By on November 13, 2013

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For the past little while, we’ve been working on a new project expressly for our readers: a TTAC forum. And we want your input to help shape it.

The comments section of TTAC is unquestionably as important as the articles themselves, and the discussions within it help shape our editorial direction. At the same time, we know that carrying on discussions can be a bit cumbersome, and starting new topics is not possible at all.

With that in mind, we are working on a forum that will allow the Best & Brightest to start and maintain discussions on topics of their choosing. We are currently wrestling with a couple issues, namely, allowing registered commenters to use the forum with their current usernames and without having to re-register for the forum. The second matter is “what kinds of sub-forums should we create?”. This is where you come in. So far, I have a few ideas, namely

  • Suggest A Story (to give readers a say in stories that they’d like to see covered)
  • New and Future Product Discussion
  • Industry Discussion
  • Reader Rides and Project Cars
  • Used Car Discussion (for all things used cars, be it purchasing, maintenance, insurance, selling)
  • Classic and Collector Car Discussion

These are just a starting point as far as we’re concerned. Let us know what you’d like to see or what you’d like to stay away from. After all, this is your forum.

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93 Comments on “QOTD: What Do YOU Want To See As Part Of A TTAC Forum?...”


  • avatar
    jz78817

    I’d pretty much start with what you’ve listed. No sense trying to come up with too many subdivisions right from the get-go; down the line if a particular topic warrants it a new sub-forum could be spawned.

    a couple non-topic suggestions:

    1) please, please limit or restrict the ability for people to use huge, annoying avatars and having signatures which take up 500% more room than the post

    2) be even-handed but not too strict on day-to-day moderation

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    It all sounds good to me, I would also vote that the “Industry Discussion” that you seek out industry insiders and after the TTAC staff bot has verified their credentials they be permitted to post info anonymously so they don’t have to worry about reprisals from their employers.

    Oh and maybe you should approach Maximum Bob and see if we can get an advice column called “Ask Bob Lutz” :P

    Bob, which ex-military jet should I buy?

    Bob, which is the right cigar to smoke after you’ve rolled a car doing a J-turn?

    • 0 avatar
      Frankie the Hollywood Scum

      Can we also guess the results of Jack’s blood test?

      But seriously, I would like to raise my hand for “industry insider” articles. There is fascinating stuff going on right now in many areas of automotive engineering.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Forum, as in with sticky posts and stuff like that? Big, annoying avatars and superfluous titles to boot? I’ll pass but if it is a “lite” version, maybe.

  • avatar
    JMII

    A Piston Slap type area with tips and tricks for common fixes, recommendations, advice on troubleshooting / repairs.

    Basically I’d use the current article categories just mirrored in forum-form: Junkyard Finds (project cars), Piston Slap (repairs), Reviews, News, Hammer Time (used cars), Vellum Venom (design & photos). Try to keep the themes and not invent something new or outside current scope.

    Also might as well put up an off topic area because to give people a place to vent.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Oh thank god, as soon as I got hooked to this site I started searching for its forum, only to be disappointed.

    However can I suggest not having to be logged in order to search, and with that not having to put in a random “word”. That is so annoying.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    - Take chances with the special interest forums. Some things will work, some won’t.
    - Please, no animated gifs. With all the other garbage that tries to load from different servers all over Hell’s half-acre, it really slows down page loads. So no animated gifs.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    suggestions for additional subforums:
    -motorsports
    -off topic (non car related). I’ve gotten into several great discussions about aviation with people on here. Let JB have a permanent sticky “Starfighter Love” thread at the top.
    -local meetups. Not sure if there’s any B&B near me, but could be fun to arrange meets at karting tracks, local car shows, etc. would also allow announcements for local events like that (I wish there was a carshow online directory like there is with air shows).

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      I’d expand the “local meetups” forum to local info in general. Every time I’m looking for a recommendation that isn’t brand-specific (i.e., anything other than “Who can recommend a good Lexus shop near X”), I have to search through a dozen different local forums on Roadfly for each different brand, and that’s before it gets difficult looking at one-offs like Acuraworld, Mazdas247, ClubHonda, etc. It would be nice to have one place with a variety of folks to recommend a good brushless car wash, wheel shop, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Japanese Buick

      Agree on off topic. Perhaps even a politics or anything goes category. It sounds like a bad idea at first but it’s been a very successful method on every well run forum I’ve seen of letting people rant while quarantining the resulting dreck to one easily avoidable place.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Repair and service questions. Similar to a Piston Slap for the masses.

