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simonov

This board is dying

Traffic is WAY down on this board in the last six months or so.

I just noticed many of the most active posters from days gone by are now more active over on the San Jacinto board.

What gives?
HikeUp

Could be that most of the San Gabriel Mountains are closed.
simonov

HikeUp wrote:
Could be that most of the San Gabriel Mountains are closed.


Most?

The parts of the San Gabriel Mountains that are closed are actually - I'm not kidding - areas I have never visited.

I don't think there's much transfer, just less here. It's not just that the parts that are closed - but also that the backcountry ACH is a bigger pain  to get to. There's just less people hiking in fewer places I imagine. Baldy / Icehouse Canyon / Chantry Flats or bust for most, I imagine. Many trails still, but probably not "popular".
HikeUp

The following are things that deter me from hiking as much as I used to (this is true for me, maybe not for others).

- the parts that are open are more crowded.

- the parts that are open (San Gorgonio and San jacinto areas included) are longer drives.

- the parts that are closed used to offer a large number of nearby and less crowded trails that I used quite often.

- frankly I'm getting bored with the nearby options that are left  Very Happy

This may not be why the overall traffic on this board is down, but it is a reason I post less TR's.

Also, I blame Taco for everything. Just because.  Wink
mve

Or maybe it's because we are nowhere to be found when looking for Mt Baldy Forum:

http://www.google.com/search?q=mt%20baldy%20forum

At the time I came to this forum I was primarily interested in information about Mt Baldy.  I suspect (judging by the traffic on Ski Hut Trail lately) there are other potential forum member out there who are also looking for such a forum but haven't found it.

I realize that this forum is trying to capture a larger audience thus it's name "San Gabriel Mountains" but sometimes in order to do so it's best to first be more specific, targeting a precise group of people, then expand from there.

And being on a subdomain of myfreeforum.org doesn't help matters either (SEO rank wise).
Taco

The URL sucks.
simonov

Taco and Vitaly hit the nail on the head.  This forum is virtually invisible as far as the search engines are concerned, and so there is very little infusion of new blood.

If we want to keep it going and thriving, maybe it's time to seriously consider a dedicated domain and forum.

Only thing getting in the way of that is how to transfer the old database?

This thread suggests MyFreeForum does not make it easy for people to move their forums to dedicated sites.

There might be more information about doing this here, though I haven't spent any time there sniffing around.

BTW, Taco, since I don't use bookmarks the URL I use to get to this site is http://www.eispiraten.com , which does not suck.
obie

Cyclical?

It also seems that hiking/biking in the San Gabs is for the fit and adventurous....beyond what the 'Bottle of Wine and Chantry Flats' crowd can handle.

Closing ACH and the gnarly look to the Big Tujunga area after the fire have taken a lot of cyclists out of this area.  It's just too much of a hassle to drive all the way up to Sunland, carpool to Chilao and then ride ACH.

ACH opens and I think this board will see more traffic.
AlanK

I agree that the closures have taken a toll, especially the closure of ACH.  But the search engine problem is strikes me as the larger one.
simonov

I blame Travis for setting this up on MyFreeForum to begin with.

so hardest part about changing it over is the archives?
mve

In regards to getting data out of myfreeforum:

Almost a year ago I signed up for myfreeforum.org account just to see how their infrastructure is setup.  And it looks like it's doable to get the data out -- they charge a small fee for a data export and they'll run the export as many times as needed and will also redirect the old site to the new one once it's done:

http://www.myfineforum.org/index....task=view&id=12&Itemid=25
http://forum.myfreeforum.org/about17090.html&highlight=export

If doing such migration I would also recommend moving to a newer version of PHPBB3 right before running the export.

All you need is a linux host, domain-name and the time to run the test/rehearsal, then do production-migration with minimal downtime.
simonov

Okay, I should read the links you posted, but I'm at work.  Does it have to be phpBB?  Any chance this could be run on FluxBB or PunBB?

Otherwise, you make it sound doable.  Small fee is no big deal, a few contributions would take care of that.

Unless y'all think Eispiraten.com absolutely sucks, there's already a domain available.  I recommend Liquid Web for hosting, seems like a good reliable webhost.  Vitaly might have more experience with webhosts.

If Taco were to give the green light for a move, I'd suggest a very small committee be set up for detailed off-line discussion and planning.
Taco

Green light has been given.

I like the eispiraten URL. I do not know what our new/future/official URL should be.

