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Handing over website & domain admin

Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2022 8:59 am
by robn
Hi all,

For those that don't know me, I coordinated Pioneer development from 2011-2015. Since then I've mostly been looking after the server that runs the website, forum and wiki, and renewing the domains each year.

Time for that to change! My circumstances are about to change and its not really going to be possible to keep doing this, so I'm looking to hand it all off to someone.

(I will be emailing impaktor directly to let him know about this post, and I expect that he'll have the final say on anything. Hopefully posting here first is not going about things in the wrong order but hey, at least, you now know that stuff behind the scenes!)

The specific things I want to hand off: There are costs involved. The domains are USD$25/year each, though you may be able to transfer them somewhere cheaper.

PayPal donations, alas, only attract around USD$10-15/year. I appreciate it, but its not nearly enough to cover the domain costs. A funding drive might help here, and maybe something like Patreon would be a better fit for subscription-style funding.

The machine that runs the infrastructure for the website, forum and wiki is a VM at DigitalOcean that all up is USD$22/month. My employer has been paying for this in the background (its a tiny tiny % of our overall DO spend), and if someone wanted it I could just transfer it to another DO account, but you will find cheaper and easier options elsewhere.

(@specing in IRC suggested might be a good new home. I would have looked towards Github Pages and Wikis to replace the homepage and wiki, though I have fewer ideas about where to put the forum).

I'd ideally like to have this all handed away by the end of February 2023 at the latest. I have a backup plan in mind if necessary, but it would mean vastly reduced responsive/availability for the web stuff. I am of course happy to assist, especially with data migration, but I will not be taking the lead on decisions and coordination. Someone else will have to do that (might be a good opportunity for a lurking web or sysadmin person to help the project out).

Best way to reach me is via email, and I'm also lurking as @robn in #pioneer on for the moment. I'll keep an eye on this thread too.


Re: Handing over website & domain admin

Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2022 10:41 am
by impaktor
Hat off to you, for all your pioneering through the years, and admining.

I don't see myself leaving pioneer anytime soon, although, my code contributions have waned over the past year(s). I'm thus open to the suggestions of taking on responsibilities, my only concern is, I might lack the knowlege to be of much use to migrate from old systems.

Github pages for homepage sounds like a good idea.

(I do have my own private VM, just for running the IRC bouncer, but I could shift to something more professional. I'm experienced with Microsoft's Azure platform from work, and I've dabbled with AWS.)

Re: Handing over website & domain admin

Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2022 10:24 pm
by sturnclaw
Indeed, thanks for the many years of active contribution and the years after keeping the place running behind the scenes!

As already mentioned on IRC, I nominate impaktor to have the final say, as he's the most "administrative" of all of us at the top level - I can get particular about the particulars but don't have the time or experience to run the whole show.

Nozmajner (Szlrd on #pioneer) mentioned in IRC that there is some interest in re-evaluating the current hosted properties and determining what would be the best and most efficient way to move forwards - the current forum software has become more of a shared development notebook and is a bit of a pain-point for new contributors due to both requiring manual activation and the general technological lag of phpBB compared to newer markdown-based forums with nicer content-writing, image hosting, and embed capabilities.

One idea that was mentioned is to have a specific non-code Github repository that stores general contributor information and project-related knowledge that's not appropriate for the primary repository; the forums for example could potentially be migrated to the Discussions feature on that repository. If that approach does not pan out, I'd personally at least want to evaluate the idea of upgrading the forums to something like Flarum, that has better moderation and content capabilities. is an example of a Flarum-based forum, though I don't think that is a viable option to move the primary Pioneer developers forum to. We have a lot of structured / legacy information stored here on this forum and I don't see any benefit we'd gain from folding in our development communication under the auspices of what is effectively a user-forum.

The project wiki could potentially be folded under the primary domain name; there's not a particularly compelling reason that I see to keep it as its own URL (with a completely different top-level domain even). Github wikis do not offer enough features to consider deprecating the current MediaWiki setup, though a static site backed by Markdown files in a Github repository could be a viable replacement. I would like to support something with a nicer Markdown-based editing UX... dealing with MediaWiki syntax is my personal primary barrier to maintaining the wiki. There are several easy-to-use softwares designed for hosting documentation of this type that could be set up and hosted on a Github Pages site to reduce hosting load.

If impaktor / ecraven do not wish to, I can handle registration / management of both domain names; I have several already I've been maintaining long-term for other clients. I'm not sure due to personal circumstances whether I could commit to hosting and funding a full VM instance; depending on how we decide to handle the above concerns I believe it could be hosted for as low as $12-15 USD / month without issues at our current usage level, but the future is uncertain for me and I cannot commit long-term. I'd be happy to help with maintenance / configuration of the hosted applications on the VM instance as needed, however.

If needed, I can be found as @sturnclaw on #pioneer (via Matrix so feel free to ping me day or night) and will keep an eye on the thread as well. Best of luck with the changing circumstances and thank you again for your long service - we continually stand on the shoulders of giants in this project!

- sturnclaw

Re: Handing over website & domain admin

Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2022 10:29 pm
by sturnclaw
And since I somehow missed it in the above post, the current Pioneer website is effectively a static site and can be hosted via Github Pages with our domain or on a similar static-site service for free or very low cost. I don't expect it to need to gain any kind of server-side interactivity in the future, so that should be a non-issue.

Re: Handing over website & domain admin

Posted: Thu Dec 22, 2022 5:24 pm
by FluffyFreak
Hey robn,

Thanks for keeping things running all this time and good luck with whatever those big circumstance changes are!


Re: Handing over website & domain admin

Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2023 9:41 am
by impaktor
Migration is complete.
I've taken over the domain, and I'm currently running a Debian 9 VM on hostinger (I've payed for 2 years), that rob configured for us. This is now where the wiki and this forum (meta!) lives. New wiki link is

Big thanks to robn for long service, and for helping migration to the new servers!

Re: Handing over website & domain admin

Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2023 12:15 pm
by DynV
impaktor wrote: Sun Feb 19, 2023 9:41 am Big thanks to robn for long service, and for helping migration to the new servers!
Cheers! 😀

I would just had clicked a +1 or chosen an emote for the post of the quote but I couldn't find such an option.

Re: Handing over website & domain admin

Posted: Sun Mar 12, 2023 11:57 am
by impaktor
For documentation purpose: I've signed up to, such that this forum can now send 1000 emails / month (for free). In their interface, I (hope I) will be able to see that this post of mine, triggered 4 emails to be sent to above participants of this thread.