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Old 04-12-2007, 03:51 AM
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Organization of Hotrodders Bulletin Board

This is long.I think I've posted something very similar before, but it's worth another shot.

Current organization:

1. Tech Help

1.1. Hotrodding Basics
1.2. Engine
1.3. Transmission - Rearend
1.4. Suspension - Brakes - Steering
1.5. Body - Exterior
1.6. Interior
1.7. Electrical
1.8. General Rodding Tech
1.9. Garage - Tools

2. General Discussion

2.1. Hotrodders' Lounge
2.1.1. Introduce Yourself
2.1.2. Off-Topic
2.2. Hotrod Art
2.3. Site Suggestions and Help
2.4. The Dump

Critique:

1.1. Hotrodding Basics and 1.8. General Rodding Tech are each a miscellaneous category. They are a source of never-ending confusion for me, because I never know what should go in which.

Do frame fabrication or modification questions belong in 1.1., 1.8., or 1.4. Suspension - Brakes - Steering? What about modifications to a unit body vehicle, does that go into one of those 3 or in 1.5 Body - Exterior?

What about home made gas tanks? Basics or General or Body - Exterior?

Where do questions about tires and wheels belong? Even though the (1.4) Suspension - Brakes - Steering is affected, tires and wheels are not an exact fit for that category.

Rationale:

The overall, components based organization of the fora helps those who are seeking answers to quickly find them, based on what parts of a vehicle are being considered. It is likewise helpful for those with answers.

There remain some minor sources of confusion which could be solved with slight reorganization to better match the major components of vehicles and their modification or construction. Every automobile has to go, stop, steer and carry a payload. These functions have not changed since at least Cugnot's Steam Wagon of 1769.

1. The basic parts that make it an automobile - wheels, steering mechanism, energy storage, propulsion system, braking system, structure to which these parts attach and which supports the payload.

2. The enclosure for the payload.

3. The auxilliary power system (not providing propulsion).

A distinguishing characteristic of hotrodders is that they work on automobiles. This requires another category:

4. The place and equipment for disassembling, fabricating, modifying, assembling and repairing automobiles.

Because of the expanse of the field of automobiles and hotrodding knowledge, another category is needed for information, questions and discussions that may not fit in the others:

5. Miscellaneous information.

Organizing by major functions simplifies the basic structure of the bulletin board while allowing for expansion, as needed, via subcategories (subfora) within these major categories, without disrupting that basic organization. (Note that even discussions of hotrod hovercraft would fit within these organizational categories without disruption. It would simply not need to use the "wheels" part of number 1.).

Suggestion of revisions to fit the above:

1. Tech Help

1.1. Chassis - Running Gear
1.1.1. Structure - Frame or Unit - Fuel storage
1.1.2. Suspension - Brakes - Steering
1.1.3. Transmission - Driveline - Differential
1.1.4. Engine
1.1.5. Tires - Wheels
1.2. Body
1.2.1. Body - Exterior
1.2.2. Interior
1.3. Electrical
1.4. Garage - Tools
1.5. Hotrodding Basics - General - Miscellaneous

2. General Discussion

2.1. Hotrodders' Lounge
2.1.1. Introduce Yourself
2.1.2. Off-Topic
2.2. Hotrod Art
2.3. Site Help and Suggestions
2.4. The Dump

Details:

1.1. Chassis - Running Gear
This distinguishes the structural necessities from appearance, auxilliary power and accessories. A "rolling chassis" is a common term, whether it describes a frame-based or unit body vehicle.

1.1.3. Transmission - Driveline - Differential
The power to propel the vehicle has to be transmitted to the ground, somehow. "Transmission - Rearend" omits a driveshaft, U-joints, in the case of front engine, rear wheel drive, and omits all other variations of getting power from engine to the ground.

1.1.5. Tires - Wheels
The choice of tires and wheels affects the basic function of the vehicle by influencing the entire driveline, suspension, body and appearance.

1.2. Body
The primary function of the body is to carry the payload. Such things as the glass, paint, mirrors, doors, etc., are components that enhance that capability. These do not provide the basic functions of an automobile and thus are logically distinguished from 1.1. Chassis - Running Gear.

1.2.1. Body - Exterior
1.2.2. Body - Interior
This distinction is made because of these reasons:
(a.) Most components of the exterior are for either protection of the payload, protection of the body, enhancement of aerodynamics, or for appearance to those not using the automobile.
(b.) Most components of the interior are for either controlling the vehicle, increasing the comfort of the people using the vehicle, or for appearance to those using the automobile.
(c.) The tools, skills and materials needed are distinctly different for the exterior body components and interior body components.

1.5. Hotrodding Basics - General - Miscellaneous
Designating a forum with the word "Miscellaneous" in the title cues people to first look to see if their question or comment fits somewhere else. Combining "General Rodding Tech" and "Hotrodding Basics" reduces the confusion about where questions and comments should go.

2.3. Site Help and Suggestions
(Discussed in its own thread, previously). Moving the word "Help" from its current, dangling position in "Site Suggestions and Help" to a less ambiguous position next to "Site" could reduce the number of questions appearing in the forum which should be posted in the "Tech Help" fora instead.


For anyone not comatose after getting this far in the novellette, and assuming Jon doesn't take out a contract on me...

Gentlemen, light your flamethrowers. (I'll get some Nomex underwear, and I don't mean thongs).
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