So I spent several hrs yesterday working with discourse_merger on the most recent beta code v20180828065005 (docker dev, bare dev, modified production to docker dev, a million different environmental settings, etc) only to realize something is broken with it (or with me. Why not both?).
During this experience though I realized something: this ability could become a critical part of the official workflow if it’s simply added to the admin front end next to the “RESTORE” button.
(with a nifty merge icon, not the play icon)
Obviously this would be something to manually turn on in settings (just like restore) + there would need to be a screen that pops up that asks for original URL of the backup that you are merging into the current forum, etc.
But, what this would do would be to formalize the process for migrating existing historical data into working Discourse forums. I think a LOT of people have old mailman listserves, multiple VB4s, etc, that could all use to be ported to Discourse. The problem is that many (most) of the old and new forums share users that can only be identified by unique email and none (hardly any) of the forum importers know how to look for email first before UID matching. discourse_merger solves this but seems impossible to get working correctly. It’s still to beta IMO.
So doing a MERGE in the admin area would allow the following: A forum import (let’s say BBPRESS to DISCOURSE) would happen offline as per usual. This is then verified and tweaked (uploads, user data, etc) and then uploaded to the admin area of a backup production discourse, then merged, verified, and then done live. This would also allow for import services to happen elsewhere and a discourse backup created that is sent to the admin of the forum for them to restore to or merge at will . . .
tldr: can discourse_merged be stabilized and institutionalized as part of the main feature set of the discourse backup and restore process so historical data with duplicate users can be easily migrated from ANY previous forum to existing Discourse forums w/out too much developer experiance?