IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

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DMH
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Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by DMH »

I’m probably representative of the majority... I post very rarely, but dip in and out reasonably often. I don’t contribute much but always enjoy what I see or read.

For the future? Yeah, I’d pay a subscription to still be here.

AndrewW
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Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by AndrewW »

For many of us, Faceache is not the answer. I will not give my personal data to the Zuck.

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CJS
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Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by CJS »

I'm sure this will be forthcoming at some point, especially if subscriptions are sought, but I imagine I'm not alone in having a genuine interest in what UKAR costs per month/year to run and upkeep.

If we're talking a couple of hundred quid I don't see that being an issue, but if it's in the thousands (why that would be I don't know) then I guess that's a different ball game. As others have said, the photos aren't hosted by UKAR, which I imagine would up the cost considerably.

Not criticising or digging, just curious is all...
With just the slightest bit of finesse, I might have made a little less mess.

stonojnr
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Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by stonojnr »

FarnboroJohn wrote:
chipmunk22 wrote:Just an observation --
Nearly 6000 views,and only 64 replies !!

Presumably the other 5000 don`t give a damn if UKAR lives or dies :confused:


Or they think the points are being made on here by others and refrain from mere repetition. If posts had like/dislike buttons, we'd know by now.


exactly its not the mid 90s Usenet with AOL and the perennial "Me Too" 's :smile:

I only contribute to threads I feel I can add something of value to, repeating just what most have already said, ie UKAR is a great resource, it works perfectly well as a forum, its not social media thats probably the cause of a demise just maybe where we are in the cycle of airshows, well ok in this case Im happy to repeat all that, and thank anyone who has helped keep it going for the past 22 years.

but where we go from here, I mean most other forums I use rely on ads, which I know annoy people but if its a choice of no more forum or ads, Id vote for ads. from my experience of Facebook groups, you dont get the threading/archive of discussions that are actually really useful features to keep going IMO

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LN Strike Eagle
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Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by LN Strike Eagle »

CJS wrote:I'm sure this will be forthcoming at some point, especially if subscriptions are sought, but I imagine I'm not alone in having a genuine interest in what UKAR costs per month/year to run and upkeep.

The information is coming, Andy's just double checking a few things beforehand.
"You really are an oafish philistine at times!"

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UK Airshow Review
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Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by UK Airshow Review »

Dear members,

It has now been four days since we first posted information regarding the future of UKAR, since then the members of the staff team have been extremely busy in the background working on potential avenues that we can go down and, of course, reading your suggestions. We would firstly like to thank everyone who has sent us messages of support on social media and taken the time to respond to our message with suggestions. We would also like to thank everyone who has sent us donations over the past few days, this has provided us with funds to keep the current UKAR server running until the new year whilst we put our initial plans into action. More on those plans and future donations in a moment. At this point, we thought it best to provide our initial view/comments/replies to questions and suggestions raised by the community below, point by point.

What is the current cost of the server?
The server we have inherited from Paul costs £55.14 per calendar month, that’s £661.68 per annum.

Further donations/crowdfunding.
Collecting funds from forum members and users of the website is proving to be something of a minefield. Apart from the domain, both the server and PayPal accounts are in the name of an individual. Over the past few days we have been informed by other parties that, due to this, there is a risk that payments received as either donations or subscriptions for the use of the website would be classed as income to Andrew – which means he may be personally taxable for them. We believe there is a solution to this risk but it is something we need to look into in far more detail as it obviously will directly influence what we can and cannot do in our current set-up. Therefore, whilst we investigate possible solutions for this we have taken the precautionary approach of disabling the donation link above.

Subscription service with different levels of membership and/or monthly payment.
This is a possibility however we would first need research what we could offer as a premium service in return for the enhanced membership – otherwise it isn’t worth it for people to join. We also need to check out the tax implications for the payments for Andrew, many websites that offer subscriptions or clubs are incorporated as Trusts and/or not-for-profit organisations which comes with a whole host of bureaucratic paperwork/accountancy costs. We have to ask, is that worth that next step?

