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SuperDan

HybridZ may be shutting down.

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I'm new here.  Did 2 V8 240's back in the early 90's.  Gonna do an LS soon.  This is a nice resource!

I REALLY like forums and especially GOOD ones - This is a good one.  I tried to send a PM to another user and coudln't.  I started searching around and found this topic.  I will be happy to make a donation and turn off my ad blocker.  We all have to give AND take.  Will be using paypal to donate.

There's a TON of priceless info here and I have no problem pitching in - It would suck if this place dissolves.  I am very aware of the amount of behind-the-scenes work that is involved in the thankless job of keeping something like this afloat.

I assume that I cannot send a PM because I haven't donated? - Is that function only unlocked once you 'pay to play'?  Would a Mod please send me a PM to see if it works or confirm my Pay to play theory?

I hope to be able to be of some help here as well

Thanks

Mike

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One thing that is being glossed over is that this is a reoccurring issue that will come up again next year.  If members could support the site in an annual basis (set a calendar reminder?) so you remember to send Dan some love ($$$) in the spring/summer, it would probably negate the concern over pulling the plug.  Just something to consider.  

 

Mike Kelly

 

Good luck Dan.

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DITTO ON THE ABOVE POSTS!!!  This site is an extremely valuable resource and contains a wealth of knowledge.  We all need to pitch in a few times each year.  Sending the cost of a couple beers and a good lunch from time to time, from all of us who lurk here, isn't asking too much.  We can't "ride for free".  Operating this site ain't no way to get rich and is somewhat a  labor of love for those who keep it running.  It requires a bunch of time to keep alive and dollars for software and hardware and really needs our support.             

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I know I haven't been on much, but apparently, it's really been a while. I'll try not to make an epic book of a comeback post.

 

This thread shows that there's clearly an interest in keeping this site going. We're certainly not the largest forum still alive, but there's a strong core of users. If Dan had made this post sooner, I'm sure money would have been there sooner, and I think Dan has learned that he can and should speak up about these things. It's not pestering us to find out things cost money. I really love the idea of having a "current funding" bar that can show the "health" of the budget. Even if we inflate the initial estimate of yearly cost in order to account for taxes Dan has to pay, along with unforeseen expenses, upgrades, etc we can call it $3500/year, and I imagine the community would step up to cover that easily if the knew the goal.

 

Also, I know there are more than just a few of us IT pros lingering. Some of us have racks at home. Some of us have our own hardware in colos. Some of us do this for a living, and would gladly donate resources which could have a dramatic impact on cost overhead. Dan, I'm not sure if you haven't shared because you don't want to, or you think it's irrelevant, but knowing what the real requirements are could give us a better idea how we could help. What's the CPU/Memory/Disk footprint? What's the monthly traffic? What kind of database is on the backend? Do you have any CI/CD process to allow preflight tests before updates and automation of deployments? These are all things which there are resources lingering in the community ready to be tapped if needed. If you want to keep things close to the chest, I'm not offended,. I'm just making sure it's stated plainly that some of would gladly donate time, not just funds.

 

The last point I'll get into, that forums are a dying breed of communication. I've considered off and on over the last 5+ years how I might "fix" this problem if given the opportunity and I still don't have a great answer. The merits of "community" have largely moved away from forums and onto social media. I don't love the trend, but it's factual. But community and relations aside, we are all drawn here instead of another Z forum because of information.  Simply put, a wiki can't replace Hybridz. Would a wiki help consolidate some of the information? Sure. But the icing that makes this place cake and other forums bread is the willingness to discuss, debate, document, and share information not just in collaboration, but in contention. Paraphrasing an old TonyD post, "how can you know a book is even true"? A general wiki relies upon source material to "prove" truth. A huge pile of knowledge here IS the source of proof as it exists to any extent on the internet. That's the issue I haven't seen solved anywhere. If forums are going to go the way of AOL chat rooms, then what's the truly better medium for our discussion of which the end goal is documentation?

