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Pottential Imminent Changes To The Forum; Invisionfree takeover
Topic Started: Jan 10 2018, 12:55 PM (509 Views)
Lutra
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Utterly Otterly
Senior Admin
Hey everyone.

Quite a big announcement today.

The company who hosts this forum, ZIFboards previously known as Invisionfree, has recently been taken over by a company called Tapatalk. What this means is that every forum using the old ZIFboards format will be forced to convert to one of two new forum formats: Zetaboards or the new Tapatalk forum.

This could happen any day now, and could be as soon as tonight/tomorrow!

Now our original date for this to happen was the 11th of January. I've selected an option to defer (delay) our conversion but I'm also getting messages that the deferral period is coming to and end, so that might not have actually bought us any more time.

On the two choices:

ZetaBoards:


As a bit of history, ZetaBoards merged with the original InvisionFree some years ago. Back then we had the option to switch to Zetaboards but chose not to. It is made by the same people so is probably closest in style to our current format. The ZIFBoards name comes from the merger Zeta InvisionFree boards.

Zetaboards have been going for some years now so you'll easily be able to find examples of forums using this format.

As a side note, Zetaboards has also been taken over by Tapatalk so it's possible that if we switched to Zetaboards, we'd still have to convert to Tapatalk in the future. But details on that are unclear.


Tapatalk:
Tapatalk is a newer format which is primarily a 'mobile community platform' designed to be more mobile friendly. It also supposedly 'takes inspiration' from social media platforms like facebook and such in its style and format. It has app versions of itself.

We have been given a preview version of what the Farthing Wood forum might look like on a Tapatalk community, you can find it
HERE
.

Please note that this doesn't include any style changes, such as colour schemes and the like. Those would have to be added later.

You should be able to log in with your current username and password to this testing version of the forum, however I believe members might need to create Tapatalk accounts in order to use their accounts on the final board. I could be wrong with that.

What will be transferred.

In either case, all current user accounts, posts, forums, user groups and the overall structure of the forum will be converted over. Though you may find various links inside posts don't quite work properly as they will point to old invisionfree locations.

What won't be transferred.

The list of things which wont transfer to the new forum include:

Current style sheets, colour schemes etc.

Files stored on the forum, such as custom buttons and logos

Custom emoticons.

User Avatars

Attachment files (at the moment this mostly contains personal files stored by previous admins so doesn't have much impact on us).

Edit: also Personal Messages (probably, we can't be certain).



Conclusion:

As it stands I am intending to convert the forum over to a Zetaboards forum. It's not exactly the same but it seems the better fit for us as a community. And based on various testimonies I've been reading on other invisionfree forums who were converted to Tapatalk. I've already spent time over the last few days recording as much of our style sheets and files as I can, and Fen and I will be working on this some more tonight. So hopefully it will be as smooth a transition as possible.

Meanwhile feel free to look at the Tapatalk test version or other Zetaboards and let us know what you think.

In the meantime if you have any files or information located on the forum that you wish to keep, such as posts, fanfictions, PMs or other information, I would STRONGLY recommend you make a backup copy of those things as quickly as possible. We could switch over any day now, and when wont be in Fen's or my control.

I wanted to post more but I need to rush off to work now. If you have any questions please post them and I'll do my best to answer.
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Roundhay
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Ice Bear
Farthing Wood Animal +
Gosh.

What about PM archives?

If we are switched before users see this message, how will they be redirected?
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Si Targaryen
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Princess In Disguise
Farthing Wood Animal +
Exciting times.

I think I've pretty much saved in the past anything I'd hate to lose. (Did it based on how old the forum is and the fact it went through that stage a while ago where it kept being buggy / going offline for scary amounts of time).
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Lutra
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Utterly Otterly
Senior Admin
I can't say for certain, but I can't guarantee PMs would be carried over. My assumption would be that they would not.

The forum as it stands has a URL connected to the website (forum.farthing-wood.net). That won't change, or at least we can update where that URL points to. I don't know how many people use that address rather than the s7.invisionfree etc one. But the forum.farthing-wood URL is the default when visiting the page. So I'm hoping that's the one most people will know.

Other than that invisionfree may leave a sort of forwarding address as part of their transition process, but I'd just be speculating there.
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Tsuki
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Partying like it's 1999
Farthing Wood Animal +
Gosh times change neh? Iím happy with whatever. Got tapa on my phone so I can go with either. Think Iíve saved all files and stuff that I want.
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AOFW Fox
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All work and no play...makes AOFW Fox a dull boy
Farthing Wood Animal +
Woah shoot ok, I'd better get saving.

