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The Future of BritNerf

Some of you may have already seen this announcement from the people running the MFF platform. They work hard to provide us with a stable platform but it's just not viable anymore. As such, they will be shutting down the system in June.

So what does that mean for us? Well if we sit and do nothing, the forum and all it's content will disappear, destroying the community and everything we've worked hard for. But fear not, we have a plan. Fortunately it is possible for us to migrate to another system and save BritNerf from the ether. There are various options available to us, we just need to choose which best suits the community.

The first option is to transfer to a different free forum service. Whilst being the cheapest option (MFF will charge us 60ish to migrate but the new forum will be free), we will be confined to the format provided by the new provider and will still be subject to adverts for which we receive no revenue.

The other option (our favourite) is to go it alone. Transfer the forum to our own server (or a host provider) and then do whatever we like. This will give us the option to update the back end of the forum, add more features and generally awesomeify everything along with improved mobile support.

Now, if we were to do this, it's going to cost money. Not only to migrate but also costs for the hosting and other shizzle. If we were to go with this option, we would like to do a whip round and ask all of you wonderful people to donate what you can to the cause. After we're all set up, we can then decide whether we want to use advertising to cover the running costs or have a whip round every year to pay for things, but that's a conversation for another day.

So there it is. As ever, we're asking for you guys for input. Tell us what you think and we can move forward as a community.


If anybody has any specific expertise in interwebs and thinks they can help us migrate then we'd really appreciate the help.

I'll be blowing the dust off the mass email system later so we can get the message out to everyone.

I've no knowledge of any forum hosting etc, but I'm more than happy to donate some money towards the cause!

I would gladly throw money your way to help the community. This community has given so much to help me, that i can't let it go down. I would be pretty isolated as the lone dane

I'd donate what I could to go it alone.  My only concern, not having an interwebs design background, but having had plenty of IT related deployment experience, is whether you'd have enough time to get everything ready to go it alone by June.

If this is going to be a problem, go with option A (again I'd donate to the cause) whilst working on option B.

Happy to donate to make the forum better

I've got a friend who should able to host you. I'll get him to get in touch.

Yup I'm in for going at it alone and donating.

Britnerf has been good to me, so more than happy to give back.
The Dark Kitten

I think the general mood is that we're happy to donate and i must say I'm witht them! Everyone's been so much of a help that to be honest I aught to start giving back. (Definatly not my attempt with Zhom.....)

I propose FDT covering all costs, transferring the forum to a new host platform which I will run, rename it to BritFDTNerf and rename all users. All Nerf War posts would be moderated by me before being allowed to post. Timescale within 2 weeks and I can pay for this now.

Sorry, couldn't resist Wink Why couldn't this have waited til April 1st Wink

Goes without saying I'm happy to donate to the cause Smile

I almost spat my tea out. Would I have to be UKFDTWar under your regime?

Yep I'm happy to chip in with our own server, no web experience for me so I cant help on that side of things.

BofFDT... Doesn't really work does it?

At the risk of the topic getting derailed, I'd like to thank everyone on behalf of the A&M team for their vote of confidence. Further details will be published as and when we go forward. Let's just say the silver lining for all this is to put a boot up our arses and get BritNerf CIC sorted... Very Happy

More than happy to chuck in some dosh

Payday Friday.. Take my money!

(... Before I spend it on a shiny pink EL panel or something.)

Tell us where and how to donate?

Count me in for a donation

I'm still an annual 'supporter' of my original car based forum it taught me so much and I've made great lasting friends even though i don't visit as much anymore (i made 5000+ posts in 3 years) i keep the subscription going because the site holds so much knowledge and advice it would be a tragedy to let it go down.

I'm sure most feel the same about this site I would personally be happy to pay an annual fee, our site made the subscription a requirement for posting for sale threads and access to 'supporters' only areas, we also got a neat little joining bundle with keyrings stickers etc that were site branded this could be a good incentive for more paying members if you decide to go this route.

Yeah will definitely lend a hand, the community here is great and will always try and support and help it flourish for the future.

Stick up a donation target and link on the top of Britnerf, won't be any different from the game killboards and player forums I used to help out on!

I can send some money via paypal, from my Nerf Ebay fund which you all kindly donate to now and then! Wink

- Your local friendly arms dealer -

Happy to donate but also have no problem with a free forum with adverts. I'm, like most people who spend a lot of time online I'd imagine, pretty advert blind and don't notice them.

Do you have any idea of how much is involved? I'll chip in my part, but it'd be good to have an idea what the target is

We'll work that out in time. Judging by the feedback so far we'll be hosting ourselves so we'll look into our options before we come around shaking the bucket.

Would a subs not maybe be worth looking into for the funding of the new site?
I also would gladly donate to the new forum, I personally have no experience in this kind of thing but is it do-able in the time frame allowed?.

Hey team. You guys are doing an awesome job keeping this going. Happy to add to the donation pile for an independent site, but seconding the guys that aren't really too worried about ads in the meantime (hell, I got my mail-order bride in the post just recently through an ad on BritNerf's default image-hosting site...). Would there be that much more/worse than there are already? I'd just worry that any perceived "fee" for joining might limit membership uptake and so participation into the future. The only other forum that I've had anything to do with long-term (again, a small and pretty specialised OCD/Art/Hobby base...) asks for donations leading up to the due date and is generally oversubscribed. It would be nice to spread the load evenly though.