  • avatar
    Topher

    Maybe an owners corner that has sub forums for individual cars and a gentleman’s rule of only commenting if you actually own/have owned the vehicle.

    We all have strong opinions on certain cars, and having a place to discuss your car without somebody jumping down your throat for just owning your car would be nice.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Industry insider news would be an excellent topic, along with APaGttH’s suggestions above.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    How about non-car section for stuff like diecast, models, RC, automobilia, art, etc?
    I think a comment section like this would be good, though I am on the fence about allowing images within comments/replies.

    I also think New and Future Product Discussion and Industry Discussion could be combined into one category.

    Regardless of the direction, I think it will be a welcome addition.

    • 0 avatar
      56BelAire

      How about a “Booth Babe” section where we could easily attach pics we take at shows we attend. There would be NOOOOOOO tolerance for righteous whiners on that forum under threat of permanent banishment.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    I wouldn’t go much deeper than what you listed. Good to see a Reader’s Rides/ Project car area, but I have a feeling that’s going to be more “Look at my new Lease BMW 325i!!!!!” Than “The 60′s Chrysler I’m restoring”.

    Should be a great time killer with winter coming up, I hope it does have a easy way/ability to post pictures.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Great idea guys! I really like the idea of mirroring the regular topics like Piston Slap.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I would like to see monthly reports about some of the best deals running on new cars. For instance, cars with massive inventory buildups, huge piles of cash on the hood or just a deep discount over msrp. I know some incentives arent necessarily published or advertised, digging them up might be fun. It would be useful to car shoppers and great fodder for us to discuss the reasons behind the percieved or actual market flop these cars have become. Just a thought

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    all great ideas, but most of all, I would want to see continued good (forum) moderation.

  • avatar
    Viquitor

    Local meetups would be nice.

    Actually the whole blog could go local, just like Jalopnik has been doing. Brazil could really use a TTAC.

  • avatar

    I’d like the ability to send and receive PMs just so I can make my apologies in private to all the people I manage to p*ss off. Beyond that I think a message board might be fun but worry that it will suck some of the energy out of the articles’ comments sections.

    If you are committed to the idea I think that less is more – especially at the beginning. If you throw up a huge message board and just figure people will move into it, it could be a problem – a lot of people will get lost. People need to interact with one another for a board to have any real energy and if they can’t find each other, they just won’t talk. Nobody wants to go from room to room looking for their friends.

    On the plus side, TTAC has a good group of commenters already and judging by the cross talk we get in some of our threads people here really do like each other so that’s a good start. Keeping it simple, I think you should do:

    Cars & Trucks
    Motorcycles
    Motorsports
    General
    Politics
    Photos (split into regular photos and NSFW if you want that)
    Meet-ups
    Classifieds

    And private forums for:

    Moderators
    Authors and staff

    This will force most of the threads into just a few places where they will get a maximum amount of eyes. That will be useful as we are starting out because I will read most things if I notice them but won’t go looking for stuff burried in some regional sub forum. Only split the forums once they become too big and unweildy for people to really find what they want. Grow the forum in small steps and I think it will be fine.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    How about a pickup truck forum?

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Lou_BC – - –

      Took the words right out of my mouth, except:
      1) I’d want to see topics on ORV’s included as well (Jeeps, etc);
      2) Have this be just one topic, not the whole forum…

      ————–

  • avatar
    LeeK

    Boy are you in for a lot of work. I would recommend NOT starting a forum, as there are many, many fora available for automotive enthusiasts. The amount of moderation that will be required will sap valuable time that could be devoted to the main TTAC blog.

    I’m sure I’m in the minority here, but think about topics running amok and the need to moderate them, lest the forums end up like those awful youtube and road and track comment sections.

    • 0 avatar
      xflowgolf

      This was my first thought as well. I like that TTAC controls it’s content here by disseminating the articles posted, and then letting the discussion commence.

      Going to a user initiated forum turns it into a free for all with political trolling, etc. Not to mention the proliferation of pre-existing model/interest specific forums all over the place.

      I come here because it’s NOT “the car lounge”. TTAC has made a point to make fun of “basement dwelling forum posters”… so why would they move the site in that direction?