Asking Advertisers for Contributions
We agree that this is the most obvious form of obtaining funds to run the website with. Again, the tax issues may affect this. However, one of the first things the staff team did once being made aware of the need to take over the server in mid-September was to contact all the current advertisers/sponsors on the forum asking for contributions in return for their adverts on the forum – something that the staff team were previously not involved in. Apart from two advertisers we are disappointed to report that we are yet to receive a response from any of the others. We will continue discussions with the two who responded to see if an agreement can be reached plus attempt further contact with the others. In addition, we will begin the process of trying to attract further advertisers/sponsors for the website.

Posting images to the forum.
This is something that we won’t look to implement. Now that we have access to the server, analysis has shown that the website and its backups are far bigger in size than the forum. The biggest storage hogs are images and therefore at a time when we are trying to reduce overheads we don’t want to be in a position where all our storage is used by hosted forum photos to the point we need to spend more money on storage.

For Sale section in return for a fee.
Again, subject to other investigations – this may be a possibility if there is enough demand.

Mobile access to the forums.
The current version of phpBB that the forum uses does not have inbuilt mobile capabilities. However, plans are afoot (detailed later in this post) which may mean there could be an opportunity to expand the mobile features of the website.

Deleting older posts/pruning the forum database and dormant members.
The forum currently has 10 years worth of information stored on it, yet the entire database size is less than 1.8Gb in size. Whilst deleting historic data would reduce the size of the database, we need to review whether the cost of losing such a back catalogue of information is worth the hard drive space gains. There however, may be scope to delete memberships that haven’t logged in for a number of years, we have logs of how many unique visitors the forum and website gets and that massively exceeds the membership so do not see that this would have a negative effect.

Modify the forum sections and remove those that are unused/unpopular.
We agree that a review of the forum and its sections is needed, this will likely form part of a wider project along with a forum software modernisation. We won’t rush this however as deleting the wrong section will have a negative effect.

An annual fundraiser of a sort.
Again, this is an idea we like. However, the format/timing/location of would need some thought – we’re an international community and whatever is chosen needs to be in a format that allows as many of you to take part as possible.

So, what have we been up to since the announcement?
The staff team are pleased to advise that we have been working hard trying to turn this threat into an opportunity.

Now having access to the server has allowed us to analyse what space the forum and website actually needs and potentially what it needs in the future. Based on this information, this morning we ordered a new server with the same provider which has better bandwidth, the same processing power, slightly less ram and less storage (we had far too much). The upside of this is the server will cost 60% less to run, with a running cost of just £22 per month. Staff team members Sam Wise and Dan Elms are now going to begin the long specialist process of configuring the server for our needs, and together with Dan Butcher – they will transfer UKAR to this new server. This gives us an ideal opportunity to modernise the site/forum software, and relaunch UKAR – whilst (hopefully) saving historic posts by re-using the existing database. This is going to be a relatively lengthy process for our volunteers which we are sure the membership will provide their patience and support to if needed. In the meantime, UKAR will carry on as normal on the original server which will only be switched off once the swap over has occurred. This has only been made possible via the donations we have received allowing us to afford the increased costs of running two servers for a period of time.

We hope you agree that this is positive news and we once again thank you all for your support.

Please continue providing your suggestions and views in this thread, they are all being read and considered.

Yours,

The UKAR Staff Team

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CJS
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Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by CJS »

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how to be transparent, open and honest when addressing your membership. :clap:
With just the slightest bit of finesse, I might have made a little less mess.

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Blackbird
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Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by Blackbird »

chipmunk22 wrote:I would be very happy to pay a subscription.

Please do not alienate us older ones,by going the way of a lot of other formerly good things :sad:

:up:

Andy

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Gonzo230
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Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by Gonzo230 »

chipmunk22 wrote:I would be very happy to pay a subscription.
I only look at `Aviation Waffle`,which is full of good info.

I do not take part in `Facegram` Instatwit` or any of that rubbish.
Please do not alienate us older ones,by going the way of a lot of other formerly good things :sad:


Likewise, please do not alienate us younger and not so younger ones who do use Facebook, Instagram or any of those other platforms by calling them silly names. :up:

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Ewart
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Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by Ewart »

And that UKAR is exactly, as CJS says, how to be transparent. And I do thank you for your honesty, and hard work. I'm not much of a tech-bod but slashing running costs by 60% is just good business sense.

