The New Boards: Site bulletins, guidance, protocol and info.


imported_JohnB

New member
Hi!

Hope everyone is enjoying the new Message Boards.

Please feel free to post as much as you wish in this section.

If you are looking for technical info don't forget to visit the archives. the link is at the top of each page.
 
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DavidVance

New member
Congrats and praise and thanks for the new message boards. Clearly there's a slight learning curve involved, but well worth the effort. Am I correct in understanding that the archives will be uploaded into the new system? Quite the undertaking. But finally, I'll be able to search by key word--never worked for my computer before. I'm looking forward to it!
 

imported_JohnB

New member
Yes, the intention is to load the archives into this board.

Unfortunately its not an easy task.
Anyone out there with experience in programming in Perl could be of great help.

John
 

mjrly

New member
Great choice of Bboard, the UBB cannot be beat for the price.
I have some experience with these, as I've installed and slightly customized a few others.
Instead of the lightbulb for new posts within a forum you could find two little images of a Westy one with the headlights on and one with the headlights off.
Just push them up to the server and rename them on.gif and off.gif (I think). The directory should be ubb/images (I think)...

If you need help with the board I 'may' be able to offer some words.

Cheers,
Matthew
NC
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif When you post a message on the technical boards about a problem, we'd like to hear the results. Often, a question prompts several suggestions & solutions. We'd like to know which it was and what worked as that will help others with similar problems.

Sometimes a guestion is asked on one board that seems logical at the time, but the solution indicates it was another problem and should be transferred to the correct forum.

/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif Feedback is a two-way street -- posters need answers but responders look for confirmation and results. That's the only way we know if something worked and the advice was right.
 
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Capt. Mike

Moderator
Transferred from another post to consolidate topics:

Passwords

Jim Staples Junior Member posted 05-19-2000 10:07 AM

I hate this password thing. I have so many passwords just to be online that It's driving me crazy.

JohnB, Administrator, 05-19-2000 11:13 AM

The reason that we use the passwords function is to be able to control entry to the boards. This allows us to ban any troublemakers.

Under the "Post & Reply" buttons there are several links: "profile | register | preferences | faq | search"

Go into the preferences and select "keep my password and username in my browser's memory for 1 year".

Or if you wish you may modify the password that was given to you, to a password that may be easier to remember.

That should solve your problem.
 
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Capt. Mike

Moderator
As the new board get more familiar to everyone, there will be some changes in moderating duties.

I've tried very hard, as moderator, to advise people of posting problems and errors, and to do much of the editing, moving and corrections myself. If you have not set your preferences and profile to show your email address, you cannot be notified of changes. Please go back and reset your profile to allow direct email.

In the near future, time will be of the essence. (My other life beckons for the next couple of months.) I won't be able to advise everyone of a post error or move. So before you blow your stack, first look at the other posts with a date & time after yours to see if it's been moved, retitled or added to an existing thread.

Second, and I can only apolgize in advance, many posts will end up cut, with just the dreaded "form letter" if your email is available. I won't be able to explain the why's & wherefores as much anymore. Please don't take it as some personal affront. Just check the Message Board Guidelines again and be sure you understand them. Then read all of the posts on your subject to see if it hasn't either been answered, or at least a subject thread started. Are you on the best forum for your question?

Also, over time, subjects will lend themselves to consolidation or reposting. Again, if your old post "disappears", it's most likely not that it was cut, but that housekeeping has moved it into something a little more descriptive and appropriate to it's content.

It is a goal of the site that readers not face hundreds of posts of just slightly varied subjects or twists on the same problem. Sort of like the difference between having a dozen indexed big chapters of a book instead of a hundred little one-paragraphers.

So please bear with us; John and others are working hard to provide you with a quality, easy to use, tech and information center. It's only as good as your input; as easy to navigate as you are at following the guidelines.

Thanks and happy Westying.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
As we wrap up 2000 and head into the true new millennium -- without all the doomsday computer crash fears -- I'd like to wish all the Westy owners and site visitors a very happy holidays, whatever their religious persuasion. We all should look back over the past year and count the blessings, learn from the mistakes, and give thanks to those that have helped us along life's path.
I wish all a safe & prosperous New Year, blessed with good health, happiness and good will.

It's been a long year and I've enjoyed my role as a tech writer moderator. The new boards and Message Board Guidelines have given us an opportunity to have a great site that is highly respected through-out our little Westy family. I browse the other sites on occasion, and though some may have more glitz & glitter, none come close to our tech boards.

Being moderator has had its ups & downs. It is very difficult to enforce the guidelines by cutting somebody's post. Most were genuinely interested and seeking information to resolve a very real problem to them. I feel doubly bad when the poster takes offense or won't repost correctly.

