One question keeps me awake at night; Why don’t more people comment on the stories we run on Gearbox? Some people have told me it’s because forums are where everyone’s opinions matter, while blogs are only about one person’s opinion. As a 10-year forum veteran, I call bullshit. Not here. Not this “blog.” I think it’s that we’re just not sharing the right stories or something. So I did a little digging into some the forums I’m on.
Why did I do this research?
I am a product of automotive discussion forums. Half the people at my wedding were from 2GNT. That’s my home. That’s my family. If it weren’t for the forums, I’d know nothing about cars, Gearbox Magazine would not exist. I’d probably be another clueless choad with prismatic tiger stickers and chromed plastic portal vents on my back doors or something.
Forums made me the man I am today. I’ll assume you’re the same way. (If not, I’d like to talk to you to learn more about how you did it.) So why is it that, if I were to post one of these interviews or ideas on “the board,” there would be all kinds of replies, but it never happens here? Maybe we’re covering the wrong stories. Maybe we’re on the wrong beat, here at GBXM. I decided to find the most popular threads on a handful of the forums I visit most and compare.
How did I do it?
Simple. I pulled up the boards (chosen in no particular order, presented here alphabetically) and started looking at the sub-forums. Which had the most threads/topics? Then I’d go into those sub-forums and sort the index by the number of replies. Most of the time, this is as simple as clicking the header above the “Replies” column, although I came across one forum where I had to click a link elsewhere in the header, and one which did not allow this sort of data manipulation at all.
Worth mentioning, I did not use For Sale or Wanted sub-forums in this research, and sticky/pinned threads didn’t count, either. Shall we get to the results? Still with me? You can click the images below to see them full-size.
The most popular area of 2GNT is the off-topic area, lovingly called “The Pits.” Here’s the shot.
Most popular thread in “The Pits?” “Your Car, Price, Mileage, and Date of Purchase (POST HERE!!!!).” Started in July 2004, ran through March 2008. This was followed by “the have you ever thread,” wherein each person who replied answered the last have you ever question posted and posed the next one. Ran for just over three months. Next in line was “A 3 word story…” which is pretty explanatory; replies were limited to just three words, ideally building a rambling, incoherent story along the way. Rounding out the Top 5 were the obligatory “What do you do for a living?” thread and a particularly happy “Happy New Year” thread.
2GNT: 694 replies / 5,571 views = 12.5%
Haters be damned. Chris and team still run the largest DSM community on the planet. Most popular sub-forum? The Hangout.
Most popular thread: “Say Something About The Person Above You.” You might notice this was locked by admin (Ludachris – who we interviewed in January 2010). The reason? After nearly four years and 41,000 replies, the thread posed a risk to site uptime and was locked. “Pt II” has been running ever since. “The Official ‘What’s this DSM worth?’ Thread” takes home the silver, while a “Word association” game picks up the bronze. The final contender over on ‘Tuners is the “How much did you pay for your DSM?” thread. Pretty obvious what that’s about.
DSMtuners: 56,779 replies / 581,303 views = 9.8%
It’s “Anything Goes” on my favorite GVR4 resource. Once again, the non-platform-specific banter reigns supreme.
No surprise the “Official Post whoring/Picture thread…. [NWS]” takes top honors. The power of the post whores is not to be taken lightly. If you suspect “Work Productivity Enhancement v.126.96.36.199 #gvr4” has anything to do with actually increasing productivity at work, sorry. Many of the post whores are card-carrying members of “Chat Cru” or, simply, “Cru.”
“Craigslist finds, post ’em” is a place where those who troll the oft illiterate and shady back alleys of Craigslist’s automotive section share some of their more interesting (or entertaining) discoveries. “Official girls of gvr4.org thread ver???” is pretty straight forward, however I’m sure that one picture from the Shootout is posted or quoted at least every other page. And who isn’t “Looking forward to GT 5?” (That would be Gran Turismo 5, the big daddy driving sim from Polyphony for the Playstation.)
GalantVR4.org: 6,906 replies \ 185,662 views = 3.7%
Mitsubishi Lancer Register (MLR)
Let me count the number of Mitsubishi forum admins who make a living running their communities: Darin Frow (who we interviewed in July 2010), um… Yeah. He’s the only one. (Anyone else on this level, I want to talk to you too.) Now, the MLR is a strange beast. Where the other boards tended toward the off-topic, the most popular areas on MLR seemed to be parts for sale or wanted. Since we’re not counting those, here’s a shot from Lancer Chat.
