The Future of Sunshine MINIs - IMPORTANT

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The Future of the Sunshine MINIs forums

Poll ended at Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:53 pm

Find someone who is willing to pay for and run the SSM forum site and leave it online
1
33%
Keep the SSM site running for two more months then shut it down
0
No votes
Shut down the SSM forum site and launch a flat web page on the domain. Use Facebook as the forum, just as we do now.
2
67%
 
Total votes : 3

The Future of Sunshine MINIs - IMPORTANT

Postby MINIBee » Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:53 pm

Dear members of Sunshine MINIs...we have reached an important crossroads in the 15-year history of our club, so it's time to share our current situation and chart a course for our future.

As many of you know and some may not know, Sunshine MINIs was established in 2003 as a MINI and Mini club for the state of Florida. The primary vehicle of communication in a pre-Facebook World was an online forum at sunshineminis.org, where we all met and discussed events, shared mods, documented our adventures and participated in general silliness. I joined in 2006 and soon afterward became a very active participant. A few years later I joined the admin team and have remained in that role until now. Barry Patascher, Bill Connelly and myself have been keeping the forum site alive for the last eight years or so.

The web hosting was paid for by generous donations from our former sponsor, the late Pete Foglia, owner of the now-defunct Minspeed MINI accessory business in south Florida. We have always been a "free" club and never have charged for access to the site. Pete set us up pretty well and we have been running on what he left for us all this time, until now.
The easiest way to say it just to say it...Sunshine MINIs has no money left to pay for the web hosting for the site. That may seem like bad news, but keep reading.

The truth is, very few people use the SSM forum site since the advent of Facebook. Sure, we get a few requests for new accounts from curious people each week, but I suspect that once these new people arrive and find the ghost town that was once the vibrant SSM forums, they get out of Dodge. There is almost no activity there at all now. For those of us who still remember the old days, it's kind of sad to see the site abandoned but that's the way the web is...always evolving into something new.

Additionally, the forum software, phpBB, is also defunct and no longer supported. We are not running the most recent (and last) version because our forum files and scripts were customized at a level that makes automatic updates of the forum software impossible. With no roadmap left behind to tell us what customizations were done, it became a tedious task of manually hunting through files to alter lines of code, so eventually we just stopped updating it.

Currently I plan to pay for the site hosting for two more months ($22 a month) to give us time to decide what she do and to give everyone a chance to harvest the historical information on the forum site. I'm also checking into ways to archive the information taken from the flat database file, to host on a Wordpress site, so that the history can be preserved.
Now, however, we need to decide what we will do. Attached to this post is a poll with some choices, which are:

• Find someone who is willing to pay for and run the SSM forum site and leave it online
• Keep the SSM site running for two more months then shut it down
• Shut down the SSM forum site and launch a web page where events can be posted and a calendar can be kept. Use Facebook as the forum, just as we do now.

Sunshine MINIs will always remain as an entity and an important part of the new MINI history in America. We can keep it alive if we all work together to help it evolve. Please cast your vote. Voting will remain open until March 31.

With sincere thanks from your admin team.
Motoring Advisor at Ferman MINI of Tampa Bay - The Journey is the Reward
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Re: The Future of Sunshine MINIs - IMPORTANT

Postby James » Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:31 am

While I haven't been active in Sunshine MINIs for a few years, I do have the hosting space and ability to migrate and maintain the forums. I'm not on Facebook and if we see a migration off there in the coming months or years, an alternative might be needed. I'd like to see the forums stay up for historical reasons.

Cheers,
James
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Re: The Future of Sunshine MINIs - IMPORTANT

Postby BillTheCat » Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:01 pm

As much as I feel like the forums are a ghost town & think maintenance might be a waste of time, I also appreciate the history & nostalgia contained herein. If someone as passionate as James is willing to step up & keep the lights on, I say that's good enough for me.
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Re: The Future of Sunshine MINIs - IMPORTANT

Postby mct » Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:10 pm

I second that!! Sounds like a great idea James!
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