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Author Topic: New admin needed  (Read 3594 times)
proteus
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« on: August 10, 2020, 06:20:37 pm »

I hate writing this post, but I can't put it off any longer -- I need someone to take over the hosting and administration of BG.

There are long-winded reasons I could go into, but suffice it to say that my personal situation no longer permits me to spend adequate time doing the administration that BG needs and deserves. I've been keeping things patched as best I can, but that's all I've been able to manage.

To replace me, you'd need to arrange for:

  • A hosting service that's capable of handling the traffic and attacks that BG endures as one of the top half-million sites in the world
  • A domain registrar (we use Namecheap now, that's fine but I'd want to transfer the domain ownership to the new admin)
  • Taking over or replacing the Google Apps account that's used for site email
  • Taking over the PayPal that's used for donations

I can assist with migrating the site to a new home, or with handing over credentials and billing for the current ISP.

I need a volunteer who's willing to take this on. If I can't find a home for this by the end of 2020, I'll need to put the forum in archive mode for safety reasons, since I won't be able to adequately administer a live site. In archive mode, the forum would be read-only. I obviously don't want it to come to that.

If you'd like to volunteer for this, please use this thread.
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von Corax
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« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2020, 10:51:38 am »

I'd be thrilled to help out, but I doubt I have the financial wherewithal to go it alone.

What sort of time and money commitment are we talking about here?
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« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2020, 06:43:35 pm »

Any future solution should not just be under a single pair of hands, in my opinion. Since I'm not an expert on IT, and I've never been an administrator, it's uncharted territory for me. Howeve,  I've long advocated for a platform with advertising to allow for a more autonomous operation of the site, this based on my experience at the Steampunk Mexico forum, and many other newer fora (during the "Latin American Explosion" in the first years of the last decade).
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Madasasteamfish
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« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2020, 08:09:32 pm »

I agree with the Admiral. It would be beneficial to have a team of (at least 2) admins rather than a single individual taking on sole responsibility to avoid the problems we've experienced when Proteus has been unavailable.

If we're going to appoint an admin from within the mod team it might be appropriate to consider appointing another mod or two to help support the smooth running of BG.
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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2020, 11:57:13 am »

I have some experience as a sysadmin (five years or so wrangling an IBM System/36 with around 100 workstations connected, and two years running Unisys MAPPER installations), and I agree we need to put together a team. If memory serves, back in the day both S.Sprocket and HAC were able to cover proteus.
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proteus
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« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2020, 05:21:47 am »

I'd be thrilled to help out, but I doubt I have the financial wherewithal to go it alone.

What sort of time and money commitment are we talking about here?

I've trimmed things down as much as possible, so with the current host, it's $65 monthly for hosting

In terms of time, it depends. Keeping the lights on is really just patching; most of that is automated, though it pays to check in and make sure things are smooth. That's only an hour or so a month and could probably be improved with some effort up front.

But there are a bunch of improvements needed too, so if you're taking those on, it'll depend how comfortable you are with that work and the bits and bobs that run the forum.
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proteus
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« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2020, 05:26:56 am »

Any future solution should not just be under a single pair of hands, in my opinion. Since I'm not an expert on IT, and I've never been an administrator, it's uncharted territory for me. Howeve,  I've long advocated for a platform with advertising to allow for a more autonomous operation of the site, this based on my experience at the Steampunk Mexico forum, and many other newer fora (during the "Latin American Explosion" in the first years of the last decade).

A team would be fine, but someone should really be the point person.

As for ad support, I made a promise to TinkerGirl that I wouldn't consider ads unless the forum wasn't sustainable without them. There's no legal structure to take those payments either, FWIW. And managing ads for safety and appropriateness shouldn't be underestimated.

I suggest if the option is seriously considered, it should be done only after open consultation with the membership. After all, ads generally mean trading personal privacy for the benefit of the service, which is not a great model.
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Deimos
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« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2020, 11:30:46 am »

I belong to a woodworking forum that for years was free to use.  You would register and that was it.  
It finally went to a subscription mode because of the cost of maintaining the forum or infrastructure or whatever it is called (You can readily see how technically savvy I am  Roll Eyes.)