      It’s a can of worms.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      I don’t want a forum. I’m already a member of 10 or more car forums, most of which I don’t even visit anymore. TTAC is perfect as is. Post an opinion piece or report, and let people discuss what they please. This site is far more mature than Autoblog, LLN, etc. And please don’t ever add upvote/downvote buttons.

      The only improvement this site needs is to stop the text disappearing at that right-hand column margin in nested posts.

      Google will take you to any car forum you please, and help you solve any car problem out there, because SOMEBODY already has gone through it.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        @kvndoom — Exactly! I love the format as it is.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        kvndoom – - –

        You mentioned: “And please dont ever add upvote/downvote buttons.”
        Boy, you hit a hot button. I agree here.
        The up-vote/down-vote responses encourage a kind of visceral, brainless, “I like it” or “I don’t like it” response, rather then a reasoned reply to the issue being presented.
        When I once objectively pointed out some major issues with the 2014 Corvette on another forum, I “scored” the award winning “-14″ for that day, simply because the Corvette faithful didn’t want to hear anything negative about their dear sweet new baby…

        Look, if you can’t write it, don’t vote it…

        ——————

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          I agree with all the above “NO” comments.

          Forums always get taken over by single-issue maniacs who eat & excrete through tubes so they don’t have to leave their keyboards.

          It’d be like replicating Ruggles with each iteration becoming less articulate.

    • 0 avatar
      WAC70

      I also agree you should NOT start a forum. The beauty of this blog is it’s editorial decisions of what we get to comment on. Opening it up to us unwashed masses of B & B will just lead to another overstuffed Edmunds.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      At first I thought TTAC forums were a great idea, but you might be on to something. You’ve basically talked me out of it.

      • 0 avatar
        jz78817

        Yeah, I’ve changed my mind on it too. After reading the juvenile filth polluting the comments on the post by Caroline, I can’t see a TTAC forum being any different than the loads of other car forums out there.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    What you’ve listed sounds good as a start, but here are a few others I’ve thought up:

    Writers Corner: A section specifically made for posters like Crabspirits to share fictional stories.

    Lost Treasures: Talk about your junkyard finds or just general junkyard findings.

    General Junk = Post about whatever you like

    Automotive media = Talk about video games, movies, or TV shows that pertain to cars. Like regular talkbacks on the lastest Top Gear episodes.

    Archives = A section dedicated to archiving and discussing great posts on past articles.

    Forum Suggestions = Forum Suggestions

  • avatar

    Readers’ rides for sale and cars wanted.

    Interesting cars you find for sale.

    Car events in your area. A nice place to post car show pics.

    Car projects.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      These are all excellent ideas, especially local events and shows. It’s sometimes difficult to make a comprehensive list of events I want to attend over the course of a few months.

  • avatar
    panayoti

    I don’t know what category my suggestion would fit but I’d like to see a required mention of points like “ease of entry” or “ride height” in the reviews section. We old folks struggle mightily trying to find those attributes mentioned in reviews. I’m assuming most of your readers are more performance oriented and things like sight lines and blind sports are low on their wants or priority list in the reviews. It seems as though reviewers everywhere (not here) are spending more time reviewing infotainment systems than the car itself. We old folks buy more cars than anybody but little attention seems to be focused on our needs and concerns. The automakers are always focusing on the younger generation and their likes and dislikes. Well, as mentioned here and elsewhere, they don’t have the money and they don’t buys cars. So why focus on infotainment, connectivity, and funkiness as opposed to functionality, efficiency and usefulness?? What ever happened to ergonomics?

  • avatar
    suspekt

    *Concept Cars

    I have always found this area of the automotive industry very interesting.

    For some manufacturers, (i.e. Honda), they are always providing us very realistic “near production” automobiles.

    On the other end of the spectrum, I really feel Toyota teases gorgeous concepts but ulitmately build heavily reworked production models.

    On a general note, I love reading the tea leaves with concept car unveilings. More and more, I find that concept cars are sketching out future DNA for an entire brands or model ranges. But at the same time, they are opening the door to copycat designs that could make it to production before the major OEM can get their “intent” to production.

