June 24, 2008
Dear AudiWorld Readers,
Nearly one year ago we announced AudiWorlds acquisition by Internet Brands, Inc. At that time we addressed the topic of potential changes to the site by saying that there were no plans to make significant changes in the near term. Indeed, users have probably noticed very little change with the exception of a color refresh in December.
When the acquisition was announced we received many questions about our discussion forum software (Kawf) which was developed by Johannes Erdfelt many years ago. Kawf has proven highly scaleable, stable and robust for the needs of the AudiWorld community, but lacks all of the updated features and functionality available in todays newer software. One such platform, vBulletin, is also owned by Internet Brands and as a result there has been a very strong corporate interest towards migrating AudiWorld to vB.
The contents of this message have been in my thoughts fairly consistently since the beginning of the year. I have been wondering the best way to tell the community, which has both supported and depended on the discussion forums as the lifeblood of the AudiWorld site, that we were in fact going to undertake this migration. After lengthy consideration I am resolved to simply tell the truth: Kawf, for all its simplicity, has failed to keep up with the times. Stubbornly retaining software which was created in 1999 and which was based on previous discussion forum functionality dating back at least a few years prior to that results in a tremendous functionality gap.
Logic aside, most people have supported Kawf for its ease of use and conversational format. It was therefore critical to adapt vB to look and feel as close to the AudiWorld experience as practical given that it was never built to operate exactly like Kawf. Johannes Erdfelt has personally overseen this effort and even now is supervising the massive migration of historical forum data from the Kawf database to vB. Not a single thread will be lost and all legacy URLs will function properly, meaning that the AudiWorld knowledge base (and all the search engines and links in cyberspace) will experience no lapses in continuity.
My simple request of the community is to approach the new discussion forum software with an open mind. From my perspective we have succeeded in retaining some of Kawfs intimacy while enabling a whole host of other functionality to benefit readers, including younger users who actually prefer the updated style software. We are certainly open to comments and suggestions and will treat each piece of feedback appropriately with the one caveat that this migration is going forward. Please do not ask for a return to Kawf because it is not possible.
We expect to roll out the software before July 1st depending on final migration timelines and performance. Readers will experience some limited downtime probably not to exceed 3-4 hours during the actual switchover. Thank you in advance.
Jason Teller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Founder & Managing Editor