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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Dear Vulcan Community Members,

Over the past year, there have been updates to your community environment that have introduced challenges in usability and performance. We sincerely apologize if you have been negatively impacted. Efforts to improve the technology, user interface, and site performance has revealed weaknesses in the platform and outdated software on the site. Once we started looking at how to address these issues, it became clear that we needed to determine how to fix the underlying problems.

We needed to improve user experience, site speed, and overall performance, all while providing a secure environment for you to interact with your community. For the past few months, we have been actively seeking a resolution to these issues.

We are excited to announce that we are upgrading your site!! We have been working with a design and product development team that has enhanced Xenforo software to provide a modern and much better-performing platform. Our goal is to deliver an experience that better fits the current and growing long term needs of your community.

The new platform is designed for efficiency, stability, and to be user-friendly across all devices, including mobile. More time can be spent engaging, sharing, and contributing to your favorite community no matter where you are!

This is just the first stage of the new platform and we look forward to hearing your feedback as we make regular and timely improvements.

Thank you for all your support!

~ Community Support
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Dear Community Members,

We have posted previous messages announcing a new platform coming to your community that will provide a better experience, faster page speed and work seamlessly across all devices, including mobile. We are excited to announce that Vulcanforums.com will be migrated to our new platform on Thursday, September 5th. The site will be in maintenance mode and in read-only while the migration is happening. This is expected site behavior as we move all the archived content over to the new sites. There should be no change in the content within your profile. All thread content will also be migrated to the new site. Your community may look a little different but all of the important information will still be there!

If for any reason there is a change of date, we will keep you updated on an alternative rollout schedule for the site migration. We look forward to your feedback on the new experience.

We appreciate your support!

~ Community Support
 

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Simply put, folks...The Forums are going to RAWK even more than before.

Hat tipped to the finest Admin. Crew.

Thank you for all you do to make this sight a cut above the rest.

Sincerely,

Buskman
 

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If it's the same software used on riderforums, it will suck. It's not easy on the eyes and it's a bit convoluted. There is barely anything besides a faint grey line segregating sub-forums, threads and posts. It just one just giant blending of words and pictures.
 

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Admin: Just for my education, just how are you (if you are at all) associated with Motorcycle.com?

I ask because I'm in four different forums using this current format but they have no such thread speaking of the move. I'm not a fan of Motorcycle.com in general.

Is there another forum that you know of that currently uses our soon-to-be-new format so that we can go look at it for giggles?

CRU: I agree. That particular site is a bit difficult on the eyes. It needs more definitive visual separation of topics/threads, etc, at least.

Admin: I appreciate all of your efforts to improve the site.
 

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That's the same as riderforum.

I don't know if you have the ability to alter the format much, if any, but if you can, my request would be to make the separation between threads/forums, etc, a bit more definitive. The weak gray lines are … well..... weak. At least right now we have the heavy green bar separating things.

Will it display the info as seen on the left under my bike's pic or will people have to request to see it?
 

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Just went to the focusrsclub site. Sorry, yuck! This is the same upgrade just completed on the Honda Shadow Net Forum and, to be honest, I don't go there anymore. Gonna be sorry to lose this site. I have liked the setup, format and folks here. Don't know if I can work with the new format.
 

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I didn't really want to go that far in my thoughts on the new site but to be brutally honest, they're about the same. Its not so much that its different (people tend to not like "change" too much) and it DOES seem to operate differently, but mostly its that visually its pretty awful. I mean awful.

Whoever designed it needs to get back on their medication. I just don't know how long I can handle the visuals. I'll give it a shot but I believe the handwriting is on the wall.

This is one of my main forums but that looks like it'll soon change (no pun intended). If Motorcycle.com is directing the change to this specific new format then that's just another reason for me to not like them.
 

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I've been keeping quiet on this matter so far, but now that I see some examples, I feel I have enough information to chime in.

To put it simply, don't fix what's not broken!

This site is perfectly fine, the visuals are good, the ease of use is great.

The Focus forum linked by admin is... pitiful. Was it designed by middle school students? Yes, the graphic layout is very simple, like something a high school student would do as a first project in first semester web design. In that same tone, it does NOT display professionalism, knowledge, or success.

Your proposed upgrade is actually going to be a downgrade, and the writing on the wall says many members will leave if this change comes about. Many members leaving = fewer members joining = dying forum.



But I'm sure you already know this.

So admin, my question to you is this: Are you trying to kill our forum here?