 

I know I haven't come close to actually answering any questions in this post. My hope is that I've possibly sparked thoughts in people, which could lead to conversations that might lead to actions, product of which we might find ourselves in a better place.

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It is of merit to ponder. 

 

Forums like ours are probably visited a lot more, but people look over, take information they need, and depart. Then there is an active group that relishes in putting down this forum, not sure what happened in the past, but our stricter ruleset may have rubbed them the wrong way, and they champion their mistreatment on every forum and platform the they visit, seems like every two weeks someone posts a helpful link from hybrid on social media and someone chimes in about how they were banned many years ago.

 

RX-7 forums I recall had an interesting setup, where it would allow you to browse 2-3 threads before it locked you out until you made an account. Before you could make a post you had to introduce yourself and generate 3 helpful comments before being allowed to start a new topic. Arduous for sure, but takes about 5 mins, and forces people to give before they take in a sense. 

 

Things people could do? Not sure, the trend is really for instant gratification. You can get responses in minutes vs hours on social media. Time wise I'm not sure the forum format can compete unless people have notifications on their phones and are motivated to answer, whether that is internet cookie points or what not. Things that still seem to be visited are local forums and BST's on other forums. Someone did suggest, but maybe a couple more select sub forums might be useful? Z33 AKA 350z+ cars with engine swaps. Maybe some select local forums? It seems like a couple of use are clustered, it would be useful for posting local events or calls for help or useful resources in the area. 

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Posted (edited)

I do think that HybridZ's rather strict rules, put into place by admins that are no longer active, has been a double edged sword for the forum. This is probably the most puritan forum I've ever been on, with even the non-tech section having had threads closed because they weren't on topic, which IMO creates a pretty uptight atmosphere - mind you this was a long time ago, and I think HBZ is a bit more relaxed now. IMO, a strong OT section will cause a forum to be stronger overall, since the OT section is where you can just BS and chit chat, and that will keep people coming to the forum who otherwise wouldn't stick around just for pure tech info. On the other hand, the quality of the posters here, with poorer posters having been weeded out by strict rules, has made this place a great resource for info. I started browsing classiczcars last year, and I've noticed that when I check in for the first time each day, CZC has probably 30-50% more new posts than HBZ does. I'm wondering if there will come a point in time that it might be a good idea to simply combine the two forums - not sure how you'd do that.

 

Regarding people on FB complaining that they got banned - they probably got banned for a reason. I've seen the state of the Datsun FB pages, and it's effing appalling. Same with the E30 pages.

 

As for the idea of forcing people to register, post, etc. I think that would only kill the forum faster. Going back to my comment about the strict rules being a double edged sword is our "search first" rule. Yes, it requires people to search for something that has already been posted, rather than causing someone to have to repeat themselves over and over again, but if these people are searching, and finding an answer, they aren't posting. That's probably how I get 95% of my questions answered, without having to make a single post. Good as an info resource, bad for the life of the forum. This is, again, why I believe in having an OT section.

 

I think part of the reason FB if so popular, outside of instant gratification, is just that it basically becomes a one stop shop. No need to sign up to a bunch of different websites, just find a group that's on site you're already on. This is one thing I like about Instagram is that I can follow a bunch of builds (or anything really) really easily with all of them being in one place, many of which might have previously been posted on forums that I wouldn't be on. Also I'm not sure how many people use an actual computer anymore vs their phone, and since FB has a phone app, it just makes it convenient compared to a forum.

 

I'm not sure having 350Z/370Z subforums would help much since those platforms have been out for a while now, and have their own forums (my350Z, etc). Regional forums would be cool. That's something that people have asked for in the past, but the admin weren't on board with the idea.

Edited by rturbo 930

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Member since 2001.  The rules are clearly stated for any new member to read. Many don't and then get their feelings hurt when they get caught.

 

Modifying Z cars for performance is what HybridZ is about.  Having new forums for 350Z/370Z cars makes sense.

 

Of course, the wise builder will make use of all available information technology.

