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What is the role of a Class Association Website?

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: Dinghy classes
Forum Name: Dinghy development
Forum Discription: The latest moves in the dinghy market
URL: http://www.yachtsandyachting.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=12853
Printed Date: 20 Oct 17 at 6:24am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.665y - http://www.webwizforums.com


Topic: What is the role of a Class Association Website?
Posted By: JohnJack
Subject: What is the role of a Class Association Website?
Date Posted: 13 Sep 17 at 9:19am
On a tangent of the Nationals attendance topic, and after standing down as a web admin for a class (after 4 years). Just what is the role of a class website.
Is it simply a page for information about the class, contacts, membership forms, events and entries or should it also be a news site with race reports and other articles?

A few examples
The Solo Class seem to be doing a great job producing tons of "media" videos, interviews on top of the usual brief write up, however not much of this features on their website, same goes with the GP class, loads of media on Facebook and a very good website from an information perspective, however not allot of "news" (in both cases there is some news that gets updated from time to time, however it is not at the forefront of the site)

With the Scorpion site, we tried to make it into a Class Magazine which is also an information Service, which was hard work at times trying to chase down race reports (they would be sent to Y&Y but not to the class to publish on their own site, though when sent to the class we would add an extra paragraph to the bottom about upcoming events before our site sent it on to Y&Y (thanks to Mark for working with us on this this))

So the question (maybe I should have asked this four years ago) What is the role of a Class Association Website, and how is it linked to the success of a class?



Replies:
Posted By: KazRob
Date Posted: 13 Sep 17 at 10:23am
It's possibly the shop front for whatever the class is. When I've moved classes it's certainly been the first stop to look for advice, what's for sale, contacts, browse the forums etc and generally get a feel for things but it's not necessarily everything. I bought a Solo last year and I found the for sale and forums useful but the website itself wasn't of any great note (but then it did help me sell it when I decided it wasn't the boat for me)
I suspect while FB and FB groups are taking over from website forums to an extent a class still needs that relatively static shop front that projects an active class.


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OK 2122 & 2148


Posted By: turnturtle
Date Posted: 13 Sep 17 at 10:42am
hopefully they will continue to provide a traditional sign posting function, and then in due course host the various media, reports and enhanced functionality (class calendar, classifieds etc) once the worm turns and folk start to really, really get hacked off with FacedataBook.


Posted By: ColPrice2002
Date Posted: 13 Sep 17 at 10:53am
The Class association should be more than just a shop front...
The Solo Class Association is active in keeping the class rules updates (it's a national Class, so that means working with the RYA), it also has  a training function, with coachies available. Apart from that, the Asssociation manages the national championships and a number of other events. (e.g. dinghy exhibitions).
there's also the magazine and other topics.

I think that there is a clear line between the Class association of the older classes, where they managed the rules, licenced builders/sailmakers and measurers, and the new SMOD dinghies, where the builder manages many of these functions (e.g. laser).

Cheers,

Colin 


Posted By: KazRob
Date Posted: 13 Sep 17 at 11:28am
I think you picked me up wrong Colin. The class website is the shop front most of us see of other classes when we go for a look but the class association is a whole lot more as you say 

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OK 2122 & 2148


Posted By: maxibuddah
Date Posted: 13 Sep 17 at 12:15pm
Not only the shop front but also a repository for the technical stuff, advice and other things that can easily get lost in a Facebook group or page.

I would see Facebook add the natural replacement for the forum as it is faster moving due to its mobile ease of use, etc. It also is over less thing for the web admin to have to deal with regarding software updates and security too.

The website also used to home all of the media galleries but even that is replaced by Facebook these days of you want it. There is less management as other users can post to it without fuss. Certainly Facebook can replace most of the requirements of a website now. Some people don't like to use it though.

