It is important that we have just a few basic guidelines (call them rules if you wish) so that the MTF does not get away from us and fall prey to misuse and abuse.
The first few questions relate primarily to the basic philosophy underlying the Motorcycle Tourer's Forum. Then we will turn to more practical matters for the remaining questions. Please understand that this FAQ is a work in progress and will change and grow as necessary. If you have any suggestions for additions to this document, please contact Alan Leduc with your constructive suggestions.
1. What is the purpose of The Motorcycle Tourer's Forum?
The Motorcycle Tourer's Forum provides a meeting place for motorcycle touring enthusiasts and owners, riders, and admirers of all brands and models of touring motorcycles. This is a place to share ideas and information; to make friends and have fun in an atmosphere of mutual respect and civility. While the MTF is primarily dedicated to the motorcycle touring, anyone is welcome, . We define motorcycle touring very loosely. Some define touring as those that day trip smelling flowers. Others define touring as long distance riding. There are many definitions in between.
2. Is there any cost to join the Forum?
The Motorcycle Tourer's Forum is non-commercial and the service provided by Delphi is free for anybody to read and to post messages. However, if you want to eliminate the banners and remove other restrictions offered by Delphi Basic you might want to consider Delphi Plus which provides web space a simpler text editor and more. The money for the plus service goes to Delphi for providing the format and not to the hosts of the Motorcycle Tourer's Forum.
3. Is the Forum moderated?
Yes. The moderators and their responsibilities are listed on the MTF Organizational Chart web page.
4. Can I post any kind of message I want?
Sort of. While free expression of ideas is the basic foundation of this forum, abusive and profanity-laced messages are not acceptable. We discourage posting threads that can appear to be off color or offensive by other members of the forum. Please note, there are two things that are sure to get you into trouble on the Motorcycle Tourer's Forum: 1) Brand Bashing of any kind. The MTF is a non-bike specific forum and brand bashing simply will not be tolerated. Feel free to brag about your bike or to express negative personal experiences. But stereotypical comments are not acceptable. 2) Personal attacks. You may differ with others and serious debate is not a problem. However, name calling, emotional, and personal attacks are not acceptable.
5. How about posting messages that are not related to motorcycles?
There is a topic heading titled "Unrelated to Motorcycles". This section is there for posting of messages not specifically related to motorcycles or riding. Please recognize that discussions regarding gun control, politics, abortion, religion, sexual bias or whatever are very controversial, personal, and un-winnable. These discussions usually end up in a flame war, so they may be moved to a hidden folder in order to maintain the friendly, respectable environment that we have worked so hard to create. Where do we draw the line? Our board of moderators will look at each thread on a case by case basis. If the topic is debated and the members maintain their emotions and abstain from personal attacks and name calling then the discussion may be allowed. However, if the discussion deteriorates, then posting will be stopped or the thread may be moved to a hidden folder.
6. I see that some of the Forum members have fancy "signatures" at the bottom of their messages that include pictures of their bikes or other neat stuff. Can I do that too?
Yes. But only if you "pay to play." You must have Dephi advanced or Plus. Just post a note pleading for help in the Forum and one of the members will give you instructions on how to do it.
Note: Your signature should be tasteful. It is not to contain information that is intended to inflame. If you post information in your signature regarding guns, politics, abortion, religion, sexual bias, pornography, etc. you will be ask to remove it when posting to the MTF. This type of information will simply create controversy and distract from our discussion of motorcycles and touring. The moderators have better things to do than answer complaints and mediate disputes.
7. You said the Forum is non-commercial. What if I have something to sell?
If you, as an individual, want to sell a bike or accessories, the Forum is one of the best places for you to get the job done. We have a topic area titled "Bikes/Accessories For Sale" where you can post items for sale. You are encouraged to use this facility as often as you like. As with everything else related to the Forum, there's no charge.
8. I'm a dealer (vendor/importer/manufacturer/whatever) in motorcycle accessories and I would like to post messages about the products we offer. You got a problem with that?
As stated earlier, the Motorcycle Tourers Forum is non-commercial. We do not accept advertising messages, or other messages of a commercial nature.
The MTF doesn't maintain a "vendor links" page on the MTF website. We do offer two different ways for vendors to "advertise" on the MTF, the "MTF Commission page" or the "MTF Members Discount Page". These are two distict programs that benefit our members either directly or indirectly. Below descibes the difference between the two:
MTF Commission program: The companies on this page pay the MTF a commission for every purchase made using the links provided. The commission program goes through one of the established commission companies - like www.linkshare.com or www.cj.com .You work with them to set up a program, links, plans, rates, etc. They supply us with the proper links, track the clicks and sales, and handle paying us the commission.
MTF Member's Discount program: Vendors listed on this page offer some type of discount to MTF members placing orders. The discount can be a flat discount, some percentage off, or offer free shipping, etc. You can look at the webpage to see what other vendors have offered our members and how we would list your company.
We always prefer to offer the MTF members a discount rather than getting a commission for the sale - so that is always our first choice.
