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Joel R

[Question] What are your plans if you (or your admin) dies?

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Do you have plans for your community if you die?  

Do you have a way of smoothly transferring ownership? 

Most communities have one master admin who holds the login to the database, server, and ACP.  That keeps the security tight, but what if the person becomes sick or unavailable? Most families have a last will, trust, or estate plan for their financial and legal affairs.  But digital assets are just as important and often overlooked.  How are you planning for the unexpected? 

Edited by Joel R

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I actually do have a plan. I have 3 active communities and in the safe at home with other important papers is instructions for the wife to give to one of my admins who is on all 3 sites and is a good friend and lives a few hours away. It contains all my info (email, passwords, etc..) so that he can then access my account here and on all the sites to do what is needed. He'll have a bit of a learning curve as he has not dealt with everything but since all is up and running should be ok. And if its not ok what do I care, I'll be dead

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Good point.
When I'm bored and in a nostalgic state of mind, sometimes I hit a Google search for my old usernames, which I used on online boards many from Windows 95 days and before. 
It's pretty cool to read my old stuff and glance at our discussions from the past and compare it to now.
Many of those boards are gone due to admin deaths, some of those boards had a vast amount of valuable data that is nowhere else on the web.
A good method used to preserve admin and digital credentials after death is a digital safe example: 1password, then hand the master key to a few close understandable trusted friends or family. I guess big companies have systems set up for these sort of things but is something to think about for the smaller admin individuals, that's if the individuals want their board data to continue to live while they're gone.

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1 hour ago, Adlago said:

Planning this is like pulling a devil to the tail. I do not think about it

.snow ride GIF by PLAYMOBIL

What has these thoughts awakened in you?

Lol I'm not trying to be the grim reaper.  

It doesn't have to be death, but a permanent situation where you're no longer able to take care of the community. I think about my community as something larger than me - its a community of users, it has global reach, and content that's contributed but thousands of members.  I think having "business continuity" is important for all sorts of situations -- you're on vacation with no wifi, there's a disaster in your area, etc.  

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34 minutes ago, Joel R said:

Lol I'm not trying to be the grim reaper.  

It doesn't have to be death, but a permanent situation where you're no longer able to take care of the community. I think about my community as something larger than me - its a community of users, it has global reach, and content that's contributed but thousands of members.  I think having "business continuity" is important for all sorts of situations -- you're on vacation with no wifi, there's a disaster in your area, etc.  

How bout you Mr. IPS Coffee Getter Company Man, do you have a plan?

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8 minutes ago, JustHatched said:

How bout you Mr. IPS Coffee Getter Company Man, do you have a plan?

That's a good question.  

And I wish I could say that I do.  But honestly, I don't and it's something that I know I should work on ... Thus, the question to the community.  

I used to have a business continuity plan where my accounts were spread among three members.  Those members have come and gone, and my staff have changed so it's time that I probably update the plan. Some key items that I've brainstormed:

- Preparation: I want to walk my staff member through key areas, like the IPS Client Area, my self hosted environment, and my website email.  

- Plan: What accounts, information, and content should be passed on? This needs to be defined in a continuity plan.  

- When to Use: I think it's important to clarify when the continuity plan should go into effect, and only after certain triggers are met.  For example, three months of no activity, and after reaching out to both my non-website email and phone.  

- Update: I also want to update the plan (or at least formally review it) on an annual basis.  I have a checklist of quarterly and annual items to review, and this would be added.  

What do others think? 

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This is a very, very good question. I have thought about this, about making a plan. It was a "middle burner" goal not met last year, and I remain hopeful that I can move it to the front burner this year. 

My forum/community isn't monetized; it is really a labor love for me and some others. That said, it could be monetized by someone with the interest and ability to do so, and it could even have some monetary value of which I'm not aware. I've mentioned on more than one occasion to my members that community longevity is of utmost importance. (It's one of the main reasons I migrated to IPS.)

I think my plan will go something like this:

1. I will put all my account information (site addresses, log-in credentials, etc.) into a file together with my most important papers (life insurance, etc.). In the file I will also have notes and other info for the primary person who will "inherit" the web property. I will express what my wish is: that the community remain active and beneficial for the members. It's more than a community; it's an archive, a repository for members' literary works. There is another person who I trust would be interested in working together and assisting this first, less capable person with the more technical stuff.

At the very least, the community would continue to exist/function for a while, because I would:

2. Provide funds in the form of a card on file with IPS for recurring monthly payments. When I expire, running the community would probably not be at the top of my survivors' list of things to do. But as long as I provide adequate funds, the community would continue to run with a couple of current members as moderators (whom I already have in mind) until my survivors can decide how much they personally want to be involved. If they want to be involved, great, but even if their involvement is minimal, as long as IPS is paid, the site will continue because of moderator/member involvement. If they are not interested at all, I will leave instructions to turn the site over to the two member/moderators who I'm sure would be glad to have it.

