Migrating onto an existing and live community database - Discourse


(Emilio F. Castillo) #1

Background, we are moving from vBulletin to Discourse.org.

We recently signed up for a free trial with Discourse.org. During the trial, we’ve setup categories, and invited key members of our forum to claim their username on the new platform. Naturally, conversations have started to occur and we’re off to a solid start, with new members already posting. The old forum on vBulletin is still up and running but I’ve posted an announcement that we are moving the platform to Discourse, so naturally several community members have already jumped ship.

Now, we are ready to migrate our data into Discourse.

But Discourse is telling us that when we migrate the data in, that it will WIPE OUT all that we have built on the new account…including usernames etc! - which means we would have to ask our key members to again sign up for a new account on Discourse. We don’t want to do that and I need to understand the consequences of not starting over again. What impact will there be if I simply do not bring in the migration into the forum.

  1. How can I still benefit from the vast amount of content on vBulletin now that we are on the new platform? can this be integrated or brought over as blog post on our website instead? that way it is available and archived on our site - even if it is not available on the forum?

  2. Or can we simple pick the top 100 conversations and replicate or introduce them manually into the new forum? This way the content will be on the new forum, but it would have gotten there as new post not via a migration. Obviously we cannot do this for all topics as there are topics dating back to 2006.

  3. for SEO purposes, I know we want to bring in our content. The question becomes if we need to bring it over as “seed” to the new forum, to jump start it and keep it going, or if we should bring the content over and convert it to blog post or page content on our website and then LINK the forum to the content that way.

We have a clean fresh looking forum now and I would like to build on it. But I am concerned that if there isn’t enough content on the new platform that users who do make the move or visit looking for someone wont find it and will then leave.


(Sarah Hawk) #2

Frustrating situation! I’ve done a couple of vB – Discourse migrations under different circumstances. I’m sure we’ll figure this out.

I have a couple of questions firist:

How much data do you have access to? Can you see which posts are still getting good traffic?

What blog platform are you using? Is it WordPress?


(Emilio F. Castillo) #3

300 mb of data, text. Then if you add images, its about 400 mb.

2800 posts, best I can tell.

I have access to all of it. I purchased the forum. I have full admin access to vBulletin and all other social media accounts, etc.

The site itself is currently on wordpress.

The forum runs on vBulleting under: http://electricforum.com/cars

I am moving the site to Squarespace and the forum to discourse.

The site will live operate under domain name electricforum.com

The forum will live at a subdomine “community.electricforum.com

Thank you for the feedback. I was hoping to be learning about community building and management by now, BUT instead I find myself wearing an IT hat!..worse still, it doesn’t fit!!!


(Sarah Hawk) #4

[quote=“emilio_f_castillo, post:3, topic:4718”]
I was hoping to be learning about community building and management by now, BUT instead I find myself wearing an IT hat!..worse still, it doesn’t fit!!!
[/quote] It’s always the way!

Do you have access to traffic data? Google Analytics or similar? This kind of decision will be easier to make if you have hard data around what content people are actually looking at.

I’m interested to hear why are you moving from WP to Squarespace. WP - Discourse integrate well and you could use the plugin to migrate posts from WP to Discourse.


(Emilio F. Castillo) #5

I can probably get “hard data”.

That said, I know that there is one forum/group in particular that does the heavy lifting. So lets start with that. Say the Analytics support this, what then?

We know “volume, and size” of data (see above) and we know that there 1 - 3 categories that carry the majority of the load.

So…do we need to get more granular? If so, what specific analytic fields are of interest?


(Sarah Hawk) #6

Essentially what the migration would have done is transfer all content which you then 301 redirect from the old site to the new one, so that you don’t lose any SEO impact.

If you decide not to do that (because it means starting again with your founding group, which I agree wouldn’t be great) then I’d analyse GA and pick the top 50 highest raking threads, and manually recreate them in Discourse (and run the 301s).

I’m going to check in with @Jay_Pfaffman on this in case he can think of another solution.

My WordPress question still stands – any reason for changing to Squarespace?


(Emilio F. Castillo) #7

Thank you. We have already migrated the posts into Squarespace from Wordpress.

I made the decision to switch to Squarespace because

  1. it is far more intuitive
  2. it is easier to build pages
  3. I don’t have to worry about updateding plugins
  4. it connects easier to social media
  5. the support and the circlesforum are great
  6. the commerce integration is more intuitive
  7. I don’t have to fool with cPanels and hosting

Word press is/was laborsome. I just logged into it and all I saw were red “update me” icons…pfffft