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UKAI is moving to Facebook

Author Topic: UKAI Closure Announcement  (Read 549 times)

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Offline chris.bailey

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UKAI Closure Announcement
« on: 17:44:52, 12 September, 2018 »
After nearly 15 years as the foremost independent UK based Astro Imaging Forum and following a great deal of discussion amongst the Admin team, the difficult decision has been made to not renew our hosting upon renewal. We have seen a steady decline in post/reply volume over the past 18 months, quite probably due to the proliferation of competing Facebook groups. This will mean that the UKAI forum will shortly go off air and all further activity will transfer to our Facebook Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/ukastroimaging/. We would obviously love to see as many of our 7,000 members move over to Facebook as possible but do understand that some see it as being (anti)social media. We have tried a number of methods of integrating the forum with Facebook but none of them work elegantly and with more activity now on the Facebook channel, administrating both has gotten increasingly difficult. In short it seems the time for internet forums has been and gone.

The team intend putting a lot of effort into the Facebook offering to make it the foremost group to go to for advice and constructive comment on your imaging efforts rather than just being a place to gather gratuitous ‘likes’. We will continue to promote Solar, Deep Sky and Planetary imaging and processing as well as DIY imaging related projects and the like whilst maintaining our infamous sense of humour.

If anybody has files on the forum only that they wish to keep, we suggest you download them over the next couple of weeks. We will transfer any relevant documents to the Facebook Files area.

The Admin team would take this opportunity to thank you for your loyal support of UKAI over the years; you have made it a informative and fun place to hang out. We hope you understand the reasoning behind the decision and will support us in the future.

The UKAI Admin Team
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Offline PaulB

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Re: UKAI Closure Announcement
« Reply #1 on: 18:00:15, 12 September, 2018 »
I am very sorry to read this. Another one, Progressive Astro imaging went the same way. Is there know way we can keep UKAI running. But in a reduced format?
Paul.
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Offline Einari

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Re: UKAI Closure Announcement
« Reply #2 on: 18:57:40, 12 September, 2018 »
What !!??
Not going to facebook because of this. So sorry this is happening.
Tapio

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Offline tony.673

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Re: UKAI Closure Announcement
« Reply #3 on: 07:08:52, 13 September, 2018 »
Such a shame to lose the vast amount of knowledge stored on the forum that just isn't there on Facebook. I don't post anywhere near as much as I'd like to but I still browse the many separate sections on an almost daily basis. If finance for the running of the forum is a concern I'm sure that could be overcome with a request for funds from the members (I would willingly contribute).

Tony
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Offline chris.bailey

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Re: UKAI Closure Announcement
« Reply #4 on: 10:29:13, 13 September, 2018 »
Thanks for the support guys!

It really has not been an easy decision to make and has involved several months of debate amongst the Admin team but there are a number of factors involved.

The behind the scenes work in maintaining the forum is not trivial, even with the low post count.
Our forum software is creaking at the seams and is a little long in the tooth. Updating it would be a major undertaking that would not necessarily result in more activity.
Posts by spammers now outnumbers genuine posts and each time one posts in multiple boards, it takes a while to prune them out. The last major one managed to post in every board and sub-board. That took several hours to clean up!
The sheer size of the forum database means it is not cheap to host and removing outdated posts and non-active members to make it smaller would be highly time consuming. There are a huge number of sticky posts that are now so out of date its untrue. Again a time consuming task to update.
We have seen a plethora or competing Facebook groups spring up which seems to be more attractive to the new/younger imager. Forums are seen as a bit pipe and slippers by the younger crowd.
Our own Facebook Group now sees more activity than the forum. Analysis of Facebook usage vs Forum traffic was the nail in the coffin for the forum. Facebook does not have as restrictive image posting limits as the forum software and is more user friendly (to those used to Facebook). You can access Facebook from multiple device platforms easily and it is easier to administer.
Administering Facebook and the Forum in parallel has led to a degree of complexity. We have tried a number of methods to allow cross-posting from the forum to Facebook but even the commercial software for doing it (which is expensive) is not elegant and Facebook are constantly changing the rules making it difficult to maintain.
The Admin team are out of ideas for trying to re-invigorate the forum...we have tried.

Again, it has not been an easy decision. A little more activity from the 7000 members might have swayed the decision the other way.
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Offline clive

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Re: UKAI Closure Announcement
« Reply #5 on: 11:44:37, 13 September, 2018 »
Sorry to here this  ive learned do much from   every body from ukip

Offline Nimbus

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Re: UKAI Closure Announcement
« Reply #6 on: 12:04:49, 13 September, 2018 »
Indeed a great shame, I suspect we can all reflect on how we might have contributed better to avoid this situation in the first place myself included.
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Offline Einari

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Re: UKAI Closure Announcement
« Reply #7 on: 13:00:23, 13 September, 2018 »
Agreed.
Like to say that a little 'quieter' forum is not so bad thing - considering all the information flow we are getting.
I'm sure there have been more admiration than factual feedback.
Me included could have been more responsive but...
Tapio

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Offline petevasey

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Re: UKAI Closure Announcement
« Reply #8 on: 14:26:37, 13 September, 2018 »
So sorry this is happening - UKAI has been a source of inspiration to me for many years, not to mention the help and advice from many quarters.