Anyway, that's my half baked estate plan insofar as my community is concerned.

Also, don't forget that in the client center there is a way to designate an alternative contact. I might be able to use this as part of my plan.

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I like this topic. But it's an almost impossible thing to continue for an individual.

Long answer:

For my community I:

- Had to get a dedicated host due to traffic

- Had to to get a https: cert due to google / expectations

- Had to buy software (IPS/Photoshop) to update site

- Had to learn PHP to make IPS software meet my needs (Had to edit IPS since 1.2.x to do what I want)

- Had to learn linux hosting and give up countless hours for fixing issues

- Had to get a Authenticode code signing (physical) certificate to sign my code

- Had to pay the monthly and personal bill for all the above.

- Had to do all that 2003 - 2019

 

Yeah. My community has a lot of dedicated people but I don't think someone could organise the above no mater how many passwords I left behind. So it will die. But all forums will die soon anyway 🙂

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35 minutes ago, AutoItScript said:

I like this topic. But it's an almost impossible thing to continue for an individual.

Long answer:

For my community I:

- Had to get a dedicated host due to traffic

- Had to to get a https: cert due to google / expectations

- Had to buy software (IPS/Photoshop) to update site

- Had to learn PHP to make IPS software meet my needs (Had to edit IPS since 1.2.x to do what I want)

- Had to learn linux hosting and give up countless hours for fixing issues

- Had to get a Authenticode code signing (physical) certificate to sign my code

- Had to pay the monthly and personal bill for all the above.

- Had to do all that 2003 - 2019

 

Yeah. My community has a lot of dedicated people but I don't think someone could organise the above no mater how many passwords I left behind. So it will die. But all forums will die soon anyway 🙂

Do you think there's a person who, even if they don't have the technical background like you, could at least continue the community?  

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56 minutes ago, tonyv said:

This is a very, very good question. I have thought about this, about making a plan. It was a "middle burner" goal not met last year, and I remain hopeful that I can move it to the front burner this year. 

My forum/community isn't monetized; it is really a labor love for me and some others. That said, it could be monetized by someone with the interest and ability to do so, and it could even have some monetary value of which I'm not aware. I've mentioned on more than one occasion to my members that community longevity is of utmost importance. (It's one of the main reasons I migrated to IPS.)

I think my plan will go something like this:

1. I will put all my account information (site addresses, log-in credentials, etc.) into a file together with my most important papers (life insurance, etc.). In the file I will also have notes and other info for the primary person who will "inherit" the web property. I will express what my wish is: that the community remain active and beneficial for the members. It's more than a community; it's an archive, a repository for members' literary works. There is another person who I trust would be interested in working together and assisting this first, less capable person with the more technical stuff.

At the very least, the community would continue to exist/function for a while, because I would:

2. Provide funds in the form of a card on file with IPS for recurring monthly payments. When I expire, running the community would probably not be at the top of my survivors' list of things to do. But as long as I provide adequate funds, the community would continue to run with a couple of current members as moderators (whom I already have in mind) until my survivors can decide how much they personally want to be involved. If they want to be involved, great, but even if their involvement is minimal, as long as IPS is paid, the site will continue because of moderator/member involvement. If they are not interested at all, I will leave instructions to turn the site over to the two member/moderators who I'm sure would be glad to have it.

Anyway, that's my half baked estate plan insofar as my community is concerned.

Also, don't forget that in the client center there is a way to designate an alternative contact. I might be able to use this as part of my plan.

At least you're thinking about this issue, which is better than most!  And it sounds like you have a decent plan in place.  

I invite you to go back to my blog post about New Year's Resolutions for inspiration.  What are the big, messy, but ultimately wonderful things that you would LIKE to do this year?  

life goals GIF

 

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Posted (edited)

Some years back I acquired an existing board where the original owner moved on but the tech admin remained (a guy I knew well and trusted).  Inside of 48 hours the tech admin dropped dead of a heart attack.  I was able to get logon names and passwords from the guy who runs our server and was (eventually) able to work the problem with the domain registrar to get the ownership and registry info changed too -- it did need e-mails from the previous owner to accomplish.

I am skilled in sql so I was not intimidated by what's in the ACP... it took some  time but I was able to figure it all out.  What I cannot do is php, html, or .css and so I have not been able to upgrade the board software (it's something like 3.41).

