There is only ONE Oklahoma

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Recipes for disaster

Give us some kool-aid drinking fans; enabling moderators; an over zealous Webmaster; a clueless PR manager; empty 'promises and claims'; and what do you have?

a recipe for disaster and a mess that just wont go away.

Before I begin, let me preface a little bit by stating that I have been a member of 'said' message board since 1999, and have now seen first hand a total of 4 Webmasters come and go and countless board moderators. The "founder's club" (so to speak) is a very small one and one that you could probably seat all the members at your dining room table and still have an empty chair or two.

Ingredients for this 'recipe':

Start with the latest Webmaster and the very first post on this new forum, in which he comes up with the bright idea to make this separate public forum, solely dedicated to 'suggestions for next year'. One the surface that might seem like a noble idea, however it exposes the laziness of the 'Warden'. Here is the first thread (btw, all threads cannot be responded to).

by SFC Webmaster
"Figured I would get it started.

Forcing all icons to be 10X10. Makes them more of "icons" and would eliminate the problem we have with making people change theirs to a certain size. (10X10 is the only size option for Ezboard to force them to be)"

Icon sizing is a common issue with any message board that allows them, however 'avatars' are a very good way of quickly identifying other posters. The real question that should be asked first is does the 'Goatfish' (aka SFC Webmaster) really have a clue of the size of the 10X10 avatar?

here is a 100X100 pixel avatar of one of the moderators:

Now what could be wrong what that size? I know that when I am searching for the "Mystic's" posts, all I have to do is look for her self identifying avatar. But for some reason, the Goatfish thinks this is going to be a problem. Gee, avatar sizes have been 'policed' for over 4 years now on SFC and have been little problem. (other than it takes a little effort by the mods and the Webmaster)

Now take a look at the same Avatar at 10X10:
Can you see it??????? Other than being 'lazy', because that is the 'only default' size the board software can impose, it just makes one wonder if these guys really think things out before they make a suggestion or announcement. (See the MySpace fiasco)
From one of the current mods:

We need to have a forum for photos , so that when a whole buch of people go to a race and want to share there are not a ton of threads.

So if you have another forum for photos won't you have just as many threads AND a new forum to have to search? Where am I missing the 'logic' here?

then comes this gem:

I have been thinking on this the past 2 weeks long before you even asked for suggestions on how to make the board better. I for one can tell you I am not comfortable postin here. Why? It is not anything Sean that you or Shelley have ever done to me but...

A. I go to other boards and see what we have posted taken and twisted as a joke.
B. You recognize those people doing it and they are still allowed on the SFC.
C. People are allowed to say and do things on the board they know will hurt others or "cause trouble" and yet they still are allowed to be members.
D. These same members are allowed to bash Sean, Shelley,Brett,Elliott, and the Sadler Family on other sites and still are allowed to be members.
So my suggestion I guess would be to clean house or shut it down which ever comes first,and then maybe more people would feel comfortable here cause I know I sure don't.

I am not saying this to be mean or argumentative we had a good thing going and it has gone down hill.

First, one should consider the source of this suggestion. This is coming from a person that started her own message board when SFC went 'pay to post' earlier this year. Now I guess she is back drinking the Kool-aid for what ever reason. One thing I have learned over the past year or so is that 'free speech' or at the very least, having an opinion that is the least bit contrary to the 'inner circle' is prohibited. IP addresses are sent to the powers that be for 'IP Banning' on the site for simply not participating in the mass kool-aid fest. However, in the long run even that is a futile effort. This 'Gestapo' type mentality simply doesn't work in today's Internet. If you want to have rules in your house, that is fine, but if a member wants to express their free speech rights somewhere else, well, that should be a given. Once again, we only have to view the decadence of the "Southern Gentleman's" PRIVATE MySpace account and his 'friends postings and pics'. Many are not pretty. Or better yet, should someone forward "spotterman's" opinions and criticisms of Nascar on the SFC board to Mike Helton or Bill France Jr? That theory works both ways now doesn't it?
Then comes along this suggestion:

How about when a new rule comes along it is posted in both just talking and in the rules area. The rules area isn't something that everyone checks that often and it would help keep everyone informed and less likely of people breaking any rules that they didn't know they were breaking.