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Everything I say is my opinion, honest


Posted By: iGRF
Date Posted: 13 Sep 17 at 2:19pm
The Class web page should have all the details relevant to the boat, technical spec, what it's like to sail, how you can get to try one, hints and tips as to tuning, details of upcoming events and reports on recent happenings and of course lists of 2nd hand boats for sale.

Lot's of this should be duplicated on facebook, but with more an element of chattyness, gee ups to go to events, discussions on bits and bobs and bimbling. Facebook can also be used to flog stuff, but there are those who get snooty about fb so you don't get to communicate with everyone, so both should be linked.


Not many classes have all this information or do all this well.

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http://www.edgeactionsports.co.uk" rel="nofollow - Beanies, Bike Helmets & Snow accessories to clear


Posted By: craiggo
Date Posted: 13 Sep 17 at 4:38pm
For once I agree with iGRF.

The Grad association has had a difficult time lately with their web hosting and as a result their website has not been available to people using certain web providers. The number of people who are trying to get information along the lines of how to join the association or tuning guides, fitting out etc. Is suprisingly high and these individuals tend to be pretty disgruntled by the time they engage in chat on Facebook.

Facebook provides the ability to discuss these points but it seems that many still want the official repository to be a website.

Small classes especially can't afford to ditch websites yet it seems.

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Graduate 2928
OK 2071


Posted By: getafix
Date Posted: 13 Sep 17 at 5:32pm
Priorities for class association websites

1. Entice owners to join and newcomers into the class
2. Provide info on how to buy/build/upgrade your boat in class
3. Entice class members to stay and participate in the running of the class and/or events

Its amazing how hard it is to find boats for sale or a list (up to date) of events on many CA websites.  The tech sheet stuff should be fire and forget in most cases, needing barely a tweak from day 1 to day 100.  It is also remarkably difficult in my past experience to be able to sign up for and pay to go to events in many cases.


Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 13 Sep 17 at 5:44pm
I can't join Facebook or similar sites, one of many thousands, class website essential.


Posted By: KazRob
Date Posted: 13 Sep 17 at 9:04pm
TBH I know many don't have FB, refuse to have FB or like FB but in some areas its reminiscent of when email started to be widespread but a significant portion of people still wanted physical class newsletters to be sent.  Anyway for me both the website and FB are essential to any class/club etc


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OK 2122 & 2148


Posted By: JohnJack
Date Posted: 13 Sep 17 at 9:28pm
Originally posted by craiggo

For once I agree with iGRF.

The Grad association has had a difficult time lately with their web hosting and as a result their website has not been available to people using certain web providers. The number of people who are trying to get information along the lines of how to join the association or tuning guides, fitting out etc. Is suprisingly high and these individuals tend to be pretty disgruntled by the time they engage in chat on Facebook.

Facebook provides the ability to discuss these points but it seems that many still want the official repository to be a website.

Small classes especially can't afford to ditch websites yet it seems.

The problem with the Grads is they have ended up in a situation where the host they are paying isn't providing the service they are paying for (anyone on Sky Broadband is blocked from the front pages, but can access pdf's fine given the full path to the doc) and if they move they don't seem to have ownership of the URL. What is aggravating people is the way the class is handling anyone who contacts them querying the issue or asking why the website isn't working. They seem to think it is the users fault or because they can't see the issue, it doesn't exist.


Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 13 Sep 17 at 9:49pm
Most Government employees not supposed to have Facebook accounts, Police, Teachers etc, not just personal preferences.


Posted By: Late starter
Date Posted: 13 Sep 17 at 11:26pm
So far everyone has missed the #1 essential, which is finding some BF who has the time and interest to manage a CA (or club for that matter) website in return for zero money and a bunch of abuse !    I'd rather put pins in my eyes than run a class/club website. 


Posted By: KazRob
Date Posted: 14 Sep 17 at 6:55am
At the risk of heading into political territory are public sector workers really 'not supposed' to have social media accounts? Sounds a bit draconian and excessive interference in private life. I can understand the need for certain jobs like teachers needing more consideration of what is posted, what people are 'friended' etc to protect themselves and their professional reputation but surely they can't be stopped from having what is a fairly common means of communicating with friends and family?

