So, if you all are interested in keeping in touch outside of the SAV site, there are options. These are free or cheap. If everyone decides these are all horrible, I can dig around a bit for alternatives. For background, I worked for what felt like an eternity in IT, so my experience with any of these may color my recommendations.
E-mail based list server (e.g., Mailman)
Pros: easy to use, mostly self-maintained, has options regarding how and when you get messages. Easy to run.
Cons: Only uses e-mail, so no real-time interaction. Not free, but very inexpensive.
Chat-based channel, e.g., telegram.
Pros: free, someone else’s infrastructure, allows some voice and real-time capabilities.
Cons: Not very flexible. No ability to group conversations by subject.
Mastodon instance, probably not connected to the federation.
Pros: Reasonably familiar interface.
Cons: steep learning curve for lazy administrator. 😄 Server required, although a small one would suffice, so not quite free.
Pros: Lots of features. Highly customizable, including voice capability. Very granular security: private channels, trusted-only areas, etc. Cons: Lazy administrator learning curve again for some cooler functions . Would probably require 1-2 volunteers to do moderation in case people get too spicy.
Any thoughts, other options, anything?
I'm now on Mastodon, becoming very disenchanted with other options, and that forum is pretty damn cool.
Here's my label:
@Chonkmaster General I’m seeing your comments on this post but your name is coming up as ‘Unknown member.’ What’s going on?!
My next cat (god forbid) is gonna be named Chonkmaster General.
Most of the work is in setting it up so it’s a) easy to understand, and b) engaging. I’m a lousy user experience person, as anyone who has ever had to run one of my scripts knows. Suggestions are always welcome!
There are free forum hosting sites, I imagine.
Proboards is widely used and free.
OK. I set up a Discord server named “SAV Social Club.” If you want to join, send an email to signor (dot) chonky (at) gmail (dot) com and I’ll send you an invite. If it isn’t obvious, LMK what your nickname here is.
ObSecurity: once I send your invite, I’ll delete your message. I can’t be compelled to reveal anything I don’t have. 😄
I am still being optimistic that Vaxman will come back, and will keep this site running. If he feels that it has run it’s course and wants to let it go, surely he would let us know in advance so that we can all arrange to meet up somewhere else. I know he is aware of the comradery that has developed amongst a lot of the members of this site. I will of course sign up to Plan B just in case, because I don’t want to lose you guys. Vaxman, if you’re listening, please come back! It’s not the same without you :(
If you do this and go with Discord, I'll send you my gmail.
If you go with Discord, I'll help moderate. I'm reasonably tech savvy so maybe could help a bit on that end as well.
I am not an IT person by any means. I was able to understand some of this, so thought others might too. It doesn't seem to have serious drawbacks.