Also fyi: On a fresh load (no cookies, stored data, etc) of both this forum and the linked Focus forum, the Focus forum took a full 7 seconds longer to load and used 2.3x the data. I tested this on a RCA Voyager 3 tablet that had just been factory reset, so had no data for either forum. So you are also crashing your site speed, which is something in the original post this was supposed to improve.
 

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"We are excited to announce that we are upgrading your site!! We have been working with a design and product development team that has enhanced Xenforo software to provide a modern and much better-performing platform. Our goal is to deliver an experience that better fits the current and growing long term needs of your community.

The new platform is designed for efficiency, stability, and to be user-friendly across all devices, including mobile. More time can be spent engaging, sharing, and contributing to your favorite community no matter where you are!

This is just the first stage of the new platform and we look forward to hearing your feedback as we make regular and timely improvements. "
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Let's address the second paragraph first: It might be more efficient from a programmer point of view and it might be more stable, not that I've seen many issues with the current format, but I'd take issue with it being more user friendly, however. Personally, I don't use any other devices aside from my PC but that's cool for people that do use other ways of getting here. BUT the visuals ALONE kill the term user friendly. I don't really know what you mean by the second sentence about spending more time..... Its not important that you explain it, either. Lastly, I agree with DKC in that it "looks" like it was designed by a kid as a project. As a pure user, and not someone dealing with any data movements, programming alterations, fault fixing, and/or whatever goes on behind the scenes by those with tech savvy to do such things, all that I deal with is what I see on this screen that is 20 inches from my nose. I happen to like the color scheme and way that it displays our pics and basic info there on the left side of the screen. You can see a pic of my bike with some quick to read/easy to understand information on me. Also is the signature information below what I type. I might be wrong but I didn't see this in the new format. So to me that's a loss.

The third paragraph alludes to this being the first stage of the new platform. What are the follow-on stages? This paragraph also states that you're looking for feedback as you make regular/timely improvements. Fine. My suggestion is to make it appear and run as closely to this current format as possible while having the improvements from the new format in the background. As a user, I am more interested in this than that.

Now, on to the first paragraph: I think I can speak for almost everybody in saying that we appreciate the effort and desire to have a more modern and better performing platform. Thank you. However if the trade-off is that visual format and that navigating around in it is so much different then, speaking for myself here, I'd rather stay with this known platform with all of its behind the scenes issues. Unless that Xenforo software that you spoke of allows plenty of alterations, then this switch might indeed cause the loss of long term forum participants.
 

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I use several devices personally, iPad, 2 (now 3) different android tablets, android cell phone, and PC.

I have an AS in both Computer Science and Networking. I understand data movements, and some programming.

The proposed new format does simplify the design for the programmers but does nothing but detract for the user.

The real question then comes down to this: Who is this forum for, the programmer or the user?

Of course, next comes the real question for the users... Do our thoughts, preferences, and opinions matter, or will this be foisted on us regardless of how much we say we don't want it?
 

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DKC: As for your last sentence, I think it depends on who is driving the change of formats. If it is our own in-house administrators, then perhaps our views do matter (to whatever degree). After all, they've asked for our input.

But if it is Motorcycle.com then no, our inputs probably don't mean anything. It has been my experience, thus driving my opinion about them, that they have little concern about the end users of any particular forum.

I'll give you an example that pissed me off about them in the past. As you know they force feed their commercials/advertisements on this forum. Case-in-point, I dislike having their ads pop-up on the lower right corner of the screen from time to time. Several years back I was heavy into the dedicated 750 forum Vn750.com and I still go there from time to time but at best maybe 5% of what I used to. I got into a disagreement with someone about the forced advertisements and threads from Motorcycle.com which, for a while there, for some reason was heavy into explaining chain maintenance and so forth. This befuddled me since Vn750.com is dedicated exclusively to the 750 Vulcan which is drive shaft driven. No chain. 750 riders would be far more interested in and served by information about drive shaft maintenance.

Motorcycle.com lords it over a LOT of forums and I'd be lying if I said I understood the full extent of the business arrangements. I wouldn't have a care about them IF and I say IF they would tailor their attentions to the specific cultures of each forum. (No chain maintenance crap on drive shaft machine forums, for example.) But they don't, apparently. They seem to shotgun whatever advertisement or thread they want to across the board to many forums and will invariably send such things to sites that the stuff is foreign material to.

