Author Topic: Important Changes Coming to the Website  (Read 2902 times)

Eric Knight

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Important Changes Coming to the Website
« on: April 01, 2020, 10:55:24 PM »
Important changes are being made to the Wheelmen website in the next few weeks.

Photos and Video Pages:
These pages are being updated with the option to submit material to the Administrator for consideration to be shared on the site.

Reference Material pages:
Bulletins, Magazines and PDF Attachments will be "Members Only" pages. Members of the Wheelmen will be able
to access these pages with a user name and password.

Message Board
The Message Board is being updated to a more user friendly format (Attachment shows slides to help orient users).
Important: everyone will need to re-register for the site. To become a registered user of the Wheelmen website and Message Board, you will
need to be a paying member of the Wheelmen organization. The website registration process is not automated and each registration request will be
reviewed for approval by the website Administrator. Since this is a manual process please be patient if your registration isn't
immediately approved. We will work to approve requests as timely as we can.

The current message board will be archived with access through a link on the new Message Board.

It will be easier to attach photos or other documents and create links in your posts. There is no pre-specified size limit for the attachments.
Additional options exist to compose your posts and features such as creating a poll.

The goal of this message is to give current users advanced notice of the changes that are coming. While there will always be
opportunity to improve, I believe these new enhancement will provide a better user experience and improve the club's ability
to share more proprietary information with club members online.

At this challenging time of social distancing I hope the enhanced website Message Board will be an outlet for Wheelmen to stay connected.

Kind regards,

Eric Knight
Commander
The Wheelmen
Eric Knight
Commander

Ride the High Country

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Re: Important Changes Coming to the Website
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2020, 06:56:55 AM »
I am not a member of the Wheelmen, in part because for various reasons I am unable to attend events. But I have read and participated on the Wheelmen forums for years.

As a non-member, my opinions of the planned changes to the web-site may not carry any weight, but I’ll state them anyway.

Ever since the old forum disappeared, the Wheelmen’s web presence has faltered. The old forum was a fount of valuable historical and technical information, much of it contributed by members who no longer participate, or who have passed away. When the current forum was initiated, it was announced that the old one would be either merged with it, or put up as an archive. Neither happened, and a rich source of data appears to be gone forever.

I think that the change, and the disappearance of years of splendid posts and discussions, was discouraging to many members, and this may be why participation on the current forum is so sparse. Much of the activity has moved to the Wheelmen FaceBook page, which is a useful venue, but not nearly as good a record as a proper forum.

When I met with Craig Allen in December of 2018 to pick up a special 1893 Featherstone Prince bicycle he had beautifully restored, we briefly discussed the new Wheelmen forum, and he called it the “Wheelmen index”. He was joking of course, but he was essentially right. A look at the threads of the forum, and the number of replies to posts, will show sadly little interaction—a mere shadow of what the original forum was like.

Now, it is proposed to make most of the Wheelmen web-site—including a new forum—accessible only to dues-paying members. This will in my opinion further marginalise the site and forum. It would bar from participation those who have much to offer, but who may not be able or willing to become paying members of the Wheelmen. It would discourage potential new members. It would prevent non-members from offering for sale items that members would want. And from my experiences with other clubs, I can say that it will not motivate people to become paying members simply to access the site or post a question or message on the forum.

A look at just the pre-1930 sub-forum of the CABE will show that there is certainly no dearth of interest in antique bicycles, and thus no reason why things should not be much more lively here.

I suggest that while the proposed changes are under consideration, some thought be given to fostering an open, welcoming web presence, with a forum that invites free participation from throughout the world.

If the original forum could be put up in archive form, so much the better.

Eric Knight

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Re: Important Changes Coming to the Website
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2020, 09:49:38 AM »
Thank you for your thoughtful response.

Being a member of the Wheelmen is more than being able to attend in-person events.
Members receive a quarterly newsletter, an excellent semi-annual magazine and become part of a community of enthusiasts.
The club publishes a directory to help connect those members among other benefits and now
parts of the website will be reserved for members.

With so much available on the internet for free we are all used to getting everything for free, but
the Wheelmen is not a business and resources like the website cost real money. We do not get
internet revenue from advertising or selling personal data.

I hope you will re-evaluate and see the value in The Wheelmen.  Membership is $30 annually.

Yes, it is very unfortunate that we were unable to maintain the earlier message board.
The archiving of the current message board is not aspirational, the programming is
already done and we will be able to keep a link to the current message board.
With time hopefully the new message board can become a great resource again.
Eric Knight
Commander

Greg Barron

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Re: Important Changes Coming to the Website
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2020, 01:50:24 PM »
when will we need to re-register?

Ride the High Country

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Re: Important Changes Coming to the Website
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2020, 06:17:09 AM »
Many thanks for that reply.

I suppose that another reason I have hesitated to join the Wheelmen is that I assumed that the focus of the newsletters and magazines is on high-wheel bicycles. Although I find them beautiful and elegant machines, iconic symbols of the Victorian period, I can not ride one and will thus, alas, never own one. My interest is primarily in the very early safety era.

