Back to the future of the Cafe

Discussion in 'Forum Announcements' started by Angela, Jan 7, 2018.

  1. Angela

    Angela Slave to the Rhythm Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2015
    Location:
    Victoria
    Afternoon all,

    I thought it was time to address a few concerns about the Cafe once and for all, and try to bring a bit of peace of mind to VCA's members. It's been a bit of a rocky road for me these last few months, both personally and in terms of the forum, and I apologise for any recent instability, but I feel able now to lay out some kind of road map for the future.

    In light of the malware problems across the pond I have invited the moderators of AVF to move into the Cafe and make it their own home, and of course, home to all their members. I have stated here and on AVF a few times that I no longer believe Australia needs two vaping forums, although this of course is just my own opinion. Others may disagree. I have offered to stand aside as a moderator and give them full control of the forum, including the setup of the subforums, the forum rules and vendor rules. They would have complete control of who they do and do not want as vendors. They would also be given access to the admin panel and at least one of them access to the server.

    In time, if the membership grew enough I would consult with them about setting up a Premium Members scheme, which would cost members, say ten bucks a year, for extra privileges like being able to change their title, extra editing time, extra conversation functionality and access to a private social forum. They would also be given voting rights on any major decisions affecting the future of the forum.

    The only caveat is that I would want the New Nicotine Alliance and other advocates to continue to feel safe here, and given that the AVF community has been quite positive towards the NNA in recent times, I believe this would be quite easy to achieve at this point. The Xenforo software allows members to ignore whole subforums if they want to, making it pretty simple for the non-politically inclined to enjoy the forum in their own way in peace and quiet.

    The reason I have made this offer is two-fold: firstly I genuinely believe this is the best way forward for the whole community. There may be some who feel reluctant, most likely due to past animosities, and I understand that. However this offer is not about the past - it's about the future. It's about smokers who have yet to switch to vaping, who have yet to join in with forum life. It's about friends we haven't even met yet. And a shrinking community divided between two forums is not really a good look. I believe it's time for the community to get together under one roof again, and under the leadership of moderators who have proven themselves beyond doubt to be committed to their roles.

    The second reason is personal. Over the next couple of years my time will be taken up with renovations to my house and the restoration of a huge historical garden. I expect my days will be kept busy co-ordinating blokes with paintbrushes, chainsaws, tractors and cherry pickers. In short I need to hand over the sense of ownership of this forum to others and move on. I would remain only as admin with a duty to pay the bills and maintain/upgrade the software, assist where needed etc. And like I said, with a Premium Members scheme, that transfer of ownership would be quite real. I know there are people who don't think one person should own a forum - unfortunately that's how the software and hosting companies operate, and besides which - this forum was always my gift to the community - not a power grab, lol.

    It looks unlikely at this point that the offer will be accepted. However it's my very best shot at doing what I think is best for everyone. The offer will remain open at least until June this year, which is what I have already told them.

    That brings me to the next concern. I know that I have always left it up in the air about what will happen after my current subscriptions run out in June (assuming that AVFers do not move here). I have seen the activity on the Cafe die down markedly in the last year or so, which of course is disheartening to me personally. On top of that the passing of our dear Aqualung has been a huge blow, and at times it feels as though everything is slipping through my hands. I hope it's understandable to others that my tendency has been to want to go out on a high note and close the Cafe - and now recently, let the new AVF get off to a strong start, if indeed that is what happens.

    Everything is so uncertain for all of us at this stage, but I've been thinking things over, and appreciating how much my decisions affect other people. It seems as though I am tasked with providing some sense of stability for others, because I'm one person who can, even though I've been feeling a bit destabilised myself at times. I guess that's just how things are for a forum owner who actually does care. :sillygrin:

    In the interests of security and stability for all you people who honestly do matter a great deal to me, I have decided to commit to keeping the Cafe open until June 2020 at the very earliest, regardless of its level of activity, and regardless of the future direction of AVF. I sincerely hope that vaping will be fully legalised by then, and that newbies will find it very easy to get started without the need to do extensive research on the internet, but time will tell I guess. If a Premium Members scheme ever got off the ground the future of the Cafe beyond 2020 would be fully democratised.

    Currently we don't really have a moderator, and experience has taught me that being an owner/moderator is a mistake, as one is often perceived as having too much power (which is the last thing I want, lol). However I will fill in doing the basic clerical stuff and responding to your reports etc. I am likely to be absent for hours at a time though.

    If the AVF mods and community do not wish to come here then I will start looking out for a new moderator in the second half of the year.

    I hope that this is enough of a commitment from me to take the uncertainty out of the air, and that there will be a few sighs of relief. I have always wanted to do my best by this community. I have failed at times, and I'm sorry for that, but I hope you'll all give me another chance, just as I'm prepared to give the Cafe as many chances as it needs.

    Cheers all, and thank you for being here.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2018
    KayP, Flea, DogMan and 7 others like this.
  2. Rayjay

    Rayjay Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2017
    Location:
    Anywhere I hang my hat
    @Angela you do not need big $$$ to run a forum, ask @emu proboards forums cost about $7.00AUD per month to have them add free and are not bad at all and truly easy to maintain. No expensive software or hosting needed.
     
  3. Angela

    Angela Slave to the Rhythm Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2015
    Location:
    Victoria
    It's only several hundred dollars a year to maintain this. Anyway it's not the money that's the issue, and it never has been. My idea of Premium Membership is more about power-sharing and giving a genuine sense of ownership back to the community. I very much wish to relinquish control here, but to do it in a way that doesn't upset other people.

    Proboards doesn't interest me at all. Xenforo ftw. :)
     
  4. DogMan

    DogMan Mutley

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Location:
    S/E Melbourne
    ideally, i'd give a really thoughtful reply

    but i'm too zonked

    so, fanks pookie :kissing:
     
  5. Angela

    Angela Slave to the Rhythm Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2015
    Location:
    Victoria
    Ideally I'd give a really intense well thought out comeback, but quite frankly my dear ... :sillygrin:
     
    Rayjay and DogMan like this.
  6. Charles Vaper

    Charles Vaper Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2015
    Location:
    Gladesville, NSW, Australia
    Thank you, Angela, for this detailed update. I'm so pleased that the forum shall remain, as you say at least until 2020.
    You've made some valid points and all night I've been pondering the possibility of joining forums. There are obvious benefits to this, one of them being a much larger member base and as we know, greater numbers can make an impact. As you have said though, it is unlikely to eventuate.

    I must admit I've been somewhat reluctant to accept this possibility, and for a number of reasons, but the more I think about it, it makes sense.

    I agree with your assessment on sticking with this platform, XenForo is far superior and more importantly, more professional; that alone is justification.

    I want to thank you for your commitment and all you have done and will continue to do. Endeavouring to do what's good for all members, and future ones are greatly appreciated. Hugs coming your way..
     
    Rayjay, laurie9300 and Angela like this.
  7. Angela

    Angela Slave to the Rhythm Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2015
    Location:
    Victoria
    Thank you Charles. A gentleman as always. :flowers:
     
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