Recent Forum changes and our reactions:
Many of you have noticed the recent changes Jeff Keacher has made to the Forum, and have reacted in a few different ways to them. I'm going to attempt to explain the reasons for the changes, and the reactions to the negativity that some of the Staff of this Forum have had. Please be patient and understanding as you read the following:
This Forum started it'* existence in a little magic box in the closet of a Fraternity House. It was the brainchild of Jeff Keacher. Former owner of two Bonnevilles, current owner of a BMW (traitor). Despite his unfortunate change in income and automotive loyalties, Jeff has never deviated from his passion for one thing. OUR HOUSE. We strive to preserve what he created, and the reasons he created it, in part by respecting his decisions and the reasoning behind them.
The server, as it exists today, is quite the machine. I'm impressed with the specs of the new 'magic box', and you would too if you knew what it was. The old magic box (which is at least the 3rd generation that I know of) is a very respectable ACTIVE backup. We have a HUGE pipeline to the backbone of the internet, major bandwidth, storage, and we exist in a climate controlled power-backup environment that only God himself could take out (or a very good hacker). This all happened during a period of time that Jeff Keacher'* beloved BMW was involved in an accident (no, it'* not white).
The current hardware setup we have is not cheap. It'* not your average hosting, either. Supporting our usage has become more and more expensive each year, and Jeff has shouldered the financial responsibility ALONE. Despite the repeated offers of many members. One of the unique things about our growth is that to this day, Jeff'* instructions to never 'prune' have been adhered to rigidly. Most internet Forums automatically prune older topics to save storage and bandwidth. We have preserved EVERY SINGLE TOPIC that ever existed. This was done for the benefit of all members. But this costs more money than you might expect. For those that are savvy, our database alone (disregarding support/infrastructure pages) is over a gigabyte. Imagine how much this database is used by how many members, and think about the sheer amount of data tranfer that Jeff pays for out of his own pocket.
Now we fast forward to the present. Jeff researched extensively, and leveraged off the experiences of owners of other internet forums. He learned that donations never quite fulfilled the financial needs of other sites. He made a very difficult and informed decision to have limited sublte advertising to help pay for the expenses here. He did it in a way that we owe no allegiance to a VENDOR or SPONSOR. This is a huge deal if you think about the concequences. This is Jeff'* pocketbook. I can assure you that his expenses, disregarding the time he'* spent on this site are VERY significant. More than any member here could possibly imagine.
So now we have what we have. 2 ads at the top of the page, contrary to our Business Cards created by the Site Recruiter, Harofreak00. What does it mean? It DOESN'T mean a member that joins tomorrow due to being carded will cry foul over the ads. It does mean that the next release of cards may have to change in a minor way. But this is what it REALLY means:
1. This site is now financially assured of a continued existence without causing further financial burdens on one person.
2. The revenue may mean the possibility of future growth. This WILL include a new Media section (in the works), a new Registry (also in the works), POSSIBLE hosting for images and video, and any number of other ideas that we can perhaps afford now that we can pay for future bandwidth. Interesting potential, isn't it?
3. The near-future release of a voluntary donation system that is non-discriminatory. No member, donating or not, will ever be viewed or treated differently than another. No 'gold, silver, bronze, platinum' donating members. We pay what we feel we can afford, and we each individually base this on the value of the Forum to each of us. Will this be successful enough to delete the advertising? Histoy on other sites says no. But if it is, we have to remember that it will be Jeff'* decision at that point.
Where is the Forum/Club/Site headed? For growth. That'* for certain. Damn the end of the Bonneville production years. We're not finished yet. Our continued growth and success is inevitable.
My personal request is that each and every member here understand the fact that Jeff Keacher made some very difficult, yet fully researched and informed decisions regarding the future of our community. Please understand that most members will probably never know the financial or data transfer numbers involved, and that remains at Jeff'* discretion.
Our home was created for the benefit of Bonneville owners worldwide. Our home was created with the intent that it would be a respectful environment, and be free of hate, flames, and discrimination. Our home grew into a community and family for many members. Not only focused on a car, but even more so on the people that own and drive them. Personalities came into play, and passion and opinons are naturally displayed. We just need to understand that in an Internet Forum of this size and growth rate, change is inevitable, and can be positive if we let it be.