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Dave's View from the Cheap Seats - Or RV Forum vs. the Serenity Prayer

dedmiston
Moderator
Moderator

I'm not in AA, but I love their Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Many of you know who I am and probably even more of you don't know me at all. I joined the forum in 2004 when I was shopping for my first Toy Hauler, and then Admin and Mellow Mike tapped me to serve as a moderator the following year. I've served as a mod this whole time, and then this time last year Admin turned over his responsibilities to me and I took over as the Administrator of RV.NET. It's been a dubious honor, because it came with all of the responsibilities to keep the community running (along with the rest of the Moderation team) but none of the actual power to make any changes to the platform (servers) or the forum software: lots of responsibilities with very limited power.

I don't think most members here appreciate the inevitability of these forum changes though. Rewinding the clock a little, here's the situation we faced. Our options with the old RV.NET software platform were:

  1. Do nothing and just wait for the site to crash. The technology was obsolete and nobody was left at Good Sam who knew how to fix any of the code. Given enough time (probably just a few more months) the forum was bound to collapse under its own weight and there wouldn't be an RV.NET anymore.
  2. Keep bickering with each other on the old site until Good Sam saw the site as a liability and pulled the plug altogether. As a moderator and administrator I've been privy to the metrics behind the site for years, and the one-two punch of the decline of our technology plus the pandemic left us in a dire condition with just a small handful of active members and TONS of infighting over lockdown conditions, a faltering economy, and political polarization. The forum got smaller and the members got uglier. Not good. It couldn't continue that way, even if by some miracle the site didn't crash.
  3. Spin up this new site in tandem with RV.NET and allow members to post in both locations until this new community was deemed perfect by all concerned and then lock down the old site for archival purposes and leave the data were it was on the old site.
  4. Spin up this new site, migrate all the RV.NET data, and then shut down the old site once the data migration was complete (which is what Good Sam has done).

Hopefully all will agree that options #1 & #2 were undesirable enough to be ruled out as non-starters. The 3rd and 4th options were more desirable and both were researched and analyzed as possibilities, but #4 won out as the chosen option. Many of you obviously disagree with this direction, but having worked in the tech arena most of my career it's very clear that the direction that Good Sam took was the best solution even if it's painful in the short run.

What's not obvious to most people is that running the sites in parallel and allowing people to post in either site until eventually locking down RV.NET would have been a disaster. Our most valuable asset is the decades of posts on RV.NET. Unfortunately the most broken piece on the old site was the Search, so most of the treasure chest of data wasn't even available to us anymore. I happen to know though that migrating that massive amount of data was a HUGE undertaking of time and research, which translates to a significant payroll investment that Good Sam committed to, all to benefit members like you and me. They did us an enormous favor by ensuring that our years' of posts would continue to live on. Not only that, but they maintained our member accounts so the historical data would actually be attached to us members who are still here. This was an incredible undertaking and It's disappointing to me how few members seem to appreciate this.

Good Sam made this commitment early this year and has been researching options and planning the changes for most of 2023 (hopefully I've got that right). 

And now it's November and we've got this new site, warts and all. And for the detractors, imagine it as an incredible new car with a paint job that you hate. But guess what: we can repaint it. It's still a kickass car though. And all of our favorite stuff is in the trunk and we didn't have to sell any of it.

Here's where the concepts of the Serenity Prayer come in though: There are things that we can change and things that we cannot. We need to admit this though (all of us) and then figure out how to move forward.

Things we cannot change:

  1. The fact that RV.NET is gone to us. It's gone. Period. There's no going back.
  2. The fact that we have to sign-in to the forum often. Part of this is configurable and the time period has been set to the maximum. But the third-party platform that Good Sam selected as our host has a requirement to sign-in more often and use more complex passwords. We can't change that.
  3. The fact that the site looks different. Yes, it's different. It's a different site and it was redesigned from top to bottom. Can it be changed? In many ways yes, but it will never look like the old site and it really shouldn't anyway.

I'm sure there are more items to add to this list, but my point is that we all need to shift our viewpoint and see that some things can't/won't be changed, no matter how much we complain.

Things we CAN change:

  1. I doubt most of us think of this very often, but the first thing we can change is ourselves. We come to this community with a set of expectations, and maybe we need to look at ourselves and see which of these expectations we should change so that we can be happier people. We just finished the Thanksgiving weekend, so hopefully we're still in the mindset of gratitude. How thankful are we that we can just post a photo in the middle of a post without having to save the file to another server first? How thankful are we that the site hasn't been unavailable or slow ONE TIME since it came online? The old site's performance was horrible and embarrassing. This new platform is incredible by comparison.
  2. Settings in your account: You can tweak the configuration preferences in your account to change the number of posts & replies shown on any page. I've increased mine and the display is actually pretty nice compared to the defaults. You can also chose whether to sort the posts oldest to newest or newest to oldest.
  3. Other site "look & feel" aspects: Your feedback is invaluable to evolving this new community into a look & feel that the majority of us will be satisfied with. But wanna know what's not valuable at all? "This site sucks and I'm outta here." Uh. OK. Not sure what we can do with that and we'll be sorry to lose you, but that's your prerogative. But contributing meaningful and specific feedback like "Please add the Truck Camper forum back" is a massive help. There's a huge difference between providing actionable feedback requests and just saying "this site sucks".