It has been especially difficult to decline to answer a problem sent personal email instead of posted on the site, but posting is the only way others can benefit and perhaps contribute. I'm always disappointed when that 'problem' doesn't show up on the site -- many were great questions that needed exposure.

However, I take some consolation in that again & again John & I get thanks or comments from all over the world about the quality of the site and being able to find answers to problems. We are often reminded how the site has saved readers time and money or prevented disasters.

We continue to refine the site & tech boards. Often we consolidate or move a post as it changes or takes shape. If you're post suddenly disappears, it is probably just because the title was changed, it was moved to a more applicable forum, or it was combined with other similar posts -- not arbitrarily deleted. Our goal is to have a small number of larger 'chapters' within a subject so locating a particular problem is easier than sifting through hundreds of individual posts.

Along those lines, it would benefit us all if, after you've made a post, you come back with an update. Tell us what the problem turned out to be, what worked, and what it took to fix it. This helps us all.

Again, I wish you all a safe & happy holidays, a great year of "Westying" and may your Westy return the kindness and TLC I know you'll give it this year. I'm looking forward to next year and hope I've got one more left as moderator. Thanks to all of the other contributors.

Capt. Mike
 
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Capt. Mike

Moderator
Two things: A number of new members are NOT setting their preferences to show email, so when a post has to be moved, edited or cut, they will not be notified. I'm sure it's frustrating to find your post "gone", but you must set your preferences to show email if you want to be notified of changes. The site is always undergoing modifications as subjects are consolidated or moved to make it easier for other readers.

Site cuts or moves most often are the result of new members quickly posting a new topic without reading the rest of the posts and finding the most appropriate forum or that a thread has already been started. Remember, we seek a few large 'chapters' instead of many small individual posts.

A different subject but very important to me. I recently cut a post that contained comments to the effect "I am smoking crack and just don't remember . . .. Perhaps the poster was innocently making a joke, but I will not accept any posts that might be interpretated advocating illegal activities, particularly drug use.

We Westy owners have a hard enough time with the stereotype image of some '60s era flower children without posters feeding the flames. Sorry, that's one of my things and as resident curmudgeon, one of the liberties I take.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
The Archives are on the way out. John says the ability to keep the server running is dwindling rapidly.

John did send me all the archives, but the only way they would download is into an individual file for each and every post. That's thousands of files. Over time, I'll try to transfer in applicable posts in their appropriate spots or appended to existing Board posts. But it will be very slow. The files have to be individually imported into a text format where they can be edited for cut & paste. I'm looking for some help in automating that process myself.

Also, don't expect a lot of new posts or info to emerge. A huge amount of the old posts were junk -- classifieds, chat-room type stuff, and so many repeats it will be a nightmare just to separate them out and consolidate any info. Many of the archives have already been superceeded by new posts. Thus a vast majority of them will be scrapped.

If you know or remember any, drop me a note with all the specifics possible (forum or title if available) and I'll try to find them first. Please note: I will not be able to acknowledge those requests but will put them on a list to work off as time allows. Again, it will be slow -- months, not days or even weeks.

DO NOT send me a request "Is there such-and-such in the Archives?" Only ones you know are there. If you have a new question or request for additional info on an existing subject, use the proper format on the new boards. I cannot search for general info in the archive files.

[This message has been edited by Capt. Mike (edited 05-26-2001).]
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
The old Archives related to items "Never to Leave Home Without" have been transferred in to that forum. At least relevant items -- the task is so monumental I've only transferred in posts that materially contribute to the site. It was not practical to attempt to transfer in orginal poster ID info.

That and some other forums have had major reorganization and housecleaning. "Getting a Westfalia" is the most recent.

John has posted new instructions on two forums. Unfortunately, the original subject head are not as clear as we'd like but changing them causes more trouble.

The Fuel & Ignition System forum is for fuel storage and supply posts, carburated fuel questions, and general ignition questions like distributor & coil. NO fuel injection system questions.

ALL Fuel Injection system questions, including sensors, injectors and FI related electronics belong in the FI forum under Electronics.

Again, if a post appears to have "disappeared", it has most likely been retitled, moved or combined with posts of a similar nature. You should check all posts after the time/date of the post you are looking for. Sorry, changes in titles do NOT force a change in time/date of posting. I have posted transfers as a 'Reply To' to activate the post time/date feature, but not just title changes.

These changes will make the site easier to find and navigate for readers and new members. We aplogize for the inconvenience. As our database grows, there are fewer and fewer "new" topics, so when you post a question, the chances are a related thread is already started. Please read the Message Board Guidelines before you start a new topic -- most posts will fall under the 'Reply To' method of an existing topic.

