Re: The way this Board is run
Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:50 pm Etc/GMT-1+01:00
Well, there's slightly more to it than this, so I thought I would share a little information with everyone on some of the issues one must deal with in hosting such things.masch wrote:Otherwise, we are more than happy to accept DJ's generous offer to host us alongside his personal systems. This will, in future, as well as in the past, require the avoidance of image storage on the server. No surprise here.
Firstly, as has been pointed out, embedding images into forum posts by linking images hosted on other sites has been available from the very beginning, is very easy to do, and should be the preferred method.
The issue of contention is regarding uploading images to the forum server to include into forum posts.
This has actually been available since 2009 and there are in excess of 450 images in the attachments folder which bear testament to this. However, there is a limit on the overall size of this area, and for very good reason.
Most forum sites do not allow unrestricted uploads of attachments, the reason for this is that once forum users upload files, they never delete them again. In some cases because they don't think to, in some because they haven't the access to do so. The end result of this is a perpetually increasing pool of files which continues to grow and grow, most of which will never be used or referenced again, and are very hard to administer. This pool of files counts towards the hosting account's disc space allowance, and also has to be backed up. When you upload an attachement to the server it is not saved with your filename but a very large reference number which has no meaning to anything but the board software, correlating attachments to posts is an untenable exercise. Unrestricted upload access like this gets out of hand very very quickly, and is then very difficult to do anything about after the fact. If you suddenly disable it and delete all your attachments, all the images disappear from your posts, and your posts make no sense.
One of the key benefits of our forum I believe is that we do not "prune" posts. Due to the nature of discourse in this community, it is to our significant advantage to keep all our posts as they contain useful information, advice and suggestions etc. and having them available for users to search is a significant boon. As this old-fashioned information is arguably already out of date to start with it doesn't expire either, so it's handy to have around.
One of the ways we might be able to allow greater freedom in uploading attachments would to "prune" the Classifieds forum. The vast majority of all the uploaded attachments are images relating to posts in the Classified forum, pictures of equipment for sale. This forum more than any other is viable for "pruning" as the items are presumably sold and no longer available, and therefore the posts are mostly redundant. If our readership is happy for posts in this forum to be pruned to say, a 12 month window, I would expect this to free up some of the space allocated to attachments, enabling more uploads. How much I cannot know until we try.
When the board is moved I intend to increase this space anyway, but it will only last a short time before the exact same situation is reached. Pruning the Classifieds forum, whilst not being a solution to the problem, will mitigate it by a fair amount and make the space last a good deal longer.
So, are you happy to lose out-dated classifieds for a greater chance of upload?