Do we need this forum?

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Do we need this forum?

Postby IanH » Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:36 pm

Forums everywhere are declining in usage due to the rise of personal devices and social media among other things. There are any number of Facebook pages that seem to meet most people's needs for the immediacy of communication that they offer. They aren't so good for historical information.

The Website front end as a means of publicising and organising events definitely still has value, we should look to spruce this up a little though without damaging the core functionality of it.

The current level of posting on the forum suggests that it isn't the first place that people go for information or discussions, those posts that are made do tend to be of value (my opinion). We can refresh the forum software to a newer version of the same system without too many challenges to do this and maintain all logins, post history etc.

What do you think?
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Re: Do we need this forum?

Postby drumtochty » Sun Feb 19, 2017 3:10 pm

Yes the technical content on here is going down numerically as probably more people have Mk3's and Mk4's and they tend to go into garages to be repaired or to be serviced where MK1 and Mk2 people tended in the past to use this forum as an extension of their home DIY garage.

With PCP deals used to purchase over 80% of new cars and a good number of the second owners of cars buy with PCP as well, cars are no longer in most people's minds a capital purchase, more of a monthly payment to be renewed every 3 years or whenever the lease / PCP expires. No opinion either way if that is good or bad, just the way most car purchases are treated today.

The younger MK1 and Mk2 people who are buying "drifters" believe that Facebook is where it is at and many of them believe that Facebook is basically the Internet and if you cannot do it on a Facebook Group, it's too much effort.

When I joined the Camera Club in Stonehaven in 1998 there was 50% of members 30 to 50 year old and 50% older.

When I stopped going to the Camera Club in 2013 it was 85% of members over 55 years of age.

I think DIY car maintenance is also going that way.

Therefore apart from the archive of posts on here that are handy for owners of the older cars, to be honest there are other places on the net to get technical advice where there are more technical people around on these boards to answer problems and on quite a few of these forums we are talking about, time served mechanics are answering technical posts with a wider knowledge base as they do the jobs every day.

Therefore apart from the social side of things, the Scottish MX5 board has possibly had its day.
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Re: Do we need this forum?

Postby Gavin » Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:27 pm

Hopefully one of the Central Scotland ACs will be along soon to explain what is going to happen with the mx5Scotland web site. This was explained at our Planning meeting.
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Re: Do we need this forum?

Postby IanH » Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:42 pm

I'm aware of the desire of all of us to maintain the Website as it's a useful organising point for all the Scottish Areas.

The question is about the linked forum which is a part of the overall web presence and which is becoming less and less used as time moves on.
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Re: Do we need this forum?

Postby 71NotOut » Mon Feb 20, 2017 1:15 am

I still check here regularly but I also use Facebook groups.

I find on fb you get a younger demographic whereas on here it appears to be a wee bit older .

I'm torn as,at 45 years old I feel drawn to both mediums.

Having been a member of one car forum or another for the past 16 years or so I feel at bit sad that they are in decline but as said,it's a sign of the times.

I still like this place though and would be sad should it disappear.
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Re: Do we need this forum?

Postby bmv6197 » Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:36 pm

I guess it also depends on the cost (time, effort and £££) required to keep this forum ticking along. Like others have said, FB, YouTube and other mediums do offer a bunch of the stuff that we all may have historically used forums like this for. In my experience though, they offer far less by way of community. I guess some people like that, although just looking at some of the MX5 sell and buy pages on FB, I am pretty put off by the amount of abuse and "anonymous opinioning" that comes across - hardly a place I'd look for trusted advice... So in my view, well moderated forums still have a role to play, maybe smaller than in the past, but it'd be sad to see this one go.

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Re: Do we need this forum?

Postby IanH » Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:46 pm

I'm also a fan of the forum format over the more modern options, dialogue on them (usually) tends to flow better imho.

As a user you need to work harder to use a forum in terms of video and photo hosting and account creation/management etc than the other platforms which will likely also contribute to the ongoing decline.

