Border Regiment Forum/Archives

The home of the Lonsdale Battalion 1914-1918

The end of an era[edit | edit source]

Due to growing website running costs, having steadily increased year on year, it was decided with much sadness to finally bring the curtain down on the Border Regiment Forum. The forum had been online for many years and whilst having only garnered a small community over that time period, the general audience was still very limited and accommodated only for a minority of people. Unlike other military forums where the primary focus allows much wider scope for community involvement, the Border Regiment Forum was only ever going to be able to cater for people with an interest, as you would expect, in the Border Regiment and it's various offshoots through history.

During it's existence the forum was, for the most part, a success. This was one of the reasons why the running costs continued to increase. The number of members grew steadily over time and with a greater number of members brought more posts, which in turn meant more space was needed and higher hosting plans required. People devise, create and tirelessly work on projects because they are passionate about one particular thing. The forum was born out of a similar passion, not only of the Border Regiment, but also with an interest in wanting to share stories and help others with their research. This began, and continued to be, a challenging but also rewarding and humbling experience.

Archiving the Border Regiment Forum[edit | edit source]

When the expiration date of the forum is exceeded it ceases exist online. That expiration date is 3 January, 2018. After that date the Border Regiment Forum will no longer be accessible anywhere. To preserve it for future reference a backup copy of the entire site will be downloaded and stored electronically, however, without an internal server and up-to-date software the backup copy will also not be accessible. This means that the meat and bones of the project, whilst stored for future reference, can only be accessed if it is re-instated fully. This is not a planned outcome for the project. As a result of this, measures have been taken to ensure the forum, at least in part, is preserved on this wiki.

Having a digital copy of forum topics and posts was important in ensuring the Border Regiment Forum didn't simply disappear into obscurity.

Why only archive selected posts?[edit | edit source]

The vast number of posts on the forum were simply too many to manually migrate from one platform to the other. In addition to this there were many topics (and subsequent posts within those topics) that didn't meet the criteria for inclusion. Where this was the case those topics and posts were omitted. Only topics and posts that were relevant, informative and educational were migrated, including a selection of topics that didn't receive any replies but in these cases held educational merit all the same. It should be noted that a number of posts within certain topics didn't meet the criteria for inclusion but were kept in primarily to maintain the topics' structure and flow.

The following topics and/or posts were also omitted as they did not meet the criteria for inclusion:

  • Simple/basic research requests with little-to-no usable information;
  • Simple/basic research requests that didn't receive any replies;
  • Topics not directly associated with the Border Regiment (all topics from "The Lounge" general discussion board);
  • Repetitive topics and/or posts;
  • Information that was already elsewhere on the site, namely the Rolls of Honour and newspaper articles;
  • Announcements, new member introductions and test drives;
  • Hints and tips;
  • Posts that were already archived (because they were no longer relevant or out of date).

The gallery contained over 4100 images, many of which belonged to users' personal albums. These albums contained a variety of images, the majority of which were relevant to particular areas of interest (1st Battalion, 4th Battalion, 11th Battalion etc.), and some were for personal use and contained images that were unrelated to the Border Regiment. The main albums followed a similar structure to the forum's various boards, focussing on time periods such as: the early years, First World War, inter-war years, Second World War etc. Within each of these albums were a set of sub-albums and sub-sub-albums covering a wide scope of Border Regiment related media. Additionally, there were albums for ephemera and postcards, badges, pins, other military insignia and unknown soldiers. Due to uploading restrictions at the time of installing the gallery software, image uploads were restricted to a certain size allocation resulting in a high proportion of images being too small for purposeful use here; although there were some interesting images, these have not been included.

How was this achieved?[edit | edit source]

Forum software such as phpbb3, the one used to run the Border Regiment Forum, and MediaWiki, the software running this site, are very different in design and usage. They are not compatible with each other and both ultimately serve different purposes. However, this doesn't mean MediaWiki can't be used as a means to store forum-based topics and posts, far from it. It just means a little work, well actually a lot of work, is required to copy selected material from one site to the other whilst maintaining some degree of aesthetic similarity between the two. Designing forum-based aesthetics for wiki-based syntax isn't necessarily difficult but it was quite important to get right. Testing plain text forum posts without any kind of formatting on a blank wiki page was very dull to read on screen. So, it was decided to create a set of templates to mimic the basic look of the forum's on-screen environment and additional information headers about the project.

The basic output is achieved by typing {{Forum-archive-post |name = |date = |avatar = |post = }}, which results in displaying:

File alt font awesome.svg Posted by {{{name}}} » {{{date}}} {{{avatar}}}

At the top of each category page there is a header where typing {{Forum-archive-category-header}}, results in displaying:
Information green.svg This category displays various titles of archived topics and posts from our sister site, the Border Regiment Forum, which is set to close in January 2018.
A digital copy of these topics and posts are preserved here for reference purposes. Note: Only selected posts from the forum have been archived (find out why).

At the top of each topic page there is another header where typing {{Forum-archive-header}}, results in displaying:
Information icon4.svg The following text has been archived here from our sister site, the Border Regiment Forum, which is set to close in January 2018.
A wiki-based copy of that original post has been preserved here for reference purposes. Note: only selected posts from the forum have been archived (find out why).

Two further templates were created to provide an avatar section for the main template and a statistics page for each user. All these templates are used in combination along with the selected topics and posts. In doing so provides a wiki-based archive of the forum, although greatly reduced in size from its original. The archive was designed only to store the information. It was not designed to be accessed in the same way as the forum, which is impossible as both softwares are fundamentally different and do not operate in the same manner.

What happens next?[edit | edit source]

Forum statistics[edit | edit source]