# ImportantState of the Forum Address 2019

#### Enjo

##### Mostly harmless
Tutorial Publisher
Donator
In most cases this happens, repurposing is the best way to ensure the money doesn't get wasted.
Wasted on what? I'm talking about covering future costs. At the moment of receiving excess funds, the narrative should naturally change to "For how long the excess funds are going to last?" and not to "Where shall we go shopping?"

#### jedidia

##### shoemaker without legs
At the moment of receiving excess funds, the narrative should naturally change to "For how long the excess funds are going to last?" and not to "Where shall we go shopping?"

Except if you have a non-profit, this is problematic. Are your current funds still under the allowed level? Will they still be next year at the current funding level? If not, what are you going to do? Attempt to spend excess funds that cannot be practically spent on the purpose they were donated for for something else useful, or tell your donors to stop donating?

A hint from someone with experience in non-profits: The later is suicide. Too many donors might jump off, leaving you with too little funding after all. But that's only part of it. Building a donor base takes time and effort, it's not something you undermine lightly. You tell your donors that they can stop donating for now, and there's no guarantee that you'll ever get them back. Some will even get pissed because they feel insulted that you no longer want their money.
So you look around for opportunities you can eliminate excess funds in a sensible manner, you are open about it, you explain what is happening and what you are going to do with the money instead (all of which was done as far as I remember). And the one or other donor will get pissed about that, unfortunately. But it's much more survivable than sawing off the entire branch you're sitting on.

#### 4throck

##### Enthusiast !
Money is trouble and it's not worth it for such a small and quiet community.
How many active members do we have? I see about 20 "thankyous" on the first post.

So I think the forum could perfectly be run using PhpBB. I see no practical difference between here and other phpBB forums I use.

#### Xyon

##### Puts the Fun in Dysfunctional
Moderator
Webmaster
GFX Staff
Donator
Beta Tester

... here are my points:

I'll take these in turn in the order you posted them.

1) Charity:
I felt cheated, after you raised funds for the first time specifically to cover forum costs, you suddenly wanted to donate the excess money to charity, which was a break of the contract. By the way, the loudest proponents of this idea didn’t donate a single cent! In the end you didn’t let the non-productive members decide what should be done with my hard earned money, so we’re even here. It did however cost me a lot of nerves to even discuss such obvious topics with all these SJWs, to whom you gave enough fuel in the first place.

I'm sorry you felt this way, and we certainly weren't aware of any such feelings at the time we discussed the surplus funds. In actuality, although we loosely settled on charitable donation as the end result, it was never firmly defined what charity or cause would receive our donation, and it was soon after that the first incident involving access to our funds occurred, and no donation was made because of these eventualities.

I can understand why it might seem duplicitous to accept donations for one cause and then not use those funds for that cause. That sort of practice would give me pause to consider whether my donation is deserved or not too, and I totally get where you're coming from with this sentiment. On the other hand, the excess balance sitting in our account was the direct cause of our issues with PayPal, and not using the funds caused us some serious issues - including all our recurring donations being cancelled as I mention in post 1 in this thread.

It is obviously not the intention of myself or any other representative of Orbiter Forum to collect donated funds for the express purpose of anything other than covering our reasonable software costs. As of this moment I don't have any plans to donate any excess funds anywhere else, and I'm not aware of any similar plan among the other senior staff members.

2) The case of the mathematician Keith from Hong Kong:
Keith, having posted many mathematical derivations and ideas, decided to delete all of his posts for an unknown reason. Your hypothesis – he got annoyed by one or more members. My hypothesis – he could have been persecuted by the Chinese government. Whoever is right on this one, I think it is his choice whether he wants to keep his posts or not. Your argumentation was, that as soon as he posts something on the O-F, it becomes the property of O-F (sic!) So are you a non-profit organization, or do you collect value in form of posts’ content as a forum asset, assuming it’s yours to take?

Keith's case was not unique in that periodically members will approach the forum staff asking for their posts to be removed from the forum. In the interests of preserving an archive of a conversation, we generally decline to delete content our members have submitted to the board, because looking back on old threads with posts deleted from them is quite confusing and it limits our ability to provide a community of helpful conversation and advice from our members.

