The death of vbulletin & the birth of a new

By Alfa · Dec 6, 2013 · ·
  1. Alfa
    Drugs-Forum is at an important crossroad and will never be the same again. The situation is similar as 8 years ago. In 2005 we migrated from webwiz forum software to vbulletin. Webwiz was simply not good enough for us as a growing community anymore. We needed a better platform, better functions, a more professional design and something with much better security. vbulletin forum software offered that. vbulletin had a long history with drug related forums, as part of vbulletin was coded by Overgrow. was the largest drug related forum at that time. Running vbulletin since the start of vb in the last century. I built drugs-forum with the hope of it becoming bigger than Overgrow. Moving to it was a very good choice and allowed to grow even more and even faster. To a size much bigger than Overgrow was when it got raided and closed down.

    On the vbulletin platform I could add whatever function that I could dream up or our members would request. Either I could buy the function somewhere or I could have it created by one of the great developers I have worked with during those years. Or I could just go in the code and modify it to our needs. Nowadays we run 110 addons on top of vbulletin, which makes vbulletin just a small but important part of the site.
    Another really cool thing about vbulletin is that the Jelsoft developers listened to my suggestions, so I sent them hundreds. It just got better and better.

    Times change for vbulletin
    In 2007 the tide started to change for vbulletin as it was bought from Jelsoft by Internet Brands. Internet Brands is a multi-million / multi-billion corporation that buys up successful communities and bleeds them dry for advertising revenue. A quick search on the net will show you that a lot of what they touch turns to mud. They own over 2000 websites which compete with vbulletin websites and earn about 100 million a year in advertising revenue. Which is many times more than vbulletin will ever be worth. After all that I have seen from Internet Brands it is not unthinkable that they seek the destruction or takeover of their rivals, instead of providing solid software.

    It did not take long before releases started to include security vulnerabilities, things that sabotage search engine ranking, many thousands of bugs, functions that leaked member data to Internet Brands servers and a lot of things started to happen that drove webmasters into despair. Internet Brands contacted a lot of webmasters to buy up their websites cheap. They did not update their own sites to the latest releases though. Neither did we. Like Internet Brands we still run vbulletin 3, while vbulletin 5 has been out for a year.

    I can safely say that we will not upgrade to vbulletin 4 or 5 ever. If you want to experience why then please checkout or any other vb5 forum. Mind that the forum runs on an advanced and optimized server network and that negative remarks on are in a hidden forum. Other sites will face even more difficulties running it.

    vbulletin gets Hacked
    Recently and got hacked repeatedly, due to a number of security vulnerabilities in vbulletin 4 and 5 and one issue in vb3. As a result other websites like got hacked as well. The private details of macrumors its 800.000 members were compromised. Internet Brands staff denied details of the hack and did not email us.

    We patched the vbulletin 3 issue. Over the years we have experienced attacks many times and as a result our server security is extremely high. Security is essential for a drug related website. After all our members post sensitive data and we want to keep that secure.

    As time goes by vbulletin gets ever more outdated. Staying on vbulletin 3 is not an option. Sooner or later the old technology it relies on will become a security risk. This includes End of Life server software and outdated third party software. Time is ticking.

    Outdated functionality
    As the net keep revolutionizing itself. everyone gets used to better and better functions. Social media like Facebook are fighting for your time. Information oriented website have gotten pretty good in delivering the answers you seek. And at the same time drugs-forum in all its excellence relies on highly outdated features, buggy notification. Something has gotta give here.

    I think you know what I am saying.

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  1. Joe-(5-HTP)
    omg!! exciting.

    Lead on Alfa, we're right behind you!
  2. TheBigBadWolf
    thank you for explaining us what are the issues of the software we rely on-

    of the same opinion as the member above :)p )
  3. hookedonhelping
    Unlike Joe and Wolf, I do not see where this is headed. Are you thinking about killing the site?

    Like Joe and Wolf, I will follow.. hoping the vast collection of data follows as well.
  4. Alfa
    I am not thinking about killing the site. Its the forum software that is dying. The site needs a new platform, because the current forum software is nearly dead.
    My blog post intends to illustrate why we can not afford to stay on vbulletin and a migration away from vbulletin is necessary. I think this is needed to explain because a migration is costly and we already are in a problematic financial situation.
  5. hookedonhelping
    Makes sense.. a good comparison for me is like owning a Mac with a Power PC processor. OS X stopped supporting that chip with OS X 10.5.9 and all the new apps require the new modern Intel Chip on the newer OS's. As much as I spent on that damn G5, it is now collecting dust in my closet.