 

Based on my experience I would advise board owners to add a second name to your domain register -- your spouse would be a good choice -- so the registrar still has a living person to talk to about transferring the domain to a new party.  This person should also be holding the relevant logon and passwords so they can be passed over tot eh new guy as well. Oh, and the name and contact means to your host.

The "new party" doesn't have to be someone who is going to run your board, it could be someone who can be trusted to shut it down.  If the board dies w/ you there's no sense having both registrar and host trying to bill your estate.

If you think your board will carry on under new management I also recommend you document a few procedures, such as how you go about validating new membership requests, how to use any saved queries you wrote, and anything special about user groups and permissions that you may have set up.  Stick that in a Staff forum accessibly only to admins.

Edited by Genma Saotome

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I think just thinking about it in your spare time and potentially coming up with a plan is better than nothing.  

This is one of those 'important' but 'not immediate' things that tend to get overlooked.  

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I lost my “.com” tld like this after a partner died

Had an Squatter from India swoop in on in it and I had to switch to the .org

I tried to UDRP for it back (since the whole point of UDRP is to prevent a-hole squatters from doing what they do) and the single panelist was to lazy to read all my evidence and dismissed the case after a micro inconsistent detail confused him. Which it was explained later if he would have kept reading. 

Squatter wins and I lost thousands trying to get my domain back. I’ll be forever butt hurt over this. Squatter wants $50K for my domain back. Even if I had the money I would rather burn in hell than pay this squatter. 

 

 

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I have no plans as of now, however, I have been thinking about it a lot since I first read this topic.

I'm hopeful my family would continue my work, I own two fantastic sites and a few minor ones which use Wordpress. However, I am very proud of the IPS ones I have and I feel the content produced is by far above the typical standard of a hobbyist such as myself.

Since the age of 30, my health has rapidly declined. I look healthy to the eye, but I'm in a lot of pain.

I suffer from a condition called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which causes me to dislocate my joints very easily, among pain (related to my joints), fibromyalgia (parts of my body), arthritis, irriatablebowl syndrome and other things.

I'm now going through a stage whereby I might have kidney failure, so I am thinking a lot about what if.

My son has seen me do my sites from a very young age, he knows what it takes and he does have some interest in them. I'm hoping as he becomes a teenager, he will get more and more interested, as he's recently decided he wants to become a graphic designer. He's actually spoken about learning to design sites and code so I think one day he might be messaging @ehren. and@newbie LAC for advice.

It's a grim topic, but something that should be considered, our time spent on the things we do shouldn't stop when we die.

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18 hours ago, Makoto said:

If I die I abandon my responsibility to maintain or support anything.

I dunno, clients can be a fickle bunch. You may find yourself doing a few more commits even post-demise. 

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Posted (edited)
On 3/23/2019 at 4:45 PM, Morgin said:

I dunno, clients can be a fickle bunch. You may find yourself doing a few more commits even post-demise. 

Write clean code that explains itself. If I kick the bucket, anyone can maintain it. About all I can do.

Edited by Marcher Technologies

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Posted (edited)
On 2/27/2019 at 6:12 PM, tonyv said:

This is a very, very good question. I have thought about this, about making a plan. It was a "middle burner" goal not met last year, and I remain hopeful that I can move it to the front burner this year. 

My forum/community isn't monetized; it is really a labor love for me and some others. That said, it could be monetized by someone with the interest and ability to do so, and it could even have some monetary value of which I'm not aware. I've mentioned on more than one occasion to my members that community longevity is of utmost importance. (It's one of the main reasons I migrated to IPS.)

 

I could have written this. My situation as well. Although my Board is monetized to the degree that it pays for itself: Cloud Plan, old archive from previous software, email etc., and provides a modest profit via donations, some ads, and fund raising activity. It could be fully monetized by an astute businessperson or someone more motivated by money and profit. 

With that said it will likely die with me or be put to rest when I have had enough. It has been clicking since 2002, and converting to IPS several years ago rejuvenated myself and Members, but it does have an expiration date. My Discussion Forum/Community is niche and not huge by most standards and is a reflection and an extension of myself. Ive always "designed" it as something I liked to belong to. It's longevity and relative success, is an indication enough others agree with the direction.  I have only had temporary Moderators at times but basically admin and moderate solo.  The community would probably resent and reject someone else taking over and changing it and commercializing it. That may be vanity and ego talking, I don't know. I can't imagine selling it or handing it over to anyone else while I am still alive. It's my baby and that would be very painful.

 

Edited by Brad Eden

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Posted (edited)

I have never thought about this yet and have run many communities, though if the worst was to happen i do have a backup that i have a good friend for many many years that will get all my work & community sites details so that they can carry on, i believe you always need a backup plan to anything you wish to carry past your time on this planet.

Edited by StormDevelopers

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