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Discussion Starter #1
I've posted this in the Conversion forum for best visibility.

Skip the summary if it's too long for you, but use this thread to discuss the future of these forums. Even if you're frustrated, please check back here to see and/or contribute to the community's future once in a while.

(Note, I have no authority, I'm just doing what I can to handle some administrative coordination by getting us all on the same page).

Crisis Summary:

1 - 3 years ago, the founder of this forum sold/gave/transferred ownership to a company called "Vertical Scope" out of Toronto. This was because he didn't have time or skill to keep it running as best he could. Vertical Scope is a brand that hosts (has bought up) dozens of mostly car-related forums. Vertical Scope committed to making daily visits, "keeping the lights on" and using their claimed technical expertise for everything to run smoothly. In exchange, they would be monetizing the forums with ads and data tracking its users.

Here is a link to the thread if you want to read more: https://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/showthread.php?t=98898

2 - I think most people have noticed that, basically no improvements were ever done, things continued running as was, but, nothing ever got added.

3 - A little over 3 weeks ago, Vertical Scope attempted to transfer all of their forums from self-hosted to some Google hosted platform which they say was to make security and hosting easier for them. They also turned it to HTTPS instead of HTTP (the extra "S" being "Secure", or encrypted). They did this without letting anyone in our community know.

4 - Among other minor technical glitches, immediately, the last year of the database (from about July 1 2017 to July 1 2018) vanished. All threads and all content is gone.

5 - The "Garage" section here, where people document and list their builds, also vanished.

6 - Any pictures hosted from an unsecure URL (most of them) have since been blocked, historic posts too.

7 - Despite numerous attempts to contact them, no one from Vertical Scope even gave us a courtesy post/announcement to acknowledge the massive errors. No apology, no explanation, nothing, until I basically called them out and shamed them into doing so 10 days after the event. You can read the shaming thread here: https://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/showthread.php?t=197943

8 - For those unaware, this is not how you migrate a database in the industry. This is not normal. You normally, first, inform your customers that there is a change planned and what expected outages might be, you let them know to keep an eye on issues, and you build the new site and test it *before* switching over and launching it. You ensure you have the resources on hand to deal with inevitable technical hiccups. And you certainly don't avoid talking to your customers for weeks and pretend like it's not happening. You don't bring literally very service you have offline, and just hope nothing happens.
This is kind of like being a landlord with 50 properties at the top of a hill, loading everything every one of your tenants owns into carts without asking, then pointing them at new homes at the bottom of the hill shoving them all down the hill at the same time and then saying "We couldn't have anticipated this! Please be patient, we only have 3 people to pick all this stuff up! Sorry, there's also a river down there, some of it might be gone. Oh, and your new homes are still under construction."

9 - Vertical Scope has finally acknowledged there is a problem. Their explanation is that they made this change for all their forums at the same time and don't have the technical capacity to fix anything in a timely manner, because the did it to dozens of forums at the same time, not just ours. Their solution is "please be patient we're sorry."

10 - Repeated attempts to find the answer to the question of whether they even bothered to make regular (or even just 1) backup prior to migration, have gone unanswered or been talked around. Simple yes or no answers about whether it exists have been avoided.

11 - As of the time of first posting, it's been nearly 3 weeks with zero issues fixed.

12 - Vertical Scope has taken the time to add new advertising structure to the (broken) forums.

...

Where do we go from here?:

- Who knows what technical issues are ahead, what content was lost, if it will ever come back. Regardless, can we trust Vertical Scope to continue managing this community?

- Some users are abandoning the forums temporarily.

- Some users are abandoning the forums somewhat permanently.

- Some users are calling for a migration of users to another suitable forum and abandoning this one.

- Some users are calling for a creation of a new forum to replace this one.

- Some users are calling for Vertical Scope to turn the community back over to itself to host/manage because of their not only colossal mistake, but their extraordinarily unprofessional conduct around (not) fixing it. The ownership isn't specifically clear.

...

Please Share Your Thoughts

My personal preference is to keep the momentum these forums have built over the last 10 years and to ask or shame Vertical Scope into handing it back over to run it ourselves. Several community members have volunteered to handle the technical side, and the paltry hosting expense every year could be handled by an annual hat-passing donation drive (it's only dozens or low-hundred dollars a year).

(I might edit this post in the future to clear up any misconceptions).
 

