Posted May 24, 2011 - 09:46 AM
As some of you already know, I am into Colt, Case and Ingersoll tractors and have been since I began joining forums thirteen years ago. I was a long-time member of the Yahoo Case forum and had well over 8000 posts on that site. At the time I left, the site had almost 90,000 posts in total in the archives. Searching the archives then and even now was often an exercise in futility. If you typed in certain key words, you would be told by the search engine that there were more than 500 posts with those words and it would not reveal any of them to you. Now, I'm not saying that all search engines respond the same way but that example points out one of the reasons searching the archives can be frustrating to newbies.
When I became a Moderator on that site, I set about purging the archives. I began at post number 1 and got as far as post 5000 before I parted company with the site permanently. After reviewing the first 5000 posts, I deleted 95 percent of them. Many of them were nothing more than chit-chat about nothing of value, some of them put forth information that I knew to be dead wrong, some of them were about buying or selling some item between members, some of them were SPAM that had not been deleted by past Mods. I was trying to get rid of all the garbage that often permeates the archives so that meaningful searches could take place that would actually yield useful and correct information.
In defense of MTF and of this site, I have to say the following. Both sites attempt to be all things to all people and that fact comes at a price. Getting members to ante up "old paper" so that a library can be built for every brand discussed on those sites is a monumental task. It is hugely time-consuming to scan manuals sent to me by my members and then post them in our library. And with that comes the costs for postage to send those manuals back to their owners once they have been scanned. I probably have around 100 manuals currently but there are at least 100 more that I wish I had and hope to eventually get. One of the problems is with members who are takers and not givers. They join sites, lurk and never post and they download information freely but never contribute anything in return. They love to come and read every day to increase their own education but don't want to pay anything for that privilege.
I do not tell my members to search the archives. If they wish to make use of the search function, they are welcome to do so. If I see a post that contains incorrect or misleading information, I immediately take steps to correct it. And even when I post some advice, I will often direct the person receiving my response, to a certain manual in the Library that backs up what I just said. It is far easier for me to do that when only ONE brand of tractor is being discussed. It is not possible for someone like George to do the same thing for obvious reasons. George knows about Massey's and I would be lost on that forum, just as he would be lost on a Case or Cub or Wheelhorse forum.
I understand what you guys would LIKE to see happen here. What I'm trying to explain is that it's damn near impossible.