A few questions if you can answer them, does this mean that for the new forum:

-Our post counts will go back to zero?
-No more use of our custom reply, quote, etc. buttons?
-No more of our massive emote selection?

I will say when you talk about saving info on links, a lot of links don't work anymore due to being to imageshack/photobucket.

In the mean time, I've got PMs and fics to save.
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Lutra
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Utterly Otterly
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- Will our post counts go back to zero?

The short answer is I don't know, but I think it's likely. The process I imagine is basically starting a new forum and importing all the old posts/sections and members into it. I don't know if statistics will be brought over, but I can imagine that would be a harder thing for them to program so they probably wouldn't.


- No more custom reply and post buttons?

At first no. As with all of our colour schemes and style choices, these will be reset. However I have copies of all of these files so we should be able to set them up again. It just might take a little time, especially if some of the buttons need to be resized slightly to fit into the new format.

For Fen and me this will undoubtedly be the biggest job after the switch.


- No more of our massive emotion selection?

Similar to the previous answer, no but we have them all saved. Zetaboards may well have much of the same emoticons as invisionfree, and we have copies of our own to add in so this shouldn't be a problem. Tapatalk will likely have it's own different style of emotions so it might cause more of an issue there. But as I say we have copies of all the originals, including our farthing wood themed ones.
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Fen
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I've had a look at the example Tapatalk area. It seems they used a snapshot of the forum taken a couple of months ago. I've had a look around and I do not see anything too problematic. Actually, I prefer how it is lighter on links and info overall, only showing what is really important. Another thing I like too, is the alternative view when clicking the "Discussions" tab on the main page, which presents the various posts in a way that fits better the way I tend to visit forums these days (Reddit mainly).

It seems, to answer your questions AOFW, that the post count is kept (as shown when hovering over avatars or checking user info), the PMs I expect will be kept too (click on the envelope at the top-right to see them).

However, so far I have no answer as part as customization is concerned. I'd be very surprised if the only thing we can do is change the forum appearance. I'll be looking into it in the next minutes. I expect however that it will be more limited than with ZetaBoard, which I see as a board engine closer to what we have here.

So I'd be leaning towards Tapatalk, especially considering that there is a risk that we would have to convert to them eventually.
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Fen
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Hmmm... There are a couple of things I've seen on the Tapatalk website that are actually bothering me :

  • "Custom Domain" is a Premium option ($10/month !) ; is it the ability to just use a custom domain, like we do?
  • Judging by a message I saw in the support forum, it is more likely to be them buying the domain and configuring the DNS so that the forum uses it; in our case Lute and I are managing that, so we may be able to do without a paying option...
  • Can't find how to define the domain name in the admin panel... :/
  • This post seems to confirm that the Premium option is needed when using a custom domain name. This is enough of a reason NOT to use Tapatalk, unless we get rid of the forum.farthing-wood.net URL. I am against it. :/

  • Customization options seem to be a lot terser than anticipated, but I still may be wrong here
  • No custom smileys at this point it seems; this is planned on their side, but whatever they do with the forum they must also bake into their mobile app...
  • Custom CSS can be used for fine-grained design customization, and there seem to be a pretty comprehensive user-friendly customization interface (but some options may be locked behind a pay option...)
  • No custom Javascript allowed; but I assume including YouTube videos and similar stuff in posts is done natively instead of having to be tacked on like we did with InvisionFree :P
In the end, my vote goes to ZetaBoards.

"I'm afraid that a conversion to zetaboards is no longer possible at this time." WAIT WHAT? Actually, maybe just due to the fact the user asking has had their forum moved to Tapatalk already...
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Ana-Vixen
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Happy 10th FW.net!
Mod
I've downloaded all of the attachments from my old aofw.co.nr invisionfree forum in anticipation for this. Blast from the past ;) I've also set it to move to Tapatalk so if the conversion happens there first, I'll be sure to post here but they may do both at the same time.
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Lutra
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Utterly Otterly
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Responding to that link from Fen about not being able to convert to zetaboards anymore. I believe that was in response to someone whose forum had already been transferred to Tapatalk. So it was a case of saying that there wasn't a way for him/her to transfer back now.


Having discussed it I think Fen and I are set on converting to Zetaboards over Tapatalk. It just seems to be a better fit for this forum and community. That and there's more of a chance of things like Personal Messages surviving the transfer with Zetaboards (based on this link). Though I can't guarantee that is still current.

