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Offline Rob Willis  
#16 Posted : Tuesday, September 24, 2019 8:54:57 AM(UTC)
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Good morning Doug,
In an effort to keep this topic productive; may I suggest this thread be moved to members only?

Sincerely,
Rob Willis
thanks 4 users thanked Rob Willis for this useful post.
Matt Komar on 9/24/2019(UTC), Tim Hughes on 9/24/2019(UTC), Chuck Edwards on 9/25/2019(UTC), Jim7216 on 9/25/2019(UTC)
Offline Doug Pilcher  
#17 Posted : Tuesday, September 24, 2019 9:15:30 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Ron Graham Go to Quoted Post
Thanks for the feedback. Considering the plans that are being explored, is it reasonable for members to anticipate that there will be a budgetary change and/or lump some fee (s) ? Do you anticipate the cost to be more or less than what we had in the prior website? Would these changes occur over the tenure of the existing BOD and/or future BOD's ? How does the BOD intend to make these choices? Would there be a recorded vote on the minutes? Bidding?


I think I answered first part of that in my last reply Ron.

"The BOD is investigating quite thoroughly now is taking IMAC and it's website/forum needs to a more commercial platform(s) and weighing far more cost effective paths moving forward."

The platforms being investigated and tested are commercial platforms, thus there is no "bidding" that would apply. They are set flat fees for what we see the membership would want and needs we have as an organization. As to, "do we anticipate costs to be "more or less" than prior website", (I) not only anticipate but expect it to be much lower however a yearly renewable avenue. My investigation thus far would put costs very close to our current maintenance costs now. But not with a lump sum up front cost as the work is being done by volunteers thus far. As it pertains to the forums testing we are currently doing. The website testing that has begun also being done by volunteers. BUT, there may be a point when a professional may be needed to incorporate the SQL programming needed to bring in the event manager and score system.

I expect this to occur thru this BOD's and into the next BOD's tenure to complete. There is a lot of work to be done here to achieve the final goals. All of which again requires volunteers with time to create, test and roll out any changes.

All final decisions or paths would indeed be voted upon and recorded in minutes.
Doug Pilcher
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Offline Curtis Cozier  
#18 Posted : Tuesday, September 24, 2019 12:29:18 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Doug Pilcher Go to Quoted Post
I also remind you this platform was put together before International was a true part of the mix and planning and now with International growth and 3 region split.



If I'm not mistaken the membership has dropped somewhere between 350 to 400 members from that time as well... Please correct if I am wrong...
......
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Chuck Edwards on 9/24/2019(UTC)
Offline Doug Pilcher  
#19 Posted : Tuesday, September 24, 2019 1:09:07 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Curtis Cozier Go to Quoted Post
If I'm not mistaken the membership has dropped somewhere between 350 to 400 members from that time as well... Please correct if I am wrong...


First I would say that those numbers may be indeed be correct. However, I would say that the same is true of nearly all sigs.

Second, I would say this would be considered quite off topic here.



Doug Pilcher
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Offline Chuck Edwards  
#20 Posted : Tuesday, September 24, 2019 3:52:43 PM(UTC)
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I echo all of the comments in Ron’s above post. In your original post Doug the main cause for this transition is due to outsider threats on the forums and the lack of desire by the volunteers at hand to deal with this moving forward. The International growth seamed to be a secondary issue. When you say growth has pushed us o this point, are you sighting membership growth or overall footprint due to the international region split? Either way I don’t see how the is a strong enough argument to venture into another website endeavor, actually I think it would be down right financially irresponsible! I may be wrong but I think our membership is less than half of what it was before we upgraded to this iteration, hence we were doing more with less back then. Just my opinion, but this needs to be done with the utmost transparency unlike before.

Edited by user Tuesday, September 24, 2019 4:58:52 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Charles Edwards
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Offline Chuck Edwards  
#21 Posted : Tuesday, September 24, 2019 4:57:42 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Doug Pilcher Go to Quoted Post
First I would say that those numbers may be indeed be correct. However, I would say that the same is true of nearly all sigs.

Second, I would say this would be considered quite off topic here.

I would not consider off topic Doug. It comes down to how your spinning the need for a site upgrade. If you’re saying the need is based off of membership growth I would be inclined to say that you are not telling the whole story. Has there been an issue with the current service provider? How will the new site help mitigate the workload caused by cyber security attacks?

