VAF Forum Posting Rules

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"So I CAN'T discuss
the history of the Roman
empire from imperial expansion
to the conquest of the Iberian
peninsula to its struggle with
the Sassanids?
  "I'm sorry, no.
We just talk
RVs here."
"Not even Caesar's early
campaigns and how they relate
to today's world?"
  "I'm afraid not."
"This place is run by an
unpatriotic racist who's
 a billion times worse
than a trillion Hitlers!"
  "Check please."

Just RV discussion here, please.

The online world contains huge pockets of hate.  It gets chaotic, with people sniping and screaming at each other nonstop on every hot button topic under the sun.  Online civility seems to be more and more rare. 


-- some guy online

There are roughly 195 countries in the world depending on who you ask - most with internet access.  All with governments, politics, aviation associations and politicians trying to get their messages out.  Many polarizing.  Humanity can be cruel and barbaric.  Life isn't fair.  There is more than enough sadness, hate and tragedy to go around online and millions of sites exist to report it.   We get it (shoved in our faces 24/7).

My business model from the beginning here was/is to create a tiny oasis from all that.  Be a sport and let us enjoy this insignificantly small digital spot free from the rest of the flying fecal matter.  Give us sixty seconds a day here where we can just see RV news and discussion, without being bombarded with politics and the hatred that consumes many of our online experiences.


If you want to talk politics, or geo-politics, or religion, or wars, or bass fishing or watch repair you'll have to go elsewhere.  There are millions of sites for that.  Make sure you tell 'um there what monsters we are for wanting to talk only-RV on an RV-only website.

Thanks for playing by the house rules in this one, molecule-sized slice of the internet that means almost nothing in the grand scheme of things.

Posts violating the rules (below) get deleted by one of the volunteer moderators.  They may or may not contact you - they have lives and you just need to accept that.  Pretty much that's it.  Don't be a jerk and stick to RVs. 

Make an effort to be nicer to each other.  Try to make somebody else smile with an uplifting, motivating post having to do with RVs and the wonders of flight that they allow us to experience.

Below is essentially the same, only in a lot more detail.

And have a nice day.



It's not my intent, but I could come across as a jerk while reading this.  All I ask is that you give me a chance to make my case before you form your final opinion.  Having done twenty laps around the sun doing this RV online community thing for a living I've acquired some data on online personality traits and behaviors, so the rules here exist to best foster an environment that maximizes the chance of you getting your RV into the air while forming meaningful friendships.  In one sentence: This isn't the wild west and you can't act like a douchebag.  There are a few more rules if you want to play in my sandbox, but it is nothing out of the ordinary and is all common sense in our fractured world where technology gives instant gratification while obliterating patience.  And friend, finishing that airplane is going to take some patience. 

Group A wanting to ACTUALLY KILL Group B because B doesn't love people as much as A does?  Madness all...and none of that as-read-on-social-media manure is gonna fly here.  Take it elsewhere.

We'll talk about social media more below, but first let's start with the two big rules...

  • JUST RV.
    I love me some STOLish Piper Cub type planes, but this isn't the place to get help mod'n your J3C-65.

    Posts should not contain a single molecule of anything even remotely resembling politics.  Period.  Push it and get banned.  Forever.  If you think I'm kidding, I promise you I am not.


On to the rules in greater detail......

1.  No COMMERCIAL promotion, including URLs in forum signatures, unless you are an advertiser.
It's stealing, and those who steal are without honor.   Consider arriving at the restaurant you've sunk your family's life savings into, only to find a guy has parked a food truck in the middle of your parking lot.  Yeah, I get it...the economy is tough, but stealing is stealing.

If you are not an advertiser on VAF, DO NOT display your business name, URL, phone number, mechanic credentials, etc. in your signature or posts, or promote your business through the VAF Forums, VAF email or Private Message system.

Stealing is stealing....and you know it is stealing.

2. Threads SPECULATING about the causes of a crash/incident before the Probable Cause document is issued are not allowed here.  Offer condolences to the family and friends, of course!  Once the governing agency's PROBABLE CAUSE or FINAL REPORT has been listed online, then by all means we can discuss the mechanics and minutia of the accident until we are blue in the fingers, hopefully learning something that will make flying safer for us. 

Here's a list of over 570 RV accident probable cause documents to get you started.

3. No Politics, Government or Aviation Association Talk
Listed as one of the 'big two' above, but needing more detail.  Posts that contain the words Liberals, Democrats, Republicans, Bush, Obama, Pelosi, Limbaugh, etc.  If your post even remotely smells of politics, it's toast. 

Discussion about how EAA or AOPA, or any other aviation organization is run isn't for here.

4.Language and tone
...that would be inappropriate in the polite company of strangers and their young children shouldn't be used.

