My name is Fahad Ullah and I am from Lahore, Pakistan. I work at PakWheels.com as a Product Manager and one aspect of my job is to handle and grow the community of automotive enthusiasts from Pakistan.
At this point, I am contemplating on migrating our community from vBulletin to Discourse and I came across FeverBee while reading about similar migrations. I found the FeverBee Community really helpful and decided to make an account to learn from the experts and contribute wherever I can.
A vast majority of internet users in Pakistan uses the internet for accessing Social Networking sites and are used to the kind user experience that these websites provide. In the last few years, we have noticed a significant decline in the activity on our forums. To investigate the problem, I spoke to the current users and some older members and got to know that they feel the forums are complicated, slow and very hard to navigate. They also feel that it is very hard to search and find information on the forums. Keeping that in mind, we decided to give our forums a new look and feel and move them on to Discourse from vBulletin.
One of the primary motivations to move the forums on to Discourse (apart from its feature set) is that we are a Rails-based Software House and our main website is built using RoR. All of our developers are well versed in RoR. vBulletin is practically dead and there is no point spending development hours on a platform that has a huge maintenance cost for us.
I have got the full approval from Head of Engineering and the top management on this move but I am a bit reluctant to pull the trigger. It will be a huge move for us as our site has close to 350k registered users, 4.7 million posts and 242k topics.
I am reluctant because, there is a huge cost involved and this is will be my first experience running a migration of this magnitude. What if even after the migration, things don’t go as expected and we will not be able to get the same engagement levels that we previously used to enjoy?
And if I do decide to pull the trigger, what things do I need to keep in mind from community point of view to make the transition as smooth as possible?
Looking forward to hear from the experts