    BTW, I thought the last Nissan Friend-Me concept shown at Frankfurt 2013 was one of those designs that made my jaw drop. It finally revealed to me a cohesive roadmap of where Nissan is headed with their mainstream design direction. If you are ever wondering why the Altima looks the way it does, just stare at this concept and it all comes together. It is just a stunning concept that seemed to get little attention.

    http://www.carscoops.com/2013/09/nissan-friend-me-concept-socializes-at.html

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    The problem with forums now is they have too much old outdated crap on them because its too hard to moderate. Nothing annoys me more than searching a forum for something and getting thousands of hits of other people asking the same question with no relevant info included, outdated information, old For Sale posts or old links that are useless now, etc, etc.

    If you are going to do it, then change the typical format and keep it recent and relevant, have things age off quickly, and actively archive the useful things that people would want to refer back to historically. Of course that will be too much work so it won’t get done. I guess @LeeK is right, what’s the point??

  • avatar
    LUNDQIK

    1. Ability to ‘Like’ or ‘+1′ posts. (Possibly ‘dislike’ / ‘-1′)
    2. Post Count
    3. Join Date
    4. Ability to supress certain users / posts

    Especially #1. If I’m on a board long enough I start to get a feel for who I like, who knows what they are talking about, and who’s full of it. The abiity to see users that are rated higher, with more thoughtful posts would help acheive that quicker.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    A section called “Driving.”

    It could contain tips and pointers for the track with guest appearances by TTAC’s tame racing driver.

    And lifehacks for driving on the highways and byways of the world.

    How to get started in track day and club driving – advice from people already involved.

    After all, no matter what vehicle you have, had, want, read about, it comes down to driving in the end. The car is a means to the end…and that end is to get behind the wheel, experience the car, enjoy oneself and increase knowledge and skill.

  • avatar
    dolorean

    Near instantaneous acknowledgement of every contributors superior intellect and vast wit. That’s all I need. That and this ashtray. This ashtray, the remote control, the paddle game, and this magazine…and the chair. I don’t need my dog.

  • avatar
    oldowl

    Forums. OK–but not if they distract from attention to the main site.

    More videos, please, along the lines of Alex Dykes’s reviews. Steve Lang in auction action, for example. Or Jack Baruth on the road in a rental. Or Sanjeev on design/

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      haha I hate the videos I almost never watch them. If I wanted videos I would watch TV or go on YouTube. See how hard it is to please everyone??

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        +1 I hate the videos too. I like to read, not watch

        • 0 avatar
          mnm4ever

          Unrelated to the forum thing, but video is taking over. I hate trying to find a “how to” on something… work related, computer related, car repairs, whatever, and have to weed through the videos. Unless it is something that can be done in actual time while I am watching the video, then it’s useless compared to a good step by step written guide with good pictures I can study.

  • avatar
    manbridge

    Fraud.

    Odometer, new/used/auction car sales, service facilities, classic car fakes, racing cheats, ethanol boondoggle. All of it.

    Then, negligence.

    Also, since old dudes keep their shizzle forever, more long term reviews.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    At one time we were able to add pictures within our comments to substantiate what we were commenting on. I realize that creates a data storage problem because content would increase exponentially.

    But I do miss that, since one picture is worth a 1000 words. So maybe in the additional, expanded forums that can be incorporated.

    I scan many forums in pursuit of my interests and ttac still is the best, most intelligent site I follow, even without having to expand its forums.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that whatever forums are initialized based on the suggestions of the commenters, they will be tweaked along the way as the need arises. Things rarely click from the start, and the auto industry is ample proof of that.

    My suggestion would be to start with the outline you’ve come up with among yourselves on the editorial staff, add worthwhile, doable suggestions from the commenters, launch, then tweak and fine-tune along the way.

    My interests related to the global auto industry are Finance, Analysis, Forecasting, Annual Sales Statistics and Automotive Technology (of all kinds from mechanical, to combustion, fuels, power handling, safety architecture and electronics).

    You guys have been doing a great job with the topics, articles and genres you have presented. You would be surprised if you knew how many “decision makers” at all levels of the auto industry are influenced by reading your site. They may not comment, but they are there!

    Recently, I was pleasantly surprised to read that someone from Las Vegas, NV, with an infinite knowledge of the auto industry decided to comment. I wish more would, even if they use a pseudonym.

    Maybe expanding the forums will nudge these pillars of the auto industry to contribute their perspectives. When these individuals comment, the readers will immediately grasp that these people know whereof they speaketh. Just like the guy from Vegas.

