Time to chill out and re-read the Charter

Submitted: Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 22:57
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As a manager of the Bushtracker Owners Group Forum, I am a regular reader and sometime contributor. Last week I got back from a trip in the BT and it took me hours to catch up on all the postings. I reflected at the time that what had been achieved in a little over 12 months was nothing short of amazing! Yes that's right, the Group is only 13 months old - started 17 Feb 2003. In that time we: Collected 265 members
Posted over 5000 messages
Had one very successful rally
Have 33 acceptances already for a Rally in September!
Have seen Bushtracker International respond positively to product changes discussed in the Forum
Have seen Bushtracker International use the forum as a means of communication with Bushtracker owners. All that in 13 months. Not bad eh? Now comes the bad news.... I am personally disturbed by the increasing number of recent postings which appear to get very subjective and in some cases have got way too personal. Having been involved in User Forums for many years as part of my career, when this starts to happen, the credibility and the viability of the Forum is put at risk. Forums such as this deliver maximum value when the integrity and objectivity of the forum is recognised by all stakeholders - the customer (Bushtracker owners), the product supplier (Bushtracker International) and future/prospective customers. We have been starting to make headway but when things get personal or when members elect to post personal correspondence between BTI and themselves, the integrity of the Forum is diminished. We all say we want to see BTI participate. I can't see it happen when some discussions get down to slanging matches and trust is compromised. As a Bushtracker owner, I have a vested interest in seeing the Forum continue to grow and be successful. I have learnt so much from it. I have made friendships through it. My Bushtracker is a better beast because of it. When the Group was founded, we put together a Charter that talked about the objectives and also set some ground rules. I think it's time to revisit that Charter to ensure that as we use the Forum, we maintain the integrity and objectivity that delivers maximum value to everyone. Just to make it easier, here's the Charter.... The Charter of the Bushtracker Owners Group Objective of the Bushtracker Owners Group The primary purpose of the Bushtracker Owners Group is to provide a forum for information exchange and constructive, objective commentary that is designed to enhance the experience of owning a Bushtracker caravan through: building a sense of community with others who share an interest in Bushtracker Caravans and in travelling throughout Australia
advice and tips on fit-out
advice and information on itineraries, locations and travelling in general
feedback on product improvement Who can benefit from Participation in the Bushtracker Owners Group? There are a number of categories of people who might visit or join the Group. Each will have a different reason and will be looking for different information. The visitors and their possible requirements could include: Potential buyers of Bushtracker Caravans
Interested in owners' experiences with their 'vans
What sort of layout/configuration/options?
What sort of towing vehicle?
Things to consider when buying
What sort of country/track can be tackled in a Bushtracker? Current owners of Bushtracker Caravans
Commentary on Tips and Techniques.
Discussion of trips, routes, places to visit etc.
A forum for communication amongst people with a common interest.
A forum for arranging rallies etc. The management of Bushtracker International
A source of feedback from owners on strengths and areas for potential improvement.
A source of customer reference for potential buyers.
A forum for communication between Bushtracker International and Bushtracker owners.
What does all this mean for people who use the Forum? It means we should present information in a positive, constructive manner.
If you've experienced problems, can you suggest a possible solution?
Respect the opinions of others.
Present commentary in a way that will invite feedback - that way, we all learn a bit more.
Recognise that, given the investment that Bushtracker owners make, the best results will be achieved through a constructive, open dialogue between Owners and Bushtracker International.
The more members we have in the forum, the more we will all learn and benefit. As I used to say to my kids after chewing them out, "thus endeth the lesson" Pete
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Reply By: Deleted User - Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 22:59

Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 22:59
Pete A timely reminder. I returned last night from a BT trip and began catching up on threads on this forum. Like you, I, too, am concerned at the tenor of some of the postings from over the past few weeks. There is nothing wrong with robust objective debate and if postings are kept that way we will all continue to benefit from the diverse input that is central to the success to date of this forum. Myles
AnswerID: 561611

Reply By: Deleted User - Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 23:00

Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 23:00
Motley Pete,<o:p></o:p> I can assume that I am part of the cause of this post.<o:p></o:p> I have apologised for my previous outbursts, and have deleted the silly attacks I have made.<o:p></o:p> It is easy to take someone’s posts the wrong way due to the nature of an abbreviated comment that can sound entirely different than what was intended. It was all new to me and I guess i got caught up in the moment. Constructive criticism can be taken as a personal attack by mistake.<o:p></o:p> At the time I was trying to defend myself from comments made and just wanted a fair go. As well as stress, tiredness or maybe the phase of the moon, I have brought a bad mood with me and that was not right. So it’s all smiles from here on in. I can assure you of that. <o:p> </o:p> I have actually never heard of the vans posted here and have found most of the forum quite enlightening. In fact I am going to consider them quite closely now for myself. <o:p> </o:p> These forums are great and I hope that you continue to grow. The advice given on this forum can give you a different point of view to attacking a problem. <o:p> </o:p> Thanks Shayne<o:p></o:p>
AnswerID: 561612

Reply By: Deleted User - Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 23:01

Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 23:01
BOG members ... I was reading Pete's post (great reading by the way) and I'm amazed at the post count for such a short period. I thought I'd do a "Bushtracker18" post count ... since I joined the group which was 5 days after inception ... I have posted around 600 times. I am very passionate about camping/Bushtrackering with my family and cant think of a greater family hobby. My eldest daughter (nearly ten) wanted desperately to play soccer this year but cancelled of her own free will because games clashed with long weekends and long weekends are very guarded with her as it means Bushtracker. She is quite happy with her sport from Monday to Friday she states ...! For the first time, this Easter, she is bringing a friend and they are staying in their own tent .... they're counting the days. Above is the reason for hundreds of posts, not to win a post race or feed an ego ... I just like to help people where I can and try to inject some fun, humour and stimulate some thinking for those designing, then taking delivery, and using/maintaining their BT. I do have a PC in every room including the dunny in case I miss a post in BOG ... if I'm outside an alarm rings if a post enters the site .... if in the car all posts are beamed in via my mobile with voice over software reading the post as I travel ... if away from car I have a palm pilot with microwave transmission of all new posts beamed from the car PC ...[CrackedBlueToothGrin] Only joking of course ..... I dont even own a laptop just a lowly PC connected via a phone line ...how 1980's is that !!! [smile] So for the time being you're stuck with me .... for the next 600 .... suckers !!!!! Heheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheehehehehe !!!!!![wink] Regards Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
AnswerID: 561613

Reply By: Bushtracker Buck & Babe - Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 23:02

Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 23:02
Hi Pete, Yeah, thanks for the reminder, we all need it as old age sets in LOL. I must admit to having been disturbed lately by the nature of some of the recent posts. It is disconcerting to read of interactions between comapnies including BTi and forum members, where a negative aspect seems to dominate and I have to wonder about the motive for the posting and not editing what seem to me comments of a more private nature. It feels like growing up days when my brothers wanted me to side with them against my sisters so they would be outvoted for a television channel. I didn't like it then and I don't like it now. I believe it is okay for us to talk to BTi as a forum about some of the experiences of the group and then we have to let them make their choice about what to do with the information, but we will never argue them into seeing our point of view no matter how much we try (and some have tried quite hard by the sound of it! LOL ). The outcome of those kinds of interactions have been proven by past experiences - it is a no win situation for everyone. Ultimately it is their company and their product and they have a right to say no to something just like we do, even to some aspects of custom building. BTi have a reputation to protect and have been bitten by experiences in the past. I remember one instance around the time of this commencement of this forum where we were hearing only one side of a story and it would have been easy to be in sympathy with the member reporting it, except when questioned about how the van was handled particularly on rough roads there was an element of personal culpability that shone through. I would rather not have this forum get bogged down with the personal comments flying back and forth between BT and members. That to me is irrelevant. And I too am investing in a big and expensive rig but will try not to get stressed about things I have no control over. If at the end of the day I feel that I cannot work with a company to get my needs met then I will vote with my feet and give the business somewhere else. Luckily, I am not having that experience with BT and glad to be dealing with people who are not "Yes" people and more interested in my money than the product they are turning out. But then I am also happy to have a lot of the things in our van that others have tested and proven to work okay. I looked at the photo posted of the Betts van and the quality of workmanship and fell in love with a BT all over again. I remember hearing a little tale of someone on a bus who ranted and raved, swore and carried on about the weather, the crowding, the lack of seats and almost everything in general. He went to leave and someone stopped him and said he had left something behind. He turned and looked where he had just left and then back at his fellow passenger and said he hadn't left anything behind. They said, Yes you did - a bad impression. Maybe I am just trying to uphold the nature of the forum with these comments but it certainly has taken an interesting (and at times unhealthy) skew from its original intent. Bring back more of the laughs and less of the stress. And more photos. We haven't had enough new photos lately. Angie Looking forward to giving everyone a big squishy hug at Copeton.
AnswerID: 561614

