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ThumperTalk Upgrade

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TT'ers, once again, it's upgrade time! We know, we know... Change can be hard! So, why monkey with a good thing??? But then again, TT has gone through a ton of changes over the years that have been overwhelmingly positive. If you'd like step back in time for a second to see for yourself, checkout http://web.archive.org/web/*/https://thumpertalk.com. Even today, we're still amazed by the continued growth of the site and the stellar resource it has become for riders throughout the world. But, we can't take all the credit. The collective knowledge of the community is absolutely huge and the willingness to help others is equally as impressive. Thanks for doing your part to make TT the best it can be!

So, why are we doing this?

Garage page.jpg Sisneros Speed Works thread.jpg ThumperTalk homepage.jpg Wiki page.jpg

(click image multiple times to zoom in)

Currently, TT is running on a highly customized version of vBulletin forum software. Out of the box, this software does not provide many of the features that makes TT so powerful and easy to use. And, there are more site improvements & new features that have been on our development road map that requires even more customization of our forum software to bring them to life. The huge challenge this configuration brings for us in terms of both time and money is that every time there is a new version of vBulletin released, in order to upgrade, we have to figure out how our custom code is going to react and if it's not compatible, we have to spend a lot of time and money recoding existing site features and functionality in hopes they'll run bug free and fast. The reality is, the site has grown to the level and complexity that continuing down our current path is no longer feasible. It's inhibiting our ability to improve the site through new features and functionality that our members are asking for and keeping the site fast is a nightmare.

What improvements will the community see?

Before I list the specifics, I'd like to start off by covering the fundamental problem with most forums today. Even as organized as TT is, with its massive volume of information organized into tidy "buckets", there is no link between these buckets. For example, someone can post a question, asking about what others think of Gaerne SG10 boots while at the same time, there is a review in our Reviews section with dozens of replies that includes exactly the information that the member is looking for, yet they don't know it exists. Of course, using the site search is always a good way to find relevant information on a topic of interest, but there's a shortcoming there as well. Forum search can only search discussion threads. So, what if the information you are looking for is in our Review section? Or it's in an in depth How-To article written by an industry expert or is in the Where to Ride section? Today, this information will not display in search, so the user is only being exposed to a partial search result of the available information. There is a better way.

Core Features of this upgrade:

  • Content Tagging: of course, the previous paragraph is our segue into this bullet point. Users will be able to "tag" all site content (threads, reviews, how-to articles, riding areas, etc...) with one or more descriptive tags that our system will use to intelligently serve up other relevant content found anywhere on the site. So, in the example above, the user researching Gaerne SG10 boots would have been presented relevant content found anywhere on the site, including the existing product review he didn't previously know about. In a nutshell, user's will be able to more quickly and easily find the most relevant information on the topics of interest to them regardless of where that information happens to be located.
  • More Powerful, Intelligent Site Search: Instead of being limited to searching discussion threads only, search will be a true site-wide search that will include How-to articles, Reviews, user garages, Where to Ride, images, etc... And search results will be displayed in a tabbed format where you can view all results or results by type/category. Lastly, search goes beyond a simple keyword search, considering other factors such as keyword density, content popularity & more. The net for you is more easily finding exactly the information you are looking for.
  • Wiki Based How-To Section: On a regular basis, members with in depth knowledge & experience with a particular subject start a discussion thread, sharing their pearls of wisdom that so many should benefit from. But all too often, these threads get buried fairly quickly because there are so many new threads created on a daily basis. Some get stickied, but it's not feasible to have dozens of sticky posts at the top of each discussion forum. With this upgrade, when these types of outstanding posts are made, they can easily be turned into a how-to article, housed in a central location with wiki functionality. If you're not familiar with what a wiki is, it means that many users can collaborate on the creation of a single topic, adding additional information and even correcting incorrect info. The end result is a living document that grows over time in both depth and accuracy. And example might be the definitive guide on how to buy a used dirt bike, how to jet/tune and FCR or your suspension like a pro. Wiki's can include text, images and even embedded video, so the possibilities are limitless!
  • Simplified, More Intuitive Site Navigation: For starters, no longer will you have to click the "Forum" tab in order to make the sub-forum tabs (General, Dirt Bike, ATV/UTV, Street, Snow & PWC) appear for selection. These tabs (now just links) will be visible regardless of where you are at on the site, making for example jumping from the Health & Fitness forum under General Forums to the "Dirt Bike" forum index in a single click. We've also added a forum jump link that is accessible both at the top and bottom of forum index pages, thread index pages and individual threads. Very efficient! Lastly, we've rolled up user specific functions into a customizable user home page called "My Profile". There you will be able to see all your recent activity on the site, edit your account details & user profile, manage your photo albums (new), manage your lists of products & rides you own, have owned or want & more. This are just a few highlights, but there's more, so you'll see what we're talking about once the site has been relaunched.
  • No More Confusing VB Code!: You've seen it before. Someone for example tries to reply to a post, quoting another member and somehow they end up deleting part of the VB code that formats the quoted text. This screws up how the post is formatted, making it very difficult to understand who said what. On the new site, when you quote another member's post, what you see in the post reply editing box looks exactly like it will be formatted when you see it live on the site. Essentially, posts will now be created using a WYSIWYG editor: AKA, What you see is what you get. Our site is for riders not computer geeks (no offense to our computer geeks however). Other cool features of the new post editor:
    • upload images into your posts directly from your computer or image URL
    • insert video into your posts from YouTube, Google and Vimeo by pasting URL or embed code
    • integrated spellchecker
    • create and insert tables
    • control over font size & paragraph formatting (left/right justification, centering)
    • spoiler text block (you race results fans will LOVE this)