I'd like to see this forum persist, it does need enough of us to regularly use it to make it worth while doing so, what that magic number is I don't know. In terms of resource to keep it going, if we keep the website which is likely then the forum is not significantly more in terms of overhead.
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Re: Do we need this forum?

Postby iain cooper » Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:22 pm

I enjoy the forum and hope it stays, but in reality it is not near busy enough compared to other forums I frequent.

I don't know the ins and outs of thresholds, etc but like most things in life, if you don't use it you lose it.

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Re: Do we need this forum?

Postby DavieW » Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:39 pm

I must admit Facebook is my "go to" page for chat etc but the forum is better for technical, archive and adverts.

It gets difficult and frustrating to sift through a lot of Facebook posts and sorting the wheat from the chaff.
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Re: Do we need this forum?

Postby OldSpice » Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:18 pm

Given the OC forum has many thousands of "members" including non fee paying members and general ad-hoc individuals, it too is under utilised relative to the subcriptions.
As ever with these things, there tends to be a small core of regulars, with a huge background "audience" of quiet observers.
It's pretty much a reflection of any car club either on or off line.
This forum is no different. I can imagine the nashing of teeth and cloth-rending, perhaps by some who post nothing from year to year, that would occur if it was withdrawn.
Human nature kicks in if you take away something from people even if it is only an option.
Also, when something is free, it's usually undervalued.
I'd say it would not be missed by many more than those who would wish it preserved, but those who would wish it to stay are more important than annual ad-hoc(ers).
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Re: Do we need this forum?

Postby Scott_J » Tue Feb 21, 2017 7:38 pm

I like forums but trend is to Facebook. I see that with car forums and my sports clubs forums. FB is good for banter, forums are better for technical things or organisational stuff with sports clubs though they are in decline. At 50 I'm in the middle . My cycling club forum has dies a death and nobody wants to restart it, the younger guys all prefer Facebook as it is instantaneous on their smart phones .
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Re: Do we need this forum?

Postby DrewN » Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:29 pm

In reply to Ian’s original post above, I would like to make the following comments.

The website was originally created to provide information on events for club members. The website still fulfils this objective very well, even though some areas have moved on to more modern methods of communication. There is demand for all types of information source irrespective of the age of the poster.

The forum was a useful add on to the website and provides information both technical and non technical for members and non members alike.
The website is funded by the national club at present and therefore non members get access to a free platform if they wish to use it.

The use of the forum is slowing but it is still a valuable source of information history and has access to knowledgable posters (Eddie and others!!!) for those seeking information on their car problems.
The number of people owning Mk3s and above is inevitably rising as old cars reach the end of their lives so I assume more people will be seeking information on those models going forward as they get older and less reliable.

The current website is very reliable and does not need a great deal of input to keep it running well, considering how long it has been going and the massive changes in technology in the intervening years. Thanks to Ian Ness as website administrator for his efforts over the last several years in keeping it running smoothly. You do not realise the number of Russian babes that try to post on the forum looking for info on how to sort their chassis.

So to summarise - I agree with Ian H and a refresh of the website and forum without losing functionality would be great going forward. Ian H has agreed to look into this as he takes over from Ian Ness as website administrator.

So no pressure Ian - you did open the thread!!
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Re: Do we need this forum?

Postby stannyboy » Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:40 pm

We like the forum for technical help but agree many people are now using FB, youtube, etc.

Mainly use the website for event posting to be honest, however supplement this with a facebook page which tends to get more replies.

If it doesn't cost too much we would vote to keep the forum.
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Re: Do we need this forum?

Postby Bob the Train » Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:39 pm

There doesn't seem to be an option to post a voting table. This might be handy. I'm in favour of keeping the forum BTW.
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Re: Do we need this forum?