If a revenue stream is finally required to keep BG running, I would rather use a subscription model than have ads.
Currently donations are just that...voluntary (and I donate monthly).
But going to a subscription model (say $2-3 per month with a discount if the subscription is paid annually) shouldn't be too onerous.
The thought of ads and banners on this site just turns my stomach  Tongue
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« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2020, 12:58:12 pm »

I agree with the idea of subscriptions based service over ads if a dedicated revenue stream is required to keep the lights on and things running (although we should probably ask the membership before we move to that model).
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SeVeNeVeS
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« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2020, 04:32:20 pm »

On average how much money do the donations via paypal to BG make a month?

Are spare goggles forum and the blog included in the 65 bucks a month or are they a separate server deal?

Does a new admin have to handle all 3?
« Last Edit: August 15, 2020, 04:45:03 pm by SeVeNeVeS » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2020, 07:34:09 pm »

On average how much money do the donations via paypal to BG make a month?

Are spare goggles forum and the blog included in the 65 bucks a month or are they a separate server deal?

Does a new admin have to handle all 3?

I thought sparegoggles was not only separate, but self sustaining...
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von Corax
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« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2020, 04:13:10 am »

On average how much money do the donations via paypal to BG make a month?

Are spare goggles forum and the blog included in the 65 bucks a month or are they a separate server deal?

Does a new admin have to handle all 3?

I thought sparegoggles was not only separate, but self sustaining...
Spare Goggles is an independent, ad-supported site that was set up by (I think) Pheobsky (who has since disappeared, and so no new SG memberships are being approved.)
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« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2020, 06:14:46 am »

I agree with the idea of subscriptions based service over ads if a dedicated revenue stream is required to keep the lights on and things running (although we should probably ask the membership before we move to that model).

Exactly. Put it to a vote after comparing to ad supported sites - just look at sparegoggles.forumotion.net!

I know ads are unpalatable, but we must be practical about this. What ads are we afraid of? It's not like we're moving to Facebook... With all the stuff that is happening you never know.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2020, 06:17:44 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
Deimos
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« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2020, 09:47:47 am »

OK...so let's say we have ads.....So will my logging in be tracked IN ANY WAY by the companies who are paying BG for ad space?
Will these companies be able to see members' posts?
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« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2020, 01:13:12 pm »

Thank you to proteus for the work they have done, stepping up for the community when the role originally arose. I am sorry I can't offer my services as an Admin (backup Mod/Advisor perhaps - I have an IT background but more in AI and the social dimensions, not in systems).

My recommendation is that this thread needs to focus on who is willing to be in the core team that makes the decisions and does the (hard) work to keep BG running in some way. Let's leave the discussion of what way that is and advertising etc to another thread.

I agree that we need multiple Admins, even if there is one core one whose name is attached to some deals. Every major role in any community needs a (drop dead) deputy. All roles even in business need someone-else who can do the same work if needed. So I recommend we have at least two Admins, even if one is the primary Admin. A third as a emergency deputy would also be great. Any deals with hosts etc need to allow for multiple Admins to speak on behalf of the primary Admin.

We also need to look at which Moderators are active and decide how many of them are needed. The Admins shouldn't have to do the moderation work as well (unless they want to). If there are only 2-3 regular mods then we need 2-3 part-time mods who can be called on when needed. The account names of this team of Admins and mods needs to be listed somewhere. There needs to be a senior mod (and deputy) who have contact details (email and maybe phone number) for the Admins. The Admins need contact details for each other. If any of the mods or admins is away from the forum for 6-12 months, someone needs to contact them. If they don't want to continute the role or don't reply within a week or two, a new person can be given the role. This way, there is always someone already in that role who can help someone new. There is always someone who can step in.

This may sound like it needs by-laws and procedures, but really it doesn't. We just need to be sensible in how this community does things. Obviously, having "staff" in Europe/Africa, the Americas and Asia/Pacific would be ideal but if it isn't possible, having staff anywhere is fine.