  • avatar
    carr1on

    I think you should start small, with just a few Forums. Take the top 3 or 4 suggested Forum ideas from this article and make them happen. If they catch on, then you can always expand. If not, then in 6 months you re-evaluate.
    You can use your posts to market the Forums to all readers, which will hopefully build participation.

  • avatar
    Bob

    Somewhere to post the selfies I take while driving.

  • avatar
    Morse

    Good ideas…I would like to see sub-forums that would focus on topics such as :

    – the reliability of differents brands / models. Why people choose what they drive.
    – the purchase process and interacting successfully with manufacturers and dealers.
    – the true cost of ownership of various brands over the years from new to scrap heap.
    – good and bad stories with regards to servicing. Focused towards a service dealer or a manufacturer.
    – unique modifications initiated by owners – something not offered as stock.

  • avatar
    Hezz

    I would like to see an icon marking employees of car companies, on the honor system would be fine. I really do enjoy hearing from industry voices but it would avoid whispers and trash-talking to be up front about it.

    Maybe a section, or just a sticky even, for test drive impressions. My wife and I are a little less than halfway through a list of twenty odd cars we are test driving, I want to believe I am not the only one with this strange compulsion.

    I am very excited about the prospect, right now I have to go to some Brand X website for forum lurking. TTAC can soon be a one-stop shop!

  • avatar
    bugmen0t

    This is a technical problem report. I tried the contact form but it didn’t work.

    Your article pages are served with
    meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; charset=iso-8859-1″

    but I think you should be using UTF-8. In the Truth About Caroline article, all the apostrophes look wrong. In this article, there is an incorrect character after is in the last sentence “this is your”

    When I force my browser to use UTF-8 the problem goes away.

  • avatar
    J Jesperson

    I’ve been reading articles on this site for some time, and just signed up to comment today. There are great articles here, and the “discussions” that follow have always made for good reading. I like the idea of a forum, and think it would work well here. From my experience in other car-related forums, I would like to see the following:

    1. Members can start new threads/discussions, but limit the number of discussions a member can start per day/week/whatever. I’ve seen other forums in which certain contributors start multiple junk threads because they are bored, want to show off, etc. That said, I think members should be able to make unlimited contributions in the form of thread replies (either to their own threads, or to those started by other members)

    2. Moderation is key. It doesn’t have to be heavy handed, but a few rotten apples can spoil the bunch.

    3.I’m not sure what sort of resources are available regarding a new forum on this site. Perhaps start with a single forum, where all car related topics are thrown into the mix, and then create appropriate sub-forums if certain topics warrant them?

    4. The ability to rate other posters/comments would be great as well.

    5. Stirring the pot always makes things fun! If Mr. Baruth is willing to bring back his GrandMasterFlash persona, that would be very entertaining! I’ve been wondering how work has been going at the Institute…

    Thanks for reading.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Wow!

    As I looked at everyone’s suggestions, there are so many good ideas that incorporating them all would either burn out Jack altogether or make the Best Forum That Ever Existed In the Annals Of History!

    ————–

  • avatar
    seth1065

    A question of the week ie you can buy any car for sale on Craigslist for $5555 which car or best car on eBay for $500 why and winner gets a t shirt

  • avatar
    manbridge

    More myth busting.

    JBs snow tires vs regular tires was eye opening.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    I don’t care, do or not do, but please, use software that properly wraps! It’s such a pain with this stuff that doesn’t wrap worth a damn and have comments cut off at the ends. Just annoying and so unnecessary.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    A catch-all general discussions board, ala The Car Lounge. I think some forums that have a million subsections are clunky and tedious to navigate. Being able to get a bit of everything (piston slap stuff, debating a new car, etc) is pretty nice.

    Road trip /adventure reports about cool places members have driven, or even just a day trip in a cool old car with lots of pics is always a good time.

  • avatar
    7402

    Prohibit signatures that appear at the end of users’ posts. Or at least have them excluded from the search function and reduce the noise.

    People put identifying info in there like their make/model of car, and if you want to search on that car, you get a bunch of useless hits with that users posts because of the signature.

  • avatar
    skor

    What do I want? Sexy dames, and plenty of them.

  • avatar
    noxioux

    You must have a “Because Miata” section.

    Because Miata.

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    I would like to see something like the format SBNation uses. It allows for the serious posts, with comments from the peanut gallery, and then lets us peanuts add our own articles as well. Just disallow posting of pictures (links work better as we can choose to open them) and I think something like that could be great.


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