For years we have used SMF (Simple Machines Forum) and it has done a decent job of meeting our needs. As time has progressed, our needs, and the needs of the community grew beyond what it could provide. The primary driver behind the timing of this particular move was GDPR compliance, but we have been exploring migrating to another forum platform for some time, largely based on feedback from forum users.
We have migrated as much content from the previous forum as possible, including all of the users, boards (now ‘categories’), topics, and posts. These are all now present in the Netgate Forum.
The new Netgate forum running NodeBB has numerous advantages, including:
- GDPR Compliance. Users will be prompted to give consent for data use when they first login. Users have the ability to download an archive of all posts and other abilities based on the requirements of GDPR.
- A modern and responsive look that is easily customizable. It works great on desktops and mobile devices, and has skins that users can utilize to fine-tune their experience.
- A better overall user experience with viewing and replying to threads, formatting posts, notifications, and interacting with each other
- Stronger security with bcrypt password hashing and two-factor authentication. All existing users must reset their password via email to regain access, see note below.
- More active development and smoother upgrades
All users of the old forum must reset their password to access the new forum!
NodeBB uses bcrypt to hash passwords, SMF used SHA1. Because the password hashes are not compatible, passwords were removed during the conversion which locks the accounts. To get back into the forum, every user must reset their password. You can choose to use the same password used previously.
Visit the password reset page at https://forum.netgate.com/reset and enter the e-mail address associated with the account on the old forum. NodeBB will then send a link to reset the password.
For security reasons the reset form will always claim it was successful in sending a reset email even if the address is not present in the forum database. If an email message does not arrive in a timely manner, most likely that was not the e-mail address associated with the forum account. Try using a different email address.
If you are unable to reset your password or need assistance, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
New users can register for a forum account at https://forum.netgate.com/register if they did not have an account on the previous forum.
After regaining access, a user can enable two-factor authentication in only a few clicks:
- Click your avatar/profile icon in the upper right
- Click Settings
- Click the menu button (three dots)
- Click Two-Factor Authentication
- Click Enable Two-Factor Authentication
- Use the QR code to scan into an application such as Google Authenticator
- Follow the prompts on the screen to complete the process and save backup codes
In the event a device is lost or a token is compromised, contact us for assistance.
Existing Forum Links
We are working to ensure that links to old topics on https://forum.pfsense.org will redirect to their new homes on https://forum.netgate.com so that links to the old forum from external sites continue to function. Due to the extremely large number of existing threads and posts, this is proving to be a challenge. We have this redirection working, but it’s possible that some threads may not have proper redirects.
If you have linked to the old forum, we recommend changing links to the new forum addresses where possible. We will be working through our internal documentation and updating links as we find them.
The old SMF installation supported a separate username and display name. NodeBB only has a username, so the display name has been lost in the conversion. Be sure to login with the username. Account holders can change this username from their profile page once they have logged into the new forum.
Tuning the Unread Feed
NodeBB more prominently features an unread message link in the navigation bar. By default, the list of unread threads includes all categories (formerly “boards”) on the forum. A common request is to ignore posts from categories utilizing other languages. For English speakers, this is a simple process:
- Navigate to the main page of the forum with the category list
- Click pfSense International Support
- Scroll to the bottom of this page
- Change the category from Watching to Ignoring
After making this change, posts in that category and all subcategories will be ignored.
Private messages were not converted to the new forum. NodeBB does not implement private messages in the same manner as SMF. In NodeBB, these are considered ‘chats’ and are much closer to text, instant, or direct messages than SMF which treated them like email messages instead.
As the contents of private messages are considered private, we do not have a procedure to retrieve these.
Imported attachments are still a work in progress. Though most of the files are now present, they may not display inline. We are working to resolve this if possible, but users can re-upload their own attachments which is functional.
As with any large transition, issues will likely arise as the number of users increases. If you are able, please post a message on the forum in the Feedback category with details of the issue. If you are unable to login or post to the forum, drop us a note at email@example.com
In closing, we would like to thank the folks over at https://nodebb.org for making a great forum platform as well as offering assistance with our transition!