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FerrariChat.com Community Improvement Plan...

Discussion in 'Ferrari Discussion (not model specific)' started by rob lay, Feb 9, 2004.

  1. BJS

    BJS Formula Junior

    Jan 18, 2004
    287
    Central FL and SW MI
    Full Name:
    Brad Stephenson
    I'm a long-term member of a huge auto enthusiast board - www.corvetteforum.com. It's a free site with over 50,000 members and millions of posts.

    To avoid the downturn that seems inevitable in public forums, they established a few rules and processes that work:
    - Absolutely no personal attacks in forum messages
    - No public bashing of the forum administrators or moderators (take it to email or IM)
    - Sufficient moderators with 'power' to lock threads and delete offending posts
    - Administrators to ensure consistent actions by moderators
    - Points system implemented to expose envelope-pushers
    - Everyone gets 100% upon registration
    - Infractions of the rules take points away
    - At zero points, you're banned
    - Infraction-free activity allows you to gradually go back to 100%

    The result? A five-year old HUGE forum community that continues to grow and foster supporting vendors. Sure there's occasional bickering about 'censorship', but the quality posters stay and contribute. Envelope-pushers and trolls tire quickly if their posts get removed from public view.

    It works, its free, it makes money for the owner (and vendors), and it provides a great environment for sharing a passion about things automotive.

    Almost every other forum that grows to any size faces similar problems. It's hard, unpopular work to keep the forum fun (and free) for 95% of its members. IMHO, pay sites don't grow and continue to attract quality members - they exist only for a very small group of the original core enthusiasts.

    I believe clear rules and strong, prompt moderation is the key to success. Stop by the Corvetteforum sometime. BTW, I'm just a member there, not an owner or moderator.
     
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  3. ChrisfromRI

    ChrisfromRI Karting

    Jan 28, 2003
    230
    Foster, RI
    Full Name:
    Chris F
    This is all very interesting as I am a big believer in the importance of quality rather than quantity. This is why I happen to own my Ferrari.

    My comments are as follows:

    1. Paying is certainly reasonable.

    2. A limit on posts per day is IMO a fine idea, as this reinforces quality rather than quantity.

    3. With respect to the "+/-" rating scheme, I would suggest that if you were to give someone a "-" then you get one yourself, to mitigate abuse of this feature. Then it will be clear that you really were offended as you were willing to take a hit yourself in order to degrade another person's rating.

    4. Speaking of ratings, the notion of rating users by their number of posts rather than their quality of posts flies in the face of the current effort to improve quality on the site. I therefore suggest eliminating any reference to a user's "driving class" (e.g.: rookie, formula, etc.), other than simply to list the number of posts as a data point.

    5. One last point on the topic of ratings is that it seems to me that a salient rating point might be actually owning a Ferrari(s).

    6. I already work as a "consultant". However, if it were desired I would be willing to offer a little insight into electrical engineering issues, SCCA Solo2 racing, as well as some practical aspects of keeping a 20 year old 308 QV operating nicely.

    In closing, I commend you Rob on your efforts in operating and evolving this site.

    Kind Regards, Chris
     
  4. Heath

    Heath Rookie

    Nov 10, 2003
    5
    Rob
    Give me your P.O. Box and I will send you a Check.I have been following F-chat for 4 years now. When I see a thread from a [troll] I just skip over it.
    The only issue I have is the Quality of Tech help. Before I sold my Ferrari F-chat was a great place to get Ideas,Tech Help, and parts interchange help.
    Any other discussions or coments by people who don't own or like Ferrari need to go someplace else.
    I am now looking for a 328GTB when I find it I know I will need frendly help and advice from people who care.
    The total number of Ferrari's is small. Being a member of a small group of pro Ferrari people is fine by me.
    Heath
     
  5. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
    Staff Member Admin Miami 2018 Owner

    Dec 1, 2000
    53,188
    Southlake, TX
    Full Name:
    Rob Lay
    BJS, good ideas from the corvette forums, I will use that as one of the many sources when we draft our own "zero tollerance" rules. Thanks.

    ChrisfromRI, good idea on the levels being based on quality and not number of posts. I do think users care too much about their title and not quality. Thanks.

    Heath, wait until the system is in place. It will be implemented in March, but permissions won't start being removed from the Free usergroup until after March. Thanks.
     
