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Old 09-25-2006, 05:02 PM   #1
hkpierce
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Default General Intro Suggestions

Think about some general introduction at the home page - like focus on North American Sprinters, etc.

Moving material from the YahooSprinterVan site will be extremely time consuming with lots of required editting. There are literally 100's of links on that site already archived in the Links folders. It would be much easier to simply copy over the link. But that requires the user to be simultaneously logged into YahooSprinterVan. If that site's historical information is to become available to your site, then you need to advise users of your site to have logged into the YahooSprinterVan to ensure the YahooSprinterVan links work. All this information (and more) can be included in a New User topic that is not editable/repliable except by the moderator. Of course, that is assuming the objective is to enhance access to Sprinter data, no matter the location.

I am also having difficulty imagining where much information located on YahooSprinterVan would fit on your site.

Last edited by hkpierce; 09-25-2006 at 05:03 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 09-25-2006, 05:51 PM   #2
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Default Re: General Intro Suggestions

Quote:
Originally Posted by hkpierce View Post
Think about some general introduction at the home page - like focus on North American Sprinters, etc.
The home page is on the list of things to do. Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hkpierce View Post
Moving material from the YahooSprinterVan site will be extremely time consuming with lots of required editting. There are literally 100's of links on that site already archived in the Links folders. It would be much easier to simply copy over the link. But that requires the user to be simultaneously logged into YahooSprinterVan. If that site's historical information is to become available to your site, then you need to advise users of your site to have logged into the YahooSprinterVan to ensure the YahooSprinterVan links work. All this information (and more) can be included in a New User topic that is not editable/repliable except by the moderator. Of course, that is assuming the objective is to enhance access to Sprinter data, no matter the location.
I was thinking that most of that specific data can be stored in the "Knowledge Base" section of the forum. We could leave that section open for posting until everything is settled. That way if someone wants to help by providing information, we can accumulate the information, edit, and lock it just for a reference database.

As for the YahooSprinterVan links, it won't be done overnight or even in the near term, but hopefully we'll have everything transferred either by myself or by list members.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hkpierce View Post
I am also having difficulty imagining where much information located on YahooSprinterVan would fit on your site.
Can you provide some examples? Most of the files/links can be categorized here. If not, we can always open up a new category.

Thanks for the input,
Seek
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Old 09-26-2006, 12:47 PM   #3
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Default Re: General Intro Suggestions

I guess there are two areas.

First, given the information that is to be transferred, the current categories imply a temporal continuity which is already known to be incorrect. For example, virtually all of the 250 plus links in the Yahoo Sprintervan DIY folder are most likely only appropriate for the 2001-2006 Sprinters (ignoring intra-model years changes to various components that we are aware of like the EGR, fuel pump, fuel filter, injectors, various sensors, and the like). With the introduction of the 2007 model, it is very unlikely that anything in the DIY folder will be directly pertinent. Yet the new forum’s topics make only one distinction with regard to the change – the engine. So the Yahoo Sprintervan DIY material must be spread around the other topic categories that, while for the moment, are indeed better than before, soon will be mixing model information. That is not user friendly. The new model will have a new chassis, body, suspension, transmission, electronics, etc. And new problems unique to that model over the whole gamut of its design and construction.

Second, and more intangible, is what I would guess Andy refers to as the passion of owning a Sprinter. What made Yahoo Sprintervan so successful are the members who enjoy owning a unique piece of machinery, not afraid to take on the challenges of being first, and creating a mutual aid self-help group by passing on information. For example, how did the idea for the Yahoo Sprintervan Adventurers folder start? Some early (2002) Sprinter owner took his Sprinter on back roads in Mexico and his EGR crapped out on him, followed by the Dutch Harbor taxi service and the joys of bringing in the first Sprinter to Hawaii. The US Government folder started with a discussion on taxes and Sprinters, and grey market questions. The History and Competition folders similarly. In other words, the reason many of these links exist is because they are the product of earlier Yahoo Sprintervan members' interests. I am not sure how this spirit of curiousity, adventure, and self reliance gets transfered.

From another viewpoint, the categories miss the single largest Sprinter market: cargo vans for tradesmen. Note that Yahoo Sprintervan has at least two areas with this area as a focus: Cargo conversion for trades, and DIY RV conversions with a separate area just on insulation materials alone. Note that in the Yahoo Sprintervan Cargo folder, there is actually a mix of topics - equipment for trade conversion and conversion companies for the trades. And, indeed, DIY RV conversions probably deserves its own category given how many of us have purchased Sprinters with dual or future use in mind.

Then remember that certain topics have a fanatical following that can overwhelm some threads. Specifically, motor oil and RSN are two Sprinter topics that should get their own (sub)categories just to capture and isolate these high volume post generators.

The world catagatories seem more whimsical than useful. Note that the RV topic could include a sub-forum of the dozens of European and Aussie RV companies - many of which are listed in the Yahoo Sprintervan folders.

Last edited by hkpierce; 09-26-2006 at 12:54 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 09-26-2006, 01:08 PM   #4
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Default Re: General Intro Suggestions

Howdy hk -

I agree with a lot of your concerns regarding transferring both information and users to Sprinter-Forum.com from other sites. I guess I feel that with the correct categories/ forums and Seek's good intentions and hard work (along with help from others) that these concerns/ stumbling blocks can be overcome. I also feel strongly that the Yahoo Groups model (even with some relatively recent improvements by Yahoo) leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to user-friendliness and long term usability.

I think that the disk space issues at Yahoo Groups alone gives us a very real need for a location that could grow as needed.

