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Old 09-02-2009, 10:56 PM   #15
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65GT, near as I can tell, Andy has never sold any of our personal info to anybody...
I can assure you we do not share any personal information with anyone. We work very hard to make sure it's safe.
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Old 09-02-2009, 11:03 PM   #16
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I have no plans to sue the WBCCI or get into a legal battle. As I stated in my last post, I think we should all be working together and not working against each other. We are each others best ally. I don't mind taking the high road. If we continue to provide an excellent venue for our members with their best interest in mind then we will continue to be successful.
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Old 09-03-2009, 12:43 AM   #17
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I think to advertise WBCCI as the original Airstream community when Air forums is #1 Airstream community in the ads on Airstream's site dilutes the impact for both ads and of course Air Forums had advertised that first, so original is somewhat misleading and to call WBCCI the original community seems more competitive than precise.

No I totally hear what Andy is saying. He has established Air Forums, and Airstream and WBCCI should be highlighting the individual facets of each distinctly different entity. In association together they should cooperatively establish and display uniqueness instead of duplication and competition.

Andy has been very clear that AirForums is not a club. He has not infringed upon WBCCI, though the opportunity presents itself often when many clamor to make the forums their substitute. I believe he does that intentionally to be a good team player with WBCCI. Now I think the same should be expected of WBCCI conversely.

But as stated before this is in the control of a single individual who is newly charged with the decision making without benefit of other WBCCI counsel.
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Old 09-03-2009, 05:08 AM   #18
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Some out there are very confused. Airstream is a trailer company owned by Thor. Airstream is not the club called the WBCCI.

I have been told an iceberg has so much stored cold inside of it that you can feel it's chill before you strike it. I feel very cold these days.
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Old 09-03-2009, 06:46 AM   #19
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Frank, Airstream might not own the WBCCI, but it sure does provide support to it.

This forum was once called www. airstreamforums. com and, unless I'm completely off the mark, was it not Airstream who took issue with that? Airstream used to have a forum, and I just went to their website looking everywhere for it, but it's not there anymore.

So the question begs, what venue does Airstream have/provide/support for the owners of its products?
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Old 09-03-2009, 07:01 AM   #20
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I'm going to disagree on a point... saying a forum is successful because of great moderation is like saying there's no crime because a community has a great police force. It may "feel" right, but it really isn't true.

Airforums is successful because of its community. The members are knowledge, prolific in writing and often have something interesting or valuable to say. How many people come here and say, "Wow... look at the moderating here." This is the single best place to come for information on Airstreams including vintage renovations. Airstream devotees are passionate. Even if the Airforums didn't accept a single new post, it would still get heavy traffic as a web resource.

Please don't misunderstand. I'm not criticizing Andy. I like the site enough to contribute financially. I just think that any website is about content... and the quality of the content is limited only by the intelligence, creativity and knowledge of participants... and the willingness of the moderator(s) to allow participants the freedom to share.

Ladies and gentlemen, the greatness of this forum is due to you.
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Old 09-03-2009, 07:16 AM   #21
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I agree with the above. Without member contribution there's nothing to moderate. Not saying that the moderators don't do a wonderful job and Andy R. for providing the venue. By the way, Just who is this "one individual"?
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Old 09-03-2009, 07:41 AM   #22
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Airforums is successful because of its community.

Ladies and gentlemen, the greatness of this forum is due to you.
A community, even a virtual one, is only as successful as it's residents make it. Here, our members agree that certain rules are needed to keep it the kind of place they want to frequent and contribute to, and almost everyone cheerfully conforms to those precepts in order to obtain benefit from one another.

The moderation staff here exists pretty much solely to do housekeeping, and make sure that the 1% of folks who choose not to conform to those basic precepts don't make the place miserable for everyone else.

The membership here are 36,000 of the nicest people around.

What I find fascinating is that the membership here represents the largest group of Airstream owners and enthusiasts in the world, and yet the factory sees all 36,000 members here as more of a nuisance and pests than as resources. Amazing.

Wally Byam was so committed to customer service that he cannibalized his own trailer on one caravan for spare parts to the point of having to abandoning it along the way to keep everyone else on the road.

It is apparent that somewhere in the boardroom at Thor/Airstream, that commitment to their customers has been lost.

I commend all of you (us) who are members here for keeping that commitment to one another alive!

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Old 09-03-2009, 07:59 AM   #23
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Whats this "customer service"? I hear this term used once in awhile. Just what exactly is it? Must be pretty old fashioned and before my time.
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Old 09-03-2009, 08:02 AM   #24
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Ok folks, I've been away for a while, but when I came across this thread, I had to pause and reflect on the situation before I decided to sign in and participate. I will also note that I registered and posted to the WBCCI forum as I did with Airstream's own forum several years ago.

First, no one has a the single answer to anything. Sure things come and go an this forum has stood the test of time (so far), but it is not, nor should it ever be considered the only game in town. It's good old capitalism.

