate the forum to the centrally hosted service provided by the software company, who already have tools to do just this. There would be an ongoing monthly cost which I believe will be easier to find than the open-ended technical commitment of hosting the installation ourselves. The ruses we might devise to raise this money would help cement the real human relationships for which a forum is an imperfect substitute; they might also include paid advertising by local businesses.

Of course this idea would be a non-starter without Chris Beach’s cooperation (I am sure he’ll be reading this), which he is perfectly at liberty to withhold, and without trusted volunteers to administer the reincarnated forum in a strictly non-profit, pro bono manner (not that I believe Chris ever made a penny from it directly). This could still be under the domain name, should Chris be happy to see the back of it. Otherwise I would suggest, with a banner of the railway bridge mural…

If this were to happen, all of the users and their posts would be preserved; of course this would include any ‘troll’ users currently on board. The new management may wish to devise an approach to the verification or elimination of these – I don’t think this is an insuperable problem.

The new management would probably need to form a pukka non-profit organisation, which amongst other things would gain us a useful discount on the forum hosting service. @Michael – maybe the FHS model (assuming it has one) would be a useful guide?

This is not any form of power-play on my part — I am not looking for more commitments — but I could perhaps help in some practical manner to get us from here to there if it’s thought worthwhile.

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Technically, it could, but legally it cannot.

Users of this forum have an IP agreement with this forum. A new site replicating the content of this would likely breach this agreement. Users whose posts are migrated may be able to pursue the second forum for breach of copyright. It is unlikely that users of this site agreed to allow it to sub licence their data. (I haven’t check and I am not going to.)

Further, there would be many issues surrounding the user’s personal data and explicit consent from each user would be required to duplicate their data on the new site. Note, this relates to their personal account details rather than their public posts on the forum.

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Thanks Andy,

I don’t expect you to have answers to these questions, I am just thinking aloud:

Exactly who or what is the user’s agreement with?

Would CB be at liberty legally to move the forum to a hosted service (if it’s not already on one) retaining the URL This would appear to be an implementation detail.

Having done so, and should he then wish to retire from it, or worse should he become incapacitated, would it have to be shut down rather than handed over to new ownership?

What legal bearing if any does the current domain name have on the users of the forum?

Are all of the thousands of forums out there operated under the constraints you describe?

I am not challenging you, but these are issues worth looking into if a basic level of interest in the idea existed.

At this time I would like to give more milage to the forum, in the hope we can build upon what we have, trying to first improve it, rather than create another split among community message boards and giving birth to new tribes.


Understood FH; for clarity I was suggesting a change of ownership, not a split.


Fair point.

I’d still like to give the current owner more time to put forward what he’d like to do; it’s only been a week.


I find that I use this forum a lot less than I do East Dulwich Forum (even though I live in Forest Hill!:roll_eyes:) Because I REALLY REALLY hate getting emails every time I get replies to something I’ve posted-I actually find it it exasperating as I check the site almost daily so I would see replies anyway under the topic heading.
It appears the only way to stop getting these daft emails is to mute the subject which then makes it hard to find and follow.
I dont ‘do’ Facebook so for me a local forum is a great way to see whats going on in the neighbourhood and before I moved here I frequented the .com site to suss out what kind of community it was and to get info.
However I do find the layout of this forum and the blooming emails sent to my account not very user friendly so tbh I do use ED forum a lot more although I’ve totally given up on the .com site.

You can turn the emails off - just go to your profile and under:

Preferences -> Emails

Just turn all the settings to ‘Never’

It’s the first thing I did after signing up!


The other place really needs new forum software to make it mobile friendly. The EDF is as guilty of using outdated forum software as well.

One of the advantages of this place is the fact the forum can be easily read on my phone.




“At this time I would like to give more milage to the forum, in the hope we can build upon what we have, trying to first improve it, rather than create another split among community message boards and giving birth to new tribes”.

Completely agree, I don’t think we should be looking to create another forum with or without this name. I feel this forum is great for our community and has positively helped with so many local issues


Pauline let me just reiterate that my suggestion was to preserve the forum under new ownership, not to start yet another one(!)

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I think many would have expressed a similar opinion about STF, then low and behold was created.

Well STF is still running on phpBB, so it doesn’t look like they took up the opportunity to upgrade yet. I guess they still could upgrade, and there’s an importer for phpBB to discourse if they wanted to make the jump as smooth as possible and make something a bit more modern and mobile friendly:

Thank you all for your contributions. As per this post we are now closing this thread to further replies.