I'm sure that we could go on and on here, but this should suffice at giving you a pretty solid idea of what's to come.

Ultimately, you'll have to judge for yourself what you think of this upgrade. Again, we understand that change can be hard, so we thank you in advance for your patience as you figure out what's new & different. We have created a pretty solid FAQ section if something is stumping you and of course, there will be a feedback section for any bugs or functions that might be confusing. Above all, this upgrade is not meant to be and ending point, but a solid framework that we can continue to leverage and build upon. So, if something turns out to not be up to snuff for some reason, we'll be carefully listening to you and tweaking things. Lastly, if you choose to provide feedback (we're depending upon the community for this!), it needs to be constructive criticism. If we missed the mark in an area, tell us why and what's you'd like to see. It's virtually impossible to please all 650,000+ monthly visitors to TT, but we'll absolutely do our best to listen to feedback, prioritize changes/tweaks and keep moving forward.

In terms of when this will happen, the completed site has been in our test environment getting beat up by plenty of users for a couple of weeks now and things are looking quite good. That said, we expect a launch before the end of April.

Thanks again for making ThumperTalk THE rider's resource!

Sincerely,

Team ThumperTalk

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Sounds good.

Next you should get those little IT weasels to work on making your TT store more user friendly!

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Sounds good.

Next you should get those little IT weasels to work on making your TT store more user friendly!

We've always said we put more time/money into the community, not the store. We're a community with a store, not the other way around.

None the less, it's coming...

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going to be honest, am still running on the old skin simply by preference, but I think this new layout looks very sick. the header is really cool as well.

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Have you thought of making an app that is more friendly for the iPhone and iPod touch? i love TT but its hard to use the normal version on the iPhone.

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+1 for a "light" version... something that renders/functions in links, blazer, or on a 320x320 screen.

Looks pretty sick though 👍

Should add support for the snow geeks on here too, with the ability to add sleds to the garage and the like too.

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+1 for a "light" version... something that renders/functions in links, blazer, or on a 320x320 screen.

Looks pretty sick though 👍

Should add support for the snow geeks on here too, with the ability to add sleds to the garage and the like too.

dirt, street, snow & pwc will be included.

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I've been playing around with the new site for a bit and I think it's going to be an excellent improvement for the members. 👍

I've heard vBulletin 4.x has been a bit buggy and is slow as heck. I can't imagine having to recode for it. <shudder>

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Can't wait to see what you guys come up with. TT just keeps getting better and better.

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I've been playing around with the new site for a bit and I think it's going to be an excellent improvement for the members. 👍

I've heard vBulletin 4.x has been a bit buggy and is slow as heck. I can't imagine having to recode for it. <shudder>

Shudder is right. I'm pretty sure if we'd tried, Wilson would set fire to the servers, max out his credit line and move to a small, deserted Island in the S. Pacific.🤣

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Your correct,change is difficult.In my short time utilizing this site,it's been AWESOME---keep up the fantastic work!!!.👍🤣

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* upload images into your posts directly from your computer or image URL

sounds good instead of having to make a photobucket account

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We've always said we put more time/money into the community, not the store. We're a community with a store, not the other way around.

None the less, it's coming...

Glad to hear that... I always feel guilty when I get frustrated by the TT store and buy stuff somewhere else. 👍

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