General Intro Suggestions

hkpierce

'02 140 Hi BlueBlk Pass
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.
 
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sikwan

06 T1N Can
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!

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.

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
 

hkpierce

'02 140 Hi BlueBlk Pass
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.
 
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Zach Woods

Super Moderator
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
 

hkpierce

'02 140 Hi BlueBlk Pass
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.
 

hkpierce

'02 140 Hi BlueBlk Pass
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
 

Attachments

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sikwan

06 T1N Can
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).
 

Zach Woods

Super Moderator
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
 

Attachments

hkpierce

'02 140 Hi BlueBlk Pass
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.
 

Zach Woods

Super Moderator
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
 

sikwan

06 T1N Can
View attachment 70

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.
The current setup for the subforums will change at the top level. Right now I just have what it looks like in the above attachment; single line links. I'd like to expand on this so that the links are in a couple columns and the subgroups, ie. EB/RB, will show up on the list and is clickable. This way it will save people from clicking twice to get to a sub/sub group.

I can go either way. I suggest that we keep the main/sub/sub or as it is now. If we decide to move from main/sub/sub to main/sub, we can do that easily.

Going from a main/sub to a main/sub/sub is a nightmare. I have to go through one thread at a time and decide where to move them to their specific subs.

Seek

EDIT: Weird, the attachment doesn't show up when quoted. Another thing to fix.:mad:
 

sikwan

06 T1N Can
HK and All:

Please read below the quotes...

General
Talk
Pictures
Videos
Diesel Fuel
BioDiesel Fuel
Dealer Experiences
Government and Sprinters
History and Other Big Vans​
Can the Diesel and Biodiesel be combined rather than in their separate categories?

Can the Goverment and History be included within Talk or Sprinter Talk and we have a separate section called Off Topic where you can talk about Other Big Vans?

Parts
New replacement
Accessories
Cargo Van Equip't
Motor Oil
Classifieds​
I'd like to change this, but I don't know what to now. My brain is fried now.

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​
Agree with this.

Sprinter RVs
North American Brands
DIY Conversions
RV and Conversion parts
Adventures
European/Aussie RVS​
I'd like to get some input on the title "Adventures." Some of us, like myself, use the van for more than one purpose and one of them is for our road trips. I was thinking about leaving the title Adventures out and just include them in the Picture section or Video section. If it doesn't include any pictures or videos, maybe it should go into the Sprinter Talk section?

Regional
- list of regions similar to the BMW site
Agree with this.

Comments?

Thanks,
Seek

ps. I'm holding off on the changes until we can get to a common ground. As always, I'm open to all suggestions. The forum will continue to change as we find out what works and what doesn't. I'm sure there will be more suggestions when the membership reaches 1000. Plus, I'm going to sleep. :D
 

Zach Woods

Super Moderator
Howdy Seek, hk, others -

My quick take on Seek's questions:

1. Diesel and Biodiesel should be separate - there will be overlap and curiosity but mostly two different groups of people will be frequenting these two different forums. You could have a Fuel forum which would include both a Diesel and a Biodiesel subforum but this would take up more screen/ window real estate than hk's suggested breakdown.

2. Government, History and Other Big Vans - either Seek's or hk's breakdown work in my mind. As may be clear by now I think subforums are a good thing so I may lean towards Government and History as separate subforums under Sprinter Talk and Other Big Vans as a subforum under Off Topic.

3. I think it would be fine to move Adventures out of RV's. It would make that section more accessible / top of mind for all. And I think that even with Adventures under RV's we are still going to have adventure posts turning up down under specific brands or models of RV/Conversions - either way a moderator could always move these mis-placed posts to the right location if they have the time/ desire to.

Comments welcome from all,

Zach
 

hkpierce

'02 140 Hi BlueBlk Pass
1. Diesel and Biodiesel should be separate - there will be overlap and curiosity but mostly two different groups of people will be frequenting these two different forums. You could have a Fuel forum which would include both a Diesel and a Biodiesel subforum but this would take up more screen/ window real estate than hk's suggested breakdown.

Zach
I agree with Zach

2. Government, History and Other Big Vans - either Seek's or hk's breakdown work in my mind. As may be clear by now I think subforums are a good thing so I may lean towards Government and History as separate subforums under Sprinter Talk and Other Big Vans as a subforum under Off Topic.

Zach
I had wondered about Off Topic, but now this gives purpose to the forum.


3. I think it would be fine to move Adventures out of RV's. It would make that section more accessible / top of mind for all. And I think that even with Adventures under RV's we are still going to have adventure posts turning up down under specific brands or models of RV/Conversions - either way a moderator could always move these mis-placed posts to the right location if they have the time/ desire to.