I can't contribute any skills, but would be happy to donate/subscribe

While I'm happy to contribute, I think you need to figure out how much bandwidth the site uses and how much that's going to cost

However, are any of the mod team experienced LAMP admins and knowledgeable about mailqueue/postfix/sendmail? If the answer to that is no, I'd give up on the idea of hosting your own version.

While a decent hosting package should eliminate a lot of the stress, getting a new version of the my free forum code, with your own tweaks and a 5 year database of posts could be a challenge in 2 months.

Is vBulletin an option?

I am more than happy to pay a one off donation or pay a monthly subscription fee if that helps with long term running costs.

Happy to donate.

If you want to go it alone look at hosting it is about 2 a month and Vanilla forum open source may be a help. I have used it before and it is fairly user friendly.


ProPhpBB is worth checking out.

Thanks everyone for your support.

blindgeekuk, our migration can potentially be very easy since the package we will receive from MFF comes with everything including all the back end interface. As I understand it, all we need to do is populate the new server and then reroute the DNS.

What we are looking to do is take the opportunity to update the framework of the forum to make it more current and possibly freshen it up a bit. There are currently a few options available for this, we just need to look into which is best.

On the subject of subsidies, I'm not really a fan of that idea. I don't think we should expect people to pay to enter the community. Perhaps one day it'll come to that but I much prefer the idea of people giving what they can.

I should also say that we can incorporate this into the overall Britnerf CIC annual running costs and act accordingly.

If it moves the formation of britnerf plc a little further along as well then as catalysts go it's probably no bad thing. Could there be a 2 tier payment option - one for donations and the other to be a fully fledged member with the pli rolled in?

We will host a chat about Britnerf CIC as soon as details are finalised, expect news in the next 10 days. We are very aware that all of this is important to members and will do our best to progress a solution quickly.
As noted above the forum will remain free to access although if banner ads are added those will pay to the community not 3rd party. As soon as the options for both the Forum and the CIC are done we will share them and get comments/feedback.

Banner ads paying for the community isn't a bad idea. We are all so used to them they are pretty much expected on any web page these days.

Could I put it out there that we try and set it up so that the forum is accessible from a mobile app? I for one would find this a much more user friendly experience than viewing the Forum via a web browser on my phone.
I understand if there is a bigger cost implication here that makes it not possible.

Davera, trust me, it's on the board. I spent a good chunk of yesterday Googling around and testing the waters for PHPBB3+ friendly mobile implementations. There's not a lot of point bringing the forum bang up to date if you're not going to account for 60% of the traffic at the same time. Smile

Glad I'm not the only one thinking of that. Just thought I'd throw it out there just incase.

It's good that you asked Davera. The cheap option would likely mean nothing would change but by upgrading we could add some fancy new features.

I've setup and administrated around 10 vBulletin forums on domains and FTP servers since 2007 so the subject is something I'm very familiar with. I also do graphics and web design so I can customise styles completely to individual likings.

As such I'm happy to assist consultation for hosting, forum types, migration etc. (for free of course, I've never charged for any work like this).

Just give me a shout if it's needed.

Target amounts will be announced once several options are properly costed. Several associates of forum members and companies have offered us help, we are in the process of drawing up a list of options to put to you all.
Thus far no single donor is going to be needing to put in more than 20, based on most recent costing, we are not intending for people to have to put in large sums.

Nice handle ON!

Perhaps you could ask Langley for help? (He's the MFIC of NerfHaven)

We prefer to source our own solution given that NH was down for 6 weeks or more last time it moved.

Happy to lend a hand or help find a new forum solution for the community!

My 2 cents:

If MFF gives you access to your files and database, backup and migrate PhpBB to your own host so that you can control the features and templating. I estimate around ‎‎50 to 100 a month depending on the amount of traffic. I don't think it would hurt to offer a little of your own advertising in order to cover the cost.

I'd be happy to pay that a month *hint hint* Smile

I'd advise against switching platforms unless there is an easy way to export/import into the new forum. Also keep an eye on preserving url structure so that you don't lose any valuable search engine links to the site.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!

Happy to chip in for own server route if needed. Smile

May I suggest a broader more international forum for phase 2? I personally feel like this is the best forum around for Nerf do to the structure, moderation, and general atmosphere and good will toward others. While I like that it is a smaller more friendly group I really wish it was a bit more inclusive.

Thanks for your input Aldegar. It's an interesting point and I'd like to respond to it but this thread isn't the place for that. Would you mind posting again in the Have Your Say thread so I can post my response. Thanks.

I'd say go it alone, you should be able to export out the data from your current host, and also have some idea of web traffic so you can see whats required for the hosting, if you host you could also put up some of your own ads to help cover costs. you can get hosting from  under 10 per month I'm not sure if that would provide all that this site requires, but asking on the live chats and a bit of google searching and i'm sure you can find something fairly affordably.
(my first post on a Nerf forum and I'm giving advice/thoughts about webhosting  Shocked

Welcome to the forum Don! Great to see you jumping in!

Apologies if this has been mentioned previously, but my $0.02 is to try a free Wordpress blog with a forum plugin.

I did a bit of front-end web back in the day and that was the most cost-effective hosting for small-medium clients.

I see that there is a 3GB storage limit on a free blog (no idea how big BN is, but assume it's larger).

Anyways - it may be worth seeing if a free/low cost sports or non-profit blog (with forum plugin) on that platform could be suitable.

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