Executive Director’s Commentary
By Don Eversmann, F240000, Executive Director
Some of us might not be as knowledgeable of the Internet and of using Web sites as others. However, I believe that we all would like to learn how to benefit from the advances that have been developed using these forms of communication.
Being somewhat of a novice in this area myself, I found some directions and options that FMCA Web editor Todd Moning recently shared with the staff to be something all of us might benefit from, especially when using the new Community section of FMCA.com. I asked Todd to write the article below so you, too, would have a better understanding of the Community section of the FMCA Web site.
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FMCA.com Forums: You Have The Power
By Todd Moning, Web Editor
In a movie I once saw, nearly every child in town had a superpower. It lay dormant until the kid reached a certain age or a single incident provoked a dramatic revelation.
Most motorhome owners I know are super in one or more aspects of the motorhome lifestyle. Because of their occupation, personal experience, or special interest, they hold knowledge that can help someone else.
Their power might pertain to a coach’s tires, chassis, engine, holding tanks, or electrical system. Or, it may relate to something non-technical, such as campgrounds, full-timing, pets, or cooking.
With the advent and projected growth of FMCA’s online Community forums (visit http://community.fmca.com), it’s time for these superpowers to surface.
Motorhome enthusiasts are using the forums for information exchange, friendly debate, and socializing. In this article I’ll share tips for making your participation in the forums more enjoyable, productive, and efficient.
Before unleashing your superpower on the forums, read this first. Then, maybe you’ll be inclined to visit the forums and make your first post.
The perception is that RV forums focus only on technical issues. True, those are popular, but FMCA.com also has forums about pets, snowbirds, legislative action, and mobile Internet.
If you have a recipe that motorhomers might like, post it in the Food and Cooking forum. If you visited an appealing town or attraction, talk about it in the Destinations forum. If you have a question about motorhoming with pets, post it in the Pets forum. If you’ve discovered a terrific location for fishing or hiking, the Outdoor Recreation forum is your outlet. You might be surprised by how much discussion your posts generate.
Anyone who visits the FMCA.com forums can read messages. In the online community, habitually reading messages without contributing is called “lurking,” and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a good way to get acclimated, learn the etiquette, and prevent redundant posts. It won’t take long before you’re comfortable enough to start posting comments.
Anyone, including non-members, can post new topics or reply to messages. Just create an online account, and then sign in using your username and password.
Here are basic guidelines to follow when posting messages.
- Post in the correct forum. Look at other topics and see where your topic should go.
- Do not post to advertise a product or business. Solicitations to buy or sell of any kind are prohibited.
- Please keep posts positive and polite. Do not use the forums to attack a company, organization, or product.
- Political or religious posts are not allowed.
- Report inappropriate messages by clicking the Report button, which is beneath and to the left of every posted message (you must be signed in to use this feature). Or, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sending a private message
If you’d rather not reply to a message publicly on the forums, you can send a private message to a user. Just hover your mouse over the poster’s username. Click, and a drop-down menu appears, from which you can select Send Message. You must be signed in to use this option.
Subscribing to forums
You may not have time to check the forums daily, or sort through all the messages on myriad motorhoming topics. But you can subscribe to the forums and/or discussion topics that most interest you. By subscribing to the forum, you are asking to be notified of all new posts in a forum, or new posts related to a topic within that forum.
For example, if you don’t want to miss a reply to a certain towing discussion topic, subscribe to it. When a new message is posted to that forum, you will receive an e-mail containing a link to it.
Here’s how to subscribe to a forum.
First, you must sign in at FMCA.com or click the Log In link on the Community site.
1. Go to Community Forums.
2. For this example, we’ll choose the Type A Motorhomes forum, so click on Type A Motorhomes.
3. Click the Forum Options button at the right of the page. From that drop-down menu, select the last option, Subscribe To This Forum.
4. Choose your forum notification method. (I suggest immediate e-mail notification.)
5. Click the Proceed button.
That’s all there is to it. Now you will be notified of any new activity in the Type A Motorhomes forum.
Subscribing to topics
You also can subscribe to individual topics within a forum category, instead of the entire forum.
1. For example, go back to the Type A Motorhomes forum and click one of the topic titles from the list.
2. From the Options drop-down tab, select Subscribe To This Forum; choose your notification method; and click Proceed.
You are now set to receive notification of new posts on that topic.
Unsubscribing is easy:
1. Click the My Controls link near the top center of a Community page.
2. On the left of the control panel page, scroll down to Subscriptions.
3. Select View Forums and you’ll see your forum subscriptions. Use the check boxes and the unsubscribe drop-down menu to unsubscribe or change your notification preferences.
View new posts. In addition to subscribing, another handy tool to track posts is the View New Posts link, which you’ll notice next to My Controls. Click View New Posts and you’ll see a list of “Your topics.” From a drop-down menu you can choose to view active topics for today, this week, past two weeks, this month. You must be signed in to View New Posts.
You’ll also see a list of latest discussions on the Community “home page,” http://community.fmca.com, under the Random Image Gallery.
FMCA on display
More motorhome enthusiasts are arriving at FMCA’s forums via online searches, word-of-mouth, and direct visits. They’re noticing the knowledge on display, the fun that the association offers, and the camaraderie that results.
So, please take a little time to visit the forums, learn your way around, and put your superpower to good use. You never know; information that you provide might save the day for someone, or at least brighten it.
As one FMCA member posted: “I can only imagine the wealth of information that is out there to be shared. I am very surprised when questions go unanswered. I consider myself a newbie to motorhoming, but not to camping, so I want to learn and one way to do that is to listen to what others have to say, and supply knowledge that I may have.”
The messages in the FMCA forums express the views of the author of the message, not necessarily the views of FMCA. FMCA does not vouch for the accuracy or usefulness of any message, and is not responsible for the contents of any message.