Long suffering readers and members: here is a belated letter from the new owner.
First, a heartfelt thanks to those who have for long periods monitored and moderated the forum, and I hope the site will become valuable again. Rest assured that life members will be given access to the new premium levels when released. More of that later.
Next to say, in moving the site, the latest forum backups contained problems, so I have had to go back a long way!
So I have finally moved the site onto new servers. That is, I have at last switched over to them, even though the site is far from ready.
In truth the new site has been on new servers for months: Sure I have been let down somewhat by a couple of people along the way and promised effort which did not materialize. But in reality the delay has been my own indecision on what to do for the best.
The problem was to find a new role and a new form for the website. What may have been relevant ten years ago is not really relevant now. And I had to try to build that new future without losing the traffic and good content.
The constraints make it hard to do a rebuild.
The technical problem is not easy. The site had three parts. A forum for professional photographers, which had long fallen into disuse, and indeed had been a target for spammers but with many indexed posts. There was an original content site more or less hidden from view in drupal but some posts getting serious traffic and even more serious attention from spammers. A news site and home page that really was not updated. All three were getting traffic, and there was indeed a lot of good content too.
My problem has been to meld the sites, to keep the good and release the bad : the problem is to do that whilst all the while preserving the URLs from google perspective, whilst creating a maintainable future. I kept looking for the best way to do this before realizing it did not exist!
So in the end after a lot of agonising and not much action, I have converted all of the sites into wordpress (including the forum, but not yet enabled that part of it) and I have flipped the switch, to force myself into rebuilding from here. Publish and be damned!
The conversation on the web is now to a large extent is happening out on social media, twitter and Facebook, and more and more on mobile. So presence on mobile is also important. Forums are not as well used as they were.
There are three sites still, although the joins will become invisible, all wordpress blogs on a similar theme. The news site will kept for news. The home site made a content site and membership site, the first of the articles appearing this week.
I have decided to archive the current forum which is already converted in wordpress form, and provide a new one local to the membership site with links, but will only do that after notice.
I will aim to announce the changes to old members who will be invited to join up on the new site. So all I can say is watch this space. Please do sign up on twitter or like on Facebook to keep informed of progress!