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WI BIMMERS - Wisconsin's BMW Community

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This site needs to get with the times and be more like TikTok. Minus the chinese spying allegations. All posts should be required to be a video of us performing a lip-sync, twerk, or other trendy bmw related moves.

 

but no really. How can we revive the site, short of a DDoS of Facebook?

are forums in general dying?

what if we had a scrolly format?

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I have a few thoughts but I'm interested in everybody's opinions on how our community here can grow as well. Personally I know I don't get to post as much as I'd like because my car projects have been on the back burner for a while. I think the core group of us has also phased into different life priorities as well i.e. graduating college, starting careers, buying houses, starting families, etc. My 2021 goal is to work on cars more as I've forgotten how much I enjoy it and its therapeutic working on them for me at least. More small but frequent meets/cruises should be on the ticket as well.

I've been holding off on the website updates for a while, the mobile app has been available and should be stable by now so I'll start testing that out. I'm sure there are some other features that we could implement as well. As far as facebook, I've given up on promoting the website as the conversion rates were pretty low and you've had to pay for posts to get any exposure for a long time now. Personally I don't care to have our meets rival WCEC anyways, id rather have quality over quantity.

I'm committed to the Forum format though. Facebook groups are just a revolving door of repeated questions and posts are so hard to find in search. If people would like to have a live chat feature again I could look into other services as the built in one was discontinued.

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Facebook's format is horrible for useful car information. The revolving door of stupid questions and stupid answers is basically all it is. No useful way to post a DIY, maintain a build thread, search old posts for info, etc. I like forums the way they are to be honest, but we do seem to struggle to maintain new members. I don't have any useful suggestions to make improvements though, maybe the twerking suggestion has some merit?

@YoungCR is right about the main group of members here focusing on not-car-stuff at the moment and making it seem like the forum is dying, myself included (see: WIBASEMENTS). But I can assure you I am itching to get back to working on the cars more often! 

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Take all these opinions with a grain of salt, but I personally love the forum format. The few Facebook car groups I’m in are generally just repeated questions and bickering, the forum format really seems to tone down both of those and promote a little more thoughtful discussion and many informative posts. Live chat would be cool, it’d be fun to have some more casual conversation sometimes.

More meets/cruises/gatherings would definitely help bring more people in, I think (that was how I found out about this site, at cars and coffee). I like seeing what everyone else is doing, but I also really enjoy actually seeing everyone and getting the car out with others. I plan on going to as many Lake Mills C&C events as I can this year (provided they happen), and I’d love to start seeing a regular contingent of WIBimmers people show up. I hope to hit the Madison one a few times as well as the ones in the Milwaukee area too, and really think those might be a good way for us all to get together a bit more and start bringing in new people. The drives we’ve done in the past have been a blast as well, but I know they’re more work to plan. I tentatively hope to help plan some more things this summer, but we’ll see how the new job goes. 

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1 minute ago, P_Roloff said:

Take all these opinions with a grain of salt, but I personally love the forum format. The few Facebook car groups I’m in are generally just repeated questions and bickering, the forum format really seems to tone down both of those and promote a little more thoughtful discussion and many informative posts. Live chat would be cool, it’d be fun to have some more casual conversation sometimes.

More meets/cruises/gatherings would definitely help bring more people in, I think (that was how I found out about this site, at cars and coffee). I like seeing what everyone else is doing, but I also really enjoy actually seeing everyone and getting the car out with others. I plan on going to as many Lake Mills C&C events as I can this year (provided they happen), and I’d love to start seeing a regular contingent of WIBimmers people show up. I hope to hit the Madison one a few times as well as the ones in the Milwaukee area too, and really think those might be a good way for us all to get together a bit more and start bringing in new people. The drives we’ve done in the past have been a blast as well, but I know they’re more work to plan. I tentatively hope to help plan some more things this summer, but we’ll see how the new job goes. 

Good point, there is a ton of value in in-person meets and I really enjoy them but they do take a lot of effort to organize (and thank you to those that take the lead on that)

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Your hosting and maintenance of this site continues to be appreciated, Chris.

I agree on quality over quantity. I am so glad to have made lots of good friendships and connections through this group and hope that continues.

I don’t know what it is about Facebook but I find it to be a toxic cesspool. The local BMW groups consist of people who are too lazy to put proper effort into finding parts, information, repairing cars etc.  The wisconsin car classifieds are a sad place for people to band together and heckle people trying to sell their cars. It isn’t a healthy thing to be a part of.

With that said, I am glad we seem to have a decent group that can be trusted to go for a cruise, hangout, buy/sell, and nobody is going to bust out a dine bag of meth and start spinning donuts on the grass at Frame Park.

 

I do think a scrolly type layout that shows the latest post, regardless of subforum, would cater well to the lower site traffic we have had. Chatterbox would be amazing to  pop in on a sunday evening for some banter 😄

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1 minute ago, m42b32 said:

Good point, there is a ton of value in in-person meets and I really enjoy them but they do take a lot of effort to organize (and thank you to those that take the lead on that)

Agreed, the time needed to organize seems to limit the frequency of large gatherings to only a few times a year, at least for a group of this size. I'm thinking that may point to larger events that someone else has already planned (read: C&C) being part of the solution, because all we have to do is show up or meet somewhere close by and drive there.

