IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Discuss all things 'aviation' that do not fit into a more appropriate forum
Post Reply
User avatar
UK Airshow Review
UKAR Staff
Posts: 679
Joined: Mon 21 Sep 2009, 9:29 pm

IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by UK Airshow Review »

Dear members,

Since its inception in 1996, UKAR has been run and largely funded from the pocket of its owner and creator, Paul Osborne. For personal reasons, he is no longer able to continue to fund UKAR and has handed the website to the (volunteer) staff team – with the exception of the domain. The server that holds UKAR is now in the name of Andrew Evans on behalf of the staff team so that the site can remain open, however, there is no one person on the team able to come forward and take on the financial burden alone as Paul has done for so long, leaving the future of UKAR at this time in an uncertain position.

We need to re-assess how to proceed from here. There are many options that could be explored - if the site and forums are to continue as we all know them, we'll be looking to reduce the overheads which will most likely involve a change of host, which in and of itself will be a cause for concern since we'll also be losing the technical support of Nick when Paul goes.

We may also look at dropping or changing the delivery format of features such as the forum and focus on hosting the website, or to close the site and forums, at least for a period of time, and keep the UKAR "brand" ticking over on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. More drastic measures may also be something that could be looked at.

Pruning the forum database may help us cut the expense, but at the cost of the archives that go back to 2008 and/or the loss of all accounts that have never posted. The database is currently larger than the limit imposed by many cheaper hosts. How do people feel about that?

As it stands we have to try and save UKAR from being switched off. To prevent that from happening we need to find the funding to secure long term hosting. If any members feel inclined to donate money via PayPal (by clicking here or the "Donate" link above), their support will be greatly appreciated. In the long term we may be able to reward people that donate over a certain amount with some merchandise.

We open the floor to suggestions, and if there is anyone out there in UKARland that might be able to assist with any of the technical issues of moving/re-hosting the forums, please get in touch via PM.

It goes without saying that the entire staff team thank Paul for everything he has done over the past 22 years – without him UKAR would not exist, the single largest dedicated UK Airshow Community on the internet and Twitter. We hope the continued success of the website will be his legacy.

Kind regards,
The UKAR Team

User avatar
Tmyers123
Posts: 1069
Joined: Thu 03 May 2018, 6:05 pm
Location: West Yorkshire

Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by Tmyers123 »

It would be a terrible shame if UKAR and/or it’s forums were to be shut down. I haven’t been here long but it’s nice to have a place to talk to like minded aviation enthusiasts, I hope that the staff team find a way to keep things running. :sad:

User avatar
tache3
UKAR Supporter
Posts: 319
Joined: Sat 06 Sep 2008, 7:00 pm

Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by tache3 »

I too would be devastated if the UKAR forums disappeared. I have been enjoying using them for years and would feel that a great part of my online life had been taken away.

I'm not going to ask for figures as finances are obviously private, but could there be a scheme where the staff along with users who feel able to contribute can share the monthly hosting burden?

I have donated something via PayPal today. I hope it will help the short term problem while a more permanent solution is found.

User avatar
Pablo
Posts: 456
Joined: Thu 29 Aug 2013, 11:53 pm

Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by Pablo »

I've been a 'fan' since the very beginning and, some years ago now, was a moderator for a time. I still get lots of useful info from the forums even if I hardly ever post these days and would miss UKAR if it was to go for good. Huge thanks to Paul for all he's done over the past 22 years - I genuinely hope there's a workable way forward...

farnboroughrob
Posts: 1882
Joined: Fri 05 Jun 2009, 8:31 am

Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by farnboroughrob »

I would be happy to donate a small amount each month. However before we all think of this I think we should know how achievable this would be? Are we talking a few hundred pounds, or more?

User avatar
Dan O'Hagan
Posts: 2293
Joined: Wed 13 Apr 2016, 6:05 pm

Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by Dan O'Hagan »

Presumably he won't relinquish the domain because he thinks there's a few quid in it. I dare say one or two companies on the circuit might like "airshows.co.uk" as their domain name...

