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The Useless Forum, and can it be saved?

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The Useless Forum, and can it be saved?

Old 07-14-21, 11:02 AM
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livedarklions
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The Useless Forum, and can it be saved?

I don't think it's any secret that A&S is not much of a Forum. If you look at the BF main page, you will see this forum virtually never (maybe actually never) has more than single digit numbers of people viewing, and the posts on this forum are almost always by the same 20 or so people who know each other's lines so well that they could probably write them for each other. It's a completely stale "debating society" where virtually nothing of interest is ever discussed, and certainly no new ideas are being generated.

The typical thread here is what I'd call the "argue over the corpse" thread. Yes, I know that name is tasteless, but I frankly find the whole genre disgusting. Someone links a newspaper account of a cyclist being killed, and then we line up to argue our pet theories of who did what wrong to cause it, relying on the tiny snippets of information provided by the news story. It's a completely useless exercise, no one actually tells anyone anything worth conveying, and certainly no one is convinced by anyone else. It's a complete Punch and Judy show with the body of a dead cyclist being used as a prop. At any given time on this forum, there are usually at least two such threads active here. That may not sound like a lot, but there seems to be rarely more than 4 or 5 threads actually active on the forum at any given time.

Maybe there just aren't enough safety issues and advocacy issues to support a forum of its own and we've all run out of anything new to say. Maybe someone else can come up with a fresh set of topics that might actually be interesting to discuss. But I have to say, I've drifted in and out of this forum for the past few years, and I increasingly find I just don't see how much of what's discussed here could possibly be of interest to anyone.

You can now resume your arguments over whether the cyclist rolling through the stop sign will anger the driver enough so that the driver will text about it while driving.and hit someone or whatever it is this week.
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Old 07-14-21, 01:10 PM
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Easy... they got ran over because they didn't take the lane.
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Old 07-14-21, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
Easy... they got ran over because they didn't take the lane.
I actually keep the lane on my mantlepiece. I fought hard to take it.
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Old 07-14-21, 11:04 PM
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run
ran
​​​​​​have run

It's a grammar subforum now!
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Old 07-15-21, 03:13 AM
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advocacy is never useless...
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Old 07-15-21, 04:41 AM
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Originally Posted by BikeLite View Post
advocacy is never useless...

It is when it's crappy. That's an absurd statement, a lot of advocacy on all sorts of subjects is either completely ineffective or actually backfires. There's a dead subforum in this forum that's a monument to bad advocacy. No one is interested in even discussing its subject matter anymore.

Endless "all drivers are texting" posts aren't convincing or helpful. And this endless bickering about the causes of individual fatalities? That's not even advocacy. It's a bunch of people pretending they know what they're talking about and fooling no one but themselves.

There used to be some decent discussion on this forum, but I think all the "X killed in _____" threads have turned this into a forum almost nobody bothers with anymore.
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Old 07-15-21, 04:44 AM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
run
ran
​​​​​​have run

It's a grammar subforum now!
I think the grammar "error" worked as parody in this case.

Now it's a writing style forum!
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Old 07-15-21, 04:56 AM
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Sometimes forums exist to keep threads of marginal interest from cluttering the more active sections. Pills and Ills and BMX for example. I think it's good to have a variety of sections. It works best when those in charge are interested in doing the housekeeping of moving threads to the proper forum.
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Old 07-15-21, 05:15 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Sometimes forums exist to keep threads of marginal interest from cluttering the more active sections. Pills and Ills and BMX for example. I think it's good to have a variety of sections. It works best when those in charge are interested in doing the housekeeping of moving threads to the proper forum.
So, A&S is useful as a dustbin?
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Old 07-15-21, 05:26 AM
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It's just an area that experiences a lot of droughts, but once in a while there's a dozy of a storm....I guess it's global warming

Gee, I hope I don't get this thread sent to P&R
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Old 07-15-21, 09:24 AM
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Well, I guess if you find this forum totally useless, nobody's forcing you to read it.
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Old 07-15-21, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
Well, I guess if you find this forum totally useless, nobody's forcing you to read it.
That just makes so much sense though.
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Old 07-15-21, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
Well, I guess if you find this forum totally useless, nobody's forcing you to read it.

Well aware of that, but it used to be somewhat interesting, now I'm trying to figure out why it isn't any more and if there's anything that can be done to get it back, so to speak. It seems like too important of a category to be the subject of such shabby treatment.

