Originally Posted by ANZAC
AndyR - can you tell us how the terms of service will change and will you assert copyright ownership of posted text and pictures stored here?
^^ That's a good question.
Having the forum be part of a business isn't necessarily a bad thing, IMO, if the enhanced features and good management that it offers provide value for the users relative to the amount of ads and/or "subscriptions" we have to accept.
Like many here, I'm on a number of forums, at least on a cursory basis, and they run the gamut of content and community. Unlike broader sites like, say, Ford Truck Enthusiasts, the SMB forum is always going to be essentially self-selecting, as it's a niche audience that owns or wants to own SMBs or similar campervans. I hope there is no plan to remove the SMB-focus of the site and make it a general campervan/class B forum, as I think that would really impact the community in a significant way. On a related note, I think we could broaden our audience a bit more within the SMB community if there wasn't such a focus on the 4x4 SMBs. Sometimes those of us with 2WD SMBs can feel like the ugly stepchild here :-)
It's like an apartment building where you have good neighbors. Just because the landlord changes doesn't mean your neighbors will change. But, if the landlord starts making bad policies or changing service, then your neighbors start to move out and the community changes. My assumption is that Andy didn't buy this forum to drive it into oblivion, as that would be against his business' best interests.
I do like that Andy seems to have focused on a niche audience (mostly) of RV and marine-oriented sites, as well as a few auto sites.
I work in PR and have done change management in the past, and while I think this all could have been handled a bit better and with better up-front transparency, at least it's good to see Andy and team engaging with all of us and answering questions.
While I totally appreciate Jage and all his work launching and maintaining this site, honestly most of the issues with the way this transition was handled really lay at his feet, not Andy's. I guess in the end Jage saw this as an asset to be monetized rather than a grassroots community essentially owned by all of us, which is the way I think most of us saw it and interacted with it.
But, in the end, it's about helping each other and keeping the community going. If it continues to meet our needs, and Andy's company makes some money in exchange for keeping it running, I'm good with that.
And finally, it sure would be nice to see SMB North, Texas and West actually engaging on this forum. This is a HUGE marketing asset for them (well, except for a few certain build threads ;-) and I've always been shocked that they basically ignore it officially.