I only dip my toes into posting on UKAR on the odd occasion, I use the mobile version quite often and in all honestly have no problem with it, it helps to pass the time at work.

C24
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Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by C24 »

FYI.
I hope this post will be of use to those making decisions.

So, I powered up my tablet, went to airshows and started skimming through to find info about next year's airshows. I take a look at this site perhaps once or twice a week at this time of year, more frequently just prior to the airshow season.
I don't usually log on, no requirement for what I require but decided to do that to see what was my activity record. 25 posts in 6 years. However, there have been at least 6x50 visits.
Would I contribute £s? Not sure, as most airshows have websites, FaceTwitEtc is not for me.

I have no idea how typical I am. Running such a site strikes me as more of a hobby than a business. I've run quite a few clubs without falling foul of tax problems, would that work in this case?

For what it was worth good luck
C24.

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Berf
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Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by Berf »

Surely the advertisers can muster 22 pounds a month to keep this going. It would save an awful lot of administration of individual subscriptions. But one thing is for sure, if people are paying or if companies are paying the forum needs to be moderated in a much stricter way and 'content' needs to raise its game. Why would a sponsor or a subscriber want to pay for much of the drivel (that has sadly outweighed very good information) that has been on this site in recent times?

tuska2
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Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by tuska2 »

Well done UKAR team! I'm confident now that UKAR is in safe hands and will move forward with staff and members being so positive! We await an outcome and I
would be quite happy with subscriptions, after all I need an antidote to the Met office and Email with my brekky !l

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Pat Murphy
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Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by Pat Murphy »

CJS wrote:And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how to be transparent, open and honest when addressing your membership. :clap:


Spot on!
Missed this over the weekend or I would have commented sooner. Sad to read of UKAR's issues in carrying on and whilst by some it may have been rubbished over the years, I have always found the "place" to be helpful and welcoming for the most part. True there's been the odd idiot on here over the years but hey ho.

Moving forward, having read the Staffer's comments above, I would be more than happy to chuck the odd contribution in but I don't do PayPal so another way would be required for me and I suspect, others on here. Sadly whenever you involve money, the Taxman inevitably will take an interest and maybe other fora/websites may have a model that works for them, that is easily transferable. Has anyone approached Fighter Control and checked how they do things financially?

When it comes to relevancy in a changing scene online, then I am sorry I don't have any answers for that. I don't "do" Social Meeja as such but I started an Instagram page, mainly for family really and posted the odd shot from Duxford. It was easy to do but it highlighted an issue that I know changes the cost model significantly and it's a reason why I stopped posting images on here. It's just too clunky, too slow and too much faff for seemingly very little response. As I say, don't have an answer other than direct hosting and I haven't a clue what the cost implications would be. At the moment, I see threads in Current Military that say "Heavy Post" or some such and I get half way through and think "another grey aeroplane" maybe a limit could be set, say 6 shots per posting? Allow multiple threads per show for those with more shots to post, but make that part of the subscription model maybe? The more you post, the more you pay?

Personally, I hope a way forward can be found for the longer term and it would be a sad day indeed if UKAR disappeared

Pat aka "I Love Lightnings" ( What was I thinking when I chose that name? :grin: :clown: )

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jingernut
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Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by jingernut »

BDL wrote:UKAR is too valuable a resource to lose, quite simple.


Really? I'm sure everything in the forum is available elsewhere. I'm sure people would get over it if it disappeared.

And £22... surely the admins can muster that!

mindy_monster
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Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by mindy_monster »

Many thanks for a helpful and open update on the situation, very much what's needed.

Like many, I don't post often. This is usually because I manage to gather the information I'm looking for from posts already on the forum. I'm a relative newbie to the world of airshows, and usually feel my knowledge isn't up to scratch enough to be beneficial, and that my photography efforts aren't in the same league. However, this site has been invaluable in helping me to stretch out to airshows beyond the seaside venues that I attended as a child, and especially introduced me to the delights of Old Warden.