Rob,

Moving this thread to the membership only side might just be the inspiration I need to burn $40.00. ;-)





Charles Edwards
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Offline Krzy4rc  
#22 Posted : Tuesday, September 24, 2019 5:21:21 PM(UTC)
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"Our current forum software has served us well (or so many of us believe) for the past several years, but it has not kept pace with the global threats. To date, we have been very dependent on mostly volunteer efforts by a couple individuals to prevent unwanted intrusions and hacking. Many times a day spiders, hackers, robot user registrations, and a host of other threats intrude the forums. These attacks require daily backups and restorations. Recently, we lost three days’ worth of discussions. Our frontline troops in the fight are tired, and it has reached a critical point where those individuals are no longer willing or able to keep up that fight. To that end, it’s time for us to take the next step and seek a more sustainable professional solution that allows us to maintain and enhance the forum function."

I don't see the spin. The only one spinning things are you, Chuck.
Rich
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Offline A.J. Jaffe  
#23 Posted : Tuesday, September 24, 2019 5:47:19 PM(UTC)
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Not to be on Chuck's side because well, it makes me feel a little dirty,LOL but...
"Serving us well" is pretty relative. Has it served us roughly 5,000 per year (the initial cost only assuming that as Doug said the "new" website will cost about same monthly) well?

I wasn't on the old site for all that long but from what I remember from it, it wasn't much worse than this one.

Food for thought, Yay for a new website, not super effective (IMO) use of nearly 16k.

A.J.
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Ron Graham on 9/24/2019(UTC)
Offline Jim7216  
#24 Posted : Tuesday, September 24, 2019 6:42:20 PM(UTC)
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It seems to me that if we paid $16,000 for our new website 4 years ago it should not be outdated. That seems like a ton of money we paid for this website. I would think it could be done much cheaper than that.
Jim
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Ron Graham on 9/24/2019(UTC)
Offline Krzy4rc  
#25 Posted : Tuesday, September 24, 2019 7:08:34 PM(UTC)
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I believe we are talking about the forum platform for now.
Rich
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Offline Tim Hughes  
#26 Posted : Tuesday, September 24, 2019 8:51:42 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Rob Willis Go to Quoted Post
Good morning Doug,
In an effort to keep this topic productive; may I suggest this thread be moved to members only?

Sincerely,
Rob Willis


Please
Offline Chuck Edwards  
#27 Posted : Wednesday, September 25, 2019 2:50:14 AM(UTC)
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Rich,

Not trying to spin anything here, just putting out factual information so that the path forward is well thought out.


AJ,

It’s not easy playing Devils Advocate but somebody has to do it! lol. Just imagine how things would be if everyone just agreed with every idea that came down pipe?
Charles Edwards
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Offline Doug Pilcher  
#28 Posted : Thursday, September 26, 2019 11:20:40 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Chuck Edwards Go to Quoted Post
Rich,

Not trying to spin anything here, just putting out factual information so that the path forward is well thought out.


If not spinning things Chuck, then just extremely confused on the facts. The biggest being that the current Executive members of the BOD were NOT in charge when the new website was voted on. It was previous to Mike being President and long previous to myself being Vice President. Please be clear on these facts. Yes, when the site was being tested, the new administration did add some components to the website. But the lionshare of website cost was approved previously.

Let me preface this with as quickly as all of this happened, some of the following information was not known or available. Let me now share further.

I/BOD started this thread in hopes to keep membership up to date on the happenings of our backbone communications and Event and Points platform of IMAC. Also to get input as to what membership would want or need added or removed and abilities wanted as migration needs to take place for initially the forums. As someone in the IT field for nearly 30 years, I am quite literate in the constant threats and attacks made via the internet not daily, but minute by minute. On average over 400 new virus's alone are dispersed worldwide in about an hour. (Mcafee and Norton Statistics) This does not include malware attacks and DDoS attacks!

So to elaborate on the "WHY" we had to make this move and with some haste.

As stated in post #1 the forums are attacked daily. Hourly backups are done and when the attack makes it thru, it takes the system down. A single webmaster has to monitor this. Sometimes it is me or another member who notices first the system is down. Webmaster is contacted and he then begins a restore of system to a previous time. Also as stated in post #1 we lost 3 days of conversation within threads. This puts our events and scoring systems at risk as well since all reside on same platform currently. After a long discussion with Webmaster it was arrived at a conclusion that if we could separate the forums from the website it would then protect the other components of the backbone of our club and the members points and membership information and renewals systems in place.