I’m not entirely familiar with Norris Designs, but I’m pretty sure they’re regular participants in many MLR events, including the 30-130, where the object is to be the fastest from 30mph to 130mph. We’re talking 200mph+ Evos, here, so I guess when they start talking about their 1100awhp, E100-powered Evo build in “New Norris Designs Winter Development! Discuss…” people take notice.
Here in the ‘States, we didn’t get the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution until the 8th generation, but our mates elsewhere got most if not all of them. Some were even lucky enough to grab one of the only 50 Evo VI eXtremes, which were worked over by Ralliart UK. Monsters, these cars. There are more replies to “What number is your VI Extreme?” than there are cars. Third in line is a kill story wherein an MLR member was surprised he’d “Spanked a(n) S63 over stock Evo 9 FQ320 lol.” That is to say, he bested a top of the line Mercedes Benz S-class. Runners up include reflection on “What’s you most ‘regrettable’ modification to your Lancer?” and “Car on the rollers tomorrow…” which is someone getting ready to do see the results of his efforts.
MLR: 986 replies / 95,765 views = 1%
Rob and the Mitsu-Media gang have been supporters since Day One. Most popular sub-forum? Off-Topic.
“Count to 100,000” should be pretty self-explanatory, but let me ask you this, where did they get to be ONE off? 22,984 replies, but they’re only up to 22,983! We find more “Post whores live in here,” and – deja vu – “Say something about the member above you” and the “Word association game” make appearances off DSMtuners. Justin Mohney, whose name I can only remember how to spell backwards, rounds out the Top 5 with pictures of his epic powdercoating adventures.
Mitsu-Media: 35,999 replies / 107,994 views = 33.3%
I’m more a Rally-Anarchy kinda guy, but remember that forum I mentioned where you can’t sort by replies? Yeah. So I went to the more formal North American rally resource, Special Stage, where the off-topic section is all but dead. Instead, their US Rally sub-forum was king in the castle.
“Hot of the LSPR Rumor mill,” the question of the day was, if the event was reduced to a single-day rally, would people still attend? 42% of would-be competitors said they would, as did almost 20% of would-be volunteers. Spectators were split 50-50 on it, though only six responded. “Ken Block = Ford, it’s a go!” DNF’d in 2nd place, followed by some “high speed bourgeoisie nit-wits in European muscle cars” in “Robin Hood Rally?” in 3rd. 4th place was some interesting conversation around building a rally truck instead of a car, while 5th was “X Games discussion.”
Special Stage: 2,095 replies / 187,797 views = 1.1%
How does Gearbox Magazine compare?
Our most popular five posts have been, in order:
- Inside Looks at Magnus Motorsport: 12 replies / 1,240 views
- Jason Tanin’s AWD, 4G63 powered 1990 Mirage SE “LILEVO”: 2 replies / 715 views
- Compound Turbo DSM: Paul Volk Made it Happen: 5 replies/ 650 views
- One Bad Mirage: 7 replies/ 544 views
- Desert Dingo: A True Story of “Dust to Glory”: 5 replies/ 529 replies (Jalopnik syndicated)
GBXM: 31 replies / 3,678 views = 0.8%
Maybe we ARE running the wrong stories!
Maybe we should be interviewing people about rumors, or how much they paid for their vehicles, or just more post whoring in general? The average ratio for the threads and communities above is 10.2%. We’re way off the pace. We think you’re WAY more important than that kind of stuff and we want to help you represent your home communities in a more global spotlight. But how do we put the full strength of Gearbox Magazine behind helping you if we don’t know what you think?
So Y U NO COMMENT?
Are the stories we run not interesting enough? Are we not asking the right questions? What do you really want to talk about? How do you feel about what we’re trying to do? One of the biggest reasons we exist is because we want the world to know how important gearheads are. We eat, sleep, and breathe automotive performance, and we spend hours every day on the forums. We are just like you.
We want to show the whole world how you kick ass every day. If next level gearheads are one-in-a-million, that means there are over 7,000 of us. Are you one of them? You have our word we are in this for you, and we’d sure like to hear from you more often.
Thanks for reading Gearbox. Go fast with class, press on regardless, and DIY (or DWYC).