It is a crying shame it has come to this, UKAR is a pale shadow of what it was in its heyday of 2005-2012ish thanks to the rise of social media, but it is still THE go-to site for airshow news, and the only place which holds accountable those in the industry who need to be - remember the Spirit Of Adventure mess, the VTTS farrago and the dog's breakfast that Scampton turned out to be - as was predicted here. UKAR also led the way in responding rationally to Shoreham, appearing as the lone voice of sanity in the mainstream media as others lost their heads who we really expected better of. With the Shoreham court case due for early 2019, UKAR will be needed then more than ever.

The forums are quiet, I thought as much today. The Soyuz emergency would have generated five pages of discussion by lunchtime a decade ago - today it's not even produced a single thread. The characters of yesteryear have all moved on, grown older, had families and drifted away from the scene in many cases, and those who have replaced them haven't been of the same calibre, so the forums are relatively moribund. Off Topic especially is dreadful these days.

UKAR needs to remain alive, certainly in a forum sense. To lose the interaction and to become a Facebook group would destroy any remaining sense of community. All forums have taken a hit in terms of relevance, but all have found their niche. Fighter Control is now the go-to place for modern military information, PPrune for aviation professionals and Key Publishing remains God's Waiting Room for strange old men who prefer digging up lumps of aeroplane to complete, flying ones. And UKAR is still the place for intelligent discussion on airshows and display flying.

Crowdfunding isn't anything to be ashamed of. The response in this thread already suggests the affection for UKAR remains, and it is still a very powerful brand. Have the sponsors been approached? I see Planes TV and MPB Photographic, Aviation News et al all have their logos on UKAR - what was the arrangement in place for this, are they still paying their way? If not, why are the logos still there? Surely 3-4 sponsors paying the going rate on a proper, regular basis would further lighten the financial load.

I'd suggest pursuing these sponsors, launching a crowd-funding drive at the same time as significantly pruning the forum. Remove the dead accounts, bin the areas of the forum that are moribund - do we REALLY need Flight Simulators and Modelling sections, there are surely enough specialist forums online for that sort of thing?

Personally I'd hate to see UKAR die. I've made some great friends over the years, who make visiting airshows a lot more enjoyable than when you turn up on your own. I'm proud that I produced content for UKAR which set the agenda in terms of asking difficult questions of certain bodies, and that UKAR became a by-word for impartiality and honesty in a hobby where sycophancy ruled for far too long.

Paul Osborne deserves thanks for starting UKAR in 1996 and building it into the best of its kind. Now is the time for the community to take it on and make it even better than it used to be.

mindy_monster
Posts: 26
Joined: Sun 25 Oct 2015, 1:14 pm

Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by mindy_monster »

I'm an infrequent poster, but regular reader, and often find this to be the only source of useful information on many of our airshows. I would be very sad to see the forum have to disappear.

Agree with others that I'd be happy to make a small, regular donation, but would quite like an idea of how useful that would actually be.
Some reduction of the forum would be completely acceptable I feel, however I'd prefer for this to be of the non-active users, rather than the extensive archive of posts if possible.

Many thanks to those who have been key to keeping the site going for so long, really hoping a way forward can be found that will keep the site and forum functioning.

UKTopgun
UKAR Supporter
Posts: 1099
Joined: Sat 19 Dec 2009, 10:16 pm

Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by UKTopgun »

Yes I would consider donating, what kind of figures from how many people would be needed?
This is the only place for airshows related chat in my mind, would be a huge loss which we can't let happen.
Personally I only ever visit the forum though. Perhaps if anything needs to give, it is other parts of the site?

User avatar
HaveQuick2
Posts: 94
Joined: Mon 01 Sep 2008, 11:21 am

Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by HaveQuick2 »

I think UKAR as an entity does have a place and should continue to exist.