Should someone prefer instead to disassociate themselves with content they've posted to the forum, we can assign their posts to a "Joe Bloggs" (for the Americans: this is the British equivalent of John Doe) user, which preserves the content but removes your association with it.

I can't comment on what this particular user decided to do or any conversations between them and forum staff, but the evidence of the end result is plain, and it's not the outcome we'd have preferred.

3) Last time I offered on the forum, on a similar occasion, democracy weighted by the sum of given person’s donation, my post was deleted and I was accused of flame baiting. Quite an accusation for just offering an alternative, that you’re just not accustomed with. In one of my apartments I have more voting power from the neighbor below me, just because I have slightly thinner walls, giving way for more area to pay for, thus more voting power, and everybody has to accept it.
The weighted democracy would have helped the community to get rid of major jerks, or at least peel their nails, before the normal people (including donators) left your forum for good. Your choice, but if you want play with the toys only by yourself, I won’t spend my family’s funds to buy them for you.

I may be reading too much into this here, but the scenario you're outlining sounds like a "the more you pay, the more you can dictate how the forum should be" kind of setup, which we take great pains to avoid. Benefits of donation do exist, but they don't give you more say in forum decisions, nor do they make people exempt from moderation activities. We really do try very hard to keep the forum equal for all our members, whether they choose to donate to us or not.

Enclosing here, it should also be valued, that you guys do donate your precious time into the forum, to keep it running by updating it and fighting off spam.

We do try.

I propose you to add that cherry on top of this service and try to lay tracks for solutions to come, instead of just pushing the train without tracks underneath.

I'm not sure what this meant?

#### Xyon

##### Puts the Fun in Dysfunctional
Moderator
Webmaster
GFX Staff
Donator
Beta Tester
Money is trouble and it's not worth it for such a small and quiet community.
How many active members do we have? I see about 20 "thankyous" on the first post.

So I think the forum could perfectly be run using PhpBB. I see no practical difference between here and other phpBB forums I use.

I made a test board for this, I'll have to dig it out so you can see it.

#### Xyon

##### Puts the Fun in Dysfunctional
Moderator
Webmaster
GFX Staff
Donator
Beta Tester
I made a test board for this, I'll have to dig it out so you can see it.

It turns out the one I made wasn't working very well, so I made a new one.

It's made from a reasonably old forum backup, because I couldn't be bothered extracting and decrypting another one (it takes about an hour and a half).

(You might need to reset your password with it, because they don't port over in the database conversion)

#### Linguofreak

##### Well-known member
2) The case of the mathematician Keith from Hong Kong:
Keith, having posted many mathematical derivations and ideas, decided to delete all of his posts for an unknown reason. Your hypothesis – he got annoyed by one or more members. My hypothesis – he could have been persecuted by the Chinese government. Whoever is right on this one, I think it is his choice whether he wants to keep his posts or not. Your argumentation was, that as soon as he posts something on the O-F, it becomes the property of O-F (sic!) So are you a non-profit organization, or do you collect value in form of posts’ content as a forum asset, assuming it’s yours to take?

If he's asking to delete his posts under duress from the Chinese government, or if they obtained his password by rubber-hose cryptanalysis and are now impersonating him and asking for his posts to be taken down, that's all the more reason *not* to delete the posts: if China wants to censor the Web within their borders, fine, but allowing them to censor content stored outside of China for users not located in China can only end badly.

And, in general, I don't think it's good policy for forums to honor deletion requests without a court order in the jurisdiction the site is hosted in: otherwise a third party that gained access to an account could request deletion of posts, and if the breach wasn't caught within the time scope of the forum's backups, the posts would be gone forever. A court order at least establishes that the plaintiff can be established to be the account holder to the court's satisfaction.

Even without unauthorized third party access, there's also the complication of posts quoted by other users: either you leave posts that quote the deleted posts intact, in which case the content is at least partially still there, or else you excise the quotes, which is likely to be difficult to do automatically and leaves the quoting posts missing context (and, arguably creates room for the quoting users to complain that their posts are being edited without their permission and without any TOS violation), or you remove the quoting posts entirely, which deals with the "missing context" bit, though it might lead to a chain reaction which blanks entire threads, and it makes the potential for other users to feel aggrieved even worse.

