The Future of the Napoleon Series History Forum

One of the things I did not bring up when I announced that I was stepping down as the editor of the Napoleon Series is what will happen to our Forum. I do not have good news.

The Forum uses software that was developed in the 1990s, which is very old for technology. Some of the issues that we face with it are:

  1. The software is Freeware and was available for anyone to use without charge. There is no tech support for it.

  2. We are having increasing problems with it and eventually it will fail. When this happens the Forum will cease to exist.

  3. This software is so old that it is not compatible with modern servers. Because we have been with our Internet Service Provider (ISP) for 20 years they maintain a separate, older server just for our use. We pay for this service. But the cost is five times more than if we use modern software.

Maintaining the Napoleon Series is quite expensive. I pay $100 per month. That expense is: $16 for the website and $84 for use of the server to host the Forum. The Forum alone costs over $1000 per year. This is very high fee is because the software needs a separate server to run it. Over the past ten years I have spent $10,000 to maintain the Forum. I am no longer willing to spend the money to maintain a system that has no future.

The Waterloo Association has agreed to be the steward of the Napoleon Series website, but not the Forum. That has left me with three options:

Option #1: Run the Forum separately and hope we do not have any insurmountable tech problems. Once we do, I shut it down. This will involve raising $1000 per year.

Option #2: Accept the fact that we have to upgrade our software, do so, and continue business as usual. This means that I would have to buy the program, install it, and maintain it. Because of the age of our current software, any new software will not be compatible with our current system.  Any message that is on our current system will not be accessible on the new software. I do not have the tech skills to set up a new forum. This will involve buying the software and paying someone to install and maintain it.

Option #3: Maintain the Forum for a few months and migrate to an existing Forum.

None of these options are very good, but we have reached a point that between technological problems and the expense of maintaining it, we must act. I have decided the following:

  1. Effective 1 March 2020, I am shutting down the Napoleon Series Forum.

  2. I have approached Zack White, the editor of the NapoleonicWars.net website, about these issues and he has welcomed us to join his forum. You will find that some of the people who use the Napoleon Series Forum, also post there. Although the layout and software is different than what we are used to, their rules are very similar to ours. It can be seen at: https://www.thenapoleonicwars.net/forum

  3. That leaves the question of what to do with the 90,000 postings in our archives. There are no good answers. The messages are stored as .text messages. I intend to download all of the postings, but without a way of searching them, they will have limited use. I am looking for ideas on how to save this valuable resource.

Please note that no new postings will be accepted on the Forum after 31 January. The Forum will be read only.

The heart of the Napoleon Series Community has been our forum for the past 25 years. I hope that we will continue to exchange ideas and answer questions on our new home. I know I will be there come 1 March.

Bob Burnham
Editor
The Napoleon Series