We don't really need to limit ourselves to the SG's. I was thinking of socalmountains.com or socalpeaks.com, but both of those are taken. I want something along those lines. Southerncaliforniamountains.com is apparently expired, so it might be good to go.

I was throwing around the name "SoCAlpine" for awhile. That might work.

I literally have absolutely no monetary wealth of any sort, period, so I cannot contribute any money. However, I can help with organization and all that. I'm pretty good at basic site design and organization (NOT coding, HMTL, etc). I have a lot of ideas of what the site should be, having run this one for the past couple of years.
mve

simonov wrote:
Okay, I should read the links you posted, but I'm at work.  Does it have to be phpBB?  Any chance this could be run on FluxBB or PunBB?


This forum and myfreeforum is on phpBB.  My guess is that the export they will provide is going to be a phpBB's mysql "dump file" and any migration to a different forum software is going to be outside of the scope of myfreeforum.

I would just have a name like this one, San Gabriel Mountains Forum, or something. You could try a more generic one, but there is already something for the San Jacintos (San Gorgonio one does suck).

Socal Mountains Forum? w/ sub forums for each range / season?
mve

simonov wrote:
Vitaly might have more experience with webhosts.


I personally run everything on Amazon Web Services using their EC2 instances.  No long term contracts to sign, fast deployments, ease of backup/recovery, reliability (it's the same infrastructure that amazon.com runs on).

For what I get it's worth every penny -- a virtual server with 1.6GB RAM, 160GB local disk space + 36GB of high-availability/redundant disk storage (for the database files) cost ~ $86/month.

Best part with AWS EC2 is that when I don't need an instance, I can save it off to an S3 bucket, take it offline and stop paying for it immediately (S3 storage is dirt cheap).  Then when I need it back up -- I can bring it online in few minutes.
HikeUp

I like the simple url idea that Ze had...

San Gabriel Mountains Forum

Before going to a pay site ($86/month !?), who is willing/going to commit  to pay for that long term? Set up a paypal contribution button? Buy beer with the excess?  Wink
simonov

I think it will be a long time before we need a virtual private server.

What I like about Liquid Web is they offer tiered shared plans with a migration path to a VPS, should that be required.

http://www.liquidweb.com/cart/content/shared/

But this is a discussion topic for the Migration Committee.
mve

if the only issue here is URL, you can apparently change that even while staying on myfreeforum:

http://forum.myfreeforum.org/owndomains.html
Taco

No bueno at the moment. Stand by...
mattmaxon

Re: This board is dying

simonov wrote:
Traffic is WAY down on this board in the last six months or so...
What gives?


I for one have rejoined the ranks of the employed. My last job was 30hrs 3days leaving me lots of time to hike and explore.

Stealth is the modis operandi for most of my travels, hence the lack of TR.

My new job I have little access to PC and personal use is frowned on when I do have access.
PackerGreg

Hey, what about another one of those famous "stimulus packages" to pay for hosting? That'll do the trick!

The initial observation was that those who were once involved heavily are no longer. So, the url is not the problem; if there is one. I got here, as did they. I don't think this forum has anything wrong with it at all. Maybe it's just an ebb.

Just like strict adherence to a free market economy, times will recover  Very Happy
Taco

I don't see a difference in traffic, up or down, as being negative. It is what it is. I don't see a lack of traffic as being a problem. As long as people don't leave the forum because there is a problem within the forum (ex: abusive members, of which I don't see any), etc.

I don't see how we would want to attract people who otherwise would have no interest in data involving this mountain range. If someone can find this forum on Google, for example, by looking for info on Mount Wilson or Chantry Flats, then it's a success.

Sorry if I'm getting the wrong vibe.
cougarmagic

I don't see any problem.  I always prefer a few good, detailed TRs from cool people (what the forum has now), instead of lots of nonsense from random strangers.

TacoDelRio wrote:
If someone can find this forum on Google, for example, by looking for info on Mount Wilson or Chantry Flats, then it's a success.


pretty sure they can't
HikeUp

Initial enthusiasm has worn off a bit no doubt. New blood is needed to keep traffic up to previous levels - new url/google hits will probably bring in new blood. The number of insufferable maroons will increase, but in my opinion will be dispensed of rather quickly - this board doesn't suffer fools gladly.
PackerGreg

It came up #17 for me!?...




people will learn shit when they come to this forum, I know I did. don't be elitist. hell only way I found this forum was from Taco spamming  Laughing

PackerGreg wrote:
It came up #17 for me!?...


wow, it definitely didn't show up at all before. before searching "san gabriel mountains forum", it wouldn't even show up. now it's 3rd
HikeUp

Finally the stimulus plan worked!
PackerGreg

I just noticed that my stale old blog is right behind at #18 in the screenshot - maybe Google is getting too smart?
PackerGreg

I mean cookies or something, not about my stale old blog.
Taco

Zé wrote:
TacoDelRio wrote:
If someone can find this forum on Google, for example, by looking for info on Mount Wilson or Chantry Flats, then it's a success.


pretty sure they can't


I know, I meant in the future.

