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 se23.life 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 se23.life, should Chris be happy to see the back of it. Otherwise I would suggest iamthewalrus.org, 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.