this time i was successful, thanks in large part to the development of the sql/mysql/upgrades file.
however one thing that was missing from it, that i added was the line:
INSERT into users_hits (uid) select uid from users;
which was the last touch to ensure that previous users were imported.
the rest was fairly straight forward, with various tinkering needed, but nothing too serious. outside of the obvious; which is ensuring proper configuration (especially of topics and sections), the main thing i'm going to focus on now is the use of sections and subsections. i'm hoping this will allow me to collapse a few slash sites into one.