Migrating content from old forums

I’ve gone through that thread a dozen times, after you have made that statement in a number of different places, not just after you repeated it here. Maybe I’m stupid, but I count exactly 2 (two) people that would prefer not to migrate the content, adding you makes three. I’m running out of fingers here, but I don’t believe that makes a majority in this universe.


I asked for some feedback a while back what should happen with old forum posts. I don’t know how good the translation turns out to be, maybe give it a try.


Comments against moving moving content from FluxBB to Discourse in the thread I linked to:

  1. “No need at all. Why littering a fresh install.” - R0bst3r
  2. “I would prefer set the fluxbb to readonly and move to discourse. That way the old stuff is still available.” - Negreheb
  3. “IMO, keeping the content available and links working is important. But migrating existing content into the Discourse install would only be “nice to have”” - Tordanik
  4. “I think it would be mandatory to keep the current Forum and create the new Discourse instance as ‘a new branch’.” - martingggg

Comments for moving content to Discourse:

  1. “I see it as useful to bring forum posts forward into Discourse; not mandatory but just one less thing to check when searching previous subject activity.” - MikeN

Just to reiterate in case I’m not making it clear: My proposal is to archive the existing Forum posts so that they are searchable and existing links into the forum work, not delete them.

  1. is “not against moving”, 4. is keeping the existing system running indefinitely.

My statement from that old thread should be understood as supporting a migration of existing content. “Nice to have” still means that a migration is preferred, I’m just acknowledging that it might not be possible due to technical blockers or too much effort.

And I pretty much still hold the same opinion. A migration isn’t mandatory, but would be nice. Especially if there are people such as @cquest willing to spend some time exploring the possibility.

To add something to the current consideration of pros and cons instead of just re-treading the old discussion: One argument that I haven’t seen brought up here is that a migration allows us to improve outdated answers and misinformation in old topics in the future. For example, I was able to post a new answer to “How can I delete my account?” this weekend. That question was created 12 years ago and is still the top result on Google for “delete openstreetmap account”. I wouldn’t have been able to do that on a static HTML archive.


While that is undoutably true, I’m not aware of anybody proposing to keep the content of the help site in any form, so that will simply be gone and in any case OT for this thread.

Yes the divide and conquer approach to forcing things through by swamping everybody with new discussion threads on non-urgent things that are months away, does lead to a significant amount of confusion.

I see… my bad: was expecting another site.
well, then, the conclusion mentioned isn’t a way to go?

I imagine this account problem could be remedied with more access to the database, but that would require approval and supervision from the sysadmins to protect user information.

I really don’t understand why this discussion is still going on in a controversial manner.

cquest has shared his experience from migrating the french forum: It worked and it was done in a single day. He is also aware of additional challenges like mapping the authorization and I am inclined to belive that he knows what he’s talking of.

I have also migrated forum content before and I think he’s right that it is very easy to map the old links to the new items after migration. A small database created during migration and a few lines of php in the old forum location will do the job, with no discourse and next to no performance required. Even with that addional work and some mapping and cleaning up, I would estimate 2-3 days of effort, max.

cquest has volunteered and offered to do it twice now. So wouldn’t it be just common sense to appreciate his offer, simply accept it and let him do the migration?

The solution is right there on a silver platter.


Because we are just being occupied while fait accompli are being established see https://community.openstreetmap.org/new

@cquest can you coordinate with @iandees on any testing you would like to do?

I would like to remember that the last time we did these tests, they were not really satisfactory. And that’s the reason there are major concerns about the stability impact to this discourse installation.

Also we need to align on what we really would like to solve, if the effort of creating a static site is low and solves most of the problems (including links, search…) and the effort of migrating is unclean in terms of effort and still have some major open questions, we need to consider that before taking a decision.

I would also like @Firefishy to chime here, since he is the technical person responsible for this discourse installation and maintenance and we might be missing other technical/ops issues.

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If Option 2 is the direction we go in, I would ask that there be a sticky note of some sort or a link list that points to the archived data for each forum that’s been replaced. It seems every time I want to search the tagging list, for example, I have to retrain myself where to look and how to search its archives, such as they are now.

Keeping track of the content, and more importantly, searching that content, is a major headache. My sincere hope is that this reorganization will make that easier.

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Yeah, also we need to take in consideration many many conversations are happening or happened over mailing lists only.

So if someone is looking for some context they will always have to check mailing lists, not only the old forums.

Whatever option we and up with, it won’t be able to solve the whole search-in-one-place problem.

Hm, if there are stability issues and discourse can’t even handle the data that the old, obsolete forum hosts every day without any problems, that would mean that something is fundamentally and fatally wrong with discourse.

Also, the french forum migration sort of proofs that it works. I mean if people have been actively using it for a year now it is hard to argue that it might not be possible? :slight_smile:


Mailing list is off topic here - but naturally the solution-oriented answer woud be to migrate the mailing list archives to discourse, too. Everything old and new in one place/search.

I thought it was the claim that discourse should unite forum and mailing lists in one modern platform?

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Good Idea, to me the second-best option if we can not find a way to have the history instantly available.

Merge forums, OSQA, MLs to discourse? · Issue #377 · openstreetmap/operations · GitHub had a bit of discussion on the mailing list topic. I find it unlikely that email only users would switch to Discourse. Maybe some kind of bridging between different worlds would be feasible.

Discourse has an email mode, the question is if we also need to support the other way around and pull in traffic from mailing lists. It’s getting a bit off topic for this topic…

My experience is different - in the German forum I see - in my perception quite often - folks pulling up old discussions if something similar comes up or refer to them in a new, but related topic.

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The point is not that users will find old discussions (in general on any forum I’ve ever seen or/and moderated the default action is to create a new thread), it is that they can be pointed to the old discussion and if necessary that can be continued, typically their new topic being merged in to the old one.


true, but mailing lists aren’t going to be replaced like the forums are, right? Or did I misunderstand something?

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but as I understood it, this attempt was performed in a local docker container, missing any oAuth-connection. And the upcoming issues were related to that fact.?!
Meanwhile oAuth 2 is supported.