So, back to the question asked by proteus, who is willing to take on one of Admin roles?
And I ask, who is (still) willing to be a Moderator?
I put my hand up as a part-time/drop dead/emergency Mod.

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« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2020, 01:29:09 pm »

Happy to volunteer as a mod, if required.
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« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2020, 02:26:09 pm »

Request withdrawn.
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« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2020, 11:49:42 am »

I have no real computer knowledge or skills.
I'm happy to continue to wield a Ban Hammer and fight the Spam as I do that every day.

Anything more 'technical' and I'm useless. Smiley
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« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2020, 11:07:07 am »

How many of the currently-active mods would be willing to chip in, say, $5 a month?
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SeVeNeVeS
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« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2020, 01:07:11 pm »

How many of the currently-active mods would be willing to chip in, say, $5 a month?
Not after Mod status, but I would be more than willing to pay $5 a month to the kitty, works out about a pound a week.

You thinking of Admin, von Corax? If so, you have, without a shadow of doubt, got my vote.

I would say say keep the current active Mods, they do a wonderful job and we do appreciate the fine work they do!!!
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« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2020, 01:15:49 pm »

How many of the currently-active mods would be willing to chip in, say, $5 a month?

I reckon I could scrounge up a fiver each month.
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« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2020, 08:08:51 pm »

How many of the currently-active mods would be willing to chip in, say, $5 a month?

I hate monthly payments, I'll make a single yearly donation instead if needed.
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Deimos
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« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2020, 06:20:06 am »

How many of the currently-active mods would be willing to chip in, say, $5 a month?
Not after Mod status, but I would be more than willing to pay $5 a month to the kitty, works out about a pound a week.

You thinking of Admin, von Corax? If so, you have, without a shadow of doubt, got my vote.

I would say say keep the current active Mods, they do a wonderful job and we do appreciate the fine work they do!!!

Like SeVeNeVeS I have no desire to "mod" but I can raise my current $3 (USD) /mo to $5 without breaking too much of a sweat. Grin
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« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2020, 09:04:16 am »

How many of the currently-active mods would be willing to chip in, say, $5 a month?
Not after Mod status, but I would be more than willing to pay $5 a month to the kitty, works out about a pound a week.

You thinking of Admin, von Corax? If so, you have, without a shadow of doubt, got my vote.

I would say say keep the current active Mods, they do a wonderful job and we do appreciate the fine work they do!!!

Like SeVeNeVeS I have no desire to "mod" but I can raise my current $3 (USD) /mo to $5 without breaking too much of a sweat. Grin

Strangely, I like the idea of an annual membership fee. Not to stop new people from coming in, mind you. You don't want to discourage new people from perusing the boards, which even a $5 fee could do, but to have a "gate" for higher benefits in the forum, as opposed to people who only interact for one day or one week, because they saw something interesting and registered. Something akin to a "Guest and Member" hierarchy.
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« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2020, 09:23:18 am »

OK...so let's say we have ads.....So will my logging in be tracked IN ANY WAY by the companies who are paying BG for ad space?
Will these companies be able to see members' posts?

I think it's next to impossible to find a venue which isn't tracked by anybody. That's how websites get ranked in search engines. When you search for "brassgoggles" we come out at the top of the list, even though there are many websites with similar or identical names in their headers or hypertext content (eg "brass goggles"). Not being able to be tracked in any way effectively can result in you not even being visible in search engines (ie how did you find about us?). Father Google needs to know how often you're visited, and thus rank you in the lists so others can find you.

And about companies being able to read the content of your posts... They are doing that right now... Heck, the FIFA and gambling bots are doing that right now. If you look at the list of pages being accessed (when logged in, click on the "x guests y users" flag on the lower left part of the main page), and you'll see a whole bunch of "guests" reading random pages of the website, many of which are inactive pages which haven't been written on for years or even a decade. Those are bots, not people, crawling though the content of our website. Some of those bots are very smart and use AI to target and catalogue contents, such as word usage, topics, etc.

Sometimes AI bots pose as real people and are capable of asking and answering rudimentary questions related to Steampunk. You don't see that because you're not banning them like I do every day, as soon as I see them.
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