I don't spam anything, homo.  Laughing
Zach

Question: Where does a forum go when it dies?
simonov

Zach wrote:
Question: Where does a forum go when it dies?


Does Taco dream of electric sheep?
Elwood

There's a pun in there somewhere about replicants and replication.
hvydrt

I don't think the forum is going down. It seems to go in waves. I bet once the first big snow comes activity will be back up. Towards the end of summer and fall people get tired of posting/reading about a walk up Mt. Baldy in Sunny and clear weather........

I like the idea of creating a better url, but keeping the forum here. I am sure its a lot cheaper that way. $86 a month seems like a lot to spend.... A more generic name and maybe some new topics or even permanent content like info on different areas in "stickys."
mve

Just to clarify:

(because I keep seeing the $86/month being repeated)

That number ($86/month) is what I pay for a dedicated virtual server and it was given as an example of what you get at Amazon Web Services.  This doesn't mean it will cost this much to run this particular forum.  Very Happy

For instance, I host a number of websites on that same box so a cost per site is much lower.  It all depends on traffic, storage requirements and the type of applications that will run there.

And another thing -- realize that all the advertising you see on this forum -- that goes towards paying for the hardware that it runs on.  When you move off of myfreeforum.org, all that revenue is yours to keep, obviously it must first pay for the hardware hosting but if there's enough left it can pay for a pair of climbing boots every now and then  Shocked

Obviously, when you run your own site you are all of a sudden responsible for a slew of additional things that you never even think about when operating a site on myfreeforum.org.  At the same time, having it on your own terms gives you maximum amount of flexibility to do the things otherwise not possible on a shared site like myfreeforum.org.
Taco

I 2nd what V just said. That's if you had a server to yourself.

Depending on things later on, I might end up hosting something myself on my own server (as in a "badass" super nerd HVAC'ed server room in my own house).

hvydrt, I'd like it to be just like what you said, BUT, I want to be able to have some pages up, kinda-sorta like summitpost and similar sites. So, there would be a page for Baldy for example, with basic info on the trails and seasons and whatnot, and some more in-depth info if you read into it. That kinda thing. Simple, yet incredibly informative.
simonov

Buying shared hosting services gives you everything you'd get from owning and managing the hardware yourself, plus security and backups, without the headaches associated with maintaining a box and a high speed network link.

I don't recommend putting a community resource like this forum on a personally owned server.

I do like your idea of putting up some other pages and resources regarding SoCal mountains.  Maybe an application like peakbagger.com.  And getting rid of the freaking ads would be great.  One of them started playing really loud music yesterday when I opened the forum.  That's unacceptable.

All this could easily be done with shared hosting services.

Funding wouldn't be a problem, not with the (mostly) high-earning users here.  You could also look into Google AdWords for additional revenue, which is easy to use and a lot less obtrusive that the banners and singing telegrams and crap this site has.

However, I sense that most people commenting aren't really interested in any changes at this point.
AlanK

simonov wrote:
I sense that most people commenting aren't really interested in any changes at this point.

Speaking for myself, I would love to see some of the changes that have been suggested.  I would love to see this conversation continue and actually lead somewhere.  My first priority would be small steps that would make this forum easier to find.  But I am not suggesting specific jobs for others to do.  I am also not suggesting ways for people to spend their money, although I would be willing to contribute to maintaining this forum.
Kevin

This may be a small point re: future configurations, but my method of accessing this website is via the bookmark "sangabrielmnts.myfreeforum.org/index.php" and then click on "View New Posts Since Last Visit".  What frequently happens is an error msg to the effect "You Can't Make a Second Search So Soon".  Now, the next time I click on "View New Posts Since Last Visit" the flag on new posts (for me) has been tripped, and no threads appear.   I can only speak for myself, but when I visit hiking forums I don't wish to scan each forum looking for threads of possible interest.  Rather, I let the software make selections.