Reply By: Andy1 - Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 23:03

Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 23:03
TravellersSatellite1 et al The discussion that you prompted may have got a little heated but for one who knew little to nothing about these systems the whole to and fro has prompted me to do a hell of a lot of net research. This in turn has given me a much better understanding of the issues involved. In the end that is why forums exist - to increase knowledge. I have very much enjoyed your & Dave's input & hope it continues. I think Pete had other postings in mind, like Pete et al I also am concerned at the attacks/derision that have been directed towards BT. In an earlier posting I mentioned that we regard the BT after sales service as second to none & this has been confirmed by a recent visit for some upgrading & again only yesterday when I forwarded a template to have an end panel made for one of our benches. The guys at BT go out of their way to help, this includes the whole group top to bottom. From our experience we were able to assist a few pre-BT Owners in the earlier more rational days of the Forum with ideas based on our own practical learning. Again this is really the reason for the existance of a forum. Now we are being regaled, perhaps bombarded is a better description as there is not much effort at entertainment, by pre-BT Owners with criticsms of BT & concepts that most must regard of little short of ludicrous. It would be better for all concerned if those contributors moved somewhere else. Andy
AnswerID: 561615

Reply By: Luvntravln - Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 23:04

Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 23:04
Hi Pete's, Andy's and Angie's postings raise several issues directly relating to the operation of the site and it is rather clear and has been stated so that "they are not all directed at you [tgintl] although I will admit that some are". Personally, I would have preferred the author/s mention me by name and specifically address my comments that concern them rather than being oblique. I prefer an upfront and forthright discussion - it results in the least miscommunication. Before writing this response, I had off-site communications with the above-mentioned Boggers, and while I am not going to repeat or paraphrase at length what we said to each other, our collective thoughts will - I hope satisfactorily - be expressed under each category. SITE OPERATION: I believe that the statistics provided by Pete clearly establishe that the Boggers site now represents a diversity "achieved in a little over 12 months ... [which is] nothing short of amazing! To state the issue another way, given the diverse makeup of the Boggers, is the site going to continue to solely represent the management's views and be subject to occassional censorship by the managers and assistant managers - we have all seen the posts which read "This message has been deleted by the manager or assistant manager" - or are the members mature enough to decide what they think is appropriate to post and willing to allow the collective opinion by subsequent posts to shape the direction of the site? When Pete wrote "Now comes the bad news...." and ended with "as I used to say to my kids after chewing them out, "thus endeth the lesson", I personally took offense at being talked to like a child. So that we address the issue - this is not a question of thick skin - this is an issue of appropriateness. Boggers are not children to be chidded; Boggers are successful members of the community that have or are about to invest +- $100,000.00 on a nonessential "toy"; Boggers are adults; Junior Boggers are children. Should there be censorship of a posting that while the managers may find the substance offensive to their outlook of appropriatemness or disagree with the thoughts expressed, the posting itself does not contain any inappropriate language that would violate the MSN Posting Rules? CONTENT: This falls into two categories - 1) subject matter appropriateness and 2) my choosing to provide quotations from Mr. Gibbs' emails. 