Thanks for your cooperation.

[ 06-07-2001: Message edited by: Capt. Mike ]
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Houskeeping duties

I've managed to do a major housekeeping and clean-up of two forums. One is Sinks & Water System; the other is Heat & Air Conditioning. I hope they are a little better organized and people can find their topics a little easier.

I continue to find members who have blocked their email &/or private message access. If you don't set your preferences for email, you will NOT be notified if I have to cut, move or edit a post. Please check and change your preferences -- I know it must be frustrating to find a post 'missing' when it may have just been changed to a more responsive thread or forum.

New members: Please read and follow the Message Board Guidelines -- it will pay you dividends in the long run. A good 75% of all board cuts & changes are new members making their first couple of posts. Spend some time reading all the boards to familiarize yourself with content and protocol. 90% of your questions have already been answered or at least the topic started.

Other Forums updated:

Engine 7-7-01

Where I Spent My Vacation 7-08-01. What I hope to achieve is postings for a general area or locale, i.e. Pacific NW or Great Lakes States instead of many small posts to specific areas. If you've got a multiple location trip, don't be afraid to break it into a couple of separate posts for the appropriate areas.

Wheels & Brakes 7-10-01

Battery, Charge System 7-13--01

Basic van wiring, incl. lights, instruments 7-13-01. Basic Wiring was the first forum where I have transferred in the applicable old Archives. But do be warned, it was not possible to include posting dates & names, or to arrange them in order.

Fuel Injection forum 7-23-01. This is not an easy board to 'pigeon hole' problems, so please read all of the topics.

Fuel System & Igntion forum 8-27-01. Many posts were FI related and moved to the FI forum under Electrical.

[ 04-14-2002: Message edited by: Capt. Mike ]
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
The Events & Activities forum has been revised into geographic areas. Previous topic titles often didn't give a reader the location of an event.

We realize there are geographic areas not covered because there have been no posts of events in many areas, but those should fill in as time goes on. There are some series of events that span the country and will be treated on a case-by-case basis.

Event posters: If your geographic area already exists, please "post reply" an addition to that thread -- do not start a new one. Always start your post with the name of the city & state or province the event is located in. Be sure to give beginning & ending dates!

I'd also suggest giving contact info of the event organizers. People are not going to travel long distances if they can't get enough information to be confident of the event and location. Include any costs, such as camping fees & admissions. This is one forum where you may post a URL or email of the event organizers.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Recently a member questioned me off site about a site policy. He had a Eurovan question and felt the site was 'geared to Vanagons and Type IIs'. Below is my reply:

Took me a few minutes to figure out who/what/whyfore. You're the one that had trouble with VW providing an interior light on a Eurovan and then later found the generic replacement, right? I get sometimes a dozen a day so it's a little hard to keep track. It was NOT deleted, just moved to where I thought it would receive the most attention.

It is reposted in its entirety (both posts) in the BASIC VAN WIRING INCL. LIGHTS, INSTRUMENTS forum in the topic "Lights -- interior, incl. instrument & dash lights." I suppose you could argue it's SPECIAL WESTY WIRING if it's only in the camper version, but I figure most members having a similar problem will check both forums and that's the closest fit.

Although most of the Westy site seems dedicated to the older models, I think that's more a function of (1) the older ones have more mileage, thus breakdowns & problems and (2) the Eurovan Westy just plain isn't selling too well so there aren't many around. I think it's also a cultural thing in that the older model owners are more likely to spend time doing their own work & working the internet and the newer model owners taking them to dealer & shops. Not scientific proof, mind you, but my gut feeling. Eurovan Westies/Winnies are still mighty rare. I think that's also reflected in the general dealer apathy towards them. Go to VW direct and tell them of bad dealers. They become a disservice to the good ones -- and there are some good ones left.

Some of the policies & protocol on the site as you see them are really the result of failures of the old site. The old Archives became a disaster. There were 3,500+ posts but in >1,300 topics. Nobody could find anything and thus quit trying, just adding yet another new topic and compounding the problem. Thus when site owner John Babiak (near Montreal) went to the new server and software, he chose a tightly moderated site along the VW grouping system. Of necessity, it meant we would try to do certain things well and eliminate others.

Some were eliminated because they strayed so far from the core purpose they didn't add meaningful content to the majority of members. Others were eliminated because the size of the undertaking was far beyond the capability of the few unpaid volunteers that do most of the work.