As result of this "feature", I don't visit this site as often as I might.
mve

Kevin wrote:
This may be a small point re: future configurations, but my method of accessing this website is via the bookmark "sangabrielmnts.myfreeforum.org/index.php" and then click on "View New Posts Since Last Visit".  What frequently happens is an error msg to the effect "You Can't Make a Second Search So Soon".  Now, the next time I click on "View New Posts Since Last Visit" the flag on new posts (for me) has been tripped, and no threads appear.   I can only speak for myself, but when I visit hiking forums I don't wish to scan each forum looking for threads of possible interest.  Rather, I let the software make selections.

As result of this "feature", I don't visit this site as often as I might.


This is a PHPBB configuration issue -- nothing to do with myfreeforum.org.  There's a setting there to limit the number of searches a user can make in a period of time.

However, I haven't seen this error myself.  Are you logged in when you do this, or are you searching as a guest?  I think there's a different setting for a guest user searches (which makes sense to keep low in order to prevent a DOS attack on the server) and a separate setting (more liberal) for the registered users.
mve

simonov wrote:
Buying shared hosting services gives you everything you'd get from owning and managing the hardware yourself, plus security and backups, without the headaches associated with maintaining a box and a high speed network link.

I don't recommend putting a community resource like this forum on a personally owned server.


Ditto above -- you really don't want to go there.

Throughout my consulting engagements since 1998, I've had long term experience operating very large, distributed installations in state of the art data centers both here in US and in Europe, which gave me good exposure to what works and what doesn't work.

And I can tell you with certainty that running your own hardware in this day and age, especially in your own house is a sure way to kill any on-line endeavour really quickly even if you are not planning to charge for it's service.  People get tired of downtime and slow response times even if it's free.
Kevin

mve wrote:
Are you logged in when you do this, or are you searching as a guest?  I think there's a different setting for a guest user searches (which makes sense to keep low in order to prevent a DOS attack on the server) and a separate setting (more liberal) for the registered users.


Yes -
Taco

Well, nevermind then. Figured if that's going to be my line of work I'd give it a shot for something. I probably will, just not for this site.
hvydrt

Maybe we should come up with some possible domain names?

I know zero about web pages and all that but SteveC on the whitneyzone page has done basically what is proposed here. He started that forum, and took some of the permanent info type threads from the portal store page over to the new site. He might be able to answer questions about that. I like the side bar thing they have that has permanent information threads and web cams on it.
mve

They are running ubbthreads (this board is PHPBB) and it seems they have some very good SEO plugins, for instance here's an example of a URL on that board:

Code:

http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads.php/topics/4904/Current_Conditions_Mt_Whitney_#Post4904
           ^^^^^^^                                       ^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^^ ^^ ^^^^^^^


which results in very good, SEO optimized, index tokens in google: whitney, Current, Conditions, Mt, Whitney

and obviously it's on the first page of search engine results for that search term:

http://www.google.com/search?q=Current+Conditions+Mt+Whitney

(it's listed #7 from where I am searching)
HikeUp

Neutral
PackerGreg

Tim

I've been a lot less active in the forum for these reasons:

- I hike a lot less now. I used to hike about once a week but in the past year I've probably only hiked 5 or 6 times.
- I hike less now not because of the closures (I also rarely went into those areas anyway), but due to personal and life reasons. I feel like I'm on the down slope of a new hobby. All hobbies have a life cycle and when things fade it's hard to recapture the same motivation and enthusiasm you had before.
- I use to write a lot of detailed TRs. This was during the heydays of the forum when a lot of people wrote TRs on big routes every weekend. All of this activity encouraged more activity. But as it slowed down, posting TRs felt self conscious, at least for me.

I've been following this forum since it started (was just a lurker at first). I liked that it was just a small band of highly experienced people doing really interesting and technical things in a very specialized mountain range. In contrast, the other hiking forums had a sort of transient feel with random people passing through and asking an occasional question. This forum instead really had a personality and I fear if it gets too big, it'll become another faceless forum.

So this sounds selfish, but I actually like that the forum is hard to find and it's still small/unnoticed. It reminds me of the obscure places we all love to hike and climb. Anyone can access the information here. They just have to make the effort...just like our mountains!
Taco

Smile

Thanks for your input, Tim. I'm sorry you aren't feeling as into hiking and everything nowadays. Perhaps you just need to do different routes... I don't mean to speak for you or say "what-ifs"... cheers mate.
Tim

No worries Taco, I'll be back eventually. Hopefully it'll be a good winter Smile

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