I can't be the only one to notice the rapid drop in active threads, right?
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Old 07-15-21, 11:36 AM
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safety advocates like to rubberneck through carnage and this forum is full of carnage ... contrast this to the hallucinatory ramblings of the "living car free society" and you have sound reasons to worry about tripping over your water bottle or getting killed by an alligator roaming the local MUP
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Old 07-15-21, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Sometimes forums exist to keep threads of marginal interest from cluttering the more active sections. Pills and Ills and BMX for example. I think it's good to have a variety of sections. It works best when those in charge are interested in doing the housekeeping of moving threads to the proper forum.
​​​​​​​
Originally Posted by jack pot View Post
safety advocates like to rubberneck through carnage and this forum is full of carnage ... contrast this to the hallucinatory ramblings of the "living car free society" and you have sound reasons to worry about tripping over your water bottle or getting killed by an alligator roaming the local MUP
Preventing or at least isolating from active subforums of BF, the hallucinatory ramblings of zealots advocating that bicyclists are, or should be, advocates for a "living car free society" explains the origins of the comatose Living Car Free subforum.
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Old 07-15-21, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Well aware of that, but it used to be somewhat interesting, now I'm trying to figure out why it isn't any more and if there's anything that can be done to get it back, so to speak. It seems like too important of a category to be the subject of such shabby treatment.

I can't be the only one to notice the rapid drop in active threads, right?
But how many true "advocacy and safety" topics can there be? "How to ride safely on the road." "Should there be bike lanes and what should they be like?" "How to keep your bike maintained to be safe" (maybe not even for this forum). "There should be X law in Y place" (okay, there are a lot of places just in the U.S., never mind elsewhere-- this could keep us busy for a while). "Should or shouldn't you wear a helmet, and if so, what kind?" "What to do about dogs." "What to do about pedestrians." Etc.

Once all of this has been discussed (I'm guessing more than once), what is left besides current events?
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Old 07-15-21, 05:15 PM
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I have to admit that I take long breaks from A&S, because I'm sick of the same ol' threads, but that's true of other forums that I like, such as Training & Nutrition and others, because many of the threads give me that been-there-done-that feeling; in other words, I get sick of saying the same thing over and over.

I spend more time in P&R, because more topics come up, but even there it's getting kind of like a merry-go-round and so many are the gloom and doom types in there...Typical partisans.

I think this is just part of life, every day can't be a party.


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Old 07-15-21, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by work4bike View Post
... I think this is just part of life, every day can't be a party..
... man you gotta look on the sunny side, every day is a day to party .................................................................. and if you want to gonzo you can try for some Black Label Bicycle Club colors
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Old 07-15-21, 06:49 PM
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I recall debating bicycle advocacy in the 1970's -- thought it was all figured out. I joined the League of American Wheelmen for just that reason:
MAKING BIKING BETTER
From the halls of Congress to the streets of your community, the League is working to make biking better for you. We are the voice of the nation’s 57 million bicyclists, promoting and protecting your right to ride. Our advocacy efforts span the spectrum, from lobbying Congress for our fair share of funding to giving local advocates the tools to win campaigns for bike-friendly policies in your town. Since 1880, we have been the hub of information that get the wheels spinning in communities nationwide.
Do we even need any of the trillions of dollars to be spent on new infrastructure like transportation? We already have bike lanes and MUPS. And I even see a "Share the Road" sign occasionally. I'd say everything is hunky dory.

Perhaps we can use this forum to discuss how much we've progressed in road access and safety in the last 140 years.

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Old 07-15-21, 09:09 PM
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I find this forum useful from time to time for the following general topics:

1. I find value in near-miss reports with enough information that I can think about how it might happen to me and how I could either avoid a collision or mitigate the impact. Posts like Tailgating bicyclist. - Bike Forums

2. I try to positively influence the infrastructure and cycling experience in my area. Being able to network the experience of others is helpful. Posts like Anyone volunteer at a bike collective? - Bike Forums network BF member's experience.

3. Effective use of equipment such as mirrors, helmets, clothing and lights are good topics. There are a lot of different opinions but that’s good for me… I can get some viewpoints that I wouldn’t otherwise consider, and in several cases I’ve changed my behavior.