But Facebook is anathema to me, so alas it will be farewell rather than au revoir.  Many thanks for all the hard work you guys have put in to run this over the years.  and best of luck for the future.

Cheers,

Peter.
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Offline Annie

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Re: UKAI Closure Announcement
« Reply #9 on: 15:19:07, 13 September, 2018 »
Would never have made the progress I have without this forum so appreciate every bit of patient help I've received for what must have seemed some very stupid questions though I've never ever been made to feel that.

I appreciate the hard work that has gone into the forum and the reasons for it's closure.

Many, many thanks (though my initial response was 'what the hell am I going to do now!)

Annie
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Offline g8ina

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Re: UKAI Closure Announcement
« Reply #10 on: 15:41:51, 13 September, 2018 »
Having been here since (almost) the very beginnig with Rob from telford (being a near neighbour at the time), I shall be very sad to see it go.

I would like to thank the admins and mods, and having been a mod at one time, I can appreciate the work needed a bit more than most.

I would also like to thank all the "proper" astronomers who have made the image asapect of the site what it is - stunning. Some amazing collaborations, some truly astonishing pics.

I think (but am not sure) that I am already in the UKAI FB group, if not I shall be rejoining, just to keep in touch.

Its been a blast :)
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Offline Carole

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Re: UKAI Closure Announcement
« Reply #11 on: 15:51:02, 14 September, 2018 »
Really sorry to hear this, but I must agree I had noticed that the posts had fallen off in recent times. 

I understand the reasoning behind it and wish you luck on Facebook, but I won't be moving over, I don't think Facebook works for forums and looking at Astro images aside from my general dislike of it for a number of reasons.

Many thanks for running a successful forum for many years and hopefully I will see some of you at future astro camps. 

I frequent Astronomy Shed and SGL as well if any-one wants to keep in touch with me.

Carole
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Offline tomhow

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Re: UKAI Closure Announcement
« Reply #12 on: 18:45:11, 14 September, 2018 »
Good but hard decision. "Nothing lasts forever".  I can understand why the considerable workload has outweighed the benefit.

Well done and thank-you to mods & admins, past and present.

It is sad after so many years (14, over half my adult life!!) that this platform is closing, but the forum is just a platform: You people are the important thing - and we aren't all vanishing overnight :)

Speaking for myself, I'm far more likely to engage on a Facebook platform.

Perhaps we need to do a one off run of commemorative mugs or tshirts :)
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Offline mechanoid

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Re: UKAI Closure Announcement
« Reply #13 on: 19:52:37, 14 September, 2018 »
So sorry to hear its the end.  I've only be a member for a few years, but its always been my first port of call for all things astroimaging.

I'm afraid I will never use Facebook, so I guess its goodbye.

I'd like to thank all of the admin team for all their undoubted hard work. All I've seen is the graceful swan, not the frantic paddling beneath the surface !

Best wishes, and thanks again.

Dave Powley
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Offline leemajors

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Re: UKAI Closure Announcement
« Reply #14 on: 03:29:01, 16 September, 2018 »
Very sad to hear this, shame all the past archive of information will be lost.
If the same thing happens to Cloudy Nights and SGL there will be literally no searchable information for beginners to follow to get into and progress in this hobby. I am a big reader nd have spent whole days reading content on here and other groups researching whatever topic Im currently interested in.
Im sort of in the same Dilemma with my Local Club as I Run both our FB groups and 50% of our Club website, we find it very hard to generate any new content contribution to our website as most members seam to prefer quickly posting on FB which kinda baffles me as although its good for instant gratification, it is pretty much useless as a searchable archive of content. We currently have no plans to close our website as its a showcase of our members work, and several of our older members refuse to join FB. But its an easier decision as we have membership fees to pay for it, so it can just sit there and doesnt really need much work as its not as interactive.

Ive not really contributed to the UKAI FB group mainly because its a public group which means if i post content on there, then it means any work acquaintances would also see my posts, I prefer to keep my Astronomy posts separate to my main page, I think most of my FB friends / acquaintances have no idea im an Astronomer and i like to keep it that way, the FB groups I run for our club we keep as closed groups for members only this is also the case with most FB astronomy groups, so personally I think that would be more appropriate for the UKAI group.
I wonder how many of the 7000 forum members will move to the FB group its currently about 250.
Thanks for all the work that went into this Forum behind the scenes
Cheers
Lee Phillips

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