I have other opinions on the matter, but they're definitely in basement territory, plus, I don't really want to expend the energy to argue them right now.

Moderator
Webmaster
GFX Staff
Donator
Beta Tester

#### kuddel

##### Donator
Donator
Except that xenforo also limits its "screen real-estate"[1] it looks and feels fine!

/Kuddel

[1] by not using the full screen width...like almost every site does nowadays

#### Xyon

##### Puts the Fun in Dysfunctional
Moderator
Webmaster
GFX Staff
Donator
Beta Tester
Except that xenforo also limits its "screen real-estate"[1] it looks and feels fine!

/Kuddel

[1] by not using the full screen width...like almost every site does nowadays

So, I noted as well the permissions aren't quite right, because it moderated your post, which it shouldn't have. I think we can clone the default skin to have a fluid variant, though, to solve that.

#### GLS

##### Well-known member
Orbiter Contributor
For completeness on the migration testing, I present another version of the board, in a sample copy of XF; https://of-xenforo-test.orbiter-radio.co.uk/
My only complaint about it is the round avatars, which can probably be changed. Otherwise, both this above and the previous test seem fine visually.

#### jedidia

##### shoemaker without legs
Except that xenforo also limits its "screen real-estate"[1] it looks and feels fine!

/Kuddel

[1] by not using the full screen width...like almost every site does nowadays

I second this. My only other gripe would be lack of markdown support, but as far as I can gather from Xenoforo discussions that's not in the cards. I'll survive. :thumbup:

#### Urwumpe

##### Not funny anymore
Donator
Will the math tag support also die with the migration?

#### Xyon

##### Puts the Fun in Dysfunctional
Moderator
Webmaster
GFX Staff
Donator
Beta Tester
I second this. My only other gripe would be lack of markdown support, but as far as I can gather from Xenoforo discussions that's not in the cards. I'll survive. :thumbup:

I don't think it is, but then, vBulletin doesn't support markdown either, unless I've missed something?

Will the math tag support also die with the migration?

Not quite. The test board has LaTeX support, though instead of a [MATH] bbcode it's invoked with $and$. The rendering works fine though. [QUOTE="GLS, post: 561102, member: 313"]My only complaint about it is the round avatars, which can probably be changed. Otherwise, both this above and the previous test seem fine visually.[/quote] I'll see what I can do about them ;)[/MATH]

#### Linguofreak

##### Well-known member
Is there any way to force Xenforo to display the desktop version on a mobile device? That's pretty much a non-negotiable for me. Mobile sites for anything are UI nightmares, even on mobile devices.

#### jedidia

##### shoemaker without legs
I don't think it is, but then, vBulletin doesn't support markdown either, unless I've missed something?

Nope, it doesn't, which is why you *regularly* see markdown notation in plain text in my posts. :lol:

#### Xyon

##### Puts the Fun in Dysfunctional
Moderator
Webmaster
GFX Staff
Donator
Beta Tester
Is there any way to force Xenforo to display the desktop version on a mobile device? That's pretty much a non-negotiable for me. Mobile sites for anything are UI nightmares, even on mobile devices.

I found telling my browser to request the desktop version worked just fine for this purpose. Although, equally, I found XenForo's mobile layout a lot easier, personally, than the desktop version on my phone.

#### Xyon

##### Puts the Fun in Dysfunctional
Moderator
Webmaster
GFX Staff
Donator
Beta Tester
Nope, it doesn't, which is why you *regularly* see markdown notation in plain text in my posts. :lol:

this thread suggests you might be in luck, actually.

#### Xyon

##### Puts the Fun in Dysfunctional
Moderator
Webmaster
GFX Staff
Donator
Beta Tester
This post on the test board shows the Markdown style content working just fine, now that I've turned it on.

#### Xyon

##### Puts the Fun in Dysfunctional
Moderator
Webmaster
GFX Staff
Donator
Beta Tester
My only complaint about it is the round avatars, which can probably be changed. Otherwise, both this above and the previous test seem fine visually.

I've reduced the border-radius property to 5% now, so they have rounded corners, but they aren't circular.

Replies
134
Views
9K
Replies
19
Views
1K
Replies
0
Views
304
Replies
0
Views
641
Replies
0
Views
613