Should/can we prepare to rescue the SDMB?

Ed Zotti says here that “the real question isn’t whether we’ll get this or that featured [sic] fixed, but whether we’ll continue at all,” because Creative Loafing, the parent company, is in bankruptcy proceedings.

If so, shouldn’t those of us who use and love the board be taking steps to ensure its continuation in case CL doesn’t survive? And how might that be done? Could we put together some money and offer to buy it now? Could we make an offer to buy it after the bankruptcy, when assets are being liquidated? Will it be available as a discrete asset? What happens if someone else buys it?

I don’t want to appear unsympathetic to Ed, Jerry, and other employees of the Reader and CL, who obviously have a lot more at stake in this situation than us Dopers. I sincerely hope CL gets out of its predicament.

But I think I speak for a lot of people here who would be rather upset if the SDMB just vanished because the new parent company went out of business. (Hell, without the SDMB to occupy my time, I might have to write the Great American Novel or find that cure for cancer I’ve been putting off.)

So what should/can we do, before it’s too late?

I don’t want this message to be interpreted as junior admining.

That being said, it’s not too common when message boards of the SDMB’s size just disappear. Smaller hobby and vanity boards come and go, or are often left for dead when they’re hacked or overtaken by spa bots.

What about the SDMB, though? Worst case scenario, IMHO: Creative Loafing’s assets are liquidated, including the SDMB. The new owner makes no effort to revive the site. The server, database and backups are forgotten as they’re transferred to some unknown party, and inaccessible to Ed and others who can attempt a revival.

How to save the SDMB is this happens? Regular off-site backups of the server’s content and the MySQL databases, which can be restored if the worst happens. A problem, though: who would own the rights to the board’s content and the Straight Dope marquee? Ed or whoever may have the MySQL database, but the actual ownership of the SDMB itself would be … well, it depends, I guess.

It may be possible to spider and archive the site, but with the 200-thread-per-forum browsing limit, it’ll be difficult. It’s also against SDMB rules and, likely, intellectual property laws. Converting captured HTML into a vBulletin MySQL database would involve a custom script that would be very difficult to program.

I really don’t think the SDMB will go “poof!”, though.

Due to copyright and ownership issues, transferring the ownership of the posts could be problematic.

Should the board poof, setting up another website wouldn’t be difficult. I’d gladly take the people on, for instance, since it’s free customers and I have much lower overhead than Creative Loafing. I wouldn’t be surprised if others were to make the same offer. So the only limiting factor to staying together is…staying together.

Grim times indeed/

Perhaps we should agree on a ‘meeting place’ if we wake up one morning and there is no dope.

Are there any other general discussion boards out there in which one is expected to cite one’s sources?

I think many Dopers have accounts on the Fabulous Forums of Fathom and Unaboard. They’re vanity sites, though, more strongly associated with the people that run them rather than the group that post there. They’re not really a substitute for the SDMB.

Okay … I registered teemings.org. Just in case.

Another question is how much notice there will be. If tomorrow morning CL just pulls the plug, then any chance of regrouping elsewhere will be lost. But if we know some time in advance – a few days at least – then teemings.org or some other site could become a temporary refuge for Dopers and perhaps the beginning of a new Brave New Dope.

How do these things typically go? If the reorganization doesn’t succeed, could the SDMB just suddenly, silently vanish away, or are we likely to have time to prepare?

If it happens, it will happen all at once. The plug will be pulled and we will be screwed. Anything else would indicate that this place is an asset, and assets are sold, not destroyed. So our best bet is to to hope for the best, but have something in place to try to migrate elsewhere if the unthinkable happens.

I think it’s the association with Cecil and the Straight Dope that glues this community together. If we lose that I can’t see the community surviving for long, even given a place to which to migrate.

True enough, aldiboronti, but just in case, I’ve just registered bravenewdope.com because as soon as I came up with the name I liked it. I don’t know a damn thing about administering a forum, but if the name is useful, I’ll accept help from anyone who’s interesting in making it work.

Dibs on the username Soma :slight_smile:

So if a moon sized asteroid is going to smack the SDMB server room, do we have time to build a ship to make our escape?

And should we tell the trolls?

Maybe not an exact substitute, but from what I’ve seen they are reasonably decent. I belong to both, but haven’t really read or posted in either very much, having spent so much here. I’d say the tone of Opal’s site is a little more social than this one, at least when you enter it (“We’re so glad you came to visit!”), but as far as I can see, the quality and usefulness of content is pretty much determined by thread participants–as I think is largely the case here. Although, it must also be admitted that the moderation here seems to be a little more strict, as some bannees here have gone to Fabulous Forums, or remained there years after being banned here. The stricter moderation undoubtedly also has some influence on the content here, I’d say mostly positive, but also negative to a small degree in that some worthwhile subjects or opinions may not be broached for fear of stepping out of line.

Didn’t CL file under Chapter 11? That’s a reorginization, not a liquidation.

Wiki Link

In other words, the sky ain’t necessarily falling.

Thank you, I’ve been saying that and no one seems to believe me that Chapter 11 is not the end of the world.

Isn’t there an administrator who is willing and able to just move the board to some other website? Considering how much time they devote (and the money people pay), I don’t see why not.

Welcome to the hoary world of copyright issues. Even if CL goes tits up, that doesn’t mean the contents of the boards become public domain. Nor would it necessarily be obvious as to who the rights were sold to, and they might be unwilling to allow the SDMB to continue (because they don’t think there’s enough money it), while simultainiously refusing to sell the rights for anything less than a Dr. Evil sum of money.

Okay … I’m setting up http://www.teemings.org .

It is NOT intended as a current replacement of the SDMB of the vanity boards, but rather as a “refuge camp” of sorts should the worst happen. When the SDMB is online, there will be three active forums:

About Teemings
SDMB Status (no snark, please).
Amnesia Pit

Graphics will be tweaked over the next couple of days. I really hope this is a temporary endeavor.

I registered just in case.