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OK 2122 & 2148


Posted By: GarethT
Date Posted: 14 Sep 17 at 7:49am
In the sector I'm in, we're not allowed to discuss operational issues on a public forum, but we have no restriction on having a non-work related virtual life.

Work IT equipment is locked down so we can't use it from work.


Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 14 Sep 17 at 9:51am
Originally posted by 423zero

Most Government employees not supposed to have Facebook accounts, Police, Teachers etc, not just personal preferences.

That might have been the case but it is no longer so. Clearly such people have to be more careful who they 'friend' and what they post but they are, in the main, not prohibited from being active on social media.


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Spice 346 "Flat Broke"
Blaze 671 "supersonic soap dish"
Supernova 395 "dolly the sheep"


Posted By: turnturtle
Date Posted: 14 Sep 17 at 11:41am

What has happened to date will all be fairly irrelevant soon anyway- consigned to the annals of communication history.  Internet 4.0 is set to become the ambient internet, ‘smart devices’ will just become devices as life becomes a series of IP addresses running in the background.  The lines between online and offline blur- a digital economy that is just the economy.  Alexa and Siri are just in their infancy, and none of us are naive enough to think these won’t play a larger role in our lives in the future, even if we are willing to take the accusations of ludditism on the chin with a wry smile.

The tracking device in your pocket that you occasionally make voice calls on, is already relaying your position through a myriad of mediums- google maps, Facebook, Twitter, Apple Health, location based searches, restaurant check-ins etc.  We have become the ultimate consumer and we’ve done it willingly, upgrading each year from the Nokia 3210 to the form factor and operating system you are now locked into.  Even your heart rate can be tracked to see what advertorial content gives you a physical reaction.  You are now the android and there’s no irony lost there.   

In a fully connected society the information you consume will be personalised.  You may kid yourself you own these preferences, but in reality it will be as it has always been, news spoon-fed on the agendas of a powerful elite and the emerging global corporations they shelter behind- ultimately selling you the sh*t you think you need to survive and thrive in the world we live in.  This will be interspersed with lighter grade information - stuff class associations and the local cycling group might share; but you won’t see it, not unless the various newsfeeds allow it.  Peer-to-Peer protocols will probably be the way to ensure a message is actually delivered - so I'd say WhatsApp groups are the next big thing for class associations, but these have their issues too.

I joked on Facebook only the other day that the cost of the new Apple X iPhone is greater than that of a club grade Laser… yet here we are, still bullsh*tting ourselves on this quaint little internet forum that ‘cost’ is still a bona fide barrier to dinghy sailing.  Clearly not, it’s just 21st century priorities and the general preference for a digitised leisure and social life of younger and future generations are coming to fruition.  I mean seriously, why go and get cold and wet in plastic tub on a puddle in nowheresville when you can sit in your local corp-tax avoiding Starbucks, consuming a toxic cocktail of not-so free wifi, cute dog-eared selfies and an impending sense that you’re just not good enough to get even ’10 likes’ off the people your phone has suggested are your friends?

Digital interfaces in taxis, metro stations, at the ‘pump’ where you charge your car and even the post office will display adverts and newsfeeds from your personal, local, national and global interest spheres.  Class Associations will have to hook into this to continue to compete for our attention - which will be difficult as even the RSs and Lasers of our world are such small players (and spenders)  in such a fast moving and over-saturated environment.  It won’t be long before class events are fully digitised into our lives- ubiquitous for all ‘class members’ whether they want it or not.  Even now many of us might upload the class CalDAV or equivalent into our online scheduling apps.  Those of us who have been at the coalface on class or club web presence have already willingly added events to the class Facebook page, then sit back and hope to hell more click ‘going’ or at least ‘interested, rather than ‘not going’.  In doing so creating the cliques which sometimes hold back ‘real’ class development.  As with so many things online, we still have an 80:20 rule on participants and lurkers… and it’s the lurkers you need to attract to give the event the critical mass.

