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Forum, shmorum

February 16, 2011

As mentioned in my last Blog scribbling, I've been weighing my options on what to do with the Discussion Forum. I've boiled the list down to seven options, listed below with pros and cons.

If you're interested in what happens, stop by the Forum and add your thoughts to the poll running now. (You'll need to register as a new user if you're not already registered.)

The main problem with the Discussion Forum as it stands now is that, because it uses the YaBB software package, it's practically a magnet for spammers and hackers. The rest of it I could live with, if I could keep the spammers and hackers away.

Here, as I see it, are my options:

  1. Update to a newer version of the YaBB software
    • Pros: Might fix the security issues.
    • Cons: If it's YaBB, it's still going to be a spammer/hacker magnet.
  2. Try to modify the YaBB software myself
    • Pros: If I do the modifications myself, I could (in theory) fix the security issues and tailor it to exactly what I want.
    • Cons: Probably take a lot more time and effort than I really want to put into it, which would be time I'm not programming Shipbase 7; and, since it'd still be YaBB, it'd still be a spammer/hacker magnet.
  3. Switch to a different forum software package (probably MyPHP)
    • Pros: MyPHP does have a reputation for being more reliable and stable than YaBB.
    • Cons: It's probably just as much of a spammer/hacker magnet as YaBB.
  4. Write my own forum software from scratch
    • Pros: I'd get exactly what I wanted, with only the features I wanted. Most spammers and hackers wouldn't bother spending their time on it because they're more interested in widely-used software with well-known security holes.
    • Cons: Way, way more time and effort than I want to spend on it. The last time I worked on that sort of software package was in 1985, and communications software has changed a bit since then. It might take me years to get something working, and as mentioned, that's all time I'm not spending programming Shipbase 7.
  5. Switch to a mailing list format on Yahoogroups
    • Pros: Yahoogroups are well-established, reasonably reliable, easy to use, and have a halfway decent archive system. Security is decent as long as the list is moderated. I already moderate several Yahoogroups, so I'm already familiar with the layout.
    • Cons: A lot of people don't like Yahoogroups, for various reasons. Compared to PHP-based BBS forums like YaBB and MyPHP, switching to Yahoogroups would be a technological step backwards. Kinda makes me feel like I'm in the 1990's again.
  6. Switch to a listserv hosted here on Irvania.com (that is, a mailing list that's sort of like Yahoogroups but isn't Yahoogroups)
    • Pros: Since it'd be hosted here on Irvania.com, I'd have more control over everything.
    • Cons: The listserv software that my hosting service provides is really primitive. I did some testing with it. It works, but it makes me feel like I'm back in the 1980's again, but without the cool music.
  7. Just erase the whole Discussion Forum, put up a permanent "Gone Fishing" sign, and pretend it never happened
    • Pros: Very quick and easy to do. Completely solves the spammer/hacker problem.
    • Cons: I enjoy the discussions on the Forum, even though they're few and far between nowadays. If I can ever get my fiction published, or I get some of the game designs I'm working on now ready for prime time, I'll need to have some sort of forum set up somewhere. Besides, if I delete the Forum, that's tantamount to admitting that the spammers and hackers won.
  8. Who cares? Do nothing
    • Pros: By far the easiest of these options.
    • Cons: Doesn't solve anything. Only delays the inevitable.
Any thoughts? Hit the "Contact Dave" button on the logo bar above and shoot me an e-mail, or join in the Forum and express yourself there.

This article was filed under:
February 2011 articles
Irvania.com webmaster: Dave Ferris
The content on this page was written: February 16, 2011
Last updated: June 11, 2016