If you are a legitimate vendor, we will be happy to place a link to your webpage on either of these pages. Please email your request to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you post messages claiming to be a "satisfied customer" when you are actually a vendor or dealer, you will be found out and you will be gagged.
9. You said that the Forum is non-commercial but I see where your offer MTF Merchandise and have offered trips that have a registration fee. Isn't that commercial?
Yes,we do offer MTF Merchandise. Our members requested this and we complied. The MTF is not for profit. The money raised from the MTF merchandise and events are used for MTF's promotion and services (see the MTF Merchandise page).
10. How long are messages kept by Delphi? Is there a limit on the number of messages in the Forum's archive?
Delphi has elected to not enforce any limitations on the number of messages from any of their forums, therefore there is no time limitation.
11. How are messages categorized in the Forum?
One of the primary advantages of the Delphi forum format is the fact that the messages ARE categorized. The typical web-based message forum with a tree-like structure makes it difficult to find what you are looking for and usually does not have a search function. We have "Topic" headings that should help in finding information.
12. How can I find what I'm looking for? Tell me about the search function...
The search function is very easy to use. You can simply click on "Find" in any of the Topic areas and a window opens that gives you a number of options on finding the information you need. If you want to search the entire Forum message data base, there is a full-text search option with limited functionality.
13. I tried all that and I still can't find a message that I know was there last week. What's up with that?
You've found the fatal flaw in the search function. The search functions have several bugs and things that simply don't work properly. Delphi claims a high priority for fixing the search functions.
14. So what? Is there something I/we can do to help this problem?
YES..all you/we have to do is attempt to keep message threads on subject as much as possible. If you expect someone to find your words of wisdom about oiling your chain, and that gem of information is in a thread about radiator leaks, forget it. So, if a thread starts to seriously diverge from the original subject, just start a new thread with a title that is appropriate. It's easy.
15. I've got some other basic questions about using a Delphi forum - where can I get answers?
The first place to look would be the Delphi FAQ. You might also visit the Delphi Service Forum and post questions there that will be answered by the gnomes of Delphi.
16. I had to register to join the Forum. How secure is my personal information?
Please read the Delphi Privacy Statement. This should answer most questions.
Please remember that these guidelines are not the final word - it will continue to evolve as the MTF continues to take on a life of its own. And again, if you have suggestions of a constructive nature, please send them to Alan Leduc.
As hard as we try to maintain a friendly environment, there seems to be no way to avoid conflict. We have been fortunate in that the members of the MTF have generally followed the guidelines and are considerate of each other. That said, we still have the need to moderate discussions and periodically take action. This section was written to assist moderators in handling problems that may arise.
The first rule in handling a conflict is to try not to create a new one. This is much easier said than done. But keep in mind that as a moderator, you need to handle problems without trying to offend the offender. An over zealous and untactful moderator can cause more problems than the offending posters. When we advertise for members to volunteer as moderators, we are really looking for people that don't want the job but are willing to serve in order to maintain the environment that we have all come to enjoy.
If a message is posted and the moderator feels it is inappropriate they have the option of editing or moving the message to the hammer folder. Remember that unless the person is a real troll, any action may offend the offender, so be tactful. The Golden Rule is a wonderful guideline. If you decide that you need to edit or move a message, first copy it in its entirety and post the copy in the MTF hammers folder. (The MTF hammers folder is a special folder that is only viewable by moderators, and forum managers). If you elect to edit the message, make sure that you use a different color, or something so that it is clear as to what action you have taken as a moderator. Be sure to indicate the reason (often it is just a matter of referring to a rule # in the guidelines above) that you have edited the message. If you edit or move a message, immediately notify the posting member by email stating your reasons, etc. You should also place a copy of your email in the MTF Hammers folder. Our goal is to maintain a friendly environment and not to belittle members
You may get an email response back from the offender that takes exception to your decision. Be tactful and reiterate your decision as best as you can. They may take your action personal. They may even flame you in the email. It is your job as a moderator to remember it is not personal. Bite your tongue, try to cool down and figure out how you can get the offender to understand your position. If you continue to get flamed, refer the matter to one of the Assistant Managers. I have had instances where more than 10 emails were exchanged before things cooled down but my goal has always been to try to retain every member, so the effort is worth it. Censorship is a big deal to some people.
If a thread turns ugly, it may be best to just post a message that states the obvious and close the thread so that no more messages can be posted to it. If this is done, an email should be sent to each of the members that contributed to the threads deterioration asking them to read the forum guidelines.
Occasionally, a person may elect to take their beef with a moderator to the forum itself. This is their right. If they go public, then so be it. Then you should explain your position. In reality, you probably won't have to explain your position in that most members know you and will stand up for you.
If a person continues to be offensive or attempts to disrupt the friendly environment of the MTF, that person will be gagged for a period of 1 month. This means that the person can read messages but cannot post. If after being un-gagged a person, continues to be a problem they will be locked out of the forum completely.
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