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I am coming back in after several months absence, noted my previous posts about my uncle's EV project appear as the titles, but content has disappeared, will completely report updated information shortly.
 

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I am not a prolific poster but I've been a member since 2007 and I have found the information on the forum very helpful. It would be a shame to lose it.

I have been posting occasional updates on my latest conversion project, but now I am in the wait and see stage since half the posts are missing. If the site host is not able to fully restore all the missing content for everyone, then I may consider adding detailed updates about my project to my blog page and then cross-post here.

If members are able to take over hosting, I would be perfectly happy to contribute to purchase and annual costs.
 

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Thank you for taking the lead on this Matt!



I'm just noticing your post now, because I became extremely disgruntled/disappointed/lost when most of my Winnebago conversion thread disappeared.



Is there a place where the good people who were lending their time and expertise to discuss projects and help us newbs are going to regather???


Is it time to move to a new url?



Do we have any legal recourse to recover the data within this forum from Vertical Scope and move elsewhere?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm just noticing your post now, because I became extremely disgruntled/disappointed/lost when most of my Winnebago conversion thread disappeared.
My entire build thread also disappeared, as did, well, everything between July 03 2017 and July 03 2018.

Is there a place where the good people who were lending their time and expertise to discuss projects and help us newbs are going to regather???
That's why I created this thread. So we can do it here.

Is it time to move to a new url?
In my opinion, no. It's a time to be patient, but firm, with restoring this community and then probably insisting that it be handed back to the community it failed.

How do you feel about it?

Do we have any legal recourse to recover the data within this forum from Vertical Scope and move elsewhere?
Short answer I don't know, I don't know the original agreement, I don't know the jurisdiction, and a lawyer would be the best person to ask on those matters.

"Legal" means lawyers. Soon as a lawyer is hired, everyone loses.

In my opinion, marketing is more powerful than a courtroom in many cases. It is a simple matter for a few dedicated people here to affect the changes we want here on an advertiser-driven business model. It is far cheaper for someone to act with integrity than for them to demonstrate their maliciousness by being stubborn and petty. Advertisers will not want to cooperate with people that are petty, malicious and incompetent. There's a happy way out of the situation for Vertical Scope with minimal additional damage or humiliation.
 

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My entire build thread also disappeared, as did, well, everything between July 03 2017 and July 03 2018.
:(
How do you feel about it?
Thank you for asking. I honestly feel new enough around here that I'm not sure I get much of a say . . . however, when engaging with an online forum to create something that would hopefully be helpful to other people in the future (aka, my build-post) I felt like I didn't need to ask the question "would this be archived and last forever?" I just a assumed that this would be an obvious and included part of pretty much any online forum.

In my opinion, marketing is more powerful than a courtroom in many cases. It is a simple matter for a few dedicated people here to affect the changes we want here on an advertiser-driven business model. It is far cheaper for someone to act with integrity than for them to demonstrate their maliciousness by being stubborn and petty. Advertisers will not want to cooperate with people that are petty, malicious and incompetent. There's a happy way out of the situation for Vertical Scope with minimal additional damage or humiliation.
I'm interested to hear more about your opinion and ideas here. I do not know enough about Vertical Scope to have any sense of how capable their organization is to keep this forum alive under their care. Seems like they have demonstrated negligence. On a pretty gross level. I don't know if they have deep enough pockets to be scared by a lawyer, or a small class-action law-suit. . . . I'm not terribly familiar with working with lawyers, but I believe there are honest and helpful ones out there. I am open to helping to organize people who have been hurt by the loss of their archival information on this forum.

I would like to know more about your ideas about how we can help to motivate Vertical Scope to right their behavior in a less aggressive way~
 

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This is Baaad , I haven't visited for a few weeks.

Yep my build thread has vanished too. Not good, this is / was the best DIY EV resource on the internet. Much like AULRO is to the LandRover community.
 

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This type of problem occurred to the DMCTalk.org forum a number of years ago (probably 10). The prior site was lost and everyone migrated to the new (current) site hosted by an owner (bought a similar name and pays the hosting fees - there are no ads on the site). Thankfully many of the long term DeLorean owners had their own archives of files and many of the site's resources were restored over time. I joined the site in 2012 and they were still talking about the incident that had occurred years prior.