If we work with Seek to create 2001-2006 and 2007 and newer categories (with appropriate sub-categories beneath) do you think this will address some of your concerns?

I say let's try to come up with a good tree structure breakdown of categories that will cover the gamut that you describe in your message.

Also, thanks for your suggestion on European and other RV's. I am prejudiced towards many of those designs and it was my goal, after I had the North American RV's covered succesfully, to add info/ categories for RV's outside of North America. I've been working hard to get things into place for North American RV's and Seek has done what he can to support my efforts just as I am doing what I can to support his.

Great healthy dialogue like this can lead to improvements for all - let's keep moving things forward!

Zach
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Old 09-26-2006, 01:25 PM   #5
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Default Re: General Intro Suggestions

I totally agree with you Zach. Seek is the first US Sprinter forum monitor to express an interest in designing a forum focused on Sprinter owner needs. His willingness to listen to suggestions and contribute both his time and money to the project is commendable. Hopefully he will be able to pick up some money like MySprinter's forum does to cover some of his expenses, though the labor will likely never be compensated.
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Old 09-26-2006, 06:36 PM   #6
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Default Re: General Intro Suggestions

Suggested tree:

Utilizing the sub forum format from the BMW site (see the jpeg - sorry for the poor quality trouble on ID'ing the file size when compressing) - Each item forum/subforum can have a small description of contend if not self-evident (ex: the Talk one)

General
Talk
Pictures
Videos
Diesel Fuel
BioDiesel Fuel
Dealer Experiences
Government and Sprinters
History and Other Big Vans
Parts
New replacement
Accessories
Cargo Van Equip't
Motor Oil
Classifieds
2001-2006 Sprinters' Technical Issues[following the outline of the Service Manuals]
Powertrain
Transmission
Chassis
Body
Hitches and Trailers
2007> Sprinters' Technical Issues
Powertrain
Transmission
Chassis
Body
Hitches and Trailers
Sprinter RVs
North American Brands
DIY Conversions
RV and Conversion parts
Adventures
European/Aussie RVS
Regional
- list of regions similar to the BMW site
Attached Images
File Type: jpg BMW site.jpg (23.6 KB, 104 views)

Last edited by hkpierce; 09-26-2006 at 06:53 PM.
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Old 09-26-2006, 06:53 PM   #7
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Default Re: General Intro Suggestions

Excellent! I'll get working on it tonight.

Thanks,
Seek

Edit: I'm going to go over this again tonight thoroughly. I have limited time right now, so I'll just focus (somewhat) on the picture problem that some are having (Llarry, and soflo316).
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Old 09-26-2006, 08:11 PM   #8
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Default Re: General Intro Suggestions

Hello Seek, hk, & others -

I like hk's suggestions - I think they will make for a much more useful breakdown.

I wonder if some more discussion concerning the RV section would help to make it better than it currently is and better than hk's suggested breakdown?

My thoughts for the RV forums:

Sprinter-based RV's & Conversions
- General Sprinter-based RV & Conversion Discussion
-- Adventures
- DIY Sprinter-based RV's & Conversions
-- DIY RV & Conversion Parts
- European Sprinter-based RV's & Conversions
- North American Sprinter-based RV Brands (rename of current "Sprinter-based RV brands")
- Pacific/ Asian/ African/ South American Sprinter-based RV's & Conversions

My thoughts:

1. unless we have separate breakdowns by brands for the parts sub-forum it will be less useful for owners of those brands who are going to focus on brand when looking for part info
2. the final category is a catch-all/ other category but South Africa, for one, used to make some excellent VW based campers and they may do the same for Sprinters
3. By putting Adventures under "General Sprinter-based RV & Conversion Discussion" we can shorten the list a bit

Other thoughts?

Zach
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Old 09-26-2006, 09:36 PM   #9
hkpierce
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Default Re: General Intro Suggestions

Zach - One comment on your suggestion of subtopics - and the comment is equally applicable to many of the links in your current test RV sections. I don't recommend going down more than one sub-level (total 2 levels). The 3rd level will disappear, so viewers will not likely dive that deep and start posting in not as accurate topic locations. Second, the deeper the dive, the less likely anyone is either going to see it or use it.

As the sub-forums do appear in the top-level forum view, I strongly recommend not to go deeper.
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Old 09-26-2006, 10:24 PM   #10
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Default Re: General Intro Suggestions

Hello hk -

Your sub-level comment is a valid one.

As I look at my suggested breakdown (copied in and expanded below for reference/ clarity), I see only the models as being hidden at a third level down.

Sprinter-based RV's & Conversions - 0 level - just a title, really
- General Sprinter-based RV & Conversion Discussion - 1 level - visible on home page
-- Adventures - 2 level - visible on home page as a subforum in small text
- DIY Sprinter-based RV's & Conversions - 1 level
-- DIY RV & Conversion Parts - 2 level
- European Sprinter-based RV's & Conversions - 1 level
- North American Sprinter-based RV Brands (rename of current "Sprinter-based RV brands") - 1 level
-- Sportsmobile - 2 level
--- EB / RB - 3 level - the first to not appear on the home page
--- Class C - 3 level
- Pacific/ Asian/ African/ South American Sprinter-based RV's & Conversions - 1 level

SF Screenprint.JPG

I agree that this increases the chance that folks won't find the Class C Subforum (although when they click on Sportsmobile from the top level/ home page they will see it and EB / RB listed clearly) but I am assuming that people interested in their Sportsmobile Class C will have enough interest to take the time to figure where they will find info about it.

Feedback welcome!

Zach
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