My first question is Why be a paying member of a forum that has so many rules and rule changes that you have to ask to be advised when a new one is initiated? Understand that this is a 'members only' forum, and one that cannot even be read by non members. Remember I mentioned 'control issues' before?
The last two suggestions are somewhat related:

Add back the name of the person back with the time who made the last comment on a thread. Now it is just showing the time and before when it also showed who made the last post I knew if I had read the post already. With just the time I have no idea. I am better with the names than with just times.


Is it possible to also show the date when a thread was started?

This was a normal function on this board since it's inception in 1999, but for some reason a couple of weeks ago this feature was discontinued. Since the SFC fan club package and 'rights' to post on this message board price has increased it brings up the question. Why should one have to pay more for less features? And one last little bit of information, it was just a month or so ago that the Goatfish made a 'Webmaster' miscue, and made the site stats 'public' for a short time. From that we know that registered users only numbered 449 total (and really only about 25 active posters). Compare that to an over 3/4 drop from previous years and this is progress?

A couple of weeks ago, 'spotterman/PR dude' posted this 'complaint' concerning the TeVee coverage of races.

Does this really surprise anyone? When you have 43 cars in a race and only cover 7 to 8 of them your ratings are going to drop. I remind you, last year we didn't have the 8 or the 24 in the chase and this year we had both. We crowned a new champ and the ratings were still down throughout the entire chase! I don't have to tell you why because if you're on this board you probably suffered through the broadcast with the rest of us last Sunday. I touched on this a little bit before -- they had lots of chances to reminisce about Mark, Dale and make the broadcast more enjoyable. I think the lead would rather try and make you cry or paint a bad picture... The human interest piece to the sport was certainly not present in the last two races I watched. I'll stop complaining now...

followed by

If you run up front and blow up no one cares (I think we proved that in 3 of the last few races)... or at least TV doesn't... Dale Jr. didn't receive enough coverage last year? You have to be kidding me! He was shown repeatedly going behind the wall during the race to make adjustments to his car. I think that's going a little over board... Yet, with all of the Jr. coverage during the CHASE this season ratings were down and down big... So, obviously fans don't want to see the Dale Jr. network over the actual race.

If you make the race and crash every week it seems to get you on TV but for the wrong reasons... I'll take not being covered over crashing but unbiased reporting is probably something we'll never see as long as companies are forking out big bucks for in car cameras which is a hidden excuse to show any given driver that carries one...

I think you'll see Fox do a great job covering the action and I'm hoping ESPN / ABC will be able to at least size up to Fox's standards... But remember Weber and his folks have 6 races next year, too!

So 'Spotterman' admitted in a previous post that he has only seen TWO races (the last two) on TeVee since 1999 and now he is some sort of 'expert' on the subject? Is it any wonder that his beloved SC Gamecocks were off the national TeVee map for 25 years until the University hired the 'ole Ball Coach'? There wasa very good reason for that and that theory can be applied to today's Nascar coverage as well. Choose ANY sport, and look at National TeVee coverage and you will see the same trend as 'spotterman' claims. The difference is that we as fans have found ways to adapted and get better coverage.

For instance, with the advent of Nascar.com and the different avenues they offer for race coverage, race fans that want 'more complete' coverage will pool their resources, then connect via IM or chat rooms to subsidies the TeVee coverage. I personally have been involved with a group that has one person listening to the MRN/PRN while others listen to different driver's scanner chat on Nascar.com, and all the while watching both the TeVee and 'Pit command'.

Funny, 20 or so years ago, a young entrepreneur named Mark Cuban did something similar when wanting to listen to Indiana Basketball games due to a lack of coverage in his area. "Audionet" was latter parlayed into a billion dollar venture we now know as a part of Yahoo.com.

It is ironic that 'Spotterman' expects others to 'pay' for a service for his driver's fan club, but wants complete TeVee coverage for free.

He also makes the comment of the lack of reminiscing of DJ and Mark Martin on the final rides with their respective teams. He might have a point had these two actually been retiring, but that is far from the case. Just as their was little fanfare for Ricky Rudd the season before at Homestead, the same treatment should be for these two who are simply changing teams, not leaving the sport altogether.
Then there is the 'communication' factor from of all people but the driver himself.