1) It has been suggested, perhaps more strongly stated - and let me point out that I respect the right of anyone to say anything (even sarcasm etc.) so long as they respect my right to respond - that the postings should not contain any negative comments about BTi or its management. It is has been also suggested that it is ok to make negative comments about the products and the BT. The purpose of this position apparently is to support the relationship between BTi and the Group, and at the same time to educate prospective buyers all about the BT. Given the postings that have occurred during the past couple of months I know I am not alone in my opinion that the conduct and actions of BTi management are not immune from public criticism. I also believe we do a disservice to potential buyers if we do not present a complete picture: that product is fantastic, the Director is very difficult to deal with for many enumerated reasons, the rest of the staff are a great bunch of people to work with, and do not let either what we say about the Director or you own dealings with the Director dissuade you from buying a BT - it is the best. Additionally, the Charter which has been quoted provides in part: "A forum for communication amongst people with a common interest." "A forum for communication between Bushtracker International and Bushtracker owners." Neither of these two provisions requires that we pretend in public that all is roses. 2) There is no fiduciary relationship between BTi and myself; there has never been a request to maintain any type of confidentiality; while Steve insists that he never opens or reads anything posted on the site we know that Tracy does monitor the site and I have never received any request to maintain any confidentiality; I have been on occassion requested specifically by Steve to post a message from him to my fellow Boggers since he refuses to do it himself; the only relationship between Bti and myself is they are selling a product and I am eagerly buying their product in spite of all the difficulties I have had trying to get education about the various aspects of the BT. THE CONTENT OF MY POSTINGS: It is interesting that some Boggers thought it was very quiet when tgintl was away; several people thanked me for the content of my postings and issues that I raised by my postings, and it has also been suggested that the Boggers "are being regaled, perhaps bombarded is a better description ...by pre-BT Owners with criticsms of BT & concepts that most must regard of little short of ludicrous. It would be better for all concerned if those contributors moved somewhere else." Andy, I am not moving "somewhere else." Clearly there exists the power - apparently - to remove my membership. The sole reason I bought my BT was because of the positive comments about the product by you and others, and the warnings I received - which came true - did not dissuade me from going to BTi, meeting with everyone, and signing a contract. I truly believe that the Boggers, the participation to the benefit of all, and events like the Rally make the difference between a good caravan experience and a great caravan experience. I was one of the first to register for Copeton and I will be there to share a red with you and others. Regarding your statement "concepts that most must regard of little short of ludicrous" I would urge you to educate everyone including me regarding the specific concepts. Frankly, I do not believe anything I have raised is "ludicrous". I have never owned a caravan, towed anything larger than a Hobbie cat, and intend to continue to ask all of the questions that others for whatever reason do not ask. That is the only way I will learn about my new adventure. As you know, I am a lawyer, not a technical person. It takes many explanations in different ways for me to understand the technical concepts. A case in point is the Anderson plug which Anthony, during a phone conversation, was finally able to explain to me what it is all about and that I can add it after I take delivery of my BT. I did not completely understand it from the postings. To those of you that are taking the time to read and consider my thoughts, thank you. To those of you who choose to respond, I hope you will do so in a direct manner and directly express how you feel rather than hinting about your feelings. Cheers and I look forward to going forward with all of you in the future. As Anthony tells us every time he makes a post: "Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker" I intend to as a Bogger. tgintl/jay
AnswerID: 561616

Reply By: Turist - Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 23:05

Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 23:05
Censorship.
Apart from one recent incident where a posting appeared with innapropriate language I do not and I believe other managers do not censor member postings.
We have "Junior Boggers" reading this site and we unfortunately get around 2 - 6 porno postings in any one week.
Would you suggest that they are left on the site Jay.

You possibly do not realise that the foundation members of this site all all assistant managers.
From time to time they possibly delete thier own postings for reasons known only to them but probably to correct a spelling error.