Some people wonder why I have such a dislike for GPS race tracking of amateur sailboat racing.  I can see the appeal for race analysis, I can understand the benefit for checking the results were accurate.  I can also see why the data source could be useful for generic discussions around handicapping boats.  However I also see sailing (and water sports in general), as one of the last bastions of non-digitised sport and leisure.   Sure, the marketing and administration of it cannot avoid future technology, and class associations will have to be adept in this market place with these technologies.  But the activity itself, at amateur level, provides something more natural and clean, and its rapidly losing that soul and sense of freedom and disconnection that some of us treasure so much.  A different discussion for sure….



Posted By: iGRF
Date Posted: 14 Sep 17 at 12:23pm
Hmm clearly TT isn't an attention seeking psychopath like most racers..

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http://www.edgeactionsports.co.uk" rel="nofollow - Beanies, Bike Helmets & Snow accessories to clear


Posted By: Cirrus
Date Posted: 14 Sep 17 at 2:57pm
Ah .. it all makes 'going off-grid' even more attractive. 


Posted By: pondlife1736
Date Posted: 14 Sep 17 at 3:25pm
Yes, always amazes me how many people click the Facebook like button not realising what it does!


Posted By: A2Z
Date Posted: 14 Sep 17 at 4:05pm
Originally posted by Sam.Spoons


Originally posted by 423zero

Most Government employees not supposed to have Facebook accounts, Police, Teachers etc, not just personal preferences.

That might have been the case but it is no longer so. Clearly such people have to be more careful who they 'friend' and what they post but they are, in the main, not prohibited from being active on social media.
Is this informed fact or opinion? I only ask because I was told just 3 years back not to have a FB account, and it's the reason I don't use my name here.


Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 14 Sep 17 at 4:27pm
Originally posted by A2Z


Originally posted by 423zero

Most Government employees not supposed to have Facebook accounts, Police, Teachers etc, not just personal preferences.

Is this informed fact or opinion?

It will vary. I'm quite sure there isn't one single global policy across every public sector organisation in the country. You need to check your own employer's policies and rules.


Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 14 Sep 17 at 5:37pm
A2Z, if you were told 3 years ago not to have a Facebook account, this is unlikely to have changed.
jimc correct, check your senior, don't risk your job on opinion.


Posted By: KazRob
Date Posted: 14 Sep 17 at 7:30pm
I don't work in the private sector so can't comment directly but the GOV.UK website has this advice for civil servants (my underlining)
As civil servants we are (of course) free to use social and other digital media in our own time. But we always need to be mindful of our duties not to disclose official information without authority, and not to take part in any political or other public activity which compromises, or might be seen to compromise, our impartial service to the government of the day or any future government 
(from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/social-media-guidance-for-civil-servants/social-media-guidance-for-civil-servants)

Perhaps it's like Health and Safety where things get over interpreted by those that don't quite know the score - and no you don't need to go on a training course to use a ladder



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OK 2122 & 2148


Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 14 Sep 17 at 8:41pm
I know at least one police officer and several teachers with Facebook accounts. I will ask them if they have been told not to have an account and ignore the 'request' or have simply been advised to be careful how they use it.

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Spice 346 "Flat Broke"
Blaze 671 "supersonic soap dish"
Supernova 395 "dolly the sheep"


Posted By: Bootscooter
Date Posted: 14 Sep 17 at 8:46pm
Originally posted by Sam.Spoons

I know at least one police officer and several teachers with Facebook accounts. I will ask them if they have been told not to have an account and ignore the 'request' or have simply been advised to be careful how they use it.

There's advice on safe settings and usage within BritMil, but no ban at all.


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Finn GBR88 Gruffalo, Finn GBR98 Doris, Europe 185
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cameron-Tweedle-Sailing/816713278339694" rel="nofollow - Cameron Tweedle Sailing (Facebook) sponsors; Maylarch Dash-CAE RAFBF


Posted By: Gfinch
Date Posted: 14 Sep 17 at 8:47pm
The National 12s have a Class Association website, FB Page, Instagram and twitter. The latter certainly appeal to some of the younger helms and crews. People love to reminiscence also, with "throwback Thursday" posts and the like.

The website has a discussion board and boat database, with oodles of history about the class from 1936 to 2017. The social media is more light hearted. Over 5,000 people viewed one of the facebook posts on the class page. Imagine if we could turn that into boats on the water!




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3513 - National 12
136069 - Laser
32541 - Mirror


Posted By: NickM99
Date Posted: 14 Sep 17 at 10:04pm
Probably the ideal difference between Class Association websites and FB is the first should be "substantive" and the second "ephemeral."

Going off topic a bit, this distinction also applies to Sailing Club sites. I am amazed how may Club sites have evidently not been touched for years - with "news" still talking about the BBQ in 2015. It makes you wonder how active the Club is - and may give a totally false impression. A lot of older sailors are not going to be on FB and will not look for signs of club life elsewhere. The RYA recommends maximum use of social media by Clubs but the starting point has to be the website.

Thanks for your long post TT. Thought provoking!


Posted By: iiiiticki
Date Posted: 14 Sep 17 at 10:13pm
Originally posted by KazRob

At the risk of heading into political territory are public sector workers really 'not supposed' to have social media accounts? Sounds a bit draconian and excessive interference in private life. I can understand the need for certain jobs like teachers needing more consideration of what is posted, what people are 'friended' etc to protect themselves and their professional reputation but surely they can't be stopped from having what is a fairly common means of communicating with friends and family?


Friends of mine in public service or sensitive occupations find ways of altering their names to make them invisible on Facebook but we all know who they are!


Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 14 Sep 17 at 10:16pm
One of our caravan friends is a deputy Headmistress, she uses her Husbands name.


Posted By: iiiiticki
Date Posted: 14 Sep 17 at 10:24pm
Regarding using media to publicise Classes, God how I try! So many photographs, so many race reports. It seems to sell boats but they are reluctant to travel.


Posted By: zippyRN
Date Posted: 15 Sep 17 at 1:09am
Originally posted by 423zero

Most Government employees not supposed to have Facebook accounts, Police, Teachers etc, not just personal preferences.


That is utter, utter, rubbish. 

many  professional groups are advised to avoid work related content  and/ or  stating  where and whom they work  for on  fb etc , but i am unaware of any organisation that specifically bans FB. 

many teachers  use  a differing  name or versio nof their name of FB  especially if the  teach in secondary or FE  primarily  to stop  people from trying to  track them  down , although having  tight  security settings  also limits what can be seen by those you  are not friends  with 



Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 15 Sep 17 at 7:03am
Wow, we are lucky to have such an oracle of government policy.
I can only pass on info from experience of associating with people who work for local authority/government in a professional capacity, A2Z you can have a Facebook account, when you lose your job or a promotion, take your employer to a tribunal quoting ZippyRN.


Posted By: turnturtle
Date Posted: 15 Sep 17 at 8:37am
One of my competitors has just had a now ex-employee vent their spline all over Linked In recently.... it's almost not funny as I'm sure all employers are going to have to face this or similar at some point.   You can't block people from social Media, or using it inappropriately.   As pointed out, they'll just register under a pseudonym if they really want to.


Posted By: zeon
Date Posted: 15 Sep 17 at 12:49pm
There is no ban in  civil service, only guidance on things like keeping work related topics off them them. Am sure the government guidance for teachers, firefighters, NHS etc. are similar.


Posted By: jeffers
Date Posted: 15 Sep 17 at 1:09pm
Originally posted by A2Z

Originally posted by Sam.Spoons


Originally posted by 423zero

Most Government employees not supposed to have Facebook accounts, Police, Teachers etc, not just personal preferences.