It seems that the 'Southern Gentleman' felt the need to 'spike' the Kool-aid a bit by having a season recap posted on his site. Now this is very common with drivers, but what sets this one apart is that 1) SFC member were 'promised' more active postings by the driver. (something that happened maybe twice all season) and once again the dangling carrot is put out by the "Southern Gentleman" with the claim of 'I will try to post more often." Deja vue? While 'Spotterman' has had a presence on the message board the 2nd half of the season, he rarely actually offers something to the masses. 2) Like most of his pre and post race comments, the 'Southern Gentleman' has little to say other than the 'thanks to my sponsors', blah blah blah, and how great everything is with his current team. We saw this with the Wood Brothers, RYR and now with Evernham, but it is funny to look back and see just how quickly he will bolt when the going gets tough.

But here is the real problem I see, and it validates a theory I have had about the 'Southern Gentleman' for a few years now. That is the issue with 'communication'. There have been a plethora of Crew Chiefs who have come and gone through the Sadler camp, and a few of those have had some great success both before and after. But an underlying theme seems to be the 'communication factor' or lack there of the Southern Gentleman and the results of his thinking. There seems to be much interpretation needed in his communication skills, both on and off the track. An example of the off the track issues lies here:

"Red and Black gone in 2007. The No. 19 Dodge Dealers / UAW Dodge Charger will no longer be red and black in 2007. We have a great, new look coming out for my car and Kasey’s car and hopefully you’ll like them! I think they look sharp and my driver’s suit looks pretty cool, too!"

Wow, did that comment stir up the masses, but what we actually find out is this.
The 2006 paint scheme:

and the 2007 paint scheme:

Wow, now I see BOTH red and black on the 19, do you? It is called communication.
com·mu·ni·ca·tion [kuh-myoo-ni-key-shuhn] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –noun
1.the act or process of communicating; fact of being communicated.
2.the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs.
3.something imparted, interchanged, or transmitted.
4.a document or message imparting news, views, information, etc.
5.passage, or an opportunity or means of passage, between places.

While this has nothing to do with my like or dislike of the paint scheme (actually I am fond of more 'black/white/red' paint schemes, this new one is appealing and it reminds me of the 2001 21 scheme in some ways.

Its the kind of paint scheme that can grow on you. Now if only the driver could clearly communicate that.

So when looking at this on going train wreck known as the SFC message board it make one wonder if the powers that be are really using those noodles on top of their collective heads. History has shown that has not been the case and all the ingredience for this recipe for disaster are in place. But what do I know? and frankly, I am not saying anything different that is not being said on the 'non-official' message boards. Control issues are never a good thing.


Thurman1515 said...

This country was founded on FREE SPEECH. I lost my rights to post there a while back because I too disagreed with the inner circle pod people.

I never bashed anyone or broke any of their War and Peace rules either. I just didn't follow the company line and status quo.

SNAFAM said...

Wow! That 'new' car sure does look like his old one, from the WB days.

Yes, that board has changed a lot. It looks like there may be more changes in the future too, from what I see implied.

Clementine said...

Communication issues! Oh for heavens sake! Every time I have heard him at a race, he has seemed to not be able to communicate with his crew chief! That "Red and Black gone in 2007." sure does give the idea that it will be Blue, Green, or Yella. (Wait, I did hear a rumor that he hated wearing M&M Yellow!) I does seem a bit fixated on how the firesuit will look, but then that is probably from all of the pod-ettes who gush all over him.

Years ago "Elliott" sent out email newsletters, and they dwindled away about 2 years ago. Then "he" was "writing" the USAToday articles, and those went away also. There were some pretty hefty rumors that he did not write any of them...Brett and a PR chick wrote them. The writing 'styles' sure did change when the PR chicks switched out. I guess my point is that you are right, he has never communicated well.

In fact, I keep thinking the page on the SFC site looks more like Spotter-Dude's handiwork! Even the webmaster posted 'no more red and black' S-Dude has been on the board a bunch lately. Damage Control?

However, the SFC can indeed regulate what happens on their board, but they have no control over what happens away from the board. Yes, they can try to ban people, but that does not work all of the time!

As far as that post from the woman that had her own board, I am amazed that the webmaster left that up. Because it does not show the board politics in a very good light.

Perhaps that is why only 25 posters are active out of the 449.