Thanks for the thanks Roux.
There were a number of reasons I wanted to migrate the forums to a Facebook group. :
Membership management on these forums takes work. Almost every day I get membership applications and four out of 5 are from bots or, occasionally, spammers. I have to manually send applicants an email to check, and there can be a bit of toing and froing. In Facebook, I won’t get bothered by bots. I still have to authorise members, but at least they are not a bot. They can still be spammers and hackers but at least I can trawl through their profiles to see if they seem ok…and follow up with a message if needs be.
The forum is open source PHP. It is vulnerable to hacking unless you update frequently and even if you do it can still happened. The site’s got hacked once before and a few years ago it was vandalised by a rouge user. Rebuilding took a lot of work. With Facebook, people can trash the room but it’s unlikely they will bring down the house.
I have very little experience/knowledge of PHP so it’s not easy for me to tweak and fix things if they go wrong. Including if things go wrong when updating. This is not an issue with Facebook
Forums generally require people go look at them to see if anything’s been posted. Although members can switch on email alerts for every time a new post has been made in each forum, the default is off. If this isn’t set to on, people can register, make a few posts, then forget the forum is there as they get busy with other things. It’s the out-of-sight-out-of-mind thing. People with Facebook use it frequently and you’ll always be altered to postings.
It’s a visual world these days. The forums allow images as attachments which can be displayed but users have to manage image size, and the upload and display is far clumsier than Facebook. Uploading photos and videos is a breeze with the latter.
Sharing articles or other work you’ve found on the web is also a breeze in Facebook.
Facebook allows a simple response to your article, to show people have read it and appreciate the post (the like button). This can be derided as trivial and narcissist but it does show someone who’s bothered to post something, that the effort is appreciated. You can’t do this in the forums, apart from leaving a comment.
As I mention, I am a member of some other FB VC groups. You can get very active discussions going on. These have given me confidence that FB can be a good platform for social interactions regarding VCs. Already 85 people have signed up to the new group.
There is a downside. Lack of full control, advertisements at the side and no clear “groupings for topics. Just one long news Stream. I’m not too concerned about this, because the forums don’t get a lot of postings anyway. One stream should be able to handle it. You can search for things in a group.
Having an active forum on my domain, did bring quite a bit of traffic here. I now won’t get as much but I don’t make any money off traffic so that’s ok.
Perhaps most significantly, you need to be registered with FB to use the group. Some people won’t use FB. It’s their choice and I respect it. It’s propriety. It may fall out of use someday. It’s a closed garden and posts won’t be seen by everyone. However, there are always blogs for the important reference stuff though. This is one of the reasons I write up my repairs rather than just leaving the details in a discussion forum.
There is certainly nothing to stop someone starting their own forums to continue VC discussions in this format. The topic listings and colours would be fine (the colours and layout are a standard template anyway). The only thing I ask is that you don’t use the exact same name and the signature image. On the web the “New Zealand Vintage Computer Forums” are associated with classic-computers.org.nz., and myself, and besides I’ll be keeping this one up as an archive. Having duplicates run by different people would just confuse people.
I could certainly link any new subsequent forum from this archive (as I will to the Facebook site). I’d probably even join myself just to keep a check on what you guys are up to