At the moment I’m doing volunteer work for a project, this project has a website with their project on it and a forum. The project it self had some help of professional developers to kickstart the project. But the forum was just an little extra until this year, they wanted to make the forum relevant and make it so that scientists can talk to one and other. There different layers in this project like I said Scientists, IT, Developers, volunteers for administration and filling up the project itself. This is the background what you basically needs to understand later on in the story (not this part) I will talk more about the project itself. The heads of the departments talked to me to setup a forum (at this point no choice made what script to use) and I gave a basic rundown what was out there and at what price or free. The free versions they did not like that much so I setout the following, vBulletin, Woltlab, Xenforo and Invision Powered Service. A few of the team thought that those scripts could not be altered if needed or that it was all closed source that you could not access. So I explained that this was not the case and that you could view and alter the script itself if needed. But I also explained that a lot could be done by making add-ons at this point the knew enough to look further into the above scripts. vBulletin: I explained that this script was cheap to use but it lacked development at the same level as the other three scripts. I also said that a lot of people went to other scripts the other 3 scripts. So this one was taken of the list very fast. Woltlab: I said it was developed in Germany and it was a good scripts but that I did not know everything of this script and that it was be going to a learning curve for me as well. I also said that I did not know enough about the add-ons and that they were primarily German based. We talked and put it on the side for the time being. IPS: This was the first one they really liked we talked about it but they needed more information. So I typed a story about it and explained in a meeting what sort of script it was. That it had enough potential to run everything that was needed and more if needed. This one was on the shortlist for sure. Xenforo: Same as IPS explained how and what and they really liked it, they thought it was better looking as IPS. So this was another one they liked and it also made the shortlist. They thought it had enough add-ons and the liked the styles same as IPS. What did I do next: Well next I thought we need an estimate so we know how much we needed to spend. But in the start I had to deal with two people the first one liked IPS and the other Xenforo. So now it get interesting what do you do in this case, both have the power to make a choice. The IPS person was the first one that I made an estimate for with the following from IPS, Pages, Forum, Blog and Commerce. Also thought of a style and add-ons that we might need later on, like better mod tools, spam fighting etc. the bill was around 800 to 850 dollars. Then the other head had a meeting with me and he was asking all sort of stuff. Like how hard I it to setup and maintain etc what about if I get sick do I train other people (yes I do else I need to do it alone). This person looked at both IPS and Xenforo but I liked Xenforo better then IPS on looks alone. So he asked me to make an estimate for Xenforo but not for the official add-ons. So I made that and it was around 500 dollars including add-ons that you’ll need and to fight spam etc. So I thought the estimate was good but I made an error I forgot a style/theme so it was 535 dollars to start it up. Later we talked trough Hangouts and we made a choice that we where going for Xenforo instead of IPS because we thought it was looking better but also I was more comfortable working with it, so training was going to be easier for me. Training was first an administrator but now also includes a few moderators. Not really a big deal I only need to write more stuff down for them. At the end of the meeting we also needed to solve document that where written for the project and we thought of Google docs to Z but in the end it was to expensive to do it online because a solution we saw was 10 dollars a user. The person that was talking for Xenforo from the start said at the end of the meeting make an estimate for everything form Xenforo and get the add-ons you want so I did I am now at the 900 dollar mark because we now need to pay TAX/VAT for some goods. If we did not need to pay TAX/VAT we would have come to the 800 to 850 dollars the same as IPS. The all ready had the niche so I did not have to think of one I just rolled in all this but the forum is going to be mine responsibility, I need to set it up make sure everything works and if it could be done in April because the have a fund raiser. I have said that I most likely are not going to make that deadline because some of the stuff needs to be setup from ground up but I will try my best. I am now thinking of making sure spam detection is working 100%, user groups are 100% done and we have the forums for the first guests. After that I am going to setup the rest of the add-ons and I hope volunteers are going to help really fast. What I did: Tell about the forum scripts Make Estimates Pick add-ons What I still need to do: Making User Groups people may read with scientists but normal user may not respond as example (still Work in Progress) Finding a style/theme found it at PixelExit (we needed a dark/light theme) I also need to Setup Social Media (this is going to be fun) So it’s basically a new start in a new niche for me and waiting that they bought the domain (they do not want it hosted on the project itself) and webhosting plus the scripts I need. But this is basically how you talk to people that want to start a forum they only point is that this story is developing this week. If you have pointers or remarks please post them, if enough people like this I will post follow ups. I cant reveal the project at this time but maybe later on.