As for commenting on the appropriatness or the morality of publishing private correspondence on the net, well I'll have to take time out and consider a response to that before I come on too strong.

Turist
"Do It While You Can"
Nobody is getting any younger.

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AnswerID: 561617

Reply By: Luvntravln - Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 23:06

Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 23:06
Turist, I am certainly glad to hear that there isn't any censorship. I did not know that you had so many assistant managers (does that mean that when they delete their own post it reads deleted by a manager etc instead of deleted by an officer?), and yes I agree reluctantly (I really believe in free speech) that porno should be immediately deleted. Regarding my choice to quote Steve's email, thank you for taking the time to carefully consider your response. tgintl/jay
AnswerID: 561618

Reply By: Deleted User - Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 23:07

Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 23:07
Of course there is censorship.....................

Some guy addresses me, signs his name 'idiot', I address him as Dear Idiot
and Tourist deletes my post.

What do you call that, free speech ?

David



AnswerID: 561619

Reply By: Deleted User - Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 23:08

Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 23:08
Hi Jay and others, This will be about the second time I have posted as the 'Babe' does enough damage for both of us I reckon. lol However tis time for me to give a slightly different slant to this argument. Having choices is of great value to me and is to everybody in our 'free' society. When people get their back up and emotions run high then choices always become fewer. In seeking to get the absolute best informed choice which ultimately cannot exist except in this present moment in space/time, it is easy to push some people to frustration. This happens more so with certain types of people. STG and myself fall into this type of personality. Do this too much and stuff happens like has happened to you Jay and you have started to lose options/choices. I think this is sad. I also think that in any business area highly charged emotions do not make for sound judgement. Finally I want to thank you all - particularly the founders of the forum but also folk like Jay because our van will be different and probably better because of you. Ivan
AnswerID: 561620

Reply By: Luvntravln - Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 23:09

Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 23:09
Thank you Ivan. tgintl/jay
AnswerID: 561621

Reply By: Bushtracker Buck & Babe - Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 23:10

Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 23:10
Hey! who let Ivan out of the kitchen??? Get back to those dishes at once! Angie
AnswerID: 561622

Reply By: Deleted User - Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 23:11

Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 23:11
In my business we are taught that there are two cardinal rules about e-mail. 1)- Never post anything (other than commercial in-confidence) that you do not want shared around - its the nature of the beast; 2)- Never use email to express negative emotions if you do not want torun the risk of mis-understanding and over-reaction - its too blunt an instrument - handle it by phone or face to face. People always take the worst possible interpretation. Ivan is right. So is CobraDave. Griff
AnswerID: 561623

Reply By: Wadefarers - Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 23:12

Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 23:12
Unfortunately this has been a bit of a trial for a few Bogger members. Unfortunatley also, emails don't quite get the same message across as does telephone or preferably face to face contact. What can be seen in print does not necessarily translate to what the intended gist of what is being said means. I'm sure that this has happened within the forum before and probably (unfortunately) will happen again. I have the privilege of being included as an "assistant manager". As such I don't feel that I have the right to censor what people say unless the content is so far out of order (foul language bearing in mind children can read this) that it should be deleted. I will admit that I have deleted two posts to the Bog site, both being porno stuff being peddled or otherwise on the net. For that I do not think that any member would object. The forum has good and informative material for Bogger members but bear in mind that what may be useful to one does not necessarily benefit another. I have benefitted from it since purchasing my BT but there are threads that, while very informative, don't necessarily attact a great deal of my attention, probably because I'm a dummy when it comes to that subject, at present (sat tv being a good example). Guys and girls, owning a BT is a thing of joy and we should all feel good about that. Forget niggly squabbles and concentrate on enjoying what we have or are about to have and look forward to Copeton and the comradeship that should abound there. Surely all will be forgiven while sharing a lovely red. Taking some "poetic licence" from Anthony, I enjoy exploring Australia and am proud to tow a Bushtracker. Regards Jeff
AnswerID: 561624

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