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The End Game: Shutting Down the Forums

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Augustus

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The End Game: Shutting Down the Forums
« on: January 18, 2015, 10:01:34 AM »

First, let me draw people's attention to Morex's: recent post.

In any case.  The time has come to transition the forums into some new.

Suggestions, volunteers, donations are all welcome.

There is some time for this to unfold, but not a lot.

If things proceed without some folks stepping forward the forum will shut down toward the end of March.
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"Now I'm not a saint but I'm not a sinner
Now everything's cool as long as I'm getting thinner"

Augustus

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Summary...
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2015, 10:17:00 AM »

Reserving this post for latter summary.

I'll be sending out email to a subset of the members shortly, and it occurs to me some of them will not be aware of Seth's passing ,and that there are videos of the memorial talks.
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"Now I'm not a saint but I'm not a sinner
Now everything's cool as long as I'm getting thinner"

Augustus

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Numbers
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2015, 10:17:57 AM »

Here are a few bits of information.

The forum has approximately 50 thousand posts and there are over a thousand members who make five or more postings.  No doubt at it's peak there were many many thousands of member who read the the forums but did not participate.   The total number of registered members is irrelevant since it doesn't count readers and it's tainted by numerous spam accounts.

Over the last few months we have averaged about a post a week, and a bit more than a spam post a week.  The spam tends to come in bursts.
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"Now I'm not a saint but I'm not a sinner
Now everything's cool as long as I'm getting thinner"

Augustus

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Current Costs
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2015, 10:24:14 AM »

The current costs are largely not relevant to this discussion.

The costs fall into two buckets:  1) maintenance etc., and 2) hosting etc.

The host costs around three ... four hundred a year.

The maintenance which is real labor by real people is both much higher and less concrete to price.   What is clear is that the maintainance is entirely done by volunteers.   The site's maintenance is poor, dangerously so.  The software is obsolete and hence almost certainly has security issues.  The state of the backups is cloudy.   The last time we got hit with a large spam attack it took me hours of hand work to clean it up.
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"Now I'm not a saint but I'm not a sinner
Now everything's cool as long as I'm getting thinner"

Morex

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Re: The End Game: Shutting Down the Forums
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2015, 01:40:16 PM »

Hi Augustus...

I read your posts a couple of hours ago but I had to take a few moments to process this. So we are closing down?

It's painful, sad and hard to believe, but totally understandable. It's sad because I don't want to see Seth's place and work get lost forever.

I am sure he found the cure for obesity and it could change humanity for good. Or at least he changed my life.

I want to thank you for taking time to mantain and for keeping this place up and running. But all good things must end, right?

So many questions...

Will you migrate the forums to another platform?

Will you create a backup?

But more important: how can I help?

I am planning to download as PDF all useful threads so I can post them on a Blogger or Wordpress site. At least there will be some kind of memory of Seth's work. What do you think? Can I do that?

Again, thank you for letting us know.

Morex
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Tandoori Trilobite

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Re: The End Game: Shutting Down the Forums
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2015, 09:51:20 PM »

Hi Augustus,

Firstly, I would like to commend your efforts in taking over the running of the forums in the worst imaginable circumstances of "handover".

To be honest, I think that, as far as these forums are concerned, we need to acknowledge that the party's over.  My seeming dismissiveness may be enabled by the fact that I've had to learn to "let go" of a number of things in my life over the past few years.  In terms of member activity, the forums were already in decline while Seth was still with us, and I don't think his passing would've meaningfully exacerbated that trend.

Discussion boards typically depend on turnover of active members for their ongoing vitality.  People join, eventually run out of things that they want to say, fade away, and are replaced by new, freshly-motivated members.  I recall members here saying how they first heard about the Shangri-La diet from a programme segment on TV, or from a magazine article, or from Freakonomics.  Then there were people like myself in a country where the Shangri-La diet was not publicised, and where the book was not generally available who heard about it by fluke in other circumstances.

The problem is that there is probably nothing fresh being broadcast / printed / blogged to attract the curious to the forums any more.  People aren't hearing about the Shangri-La diet these days.  There's a saying that "if you build it, they will come" but they still need to hear about it first.

We reached "peak Shangri-La" some years ago, and I don't think that a return to those days could be realistically expected.

Morex makes a good point about "benefit to humanity", and I would commend his interest in personally preserving some of the content of the forums elsewhere for public accessibility.  Given that I have above foreshadowed a probably poor return for effort in terms of likely new viewers, I would not expect it of anybody to undertake the Herculean task of migrating the forums to some other form of repository.