It will be interesting if your forum converts to TapaTalk and ours to Zetaboards Ana-Vixen. We can compare experiences heh.
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Ana-Vixen
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Happy 10th FW.net!
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Heh, I've just been backing up all the PM's I've got on record for both here and mine dating back to 2004 just in case they don't go through. It's really odd to think it has been 14 years or thereabouts.

EDIT: Moving to ZetaBoards might be a better move. I've found the definite list as to what is carried over (ref:http://docs.zetaboards.com/services/zbconversion):

Topics, Posts, Polls, Forums & Categories
Board Settings, Admin notepad, Board rules & Badword lists
Member accounts, Personal Messages, forum/topic subscriptions and settings
Permission masks, Group Settings & Moderators
Board Stats, Moderator logs, warn logs, email logs, and admin logs
Calendar events
Emoticons (smilies), Titles & Ranks
AutoTools (MultiMods)
Attachments, pips, and uploaded files
Ad Removal & Disk Space Plans

Essentially, all of your forum's information is converted.
What is NOT converted?

Skins - your board will have the ZetaBoards Default theme enabled when you first convert.
Board Wrappers - any third party codes you've added will not be compatible.
Images - your board will have the ZetaBoards Default images installed when you first convert.
Our Support Board has a lot of resources and assistance on converting - just ask!

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Fen
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Thanks Ana-Vixen for the info! ^_^

By the way, I've started backuping the public posts. All of them. I've been running a script for more than 21 hours now, but it's not finished running yet; I've downloaded a total of 57000 files, 3 GB total. I expect to have finished in a few hours, considering there are less than 8,000 threads total (though with more than 400,000 posts, many of them are several pages long).
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Roundhay
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Ice Bear
Farthing Wood Animal +
Fen,Jan 11 2018
08:40 PM
Thanks Ana-Vixen for the info! ^_^

By the way, I've started backuping the public posts. All of them. I've been running a script for more than 21 hours now, but it's not finished running yet; I've downloaded a total of 57000 files, 3 GB total. I expect to have finished in a few hours, considering there are less than 8,000 threads total (though with more than 400,000 posts, many of them are several pages long).

Looks like we're still here...

Fen, it would be very interesting to see the meta data on that.
Do you think you might be able to send me a csv / json with Post Timestamp & author? (Possibly also thread, sub forum & forum?)
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Fen
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We still haven't been moved to Tapatalk, but at the same time my site scraping script is still running. :o

It actually stopped something like a day after my previous post, not because everything has been backed up, but because it is actually limited to following 100,000 links by default. I resumed the run, pushing the limit to 1,000,000 links and since then it is still running (though to be fair my computer hasn't been on 100% of the time). I have no idea when it'll actually stop, nor whether the backup is easily exploitable (other than having a copy of the forum one can visit using a browser, with links potentially going nowhere in a lot of places...).

I could probably extract data from the pages, but that'd require the development of a dedicated script. It may take some time to develop and test it, and unfortunately I do not have the time right now. I'll see what I can do though, feel free to remind me if you do not hear about it for some time.
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AOFW Fox
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All work and no play...makes AOFW Fox a dull boy
Farthing Wood Animal +
Fen,Jan 20 2018
08:03 PM
We still haven't been moved to Tapatalk, but at the same time my site scraping script is still running. :o

I thought we was moving to Zetaboards, or you mean Tapa in a general sense as the owners?
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AOFW Fox
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All work and no play...makes AOFW Fox a dull boy
Farthing Wood Animal +
Woah ok, the place has changed over. After 10 years it's pretty jarring. Good news is, PMs, emotes, images/avis/sigs, profile info and everything else seems to be here. And apparently looking at the post reply section, you can attach small files. Pretty cool. No Youtube imbedding though, unless the code is still there somewhere. Have to explore and mess around.
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Roundhay
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Ice Bear
Farthing Wood Animal +
Where's the main bit of the forum gone?
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Lutra
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Utterly Otterly
Senior Admin
It's still there. I can see it when I'm logged on, so it hasn't been deleted or anything. Aofwfwfw couldn't see it either though so it's likely just a permission mask thing.

I'll have a look at that when I get home from work this evening. It shouldn't be difficult to fix :-).
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Lutra
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Utterly Otterly
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Okay I'm having a fiddle around with the permissions and such.

If you're having any issues could you post here to let me know any areas of the forum you could previously access but now can't. Alternatively if things seem to be working for you now could you let me know that too ^_^.
Edited by Lutra, Jan 23 2018, 09:05 PM.
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