  6. Dr Tommy Cosgrove

    Dr Tommy Cosgrove Three Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    May 4, 2001
    32,440
    Birmingham, AL
    Full Name:
    Tommy
    Am I the only one who remembers the "old" days when it seemed that there were only about 50 of us? This thing has gotten really really big. Good going, Rob.
     
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  8. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
    Staff Member Admin Miami 2018 Owner

    Dec 1, 2000
    53,188
    Southlake, TX
    Full Name:
    Rob Lay
    LOL, I would love to have those "50 user" days back sometimes. :)
     
  9. khayes

    khayes Formula Junior

    Nov 1, 2003
    591
    Austin, TX
    Full Name:
    Kelly Hayes
    I like the plan and love the site. I'm ok with the fee. It's probably the least expensive part of Ferrari ownership. Sign me up Rob.

    The new ad in Forza looks great! I thought it was humorous that Allanlambo was the top post in the ad.

    Keep the bikini thread. I've given up red meat and using foul words in emails at work, let me have something, a little fun.

    Kelly
     
  10. BLACK HORSE

    BLACK HORSE Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Feb 11, 2004
    1,793
    Livermore, CA
    Full Name:
    Rob L.
    Rob,

    I only concern I have is that this site should remain free where we all can post our comments in regards to our favorite toy; our Ferraris. There are area where you can charge a small fee; is in advertising to promote business. It seams that everything on the web cost money to join or for an online service, and I think that paid subscriptions to Ferrarichat will kill a good thing.…. I hope that you consider leaving it the way it is… Don’t get greedy now!
     
  11. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
    Staff Member Admin Miami 2018 Owner

    Dec 1, 2000
    53,188
    Southlake, TX
    Full Name:
    Rob Lay
    I understand where you are coming from and that's why this has been a tough step to take.

    #1 I won't let it kill anything - that's why to start the subscribed group won't have much more permissions than the FREE group yet. I've also detailed many times that the top SME's (consultants) will at least be on here for free or some even compensated. To begin with there will be absolutely no reason for anyone to leave. If we remove FREE permissions down to a point where they can't post, then I'm sure we'll loose some. I wasn’t fine with that before, now I am. Between the value we add now and the additional improvements I plan with additional resources available, if someone isn't willing to pay $15 a year for it, then I won't loose sleep over them.

    #2 I wish I had the energy and time to have it free for everyone, even sponsors. However, I've sacrificed too much in the rest of my life and that will not continue. If it's not worth my time anymore, then I'll shut it down and go back to the original 100-200 users we had. Like I've said, FerrariChat.com will be around forever, but who knows in 25 years if it's those 100-200 users only or 10,000 users in a community with a complete monthly periodical and other resources of value beyond just a forum.
     
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  13. flyingboa

    flyingboa Formula 3

    Nov 27, 2003
    1,555
    Italy/India
    Full Name:
    Eugenio
    Rob,
    As everyone can see from my profile, I am a newcomer on this forum. Anyway during the just 3 months I have been around I have perceived (remember, this is just subjective!) a decrease in the quality of the threads. Growing occurrences of insults, too much posing, at the end of the day too many "negative" approaches.
    I find no problems in having peoples like Allan saying that Lambo is superior to Ferrari, this is his opinion therefore it deserves respect.
    I have a lot of problems in Allan insulting peoples (and vice versa) in a public forum that should be just fun and sharing good experiences on cars and other aspects of life.
    May I just suggest that the moderators’ actions are publicized? Just add a list of peoples that have been sanctioned together with the reason why. Perhaps that will induce peoples to reflect a bit more before posting.
    I will be more than happy to give a contribution (please make it easy for us poor europeans) in order to be part of an enjoyable group of life enthusiasts (you cannot love F cars without loving life!), but I fear I am not willing to be a part of a group of peoples that acts in a way I would not accept in my family.
    Sorry for the mail that, perhaps, is out of tune. I thing I owed it.

    Ciao

    Eugenio
     
  14. Spasso

    Spasso F1 World Champ

    Feb 16, 2003
    14,612
    Land of Slugs & Moss
    Full Name:
    Han Solo
    Verifiable Profile is a MUST!

    Being banned as an option to poor behaviour, lack of respect and lack of tact a must.

