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Update on the old forum archive

29 Replies

Update on the old forum archive

Posted by Lisa Miles on Jan 14, 2020 9:37 am

Hi all

I have some news regarding the archive of the old posts in the previous forum (powered by Fusetalk)

The Fusetalk software will finally go offline permanently by the end of January 2020 meaning that it will no longer be available or searchable. As we’ve said previously the software is no longer supported and now poses a serious cybersecurity concern.

There will be a short length of time where discussions within the old forum will not be available while an archive is being prepared.  We suggest if there are any discussions you wish to keep for reference, that you save a copy of it before the end of January.

It has also been requested that we only archive the conversations posted on the old forum since the release of the 18th Edition Wiring regs (i.e. from July/August 2018) so that out-of-date regs information is not made available. So again, if there are any past conversations that you wish to keep a copy of then we’d recommend that you do so before the end of January.

Any questions please ask or email us at community-online@theiet.org
 
Lisa Miles - Online Community Manager, Engineering Communities

Re: Update on the old forum archive

Posted by Zoomup on Jan 14, 2020 10:05 am

What a terrible loss of invaluable, essential, irreplaceable information. It's like burning the Encyclopaedia Britannica, or destroying Wikipedia. So sad.

Z

Re: Update on the old forum archive

Posted by mapj1 on Jan 14, 2020 10:33 am

It has also been requested that we only archive the conversations posted on the old forum since the release of the 18th Edition Wiring regs (i.e. from July/August 2018) so that out-of-date regs information is not made available.

Presumably not requested by anyone who actually has read many of the threads, as a large chunk of it is completely regs agnostic.  - as despite the title is much of this forum as well, though I agree it is fading in popularity. Quite often we  are interested in why things are done, and how to do them in a well engineered way, and if they are not applicable then the UK regs can just play catch up.

@LisaMiles
How big is the whole archive, and if the IET does not want  to keep it, would they be amenable to someone else looking after it ?

I know it says there are 45839  threads on the front page
here
but in reality I know it wrapped over 65536 (2^16)  at least once as thread nos started to repeat.


 

regards Mike

Re: Update on the old forum archive

Posted by Neil O'Rourke on Jan 14, 2020 11:12 am

There is always the Wayback Machine which archives pages, but usability isn’t guaranteed:

https://web.archive.org/web/20190323061752/https://www2.theiet.org/forums/forum/categories.cfm?catid=205&entercat=y

A flat HTML archive of the entire forum wouldn’t be too onerous to host, including a header disclaimer, while letting Google index it for searching.

As a web developer I’d be happy to help, although you have a fine team in there that likely needs no assistance! 😁

Re: Update on the old forum archive

Posted by gkenyon on Jan 14, 2020 1:34 pm

I agree with what others are saying - the title is "Wiring and the Regulations" ... many of the topics don't relate directly to BS 7671, or indeed other standards ... it's not the Wiring Regs Technical Helpline !

It's also the case that answers which rely on science move far more slowly than conformity to standards, if at all.

Further, many of our Forum users are likely to be carrying out work on existing installations ... and BS 7671 itself states it's not retrospective. The life of many installations often far exceeds 20 years, so "pre 2018" cuts out a lot of work.

It also perhaps shows whoever is asking this question is unaware of the value of the contributions offered in the topics, and the time taken by volunteers to respond ...
Graham Kenyon, Managing Director, G Kenyon Technology Ltd www.gkenyontech.com G Kenyon Technology Ltd Logo © G Kenyon Technology Ltd 2015-2019

Re: Update on the old forum archive

Posted by OMS on Jan 14, 2020 1:50 pm

LoL - the phrase "know the cost of everything, and the value of nothing" springs to mind

As I mentioned at the time, they shut down the Axe and Cleaver in favour of a wine bar - now the Axe and Cleaver is getting demolished.

Nothing left but memories.

More seriously, the old Forum did have a proportion of dross in there - I contributed to some my self. But there is actually a wealth of Technical knowledge in that Forum that isn't directly related to BS 7671 and specifically pre or post a certain edition, but it would probably be shame to just skip it.