Now to clearly bring the membership/users up to date. We have created a new forum platform currently being tested by some member volunteers for functionality, permissions, problems, tweaks and additions as allowable and able. This platform (after researching several) of the top 5 out there for abilities vs. cost we moved forward testing VBulletin platforms. 2 Week free trial which then was followed up with a 1 month subscription at a cost of $39.95 to continue the build and testing. We believe the correct system was chosen. Not only is Vbulletin number 2 of the top 5 out there, but most cost effective for our organization. Let me remind everyone that the membership votes on, and depends on the Board of Directors to maintain a cohesive experience to its members at all times. Imperative to that end is maintaining of our systems in place. This is my understanding of my position on the BOD.

We now are at the point that we absolutely believe VBulletin is the proper platform for us to migrate to. That said, a yearly subscription with VBull is $29.95 a month vs the monthly plan of $39.95 or $359.40 for a year. To be clear, that will not lower our monthly maintenance to maintain the rest of the system as of yet.

Now looking forward, we hope and expect and are looking into the same type of migration of the rest of the website to a commercial cloud based platform. Also on a yearly budgeted cost of a host package needed to maintain what we need expect and desire of the website. To include things mentioned above with online membership renewals/join and points system and event manager and much more that is built into what we have currently and need for the club. However these platforms are now proven more stable, secure and easily maintained and cloud based. Now that this exists and is an option it makes sense. I have done some research of these platforms, (admittedly not thoroughly as currently working on daily basis on the forums aspect of this puzzle) but seeing pricing ranging from $400's to around $1000.00 a year.

SO, lets do some math here. Forums seeming to be $359.40 a year. And let's assume the Website platform was as much as lets say $1200.00 to round way up. That would put a total cost possibly around $1559.40 a year. Our current maintenance fee would go away as we hope this can fall on volunteers as all of our organization is based upon. People giving of their time for the love of IMAC.

So currently:

Maintenance Fees total $2568.00 Per Year

Estimated going forward:
Forums Fees calculated at $359.40 Per Year
Website Platform Estimation of $1200.00 Per Year

Total Estimated: $1549.40

Estimated Savings:
Overall Savings $1008.60 a Year

Maybe this sheds more light.

Now to address the placement of this thread in an open forum and not members only as some of you have asked for it to be moved.

When it was discussed within the BOD, both were talked about. However, when the final discussion on BOD meeting was held, I did miss the first 20 mins of the meeting. Upon joining the meeting I was brought up to speed on the release of the statement. I did not however understand that it was to be in members only. The announcement was to be placed and email blasted the next morning by myself. These tasks fall within my duties. I actually contemplated both public and members only again. And maybe I should have waited until I was confident of what the board had decided since I was not sure. BUT, I acted in what I thought the best interest of all members of the website. If users (not actual IMAC members) are here reading about IMAC, then do I not have a responsibility to advise them and also ask them for the same input? I believed I did in fact owe them that as do we not want all IMAC users to become IMAC members at some point?

Now I digress just a bit. Let's assume I had placed this in "Members Only". Do any of you truly believe it would have stayed there? Do you not believe it would have been a situation of "Other" topics or "threads" that would have popped up in Pilots lounge or another open forum?

Membership asks for transparency. Was this not a decision of just that? BUT, that resides on my shoulders and not the rest of the Boards shoulders. Just to be perfectly clear here. It was my final decision on the placement of post.

Sorry for the long post this morning and now I must get to my paying job.

I return you all to your days.

Doug Pilcher
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douglas.pilcher@gmail.com
Contact - 903-647-2640
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Offline Nikolei Zinsli  
#29 Posted : Thursday, September 26, 2019 11:36:48 AM(UTC)
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I tend to agree that the budget for a new site doesn't make a whole lot of sense, even with the potential incoming international membership. Can we instead move the discussion to what exactly it is with the current 'YetAnotherForum' (YAF) and/or 'DotNetNuke' (DNN) platform(s) are failing to keep up with the times? I suspect a fair number of us work in technology like myself and can at least help advise on potential solutions. As a software/web developer, I can tell you that hacking will always be an issue. So it really comes down to the responsiveness of the site platform and/or forum software and/or third-party modules to stay current enough to fend them off. Is our installed versions of DNN & YAF up to date? If not, is there a reason we couldn't upgrade? So, where is the current weak-point?
Offline Chuck Edwards  
#30 Posted : Thursday, September 26, 2019 12:01:41 PM(UTC)
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Doug,

Great post packed with a ton a useful information. This is exactly the type of transparency that is needed. Just imagine where we would be in this thread if this was the first post put out. Again, with complete sincerity, thank you.
Charles Edwards
TEAM FUTABA
Professional UAS pilot.
I’m just here for the party!
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