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Forum merging / new structure

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At this time am running two complete forums (BM and MaF) and they both have sections about other topics as well.

I very much want to merge them into one. Each game would still have its own seperate section, it can even have its own look, but administration of one forum would be much easier than administration of two.

There would be some issues with user accounts and such. I haven't figured out how exactly to do it and if someone wants to dig into SMF docs and plugins that could help, it would be much appreciated. But ultimately, I cannot sustain several forums.

Regarding the conflicts with user accounts, would it be possible to code a one-time account merge, with the option to choose which username you wish to keep? Most people will probably be using the same email for the accounts, so that could be used as a trigger for the code, "if account email duplicate" or however you would write it (python skills are rusty as !@#$ right now).

I said most of this over on the M&F forum, but there are tools for account mergers, even tools for forum mergers, but there are particular requirements for most of them: forums must be running on the same [logical] server, tools require some trial and error to get the process to run right.

Most of it comes down to requiring some understanding of php and databases, and the time to do it all. It will almost invariably involve taking the forums down for at least a few hours to ensure everything works right.

The bigger issue is what the new forum layout will be. This forum is already pretty bloated as far as sub-forums go, with entire categories that haven't seen use in years, and forums and forum locations that don't make sense when you've got two different major titles that the board is servicing.

Would it be easier to keep both forums in read-only, merge things into a completely new forum, and continue from there?

I could simply open and make both M&F and BM sub-forums of it. Maybe that is the easiest. It would allow for the trial-and-error process without destroying an existing forum.

Assuming everything were to go down without a hitch, you could probably do the entire process inside of an hour, assuming you have the main forum setup wherever it is setup, all the forums are running on the same logical server, and nothing goes wrong with the server itself.

The plugins required would be mergeSMF found here and the SMF Admin Toolbox found here. The first will merge one board into another board, and the other will handle getting the accounts going.

mergeSMF does have warnings about the primary, recipient forum being larger than the secondary, merging board. To do this safely on a live/production server, you may want to clone the BM forum here into the new lemuria forum and then merge the M&F forum into it. Guides for restoring a SMF backup or moving a SMF forum to a different location should be available easily enough through Google.

That said, mergeSMF appears to be built for MySQL, based on the discussion, so your mileage may vary. What it does as far as topics are concerned appears to be pretty straightforward, so it could all be done as database actions if it came down to it. SMF itself has the ability to merge abandoned posts into a user's account, so you could even do that if you didn't want to import the user database.

The forums that mergeSMF merges into another, don't appear to be altered from what I understand of the plugin, they just appear to have their database copied, edited, then assimilated into the recipient forum.


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