Relaunch of Nth Circle website

UPDATE: Old forum posts have been recovered. See my recent announcement for more info.

Original Announcement:

Hello everyone.

My sincerest apologies for Nth Circle being offline for several days, starting around April 8, 2022.

Due to some major technical issues, I've decided to permanently archive and disable the old Nth Circle forum. Although this was unplanned and unexpected, I am using this as an opportunity to completely refresh the technology of the website and launch an entirely redesigned Nth Circle, based on the Discourse software platform.

Sadly, this change also means all previous Nth Circle forum content is currently available. It's a major undertaking to migrate and restore all the old forum content to the new forum, so I unfortunately am not planning to do so. Sorry for this decision, but it's the most practical option, given the time and effort required to salvage the old accounts and forum posts.

[EDIT: Please see my latest comments here and here about the process of restoring old forum content].

With that said, I do believe the new Nth Circle version 2.0 is exponentially better than the old forum, not only in terms of software and tech, but also in terms of usability. The new website now rides atop a modern(-ish) technical stack, which makes it far more reliable, secure, and scalable into the future. And unlike the previous system – which I had cobbled together while adding features or updating security over the years – the new Nth Circle is built upon a far more stable open-source platform, supported by a large and active developer community. This makes the whole Nth Circle website easier to manage and maintain.

I know all of this is a big change and many of you may be disappointed that historical forum content is currently unavailable. I also know it's inconvenient to have to create new accounts or start from scratch (everyone's a newbie :baby: again!). But I do hope that most of you appreciate, as much as I do, the amazing community you all have built at Nth Circle. I believe the Nth community will grow even stronger on this newly refreshed website, especially given all the cool new features the forum now offers, which I encourage you all to explore.

So go ahead and signup, take a look around, and play with those new features, like private group messages, @mentions, ignored users, real-time notifications, dark mode, mobile app, etc. While you're at it, please post in the suggestions category, if you encounter any issues or have suggestions for improvements.

Thanks again for your continued interest in Nth Circle.

-hungryghost

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Thank you for the new forum.

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Thank You for all your hard work. New forum looks nice.

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It's a shame that the old posts can't be imported, but thank you for your efforts.

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It's great to see the site back up again! Thanks, hungryghost!

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I'd love to have the old posts back, as well. If someone were to volunteer to help with this migration work, then it might be possible. Unfortunately, the chance of me finding the time to do it myself is pretty low.

If anyone is technically savvy enough and willing to volunteer to help restore the old content, please PM me! I'd be thrilled if someone took up this challenge!

For the data migration, any experience with the following tech would be helpful:

  • Docker
  • Nginx
  • Ruby
  • MySQL and Postgres
  • Maybe some Joomla or PHP
  • Any prior ETL experience

If anyone has any of the above, please reach out!

[Edit] I've resolved all the Nginx issues and it turns out a data import can be done completely via Ruby script, without having to touch Postgres directly, so this should simplify things greatly. So, basically, the main tech required for the data migration is going to be Ruby, MySql, and possibly some understanding of Joomla and Kunena db schemas in case there needs to be additional transformation of the data.

Hi, Boz. Good to see you here. I've very much enjoyed your posts on some other forums. (Of course, perhaps you've been here all along....)

Thanks, Kent.

I've been here reading for quite some time, but I just never signed up until now. I figured the new forum was a good excuse to finally do so.

Yes, unlike a lot of people, I use the same username everywhere, although sometimes I need to add a number at the end.

I hate change....
but I like the forum.....
so I will learn, ..... eventually,...... I hope

Thanks for carrying on hungryghost

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Just a word of thanks for Nth Circle and PrepaidCompare.
Two quality resources that are completely free with no strings attached.

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Thanks for the kind words, everyone.

Just a quick update:

I took a preliminary look into importing the old forum content. Apparently, it may be a bit easier than I'd assumed. So there's a possibility we'll regain access to the old forum posts. No promises though, since I haven't actually attempted the data import yet and I may run into unforeseen issues. Also, any attempted data migration will need to wait another week or so, when I have more time.

But just wanted to update everyone that I'm looking into it.

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Good to see the site back up. Thanks, HungryGhost!

Has anything been determined yet as to the likelihood of the original site's content being restored?

I'm still looking into it. Sorry, I don't have any new information to share, but I should know more in the next few days.

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I'm really missing not being able to access old forum content. Hope it is back soon!

Hi everyone. Here's an update on the old forum content:

I attempted a test migration over the weekend, to help surface any potential issues with the data restoration.

It turns out my original pessimism was warranted. The migration is messier and more difficult than I was beginning to think. But, with that said, I do believe that salvaging the old forum content is possible. I've spent many hours already ironing out the kinks and I am planning a real migration attempt sometime this week or possibly over the weekend.

The main question is how clean will the restored content be. The hardest part of this migration is faithfully restoring those parts of the posts that most of us don't think about, things like formatting, quoting, links, images, likes, etc. All of those are handled in a completely different way in the old forum compared to this new system. Without a delicate transformation of old forum posts to new forum posts, some content may not be rendered accurately (although all text should be readable).

At minimum, I believe I can restore all textual content from the previous forum. But, currently I'm uncertain whether I can preserve some of those other parts. Depending on how it goes, the restored posts may contain broken links, images, emojis, or extraneous BBCode markup tags.

I can't promise perfection, but I'll try my best to restore the old content with minimal formatting issues.

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Longtime lurker here. Wanted to thank @hungryghost for this forum and offer a bit of advice.

Please don't waste your time recovering the old content. There is no need for it. It is out of date. Even if you migrate it, it will be messy and pollute the new forum. Those asking for it have not really explained what value it would have except that it would be "nice to have".

While I have your attention, I'd love to know what happened to the old forum. Was it hacked by spammers (Russians?) or did all the coding / customization required break it?

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Nothing I care to remember especially that defunct cell service cellnolo or something.

Seriously though I wouldn't spend time recovering the old site either.

I also am not interested in past posts, but I recognize that some people want certain past threads.

May I suggest a new thread that people can request what old threads and HG could look into the migration of those threads.

I do not understand the wholesale migration of the old site.

If there were let's say 5 old threads requested. I am sure that is more manageable. Then the entire old site.

I'm guessing the bulk of the effort & time involved in getting, say 20% desired threads to transfer correctly & smoothly in an automated manner would be almost the same as then running bulk or batch for the balance of the old threads

I wouldn't necessarily know what I wanted, until I wanted it. Would it be a one time request window? Does hungryghost want to deal with requests down the road, would I still be interested by the time he can do it?

I might be wrong re the bulk of work but if I'm close on that I'd go for all or nothing.