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Old 06-19-2009, 05:39 AM   #1
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New WBCCI forums - miss the mark?

In the latest of things that WBCCI probably should NOT do to help itself, the newly created forums, which will be presented at the International Rally in Madison, is going to be hosted on a site that is not owned or operated by the WBCCI. In fact – it will be on a site belonging to a commercial vendor that has zero responsibility or ties to WBCCI. Well, he is a member of WBCCI – at least that much.
Looking at these new forums, located at forum.vintage-airstream.com, it is apparent that a lot or work has gone into upgrading things. But it also appears that not much thought was given to the multitude of issues that can and inevitably will arise from NOT hosting those forums on a site that is owned, managed and controlled by the WBCCI. You can’t see the forums just yet, but you can see a preview at WBCCI Forums.

Consider things like Identity, backup issues, loss of data or the forums itself. What if the vendor goes out of business? What if???? I think these questions were not thought of. But if they were, they were discarded as unimportant. Charlie Burke, who is heading up the new forums project states that this all occurred with the Executive Committee’s acceptance. But I do not think they knew the whole story.
Having been one who for a short time at least, was on the committee to institute these new forums I have nothing but disappointment for the direction that these forums have taken with respect to the hosting and taking the cheapest route possible. Hosting them as a sub domain on a commercial vendor’s site offers nothing towards the identity of WBCCI. It is just a sub domain… It further lowers the WBCCI’s standing in the RV community.

I still believe that there is time to correct this situation. I think that given the choice, the WBCCI could alter course before it’s too late and get a domain name and server space and put a forums where they should be – under the direct and complete control of the WBCCI.

And for that I am willing to try right here and now to help them – I am offering FREE of endorsements, sponsor links, fees dues or recompense OF ANY KIND to host the new forums under a site that is owned by WBCCI. And if it can’t be on WBCCI.org, no problem – I have purchased the domain name WBCCIforums.Org and I will GIVE that to the WBCCI free of charge, endorsements, sponsor links, fees dues or recompense OF ANY KIND so that the new forums can be hosted on a site that is owned and controlled by WBCCI. This offer is such that if WBCCI wanted, they could also transfer WBCCI.Org to the same server space and start maintaining that for, freeing them from OTS and saving the club $3000 per year. These items I am giving to WBCCI if they will take it. FREE! The domain name is all set up and the server space is sitting and waiting. Check it out for yourself…. http://wbcciforums.org.

I am just a WBCCI member who is concerned that the WBCCI leadership should really consider the implications of hosting such a valuable asset off site and out from it’s direct control when it doesn’t have to. These new forums SHOULD be under the WBCCI umbrella, not parked away on some sub domain on a site not in any way related to the organization.

I believe wbcci.org is the best place to host the forums, but if it can't be done - WBCCIforums.Org is a far better choice than a name which is misleading at best, will confuse many members (hey, is this a vintage site I am going to?) and eventually will have to be moved to WBCCI’s site sooner or later. Why take a chance at losing all of that data? Let’s make the right move NOW. Either park those forums at WBCCI.org or move them to a web site that the WBCCI can own right now for zero cost.

Let’s fix this now! Want more information; see the full story at SaveWally.org.
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Old 06-19-2009, 07:51 AM   #2
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Ah, if I'm not mistaken, WBCCI.org is also hosted by a commercial hosting company:

Michigan Colocation, Co-location, Collocation, Dedicated Server Hosting, Michigan SAS-70 Data Center and Michigan Disaster Recovery

But that's not usual. Most sites are hosted commercially; it is much cheaper than having one's own server.


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Old 06-19-2009, 09:18 AM   #3
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Tim, this is so sad that this club is making such bad choices!
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Old 06-19-2009, 09:49 AM   #4
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Question

Well I am not a member of the WBCCI so I almost never comment on anything related to it. I do occasionally ask a question or two however.

I will say that good contractors most often avoid building things they hope will last on sands, (shifting or otherwise).
Also I have wondered what ever became of Charlie Burke. Nice to see him mentioned. Apparently he never found much use for this Air Forum which I think he did join years back. Seems he used to be a service mgr. at some AS-RV house in Montana or Idaho. Hope he is well.

Now my questions;
First there was the VAC (the vintage sub-groups "forum" or bulletin board) and then there was the VAL (vintage airstream list) which came about when the WBCCI found the VAC to be too much trouble (is that right?).

What has happened to the VAL?
Seems a guy in Texas named Tom Patterson kept it all organized. What became of him and that endeavor?
Oddly if I recall correctly Patterson did not own an Airstream but a Silver Streak or SOAB (some other aluminum body).

Is the new WBCCI forum a Vintage (sub) Club forum or the Main Club's Forum?
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Old 06-19-2009, 10:07 AM   #5
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I don't understand the WBCCI's needs to have their own forum, I feel this will just divide the Airstream community even more. We host this public WBCCI forum here and have 9 private forums where members of individual chapters can talk in private. AIR does forums well, we have a proven track record and I think we are THE place to meet online. The WBCCI should stay focused on doing rallies well, being THE club of Airstream owners. Maybe I am defensive because this forums has years of hard work into it but how would the WBCCI feel if AIR announced it was going to formalize and become a club to compete with WBCCI. I have offered to help them over the years but never heard back, I gave up. I think they should stick to being a club, to helping Airstreamers caravan around the world (dropped the ball with Cape Town), to focus on modernizing their events so they appeal to a broader demographic, etc. It seems like all this forum stuff is just an excuse to try and fix something that's not broken. If member numbers are slipping look at the chapters that are growing and find out why. It's not becuase those chapters have a forum, it's because those chapters have fun.
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Old 06-19-2009, 10:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Distantdrummer View Post
Well I am not a member of the WBCCI so I almost never comment on anything related to it. I do occasionally ask a question or two however.

