Happy Easter to all! I hope this is a good weekend for everyone. I’m busier than ever with valuations and client work during lockdown, but losing the long daily school run has freed up some time for personal projects, including improvements to my Porsche 911 forum at impactbumpers.com.
I started the impactbumpers Porsche 911 forum after a conversation with a friend who despaired of the lack of support from established Porsche Clubs for the lowly impact bumper cars, which were then regarded as throwaway ‘starter’ 911s. I like all of Ferry’s creations but, as a child of the ’70s, my passion has always been focused on impact-bumpered 911s from 1974 to 1989. After a decade in various marque ownership clubs, I was over the system’s lacklustre parochialism and am not much of a club-type at the best of times. As Groucho put it, I wouldn’t want to be in any club that would have me as a member. The online space offered the chance to construct a completely different member experience.
After playing around with various types of discussion forum software, the forum launched on February 14th, 2006. My aim was to get maybe twenty like-minded people on board to start working on their own cars and sharing their experiences and give us some buying power for better deals on track days. Fourteen years later (and despite a fairly hardcore early routine of deleting accounts that had not been used in the previous twelve months), the board has over 7,000 members.
Some are less active than others, but all are welcome as long as they behave! Pointless arguments (hello religion and politics) are not permitted – save them for Facebook. Those who throw stones and hide behind keyboards get a holiday. There is no adult content anywhere: the board is son-and-daughter safe, so the kids can keep using your laptop or iPad.
The board sets out to support an upbeat experience of Impact Bumper ownership and has managed to do that pretty well over the years. The forum for those who have had an IB (forumspeak for a car from ’74 to ’89) and moved on to other classics, but would like to keep enjoying the IB camaraderie, is one of the busiest boards on the site.
Impact Bumper upgrades
Easter Sunday has ushered in several upgrades to the board to make things better and brighter. First and most obvious is a new design. It’s a work in progress, although this is the bones of it. Driving my 1976 911 Carrera 3.0 (a.k.a. The Orange) on the Col de Turini for two days just after going full-time freelance in May 2010 was a defining moment for me in connecting to the soul of these cars, so that is the main header pic.
Second is the addition of a feedback system. In the bottom right corner of every post, members now see a heart icon. Hovering over that opens three options: like, thanks and a laugh. Liking or saying thanks for a post earns a ‘reputation point’ for the poster. Total points earned going forward are displayed in the member’s profile. There are no points for a laugh as we should all be bringing good humour!
Members get a set number of points to give out per day and daily points do not carry over. The idea is that a post to say cool or great or whatever can be more than some want to give, but clicking thanks or like gives the poster a feel-good moment. One can also go back in time to say thanks to a post that has helped you. Making one another feel good in times of stress and bringing common sense to Porsche ownership is at the heart of the forum, so we will see how this goes and tweak it as appropriate.
The third upgrade is a raft of other small tweaks including links to associated social profiles, a number of new forums to break content into more digestible indexes, and a few improvements under the engine cover. I think it is all a step forward.
IB Membership and Trade Ads
More new modules will be added as testing progresses, so more new features are coming. I have always resisted offering membership packages and trade advertising, preferring to bankroll the forum myself to keep it indepedent, but it is now becoming more work not to offer these features, so the options will launch over the next few weeks. I hope this may also support independent Porsche specialists, some of whom could find things tricky as the lockdown shakes out.
For now, I hope anyone who has not been on IB in a while will revisit the impactbumpers.com forum and see what they think. Feel free to contact me with any notes or enquiries, or if you can no longer access your original account.
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