The barrier certainly wasn’t parsimony on my part. And I certainly do see the value in the Wheelmen! I hope that I didn’t convey an impression to the contrary. I may well become a member soon, but it would not change my opinion on the matter of the proposed restrictions.

Although a number of special interest club sites do restrict some material to paying members, it is most unusual, I think, to so restrict the discussion forums, though there is occasionally a special sub-forum limited to members, where they may discuss club business in private.

I fear that restricting the Wheelmen forums would have negative consequences for the organisation, in that it would eliminate an important mechanism whereby interested parties might be drawn to become members. It would also limit the breadth of discussion, as well as the trade in antique bicycles and related items. In a sense, the proposed changes portend something of a withdrawal from the outside world.

The current Wheelmen forums are uncommonly quiet. Imagine what they would be like if non-members were barred from participation. Please think very carefully about this.

If the cost of maintaining the forums is an issue, it would be possible to add a link for donations via PayPal.

Does the original forum exist at all in storage?

Eric Knight

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Re: Important Changes Coming to the Website
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2020, 09:42:04 AM »
when will we need to re-register?

Hi Greg,

A specific elevation date for the new Message Board has not been set, but
I anticipate our going live the Week of the 13th of April.

It will be obvious by the new look that the elevation has taken place and
at that time you will be able to submit your re-registration.

Kind regards,

Eric
Eric Knight
Commander

Eric Knight

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Re: Important Changes Coming to the Website
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2020, 09:49:57 AM »
Ride the High Country,

The Wheelmen are an antique bicycle club. From early on we focused on pre-1918 bicycles and have recently expanded to 1932.
Many Wheelmen have and enjoy safeties of all stripes. Most of the cover stories for our recent magazines
have focused on safeties.
Eric Knight
Commander

mike cates

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Re: Important Changes Coming to the Website
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2020, 07:03:31 PM »
Most Wheelmen that are in the club are in it for either collecting, restoring, researching and riding antique bicycles or a combination of these interests. Some long-time members don't even have antique bicycles but enjoy the history of the bicycle and are intrigued with the information found in the quarterly Newsletters and Biannual Wheelmen Magazines.
Being involved with antique bicycles for years and then joining The Wheelmen in the mid 1970's, I have learned A LOT from members, publications and research.
My personal interest is in bicycles pre 1910 but I appreciate later built bicycles.
I started out in my younger years by riding high wheel bicycles and it was fun. Along with the high wheel bicycles there were also the amazingly interesting hard tire safeties that were so short lived in their time but yet ridden right alongside the high wheel bicycles at the time.
When I joined I started to see the trend of members that started getting older begin to ride hard or cushion tire safeties as a natural progression due to their ages or physical abilities. What ever made them progress to safeties, they still had the spirit to continue to ride and I applaud them for that.
 I am finding myself now, many years later since I became a Wheelmen member, that the hard tire safeties are equally as fun as a high wheel bicycle and you still get the feeling of riding an historic vehicle that someone rode more than 100 years ago. you also get the lookie-loos that haven't seen anything like your machine before and are proud to educate them about it.
I hope you join our club as there is a wealth of knowledge to be learned and it never ends as to uncovering something new about antique bicycles. You will meet folks that will become lifetime friends and this friendship carries on into their children also taking the reigns and continuing the interest and are always there to contact or rely on as a resource and are truly interested in antique bicycles.
Help The Wheelmen keep this spirit going for future generations to enjoy by your joining.
Mike Cates, CA.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2020, 07:05:53 PM by mike cates »

Ride the High Country

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Re: Important Changes Coming to the Website
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2020, 05:25:18 AM »
You’ve convinced me! I have submitted an application for membership.

However, my comments above weren’t meant to advance my interests as a then-non-member. I still think that at least the forum should be usable by non-members. It would certainly bring more benefit than harm to the organisation.

Is there any way that the old Wheelmen forums can be put up as an archive?

Eric, thanks for your explanation. And Mike, thanks for your thoughtful comments.



Paul Rubenson

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Re: Important Changes Coming to the Website
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2020, 11:59:59 PM »
Hi Eric,

I remember website discussions at last year's business meeting, but don't remember the decision to limit forum participation to members only.  If that idea was floated or agreed upon, I should have spoken up.  In this day and age, a website is the first way people learn about anything--and its most engaging feature is a discussion forum.   A new person's interest always starts with a question, and they have to be able to ask it.  To exclude these encounters is to cut off our club's life's blood. 

We are likely mistaken if we think forum access alone will entice new members.  It's the resulting conversation that brings real interest.  People have other places to talk for free, and that's where they'll go.  But it's better if they're welcome here.

Yes, we should limit some privileges to club members, like downloadable content and member information.  But the discussion forum is our best opportunity to engage the public and foster interest.  Our forum's activity has already been dropping off, and I fear this change will absolutely kill it.  The club will forfeit its most valuable asset.

Thanks,
Paul Rubenson (member since 2005)
« Last Edit: April 17, 2020, 01:26:26 AM by Paul Rubenson »

55inchwheel

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Re: Important Changes Coming to the Website
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2020, 11:35:51 AM »
will some one send an email message to all current message board members when the new message board is active?