Postby mgrays » Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:52 pm

If it is not too much hassle I would keep it and the most importantly the history. Having just got to the half century myself I guess I am past the median (30 car years to 50 ... only 20 to 70). The difference in communication styles from text/FB/IM etc to Forum/email is marked. On a day to day basis I work in a technical support/design role and my 20-40 year olds I work with get Instant Messages from the field but do not like them, better to get a lengthy but complete question on email rather than a stream of small questions/information interspersed with banter; yes the banter makes life nicer but that can be done at the end/start while maintaining the core question. So there are definitely different roles here for the communication methods.

I would ask that we do not drift too far from current format. The OC forum killed the non official forum (mx-5-subscribe@yahoogroups.com was technically an email chain not a forum but you could view the threads in a forum like manner) and then started up a horrible in house forum; I disliked it so much due that I stopped participation. I guess that raises the question of what the regional forums are for, as to be honest we could retreat to the national OC forum for such technical stuff. I guess it is the size of the postings you have to dredge through i.e. noise and the likely lack of personal contact that stopped me. Finding local suppliers in Scotland would be a case in point as the 10% Scottish content gets drowned in the 85% English content - the BBC Scotland channel is being created for that very reason. So there are good reasons to keep the Scottish forum.

Now if you want to go all historic on me.. I started on the "big list" for Miatas which used to be 100-150 emails every day which took an hour to download every night over a 14k modem in 1988. I used that to create quithel.co.uk (which is now finally dead after 19 years, 1 million'th rated website in UK!!, Guess I ought to get a new host..but we meantime need to remove it as a Tech Info link on this site as they took down my site (stopped paying them 10 years ago!)). The big list morphed into Miata.net which is still a great resource for research. I drifted over to miatapower.net for a while and still go look at it every 12 months or so. In both of them there are core folk from "big list" days that I know. Fizinidi.demon.co.uk by Graeme Babbs used to have the historic best parts of the UK yahoo list/forum but that has now gone; a pity; I found it in the “way back machine” https://web.archive.org/web/20040324122 ... mon.co.uk/ but it is pretty big to save. I even found my old website if you need it https://web.archive.org/web/20140805125 ... hel.co.uk/. I have managed to contact Graeme so I might yet get that info back and maybe it could be hosted as good technical information for the Mk 1-2-2.5 cars.

Anyway that is enough drivel!
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Re: Do we need this forum?

Postby Scott_J » Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:27 am

DrewN wrote: You do not realise the number of Russian babes that try to post on the forum looking for info on how to sort their chassis.



I'd happily inspect their chassis foc or vice versa :P
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Re: Do we need this forum?

Postby ceathorne » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:01 pm

I know I don't post very often these days, but the forum is always my 1st port of call when I've got 10 mins to spare ....
And whenever I'm looking for an answer to a 'it's probably been asked before in the last umpteen years - even if only once' question ....
So my response is: "Yes" - if it's not a huge amount of work for somebody.

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Re: Do we need this forum?

Postby iainf » Wed Apr 26, 2017 11:17 pm

Think it has had its day. Forums have. Facebook has cannibalised everything.

The Technical directory is far more extensive on the Main OC site, this is secondary information. If the front end works without this part, then I'd go with that.
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Re: Do we need this forum?

Postby IanH » Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:43 am

iainf wrote:Think it has had its day. Forums have. Facebook has cannibalised everything.

The Technical directory is far more extensive on the Main OC site, this is secondary information. If the front end works without this part, then I'd go with that.


We can maintain both the front end and the forum for the same cost/effort in hosting so as long as we keep one we'll keep the other.
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Re: Do we need this forum?

Postby DrewN » Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:36 am

Re Iain Fleming's comment that the forum has had it's day.
I must disagree. I personally do not like Facebook and I am sure there are are fair number out there who will agree with me (although there will probably be plenty who disagree with me).
The regular users of the Scottish website appreciate what it has to offer. The website allows a single point of information and ability for members (and non members) to sign up for events, not just a forum facility.
The forum is a useful addition that is included in the overall cost of maintaining the website.
Discussions are ongoing as to the future of our loal website and how it is funded. I for one would like it to continue.
We are still waiting for the launch of the new national website and will reserve judgement on whether this could make the Scottish website redundant until it is available.
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