    Institute a Gary Green Black Hole for those that need to be banned permanatly.

    I agree with everything BJS said in his thread about improvements that can be made to this site similar to those used in the Corvette forum.

    A 15.00 fee won't stop trolls but if it improves the site over what it has been I'm for it.

    I really hope something good comes of this.

    Have a good weekend

    DJ
     
  15. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
    Staff Member Admin Miami 2018 Owner

    Dec 1, 2000
    53,188
    Southlake, TX
    Full Name:
    Rob Lay
    This is a great idea! Again, this is why I make this stuff public and we talk about it. This thread has already produced many good ideas like this I would of never considered. I look at the "moderator log" every day to see what has been done. I think it's very fair and beneficial to make this public.

    Thanks,
    rob
     
  16. BLACK HORSE

    BLACK HORSE Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Feb 11, 2004
    1,793
    Livermore, CA
    Full Name:
    Rob L.
    I’ve been with FerrariChat for a while now and I think it’s the greatest thing that came along even after the dotcoms, and we owe a ton of gratitude to you Rob for contributing a lot; making a great sacrifice to make this site a great success where it is today. My 2cents; keeping the site free for individuals who want to chat and post threads but charge a “small user fee” if you want to call it that for those who want to advertise, sell cars/parts, and link other Ferrari portals sites to FerrariChat… I also had a chance to crunch some numbers based on your proposal; $15 site fee x lets say 5000 users = $75,000 per/yr; not bad for a hobby!
     
  17. SR Ferrari

    SR Ferrari Rookie

    Dec 1, 2003
    48
    Rob.
    Have the Guys assign me a Job ?
    Anthing I can do to help.
    Kind Regards
    Wayne Hynes.
     
  18. Brian C. Stradale

    Brian C. Stradale F1 Rookie
    Lifetime Rossa

    Mar 17, 2002
    3,603
    Dallas, TX, USA
    One suggestion, Rob... a little red-text note in the Reply to Thread window when they've hit reply to a message:

    "Please delete from the quote anything not relevant to the point you are making."

    ;)
     
  19. chaa

    chaa F1 Veteran

    Mar 21, 2003
    5,058
    Dont get me wrong this is an ACE site, BUT these words spring to mind....Controll, controll, Cencorship,controll,Clicky and......we pay for it. Dont mind paying a dam thing if i feal inclined. but there is something that seems very big brother about this, and i have this all the time in the UK...and pay for it.I will see ya on the road when this all starts.
     
  20. wax

    wax Four Time F1 World Champ
    Advising Moderator

    Jul 20, 2003
    46,657
    SFPD
    Full Name:
    Dirty Harry
    Ask not what Ferrarichat can do for you, ask what you can do for Ferrarichat.
     
  21. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
    Staff Member Admin Miami 2018 Owner

    Dec 1, 2000
    53,188
    Southlake, TX
    Full Name:
    Rob Lay
    Hmm, I can't imagine having 5,000 paying users, but if that's the case we'll require a full time employee or two. Even at that point when you consider "take home" it's still better for me to keep my full time job vs. FC. Cool thing about working for someone else is that you don't have to worry about costs. 100% of your check is profits. :)
     
  22. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
    Staff Member Admin Miami 2018 Owner

    Dec 1, 2000
    53,188
    Southlake, TX
    Full Name:
    Rob Lay
    As you can now see, if you have your Full Name filled out in your profile, then it will appear in the user bar of each post to the right, just like Location. Let me know if any other profile fields should appear here or if any new profile fields should be added to the profile.

    Everyone, please fill out at least the parts you want on your profile at...

    User CP - Profile.

    Thanks,
    rob
     
  23. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
    Staff Member Admin Miami 2018 Owner

    Dec 1, 2000
    53,188
    Southlake, TX
    Full Name:
    Rob Lay
    I've also made sure the 3 optional color combos for the forum styles looked right and are consistent.

    Everyone gets the gray/blue look as a default. You can also choose from 3 other "more Ferrari color" styles from either your User CP or the drop down at the bottom of almost any page. They are...

    - red/yellow
    - gray/yellow
    - gray/red

    You can test all three out in a matter of seconds, just use the bottom dropdown. Go back to the default if you don't like them. The reason we have the plain look as default is 75% of the usage of FerrariChat.com is people at work and they don't want something that stands out.

