I've been following this whole 'Bloody Dazah' debate for a while, and have largely resisted from commenting as I was struggling to have anything positive to say. However, having now had a long chat with Dani about Dazah and DaniWeb I have to admit that I've changed my mind with regards to negative thoughts about Dazah and the way DaniWeb integrates with it. Indeed, I'd go so far as to say that I think Dazah will be the saviour of DaniWeb and we should support Dani in her efforts to ensure both have a future.
Dani could easily have just walked away from DaniWeb as it struggles to survive in an environment that has pretty much turned its back on 'niche' support forums like ours in favour of a few quick fix big hitters. She didn't because she actaully cares about the community as much as she does the business side of DaniWeb. That is a fact, and not just me giving someone I've called a friend for more than ten years now a much needed pat on the back. Dazah is where Dani is placing her hopes for the survival of DaniWeb, she isn't turning her back on us and just concentrating on another startup and if/when that takes off will drop us like a hot brick. The goal is for DaniWeb to be part of a bigger 'community of niche communities' and Dazah is the glue that will stick them together. This means that she has had to take the on-boarding approach that she has, and to leverage what already exists with DaniWeb in a way that will ultimately be a platform that allows us to share in any success. The two things are, like it or not, pretty much joined at the hip.
Essentially all one-on-one communication on DaniWeb is now entirely handled by Dazah; DaniWeb private messages are just a DaniWeb-themed UI for Dazah conversations. The same goes for group chat, with many of the Dazah group chats being reskinned on DaniWeb as forum chats.
The idea of an online meetup style system that can hook into multiple communities is a good one, and it could just save our bacon.
I have been involved with online communities since pre-Internet days with FidoNet BBS's and the likes of Micronet and Cix in the UK. I don't think I have ever come across any business owner that actually listens to the people who use the service as much as Dani does, and implements changes based upon those interactions if she thinks it will be of benefit to the community. Sometimes the changes can be divisive, as with the move from a forum structure to a looser tag-based system, or even when the UI has had a colour change for goodness sake. What I'm trying to say is that I truly believe we should cut Dani some slack here, look at her track record with DaniWeb and support her in trying to keep us alive in very difficult times.
Just my tuppence-worth.