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A Perspective on Automotive Forums for Attracting the Next Generation

subi101

Getting Refreshed
Dec 13, 2011
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First Name
Subi
Wait… Don’t leave!

This one is for you. The quiet, reserved one or the one who just is tired of being hushed. Don’t leave…. I stand by you!

I am growing SO tired of the know-it-alls and the bullies in OUR forums. I am proud of our sense of community in automotive. The fact that so many competitors come together and help educate and share with each other is phenomenal. Until… people come around and feel the need to berate to make a point.

I’m not a confrontational person. I personally don’t like going toe-to-toe just for the sake of it, but push me far enough and you’ll get a push back that you won’t see comin’! Not everyone has the same voice, but that doesn’t mean they are any less qualified to speak!!!!!!! (<- Notice the many exclamation points for emphasis)

Be respectful. Be open-minded. Because, I have some news for you… what you have coming out of your mouth… is an OPINION. Of ONE individual. You may have supporters, but that doesn’t mean your opinion is made of gold. There are a million ways to do things in dealership and throughout this industry. Not one. A Million! So, sometimes… it would be nice not to feel bullied because someone has an opposing view. I don’t know if you know this, but people are staying off many of the forums these days. In fact, I have seen more Facebook Automotive groups pop-up in the last 6 months than posts on these forums.

Now, don’t get me wrong… I owe EVERYTHING to the forums. DealerRefresh was my saving grace when I was a newbie trying to stay afloat and run a department that was handed to me as an unqualified Internet Manager. My story is not unique, I’m sure MANY feel the same. Let’s stay on these forums and help them to grow. They hold INCREDIBLE value to our industry.

I say it often… why can’t we all just get along?

Be respectful. Be open-minded. There are so many more opinions that are waiting to speak up if you are willing to allow someone else to have a voice for a change. This isn’t directed at one specific person… this is just a trend I’ve been watching.

To the bullies that don’t know if you’re a bully… if you always have the last word and your “thoughts” usually run into hour long “debates”… its not because you win… it is because you made people feel like it is not worth it to speak up anymore.

To the voices who don’t get enough play… you, yeah YOU. SPEAK UP. Then message me with a link to your post and I’ll support the HECK out of you!!! We need more people to speak up. This is how a collective group of thousands of professionals continues to attract the right minds to propel us into progress.

Oh and P.S. Just because you wrote something 2-5 years ago on a topic, doesn’t mean its still relevant today. I don’t know if you know this, but technology and the people running departments in automotive have evolved. So before you just throw a link to a post you made … take time to truly answer the question being asked.

This has been an episode of Subi’s sarcastic rant. Thanks for reading… see you next time!
 
Reactions: 4 people

Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
2,797
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Alex
So before you just throw a link to a post you made … take time to truly answer the question being asked.
This might be the fastest way to kill a thread and if the community adopts the practice the forum typically dies from a lack of fresh content/new members. I've seen this happen a few times to other communities. Very good point Subi :thumbup:

I owe an apology to everyone because I have not been living up to my responsibilities as an admin of these forums. I've just about disappeared for at least the last two years. I've been watching, but not posting for multiple reasons. However, I will share one of those reasons to play off your rant further (hope you don't mind Subi).

The main reason I stopped posting is because some clients, of the company I work, for used my posts in ways to negotiate against that company. I found myself second-guessing anything I posted until I didn't want to post anymore. That eventually led to a significant decrease in even lurking. Well, FUCK THAT, this place is too important to let other "bullies" crunch my participation. Fortunately my boss shares that belief :thumbup: :thumbup:

As an admin I have a responsibility to enforce the rules and keep the forums open to anyone who wishes to participate. I have not been living up to my end for a while.
 
Reactions: 4 people

Jeff Kershner

Founder
May 1, 2005
3,483
1,078
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Jeff
Alex, nothing excites me more than to read what you just posted up there. :-)

I've been placed in the same situation a few times myself. It sucks to have an opinion used against you or used to negotiate. This community was put together to help the industry, to help individuals within the industry and not to be used against.

While we are on the topic - something that I hear from time to time...a vendor representative marches into a dealership and has a conversation with the dealer principle or GM about how their Internet sales manager is speaking bad about the vendor and giving up vital information or representing the dealership in a negative light (which I've really never witnessed here in the forums). Straight up tattletale.

Subi - ;-)
 
Reactions: 1 person

craigh

Super Moderator
May 19, 2011
1,665
1,076
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Craig
I do wish these forums would become a bit more active.
The numbers are low, most of the steady chat seems to be on the vendor side and I see less new users sticking around.

I do my best to just put honesty and experience forward and hope no one holds it against me, but I also know that we judge other vendors on here based on what their representatives are saying.
 
