Topic: Forum Archival, and New Forum

Greetings, everyone.

This has been discussed with the mods for a few weeks, and some of you already saw the basic implementation around when first test were run, but here at WAAPT we are finally migrating our forum backend. Starting hopefully May 2021, our current punBB-based forum will give way to a phpBB-based forum. This will give us a platform that can be maintained for the future, more up to date in terms of security, and that is also more reasonably extensible.

As it has been discussed in previous threads, this is not a "migration" migration. Attempts to preserve old forum data into a new structure were lackluster at worst and hazy at best, and took much time and effort. Instead, we are establishing a completely new forum from scratch, and the old forum will be set up to maintenance / read-only mode and kept as an archival.

The URL of the new forum is forum.waapt.tropi.us. Note that it lacks the "/punbb" suffix, that gives access to the old forum.

What changes for our current users?

Basically, our users will have to carry out registration again, because while we can copy usernames from one forum to the next, we can't copy your passwords (we don't know them, security practice). During the first week of April 2021 the account names will be copied manually, and users will be able to request activation so they can set up their own password. Just like with the old forum system, users will be able to post mostly freely once the account is activated.

(Yeah, this also takes care of ye olde classic "bots of the worst kind")

As a bonus thanks to the new implementation, activated users will be able to opt in to a number of new features once they are enabled in the forum. Among those the most notable are:

* Special Permit Roles: Users will be able to opt in into the special group Authors, which allows them to post new threads in the non-WAAPT section (for publishing fics and stuff), or the special group Polls, which allows them to set up a poll in a thread.
* Jabber Notifications. Users can set up the forum to notify them of eg.: watched threads, or thread responses, on their Jabber / XMPP accounts.
* Continuing Old Threads: Users will be able to opt their threads in their own forum to be copied over to the new forum (see more below).

Over time, there is a potential change in authentication model that would allow any activated user to log in to the forum with the same username and password as they do in eg.: the WAAPT Wiki, but this has yet to be checked for feasibility.

Continuing Old Threads

Because the old forum will be set up to read-only, users will no longer be able to post or continue content in that forum.  To solve this, activated users will have the option to register their threads in the old forum to have them copied into the new forum, in such a way that eg.: post numbers / "permalinks" can be more easily preserved.

The basic idea is that a user wanting to have a thread continued, will be able to submit the thread URL to have the contents copied. The process is easy enough (for you, the hard work is for us on the database) and can be done in one of two ways:

1.- Users can perfectly create new threads, and copy the bbcode of their old forum posts into the new forum. Once they do that, the user must register their thread with the forum ops so that we can correct post and thread numbers into the database.

A.- Users can, for hopefully short threads, submit the thread ID and then we can copy the contents manually. After that, we'll need some time to correct post numbers and authorship before the thread becomes "valid" and it can be posted in, so this method is slower (but also less prone to failure).

The end result is that if you had a forum post in the old forum, and you have the thread copied over, you only need to make small changes to existing links in order to make them point to the new forum version:

# old forum post number
# new forum post number

(If we can come up with some sort of definitive, future-proof permalink, that would be nice yeah)

BBCode Support

At this point, the new forum supports the basic BBCOde as well as some basic WAAPT extensions such as EVIL text and msg boxes. However, some specific formatting has to be manually changed if content is copied over.

For an overview of the BBCode support in the new forum, check Formatting Samples in the New Forum.

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