Parts location was one of the later. Although I have parts info sources for most VWs through the Vanagons, I don't have them for the Eurovan (thus why I didn't respond to the original post). It also was apparent from the lessons we learned on the old site that many people look for parts on the site because the don't like the dealer, prices or VW policies. Others are, to but it bluntly, just too damn lazy to try. You don't see them because they usually get cut early, but we still get a lot of "where can I get" posts for common, everyday items. We also get a lot that are abusive about VW's prices and demanding we provide them some 'cheap' source. We elected to avoid the parts location topic because it would have been too subjective and result in too many disappointments. If I recommended Bus Depot and then someone had the type of experiences I see posted in the PARTS forum, the site advice would be blamed no matter how many disclaimers. Sorry, that's a reality; it's happened too often before.

I don't own the site and don't control policies. John listens to my input and has asked me to moderate the tech boards to help achieve the goals we think are achievable. John is the computer whiz guy but not as technically oriented -- I'm more the opposite. I'm not even sure I can claim technical expertise but I do have a lot of experiences, some tech documentation not in general circulation, and most importantly, a few really knowledgeable people I can go to.

As above, one of the site goals is a few large chapters instead of many small topics. It requires more reading within a topic by members, but a much smaller index to start with. Ideally, I suppose we'd have 10 topics only -- to match the 10 parts groups or the 10 topics in the Eurovan manual. In reality, we have expanded to what we think is a compromise but still manageable. And even so, it's not static. We still change and rearrange topics & forums as they develop. But the ultimate goal is what will best serve the MOST members? For every one that complains their post was so special it deserves a private topic, we get dozens that compliment being able to find almost everything. Almost every 'bad' post is a new member in his first or at least first ½ dozen posts. Many post a new topic because they didn't find the answer in the existing topic on the exact same subject. No answer doesn't mean it's a bad topic, just that it's never come up before or nobody has the answer. Thus building on the original topic is preferred. I suppose there are some that think it will get a quicker answer. (Won't; just the opposite as many of us refuse to answer a post that doesn't follow site guidelines.) A few just flat refuse to read the guidelines or try -- they are stuck in a chat-room mode that thinks everything starts fresh with their question of the day. When all else fails, read the directions?! About half of my moderator time is spent housekeeping and that drastically cuts into my true love, researching out some obscure or odd problem.

The site is NOT limited to questions. We actively seek input of things tried and worked. As an example, look under FRONT SUSPENSIONS at my post on overhauling and modifying a Vanagon front suspension. An endemic problem (lack of adjustment range) and my outside-the-box solution. These are the type of posts that provide support to owners not available in the manuals. You'll find others under COOLANTS about changing antifreeze in Eurovan & Vanagon models. Many posts are generic across models so segregating posts into Eurovan/Vanagon/Type II topics is not practical. Eurovan posts are welcome in their applicable and respective topics. The Eurovan owner will probably have to wade through a lot more Vanagon & Type II info in any particular topic, but that is better than everybody having to wade through more topics to find the ones that apply to their model. I suppose someday, members will have to wade through Eurovan info reaching some Next Generation model.

I'm not sure what policy you want John to change, but your post met all requirements -- except it was a new post on a topic already well established, 'Interior lights'., thus the move. It passed muster on 'where can I get' because you established that it was not -- or at least not regularly -- available through VW and asked for a solution. Adding the generic substitute you found is greatly appreciated and we rarely limit that type of information. You'll see a similar approach on using the generic O² sensors in that topic. We even discuss the differences between generic, OEM and OE oil filters. So, though you're welcome to approach the site owner about policies, I'm sure he'll ask for 1st, what's your better solution, and 2nd, will the volunteers that do the actual site work accept it?

Again, thanks for the light info -- you did find your posts this time, right? And best of Westying with your Eurovan. I'm afraid it will be up to the Eurovan owners to accumulate that knowledge base. I'm probably on my last Westy. "No diesel, no 4WD = no sale!" But VW doesn't listen to me either.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
jonc, the moderator for the Mechanics Boards, has not been available for some time, so the site owner has asked me to consolidate and clean up some of the Mechanic boards to help members find (or avoid) a mechanic in their area. For the most part, mechanic listings will now be grouped by state or province. Certain "specialties" have topics that span all locales. Please post any new mechanic listings in the appropriate locale by using the Post Reply icon; do not start a new topic unless your state or province is not listed.

I will not be transferring "mechanic wanted" posts -- these boards are for references & member experiences only. To find your old posts, check by locale and date. "Where can I find?" posts were removed and others consolidate by state or province. In some areas, I may establish 'greater metro' areas but that will be done on an as-needed basis when quantities justify it. Until then, continue to post under your state with the "Post Reply" icon.

