READ THIS—The future of—UPDATED 10/Oct

edited February 2015 in Announcements
EDITED with notes from meeting is nearly four years old and its software stack has aged. Vanilla, the platform powering's forum, is riddled with bugs and kinks. I am looking at the more modern Discourse to replace it, with as little disruption as possible to you, the community.

We have concluded Monday's meeting. @BirdMachine, @jack and I were in attendance.

  1. will direct to a landing page with prominent links to the various parts of the site. We hope this will encourage users to visit and contribute to the wiki and forthcoming linkdump. Users can still get to various arms through,, etc.
  2. We are comparing VPS hosts to migrate to. They must accept bitcoin.
  3. Bitcoin will be used to donate to the site's higher operating costs, once migration is complete.
  4. @Jack is exploring a method to display the available bitcoin donations made to the site for the month due.
  5. A Local section of the site will be made using a separate instance of our wiki software, Oddmuse, where users can post events and updates from the various grindspaces in the physical world.
  6. Images can posted inline on the wiki. Details for linking can be found here. But essentially it's [[image/class external:]]
  7. Moving behind TOR was discussed with a clearnet proxy for accessing from non-TOR browsers. We'll continue to investigate but for the conceivable future will remain clearnet-only.
  8. A part of the site where users can post links was discussed, similar to what grinders use Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ now. @BirdMachine is in charge of drafting up a solution.
  9. A link to the IRC will be put up in the header bar as soon as tomorrow.
  10. The subdomains to the wiki and forum will be changed to and respectively. 

I am committing us to December 21st to mainline solutions.



  • Quick question before monday. Will we be porting over the old discussions, or archiving them in some way?
  • My archive will still exist, even if old posts are not kept http://selxabxjpryy7jna.onion/biohack/
  • Curious, do we have an IRC server? If not, is it something you guys would be interested in?
  • @TheGreyKnight Yes, we will be porting over the old discussions.
  • A note about irc. There was another forum i was appart of that did similarly crazy and cool science. It switched from forums to irc and then quickly went to shit. Irc isn't super conducive to people working together at great distances cause you essentially have to live on the irc to keep up with what's going on.
  • @drjaaz, I don't think the idea is to use IRC to replace the board, but to to augment them with another means of communication with eachother- one better suited for quick conversations and bullshit.
  • ya that's how it started and then the forum just sort of died. I think it's a good addition but the emphasis should still be on the forums or at least they should be updated with any useful information from the irc by whoever was having the conversation.
  • I think it's important that people start focusing on the wiki. having a place everyone can just go to for the top five questions that get asked on a monthly basis... that would be nice. then you could redirect the thread and hide it so we don't play the same song over and over again.

    i get that new people are coming in on a regular basis. i was new at one point to. let's make life easier for them, and therefore, easier for us.
  • Why not require a new user to check the wiki before they can post any new threads? Set a flag on the account that can be removed by submitting a form on the wiki after registration?
  • We are meeting today at 6pm EST—less than two hours from now. Go ahead and email me if you'd like to take part.
  • @drjaaz We have had an IRC since the beginning but granted it hasn't been prominently displayed. I don't think it's something that's going to extinguish this community. There are far too many users.

    @glims I'm in full agreement. One of the proposed suggestions is to have direct to a landing page with prominent links to the subdomains for forum, wiki, or IRC, for example. Users who want to access the forum directly and skip the landing page could use the URL. Or if the wiki with, etc.

    @IDPS This may be too heavy-handed.
  • @sovereignBleak I don't think its too bad of an idea. It would only happen after you register, once you submit the form you're done.

    I've been a part of a forum that did that before and its not too bad. Just spend a few minutes and read up on the rules and basic knowledge from the wiki.
  • @IDPS I'll definitely bring it up at the meeting. You're right, since it's a one-time hurdle. And users already have to write an application to register.
  • Can we force all connections over https, and get a valid cert?
  • @IDPS Yes that is on the radar but will only be done when we migrate servers.
  • edited October 2014
    @Jack Cool, good to know.