I think there's really 3 parts to a forum...
1. Resources (how to's, specs, reference docs, etc.)
2. Project threads
3. General activity (for sale, questions, chit chat).

Assuming the site doesn't come back, #3 will come back naturally and that is probably what drives most interest in the site. #1 might be recoverable with some concerted effort if we encourage everyone to post some reference content AND there's a forum structure to organize it. #2 is probably the toughest to recover (DIYelectriccar... was just one of the repositories where I posted my project information) as many people post on their project as they go along, there really isn't a strong incentive to try and re-history a project.

I believe the site - even with the lost year event - will likely recover (possibly explaining the lack of interest from the site providers). It may actually be on a more reliable supported platform, so moving to something custom or on a different platform may not be an improvement. I believe the key to recovery is getting as much useful and interesting content back on the site.

Jeff
 

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After the amateurish handling of these site issues I would be in favour of tech qualified members establishing a new forum and I would be willing to contribute at lease $20 us p/a (pensioner) to retain the garage and to avoid the frustration that we all have experienced for what I thought was more than three years. I can remember that a contributor rubbished me because two or more years ago I was concerned about an inaccurate post count. A stitch in time would have saved more than nine: :mad:
 

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Even my thread for my Kart from a few weeks ago is gone. Threads are missing from all sorts of time ranges.
 

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What concerns me most is that the new site owner is basically doing nothing to try to keep senior and active site members informed about what is going on. It's clear that they bought this to generate traffic in return for zero work on their part. I'd have been OK with that if they'd have left well enough alone, but it appears that they've destroyed a good portion of the site (the entire Garage for instance) and have not communicated their plan to fix it.

I"m open to a modest price for a paid site that we content generators actually control, but I like the model used by the Triumph Experience as an example: free membership with available supporting membership for a fee.
 

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Thanks for the summary and starting this topic.
I agree, I would be great if we could become self supportive again and hope (but perhaps that is naive) with a backup as a starting point.
For me this is very valuable, could not do my conversion without the support and knowledge I'm finding here. So I'd be happy to contribute where possible. Financially or in IT (I'm not a programmer, but often make functional specifications, bridge between end users and programmers and do user acceptance testing).

I realised how much I take for granted that what I find and read on the web stays there. I just keep track of links in my own notebook, but do not store the concent offline in PDF's. Perhaps I should start doing that.....
 

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I know of some big forums suffering a backup-failure rebuilding there contents with user-cache data.. ( gathering.tweakers.net )

another option is Google cache...

like this thread:
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:DE0Mr2iWJmUJ:www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/showthread.php/911-rsr-tesla-motor-192602.html+&cd=1&hl=nl&ct=clnk&gl=nl


I'm in no way an IT guy, but I'm quite sure more capable people could scrape together the intire forum, just in case the owner of the forum doesn't get it back together...
 

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I tried posting this in the Help Desk but apparently a moderater didn't like it so it was not approved. I did not save the message, so let's try this again.

This website's content has not been completely lost, due to a huge non-profit external organization that seeks to document the history of the Internet as websites come and go. They are called Archive.org, and they occasionally send out "web crawling robots" to well-known websites to click on every link and then record the results.

Their recorded webcrawls are accessible through a search system they call The Wayback Machine, which was the name of Mr. Peabody's time machine in the Rocky and Bullwinkle show.

A search history of Wayback Machine web crawls of....

... this forum:
https://web.archive.org/web/*/www.diyelectriccar.com/forums

... the Garage:
https://web.archive.org/web/*/www.diyelectriccar.com/garage/

... the Wiki:
https://web.archive.org/web/*/www.diyelectriccar.com/wiki/

,

I randomly clicked on things and I can access the first and last pages in the Garage, so probably all of it is still there.

Archive.org intends to never delete these archives. However as a non-profit, access times to these archives can at times be slow as they are using lowest-cost solutions for long-term storage.

Also, please consider donating to Archive.org to help fund their continued work to preserve the old web.
 

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This is crazy! I go away on holiday and when I return the content from my whole build thread is gone :mad:. Even worse, some of the long sticky threads now have a year's worth of comments missing.

To me the first priority is whether the data from the last year is retrievable. It's the knowledge that is shared and can be searched for that is the most valuable thing about this forum. It will be a huge shame if the past years data has been lost forever. How the forum operates from now on is a secondary issue.
 
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