I had a login issue, forgotten password, passed number of attempts, required entering a captcha that didn't appear. Registering a new user also didn't work because the mailer for the boards was broken and wasn't sending out validation links.
I don't know how many people that's frustrated over the last five years, but it certainly hasn't helped the FFXIclopedia community, which is now pretty tiny as it is.
Ran in to Tahn in-game the other week and he pointed me in the direction of Wikia Staff, who after a while got back to me. Bert@Wikia sorted my login issue and reactivated the facility for new users to join. However, he also mentioned that we, as a community, would have to think about the future of these forums, as they are non-standard. Anyhow, enough with the paraphrasing - here's the text of his e-mail in full:
Bert Hall wrote:Hi Haldarn,
Thanks for confirming the old email.
I have set the forum account's email address to firstname.lastname@example.org
We were also able to restore the mailer function to the forum, so it should be possible for new members to create accounts there.
I am glad to hear that you're interested in talking about the future of the forum, since I have also been giving that some thought lately and doing a little investigation.
Regarding the current forum:
It's an installation of phpBB that Wikia began hosting when we acquired the wiki in the 2000's. At the time it was a bit unusual, I suppose. But in 2016 this is really the only example of such a case. We no longer host content that's not based on MediaWiki or other software that we've built and commonly use.
At some point in the future -- no specific date, but it will eventually happen -- we will stop hosting the phpBB forum.
So we should discuss what that means.
The options would be:
-Do nothing, and the forum (and its content) is simply gone when we stop hosting it
-You (or someone else that is not Wikia) could secure hosting elsewhere and we can help move the forum (and all its content) to that host. The domain structure, user list, etc, could remain the same as now. This would likely come at a cost to someone, just as Wikia incurs a cost to host the forum now. phpBB has some suggested hosts on their site.
Unfortunately it is not an option to migrate the forum's content onto Wikia itself. The Special:Forum feature is not set up to accept imported content, and we are planning on retiring that feature eventually as well.
The replacement for Special:Forum is a feature still in development, called Discussions. It works in conjunction with Wikia's mobile apps and his highly mobile compatible in web browsers (which is a deficiency of Special:Forum).
Discussions is in beta on a few communities, including the Final Fantasy Wiki. You can see it there: http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/d/f
and read more about the feature's current functions at http://community.wikia.com/wiki/Help:Discussions
Don't get too excited though, because while we will migrate content from all Special:Forums on Wikia to Discussions, before removing Special:Forum, it's not going to be possible for us to migrate the phpBB forum content to Discussions. So your options for that forum remain as outlined above.
Regarding http://ffxiclopedia.wikia.com/ and having conversations hosted there, with the same Wikia user accounts, etc:
Right now the best option would be to use Special:Forum. As I said, anything there will eventually be migrated to Discussions, after some further feature development.
We're not quite ready to offer Discussions to all wikis just yet, so if you wanted to "start fresh" with Discussions, you may need to wait a few more months.
There is lots there, sorry for the wall of text, but I wanted you to have all of the information possible.
In summary, I see that there are two questions:
-What to do about the existing forum
-When (or if) to enable a Wikia-made conversation feature on ffxiclopedia, and if so, which one
How these choices are made is for you and your community to decide.
Please let me know if you have any questions at all, I am happy to help.
Director, Wikia Community Support
Personally, I'm all for dropping this entirely and moving to Special:Forum (with a full migration to Discussions when that feature is ready) and Category:Blog Posts. I'd like the other forum and site users to weigh in on this this week, especially Cemalidor (I can fully understand that you don't want to lose 200x blog posts, but the format here may make it a reasonable small copy/paste/replace job to put them en-masse into a Special:Forum format).
The private member hosting phpBB is a debate of functionality+cost vs integration+persistence. I would ask that we get some kind of dump of these forums that can be made available to anyone who does want to keep a working zombie open for historical purposes.
My goal for all this is to rebuild an FFXI community here at FFXIclopedia for the twilight years of FFXI. Currently, communication between wiki users, editors and content creators is negligible and relegated to User Talk pages. I hope you all feel the same!