2018 Software update - Donations Appreciated


Captain Nice
Staff member
This forum is still using an "End Of Life" software which, although I really like it, and I hate to "Move Everyone's Cheese", for the future there is little choice other than to "Move On".

I have put a "Donate" button in the header for at least 2 (maybe 3) months. Advertisements do not pay much these days, but in addition - As I am learning Xenforo it is simply not as easy to do many things such as modifying a header template to approximate the current header. Quite a long story re: learning Xenforo "code" vs. the vBulletin code I have used for many years.

The situation is simple - Because of things such as PHP version advancement, it will/would be difficult to maintain "ancient" code (which Elsmar currently runs on), less secure, PHP versions.

There are other issues as well, but the bottom line is Elsmar has been online since 1996 and the forums are running on software which is no longer supported.

To do this "upgrade", it will cost me in excess of US$5,000 to US$10,000. It is a complex and complicated change involved with importing all of the old vBulletin into Xenforo - So - I'm asking for donations. The new software will be quite different, but has a lot of nice features - one of which is the ability to start a post and save it as a Draft which you can edit prior to posting it.

If you want Elsmar to continue - To make it 23 years (hopefully more) online, please help. Please donate. The Paypal "Donate" link is in the forum header.

After the change paid advertisements will return and the donate button will go away (or be moved elsewhere for people who want to support Elsmar via a "Contribution").

BTW - I just signed up for Paypal's "Business" account to be able to accept "Donations / Payments". You can also send me money directly using the Paypal transfer - My Paypal "address" is elsmarmarc@gmail.com - "Marc Smith" - "Goods or Services" - This is NOT currently tax deductible... Elsmar is not currently a non-profit organization.



Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
I used PayPal from my smartphone. Never thought would be so easy to send money. A few seconds and a few key strokes and, voilá.


Captain Nice
Staff member
Thanks, Sidney. I'm not a Paypal user normally, but I figured I'd try it. It was easy to set up.


Quite Involved in Discussions
Hi Marc,
Is there any indication of the value of an induvidual donation that would make a difference?


Captain Nice
Staff member
I really hate to suggest - I think a lot of donation "drives" ask for 25 dollars or more, but my limited experience has been that donation requests like this fall on deaf ears in general. For those who are inclined to give, any amount is appreciated.
Let's get real here. The fact of the matter is most of us work for businesses and come here for help to ask/answer questions. Time to hit up the boss for a donation for a place that pays for itself 10,000x. This site was out of commission during my last TS audit and it killed me -- I really needed it.

Come up with a suggested amount?

Individual: $25-$50? Crumbs :)
Company: ??? what do you think.


Captain Nice
Staff member
2 August Update

Donations: It has been a number of years since there has been a "Donate" button" in the forum. It was removed because it was rare (less than once a month) that anyone would actually donate anything. I decided to try one again, specific to the current project, more like a "Fund Raiser" for this project. Over the week that I had the button in the header, 4 people did actually did donate some money for a total of US$175 which I appreciate. I decided to remove it because, in large part, because I felt uncomfortable "begging" for money, and in part because I'm not a fan of Paypal. As it turns out, they are requiring that I link to my bank account to "withdraw" money, which I will not do. I do not want Paypal to have that information.

I have tried to issue refunds to each person who has donated, but keep getting a message: "We can't process any refund at this moment due to technical reasons. Please try again later". I will try again later today, and if that fails again tomorrow.

If you would like to donate to "The Cause" (so to speak):
  • Send a check or money order via Snail Mail. Checks should be made out to Marc Smith and mailed to The Elsmar Fund, c/o Tracey Pratt, 8466 Lesourdsville West Chester Road, West Chester, Ohio 45069

Advertisers: I will be writing each current advertiser in the coming days. Most of the current ones are long time advertisers. However, advertisements on the internet these days - Well, times have changed and many advertisers have trouble determining if there is actually any significant ROI. There is a lot I could write about this aspect of Elsmar, but it would be a long write-up. At this moment I am not sure about the future of advertisements in the forum.

In General: Things are a bit weird in my life right now. As some of you know I have had some medical issues over the last 4 years. And about 18 months ago my mother died after a long illness. To top that off my older brother Chris was just diagnosed with Wikipedia reference-linkMyelodysplastic_syndrome so he hasn't too much time left. Drugs alone are about US$9,000 a month, he has gone through a complete blood transfusion, and nothing is helping

Right now there are a lot of things going on and I'm a bit emotionally drained. I will keep you updated.



Captain Nice
Staff member
OK - Here's a "Weekend Update", so to speak.

Well, I've pretty much recovered from the initial shock. But, when it rains it pours. Oldest sibling (sister Pam) is 75. Quadriplegic/disabled since an auto accident at age 22. Pam fell and broke her hip last Thursday, hip replacement surgery on Friday.

OK - Let' see - Paypal donations. I finally got that solved. I had set up a "company" account. Turns out Paypal doesn't segregate personal and business, so since I don't typically monitor my Paypal account, and rarely use Paypal anyway other than for a few recurrent payments such as server fees, I did not realize that 1. Personal and business accounts are not segregated/separate, and 2. Their method is to "add" incoming money to the single account, but if a payment comes up it draws from my Paypal account balance first until that account has $0.00 and anything over that draws from my credit card. Because a server payment came in, it drew donated money from my Paypal account "balance". To do any refund I would have to link to a bank account, which I don't want to do. Bottom line is donated money had been used. If anyone want's a refund PM me and I'll send you a check.

There are a lot of things to be done, but there is a working "demo" which we are playing with. It's at The Elsmar Cove Discussion Forum Home Page - You can play with it a bit but be aware that it is nowhere near finished. It's just a test of the import function, and of various board functions. I'm linking to it for you to see, but it isn't "skinned" or anything like that, yet, and it will be "erased" and reinstalled when we do the final steps before it goes live. And you will see some problems we have yet to resolve such as truncation of forum names with more than 50 character spaces.

I admit I still have some significant qualms about switching software, but that's another story. We're looking at 2 or 3 months before that happens.

Some of the issues:
2. Forum titles truncate if over 50 characters.

forum title character length, help | XenForo community

3. Enhanced Search - Elasticsearch doesn't work correctly yet.

4. "Gallery embed" - Will/are user vBulletin user picture "Albums" be imported into the Xenforo "Media" or "Resources" modules?

5. Baned emails in adminCP options do not import. Copy to text from vB.

Remove/Turn off "Profile Posts". These totally confuse people who will do a "Profile Post" thinking they are starting/doing a new Forum discussion thread. Granted some people are hoping a specific forum member will answer their question - But it "bugs" forum members to be "personally" asked for help outside of the standard Forum Discussion Threads.

Sidebar in Thread View and other "Public" views such as Forum Thread Listings ("Forum View".)

Is there a "Print Thread" view or option?

Do Smilies import?

Do custom BBCoodes import?

Are vB "Private Messages = to Xenforo "Conversations", and are they imported into Xenforo?

Tags are not showing on threads.

Can attachements be merged/imported into the Xenforo "Resource Manager"? I.e.: What happens to vB (photo) User Albums?

"Keyword in New Post Notifications" special user fields - REMOVE from vB before import because it's for a vB "mod".

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