4. There is a lot of variability in laws across jurisdictions. Though the Venn Diagram overlap of “law” and “safety” is not huge, I find I learn a lot from these discussions. Posts like Missouri Dangerous Dog Law - Bike Forums can be interesting when it is clear what jurisdiction is applicable.

Unfortunately, there is generally no good way to get reliable, useful information out of press reports of cyclist fatalities or injuries. My local press rarely includes enough information to allow me to improve my road strategy. I don’t find speculation useful, and it is rare that the “final result” is available and is the subject of a post on A&S.

For me, the positives of this forum warrant ignoring the negatives.

Last edited by flangehead; 07-15-21 at 09:10 PM. Reason: Typo.
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Old 07-16-21, 04:54 AM
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Originally Posted by flangehead View Post
I find this forum useful from time to time for the following general topics:

1. I find value in near-miss reports with enough information that I can think about how it might happen to me and how I could either avoid a collision or mitigate the impact. Posts like Tailgating bicyclist. - Bike Forums

2. I try to positively influence the infrastructure and cycling experience in my area. Being able to network the experience of others is helpful. Posts like Anyone volunteer at a bike collective? - Bike Forums network BF member's experience.

3. Effective use of equipment such as mirrors, helmets, clothing and lights are good topics. There are a lot of different opinions but that’s good for me… I can get some viewpoints that I wouldn’t otherwise consider, and in several cases I’ve changed my behavior.

4. There is a lot of variability in laws across jurisdictions. Though the Venn Diagram overlap of “law” and “safety” is not huge, I find I learn a lot from these discussions. Posts like Missouri Dangerous Dog Law - Bike Forums can be interesting when it is clear what jurisdiction is applicable.

Unfortunately, there is generally no good way to get reliable, useful information out of press reports of cyclist fatalities or injuries. My local press rarely includes enough information to allow me to improve my road strategy. I don’t find speculation useful, and it is rare that the “final result” is available and is the subject of a post on A&S.

For me, the positives of this forum warrant ignoring the negatives.

I don't disagree with any of that, but I think the stuff you're ignoring (sensibly) is driving all that stuff out.I also think the kinds of discussions you're talking about are getting hijacked by people who seem to want every discussion to be about bad drivers victimizing everyone.
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Old 07-16-21, 05:08 AM
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If nothing else, through this forum we've been made aware of the looming hazard of water bottles.
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Old 07-16-21, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
If nothing else, through this forum we've been made aware of the looming hazard of water bottles.

If we can catch a water bottle texting, this forum will be perfect.
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Old 07-16-21, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Kat12 View Post
But how many true "advocacy and safety" topics can there be? "How to ride safely on the road." "Should there be bike lanes and what should they be like?" "How to keep your bike maintained to be safe" (maybe not even for this forum). "There should be X law in Y place" (okay, there are a lot of places just in the U.S., never mind elsewhere-- this could keep us busy for a while). "Should or shouldn't you wear a helmet, and if so, what kind?" "What to do about dogs." "What to do about pedestrians." Etc.

Once all of this has been discussed (I'm guessing more than once), what is left besides current events?
I think the problem in part is that people are taking too narrow a view of what a safety issue is and, frankly, the forum is overrun with zealots who insist on driving every single "current events" conversation into the same ground. One of the best threads recently was the "too hot to ride" thread-people don't think of that automatically as a safety issue, but heat exhaustion or heat stroke clearly are a risks people should be aware of, and it's good to hear from people who've actually had to deal with the problem.

I agree with flangehead there are things worth reading and discussing on this forum from time to time. It's the only reason I started this thread, because I think it may be worth saving, and it's teetering on the edge of being a lost cause..

Repetition of topics is endemic to the very nature of a forum where newcomers are always welcomed. I'm sure that happens in all live forums on BF. I find a lot of that interesting because every once in a while, somebody comes up with a fresh approach to a problem that wasn't contained in the 35 threads on the subject that preceded it. Also, it's fun to goof on the "everybody but me is wrong about..." guys.
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Old 07-16-21, 09:45 AM
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I'm with flangehead on this. I filter through A&S to learn through the experience of others. Analyses of incidents are helpful to the extent that enough info is available. Yep, a few threads descend into the muck of back and forth carping but that's just time to move on.

I'd really like see a lot more advocacy here. I've just started a new thread in that light.
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