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Old 05-18-2018, 05:29 PM   #1
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Reorganizing Forum Categories

In another thread, someone suggested there should be a Transit specific section.

When the site was started, Econolines ruled. There were a few Chevys. SMB-West was the only one of the three factories doing Econoline conversions to 4x4, so there was a category for that and 4x4 Econoline conversions by other companies like Quigley were included there. Home builds had their own section. As Sprinters became popular, they got a section.

Every forum has its own personality. I am on a space forum with tens of thousands of members. The slightest deviance from a thread title gets a post deleted quickly and the categories are redone all the time as current realities change. I believe the SMB forum was sold to a different owner within the last few years. That owner and current moderators seem to take a very laid back approach and members here do a good job of self-moderating. I don't know whether the current moderators have the ability to realign the site or if the owner has to do it. With a smaller site like this one, the owner sometimes has to pay a sizable fee to a web designer to make changes to it, so redoing the categories might even be out of the question. I don't know.

Anyway, since it was brought up in a place where most people will not see it, I thought the idea should get its own thread where many people would see this question.

Should the site categories be updated to reflect today's SMB realities?

If it is affordable, I agree that an update would be a good thing. The suggestion made by the other member was a request for a section specifically for Transits built by SMB-West. Personally, I would suggest something just a bit different. I would have a sub-forum grouping with the following categories: 2WD Econolines, 4x4 Econolines, Transits, Sprinters, Metris, Promasters, Chevys, Nissans, and New Cutaway Classic. I would have the separate 2x4 and 4x4 Econolines because that's how posts are already set up in the archives and there would be too much hassle reorganizing them. I would not create separate 2x4 and 4x4 categories for Sprinters and Transits, just because it becomes too many categories.

In another sub-forum, I'd suggest categories for: Fresno Specific Issues, Austin Specific Issues, and Indiana Specific Issues.

I know this makes a lot more total categories, but I feel that would help find information on the type vehicle someone wants. Going to the point of having SMB-W Transits, SMB-TX Transits, SMB-IN Transits, however, ISTM is too much subdivision. People are interested in Transits, not Transits from one specific factory. They'd have to search too many places to find all the relevant info. Personally, I think it's good to have enough categories, but not too many of them.

It's not my board, and it would be work for either the owner or moderators. I did think the person's suggestion for a section on Transits makes sense, though, because SMB is building them and the board doesn't have a place to discuss them. I'm just throwing this out there to other members. If the owner/mods are wiling and able to do it, do you think the categories need to be updated? If yes, what suggestions would you make about how to reorganize the categories?
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Old 05-18-2018, 06:41 PM   #2
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Great idea - Think updating every so often to keep in-step with the "trend" is essential (without alienating those of us that that have come to appreciate what we have here). This Forum isnt the easiest to "search" for something specific...usually get overloaded with results...but i've also come to appreciate this windfall because i normally discover a couple other topics that peak my interest, & end out learning so much about stuff that I initially had not considered.

My opinion: Even though someone has committed to a sizable investment, I'm never really impressed when a business that I frequent decides to remodel (Move everything, rearrange, reorganize, etc.) It be comes a little frustrating trying to re-learn the landscape. Consequently, what used to be "comfortable & convenient" becomes somewhat of a challenge. (WOW - revelation - just realized i now sound like my father!!!)
Cant imagine the amount of suggestions your likely to receive, but would like to put 2 cents in for maintaining as much of the original environment/structure as possible.
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Old 05-18-2018, 07:05 PM   #3
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Great idea Tom... thanks for posting this.

I am considering a SM Fresno Sprinter OR Transit...

and now that I know a fair amount about SM Sprinters... I'm finding it very hard to find hardly any SM Transit specific info.



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Old 05-18-2018, 07:16 PM   #4
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x3 Great Idea!

I am gonna throw this one cautionary tidbit out there, just so it gets mentioned at least once in this discussion:

---> If an update/reorganization to the SMF Forum happens, let's just cross our fingers that no "forum data" gets lost in the transition. Tons of amazing information/posts/threads/photos/etc on here now, it would be an epic loss if it somehow all didn't make the transition. (We're all still smarting over the loss of all the captions for the photos when the forum got re-organized/updated last time.....)

Perhaps there's a "lessons learned" from the last site update/re-org that the site owners can utilize to ensure 100% safe transfer of every element of this fantastic online community's knowledge / experiences / camaraderie.

Ok, there --- it's been said/thrown out there now!

Back to the positive vibes, already in progress......
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Old 05-18-2018, 08:15 PM   #5
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Iím the one, or one of the ones, Tom mentions. I like your ideas, Tom, but Iím unsure how it could best be changed/implemented. I selfishly asked for a Transit sub forum because I have one and because itís the new Ford van, like it or not, but there are hardly any actual Sportsmobile Transits out there yet so I think it might just be a little out of place.

In agreement with Twoex I donít really like changes often. Hmmm, what to do. Iím hoping more ideas/opinions show up.

I guess I just wish there was a better place to discuss Transits specifically without having to endure the unmoderated ratís nest at the Transit Forum. I do participate there but it is more of a chat room for random thoughts than a forum and I always come right back to ours.

If this idea, as well as including the other newer players in van world (Promaster, etc), doesnít take off Iíll be pretty satisfied with Transits and others fitting in to the existing categories. Over time they will become much more popular and eventually eclipse even the mighty Econoline. Time marches on.


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Old 05-18-2018, 11:39 PM   #6
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As this forum has gotten more broad (e.g., lots of homebuild posts, etc.) I think it has lost its focus a bit, blurring the line between this and Expedition Portalís van section. Iím not saying thatís a terrible thing, just that if the forum focus gets too broad then it may start to be the death of the forum at some point. It seems that the broader the forum is, the less ďcommunityĒ exists because people are focused on different things. I joined the forum because I have an SMB 2wd and want a place to share and learn. I donít mind the homebuild stuff, but fear at some point this will turn into the homebuild camper forum and not the SMB forum.
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Old 05-19-2018, 05:07 AM   #7
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Creating more specific forums makes sense when required. I'd caution on too many subforums. I've seen that happen on other forums and then when interested in the different elements that used to be combined, one now has to check multiple subforums which results in decreasing use.

As a minority SMB owner, by that I mean a GMC, there is no specific forum as mentioned. Do we need a specific forum? I don't know that there is a need for it. On the other hand, current GM vans will continue to be produced, at least for now. With 4x4 conversions readily available and the aftermarket supporting them more, they may become more common.

Maybe it would make sense to include Transits and Promasters in the Sprinter forum...Sprinter, Promaster and Transit Chassis. People shopping new large Euro-style vans may consider all three or some of the three.

I never really thought the Van Body forum was appropriately named. The description is "2wd Ford/Chevy EB or RB Specific". Sounds like drivetrain related 2wd only. I think it should be the forum for body specific discussions regardless of drive train. Engines and Drivetrains (Except 4x4) already exists.
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Old 05-19-2018, 08:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianW View Post
I donít mind the homebuild stuff, but fear at some point this will turn into the homebuild camper forum and not the SMB forum.
I have that same fear even though for a couple years now I've just been a fan and no longer an owner. Still, the truth is that some of the most active people on this forum, including a couple of the moderators, don't own one either.

Also, more than any other forum for any hobby or interest, this forum has always been more mature and more of a community in the literal sense than anywehre I've hung out. That's all I hope to keep even if we all had truck campers or whatever else.

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