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madkaw

Is this site dead?

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I belong to a specialized BMW site as well, and the posts there have slowed way, way down from their peak around 2006-2007.

 

I have been told it is because most participants have shifted to FB.  I don't know if that is true or not, since I have nothing to do with FB, and never will.

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I'm on facebook because of the Datsunworks heads. As far as getting info it sucks. Things disappear quickly so other than answering a question that people are too lazy to search it's not good for data.   Forums will always rule for good hard data but like newspapers people will miss them when they are gone and then it will be too late.

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On 2/1/2019 at 4:06 PM, Derek said:

I'm on facebook because of the Datsunworks heads. As far as getting info it sucks. Things disappear quickly so other than answering a question that people are too lazy to search it's not good for data.   Forums will always rule for good hard data but like newspapers people will miss them when they are gone and then it will be too late.

Searching facebook never works that well for me.  I love forums.  

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I've said it more verbosely in other threads, but times are changing and I don't know what the final solution is. But there's always been a double edged sword in every forum where asking people to search just halts discussion which could potentially foster growth on a topic. Eventually you've had conversations around 90% of what people ask, and there isn't enough left to hold enough interest to keep a community going. Facebook is the antithesis of this problem. People ask a question, and people answer because there's no real capability to search back through history, so the same conversations get repeated like groundhogs day.

 

Most projects people are following are either on instagram, youtube, or facebook. Those same people may post to forums, but it's generally because it offers at least a cleaner space to discuss things than social media comments.

 

That said, there needs to be something in between that I have yet to see pulled off. Where useful data can to collated and consolidated, into something maybe resembling a wiki, but open discussion can happen in a more social media style format where people are encouraged to share what they're up to and follow people's stories, which generally have little to contribute to technical documentation.

 

Social media was never intended to replace documentation, but the main value we've all had for this forum is the documentation that comes out of the hard work we pour into our projects. Where would the L community be without TimZ and JeffP? But where would that information get documented if they only ever shared their insights on facebook? But conversely, what are we all going to continue talking about in order to keep traffic up if we've written 5 million words of technical documentation and just link people to reference pages anytime a question gets asked? There's a balance somewhere, I just don't know what it looks like yet.

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311s.org seems to have started a compromise between the two. They have a main page that takes you to the forum as well as a wiki with some of the most common/useful questions and info. 

 

They don't seem to have followed through and it looks dated, but I'm sure something like that would work. Letting people register/login through facebook here was a step in the right direction I think, but even that hasn't worked very well since last I checked. 

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I think maybe if there was a concerted effort from us to push people to hybridz from facebook questions via links it may get some new traffic through here. 

 

Something like this:

 

What are you guys doing for dash repairs?

 

http://dashboard site:forums.hybridz.org 

 

This is through google which in a round about way will get them there. Can we do this through the forum? The forum search function blows and always has. 

 

We are indirectly spoon feeding which I hate but if we don't take an active roll in increasing traffic then it will really become a problem.

 

Just a thought.

Derek

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Facebook is one of those newfangled enterprises that's completely passed me by.  That forum traffic is falling because of the alternative of Facebook would be surprising... but only because I'm ignorant of Facebook.

 

A related problem occurred at our local BMW enthusiast meetup, "Ohio Bimmers".  Because it's more local, it's more conducive to semi-regular meeting in person.  I would host "wrenching sessions" at my house, with some 5-10 participants in a typical gathering.  Well, these were a common occurrence 10 years ago.  They've since petered out.  The culprit is demographics.  Most of the participants were younger fellows, typically freshly out of college, age 23-26.  In the ensuing years, they've done the Big 3: gotten married, had kids, and bought a house.  The Big 3 are enormous drains on one's time, one's spare energy and one's capacity to engage in hobbies, be it modifying Datsuns or playing chess or going mountain-climbing,  Perhaps in another decade or two, once the kids are grown and in college, the former participants will return.

 

Meanwhile, some of the founding members of this site were around age 35 in the year 2000.  Today they're in their mid-late 50s... seemingly the ideal time to reengage in hobbies.  And yet, most are absent.  Have they moved on to other cars?  Have they burned out?  Some, I know, went through divorces... then recovered and remarried.  Others... who knows?

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FB is great for sharing pictures. For sharing tech info, it sucks. I often respond to FB posts with links to posts here a lot just to save the hassle of typing it out or having to copy/paste. Not an attempt to boost numbers here, but if it works out that way so much the better.

When I was an admin here we talked about what the purpose of the forum was, and the general idea was that it should be like a library or an wiki page where people could go to find the info they were looking for. Adding a million posts about the same issue makes searching harder, so that was strongly discouraged. I still think this is the right policy, and I'm sorry to see that it isn't as strictly enforced, and also happy to have had my hand in pruning the information tree in that way. 

There is a mix of "HybridZ is great" and "HybridZ screwed themselves by being too strict" on FB but seems to me most of the other forums have declining membership as well, and this one seems to have a fairly consistent level of tech postings that is higher than most of the others that I'm on (miata.net beats this forum out, but I think it's pretty safe to say there are a lot more Miata owners than Z owners at this point).

 

I think the response to the funding issue a year or so ago showed what is really going on. Casual Z owners don't care enough to engage in a serious forum, they just want to post pics and have people like them. People who are more serious about modifying or racing are going to stick around, because this is (still) a repository of very good info.