If I recall correctly, Seth had been working on a new edition of his book.  Board members might take some consolation that the most recently available revision of the book the one with the pale green cover that you can see on Amazon's website took into account the experiences of the earlier "lab rats" here.  Their legacy endures in the book.

Augustus, thank you for personally notifying above-newbie members of the likely fate of the forums.  Ten weeks' notice of closure should be sufficient for members to archive from the forums what they would like to keep for themselves or re-publish.
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gte

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Re: The End Game: Shutting Down the Forums
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2015, 12:28:02 AM »

I'm willing to attempt to migrate the content to a different/updated forum
software if the decision is to keep the forum running.

Augustus

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Re: The End Game: Shutting Down the Forums
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2015, 07:35:29 PM »

Good news, bad news and next steps.

The bad news is that we will be switching the forum to read only soon.  In fact I have just switched most of the boards on the forum to read only, leaving only the "News, Polls, Announcements", "My SLD Page", and the "Post Your Tracking Data Here" boards open to new posts and replies.

The good news is that we have a plan that ought to keep a read only version of the forum up and running for some time to come.  Maybe years.  That depends, we shall see.

Next steps.
  • I'll switch the entire board to read only toward the end of the month.
  • I'd encourage somebody to create a new venue for further discussion.  Redit? Facebook?  Google Plus? Yahoo?  I don't know that it matters.  If you do we can leave a pointer to that here before we close it to futher updates.
  • The few administrators of this forum will continue to be able to post, so occational updates might occur.  For example if we archive it in another manner.
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"Now I'm not a saint but I'm not a sinner
Now everything's cool as long as I'm getting thinner"

Morex

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Re: The End Game: Shutting Down the Forums
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2015, 07:53:04 PM »

Hi Augustus!

Thanks for your hard work.

I have already thought of this and I think a Google Group would work because it would be an email based discussion list and since the forums aren't that active, the amount of email would be minimal... unless of course there's a traffic spike somewhere in the future.

I love Google+, but rumors say it's about to die. Personally I don't even use Facebook because of security and privacy, but I'm willing to create an account in order to keep on this community.

Whatever you decide, I'm in.



Good news, bad news and next steps.

The bad news is that we will be switching the forum to read only soon.  In fact I have just switched most of the boards on the forum to read only, leaving only the "News, Polls, Announcements", "My SLD Page", and the "Post Your Tracking Data Here" boards open to new posts and replies.

The good news is that we have a plan that ought to keep a read only version of the forum up and running for some time to come.  Maybe years.  That depends, we shall see.

Next steps.
  • I'll switch the entire board to read only toward the end of the month.
  • I'd encourage somebody to create a new venue for further discussion.  Redit? Facebook?  Google Plus? Yahoo?  I don't know that it matters.  If you do we can leave a pointer to that here before we close it to futher updates.
  • The few administrators of this forum will continue to be able to post, so occational updates might occur.  For example if we archive it in another manner.
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Titania

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Re: The End Game: Shutting Down the Forums
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2015, 02:18:41 PM »

I am glad to hear it will likely be available even if it's read-only. I search through here quite a lot when I have questions - and I usually find an answer. I'm glad that others will still be able to benefit from the knowledge here.

Thank you for keeping this alive and available. Let me know if I can be of help.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2015, 03:09:22 PM by Titania »
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siren

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Re: The End Game: Shutting Down the Forums
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2015, 03:45:21 PM »

Thanks Augustus! I am really glad the forums will be open, even if its read-only. You're the best!  :)
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Amy

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Re: The End Game: Shutting Down the Forums
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2015, 06:26:27 PM »

Hi - I am Seth's sister. I want everyone to know that I am very grateful to Augustus for keeping the boards up and maintaining it for as long he has. It was my idea to shut down the forums, but was convinced we could keep it up and running at read only. I know this is what Seth would have wanted. I hope a new venue takes place elsewhere to continue the discussions, and please do let us know where we can find it.

I wish the best to everyone who visits this forum! -Amy
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Morex

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Re: The End Game: Shutting Down the Forums
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2015, 02:53:24 AM »

Testing...

Hello? Can I post?

It seems I can!!

Thanks Amy and Augustus! I still come here from time to time and I am grateful for all you do for Seth and for us.

:)
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Titania

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Re: The End Game: Shutting Down the Forums
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2015, 11:58:44 AM »

Hi there :)

I check in here a few times a week. It's helpful to read conversations even if they are from years ago. I always find something helpful. There isn't an issue I've had so far that someone else hasn't experienced before me and luckily they were good about sharing their insight on here - and thankfully it's still available for me to browse though.
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