 

 

 

 

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WARNING, RAMBLY POST...... (this is what happens when the new format autosaves your post draft and you keep editing it late at night....)

 

One of my favorite forum/webpages for automotive enthusiasts is Jim Oak's  Ranger Station.  The forums themselves are the same as anywhere else, but what sets the Rangerstation apart is this technical section: http://www.therangerstation.com/tech_library/index.shtml  It's a great, well organized resource for me even though I haven't owned an Ranger in years (Ford powered Z, old Mustang, 8.8 swapped into almost everything...you name it!).   People create great write-ups that get saved and are well organized, and in a better format than in post by post format.  That, and since the technical pages get a bit of traffic by themselves, he's able to get advertisers to buy in there.  Maybe a way to get more revenue for our site here?

 

Although I am on the V8 FB page as well,  I'm quite opposed to the social media resource format.  It may be better for that 'emergency' situation when you need an answer NOW, but information retention is poor at best.  

 

Build Organization: I have always thought it would be neat to have a spreadsheet style page that people could put in their specific combinations engines/trans, etc and then you could filter the results based on whatever attributes were important to you.  For example, if you wanted to see what exhaust manifolds people used on their LS1 swapped 240zs, you could just filter out all the non-LS results and see what people used, and or click a link to their build page, or contact them directly (PM). (See this link on my website for an idea of what I'm talking about.  You can even fill in the chart if you like, to see how it works!)   I'm sure there's better ways of doing this, this is just for example's sake: https://philmitchell.000webhostapp.com/hybridz google spreadsheet test.html

Edited by yellowoctupus

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I don't want to start a thread to continue this topic, so I'll respond here since we're talking about what I brought up. <--- we're going to come back to this

 

 

Yellowoctupus hit it right on the head. There needs to be a place to "document" the vast knowledge resources. The trouble I have is that a lot of the best knowledge on here is stuff that comes up because of the conversations people have in the forum format. A wiki only serves to stifle that kind of community sharing. And on social media, I agree and would even say it is the worst alternative to the problem. Information retention is less than the attention span of a teenager these days, and a majority of the answers are useless by most standards. Sure, you might get your emergency information when you need it, but with how much noise?

 

Sharable spreadsheets aren't a bad idea, and with the right interface could be good. But it's going to be quite inhibiting for the nuggets of information that come up randomly once it's on a topic of interest for someone, like exactly the month/day/hour/serial number the split between the early/late 260Z was. This is the kind of trivia that can make a place special, but often isn't something that someone would go and write a how-to on.

 

And I'd say most importantly, the thing that's really been the nails in the coffin, one by one, is the shift from linear to organic/aggregated content streams. Viewing algorithms can quickly narrow down a lot of "noise" of people and bring them to content that either they or others value. Forums are still historically time-based, which generally leads to a lot of digging. And on top of that, often the mantra "did you search?", while valid is a product of the inability to join/merge/split topics. I can't count how many times I've been looking for a piece of information I know is on here, and it turns out I'm looking in the wrong thread because someone started a NEW topic because it was a subtopic started in the place I'm looking. So I'm finding all the traces of information I need, but not the gem I remember being somewhere . And the solution of "well we have a search bar" isn't an answer this day in age. I don't go to google when I want to know if my favorite band is playing anytime soon, I have emails from bandisintown for that. I don't go to google to see how to remove an interior panel from my wife's Honda, I go to YouTube (which is where google would take me if I did). In the age of pre-aggregated information, raw search engines are becoming more niche. And the reasons I think are related (maybe even directly tied) to why forum traffic is slowing to a halt.

 

 

Now, remember how I said I'd come back to my opener? What if I was able to tag a new thread with a relationship to this one and even the very post that started it? Or better yet, even grab a chunk of this thread and remove the pieces that are irrelevant to this topic. This is pretty much how version control works, which most people have used whether or not they realize it.