    You have to stay current, whatever the cost. At some point it is going to end up costing you more to keep this old software viable. That point seems like it has long passed.

    This board has the heart and souls of thousands of people all over globe, poured into it. We need to keep this baby current and relative. If that means adopting some new attitudes regarding rules and safety, to accommodate the software, so be it.

    I think some integration with Facebook and other social media platforms is a good idea. Perhaps allowing members to have an alias for sensitive posts that require anonymity would be a good idea. I don't know the details about all this as I am not privy to what these upgrades would consist of, but whatever you decide I am sure it will be in the best interest of the longevity of this site and the information within, that has saved so many lives and helped many others to live healthier.

    My brain is here for the picking if needed. Just put back whatever take when your done please :vibes:
  6. Alfa
    Regarding Facebook & privacy: Privacy, data protection and identity shielding has always been a top priority for DF. While we will certainly get more social features and social networking features for those who opt-in, but privacy will be kept in mind.

    But let's not get into what features are coming. I will be posting more blogs to cover that topic.
  7. Worf
    Sounds like a tricky situation, how to keep everything the way it is, with the community and all, yet roll into something new. I've only just joined here, and I think it is great, and can only get better! Looking to donate when I get off this winter layoff!

    I'd certainly have to say that 'privacy' is definitely not facebook's top priority, as they tend to want us to share everything with everyone else, almost as a default setting.
  8. whatstheproblem
    i dont get it at all. what does this mean? looks like the same shit to me
  9. Micklemouse
    It means that the Forum is looking forward to a major but subtle overhaul that will retain the look & feel but will add functionality, streamline use & navigation & bring it kicking ass into the 21st Century. Having played around with the beta a little I can say that it's looking good!
  10. baZING
    I think perhaps some of the confusion is lying in the fact that, if I understand correctly, nothing from this overhaul has really been implemented just yet... right? Maybe tiny bits and pieces?

    But I believe it looks like "the same shit" WTP, because at the moment it is.
  11. TakaiKitten
    I suppose one would be most concerned about security matters. So often does it happen that the entire user database of a resource falls in the wrong hands. Even when the passwords are too tightly encrypted, so much sensitive information could be retrieved. Email addresses are gold for these spammers.

    Guess the people of this forum know much about the ins and outs of technology;)
  12. Xtaldoc
    What would we be looking at, in terms of cost?
  13. Alfa
    That's a pretty hard question to answer, because it involves a lot of custom software development which means paying the hours that developers work. To create custom importers, a design, essential functionality. There are also a lot of addons and software packages that I need to buy. Asides from the essentials there also are a lot of functions that will improve the income of the site and therefore are a wise investment. And then there are various functions that will greatly increase the popularity and usefulness of the site. So its a mix of many things, which all add up to a total in the neighborhood of $6-11k depending on how you count.
    It's quite a large undertaking. It's clear that the result will be a massive improvement of the site.
  14. D0pe
    I remember back in the late 90's computer secuirty was pretty lax, and a moderatly experienced person could hack into most personal computers with not much trouble. I rather liked those teenage internet days ""was interesting to see stuff become better and more secure" It also makes me think that i should of purchased a few dozen domain names back in the early 90's. ""for profit" Anyways When the reputation system is auto detected with pupil dilation, body temperature, persperation, heart rate, and body movement.. That is when i will probably just give up on everything internet letated. Untell then i like how things are progressing.. I can say that i did see DF from the very early stages of development. Push forward :crazy
  15. knightsmith
    Most companies don't like to admit it, when I owned hitmans gold, a traffic exchange site that died years ago, someone stole our database, it was encrypted but we chose not to tell anyone either. We were mainly honest, but security , theres always a ransom, or a pay off if you get the database :S
  16. enquirewithin
    That is s a pity. Migration could take an emormous amount of work. Whtever you you decide...
  17. Xtaldoc
    Looks like we're all gonna have to dig into our pockets. Maybe set up a separate fund?

    Either way, it's the future: we can deal with it - or it will deal with us. I'm gonna look around for money.

    Thanks Alfa!
  18. 08Wilsmo
    Information is reformation! Thanks for the update alpha!
  19. ImALumberjackAndImOK
    There are many open-source solutions that are mature platforms. I work with Drupal a lot and think there would be potential in adapting that to this. There are great communities around both.
  20. Alfa
    A new framework has been chosen and development has started last summer. We are well underway with a new website. I'll start posting previews once we get closer to a release. This is some months away.
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