Good Westy mechanics seem to be a dieing breed. Let's get out there and reward those that are good! Recommend & patronize those good ones and warn us of the bad.

2/1/03: The Mechanics/Shops boards have again been reorganized. There is now one forum for the US by states, one for Canada by provinces and one International by country.

Recommendations, experiences and warnings are welcome. However, "Mechanic or shop wanted" posts are outside the scope of this site and will be removed.


10/14/06: I'm pleased to announce that we hae a new "Mechanics" and "Tools" forum moderator, icarus, a member of long standing with excellent insight and tech abilities. He has moderated for several months now, and fills in when I'm away from site for other forums.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
The Westy Rentals forum has been reorganized by locale. It's still sparse and being developed but should help you narrow your search and posts somewhat to help members find (or avoid) a rental in their area.

For the time being, at least until traffic volume increases, the boards are divided into:

Canada
US - West of Miss. River
US - East of Miss. River (Planned: no topic as there have been no posts yet.)
Europe
Overseas other than Europe
General


Please post any Westy Rental posts listings in the appropriate locale by using the "Post Reply" icon; do NOT start a new topic unless your state or province is not listed. To find your old posts, check by locale and date.

Thanks.

[ 04-14-2002: Message edited by: Capt. Mike ]
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Most of you will have noted changes in the site format, look & feel by now. We have a new server (much faster) and a software upgrade. I use the term loosely. It is causing considerable problems and John & I are working very hard to correct them.

Among the problems is the transfer of posts has resulted in many being corrupted, lost or portions lost. This will take some time to correct as John will have to manually recopy most of those topics in. They will first have to be "found" and then fixed. If you know of any or if the site has lost a reference you used, please let John (not me -- I don't have the old files) know. It will probably be a couple-three weeks before we can get to that process.

Lost a post? Some new posts during the changeover where lost as it took several days to accomplish the change-over. If your post is missing, please repost (AFTER reading the site guidelines and the above notes). Use the "Post Reply" icon to the existing topics; 98% of all subjects already have a topic started so do not start a new one on some minor variation.

The downtime and tremendous backlog means the housekeeping and clean-up is both slow and will not get the personal attention we try for during normal times. Most misposts will be cut rather than the very time consuming and labor intensive moves & edits. Also, we will not be able to give you the detailed explanations we like to.

Worse, many members have bad or phony email addresses and they will not be notified at all. It is important you set your "my profile" to allow email so the moderators can tell you of changes to your post. They are not done arbitrarily -- they are to give both you and the other members the most functional site possible. Remember, this site is staffed soley by volunteers so if you make things difficult for them, their willingness to help you drops accordingly. If you are concerned over privacy, instead of blocking or posting a phony email, I suggest you establish one of the many free accounts available and post that for your Westy site business. It is important you keep your profile up-to-date.

Keep the faith; we will eventually get "new & improved" back to "old & working!"


Capt. Mike
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
The Traveling Companions forum allows you to post planned trips to seek either riders or to meet up with other Westy owners for caravaning, meeting at specific locations or attending camp-ins and other events. Since these trips 'expire' they will be routinely cleared to save bandwidth and server costs. I'll leave some a little longer to provide ideas and incentives for others. Sharing a Westy trip & carvaning are great ways to travel.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Capt. Mike is back. Server and software problems had messed up the boards so bad it was becoming impossible to keep them up. Too many posts were missing or corrupted by Infopoop's transfer utility and it created a situation where posts were answered, but missing, so questions were being repeated and the boards were 'falling apart' from an organization point of view.

As a result, I took a 7-week sabbatical July & August 2002 and have not answered or 'cleaned up' the boards since then.

John, site owner, has begun the slow and laborious task of reimporting the corrupted posts. When he finishes a forum, I will then update it, answering questions as best I can, but removing or moving posts that don't follow site guidelines or protocol.

There is an increasing number of members who are refusing to post their emails, blocking them or posting phony email addresses. THEY WILL NOT BE NOTIFIED!
Their posts will just disappear.
This is not meant to be mean, but if you put too many hurdles in the moderators' way, you can't expect the courtesy of being told of post cuts & moves. This is NOT a paid service and when you make things hard for the volunteers, they lose interest in helping you.

I'll be adding to this list as John works his way through the boards. In the mean time, if you find a topic that has missing or corrupt posts, please email John. You can use the 'email a friend' feature and just type in his email, johnbmtl@aol.com, which will automatically add the message of which topic is being discussed. Perhaps add the words "Corrupt posts" to the top of the message block.

Or you can use the 'contact us' link but then must give him the forum and topic.

So far, the following forums have been completed, at least as best we've found:

11/29/02: All forums are now updated.
 

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