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Old 02-28-2009, 04:33 AM   #1
Restorations done right
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1962 26' Overlander
1961 26' Overlander
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where have all the the good times gone?

I was talking with a close friend about a thread. He told me that he does not "do the Airforums anymore" He has lost interest in it due to the negativity he experiences. He sees it most prevalent in the WBCCI threads. This is kind of a shame, for he is well known in the Airstream community and very active in promoting the hobby as a whole. I realized another close friend never posts comments anymore and asked him why. His response was "why bother, everyone has their mind made up anyhow". I started thinking about this and realized all the members that use to participate and no longer do. When I became a member, there were some major restorations going on. Some of those threads evolved into hundreds of posts and are referred to often. But their authors are gone. They rarely post anything now. As of right now there are 31,128 members. That number will change quickly for people join everyday, but the number never reflects those that have stopped participating. I will not state any names of those that are no longer here, most know a few, some know of many. On my friends list, almost half have not participated by posting in over four months. I read a great deal about how poorly the WBCCI handles membership retention. Perhaps they are not the only ones with this problem. I wonder where all the good guys have gone. I wonder why they left.

I realize the thoughts I just laid out there are going to anger some of you. That is alright. Try and just keep the anger focused. If you feel the need to lash out please do it in a PM so this thread can become constructive and perhaps create a solution in the end.

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Old 02-28-2009, 04:44 AM   #2
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Everything that we do in life evolves. Some folks are stuck in the past and cannot change. Others have new interests. Lead, follow, or get out of the way. But, please don't whine. I believe that the forums have become better than ever. The true voice of most Airstreamers.


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Old 02-28-2009, 05:06 AM   #3
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When you first join this - or any- forum, everything is new and there is a lot to learn. It's all interesting. Then after a while you see the same questions repeated over and over from newer members. Stay on a forum long enough and you realize there is a limit to most of what people want or need to know. There are just so many ways to fix a floor or just so many choices of tires and brake controllers. This is not to say there isn't some new information from time to time, there just less new to you the longer you're here.

But that's just the way it is here or on any forum. I'm still going to hang around here (and the other forums I'm on) for the gem that comes up once in a while. I don't care about some threads, so I don't read them.
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Old 02-28-2009, 06:30 AM   #4
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Arrow Forum Fatigue

Well ,well Frank.
What took you so long?
You better believe and you are so right about the absence of a few good men. (and perhaps women too). But they have been disappearing for many many years.
Heck look at the disappearance in Moderators. Not that that is all bad.
I asked about it one time and got a quick curt little reply that answered nothing really.
As for the large membership numbers, that is pure rubbish, as far as any indicator of any real value. I have my suspicions why this is set up that way. Just a marketing tool. And who knows what is getting marketed?
You are forced to become a member to do any searching on the forums, and many do, never intending nor rarely if ever coming back.

  • Pure yip-yap threads about mundane and non (or near non) germane matters just annoy many I suppose.
  • Thread hijackings are all too prevalent.
Better moderation would help but not eliminate these.

  • Wally club arguments abound (but I rather enjoy them as a non-member). It is easy not to read them. And I often don't. So what ?.... as long as the subject is isolated into a particular sub-forum.
  • Lots of condescension from the staff and the "veteran sages" at times probably spooks some away.
    Just goes with volunteer leadership, unfortunate but usually unavoidable.
The main and greatest fallacy with the forums is that we are some sort of family or community. oh perhaps figuratively, but in reality as I have posted before, this is nothing more than a business.
When some of us rally, it is not sanctioned, there is no insurance nor any other perk furnished by the forum. Maybe there would be some advantage for members here to organize an "Air Club" separate from the forums. Maybe not.

We (members) have no say-so nor vote in how and when things happen around here. And we all agreed to just that when we joined up.
This is not a "club" despite the illusion of such with the Air Numbers and stickers. And that's just fine with me. Except... for my "big bang" theory.
That is we could all tune in one day and find that like the Rocky Mountain News, that this is all going away. Bang it's gone.

The 3 greatest needs here are in my opinion:
1. A continuity group who would explore and implement ways to preserve forever the data and archives here.
2. An indexing position(s) who would be moderator(s) whose job would be to re-arrange, re-title, tie-together by subject and generally organize the sprawl that is racing out of control. I know this would be a monumental task at this stage, but it will never be any easier.
3. A membership committee to better classify and keep up with ...members.Much improvement could be done by just defaulting more info to join in the first place. Everyone should have to ID their location (at least the state) and their Airstream model and floor-plan. Everyone should have to allow forwarded e-mail as long as they were members. A snail mailing address should be strongly encouraged but not absolute at registration. (not made public of course)

Do I ever expect these improvements? No.
Do I expect that eventually this will all disappear..BANG? Yes
When? sooner than later sadly.
Am I gonna lose my health worrying about it? Not likely.