However, I think the current format is stale and has not moved with the times, and this is reflected in the malaise in current interactions and topics, and the need for this topic in particular.

How many people access the site just on a tiny smartphone screen? I would suspect that this is an increasing proportion, and the problems in using a full size web page on smartphone screens make interaction difficult.

Having to post images elsewhere just in order to be able to link to them on the forum is a bit archaic. People want the ability to just directly post/upload their images in one go.

I do not know the silver bullet answer, but it is more than just a simple make-over. Todays social media savvy generation are used to easily and instantly interact, and the old internet forums are not always the best technology to cater for that these days.
HQ2 out

steveb23
Posts: 71
Joined: Mon 28 Jul 2014, 10:28 am

Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by steveb23 »

I too would miss UKAR.

My opinion is the site should re-focus on what it’s best at, airshow reviews and discussion. To this end, it could probably lose about half of the different forums to concentrate the discussion, and increase activity.

Photography stuff could continue through an affiliated Facebook group, providing both the bandwidth, storage and simplicity for posting.

User avatar
rockfordstone
Posts: 974
Joined: Wed 14 Feb 2018, 8:40 pm
Contact:

Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by rockfordstone »

even tho i have been a member for a relatively short time. UKAR forms part of my daily rituals and it would be very sad to see it go.

i believe part of what makes the site what it is is the discussion. we are all (generally) sharing a common interest, and having looked around the net this is still the best place to communicate.

would be sad to see if it goes.

is there not a way the whole thing can be slimmed down, ie delete user data who havent posted in a year for example, or delete posts/forums without activity in the past 2 years?

i don't think the idea of a temporary closure would be ideal as people would go elsewhere and potentially not come back if there was a relaunch.

i've noticed that there is a for sale section. on other forums i have used, they have charged people selling stuff a small fee. could this be a consideration?
Last edited by rockfordstone on Fri 12 Oct 2018, 10:09 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
The Baron
Posts: 1370
Joined: Tue 01 Dec 2009, 8:23 pm

Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by The Baron »

UKAR is the one place where relatively mature adults can have a relatively mature discussion including disagreements, reasoning and explanation. This separates it from the social media pages where the 'happy-clappy' mob dwell and differing viewpoints are not welcome.
This is what differentiates UKAR and should be the reason it remains.
Loafer for Mr. Da Vinci.

User avatar
tache3
UKAR Supporter
Posts: 319
Joined: Sat 06 Sep 2008, 7:00 pm

Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by tache3 »

This is an important discussion. Would this not be better off in Aviation Waffle where it will be seen by more members? Its kind of tucked out of the way here.

It is aviation related after all, so wouldn't break any of our rules...

User avatar
LN Strike Eagle
UKAR Staff
Posts: 10622
Joined: Mon 21 Jul 2008, 3:29 pm

Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by LN Strike Eagle »

tache3 wrote:This is an important discussion. Would this not be better off in Aviation Waffle where it will be seen by more members? Its kind of tucked out of the way here.

It is aviation related after all, so wouldn't break any of our rules...

Fair point. Moved it to make it more visible for the time being.
"You really are an oafish philistine at times!"

FarnboroJohn
Posts: 2355
Joined: Tue 28 Aug 2012, 6:57 pm

Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by FarnboroJohn »

UKAR is the first place I go when I get home from work, to see what the latest posts (including the het-up discussions) are. I pretty much always use my laptop, who wants to look a the photos on here as thumbnails on a phone?

I'd miss it if it wasn't here, and I don't do social media so if it goes facebook, then bye-bye....

In the light of previous discussions about openness and community (e.g. about funding Vulcans) I disagree with those who accept that finance can't be discussed. Before considering a contribution to the "UKAR club" I would need to know what the overall requirement was and therefore be able to judge the likelihood of the community reaching it on an ongoing basis. Its the details that I don't need to know.

I hope this can be worked out.

