Regarding directories and databases. I know that could turn into a nightmare of work. [...] Thus a member creates and then edits a post to maintain their own list based on PM's they receive or whatever and it doesn't create any work for you.
Wherever possible, solutions that better distribute administrative load off admins will have the best chance of surviving long-term. I like this idea for that reason.
Can the ADMIN delete posts based on the DATE ?
Case in point, I've just edited this thread in 10 seconds. I've deleted about a dozen entries I've made in the past month or so
We're not likely to implement auto deletion of any content, as others have noted, storage *space* isn't a major issue.
We had troubles last year tied to compute power, and storage *speed* becoming an issue. So we pay attention to media storage and quality, but posts are basically free due to how readily text is compressed. (This is the same logic that video content isn't generally hosted at this forum. Video content can really slam the areas where we have the least strength.)
For the tech savvy newcomers, we migrated away from cloud infrastructure awhile back because the hosting fees were no longer making sense as the forum grew. This naturally presents other challenges, but cost has been more predictable since.
Also, as I didn't see it mentioned elsewhere, historical posts are the forums most useful tool to grow our user base and activity levels.
Other than the 20 or so folks who were present when the forum started, I would wager (but didn't check specifically), that nearly 100% of our members have come directly from Google search leading them to the forum, much of which was likely to historical post.
The history is visibility, for a forum.
I seem to recall noble intentions. Like there were some out of pocket costs involved hosting/maintaining the site & by donating you helped it survive & maybe as a perk had some small say on certain matters (although that may be not stated or obvious anymore).
I agree across the board. I would hope for everyone to have some say in most matters.
Much for the same underlying reason as noted above, input from members reduces the cognitive load require to keep most folks happy and also serves to alleviate our lack of full-time (employed) leadership.
I think it's fair to say that I am not just speaking for myself, the input, PMs and feedback the admins receive is taken to heart, we discuss every item, and it truly helps us keep things running smooth around here.
Regarding suppliers/venders services... same deal. A conscious effort to avoid adverts & flavors of membership to buy your way out of no popups predominant in so many other big forums.
Yeah, ads on the forum would suck for members.
In the past I have thought about ads for the 99% of folks who never even sign up as a member, but when our admins spoke about this last we concluded that we don't really have a use for the chunk of funds it would bring in anyways.
If I recall correctly, a Google tool estimated the forum could be pulling in $1200 a month. Not enough for staff to manage a shop, or hire someone in a management role, but much more than we need for our current costs,
--> The forum isn't a money making venture. If it was, I would have done a ton differently, but also we likely wouldnt have garnered the awesome community we have today. (My work during the day is broad, but I have specific expertise in digital advertising and tailored marketing-performance data capture. Yet, the forum has never seen or paid for an advertisement, and I've kept tracking to the minimum I need to bug-fix and optimize when things go sideways. If this was about quitting my day job, I would say we've done a poor job at it. Haha)
Periodically I think about what this group could achieve with funding, regardless as to how we acquired it. There is a ton, but the trick is that no one is really in a place to manage the group as a business like that, at the moment. Even if we had the spare cycles, one thing we have been consistent on over the years: It says "Hobby" right in the name.
Though, I am open to the conversation if anyone has ideas of wants to chat.
There is almost no reason to ever delete posts on a forum for space reasons. Space is cheap, so much so that for $10/month you can buy "unlimited" space from most web hosting companies. I would never recommend culling posts, even the old for sale stuff...there's often discussion in those that proves valuable years later.
Yep, great summary.
Space isn’t an issue. Josh has a server rack full of gear.
Yeah, most of my gear is decommissioned from actual enterprise use (see: old), but a number of small optimizations since last year when everything was a bit dodgy has us running fast and smooth.
With regard to forum thread structure, changes and additions are pretty straightforward, not requiring much time to actually make the change, but I do consider it a major and important change.
Circling around to the start, all members are new at one point. Each had to learn the site structure.
It's these folks I feel that we need to consider first and foremost. Regular members know what they are looking for regardless of the site structure.