As many of you already know, phpBB2 support at phpbb.com is going to be frozen in a few months. By “frozen” I mean that the last phpBB2-related forums at phpbb.com will be closed as “read only” and only phpBB3 will be supported / MODded / styled / discussed there. I have gone on record more than once as stating that I understand why the phpBB Group has decided to do this. They want to move on to phpBB3 without the legacy phpBB2 holding them back. That makes sense to me, given their limited resources. I don’t have a problem with their decision at all.
In the last few months there really hasn’t been too much said about the decision. I expect that might change once things actually close.
Based on my own analysis, I have decided to stay on phpBB2 for at least another year or two. At this point I believe I will be waiting for 3.2 to be released before I reconsider migrating forward. As a result I will remain involved and interested in phpBB2 matters for a while. I have long suspected that I am not alone in this situation, and recent conversations have not done anything to change my opinion. For that reason (and more) I am proud to make the pre-launch announcement of a new site. I give you: phpBB2 Refugees
Now if you click that link today, as I post this, you won’t be able to get in. Not just yet. The domain is active and the site is there but we (yes, I said “we”, more on that in a moment) are working on a few finishing touches before the site opens for registrations.
Why wasn’t this announced earlier? Since I am on the moderator team at phpbb.com I wanted to make sure that I did not step on any toes or upset any group policies by starting this site. It took a while to discuss, but ultimately I was told that as long as I made it very clear that this site was not official in any way (despite my position on the team) that it would be fine. I don’t have a problem with this at all. This is going to be my site and will be completely separate and distinct from anything going on at phpbb.com.
I got the domain back in July. I started a lease on a new server about two months ago. Since then I have been working at combining code from this site (phpbbdoctor) and my largest phpBB2 board (aka “BOB” that I often talk about) to take the best of both. While working on some styles issues (I like designing web sites, but graphics is not my strongest area) I passed a few questions by some other folks. Two things happened… first, I got help. Second, people got excited about the site, and I think that’s good too.
When I launched BOB we started with a core of about 5 folks at the beginning. For the next few months we sent out invitations to other folks on the mailing list that we were replacing asking them to join. The idea of starting out slow like this was to build the site based on input and feedback from the initial members. (Case in point: The “User Selectable Board Width” MOD I wrote about recently came about because of a suggestion from an early Refugeees member.) Before BOB launched we had spent a bit over two months doing an extended test run and had about 70 members by the time the site was officially launched. That model worked very well for us and I hope it will work for Refugees (albeit on a bit more compressed time frame) as well.
Frankly I am encouraged by the similarities that I see between the launch “BOB” and the Refugees site. Both were created because an existing resource (a mailing list in one case, the official forums in this case) was being retired. Both had existing user communities, meaning we’re not trying to create something from nothing, we’re simply trying to prepare a “continuation” site. For the record, “BOB” started our seventh year in August of 2008. While I don’t necessarily expect the Refugees site to last that long, if it does last, I will continue to support it.
Here is my committment to the community: I am starting this site because I believe there will be a use for it. I will keep the site active and support it with my own presense for a minimum of two years from the launch date. If at that point the site is not required because of any reason, we (the community) can decide if the site needs to be retired or what other steps should be taken. What I am trying to say is that I am definitely giving this site a minimum of two years to become successful. Don’t take that as an implication that I will shut it down after two years please, as that is not the intention. All I am saying is that if it’s not successful in the next two months … six months… or even the next year… it’s still not going to be shut down.
How successful will it become? Ultimately that is up to the community. If people join and help each other, it will become a success. It’s going to take more than one or two people to make this happen.
Now about this “we” I mentioned earlier…
I have already talked to Robert (aka Lumpy) about his site at phpbbusers.com. I am pleased we are going to be combining our efforts, with more details to be posted shortly. I have one of the members of the phpBB Styles team helping out with setting up the styles area, and I’m really excited about that since styles is my weakest area. A few of the folks from the bbProtection project are already on board and helping me test out the new site. Another team member from phpbb.com owns the domain “phpbb2support.com” and has volunteered to forward it to the Refugees site. All of these are positive developments in my opinion.
If you have an interest in phpBB2 and would like to participate in the “early release” efforts, please send me a PM at phpbb.com and I will get you more details.
The current plan is for the site to be completely open for public registrations and use in December 9th.
Can anyone think of why that date might have been selected?