I lost interest and left for a few years and then came back only to be amazed at the "growth" and the loss. It is very frustrating when a good question or topic is driven off the main portal by the rise of so many innane subjects, or when you only get part of an answer, or promise to "get back" with an answer or update never come to pass.
However I have decided and learned to roll with the flow around here.
I am considering another hiatus just because of the time I consume reading and following the forum. Way too much. But it is a hard habit to kick and I learn (or refresh) something each day I visit. Albeit often from the archives. I will say during the years I was absent, I didn't miss it at all, although I signed in a few times with no posting to find some tip I had seen before. In most of these cases I had lots of trouble finding what I thought I remembered being here.
____ d'drummer ____

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Old 02-28-2009, 07:14 AM   #5
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Just a little suggestion, not one of the major concerns in my life right now, but searching for a member can be a little tedious. Most of the members listed are inactive and have not posted at all or just a post or 2 with no posts for years. Purging the membership list of say members who have not posted in, say, a year would, and have only a few posts, I think, would be a good idea.

By the way, like it or not, I plan to be around for a while.
Sail on silver girl. Sail on by. Your time has come to shine.
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Old 02-28-2009, 08:37 AM   #6
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I hadn't noticed a disappearance of moderators, myself...except perhaps for myself. The last few months, I've been very busy at work, so I haven't had as much time to play here. As of today, my job has become extremely un-busy. So maybe you'll start to see a lot more of me.
Then again, maybe I'm suffering from a little "forum fatique", too. It always gets a little "slow" in the wintertime around here...seems maybe a little bit moreso this year, undoubtedly due to the economy.

anyway, as to your 3 "needs"...the first 2 are already being done...all the time. For number 3...I don't understand. Why do we "need" that? everyone is free to provide that info, if they want. Maybe they don't want to be so "public". I don't think its a good idea to force anyone to do that, if it makes them uncomfortable, and discourages new membership.
But hey, thats just my opinion.
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Old 02-28-2009, 08:58 AM   #7
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I can understand 62Overlander's concern, and I share it to a certain extent. There are some posters that I really enjoy hearing from, who either spend much less time here than they used to, or don't come by at all anymore. I sometimes lament the loss of their interesting views and ideas, as well as their expertise in various areas of Airstream ownership, use, and restoration.

But there are some valid responses to 62O's original post.

I think there is a lot of excitement associated with obtaining your first Airstream or, if you're a longtime Airstream-owner, there is a lot of excitement associated with finding these Forums for the first time and discovering you have access to a vast amount of information. For many new members, there is an initial flurry of activity involved in reading all of the restoration threads, finding your first Airstream, and doing some renovation work on it, or if it's a newer model, doing some decorating and finding out how to use all of the systems.

But eventually new members learn a lot more, and they find they have less to learn from the "old hands." They tend to spend less time talking about, and more time camping in, their silver beauties. Some of these folks stick around and pass on their knowledge to the next group. Others might experience "forum fatigue" and fade away.

And I do think there is a certain segment of former "regulars" who are turned off by the political nature of some of the activity on the boards. The frequent bickering about the WBCCI is a turn-off to some, especially those who really like their club, and are constantly reading slams on it coming from people who are not only NOT members, but who have never participated in a single WBCCI event. Sure, you can elect not to read those threads, but people are naturally going to read about a club they love, and they are naturally going to get upset by seeing the incessant attacks on it. And please note, I am NOT a member of the WBCCI, and even I get annoyed by the slams from people who have never even attended a WBCCI event and base their opinions solely on what they have read here. I consider the opinions of former WBCCI members who have left the club for their own reasons to be much more insightful.

Also, sometimes it seems that various commercial vendors are treated differently. Some are allowed more leeway with respect to solicitation than others. I understand that the moderators are volunteers and can't possibly monitor this at all times. I've been a message board owner, operator, and moderator in the past, and it's not an easy job at all, especially when your pay is $0. But still, some people are turned off that some vendors appear to get away with more than others do.

But ultimately, I think it is mostly related to the cyclical nature of new members being excited about a new find (either their first Airstream, or the first finding of this forum), learning new skills and becoming inspired by the restoration/renovation work of others, and then becoming more expert and not needing the new information as much.

