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14 June 2018

Thoughts On a New MetaChat Since there's been a push this month to reinvigorate the site, I'm wondering if there's any interest in an upgrade/move. I know this came up a couple of years ago.
Right now, things mostly work and there's a bunch of thanks to chrismear and taz (and others?) for keeping things up & running. I'm pretty sure that our b2evolution setup isn't getting any more maintainable as time goes on, though.

In the wake of MeFi's funding/future post, I'm wondering if there's any interest in revamping what we have here (possibly growing it?) I know the blogosphere thing probably isn't making a comeback, and there's not really an easy way to pull things back out of the the Twitter/Facebook sphere that a lot of folks have moved onto.

Having said that, I find myself without a job and looking both for a portfolio-type project and at a year's worth of low-end DigitalOcean credit. Whether via database dump or some mobile-template scraping, I think I could pull the archives into at least a read-only format. Accounts/authentication would be a different beast. This could be something based on an existing CMS (Joomla/Easyblog, OctoberCMS, some weird Wordpress hack-up, etc) or maybe something new.

I'm mostly wondering if there's a level of interest for a proof-of-concept & brainstorming/alpha-testing phase.
I didn't understand very much of that but.... how much money would we have to raise?
posted by Doohickie 14 June | 23:04
At this point: none. If a new version of the site actually came into being and people were OK with me hosting it? Then in the first year: none (that's the year's worth of DigitalOcean hosting credits). If traffic continued to be light after that and the site could be slotted into either my existing virtual server or the server of whoever is hosting it now: Probably none.
posted by sysinfo v2.0 15 June | 02:32
I'm still here as a mod. I think I may be the last one. As I have said before I'll lend help in whatever way I can.

Also, I've asked this before but why have we never updated B2evo? Have we tried dumping the DB into a recent version just to see what is what?
posted by arse_hat 15 June | 02:44
That's a good question. The description back in 2009 was that we run on "a much hacked version of b2evolution, and to be honest, it's a bit of a nightmare". The old data dump is just posts/comments/profiles, so no site settings aside from what lives in config files. I'd guess some of the issues come from sidebar & site theme stuff? I hadn't actually looked at the header - the site's running on version 0.9.1, and b2e is up to 6.10.1... yeesh. They do claim that "the installer is able to upgrade any older version of b2evo, no matter how old it is."

There's also the Wiki to consider, I suppose.
posted by sysinfo v2.0 15 June | 03:24
You folks who understand and work with this stuff amaze me because I am only able to do a wee bit of html.

I'm wondering if there's any "site ownership" involved or if that's even an issue.

If the revamped site needed to look different I don't see a problem with that, just keeping it nice and minimal is good in my eye.

If people need to re-do signups that's a very small hurdle that could be accomplished via advanced notice and emails - but it would take your extra effort.

I'm only able to offer moral support and a small bit of funding.
posted by mightshould 15 June | 06:02
I've tried to look into this in the past but I think understandably Chris has a limited amount of time to deal with Mecha stuff.

I just had a brilliant idea though. What if you get started on a subdomain like . Just point that to your own VPS and get going.

We don't even need the archives, in fact some people have expressed that it would be best if they fade away (alternatively they can stay archived behind a login). Just starting anew fits into the ephemeral messaging thing people are into these days like Instagram stories etc.

In my view ideally the new site would be pretty similar except it would be more like a Facebook group, you could just react with an emoji rather than having to type out a response. So you know someone has read/reacted to what you posted which encourages more posts.
posted by Firas 15 June | 06:38
That said I would wait to see if activity picks up first. If we reach an equilibrium of like 20 comments a day (a high barrier for Mecha these days) then it makes sense to spend energy on tech.
posted by Firas 15 June | 06:40
I got bored.

If you create an account to try it out, I believe I'll have to approve it before you can post. Thoughts/feedback are welcome.
posted by sysinfo v2.0 15 June | 16:36
I'm in, sys.
posted by Doohickie 15 June | 20:20
Sweet! Microsoft is blocking mail from my hosting provider for some reason, but you're activated now.

Same goes for arse_hat and mightshould (if either of you didn't get an activation email, please let me know).

You'll probably want to change your user's 'name' to match your username/screenname - I'll clean up the text describing that. I'm hoping that a community profile plugin will make that less of a pain.

I haven't set up a separate server for this yet, so it's just running alongside my other stuff for now.
posted by sysinfo v2.0 15 June | 20:45
I just went ahead and did the screenname cleanup for everyone - if you want to change it to something else, you can click on "View Your Profile" on the left side, then the "Edit Profile" button. Also on the to-do list is not letting people change their name. ;)
posted by sysinfo v2.0 15 June | 20:50
Busy for a bit but I hope to try it out later on.
posted by arse_hat 15 June | 20:56
A donate something somewhere button would not cause any harm.
posted by buzzman 20 June | 04:43
I guess everyone's happy enough with the status quo, so I'll go ahead and shut the test site down. It was kind of fun to set up, so thanks to those who took a look-see.
posted by sysinfo v2.0 25 June | 22:18
A post about my coworkers' toilet habits || Vermont librarian successfully sued Equifax.