thanks andrew, appreciate the detailed response!
We also have discourse-subscriptions if you don’t want to use Patreon. It integrates payments directly via Stripe.
Right now, I’m about to fall in love with Ghost. Maybe I can also use the Discourse integration. Since I’m based in the EU I would also like to have paypal for payments (credit cards are only tolerated by 50% of my customers). I need to figure out how to accomplish that.
What happens now is that I try to shape my future product around the best technical solutions available. Not the other way around. I cannot stress enough how important it is that the user experience is smooth and clean. Finally, it has to feel right for the customer. Otherwise, you produce a shitload of friction for them and also on your side. In my experience, this breaks almost every endeavor in the long term.
I just want to echo my agreement with your sentiment.
Far all too often, the webmasters and forum admins of old used to just follow the misguided “Field of Dreams” analogy - that if you build it, they (presumably, members) will come. But the reality proves quite the opposite: that you need to identify the demand of what your community seeks, and instead provide it incrementally, aligning your asks of your visitors, members, and subscribers directly with their levels of engagement.
For technology, this also means delivering something exceptional, modern, intuitive, and simple. It absolutely has to feel right. “Friction” is often over-used as an excuse to not innovate, in my opinion, but to be truly frictionless, you have to be willing to experiment with alternative pathways for users to access your content. A/B testing is an art more so than a science, but it should be attempted at every level, beginning with your Ghost layouts, information architecture, and taxonomy.
Really looking forward to seeing your community come together!
Ah, thanks, I wasn’t aware of that.
@andymci has all the good points.
I do think you can probably migrate most instances, as in technically you can make it possible, but maybe not all aspects. Please bear in mind I’m not a migration expert (!).
Like there’s a difference between user accounts, history, badges, content. The more factors involved the more complicated the migration.
I used Ning to set up Ministry of Testing as forum. Ning as a product was neglected, we moved away from it after a few years and decided to just bin the content and start from scratch. It was scary at the time, but also the thought of spending so much time trying to migrate was not something we were wanting to do. We had very few complaints.
Here’s a real world example…
When we migrated the GoDaddy community from Khoros to Salesforce last year, there were a few big milestones:
Migrating as much of the core content as possible. We set a traffic threshold (based on Google Analytics data) to prioritize threads with traffic, even if the volume was small.
Preparing 301 redirects for the posts driving the majority of search traffic. Less popular threads were served a wildcard regex match redirect to take users to the corresponding category. This was all done through a beastly Excel workbook, btw.
When users were migrated over, manually updating the points and badges for the top users, so that the new forum experience was nearly at parity to what they had earned on the previous forum.
Prepping a ton of comms and self-serve documentation to help new and existing members find their way around the new experience.
Freezing the old forum for a few days, blocking new posts from being made, to ensure we migrated the most recent data. We migrated the data over, ran QA tests on everything, slowly invited more people in, and when we were happy with how everything behaved, implemented the redirects.
I’ve done a bunch of these kind of migrations over the years. It’s always chaotic because there are always new hiccups, whether it’s technical issues or people issues. But you get figure it out and through it.
I’ve done it many times. I wrote this resource a while back that may be useful. It is primarily focused around migrating to Discourse but you could apply many of the same principles to any platform. Preparing for and undertaking a platform migration - community - Discourse Meta
I’m thinking hard about choosing the right platform. I do not want to be locked in in the future with my community. So payment processing needs to be open for possible changes.
How do you think about this topic regarding Ghost (with stripe)? What if I need to replace Ghost with Wordpress+Memberful for example.
I thought about organize member payments via patreon and then sync everything with zapier. But the 15% fees on every payment is a big disadvantage (same costs like memberful btw)