Personally, I think these Forums are still quite valuable, and quite entertaining. A year ago I knew absolutely nothing about Airstreams. Now I'm over halfway through a frame-up restoration on my coach, hopefully I'll be camping in the next month or so, and I owe it all to the people and information I've found on these forums.

I still go back and read most of the "Major Renovation" threads at least once every couple of months, and I learn something new every time I do so. And I've learned so much that I'm now able to help newer members when they come on the Forums with questions-- the same questions I had a year ago, or 6 months ago, or last week. I like being able to give back to the Forums, because I have gotten so much from them.

That's just one man's opinion, and now it's time to get out there and work on my trailer.


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Old 02-28-2009, 09:00 AM   #8
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Thanks to the evolution of the 2.0 web and the web tools, we all have the ability to create blogs much easier now and I think this has attributed to some of that information moving off the forums. I myself follow a dozen or so restoration blogs that I found referred to here on the forum originally.

The forum is a treasure trove of info and contacts and I'm glad its here. I think when Spring hits...everyone will start to motivate again.
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:44 AM   #9
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As a relative newbie I feel the need to add to this.
I had no idea that this site existed until about six months ago. I came across it by accident a couple of times while searching for a trailer to buy. After I found my Safari the PO told me what this site is about and it was then that I started looking into it for other content. It is truly amazing, the amount and variety of info available here!
Like most newbies, I had to learn how to do things in the community, like posting and starting a thread, etc. The people who gave me guidance were very gentle about it for the most part, which made my start here rather easy. I have read in some threads where people were kind of snapped at for posting unrelated material or asking questions that were answered in some other thread. It really is a HUGE turn-off for this to happen to a newbie, and it's unnecessary. It is a fact of life, IMHO, that there will be new people coming here who need guidance to get started. I think it would be a benefit to have some kind of tutorial on how to use the site, that would play when you sign up, rather than expecting a newbie to start here by reading and learning the rules of the site. I would guess that a lot of members started out by jumping into the threads right off bat.
As with any community there are ALL KINDS of people here, some great communicators, and some others. In reading through old threads, I have noticed that some members who were recently very active have dropped out of site, most noticeably, 2air, who's comments are perhaps legendary here. I for one, have noticed a hole where he used to be. I expect that he was turned off or worn out by the activity here, or had less time available to come here, which is a normal occurance for a lot of folks, I'm sure. But just as some disappear, others come along with new questions, advice and comments to help keep things fresh here, such as utee94 and ts8501, and myself.
It seems to me that the current economy has played a part in this as well. I used to have more time to indulge in this kind of fun, until recently. I'm sure others are experiencing this to a greater or lesser extent right now also.
Regarding "thread hijacking". I have a hard time with people complaining about that. I have seen some threads where the "hijacker" made a thread come alive again and got people interested again, which is, to me, way more important than the purity of the content. If it brings a thread back up to where people can see it, it will also get people reading it again, which is not a bad thing. There are sometimes obviously "off topic" postings made, and they are sometimes followed by irate postings by offended individuals. It would help the whole community if there was some guidance for members on how to react to this situation when it comes up. For some people it takes one bad experience early on, and we will never hear from them again, which is a loss to all of us. A gentle teaching moment without condecension is what I see lacking in some of these situations.
I also want to say that there are some members (and moderators) who are really great communicators here. I really like reading utee94, canoestream, goransons, and many others, too numerous to list here. I want to thank them for making this site what it is.
One more idea. As a community which is trying to maintain membership or grow it, I would humbly suggest that a sent invitation is more likely to elicit a positive response than a posting left out for someone to find. What I'm getting at is this; If you want to include more people in events and such, it would be effective to search out those who MIGHT be interested by sending invitations via e-mail to, say, everyone in a geographic area, or whatever type of grouping would be most effective. I really think it would be a positive step toward building this community up, and making it more inclusive.
Sorry if I've offended anyone, but it's bound to happen sometime.
Happy streaming, Rich
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:30 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by VIKING View Post
Regarding "thread hijacking". I have a hard time with people complaining about that. I have seen some threads where the "hijacker" made a thread come alive again and got people interested again, which is, to me, way more important than the purity of the content. If it brings a thread back up to where people can see it, it will also get people reading it again, which is not a bad thing. There are sometimes obviously "off topic" postings made, and they are sometimes followed by irate postings by offended individuals. It would help the whole community if there was some guidance for members on how to react to this situation when it comes up.
I don't want to sound condescending here but Rich there is a hell of a difference between a Thread Hijack and a Thread Bump. I think you have them confused.