I'm not tech-savvy enough to make much contribution to the nitty gritty of moving servers etc. but I'm more than happy to be patient whilst it happens.

I use social media quite a lot, but as others have commented, they're just not the same as forums for longer posts, or for finding past posts. I would say though that, if I ever get good/brave enough to post photos, I'd be more likely to do that in an environment such as Facebook or Twitter, due to not wanting the hassle of hosting pictures on another site.

I use forums for other interests (theatre for example), they seem to get by with using advertisements (in a minimally intrusive way), and some sponsored content. Strikes me that that should be a good option, considering the links the site has with external companies, but equally, I'd be happy to pay a small amount per month/year if that is the only way to keep the forum going. Hope a solution can be found to avoid any tax issues.

austinp
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Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by austinp »

UKAR needs to stay that's for sure.

I post occasionally, but visit a few times during the day.

The photo's, hints and tips, heads up, and some of the other mainstream content keep me visiting. But there are other sections I just don't visit, and (sorry) the Vulcan thread nearly made me walk away.

UKAR should continue, but it needs change and develop. Unlike Smarties, I don't have the answers on how things should go.

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Hammy
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Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by Hammy »

jingernut wrote:And £22... surely the admins can muster that!


£3.67 a month...
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LN Strike Eagle
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Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by LN Strike Eagle »

jingernut wrote:
BDL wrote:UKAR is too valuable a resource to lose, quite simple.


Really? I'm sure everything in the forum is available elsewhere. I'm sure people would get over it if it disappeared.

And £22... surely the admins can muster that!

A little reading comprehension for you. The £22 you have quoted is now in addition to the on-going £55 until we're in a position to leave the old server, which in itself is going to run into hours upon hours of unpaid effort for the benefit of the members, including the odd one or two that are, apparently, eternally ungrateful. Thankfully a minority.

To everyone else that has responded to this topic, thank you for the messages of support.
"You really are an oafish philistine at times!"

Flare Path
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Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by Flare Path »

Good. I had visions of the costs being substantially higher, which is why I refused the idea of any sort of membership. Now we know the figures, I'm sure we can manage that. Having said that, I would still have reservations regarding a membership-based model - I'm not even sure UKAR is big enough these days to sustain or warrant that, which forms another part of my initial refusal and I honestly cannot see much in-return for the user subscribing.

Let's see what they come up with. :up:

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tankbuster
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Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by tankbuster »

CJS wrote:And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how to be transparent, open and honest when addressing your membership. :clap:


They will never make politicians being honest and transparent, well done UKAR for so much constructive thought.
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McG
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Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by McG »

UK Airshow Review wrote: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.


Do you have a long term agreement in place with Paul for the continued use of the domain name?

What happens if someone / organisation makes Paul an offer for the domain name? Do you have the option to match?

Do you have contingencies in place should the domain not be available to you in the future?

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Cole
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Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by Cole »

tankbuster wrote:
CJS wrote:And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how to be transparent, open and honest when addressing your membership. :clap:


They will never make politicians being honest and transparent, well done UKAR for so much constructive thought.


UKAR for Prime Minister? :lol: :grin:
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Shows I'm Attending in 2020:

Well Um.. :rofl:

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G-CVIX
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Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by G-CVIX »

jingernut wrote:
BDL wrote:UKAR is too valuable a resource to lose, quite simple.


Really? I'm sure everything in the forum is available elsewhere. I'm sure people would get over it if it disappeared.

And £22... surely the admins can muster that!


Personally, I have found that UKAR is by far the most useful resource in researching almost anything aviation related, superior to it's counterparts, in my view. The "golden oldies" section is incredible in itself.

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jalfrezi
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Re: IMPORTANT - Future of UKAR

Post by jalfrezi »

McG wrote:
Do you have a long term agreement in place with Paul for the continued use of the domain name?
We have an agreement with Paul for the continued use of the domain name - for the foreseeable future.

What happens if someone / organisation makes Paul an offer for the domain name? Do you have the option to match?
That would depend on the size of the offer.

Do you have contingencies in place should the domain not be available to you in the future?
We have other domain names registered that we could use as a fallback, if necessary.

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