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Forum Changes Coming

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  • Forum Changes Coming

    On January 2, 2019 the Organ Forum will be moving to a new software platform.

    Why the Change?
    For the past eight years, the Forum has been running the latest 4.XX version of the VBulletin forum software. About 4 years ago VBulletin introduced version 5.XX of the software while continuing to maintain and update version 4.XX. At the time of release, version 5 was not well received, having many bugs, and lacking many features of version 4. Many Forum operators, including this one, chose to continue running with version 4 as it was still being actively supported. With the release of version 4.2.5 last year, VBulletin discontinued support of version 4. Essentially, this means that further development of this version has ceased and new features and bug-fixes are no longer being developed. More importantly, VBulletin did not commit to fixing any newly discovered security issues for version 4. Further, PHP, the underlying program language for this software, has continued to evolve. Unfortunately, improvements in PHP are not always backwards compatible with previous versions. The version of PHP supported by VBulletin 4 is now also End-of-Life which means that it too will not be receiving security patches. As version 4 will not run under the latest versions of PHP, the site is facing a doubled security risk, so, in the interest of security, a change is necessary.

    Changes To Be Aware Of
    In order to be least disruptive as possible, we will be moving the Forum to VBulletin version 5 which has improved substantially over the past several years and now offers a robust and improved alternative to version 4. You'll find that the look and feel of the new Forum, as well as its organization, is nearly identical to the current one; however some changes will be necessary as none of the third party extensions used by the current forum are supported. A more detailed discussion of these changes will be available here after the new Forum goes live, but here are few things that might be useful for you to know now.
    Usernames & Passwords
    Current usernames and passwords will be maintained for the new forum; however, you will almost certainly be required to sign-in again when the new Forum goes live, even if you've been using the Remember Me feature of this current software. It would be a good idea to go to your Settings and verify that the email address we have on file for you is still current as a working email address is required to reset your password in the event you've forgotten it.

    Currently, forum members who have not uploaded an avatar to their profile are assigned a default, unique graphic image using the Gravitar service. This service will not be available, at least initially, on the new Forum. This means that a generic avatar, common to all users, will be displayed in place of your current Gravitar. It is planned to restore Gravitars to the Forum in the future, but in the meantime, your avatar will no longer be unique to you unless you've uploaded an avatar image to your profile. Those avatars will not be affected by this change. In anticipation of this change, Gravitars have been turned off on the current site.

    Reputation & Helpful Answers

    These features have been replaced with a single Like option, a la Facebook. Current reputation scores will be carried over from this Forum; however, at least initially, the Helpful Answer scores will not be reflected in the Like totals on the new Forum. One of the least liked, and most complained about features of this Forum, the ability to give negative reputation points will not be available on the new Forum.

    Forum Email Between Users
    On this Forum, it's possible to send email to another user using the Forum's email system. This allows you to avoid exposing your email address to others as the Forum acts as middleman. This feature is not available on the new Forum. Private messaging remains unchanged as does the ability to leave public visitor messages for other users.

    The dedicated Classifieds section of the current Forum will no longer be available. Instead, classifieds will appear under the Organ Marketplace area of the Forum in the Members Classifieds forum and sub-forms. Listings in the current Classifieds system will not be migrated to the new Forum. If you currently have an ad in the current Classifieds, now would be a could time to recreate it in the new area. More information regarding theterms, conditions & rules for the new Classifieds can be found here.

    Until it can be fully integrated into the membership system of the new forum software, the Gallery will be view only.

    All-in-all I think you'll find the transition to the new Forum software beneficial and relatively painless.

    The Organ Forum will be off-line January 2, 2019 in order to perform the data migration. It's anticipated that the forum will be restored to full service by the end of that day.
    Last edited by Admin; 12-22-2018, 04:04 PM.

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