Website Absorption Notes
Posted: Posted September 22nd by Xhin
This project right here is our best shot at getting new people fast. I've been slowly working out the details over the past few months.
Long story short, the goal is to merge another small/medium-sized site into GTX0. We have some experience with that; GTX0 originally was formed together from 4 different sites, then absorbed OGT later on. The scope of this project is a bit different because I want to import over accounts, avatars, posts, etc so we can do as many absorptions as possible.
Why would someone want to merge their site with GTX0?
The biggest draw is that their community gains GTX0 members. This is why we're doing it, but it goes both ways because the communities are merging together.
Another draw is the features. GTX0 has a lot of stuff that generic boards just don't have. It'll have even more when I really get things going here.
A similar point to this is that GTX0 has a programmer on board that can custom-make features for community needs. This is very rare, and we're specifically going to target communities that don't have one of those.
How the merger would actually work
The goal is to make the transition as smooth as possible.
GTX0 will support multiple post parsers. You'll be able to flip a switch in your User CP to switch between them, which will determine the way formatting is handled when you post. I want to build a new parser that has the best of all worlds at some point.
Accounts will be imported and smuggle links will be emailed out so those users can click a link in their email and be automatically logged in, where they can set their own passwords as needed. Alternately we can coordinate things individually if the board admin doesn't have access to emails or something.
Posts will be imported. Ideally the board admin will have access to some kind of database, which I'm really really good at manipulating into the dataset I want. If not though I have some scraping tools that I'll use to scrape their posts and stick them in our database that way.
GTX0 will have some kind of image attachment system because generic boards have that feature a lot (also we really really need one).
Avatars get stuck into one of the generic MyCard settings (The Champ or The Glorious, depending on the image size). Users will be encouraged to play around with the other MyCard settings.
Bear with me here. It gets a bit complicated past this point.
Ideally they have forums we don't and we just add them in.
Their forums operate under a kind of local moderation system like what we had here before; nothing site-rule-breaking because site rules make sense, but they can definitely set and enforce their own standards. Our mods can help out and vice-versa as needed.
Their admin manages that set of mods and he also gets an admin position here -- though I'll limit the tools a bit so they can really only affect their people.
Their staff and admin do get access to our staff and admin forums.
Over time I want to integrate them more and more into GTX0. I want them involved in our discussions, and I want us to be involved in their issues. I want our communities to merge, that's the goal here. Eventually when they're ready they can become GTX0 mods and GTX0 admins.
If they have forums we also have
The more we do this, the more likely this scenario is to happen. I think it'll probably universally happen with off-topic forums though.
Their posts get dumped into our database with a tag for the website they came from.
There will be a way of changing which archive you view -- if you're from GTX0 you'll see new posts and older GTX0 posts; if you're from another community you'll see new posts and your own older posts. You can also switch over to a mixed view if you want, but that'll become more obsolete as new topics start being created by both communities.
The new posts will be a mix between both communities and will enjoy all the benefits of activity that that brings.
Moderation compromises will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Same deal with cross-community disputes. This is likely going to be the roughest part of the transition, but we do at least have a LOT of experience in dealing with those kinds of issues.
I'm going to introduce more GTX0 plugins that do various things members of other communities are used to:
You guys can use them if you want. I'll point out to our newcomers that we do things a little differently here so their signatures/etc aren't necessarily going to be seen by our people, but there are other ways to advertise yourself (profiles for example).
It's going to be really really hard, but it's something I've wanted to do for a long time -- GTX0 will be able to support color / styling themes. This is almost definitely going to be essential for the absorption process.
Users that come from some other board will be able to see GTX0 in the style that they're used to, with some minor differences they can adjust to easily. They can also switch themes around how they want to.
Each community we merge with will get a "portal". Something like this:
Alternately, if they have a domain name they can point it at our server and that will work equally as well.
Entering the site from the portal (this is where smuggle links get mailed out as well) will automatically set the theme.
A portal will highlight the forums of that specific community, but all outbound links will go into GTX0 proper.
This isn't just theoretical, by the end of the year I have another small community I run on our server that I want to merge into GTX0, so we'll be able to experiment with it first hand without admin conflict consequences if there are issues.
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