Someone exploited a weakness in phpbb and overwrote the forum configuration and deleted the forums. The RSS feed I used to monitor the forums did not appear out of order, so I never noticed any problems. In the meantime, the rolling database backup continued to back up the corrupted configuration, so the data is no longer easily available.
The next step would be to go to the tape backups to try and find the last good version of the database. I could do that, but I am not inclined to do so.
I can count on one, maybe two hands the number of folks who have come by with real questions about maintaining vintage arcade video games - certainly when compared to the avelanche of off-topic postings and spam the forums were filled with. Perhaps it's my fault for not making clear that the forums were about vintage arcade video games rather than PC and home console games, but that certainly doesn't excuse the childish vandalism that brought us where we are now.
So, in short, I'm not going to go rooting through the tape library for the old database. I'm not going to upgrade the phpbb code in the hope that the script kiddies won't find a way to shit all over it again. No, this page is it.
Some useful links: