Save the Forums!
Forums have provided a wealth of information I never could’ve found on the street, but it’s time to take a step back and look at the state of things and see what needs to be done to preserve the decades of knowledge we’ve built across this World Wide
Web. Build threads, tech info, and more were nearly destroyed recently when Photobucket (a host that proliferated with easy forum embeds) made a recently reversed decision to turn off its free hosting of hundreds of thousands of images, and I see this as a problem for the greater automotive community as these sites age.
The impermanence of the internet is a real thing—it could all be deleted tomorrow, and Photobucket proved the point. How do these forum communities find long-term sustenance?
Recently, Wiki-how pages (how-to sites that take Wikipedia’s community-driven, information-gathering format) have begun to host valuable content, taking the Sloppy Mechanics as an example of contemporary community knowledge-gathering. A Facebook group and a forum are where daily discussions happen, but important information is archived in a Wiki page. Some forums have distilled community info into archive posts while leaving the greater discussion on the boards. In both ways, information is decentralized.
While we etch what we can into HOTROD.com and HRM, the decades of grassroots knowledge hidden in forums is something to consider preserving before it’s too late—again.