But such is life

Regards

OMS
The trap we've fallen into is to believe that a thousand incompetents properly organized can do the job of a few dozen outstanding people

Re: Update on the old forum archive

Posted by ebee on Jan 14, 2020 2:27 pm

Madness. Utter madness. Such folly. Who decided this? To the Tower and off with his head

Re: Update on the old forum archive

Posted by AJJewsbury on Jan 14, 2020 4:02 pm

It has also been requested that we only archive the conversations posted on the old forum since the release of the 18th Edition Wiring regs (i.e. from July/August 2018) so that out-of-date regs information is not made available.

+1 for the objections to that request. Many of the discussions are based not so much on the wording of specific regulations but on the underlying principles - and those discussions don't get repeated just because a new Ed of the regs is published. Cutting off from the start of the 18th would inevitably mean the loss of still useful information.
   - Andy.

Re: Update on the old forum archive

Posted by Zoomup on Jan 14, 2020 4:13 pm

Yes the old forum was very good, it discussed current and historical Electrical Engineering and Technology based around safety, reliability, methods, products, materials and regulations including B.S. 7671 and others. I thought that the I.E.T. was interested in promoting  Engineering and Technology. When forums become too clinical and restricting they can also become sterile, dry, uninteresting and uninviting. Forums should allow some slack. Contributors should be encouraged to participate with carrots and not discouraged with sticks. Moderators should be tolerant, accepting and not too dogmatic. Keep the old forum accessible I say, for what it's worth.

Z.

Re: Update on the old forum archive

Posted by pww235 on Jan 14, 2020 4:18 pm

I too would second the opinion that archiving only from the publication of the 18th edition to the date of migration to the new forum software is undesirable.

Many a conversation on fire alarm systems or lighting to name but two examples pre-date the 18th edition of BS 7671, as do their own British Standards and guidance documents.
There must surely be a way of throwing a splash screen or header on the pages to include a disclaimer stating the content is archived and may be superseded.

Pete

Re: Update on the old forum archive

Posted by Zoomup on Jan 14, 2020 4:22 pm

Look what this popular forum encourages....
 

Screwfix Community Forum

The Screwfix Community Forum strives to be a friendly and supportive place, where you can share your expertise, ask others for theirs, and enjoy ‘socialising’ online with people who share a common interest. We encourage you to debate the topics and issues of the day, whether related to trade/DIY or not.

Z.

Re: Update on the old forum archive

Posted by davidwalker2 on Jan 14, 2020 5:53 pm

Lisa

There are some conversations that I would like to keep copies of.  Is there a means of copying entries, or are we left to our own devices?

David

Re: Update on the old forum archive

Posted by -2400- on Jan 14, 2020 6:20 pm

For what it's worth, I also agree with much of what has been said. Particularly the fact that much of the discussion about basic principles is still relevant and also many people have to work on older installations - this is often the most useful aspect of the forum, being able to call on the experience of others.

Re: Update on the old forum archive

Posted by davidwalker2 on Jan 14, 2020 6:44 pm

I agree with many of the comments above.  I am surprised and disappointed that the IET, an institution whose major aim is to educate and of which I have been a Member for over 50 years, would consider throwing away such a valuable learning archive.  As others have said, those who made the decision clearly do not understand the broader knowledge that exists here, well beyond that of the narrow Regulations.

TIME TO RECONSIDER.

David

Re: Update on the old forum archive

Posted by Chris Pearson on Jan 14, 2020 7:05 pm

Not much point in getting grumpy about it!

At the very least, I would suggest that the material be saved so that it may be made available in the future even if it is not convenient to do so now.

My first (IBM-style) PC had a 40 MB hard drive. It filled up. I had a succession of bigger and bigger drives as the machine was replaced. My last one had a few 32 GB drives. They filled up. My current machine has 1 TB drives and I really think that they will not be filled in my lifetime.

The point is that lack of space is no longer an excuse for not saving data.

Whatever the decision, I am only too grateful to be able to participate in the forum and at no cost. 😊

Re: Update on the old forum archive

Posted by Farmboy on Jan 14, 2020 7:16 pm

If it's the software supporting the text entries in the old forum that's the problem, is it not possible for some computer Wizard to export the text/posts in the old forum and incorporate it into this forum, as though they were new posts?

Re: Update on the old forum archive

Posted by justinneedham on Jan 14, 2020 9:58 pm

I strongly support calls to make the contents accessible and searchable long-term and be transferred to a system you feel is secure. Amongst the obvious dross common to all forums, it contains a huge number of invaluable discussions and important observation not available elsewhere. It's simply not possible for users to select and personally archive these. A searchable archive would continue to be valuable well into the future. Physics doesn't change, even though our regs get updated.
I am an IET member and I value the fact that my subs go towards supporting these sort of engineering resources. Please don't cut it off.

