I apologize in advance for the book of words I'm about to type, but both Terry and I want Trad Gang members to get the full picture of what this forum is struggling with, and what it will take to allow Trad Gang to continue ... because things are that serious right now.
Trad Gang's old and antiquated flat file forum software (ubb.classic) was grandfathered more than a decade ago. It's database software is so ancient that no one writes code for it anymore.
We need Trad Gang to migrate over to better, more modern forum software that will allow a host of functions we'd only dreamed of for years.
Functions such as hosting the images you put in your threads and posts, so there's no need for a photobucket or imgur or fliker or whatever. The images would stay on your computer and copies would reside here with us for the life of Trad Gang. No more lost images in classic threads and posts. Better registration security to help keep out the scammers and hackers, videos embedded in posts, faster and better internal search engine, better forum software diagnostics to keep the system well and up and running 24x7, user control of custom avatars, better integration with our Trad Gang St Judes Annual Auction, better PM system, image galleries, and lots more.
The cost of the new forum software is nothing. It's free.
HOWEVER, the conversion from our current flat file forum software (ubb.classic) to more modern relational database forum software (smf) is nearly impossible. We've/I've tried that conversion over the course of the last 7 years and failed every time.
Recently, that dismal past has changed, and with the assistance of a ubb.classic/ubb.threads tech programming guru we've been able to complete the first of two Trad Gang test migrations. The second test is underway as I type this post. Trad Gang is so big and robust that the current conversion has been running non-stop for THREE DAYS. Yup, Trad Gang is that big. We expect it should end tomorrow and we expect a success.
The Trad Gang server is approaching its 7th birthday - most servers have a lifespan of 5 years, so we're living on borrowed time on a machine who's spare parts are no longer manufactured. We need a new server ASAP, with FAST quad core CPU's, and LOTS more FAST memory and solid state drives - all the goods that will insure excellent Trad Gang functionality, and that will allow both Trad Gang and the St Judes Auction to run in the same domain and not have everyone jumping around to different domains on the Trad Gang server.
Because there is a major software disparity between the current old forum software and the proposed new forum software, both types of software will not run on the same server. We need to temporarily run TWO servers during the Trad Gang migration conversion. More expense we'd had no clue to even plan on happening.
Right now, the cost of the conversion development and execution, the new server and memory and its installation, the dual server configuration, all costs some big dollars we just don't have. We know that it'll be at least $6k to get the new hardware we need to just stay alive, as we are today on the old forum software. Completing the migration conversion adds on at least another $2k. As of now, we still haven't gotten an estimate on the cost of a temporary dual server environment for use during the real, live migration conversion.
If you wish to help donate to the Trad Gang Fund for new hardware/software, we absolutely appreciate your help in helping your Trad Gang forum continue to be the best it can be.
Thanks for the detailed explanation, Rob. I was curious if the renewals that contributing classifieds members pay annually could be used to help defray the cost of these needed upgrades? That seems like a good financial resource, which could be used to assist in those needs too. Please don't take this suggestion in a negative way. I don't mean it that way. I have no idea what where the money goes for the classifieds contributor status, and frankly, it is none of my business. I just noticed there seemed to be a bit of a crossover between the goals given for the classifieds contribution in the need to help TG keep the classifieds, and its members, safe from hackers/scammers as well as the cost of these needed upgrades. Truly, I am not trying to stir the pot. I'm just trying to find out if our contributions for the classifieds could possibly help to achieve this goal while we pay for the use of the classifieds section?
All the help and information that I've received from everyone on this site is amazing and it would be the least I could do to make a donation! This is an amazing place and would hate to see it go! Thanks Terry and Rob and everyone else involved in making Tradgang what it is!