 

Edited by JMortensen

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On 2/8/2019 at 2:32 PM, JMortensen said:

There is a mix of "HybridZ is great" and "HybridZ screwed themselves by being too strict" on FB but seems to me most of the other forums have declining membership as well, and this one seems to have a fairly consistent level of tech postings that is higher than most of the others that I'm on (miata.net beats this forum out, but I think it's pretty safe to say there are a lot more Miata owners than Z owners at this point).

It’s interesting that you mention Miata.net.  I’ve been active on that site, for a decade or so, but mostly from the viewpoint of stock or lightly modified Miatas.  Miatas are lovely cars to drive, but noxiously difficult for V8 conversions, requiring very substantial re-engineering for even a stock LS1 (or similar) V8.  The S30 Z requires so much refurbishment and sorting-out just to be livable on a daily basis, but the cavernous engine-bay is unrivaled as recipient for a large engine.

 

Miata.net doesn’t have the level of FAQ as does HybridZ.  There is no equivalent to the wind tunnel campaign that was done for the S30 back in 2007.  There are no legendary members like JohnC, whose posts have come to be pillars of received wisdom.  And there’s surfeit of dumb “newbie” posts about generic and trivial things.  But Miata.net remains lively because of persons to whom it appeals: middle-aged men who remember when the NA Miata came out in 1989, who couldn’t afford it then, or for whom family/career/etc. interfered, and who now have the time and the garage-space to tinker.  Without making a swipe at our younger brethren, it seems to me that for whatever reason, Z’s tend to appeal to people who are less established in life, less-experienced, who have more eagerness and dreams than wherewithal or practice.  So, the questions tend to be both ambitious and naïve… which is irritating to the veterans.  If somebody asks why his 1991 Miata is running roughly, it’s a quick deduction that the catalytic converter has clogged, suffocating the engine; or the plug wires, notorious for going bad, have indeed gone bad.  If somebody asks what’s the best way to swap a Hellcat V8 into a 1971 Datsun, and will the rear-end be strong enough, well, that’s a much more irritating question, is it not?

 

Also, it seems that for whatever reason, the originals/regulars on HybridZ have gone silent.  Some have passed away.  But others I’m sure are not only very much alive, but still own their Datsuns.  What happened?  What happened for example to “Katman”, to Terry Oxondale, Pete Paraska, Mike Kelly, Denny411 and so forth?  On Miata.net, we have numerous people with 20K or 30K posts, who have owned a dozen Miatas over the years, who have been buying and selling, driving and storing, modifying and preserving them for nearly 30 years.  Why has the same trend not persisted with HybridZ?

 

               Also, there are modern questions on perennial stalwart topics.  For example: “Suppose that I’m happy with stock brake-power, with maybe performance pads and SS lines.  But I want lighter brakes, for less unsprung mass.  And I don’t want to deal with drum brakes.  I don’t want to rifle through junk-yards.  I don’t need or want 13” rotors or 6-piston calipers.  I called Wilwood and Arizona Z-car, and that’s all that they had.  What else can I do, now, in 2019”.  Or: “So, you guys tested a bunch of Datsuns in a wind tunnel in North Carolina with no moving ground-belt, no boundary layer sucker and some high blockage.  My university has a high quality wind tunnel with a moving belt and capacity to spin the wheels using embedded electric motors.  With have a 6-component internal force balance and a particle image velocimetry system for getting time-resolved 3D measurements of the flowfield behind the rear hatch.  What should I be thinking in terms of a test matrix?”  Or: “My engine makes 650 ft-lbs of torque.  I want a manual transmission with overdrive, but don’t want to deal with the weight of a T56.  I need a blowproof bellhousing because I sectioned my firewall for 10” of setback beyond the JTR method, and my race-sanctioning body wont certify my car unless they see that SFI sticker.  I called G-Force, and they told me that at my power levels, it’s either a T56 or bust.  And everyone at my track insists that I install a Powerglide… but I want a proper manual transmission, with overdrive.  What should I do?”

              

Edited by Michael

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Terry sold his Z and bought a Manta, which he did up to an even higher level than the Z. It's just awesome!
http://www.fototime.com/ftweb/bin/ft.dll/pictures?userid={7DC317B0-8EDB-4B2E-A837-F708D07C9769}&AlbumId={B0B466A9-4204-4F78-BC4C-DEBD9966B5B9}&GroupId={E9BD2EDD-A388-43BD-B264-DFF5CB43B8E2}&nt=a

I still see Pete posting from time to time. Katman was moving away to focus on engineering on more modern racecars, E36s at the time. I assume if he's still in it he's probably working on newer stuff than that. Mike Kelly sold his Z after several failed attempts to put an engine in it. No idea on Denny. I miss Coffey. We emailed or FB'd with each other on a weekly basis.

As to miata.net, they allow for the newbie questions over and over. I haven't seen the antipathy that you describe towards those posts. Seems like there isn't a "protect the searchability" drive like we have here. I know when I got my 99 I searched and found so many threads on my particular issue that I posted again and immediately got an answer with no admonition to search. Turns out coils were dead, killed precat, killed cat. PO had replaced coils and left it like that and I had to go through the exhaust to fix.

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