Second, and of course this is not my call at all, why wouldn't this forum start a club? I mean we all say we're not a club, but why emulate the red numbers with our own blue numbers? I mean we say one thing, but at the same time, we've emulated WBCCI in several small ways. We do rallies under the Airforums flag, Andy contributes time, money and some level of resources, so to say we're not taking some aspects of WBCCI is not entirely true, we simply do it a bit differently then they do and a lot less informal, but the situation is somewhat similar. So to cry foul on concept is bad form, however it is entirely fair to raise the issue of copying actual copyrighted materials, however as has been pointed out, it's a lose/lose to fight it. Sometime as Andy said, you just have to be the bigger person, suck it up and move on and focus on your core business making it better where possible.

Third, folks (including myself) have complained for roughly 7 years that WBCCI has lost touch. Here is one area so far where they have made a change, and a drastic change IMHO. Do I care who runs it? Should I care? I mean by registering and posting, what info do they really have besides my email address? Yes they took some basic stuff from here and that shouldn't sit right with anyone, but in the end, that is exactly what happens when you are #1. Nearly everyone does it. Here are just a few examples:

Miller comes out with 64, Bud comes out with 55. McDonald's has a dollar menu, Burger King and Wendy's does the same thing. Does Starbucks publicly complain that McDonald's is out gunning for them for their core business? No, it's called competition and you compete.

This forum has been a competitor to Airstream's own forum and we know where that went. Social Knowledge has several sites that compete, while some, no one would touch.

In the end, I personally feel that folks should stop worrying about what the other guy does and focus on what Wally would do. Not make changes, but improvements where warranted here.

I am not saying this as a newbie, I've been around and been in many situations on this forum. This forum may be number one, but there has not been any real competition. Social Knowledge has done a great job with forums and this one in particular is one of the better ones it operates, however as much as I may or may not like how it's run, the fact is that if we all here find we are so superior to anything out we should welcome the competition because as has been pointed out, what are we worried about? Are we going to stop posting here? Are Airformus rallies going to end?

I know a number of the mods here (some very well), and overall they do a great job, there are times when I have disagreed with them, but that does not mean I don't respect them or anyone in the community here for that matter. I wholeheartedly agree that moderation is not what makes this site what it is....it is you and I that make this site with Social Knowledge bringing it all together. I have been very disappointed with this site allowing some of the political underpinnings to spill into the public forum and many inconsistencies in implementing forum policies, but that may be just a normal part of being a forum operator. I myself have been wrestling with the fact if I should continue to actively participate here as much because there are times when this site is a bit heavy handed....mind you a lot less heavy handed than it was many years ago, but at times a police state. That has been one of this sites good things and at times it's bad things. Competition may continue to help soften some of the edit buttons and suspensions that have at times been areas where I have personally disagreed, and quite vocally. But I feel as a member and a major contributor, it's my right to voice these concerns as it is your right to disagree with me both publicly and privately without having it edited (unless of course you go off the deep end and off the reservation).

I will (and I realize this may be a shock to some given my WBCCI leanings) support both sites. Those in the WBCCI and passionate about it, here is your golden opportunity to put up or walk. Here is one major change. A home run? Maybe not, but at least they swung.

Time will tell two things:

1) Will this new forum be the beginning of change with WBCCI
2) Will anything they do make a difference to the survival of the club and have any impact at all on things going on here.

I don't have any idea, but historically this place has been the only one to stick around. Maybe that will continue, maybe not. I am also not totally in the dark as to the politics that have gone on between Social Knowledge and Airstream Inc over the years. It has IMHO been far than a harmonious friendship over the years, so the fact that it's as naked off the Airstream site should come as no real shocker (at least to the seasoned Airforums members--as has been pointed out, we use to be airstreamforums.com-- anyone care to do a WHOIS to the new owners of that domain?). But keep in mind the RV industry is in shambles with only slight recovery projected. It would not shock me at all to see manufacturers hedge their bets and be supportive of several groups/communities that support their products.

I am happy this site exists and I am happy to support any group that shares my enthusiasm in areas of interest to me. If anything it should be flattering that yet another group wants to replicate the success here. We should take this as an opportunity to continue to grow and make this place better where we can and let the chips fall where they may.
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Old 09-03-2009, 08:33 AM   #25
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Dirty Dancing

I was buzzing around and didn't complete my thought. Do you remember the last scene in the move "Dirty Dancing"? Having three daughters, I have seen (or at least been in the vicinity) of the film countless times. One of the last scenes has the aging resort director asking the aging band leader, "You have sheet music on this stuff"?

That is pretty much how I imagine the conversation at the WBCCI about the forums.

Getting "on the Internet" does not solve the generational/cultural issues inherent within the WBCCI. One of the reasons Airforums has been successful is that it is an good "organizational model" for this generation of Airstream owners (of all ages). It's easy to join. It's easy to leave. It's free and/or inexpensive. The rules are modest. The structure is organic, flexible and evolutionary. The benefit-to-cost ratio is very high. The communication level is very high. The "organization" is very flat, non-hierarchical and dynamic. People are recognized as leaders because of contributions and/or personal qualities, but the mantle of leadership is worn very lightly.