I've rambled on long enough now, but I'd like to challenge you all to accept the features that we cannot change and to stick around and contribute the input that the Good Sam team needs to satisfy the membership moving forward. The feedback has been mostly negative, but I'm optimistic that we'll get through this initial phase and find an equilibrium that satisfies the majority of our members old and new alike.

I guess my parting thoughts are to remind us all to keep things in perspective and remember that this is just a website and changing the look and feel isn't the end of the world and doesn't truly impact our lives, especially since the current state of the Community is just Phase One and that Good Sam is continuing to make improvements. Please be kind and respectful to the Good Sam crew though, because they're human just like the rest of us. And don't forget that the Moderation team are all volunteers and we're helping out here out of a sense of service and giving back to the RV community we've loved for so long.

Happy Trails,
Dave

2014 RAM 3500 Diesel 4x4 Dually long bed. B&W RVK3600 hitch • 2015 Crossroads Elevation Homestead Toy Hauler ("The Taj Mahauler") • <\br >Toys:

  • 18 Can Am Maverick x3
  • 05 Yamaha WR450
  • 07 Honda CRF250X
  • 05 Honda CRF230
  • 06 Honda CRF230
33 REPLIES 33

2112
Explorer II
Explorer II

The original post is posted at the beginning of each page. Is there a way to stop that?

2011 Ford F-150 EcoBoost SuperCab Max Tow, 2084# Payload, 11,300# Tow,
Timbrens
2013 KZ Durango 2857

I actualy kind of like that part, on longer threads the original topic doesnt get lost and it is easy to remind your self of the original topic. but there could be somthing in your user setting you just have to fool around and look in there to see what all you can customize.

2014 F350 6.7 Platinum
2016 Cougar 330RBK
1991 Slumberqueen WS100

DonnieBoy
Explorer II
Explorer II

Dave thanks for the update and excited to see the changes here.  I thought option #2 above was inevitable as the usual bickering devolved into dangerous and uninformed advice being dispensed to newbies by a couple of loudmouths who intimidated the mods into staying quiet.  I left the forum last year after being a member since 2001 because I got tired of the personal attacks and name calling.  Like it or not, that tone begins to define your brand when your logo is at the top of the page, and that's not the kind of press CW wants or needs.  Good luck on your new role as admin, and looking forward to better discourse on this new and improved forum.

2015 Ram 3500 Cummins, crew cab, long box
2008 Big Country 3250TS

I see an option here called "Mute". I wonder if that is used to block a certain poster.

I wouldn't test it yet until we find out "mute" is actually used for.  🤔

 

Mark & Jan "Old age & treachery win over youth & enthusiasm"
2003 Fleetwood Jamboree 29

I just got an email notification that you replied to this post, so it looks like the default setting is to subscribe to all.  I tried the "mute" setting just now and a banner said that I have been unsubscribed from notifications on this thread.  Went back and clicked "unmute" and notifications are restored.  So it seems like the "mute" function is to mute notifications of activity on the thread, not for individual posters.  I haven't been to my profile and settings yet so not sure how/if individual posters can be blocked.  

2015 Ram 3500 Cummins, crew cab, long box
2008 Big Country 3250TS

I noticed another problem with the forum. Unless you live on the west coast, the times are off. I am on CST time which is two hours ahead of you.

Mark & Jan "Old age & treachery win over youth & enthusiasm"
2003 Fleetwood Jamboree 29

IMG_2616.pngYou can set the time zone in your user settings. Click on your avatar to get there.

 

2014 Ford F350 XLT 6.2 SCLB + 2017 Northstar Arrow

Thank you for the time reset. My meds must have been getting to me. I have been here for around 3 weeks and never noticed the time. 

Mark & Jan "Old age & treachery win over youth & enthusiasm"
2003 Fleetwood Jamboree 29

So it looks like we just block the notifications. Not good for me. 😐

 

Mark & Jan "Old age & treachery win over youth & enthusiasm"
2003 Fleetwood Jamboree 29

night_shift
Explorer
Explorer

Hi Dave, 

I finally got signed in but I had to change my user name. No matter that I used my correct email address, it said nightshift was already taken so I changed it to night_shift. Is there any way I can get the old one back?

Could you supply with your original ID name? Please put it in inside quotes. I should be able to locate it for you.

 

 

Mark & Jan "Old age & treachery win over youth & enthusiasm"
2003 Fleetwood Jamboree 29

night_shift
Explorer
Explorer

Thank you for all the hard work. But my data must have been lost because I can't seem to sign in on the new site. It says my user name already exists and wants a name change. I don't want to do that.

StirCrazy
Nomad III
Nomad III

its just change.  yes the old format when you logged on showed all your catagories (and not the ones you have hidden) so it was much easier to navagate and see where the new posts are.  this new one shows you the same stuff you just have to go looking for it instead of it being presented to you.  plus the canadian section has been mashed in as international.

plus the edit function times out so when you come home from work and see you made some spelling/grammer mistakes you cant fix them, and getting to that there is no spell check on the new site.

2014 F350 6.7 Platinum
2016 Cougar 330RBK
1991 Slumberqueen WS100

MNtundraRet
Navigator
Navigator

I went through all my old replies back to July 24, 2012. I joined 12/06,2017.

So, I have 770 replies out of over 4300 replies / posts. Unless someone locates missing data this may be the oldest data left.

Mark & Jan "Old age & treachery win over youth & enthusiasm"
2003 Fleetwood Jamboree 29