Zach
I understand whence Seek is coming. I had thought about it, and among my rationale was a space issue under General - it was filling fast with subforums, whereas RV had space, and readers of the main forum would be the combination of RV'ers and DIY dreamers.

If the name is to be changed, don't forget the marketing aspect. You are looking to attract appropriate attention through a hook/curiousity. A title of "Trips" or "Real Life Application of Sprinters" may not be as effective.
 

sikwan

06 T1N Can
Parts
New replacement
Accessories
Cargo Van Equip't
Motor Oil
Classifieds​
I got most of the categories done and I had a few thoughts on the Parts section.

1. Should the "Motor Oil" section be in the Powertrain section of the Sprinters' Technical Issues category rather than in a separate category?

There's no tire/wheel category and I'm guessing that it will go into the New replacement category? Motor Oils can also go into the New replacement section too.

2. What will the "New replacement" category cover? There are a lot of items that can go into the Sprinter's Technical Section and vice-versa. Since we're not using an interior/exterior category, a lot of the modifications will now go into the Body category or will they go into New replacement?

Comments welcome. To me, there might be some overlap between the categories "Parts" and "Technical Issues" section. Ie., hitches & trailers, tires & wheels, new replacement parts, etc.

At least to me, I might be confused as to where I should put a thread like, "Fender trim needed to clear new tires/wheels."

Thanks,
Seek
 

hkpierce

'02 140 Hi BlueBlk Pass
Motor Oil - I put it under Parts as it is like filters, brake pads, etc, but draws more attention than any other maintenance item combined. Yes, it could be discussed under Powertrain, but I was trying to create a magnet for the volume of posts on that topic.

Tire/Wheel - good question. Some models of the 2007 will have a different tire rating requirement than the 2001-2006. Notwithstanding, I would still leave it under Parts. Most discussion items will likely be as an Accessory, but the discussion on the rare 15" high rated and the brand new even higher rated 16" for the 2007+ will also draw stuff. A subforum under Parts?

New/Replacement will cover sources like Berry's and other 3rd party suppliers of OEM parts. I view it not so much as a forum, but as a location for links to sources similar to that provided in YahooSprinter (see also that forum's Accessories - I think someone named it "Customizers").

I agree with the overlap issue. Hitches are definiately an Accessory. Notwithstanding, I suggested putting it in the Tech sections, as I believe both the hitches and the problems are going to be model specific. I don't think that can be helped, as everyone thinks differently. For example, I noticed one of your posts in the tech section that I thought didn't fit. That is what Search is for. Though I tested that feature using "engine" and was not happy with the results [default of case specific search].


In preparing this post, I ran into another problem with the "Preview Post." It sent me to a screen saying I was not logged in. [2nd edit] Then I backed out, posted, relogged in, and then it said I couldn't post as I had posted in the last 30 seconds. Indeed, I saw my post above, plus in the Edit Post box all my text above was there ready to go. I backed out again, and it generated an error code saying that I had attempted to post an identical message (neat catch, even though I hadn't realized I had tried to post the "second" message).
 
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sikwan

06 T1N Can
---Motor Oil---

I'm going to put this under powertrain since it's a very specific issue and imo should be found in the technical section.

---Tire/Wheel---

I'm putting in the parts section. While the tires can be very specific, many people are modifying or putting aftermarket underspec tires/wheels

---New/Replacement---

Placing this in its own forum "dealers & suppliers" as the supplier section and moving dealer experiences from th general section.

---Hitches---

I'm moving this into parts since it's more of an accessory than a technical issue with the Sprinter.


---In preparing this post, I ran into another problem with the "Preview Post." It sent me to a screen saying I was not logged in. [2nd edit] Then I backed out, posted, relogged in, and then it said I couldn't post as I had posted in the last 30 seconds. Indeed, I saw my post above, plus in the Edit Post box all my text above was there ready to go. I backed out again, and it generated an error code saying that I had attempted to post an identical message (neat catch, even though I hadn't realized I had tried to post the "second" message).----

This is a feature/problem with the forum software. I've seen it before on other forums using vBulletin. I can only recommend that you either click on the "remember me" box, or you do a ever so often preview of the message you're typing.

Lastly, I want to point out that as much as I liked the Yahoo SprinterVan as an informative resource, we can't implement its entirety. I think once users get used to the layout/format of this new forum, they will know where to post threads. Right now, I can see where the confusion might be and that's in the technical and parts section. Imho, I'd like to keep oem related issues in the technical section and the aftermarket stuff in parts, even when in most cases the aftermarket is the oem.

This forum is far from perfect, and probably will never be for everyone. Let's keep the changes minimal from what we have now. I'd like to make some changes to the dealer/supplier section and start adding content to the site.

Thanks,
Seek
 

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