On Thursday 20th September, from midnight my time (4pm NST or Pacific time on Thursday, 7pm Eastern time), I currently plan to take the site down for up to three days. This is in order to move the site to a new hosting company, with Miguel rather than with Kamil.
This post is fairly long, but it's important you do read it before then, because of a few changes which will affect all forum members.
Before it happens:
None of the static pages on this site are going to be updated, as they've all already been copied to the new hosts. However, pets can still be added to the database, news posts can be made, and you can still rate pets. Up until the point when the forum is officially taken down on Thursday, any changes made will be stored and transferred to the new hosts.
You may want to save copies of any private messages or posts which you really want to keep. While we are going to do a full transfer of all posts, users and private messages, and the test migration has been completed without problems, we can't guarantee that it will be completely successful.
Finally, you must ensure that you have a working email address attached to your Neocolours account. If you're not sure, go and check in your profile. There's a very good reason for this, which will be explained later in this post.
While it's happening, Thursday 20th, Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd:
For the duration of the transfer, plus potentially Sunday 23rd, the site will be down. Instead, you can go on the LiveJournal community (http://community.livejournal.com/the_nc/), or the Neocolours chatroom, which is an IRC chat. Using an IRC client, connect to irc.blitzed.org, then join #neocolours. An alternative is to go to this page, entering your Neocolours username in the nick section, and #neocolours in the chan section. If the downtime extends beyond the weekend, I'll open up the temporary forum again, but otherwise, LJ and IRC are the only alternatives which will be functional.
I've talked to Jessi and I believe she plans to suspend Werewolf for the three days, restarting on Sunday 23rd - she can decide exactly how she plans to do this with the people playing.
Also, don't ask me or any of the mods on MSN how the move's going - the mods won't know, and I'll be busy actually doing it. If I'm in the IRC channel, you can ask for updates, but otherwise, assume it's going okay but that it'll go faster if I don't have to talk about it :) If anything goes wrong, such as having to extend the downtime, there will be a post on the LiveJournal community. There will also be a post there once the site's up again.
After the transfer:
Most of the site will remain exactly as it is now. There are, however, going to be three more significant changes regarding the site URL, the forums, and how the hosting is paid for.
Firstly, the URL. If anyone is still using the kamil.slashcity.com URL to access the site, it will no longer work. You will need to make sure you're using www.neocolours.me.uk instead. Additionally, if you put in neocolours.me.uk after the weekend and are redirected to a site in the format domain.co.uk/nc/, don't panic, that's still Neocolours. We are trying to avoid this and make the site always show up as neocolours.me.uk, but it might be that neocolours.me.uk functions as a redirect temporarily.
As for the forums - as part of the transfer, we will be upgrading to phpBB version 3. They need to be upgraded because official security support for phpBB version 2 will not continue indefinitely.
For the most part, phpBB3 is very similar to phpBB2, with additional features. The forums will keep the same structure and the same admins and mods, plus existing accounts, usergroups, posts and private messages should all be available. However, the version we are going to upgrade to, while stable, is an early version, and so certain mods are not available. For a short period after the upgrade, there will be no link on the site to the NC chatroom, no quick reply mod, and no topic titles on the index. Don't ask me to add them - I have to wait until they are properly released alongside a final version of phpBB3, and will be adding them then.
This is also why you must have a working email address on your account (I hope I'm making this clear :P). As part of the upgrade, the phpBB2 user table will be transferred into phpBB3. However, passwords cannot be transferred, and all users must request a new password to be able to log in. If you don't have a working email, you will not be able to request a password, and will consequently be locked out of your account. Ty and I will be able to change emails for people after the move, but we will not be happy about it, and are also likely not to get round to it very quickly, because we will be busy reconfiguring the forums. I also happen to be moving to university on the Sunday of that weekend - my priority at that time will not be sorting out email addresses for people who haven't bothered to do it themselves.
And finally, regarding how the hosting is paid for - for about a year and a half now, the site has been hosted entirely by Kamil, but it's not really fair to her to be hosting the site as it's grown quite a bit since then. Instead, we will be moving to a host for which we will now be responsible for our share of the hosting bill. I can't afford to host the site myself, so the options available to me as a result are either to place adverts on the site, or to ask for voluntary donations. I have decided to go with the latter, so once the site is fully functioning on the new hosts (I'm not going to charge people for downtime!) I am going to be asking for donations to cover the hosting. Currently, this is estimated to be approximately $200 for the next year, although if the forum database grows significantly in that time, we will need to pay more.
If there are any updates, I'll be adding them to this post. There will be a new post once the site's fully working again.