John

User avatar
Wissam24
UKAR Staff
Posts: 7766
Joined: Mon 29 Apr 2013, 9:54 am
Location: London

Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by Wissam24 »

LN Strike Eagle wrote:
tache3 wrote:This is an important discussion. Would this not be better off in Aviation Waffle where it will be seen by more members? Its kind of tucked out of the way here.

It is aviation related after all, so wouldn't break any of our rules...

Fair point. Moved it to make it more visible for the time being.


But as new comments are added it's marked as unread anyway?
Twitter: @samwise24 | Flickr: samwise24 | Shamelessly copying LN Strike Eagle's avatar ideas since 2016

User avatar
LN Strike Eagle
UKAR Staff
Posts: 10622
Joined: Mon 21 Jul 2008, 3:29 pm

Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by LN Strike Eagle »

Wissam24 wrote:
LN Strike Eagle wrote:
tache3 wrote:This is an important discussion. Would this not be better off in Aviation Waffle where it will be seen by more members? Its kind of tucked out of the way here.

It is aviation related after all, so wouldn't break any of our rules...

Fair point. Moved it to make it more visible for the time being.


But as new comments are added it's marked as unread anyway?

Yes, but people don't view that section of the forum. You've heard it from comments in here already that there are members that don't view the website, so it stands to reason that they'll ignore the section of the forum for website update notifications.
"You really are an oafish philistine at times!"

User avatar
Tmyers123
Posts: 1069
Joined: Thu 03 May 2018, 6:05 pm
Location: West Yorkshire

Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by Tmyers123 »

HaveQuick2 wrote:How many people access the site just on a tiny smartphone screen? I would suspect that this is an increasing proportion, and the problems in using a full size web page on smartphone screens make interaction difficult.


There is a “mobile style” option at the bottom of the page, so that isn’t really a fair point. I use the desktop style anyway because I don’t think the mobile style is visually appealing at all, but it is there if anyone struggles to navigate the site on desktop style with a mobile.

User avatar
tache3
UKAR Supporter
Posts: 319
Joined: Sat 06 Sep 2008, 7:00 pm

Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by tache3 »

LN Strike Eagle wrote:Yes, but people don't view that section of the forum. You've heard it from comments in here already that there are members that don't view the website, so it stands to reason that they'll ignore the section of the forum for website update notifications.


Indeed. Which is the reason I brought it up. I've only found this thread because I saw the Facebook post. I don't usually look up top of the forum.

User avatar
Brevet Cable
Posts: 13190
Joined: Tue 05 Mar 2013, 12:13 pm

Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by Brevet Cable »

UK Airshow Review wrote:Pruning the forum database may help us cut the expense, but at the cost of the archives that go back to 2008 and/or the loss of all accounts that have never posted.

How many people actually access anything going back that far?
Or if you don't want to go the whole hog with regards the archives, what about the option of selective deletion -- how far back would you really want to keep stuff in topics such as 'Heads Up/OTT', 'Trips & Get Togethers', 'Off Topic', 'For Sale & Wanted', for example?

Similarly, why not delete accounts of people who have never posted....it's not as if you'll lose anything by doing so, is it?
Some forums I've been on in the past do this as a matter of course if someone registers but doesn't make a post within a certain period, similarly they'll occasionally have a prune-out & remove any accounts which haven't logged-on for a long time.
If UKAR is anything like most forums, at least 95% of people registered have not made even a single post on here.
Tôi chỉ đặt cái này ở đây để giữ cho người điều hành bận rộn
아직도 숨어있다

User avatar
Cole
Posts: 566
Joined: Sat 09 Apr 2016, 2:43 pm
Location: Dudley, West Midlands

Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by Cole »

Brevet Cable wrote:If UKAR is anything like most forums, at least 95% of people registered have not made even a single post on here.


This is very true.