That might have been the case but it is no longer so. Clearly such people have to be more careful who they 'friend' and what they post but they are, in the main, not prohibited from being active on social media.
Is this informed fact or opinion? I only ask because I was told just 3 years back not to have a FB account, and it's the reason I don't use my name here.

Informed fact, I worked in a school and this was the LEA advice on social media. 


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Paul
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D-Zero GBR188
Ex Rooster 8.1 '11'
Ex Laser 167534
Ex Blaze 655


Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 15 Sep 17 at 1:14pm
Main reason I look at class site is for technical information and advice, rigging etc.


Posted By: jeffers
Date Posted: 15 Sep 17 at 1:15pm
And back on topic....

The CA website should be a the Class official Shop Front if you like. Carrying news, photos, specs, a boat register and ways on contacting the CA if there are any questions/queries. As has been said not everyone does social media so it is important to ensure that those who don't are not excluded.

Twitter is a way of driving traffic to your website, release a short 'soundbit' with a link and people will inariably click on it and read more.

Facebook is now the defacto forum for many classes even if it is a little less formal than forums/bulletin boards of the past. The D-Zero class FB page always has some banter on it as well as having all the official 'Class' news being posted there.

The other thing a CA can do it set up an official page which they can then use to post news. So any posted by that page can be considered the official line from the class.

It all works together but it should start with the website and spool out from there (this is how the D-Zero website is run).


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Paul
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D-Zero GBR188
Ex Rooster 8.1 '11'
Ex Laser 167534
Ex Blaze 655


Posted By: patj
Date Posted: 22 Sep 17 at 1:15pm
As someone who runs two sailing related websites, a class and a club, as well as a full time job in IT, can I say that finding the time to do content updates as well as the technical updates constantly necessary to foil the hackers and spammers is difficult.
However more of you could get involved with your class or club websites since content can usually be posted by anyone given an editor's login - you don't have to be a tech admin. If you can competently post on Facebook or a forum you could be useful to your club or class as someone to write current news items or articles so please don't just mutter about out of date websites, volunteer to help.
 
And when I was a MOD employee (up to a couple of years ago) we were just advised to be careful about what we posted anywhere, don't discuss work topics and advised not to use work email addresses for anything other than work. We usually described ourselves as Civil Servants - people then think you work in the tax office or something equally boring!


Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 22 Sep 17 at 4:36pm
Were you a spy, Pat?

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Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Leader, Topper 44496, yellow Minisail


Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 22 Sep 17 at 5:37pm
Commodore just had a rant about our club website, someone had a go at her about last saturdays results not being uploaded, this from a member who turns up half a dozen times a year.


Posted By: Oli
Date Posted: 23 Sep 17 at 12:45pm
obviously i have no clue as to the actual words said or tone they were imparted with but you have to be careful, just because someone who only turns up half a dozen times doesn't mean their opinion about the site not being updated isn't valid, probably the opposite, as you want to engage those people so they do come down, they need a link to their pastime. 

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https://www.facebook.com/OJSPhoto" rel="nofollow - ojsphotograpghy
https://www.youtube.com/ojsphotography/" rel="nofollow - youtube


Posted By: craiggo
Date Posted: 23 Sep 17 at 12:55pm
Fully agree with Oli. Even if people are unhelpful and rude, you have to ignore it and try to deliver. While the loud rude people will tell you the issue, you can guarantee that there will be a whole load of people too polite or nervous to mention it who all have the same view.
If you want people to join your class/club you have to bend over backward for them, not ignore them because they never help out.


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Graduate 2928
OK 2071


Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 23 Sep 17 at 6:10pm
Just glad I am not on committee.


Posted By: ian.r.mcdonald
Date Posted: 23 Sep 17 at 6:21pm
as with any club or association, 5% of the members do 95% of the work


Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 24 Sep 17 at 10:55am
Only benefit from these fly by members is they pay subs, issue is when one of them is discovered to have amassed a collection of a dozen boats.



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