I have a fairly big decision to make.
A user of the old forums, who under a username (not easily associated with their real name), is demanding all of their posts be removed but this is
a) costly to do (likely at least £300 but can easily be double that for Ruby on Rails developer time, and if any issues arise can easily cost over £1000 - given the amount of money lost in recent years and how we’re barely covering running costs, I don’t have this kind of money)
b) also a lot of work to do and ensure the entire site doesn’t break in the process.
This is not the first time a request like this has happened (and it’s not totally unjustified and I totally sympathise - however the forums weren’t built with the ability to delete all your posts) and I’m starting to think that I may have to delete the entire old forums, which would mean a big bit of our history being removed and a huge amount of traffic we rely on for advertising income would be gone. This would make it incredibly hard to keep the rest of the site online (1000s of reviews and features), with donations just about keeping these forums active.
I feel like deleting the entire forums and potentially the entire site because of a few (like 1 or 2 per year) is overkill but I just wanted to see how people felt about this in principle as perhaps I have far more attachment to the site due to spending my entire adult life doing it and deleting it all feeling pretty unbearable.
I haven’t had much time to look into or think about alternatives (been working 9 day weeks a lot recently and doing far too many 12 hour days so totally exhausted) but should the old forums stay or burn them down?