Reactions: 1 person

craigh

Super Moderator
May 19, 2011
1,665
1,076
113
First Name
Craig
While we are on the topic - something that I hear from time to time...a vendor representative marches into a dealership and has a conversation with the dealer principle or GM about how their Internet sales manager is speaking bad about the vendor and giving up vital information or representing the dealership in a negative light (which I've really never witnessed here in the forums). Straight up tattletale.
If you're afraid of client feedback being shared that's a whole other issue.
Dealers are living in a world of reputation management concerns - I'm sure they don't give a rat's behind about the vendor complaining about this.
 

skeetle

Getting Refreshed
Apr 4, 2011
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29
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First Name
Megan
How about a dealer's perspective --- oooo meee!!!

It's all about the vendors (Sorry guys - but it is) - I don't want to go onto a forum & have to wade through pitching, or people telling me how *their* product can serve my needs better (they all can, right?).

Jeff - I recall an experience where a vendor 'claimed' I was giving up 'trade secrets' on an 'automotive forum.' Thankfully, I have a good relationship with my GM - he asked what thread this 'vendor' was talking about - I showed him. Guess what - I didn't give up any 'trade secrets' I didn't say 'too much about our business' - my GM laughed and carried on with his day. In my humble opinion, the only reason a vendor would do this is to get the GM to listen to them. Because they've tried to 'pitch' the Internet Director had haven't gotten anywhere - so if the vendor can build trust with the GM - they might have a sale. Shady, backhanded, snakes (not all of you). Needless to say - we didn't buy that particular vendor's product.
 

craigh

Super Moderator
May 19, 2011
1,665
1,076
113
First Name
Craig
I, even as a vendor, have to agree with the above.
Almost all of the "vendor feedback" or "vendor complaints" posts get hijacked by the vendor taking it offline, smoothing it over, etc.

Would be nice to see more discussions, rather than simply, "Call me. We'll get it sorted out"
 

Kelly Wilson

Jr. Refresher
Oct 23, 2011
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Kelly
I've had vendors and people from the dealer world (I'd assume those looking to take my place) call my Dealer Principal regarding posts I've made. I understand sites like DealerRefresh are public, and I've never (yeah big word) written anything for which I wouldn't be willing to answer. These confrontations have however prevented a number of comments I would have liked to make - whether right or wrong.

I love to see when someone joins, speaks up and steps out from the learker's showdows. It is the shared experience and range of opinions that make DealerRefresh (and the other forums as well) a place of knowledge, learning, and community. We (both dealers and vendors) need to respect the space Jeff, Alex and the rest to the DR team has build and those whom we call friends and community members. I have enough of a war zone living here in STL, I don't want to see the same in my digital home with my AutoFam here on DealerRefresh.
 
Reactions: 1 person

subi101

Getting Refreshed
Dec 13, 2011
60
43
18
First Name
Subi
Well, FUCK THAT, this place is too important to let other "bullies" crunch my participation. Fortunately my boss shares that belief :thumbup: :thumbup:
Alex! HECK YES! Now, if I don't see you on here more actively... I'm going to cyber stalk you! :-P Thank you for your post here.

The thing is, we need to start attracting new dealers to the site. 5 years ago, this helped me build who I am and there was a ton of sharing from dealers, now those dealers have become vendors and continue to share, but the dealer population is a bit low (much like all the other forums) I personally feel the mass user exodus and vendor pitching is much less here.
When we allow the bullies to speak louder than the supportive, respectfully disagreeing, motivational, or fact finding ones... then we silence the ones who desperately need a forum like this to exist. I for one, owe a ton to Dealer Refresh and the content within it that helped me build my departments on the opinions and results that others had.
I hope we can start attracting that new audience that allows the lurkers to have some solid, well-rounded points of views to be able to draw their own conclusions from.
Bring on the newbies!
 
Reactions: 3 people

Bill Simmons

Jr. Refresher
Sep 30, 2010
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Bill
The main reason I stopped posting is because some clients, of the company I work, for used my posts in ways to negotiate against that company. I found myself second-guessing anything I posted until I didn't want to post anymore. That eventually led to a significant decrease in even lurking. Well, FUCK THAT, this place is too important to let other "bullies" crunch my participation. Fortunately my boss shares that belief :thumbup: :thumbup:

As an admin I have a responsibility to enforce the rules and keep the forums open to anyone who wishes to participate. I have not been living up to my end for a while.
I say hooray for your boss! I mentioned to someone recently that the forums here were missing great input as it seemed like yourself, Joe, and Jeff were not as active as before. One thing that I really enjoy about DR is that we can here from you guys who are now on the vendor side who once were active in dealerships and have been on this side of the desk. You guys can relate to some of the challenges that dealership personnel are posting here and offer great tips. Now that you are on the vendor side your input from both perspectives is refreshing.
 
Reactions: 3 people