Originally Posted by VIKING View Post
I also want to say that there are some members (and moderators) who are really great communicators here. I really like reading utee94, canoestream, goransons, and many others, too numerous to list here. I want to thank them for making this site what it is.
Lord I'm crushed.. I'll just assume I'm in the too numerous crowd.

And as for 2-Air:
My sincere guess is that any of the Moderators could easily explain his disappearance. I seriously doubt that he left of his own free will.
____ d'drummer ____

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Old 02-28-2009, 12:53 PM   #11
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I think Forum Fatigue is a big part of it plus once you've learned most of what you need to know, there's less reason to participate. I also think a lot of people read, but rarely post. Not everyone likes writing or is very good at it. I taught at a couple of colleges for a few years and I know a lot of people can't write very well at all.

I think some people leave because it gets addictive and there are other things to do, like have a life.

I doubt 2air left because he was asked to. I know he could irritate people at times, mostly because he was speaking his truth and was better informed, but there are more irritating people who are still around.

Originally Posted by Distantdrummer View Post
Lord I'm crushed.. I'll just assume I'm in the too numerous crowd.
Am I "too numerous"? Irritating? Narcissitic? Need a hobby?

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Old 02-28-2009, 12:57 PM   #12
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Veering from a thread's original intent happens. Everyone is happier when mods avoid being authoritarian. Severe hijacking sometimes is moved to its own thread and sometimes dealt with by a comment (thanks for yours a week ago D'drummer!). We'll always look to support the 'Be Nice' rule. And we do aim to message anyone who has had a thread or post altered -- this does take place privately and not meant to be sneaky. In the lower left corner of each post there is a triangle sign to report a problem with a post -- that can be a better solution than gawking when BVDs have blown off the clothesline.

Off topic posts are a well accepted aspect of Air Forums. None of us constantly talk Airstreams at rally campfires after all. I don't see a joke forum on Open Roads but you do see these at a lot of online forums. We have a Fun & Games subforum in which many members participate. It took us too far from Airstreams when those posts began taking up a quarter or more of all new postings displayed on the portal page. With participants' cooperation these were made invisible on the portal page.

WBCCI threads are accepted here because a venue for some of the topics certainly might not be available elsewhere. Every one of makes choices on what to read as guided by our individual interests.

Good point Gene. I'll use 2air's name in the present tense -- he is a valuable contributor here and has my respect. Take that from someone who'd tangle with him over tow capacity, GCWR and payload 4+ years back -- a highly regarded mod had to delete some of our name calling. I've mellowed... 2air has chosen not to post for a few months now. I'll respect his privacy and not speculate. I'd welcome him back.

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Old 02-28-2009, 01:14 PM   #13
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Have all the good times gone?

Huh:All the good times are still here.There is a lot of good Airstream information and history here on the Air Forums.
Do I get mad at the Air Forums and some of the moderaters and want to quit? YOU BET.
Could the Air Forums be better? YES
Does the WBCCI take a beating here? THAT IS FOR SURE.
Much of it they have coming and some not.BUT to much of the criticism is made by NON-MEMBERS that I feel have no right to complain.
Maybe the WBCCI sub forum should be removed from the Air Forums and left to the WBCCI web site.
Are some threads started that are not Airstream related and become/are to political? Yes Sir. The moderators should stop them at the start.
Are threads some times hijacked or get off subject? I guess. But the moderators should be able to keep them on track.
Over all this is a good web site to find Airstream information.Some times there is even a good political argument that might not belong here.But I do like them political ones,I sure can upset some folks on them with my answers.
Jimmini :
AKA : TUMBLEWEED. Just an old buzzard with a itch to yonder.
Cowboys have a way of looking at things a little differently than most folks.Their wisdom is simple and more down to earth.
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Old 02-28-2009, 03:17 PM   #14
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This new guy thinks the Forums are great, I have learned much and have had great help from 99% friendly peolple. Sure there are a few jerks but thats with anything we do and you just have to deal with them like you would anywhere else, be polite and move on.
Spring is on the way and hopefully we can all get out and enjoy our silver homes we love so much.
Remember one thing, new people are joining everyday and we were all new people once...we all come here for the same reasons...advise, common interests, friendships, and a good political debate evey now and again.
Keep on telling me all those great stories about all the great places we get to visit in our Airstreams...send those pictures in, we love'um
Thanks for having me

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