Old organizations are very much about structure, rules, roles, procedures, policies, predictability, consistency, status, tenure, etc. It's the quintessential industrial era factory where nut "a" is attached to bolt "b." Now, if these factory owner decides to start a forum... great. But in the end the forum is far more likely to reflect the organizational culture than transform it.

I think it's nice that the WBCCI is putting effort into its Internet presence... if only because some Airstream owners want so desperately for the WBCCI to work. Some people want the red numbers to mean something. They want to honor the tradition and heritage of the great caravans. While I hope it works, I feel that the Airforums has eclipsed the WBCCI as "the Airstream club." And I think the future of Airstream itself will hinge upon what kind of organizational model it embraces. Putting out press releases and marketing surveys... WBCCI model. Inviting the best and brightest from this forum to go over a new coach... the Airforums model.
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Old 09-03-2009, 09:31 AM   #26
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Eric, as always, a good and thoughtful post.

For those of you who don't know either Silvertwinkie or me personally, I'll go out on a limb and tell you that I think we're pretty good friends... both here and in the real-world. We've camped together, and we stay in touch pretty regularly... ok... at least semi-regularly!

I think you're off a little in your assessment of the WBCCI forums though. I don't think that most of us here really cares much whether WBCCI implements a forum... even those who are solid WBCCI members. The issue is that if they want to do it, how best to implement it from a financial and oversight perspective. From what little I read the WBCCI threads here and other places, it appears that they're hemorrhaging cash at the national level. When I was a member from '98-'04 there were nearly 10,000 members. Today their membership is something around 6500 and falling.

Implementing a forum for themselves isn't a problem; the problem is where and how to do it... and how and where it's being currently implemented seems to stick in the craw of many of the most vocal members. To compound that, AndyR has offered repeatedly to host their forums here, and formalize that relationship with no monetary gain for Airforums and no loss of control for the WBCCI governing body... but those offers have been met largely with silence... and presumably with the knowledge that many of their members are also members here.

I don't think any of the staff here at Airforums is the least bit concerned about being 'run out of business' by anything new out there. It hasn't happened yet, and isn't likely to.

Is the staff heavy-handed at times? Well, frankly that's subjective... and as you know, we struggle with issues every day. Should a post remain out? Is it inflammatory to the point that it violates our community policies? What will the fallout be? Do we think, given our tenure of back room experience, that we'll end up spending more time than it's worth cleaning up a mess where members alienate one another? How much value does the thread/post/member actually add to the community? These discussions go on in the back room every day; sometimes several times a day. Fortunately our staff doesn't always agree on these issues either. We all have differing perspectives, and that's really healthy for the community at large. I can tell you that we're much more tolerant as a result that we'd be if one or two folks were calling all the shots; and every call that's made is made as a consensus.

So... heavy handed? Maybe, but we seem to be successful at what we do... at least mostly... or so the majority of folks who belong here seem to think.

And last... the difference between the WBCCI as a club with rallies and us as a website with member-sponsored "get-togethers" are threefold; first we have no hierarchy or rules for rallies; and second, we demand no annual dues or conformance to pre-established policies for holding rallies; and third there is no business to conduct at a Forums get-together. There are no expectations of "management" nor of "membership" at those get-togethers. We off-handedly call them "rallies", but they're really not in the sense that the WBCCI rallies are structured.

So... there you go! the world according to Roger...

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Old 09-03-2009, 10:41 AM   #27
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...And last... the difference between the WBCCI as a club with rallies and us as a website with member-sponsored "get-togethers" are threefold; first we have no hierarchy or rules for rallies; and second, we demand no annual dues or conformance to pre-established policies for holding rallies; and third there is no business to conduct at a Forums get-together. There are no expectations of "management" nor of "membership" at those get-togethers. We off-handedly call them "rallies", but they're really not in the sense that the WBCCI rallies are structured.

So... there you go! the world according to Roger...

Roger and Eric, really great posts! Combine both your posts and I think you've hit the nail on the head.

Your last paragraph, Roger, got me thinking....that sounds an awful lot like a bunch of folks who got together in 1955 and decided to have fun with their Airstreams....
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Old 09-03-2009, 10:49 AM   #28
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I just wanted to chime in and say that I agree that our members are what makes AIR Forums such an amazing place. Some of those members are mods and admins who represent the interests of the membership in enforcing our Community Rules. In the last 8 years we, 36,000 people, have had nearly 52,000 discussions comprised of 724,000 posts here, only 20 people (with 10+ posts) have been banned. IMO, that's an outstanding testament to our tolerance and requirement to keep things respectful between members. It's all about respecting each other in order to foster a friendly and welcoming community. That's why we can have debates like this, as long as we do so in a respectful manner.

Maybe it's idealistic of me to think that working together would be smarter. Experience shows that it's not that simple. Maybe part of the stigma of working with us is the fact we are very tolerant and AIR has been a venue where some of the more vocal WBCCI advocates have congregated? That's like blaming the phone company for what people are talking about over the phone lines! Unfortunately it seems that the WBCCI considers many of these advocates a nuisance even though this passion is meant to make things better (fix something that is broken).
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