    Since there has been a lot of interest in people sharing their skills, is there any chance we can get a page where you can submit skills and tools you have, plus a location (engineer with a 3D printer in NYC for example (not me)). Once submitted others can search through a directory to find people with a skill/tool they need for a project?

    EDIT: Not expecting it any time soon. Obviously a lot on your plates.
  • @IDPS At this point we're deferring building or deploying a lot of new code on the site until the forum is migrated.

    Ideally we'd be able to use the forum software as a nexus for other services on the site, but we'd have to invest a significant amount of resources into building and maintaining that kind of system. I'd like to see if the improved server is at a minimum sustainable through donations before committing to a higher operating burden.

    Likely the most immediate solution will be to spin up another instance of the wiki that's dedicated to that information. If something more robust is needed, we can consider that in the further future.
  • Well as far as the cost of maintenance and up-time, what is the expected/current cost to keep things running on average? Assuming numbers are open to be discussed in public.

    I doubt it would take much to set up a donation page similar to how Reddit operates in the sense of monthly goal to reach.

    Having background in IT and having hosted my own gear in the past I can't imagine it being terribly much due to the simplicity of what it is hosting.
  • The current monetary cost of running the site is effectively zero. It is running on a shared server which runs a few other sites that I maintain.

    Also, the current labor cost of the site is close to zero. There have only been a few minor updates to the server software during the life of the site.

    While no updates isn't a great way to run a website, I think that it's a requirement that the site needs to be as self-sufficient as possible. Given that it's run by volunteers, there's not a lot of labor-time that can be put into provisioning and maintaining the server. For this reason I want to limit the number of different software installations that the site requires to keep the labor cost as low as possible.

    Setting up donations seems simple, but we would need to also set up some sort of account to collect donations in, and someone would need to manage the funds in a transparent way. Using BitCoin will allow us to at least not set up a dedicated bank account for the site (or paypal address, ugh), but someone will still need to manage that account. Ideally this community remains with a relatively distributed power structure, which the introduction of money easily corrupts. Regardless, this will be a requirement for the new site, it's only a matter of how that will be set up.

    In regards to monetary costs for the new server, we've been looking between 10 to 20USD per month. Ideally we're looking for something with two cores and a minimum of 1 gig of dedicated RAM.
  • @jack if you guys want I can give you root on a linode 2gb. I'm paying for one but not using it for anything, and I like so I don't mind paying for it.
  • Why has there been talks of moving behind TOR? Is there any benefit for a site like this? Once the site gets over to the new server will you using newer software to run it or keep it the same? If you are changing it, will you be using custom software or a public framework for forums?
  • @IDPS Thank you, but ideally we'd like to move away from having a single person paying for the hosting so that site ownership can be more distributed.
  • @jamcar23 We discussed this in regards to the privacy that some members might enjoy by moving behind a for hidden service. As mentioned above though, this has been shelved for the time being.

    We will be migrating to the Discourse software on the new server, which is a publicly developed software released under the GNU license:
  • It's not hard to serve a website to both clearnet and TOR at the same time at one server.. I would like the TOR service because cloudflare makes me fill out a capcha every time is visit using TOR^^
  • If we use TOR the page will change to something like : tovtiojvorcmjrioprkrp.onion ??
  • Yes there will be an onion address like that, but I think it is way more important to serve over clearnet, that is over the regular URL. TOR would be a nice addition but is certainly a nice extra and easy to setup. (If I can help set up to, PM me)
  • It is possible to create an onion address with a specific set of characters at the beginning given enough time.

    Just to be clear: offering a the site as a TOR hidden service would be an parallel to a clear net domain.

    @AMNESIA: I think that I understand how this works, but I may be in touch when/if this goes forward for specific issues that may come up.
  • @Jack Want me to generate a .onion with specific characters at the beginning? I have experience with that.. What chars would it be? "biohack" Would be possible but would also take up a lot of time because 7 chars.
  • I have a couple of addresses generated with the "biohack" beginning. This actually took much less time than I was expecting. However, the goal would be to have an address which started with "biohackme", which may not be feasible.
This discussion has been closed.