Re: Update on the old forum archive

Posted by Chris Pearson on Jan 14, 2020 10:04 pm

Farmboy:
If it's the software supporting the text entries in the old forum that's the problem, is it not possible for some computer Wizard to export the text/posts in the old forum and incorporate it into this forum, as though they were new posts?

Going page by page, it really shouldn't be difficult to extract the old messages and save each thread as one page of HTML, .pdf, or whatever. Inserting it into this software might not be so easy.

Re: Update on the old forum archive

Posted by Lisa Miles on Jan 15, 2020 4:53 pm

Hi All

Thank you for all your feedback. I'm passing it on to the decision makers for their consideration. 🙂

Lisa
Lisa Miles - Online Community Manager, Engineering Communities

Re: Update on the old forum archive

Posted by Grumpy on Jan 15, 2020 5:51 pm

Chris Pearson:
Not much point in getting grumpy about it!

Oi! Do you mind!!

 

Re: Update on the old forum archive

Posted by MHRestorations on Jan 15, 2020 7:14 pm

Lisa Miles:
Hi All

Thank you for all your feedback. I'm passing it on to the decision makers for their consideration. 🙂

Lisa

I do hope they take on board our opinions.  As has been said, the aim of the institution is to encourage education, surely.  A disclaimer on any page clicked through to is a very simple thing to do, whether in HTML or even as a PDF.

I'd go so far as to say that the idea of deleting information provided at no charge by what are effectively volunteers is positively insulting.

I do understand the 'not wanting out of date information' out there, but ...just wow at the shortsighteness

Re: Update on the old forum archive

Posted by perspicacious on Jan 15, 2020 7:23 pm

As above, I think the loss of the content from technical, historic and dare I say humour points of view, would be shameful. 

I'd like to think that readers would gain knowledge and help them in their careers and professionalism. It has certainly helped me beyond the Ladybird book "Magnets, Bulbs and Batteries" I had at 7 years old (some may dispute that though!).

Regards

BOD
 

Re: Update on the old forum archive

Posted by tattyinengland on Jan 16, 2020 8:43 am

Yup - I'm in too - lets find a way to keep the old forum - even if just to refer to - but mostly because I put in 1000 posts there, most of which were rather thought out.

I know they're not all relevant but lots still is..........I periodically go back on some of my answers and reason how I might have changed my answer now time has gone on and also I enjoy a well reasoned written argument for or against something - like a photograph - its a reminder of why/when/where etc.

Also I think we've probably lost something in the transition that made the old platform so user friendly - specifically the presentation of the front page and possibly the style of the search function, by author, topic, specific word etc........

 

Re: Update on the old forum archive

Posted by Amanda Weaver on Jan 16, 2020 12:20 pm

Thank you all for your contributions on this. We are looking at what the best option is to retain the older content - I'll provide an update when we've agreed this.

Re: Update on the old forum archive

Posted by Lisa Miles on Jan 16, 2020 3:21 pm

davidwalker2:
There are some conversations that I would like to keep copies of.  Is there a means of copying entries, or are we left to our own devices?

Hi David

There is an easy way of keeping a copy of a topic thread. If you visit the old forum and open up a topic, under 'Topic Tools' in the top section you'll find an item in the pop up menu of 'Print this Topic'. Selecting that will open a pop up window where the full topic along with the replies are displayed. At the top of that window you'll see another 'Print this topic' link which will open up your printing options. From there you can either print a hard copy to your printer or chose to save as a PDF file. 

For everyone - our IT team have downloaded the content database for the old forum so we do have it for safekeeping. We are able to query the database (it's huge as you can imagine) to extract specific data if required, for example all content posted by a specific individual.

We have done a quick extract of the top 100 topics (by page views) and our Marketing team are looking at ways to re-purpose that content so that it retains its value.

Whether or not we are able to present the content of the database in a viewable and searchable format for the public still needs to be decided upon as Amanda says above. 🙂
Lisa Miles - Online Community Manager, Engineering Communities

Re: Update on the old forum archive

Posted by davidwalker2 on Jan 16, 2020 4:01 pm

Thank you Lisa, I have done that successfully

David

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