Would it be a good idea to delete any accounts with less than 10 posts that have been registered for 2+ years?
Canon 750D & Sigma 150-600 C
Dudley, West Midlands

Shows I'm Attending in 2020:

Well Um.. :rofl:

User avatar
Blackbird
UKAR Supporter
Posts: 3058
Joined: Sun 31 Aug 2008, 3:36 pm
Contact:

Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by Blackbird »

I have been on the forum pretty much since it started and have learned a great deal from the many helpful responses to questions as well as the opportunity to express opinions. It's always been a great source of information. I too would be devastated if we were to lose this site.

Firstly, I think we all owe a great debt of gratitude to Paul and all those who keep the board running. We can't let it just subside into a black hole in the ether.

I agree with pruning down the accounts to save costs and doing without some of the forums. However, I also agree that suspending the site temporarily would mark the end and people wouldn't come back.

I do think we need to know how much money it takes to keep it running on a monthly or annual basis as FarnboroJohn (amongst others) have said.

Save Our Site!

Andy

Victor 23
Posts: 127
Joined: Thu 19 Jul 2018, 2:37 pm

Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by Victor 23 »

ColeTheDemolisher wrote:
Brevet Cable wrote:If UKAR is anything like most forums, at least 95% of people registered have not made even a single post on here.


This is very true.

Would it be a good idea to delete any accounts with less than 10 posts that have been registered for 2+ years?


This was my point earlier on, yes some of the posts are naff, but their have being some good posts in the past. But why do people register and then not to respond to any posts but only to read them. Seems be a waste of time, would they respond if a RAF Typhoon flew under London Bridge! probably not!!

User avatar
Dan O'Hagan
Posts: 2293
Joined: Wed 13 Apr 2016, 6:05 pm

Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by Dan O'Hagan »

What is already quite clear is that letting UKAR die should not be an option that is even on the table.

A leaner, more compact UKAR is the way forward. Shave away the dead profiles, bin the sub-sections that see the least traffic, and seek out sponsors who are prepared to pay on a regular, contracted basis. Open up a "UKAR Supporters" scheme where people can donate a token amount each month by direct debit. Disclose in public what the monthly overheads are likely to be (to avoid any accusations of skullduggery) and perhaps post a monthly "totaliser" showing how much has been collected/is needed.

User avatar
tache3
UKAR Supporter
Posts: 319
Joined: Sat 06 Sep 2008, 7:00 pm

Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by tache3 »

Brevet Cable wrote:
UK Airshow Review wrote:Pruning the forum database may help us cut the expense, but at the cost of the archives that go back to 2008 and/or the loss of all accounts that have never posted.
How many people actually access anything going back that far? Or if you don't want to go the whole hog with regards the archives, what about the option of selective deletion -- how far back would you really want to keep stuff in topics such as 'Heads Up/OTT', 'Trips & Get Togethers', 'Off Topic', 'For Sale & Wanted', for example? Similarly, why not delete accounts of people who have never posted....it's not as if you'll lose anything by doing so, is it?


As you don't need an account to browse the forum, I'd say that there is nothing to lose by deleting inactive accounts (apart from an impressive member count perhaps...). Just do a mass PM shot to every member who has never logged since joining saying 'please log in at least once in the next 30 days or your account will be deleted'. Skype do this every few months if you have credit with them, otherwise you lose it.

As regards archives, could not posts of a certain age be archived as plain text. Does this save space?

Finally, on the subject cutting down the forum. I suppose a survey of which parts the majority of the membership actually use may be helpful. If the situation is as desperate as the mods make out, then some sections will have to go, however regrettable that is. For myself, for example, it pretty much breaks down like this-

Aviation Waffle- browsed daily (sometimes more than once a day if there is a particularly interesting and active topic running) occasional participation.
Airshow, Mod Mil and Classic Photography- browsed weekly. Too scared to participate, not skilful enough.
Photography Hints & Tips- very occasional browsing, usually when I need help.
UK Events- occasional browsing but frequency increases during spring/summer as the run up to the big shows starts and participation starts being announced.
Off Topic- briefly browsed weekly.

I don't really use any other part of the forum, to be honest. I think I would browse the website more if the announcements weren't hidden.

Post Reply