    I can implement as many style choices as you want. I'm going to create a "Large Font" and "Small Font" style someday and I'm open to other suggestions.

    Thanks,
    rob
     
  24. sandersja

    sandersja Formula Junior

    Jan 16, 2003
    367
    Portland OR
    Full Name:
    John Sanders
    While I very much enjoy FerrariChat, I would like to offer a suggestion. I have found that the search facility is not particularly effective. Some additional effort on building up search capabilities would go a long way to reduce repeat questions/threads, and make the site a better resource.

    What really is needed is some better syntax for creating more targetted queries - e.g., "water pump" AND service AND (belts OR belt) AND (F355 OR 355). The existing date range and section options are helpful but the simple queries cast too wide a net. Actually the old site software had better searching facilities.

    Also, it appears that the existing searching may have problems. For example, try with the keywords "water pump" F355 and you will not get any hits despite many of 89 hits returned from searching only with "water pump" also include the word F355.
     
  25. wax

    wax Four Time F1 World Champ
    Advising Moderator

    Jul 20, 2003
    46,657
    SFPD
    Full Name:
    Dirty Harry
    Good call. It's not a Boolean Logic Search at this time.

    ______

    The logo - ferrarichat7.png - needs to be made into an active link for an easy return to home page, and should have an "alt" for those without 'image viewing' capabilities.

    To that end, change this:
    <p style="margin-top: 0; margin-bottom: 0" align="right">
    <img border="0" src="http://www.ferrarichat.com/images/ferrarichat7.png" width="400" height="64"></p>

    To this:

    <p style="margin-top: 0; margin-bottom: 0" align="right"><a href="http://ferrarichat.com/forum/index.php?"><img border="0" src="http://www.ferrarichat.com/images/ferrarichat7.png" alt="FerrariChat" width="400" height="64"></p>

    (Add-ons are highlighted in bold: Obviously, above "illustration's" open and closing [ b ] [ /b ] tags need to be removed)
     
  26. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
    Staff Member Admin Miami 2018 Owner

    Dec 1, 2000
    53,188
    Southlake, TX
    Full Name:
    Rob Lay
    Good suggestion. It's implemented now.

    I don't know about the search. This is something we'll have to suggest as I think it's out of the realm of "customizing".
     
  27. alx355gt

    alx355gt F1 Veteran

    Feb 3, 2004
    9,494
    Belgium
    Full Name:
    Alexander
    Hi,

    I've only recently discovered this site and I think it's really great! In this short time the users of this site (especially from the Europe section) already gave me a lot of useful information about searching/buying and maintaining my future dream car. Together with nice pics, fantastic movie/sound clips and a bit of humor from time to time,... I really like this site. I've also no problem with listing info in my profile...BUT... I don't like the idea of the membership fee :( simply 'cause I don't trust online-paying (bad experiences) and there are already to many paysites IMO. I understand that this fee maybe is really neccessary to make this an even better site without spam... but I'ld regret it :(

    Sad that some idiots (like Gary Green f.e., don't know him but I've seen some links to posts of him in your reinstatement-poll) are 'causing these changes.
    :( Can't we all really just put the annoying people like this on the IGNORE list? I did!

    Just do what's best for the site.
    But if this becomes a paysite I would probably have to go, altough I will be loyal and keep reading the load of useful information, if that's still possible for free.

    Greets, Forza Ferrari, ALX
     
  28. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
    Staff Member Admin Miami 2018 Owner

    Dec 1, 2000
    53,188
    Southlake, TX
    Full Name:
    Rob Lay
    To filter out the spam is not the main goal of subscriptions, but it will be a side benefit as we'll have more resources to fight it and trolls will get sick of paying $15 many times over.

    We'll loose current and new users that don't think they get $15 value out of the site. So hopefully we end up with a "rightsized" community that values their time here. What you see today from the community is nice, but with more resources we can really make it special. I guarantee we'll loose many at first and they'll throw a fit, but will be back in one year or even five years when they see what becomes of the community.

    The sickest of us Ferrari enthusiasts subscribe/belong to Forza, Cavallino, FCA, FOC, and others. FC will just be another one on the enthusiasts list and the least expensive by far, although the one they probably spend the most time with. It's all about value. Help me help you. :)
     

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