@B C isn't there already something of a scrolly format under the activity tab? It does have like/reaction activity in it I guess.

I'll echo the thanks the others have given, first to @YoungCR for continuing to keep the site maintained and going strong, and then to everyone who helps organize, plan and run events. I appreciate you!

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I still like forums over the FB or other social media formats.  I like reading better than watching vids too.  Yes, I'm old.

The 2 other forums I visit regularly are lotus talk and lambo talk.  Both have recently switched over to a newer type format (identical, just rebranded for each).  It works well and didn't take too long to figure out.  So, if you want to retain the forum thing, see what thy did if you need something more modern.

All in all, I always think this site works well and I enjoy the browsing experience.

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Another vote for hanging on to the forum. The mix of threads on car projects, other projects, and other things of interest works. Tech and diy information from folks who get their hands dirty, aspirational / inspirational projects,  and local classifieds from folks you can trust are things to be valued. 
 

Covid hasn’t been mentioned but this has had a disruptive effect on gatherings and narrowed a lot of focus to home, increasing work demands if you’ve kept it, and all the needs and importance of family  with school disruptions if you’ve got kids. Even though events still happened last year there was a Covid effect.

Hopefully this is a better year. TJ has the e30 picnic in the works for early June, planning for DE and other assorted track events are underway (shameless plug: Midwestern Council has a track weekend with DE and a race comp school on Saturday, and sprint races on Sunday at BFR later next month, April 24-25). Spreading the word through the forum about local events will be a help. 
 

Think about ways that Badger Bimmers can help spread the word about what WIBimmers is about and up to.  The Immer is always looking for stories and seeing the length of some threads I know you guys can write. This might generate some more traffic to the forum. Let me know, I just started a stint on the board.

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Forums will always be the superior version of car internet communication. As others have stated, the format just works better for searching and documenting things compared to the comment style of Facebook. While there is no financial "barriers of entry", because you have to sign up and use a site that is not the one you are using for the other things(i.e. Facebook), deters the majority of people. Everyone wants everything to be a quick, one stop, "Amazon" style experience regardless of what the medium or product is now.

While I wouldn't classify it as "work", you have to put in the effort to get to this site and actually utilize it, and people are lazy. In regards to the community size, would it be nice to have a higher retention rate and more people posting on here? Yes. But if you look at any FB group, just like anything else, the more people that use it, the quality goes down. 

This forum is also largely seasonal, because it is a local forum, we are confined to the weather.

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Updated the forum today, got some layout changes and new features! 

@REKIII I set up the home page now for additional layout options. The fluid layout as shown here is pretty similar to the Xenforo home page style you like on Lotus/Lambo Talk. You can choose which forums you are interested in viewing and how you want to sort the topics. Default is by newest posting. This is similar to the Unread Content feed. 

 Screen Shot 2021-04-03 at 15.48.11 (2).png

My favorite update is on desktop/tablet screens each thread now has statistics displayed which popular posts, users and photos.

Screen Shot 2021-04-03 at 15.50.17 (2).png

Unfortunately the mobile app still isn't available yet but the mobile web layout has been improved. Posts have a more defined box and everything has been spaced out a little more too. I will spend some time tweaking the theme colors a bit to match the WI BIMMERS logo colors, tone the contrast a bit down. 

Also something I've kinda had in the back of my mind has been redoing the classifieds. Would anyone be interested in a craigslist style ad setup vs forum threads? This would add additional yearly costs but I've never really liked for sale threads myself, especially with big lots of parts. Classifieds pages have a SEO advantage as well. It would be a similar function to the store except everyone makes their own listings. listing.png

 

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It was weird, I browsed the whole site, then when I viewed this thread, the style changed.

I like it!!  Looks good.

As for CL style classifieds?  I'd vote no, especially with the added cost.
-I prefer a simple forum post type ad.  It seems to keep the info and pics in an easy to read format
-Most members don't post things FS here.  I see so many things on FB marketplace that should/could be here but aren't.  Not sure why....exposure?
-I dislike when I click on a tab/forum and the format changes from everything else on the site.  Just a preference.
-It forces the seller to be a bit diligent in their post.  Organize info and pics correctly.  It adds legitimacy to the ad.

All that being said, I'd still browse the classified forums if you changed to that style.

Thank you for the hard work.

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On 4/5/2021 at 4:03 AM, REKIII said:

As for CL style classifieds?  I'd vote no, especially with the added cost.
-I prefer a simple forum post type ad.  It seems to keep the info and pics in an easy to read format
-Most members don't post things FS here.  I see so many things on FB marketplace that should/could be here but aren't.  Not sure why....exposure?
-I dislike when I click on a tab/forum and the format changes from everything else on the site.  Just a preference.
-It forces the seller to be a bit diligent in their post.  Organize info and pics correctly.  It adds legitimacy to the ad.

All that being said, I'd still browse the classified forums if you changed to that style.

Thank you for the hard work.

I agree on the classifieds style. I like the forum style format but that could be just what I'm used to. I find it useful to be able to ask/answer questions and have everyone see it. I usually post everything car related I sell on wibimmers since forum people tend to be much more reasonable/reliable than the average person on marketplace. 

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