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Previous Forum posters have identified many important issues.
I for one have found the Forum invaluable both for technical and social reasons, not too mention sales and wants.
The recent Photobucket debacle though has shown the weakness in the current set up and this issue of secure image sharing and permanent accessible archiving of Forum type information needs urgent attention. This is not in any way a complaint about those unsung heroes who keep the wheels of he current Forum turning.
Perhaps the Austin Seven club association could host a Workshop to bring interested parties together to work up ideas for what resources would be need to set up and maintain a secure home for images illustrating Forum posts.
With reputedly 10,000 Austin 7's still extant , and with many new restorers and Drivers each year, the Forum resource is a treasure trove.
As an older computer manager ( I can remember when there were only 4 computers in Glasgow!) I set up large image databases at BBC TV in the 1980's, but then they filled a room , now they would fit in an iPhone in your pocket.
Happy to help if I can.
Location: Scottish Border
The problem is not just the past archive.
Since the period of 'wondering what's going on' it effectively creates an elephant in the room.
Conversations previously taking place on the forum may be taking place in group emails with those we have closer links to, just because it's easier at the moment, and we are worried about loading more valuable cargo onto a ship with a hole?
I am not party to why there doesn't seem to be a visible forward plan to users, but now might be the time to get to the bottom of it, please? IF it is not the right time for one of the visionaries who set the thing up, then there needs to be some transfer of trust into another volunteer or group to get things started pdq, for their own peace of mind as well the forum users.
As others have said, its not a costly process with the offers of data storage and intellectual input/knowledge extended, just a lot of human effort.
If we don't get to the bottom of a reasonable timing for a forward vision, then I can see a new Austin 7 forum just occurring anyway. In practice, the vision will set the future useage. If something good and simple and with charitable intent emerges, then it will quickly get users - if it is easy to post, post pictures, and search past posts.
Perhaps the biggest question for me is whether it IS essential to have cherished suppliers financial input for forums as we see occurring, in this day and age. I sense nobody is doing anything new because everyone is worrying about doing what is 'right'.
Please, valued forum guru, just give us a vision statement - or ask us all for assistance to ease your burden.
Hear, hear JonE. Well said.
I have nothing but huge regard and a vast amount of gratefulness to those who set up and run this forum but it really is time that we clearly knew who they are, what they plan, and what we can all do to assist in whatever ways are required.
We all value this forum as a wonderful resource and there is an almost boundless well of willingness to ensure its long term survival.
But we can't help if we don't know what is needed, or what is intended.
Location: North Herts
Many of us are increasingly using Facebook groups, I'm a member of five or six groups. They're easy to use and post pictures to but they are hopeless to search. I like this forum, despite the problems. JonE's website is brilliant but only covers Nippies/65s.
Location: Isle of Wight
I completely agree about Facebook; each time I look I find different things, but I find it impossible to follow a thread on it, or some times to find the thing which a friend has told me is there. I am sure it is there, so why do I not see it? Facebook is totally frutrating!
I think it is only right at this stage to advise everyone that we here at the A7CA are not sitting back but are carefully monitoring and noting the comments in this particular thread.
We must remind people, however, that the Friends' website and forum is a private enterprise, freely available to all, and one which we have no intention of interfering with.
As with others, it is our wish that the owners are proactive in quickly establishing it on a different platform and hopefully be able to reinstate the large amount of valuable information which has been lost.
Location: Melton Mowbray
I'm bumping this back up as clearly changes are under way with regard to the actual forum.
All good stuff I'm sure but I'd like to repeat my request for some more info please about who is actually running this site and what the plans might be. I'm perfectly content if, having given that info, the ManAgement disappear back into the shadows and quietly carry on their good works but at the mo we seem to be in a state of change without anything to tell us where we are going or indeed what is changing.
Do tell me if I am being tedious with this and I'll retreat back into the garage...
Location: North Herts