Perhaps I am too hard on them. But I have a bad taste in my mouth about them and simply don't think our inputs will mean a thing to them. They seem to look at their sub-sites only in terms of them being part of the whole group. They don't appear to LOOK into the actual sub-sites and their individual, as I put it earlier, "cultures" and then tailor their inputs into each sub-site accordingly.

It reminds me of local governments directing taxes be accrued in order to fix the roads BUT the tax money actually goes into a General fund-site and not a road-specific fund-site. In this example we are interested in road issues whereas they are interested in only General issues.

Of course, all that I have said is my own opinion about things. I have a bad suspicion that this move is a done-deal and we'll get the un-desired aspects of the new format. Incidentally, WE are the user and things should be done for our interests, not the programmers. But this statement is harsh, too, perhaps. I don't doubt that the admin/programmers genuinely want things to be better for us BUT being the ungrateful people that users are, I really don't care how much it improves hidden activities. If the face of the forum craps out, there will be less and less activities since some of us will just go elsewhere.
 

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Well, one question was just answered. I just joined the KawasakiMotorcycle.org forum. The first thing I discovered after setting up my profile and signature was that they are also changing to the same format! The initial thread comments were the same as here so it would seem this isn't just vulcanforums doing it so that probably means Motorcycle.com is driving it.

Which means that we probably have little to no real, true input about it. I hope the Administrators can surprise me about listening.

I'll hang around long enough to see if someone can make the changes to that new format but I'm not holding my breath.

I will hate to say goodbye to the crowd in here as it has been fun as sin. Hopefully it won't come to that. Thankfully I have other forums with other formats that won't be affected by this change.
 

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I understand the concept of tailoring ads to a specific market, but I've seen worse than the instance you quoted. At least your ads were motorcycle related on a motorcycle based forum. I used to admin in the old FordCourierCollector forum (before it closed), and the ad people for some reason went on a spree for about 3 weeks where the ads were almost entirely feminine hygiene items. Then followed laundry detergent for a couple weeks, then finally back to Ford, Mazda, and general automotive based ads. Let me tell you, nothing says paying attention to your audience like having 600 men on a forum at once and all the ads are for tampons and pads...

Of course, that forum went through changes much like the proposed changes here, and it was dead within a year. Close to the same numbers (we had 51k members at peak), and wham, things changed and everyone hated it, but the powers that be wouldn't listen, so people quit logging in.

I really like this forum, and there is a large amount of information here that would be a total waste to lose. But if it's coming, I need to find some program to download and save the entire forum for offline viewing hahahahaha (joking there admin people, only joking).
 

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I actually e-mailed Motorcycle.com and asked them to, if they were driving this, postpone the change-over until people could LOOK at the new format and reply with their pro or con choices.

I'm not holding my breath for a reply but what the heck, its a shot.
 

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My vote: The FocusRSClub.com site is awful. Unless there is a compelling reason to abandon the current software, I vote to keep things as they are.
 

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Software is updated for several reasons. Security, end-of-life, no longer supports new standards, etc. All of the reasons to do it far outweigh any opinions on aesthetics you have.

HOWEVER ..

The one thing they do care about is whether you'll keep coming back. Remember, this site is a business. It's not maintained out of the kindness of their hearts nor love of the bikes. There is money in advertising and analytics. If they change the site to something users cannot stand to deal with, it will drive them away. Less users means less advertisement revenue. No corporation is going to pay big dollars to advertise on a site with few visitors.

Comments of leaving or going elsewhere cause of the fugly new site might work better at getting their attention. They have made the change on another Kawi site I visit, Riderforums. I absolutely despise dealing with the new software. So much so I have begun to limit my time on there an have spent more time here. If they turn this into another Riderforums, I'll just have to find somewhere else to go. Perhaps I'll move over to the Vulcan facebook page instead.
 

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CRU: LOL, interesting. You said they do care about whether we'll come back. And yet they're forcing an awful, sterile, clinical looking, badly organized, no character to it, less information available forum on us.

This would seem to be contradictory of a desire to keep us here, wouldn't you say? You yourself said you're leaving, in fact already HAVE left the other forum they changed. Others, some by e-mail to me, have expressed their plans to leave once it gets swapped over and one spoke of an almost identical-to-yours viewpoint and has already left another similarly changed forum with plans to leave this one, too.

I'm in my last days here, too, assuming this change goes off as is planned. Its a sad affair. I really, really want to be proven wrong about them but...…….. I won't be.
 
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