 

 


After talking a bit with drummingpariah I think the best "idea" of what I think is the right direction (for forums in general, as this entire post is directed, not HybridZ specifically) is a bit of a conglomeration of what we've seen already today. What I think we need is something that's a "document and media curator" in which people can have comment based conversations related to both (documents or media) and this should be paired with a Pinterest style metadata collector and tagging system which of course would also be searchable. So when I search "l28et 300hp" I should get results for documents which could be spreadsheets from someone's build, a document of someone's megasquirt

is that most of the "tools" to build something like this are as readily available as ever, and a vast majority of the multimedia content doesn't even need to live on the site, but instead in people's already existent cloud storages/services (google drive, dropbox, youtube, amazon s3, github, etc). The point of something "new" from all those things that exist already is a place to have a clean document editor (maybe dillinger.io markup==wysiwyg gui) that then allows insertion of media, a tagging and search engine. Essentially combining the bits of solutions today to allow an aggregated focus on "documentation".

 

Now, all that said I can think of a really "basic" low feature version of this that could be deployed with relatively low man hours. Yet I won't. Why? Because the success of an idea like this isn't necessarily just the engineers and/or effort put into the system. It's also the community adoption. If you don't have a sure way to steer people in order to generate the valuable content, then it doesn't matter how great the system is. Honestly, I think people just aren't there yet. Some people are jumping from social media, but most people don't want an alternative if it means what they see as undue effort. Basically, unless I'm willing to put forth the effort to seed a system like that with quality content that can draw people in, then there's little point. Instead, a huge chunk of the quality content creators just move to other platforms, like YouTube. There's a lot of things that would have been on forums 10 years ago, but today people put forth quite a bit more effort to instead create content that can be far more easily consumed.

 

Anyway, again just more pondering. And I really do hope a solution comes sooner rather than later. Because though it might be $3k this year spread across hundred or so people willing to donate, what happens when it's $5k spread across 10? That's a big yearly cost to keep nostalgia alive. And yes, I say this without the holy "donating member" marque next to my name. Rest assured, I'll be doing my part this year. And long live hybridz. Those other forums? Good luck...

 

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Super Dan asked for moderator volunteers.  A moderator might have some influence on how the site works.  I know that RTz reorganized the whole site a few years ago when he was a mod.

 

Super Dan is the exemplification of laissez-faire management.  It's his site, he can do what he likes, or not do what he doesn't like, to keep the theme.  I'm sure he'd be fine with somebody tuning things up to work better though.

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Maybe adding a build sheet section something like wheelwell.com (almost a spreadsheet) , where you can have a build sheet basically with links to all threads that person started might be cool. Also could put links to all the parts used to make it easier for someone else trying to find them. May be too complicated to implement though.

 

Edited by socorob

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^I think that would be kind of nice, along with yellow octopus's note. If someone was curious they could find the build list with links to specific threads, whether that is original content or a thread that helped shape their decision. 

 

Any feedback from Dan? I know he is a busy guy, but is this helpful? I know comments can even with the best of intensions be unwanted at some point. I think all of us here want this forum to survive, it would be nice if maybe our efforts could be directed towards specific problems. 

 

 

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Dan, 

 

I didn't read all the posts from folks - I just scanned them really quick.  But, I can tell from the response, that there is plenty of interest.  I have some suggestions for you.  Instead of having a "donations" button in the header, you need a more prominent as well as additional buttons (call to action) that say "donate".  But more importantly, I suggest you run an annual "membership" drive like NPR does.  Set a monetary goal based on the costs and your desired profit and let everyone know what that amount is at the beginning of the drive.  Target it to run about a week, and end it if you hit the goal before the week is over.  Do a takeover of the home page if possible and remind people in posts, on section pages,  during login, etc. (I don't know what controls you have on content locations of the site) to donate during the annual membership drive. 

 

You could also create an additional tier - sustaining members or something similar.  Get folks to set up automatic contributions of a certain amount a month to qualify.  This provides a more constant revenue stream than otherwise.  

 

Garrett

Edited by inline6
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