I will say that good contractors most often avoid building things they hope will last on sands, (shifting or otherwise).
Also I have wondered what ever became of Charlie Burke. Nice to see him mentioned. Apparently he never found much use for this Air Forum which I think he did join years back. Seems he used to be a service mgr. at some AS-RV house in Montana or Idaho. Hope he is well.

Now my questions;
First there was the VAC (the vintage sub-groups "forum" or bulletin board) and then there was the VAL (vintage airstream list) which came about when the WBCCI found the VAC to be too much trouble (is that right?).

What has happened to the VAL?
Seems a guy in Texas named Tom Patterson kept it all organized. What became of him and that endeavor?
Oddly if I recall correctly Patterson did not own an Airstream but a Silver Streak or SOAB (some other aluminum body).

Is the new WBCCI forum a Vintage (sub) Club forum or the Main Club's Forum?
dd,

The Vintage Airstream List is still alive, the activity varies from day to day. Tom Patterson does have a Silver Streak and is kind enough to host the email list on his site. I find it very useful for vintage airstream advise. In addition, Hunter Hampton has an Airstream group on Yahoo, I find of value also.

Bill
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Old 06-20-2009, 07:48 AM   #7
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Generally, I prefer forums that aren't run by the organization they are about, such as this site.

Why? Because I've heard of waaaay too many cases where the organization in question doesn't like some topic and can have it deleted. This happens all the time in software and hardware forums, for example. It's much better to have a third party running the forum - yes, the organization can still apply pressure ("we'll no longer let our employees post useful information here!"), but it's much harder, and the forum owner at least has a choice to resist the pressure.

Also, let's face it: the leadership of WBCCI are probably not experts on running forums. In that situation, it makes more sense to contract it out. There are too many security concerns, spammer concerns, and the like to encourage someone that doesn't know what they're doing to run a forum. (And, yes, I run my own forum and have had to deal with those concerns.)
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Old 06-20-2009, 08:23 AM   #8
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But its the fact that Tim offered to give the WBCCI a FREE url, and offered to help in anyway he could. Now the forums are in the hands of a vendor. Watch this.... try going to Airstream < Airstream Campers | Vintage-Airstream.com this is the region 3 website....or I should say...was.
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Old 06-20-2009, 08:35 AM   #9
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Tim-

Thanks for bringing up an interesting point for discussion. I was unaware of this development and will sit back and enjoy the ensuing exchange of opinion!
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Old 06-20-2009, 08:51 AM   #10
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Thanks Dallas - I am just looking out for what I believe is in the best interest of the WBCCI. I am concerned that this is a bad move and I am saying so.
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Old 06-20-2009, 09:17 AM   #11
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I'm not trying to be the goofball here, but I just don't see the problem with hosting forums (or website or whatever) with a commercial hosting site. A couple of notes here:

1. Hosting a forum (or whatever) with a commercial server does not suggest that the commercial outfit is in any sense running the forum. Most commercial outfits just rent you the space on the server, and you do whatever you want: In the case of a forum, you can use your own administrators/moderators, use volunteers, whatever tickles your fancy.

2. What you get from a decent commercial outfit is a commitment to keeping the server up to date (recent programming languages, for example), to doing regular backups in case of failure, to offering good and informative support to customers, and to keeping prices/offerings under control in a competitive environment.

3. If the WBCCI were to try to go it alone by having its own server, I'd be the first to howl with protest about wasting members' money. Servers aren't cheap, nor is hiring somebody to look after them.

Again, most sites (forums, websites, blogs, whatever) are on rented server space someplace. The current main WBCCI site is no exception.


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Old 06-20-2009, 09:20 AM   #12
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I probably shouldn't even comment as we were members for seven years, but dropped out six or seven years ago... but I really see this as once again the club doing too little too late.

Rather than being leaders in club communications, they're once again stragglers. Some ten years after it should have been in place, and both members and prospective members expected a web communications presence, they're finally introducing one. But there are very few folks are looking any longer.

And as far as WBCCI seeing Air rallies as competition... that's just another example of short-sightedness on their part. Having attended both over the years, the only thing that they have in common is that the folks who show up have Airstreams. There's room for all kinds of rallies out there, and they're not in competition. Today's world is so busy that in order for anyone to succeed at anything, inclusiveness is the word to adhere to. Exclusiveness, on the other had, is the harbinger of doom for an organization. Exclusiveness has largely lost its appeal in polite society, but the WBCCI clings to exclusivity to it's very core.

The future for the WBCCI (if it has a future) is in cooperative relationships that foster interests from a much wider audience, and unfortunately the history of the club leadership has a proven lengthy track record of not being very good at forming those, even with it's own membership.

It will be interesting to watch as this develops.

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Old 06-20-2009, 10:02 AM   #13
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I guess I'm just totally confused. In your initial message, you wrote about hosting ("the newly created forums ...is going to be hosted on a site that is not owned or operated by the WBCCI"). Now you're talking about domains (URLs) and not hosting?

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Old 06-20-2009, 10:20 AM   #14
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Chiming in with my .02. It is baffling to me that the WBCCI would do this. Having a commercial entity with a stake in Airstreams and their owners wallets overseeing WBCCI's not for profit, corporate forums seems like a huge conflict of interest. Managing a forum isn't rocket science but there are regular issues that crop up. Handling conflicts between those with commercial interests and forum members is a chronic issue. Surely a better solution can be found.
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