Migrating content from old forums

Why? Your current username would work just fine. (You were asking for that :stuck_out_tongue:)

Yes, please describe your problem, I am sure that we can find a way for you to join in. Worked for everybody else in a decade. :slight_smile:

Please stick to the scope set in the first post. The help site is explicitly not covered here, only the forum.

It makes sense to treat the two websites differently as they have a totally different purpose, history and requirements for migration. Mixing two different topics will make it so much harder to figure out a solution.

The old fluxbb forum with its bespoke Basic Auth integration can’t handle their user name: ᚛ᚐᚋᚐᚅᚇᚐ᚜ 🏳️‍🌈 | OpenStreetMap

I think nobody volunteers to fix this in the few remaining {weeks, months}.

I clearly vote for Option 1

Is there a specify number of months you consider conversations are still in need for continuation? I understand this as a requirement to continue conversations that are still active right?

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Actually, my brain doesn’t recognize that as a name, either. %-)

But what is keeping her from simply creating a second account with the name in plain latin letters for sake of joining an important conversation? I regularly adjust my login name when my normal moniker “Nop” is rejected as too short for a particular system. There is no rule against multi-accounting in OSM.

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I would rather assume that 1 MB of static data should not be a problem for any modern (or even old) system. It should only affect performance if one of the old URLs is actually used and needs to be resolved and mapped. And that should be a very low load, distributed over many years to come.

I guess the only answer is to try it and measure it.


I meant 1 million redirects. We don’t know if we can automate the creation of the redirects and if they will mess with the Discourse DB (in terms of size). Having said that I would prefer we talk first about requirements and not jump to test any solution without agreeing on those (multiple solutions might solve our problems)

I think that you cannot set a reasonable cutoff date. There is a tendency that the same topics come up again and again every other year, but it might be as well after 3 or 5 years. Some discussion have been literally ongoing for a decade and it can be of interest how perception has changed over time - or not. Especially on topics where the actual handling in OSM is rather counter-intuitive and in need of explanation.

So if you are looking for an old discussion and depending on an arbitrary cutoff date you need to search in different places. That makes life more difficult for everyone, as they need to know about the existence of the cutoff, about both sites and then need to search both.

Also, very often there are backlinks to older forum discussions. If you migrate everything, there is only one migration rule for such links and you can just transform them. If you have a cutoff date, you need to determine which rule applies to the target thread of the link and use different mapping for migrated and non-migrated topics. Again, makes things much more complicated.


Which would be the pros and cons of just moving most important open conversations that had activity in the last X months and if someone want to bump an older conversation just to post a link for reference and share a quick summary?

I’m thinking that most online discussions tend to become unreadable once they reach a certain number of replies (due the time required to catch-up) or when enough time has passed (due the facts and context not being accurate anymore).

Even with discussions on an active forums, it’s always a good recommendation to post a summary of the main ideas in a new fresh new topic once the “unreadable” point has been reached to be able to move the conversation to an agreement place.

I’m clearly for option 1.
In the German forum there are some threads where active discussions are going on which are 5-6 years old.

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My priorities:

  1. All content must still be available (that seems to be consensus)
  2. Old and new content must be searchable from a single interface. (It is hard enough to make new members search for old topics, telling them to search in an obscure ancient archived forum is impossible.)
  3. Make old links work.

Is not a good idea because of 2.

The old forum has 832k posts. Assuming 1 minute per post (which is a very low estimate) this is equivalent to 1700 working days or 7 working years. Migrating might not be trivial but it will take only a fraction of that.


I would consider a conversation as “active” is there has been replies within the last 2-3 month. In order to have a easy possibility to continue a ongoing discussion/topic.

The old fluxbb forum with its bespoke Basic Auth integration can’t
handle their user name: ᚛ᚐᚋᚐᚅᚇᚐ᚜ :rainbow_flag: | OpenStreetMap

I think nobody volunteers to fix this in the few remaining {weeks, months}.

Correct. I think it’s because the forum uses MySQL which doesn’t handle the :rainbow_flag: character

It happens with the OSM Wiki too, it deletes everything after you save it. :rofl:

If I’m not wrong, option 1 is clearly in favor from the replies posted here.

How do we reduce the “cons” that were mentionned in the initial post ?

A migration test will answer many “cons” listed for option 1, the only blocking one I see is “We’ll require from an Ops person to handle the whole process. AFAIK, currently we don’t have anyone with this kind of bandwidth.”

I’ve proposed to spend some time on migration tests, asked about the “beta” migration that seems to have been done (is it documented somewhere ?).
Anybody else ready to spend time to give the migration a try ?


When I asked about this in the Forum thread where we were discussing consolidating forum/QA/mailing lists, the majority of people responding there preferred not migrating content as long as the content was still available as an archive (and existing links worked). This would allow the new forum to decide on a new and different organizational structure and encourage new topics instead of listing a bunch of older topics. Think of it like the TIGER import on an empty OSM.

Can someone interested in migrating the old content to this new forum talk about why they prefer that option? What is gained beyond an archival snapshot?

To be clear, I’m not suggesting that we delete the old forum. I want to maintain that content and keep links working as much as possible.

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What about the reasoning in posts 10, 11, 15, 32 and 33 above?

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Hmm, maybe I’m misunderstanding which posts you’re talking about, but I’ll take a closer look and try to extract the comments above:

This is valid, but I would argue that people searching for problems will come in from an external search engine before searching the forum directly. This might result in them finding archived, read-only forum content and an answer their question. If not, starting a new thread on Discourse is not a problem.

I agree with this. To me, active means conversations within the last few days, not last few months though. As @nukeador suggested, it’s easier for people to participate if a long-running thread is split into smaller ones or summarized and restarted in a completely new thread.

I performed a test migration to a local installation of Discourse. It ran on a local Docker container so I didn’t get a chance to save the results and it wasn’t usable outside my laptop anyway. At the time, there wasn’t enough information to link the old FluxBB user account and the new Discourse user account. I believe the problem was that the FluxBB database didn’t have email address or the Discourse account didn’t have email address because it wasn’t exposed as part of the existing OSM OAuth1 handshake.

This resulted in a bunch of “orphaned topics” that could never be linked to their real owner if they ever signed in to the Discourse instance. These orphaned topics cluttered up the interface quite a bit and would make it pretty difficult to participate in the new Discourse-based forum.

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.

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Right, email addresses have never been exposed before, and the email addresses you would find in fluxbb have been manually entered by a user. The current logon on fluxBB is using Basic Auth, and you would have to log on using your “display_name” (in osm.org terms).