5. Keep the topic RV-related somehow.
Listed as one of the 'big two' above, but needing more detail.  Anything not RV is fair game for deletion.   You will not be notified it has been deleted, as we have over 30,000 folks in the forums, and the moderators are volunteers with lives.

You have a new baby, you let us know!  Fighting a medical condition and need support?  Post away.  Wanna make fun of my scooter in the 'misc' area....I'll let it slide, Clyde.  Put these type posts in the 'Test/Misc' area so they can be auto-deleted after a few weeks (so they don't clog up the archives).

Posts that will be deleted 100% of the time:

  • Lawsuits and/or vendor bashing (advertisers or non-advertisers).  Because on the internet, bitter, disgruntled ex-employees can be made to look like 'regular' builders.  It's happened.  More than once.  Take it to yelp or facestalk.

  • eBay, Trade'a'Plane, Barnstormes, etc.  links in the classifieds.  Posts that say 'go to so and so site and search for XXXX'.

  • Non-RV posts.

  • Bumps

  • Posts complaining about why a post was deleted.  This is called 'mod-baiting'. 

  • Posts complaining how the site is run.  Email to me is the way to do that.

  • Duplicate posts

  • Links to video clips showing illegal and unsafe flying (like buzzing a house or rolls over a congested area).  My thoughts on safety

  • "For Sale: Car, boat, 1965 Cessna C-172....selling to buy RV tail kit."  (the one exception: an airpark home or lot)

  • "Funny video clip of guys blowing up anvils." ....although I gotta admit that WAS a pretty funny clip.

  • Posts promoting individual-sponsored group buys. (here's why)

  • Post that list links to what an average person would consider a competing site.

Bob Collins built an RV-7A and writes for Minnesota Public Radio.  He wrote a nice thread here that I'm copying below:

"Poor Doug. I hated to see him lock down a thread that was unbelievably helpful but he clearly had no choice.

You know, I run a blog for a living which involves a lot of writing, but without question most of the energy I spend during the day is on moderating comments.

For some reason, people have an increasingly hard time making a cogent point without resorting to a "shot" or an insult as if that somehow strengthens the merits of the argument.

Look, people who don't even put their real names in their profiles, nobody goes to Oshkosh to get insulted, nobody wants a customer in their store who tells them what jerks they are, nobody wants the old-timers streaming out of the little terminal when they land so they can be told how much their airplane stinks.

What they want is fellowship, friendship, and intellect.

I get it. It's the Internet and people always seem to want to "play to the crowd" on the Internet. But unless you put two feet on the floor when you get out of bed in the morning, stretch your arms above your head and say, "this is the day I'm going to be a jerk to people on VAF," then your strategy is misguided and illogical and illogical actions do not support the points you're trying to make that you think are logical.

This is more than just Doug's virtual living room. VAF is our Oshkosh, our store, our plane, our airport terminals and nobody -- but nobody -- like it when people act like jerks.

So I beg you -- I, a person who's presently sick of America's enchantment with boorishness -- be nice. Practice it. Start here, then take it out into the world with you.

RVs and aviation are an escape from the real world.

We have a stake in high-quality, low noise on VAF; that's what makes it a haven for us. Let's redouble our efforts and insistence to protect it.


6. Create your post in the appropriate area.
Put classified listings in 'Classifieds', etc.  Most folks come into the forums using either the Today's Posts or New Posts links, which pulls from all areas. 

Put time sensitive posts like 'Local RV builder on the ch 5 news tonight in XXXXXX' in the 'Test/Misc' area, as we can easily delete it later (so it doesn't clutter up the archives).

7. Civility, and not typing whatever comes into your head
This is intentionally vague, and gives the moderators a LOT of discretion.  If any one of them is rubbed the wrong way with a post, it's toast.  If you can't be civil at all times, don't participate.  We don't do hate.  Trolls get banned permanently (fmi:

Added 4/13/16    RE: Dealer/Vendor and Customer Disputes:
...this part modeled after the large Jeep Wrangler forum
The forum is not intended to be a mechanism for people to vent frustrations about vendors or sales from private parties. Please settle your differences with sellers, manufacturers and dealers through the long-established legal or arbitration systems or the Better Business Bureau, not through our community.  I expect everyone that uses the board to be nice.

A pattern of vendor bashing on your part will get your account locked down.

Examples of when you don't enforce civility:

[ed. Oct/2015:  From a popular pilot forum]

"After much debate and consideration, the Management Council has made the decision to terminate the Spin Zone. We are taking this action because the level of discourteous and uncivil behavior has increased, and unfortunately continues to spill over into the aviation related forums."

[ed.  From another airplane message board:]

Mar/2014 (startup):
"Little, if any moderation will encourage you to share ideas more freely with less restriction."

18 months later (shutdown)
"...I have decided to shut the website down." 

More detail below, but these two bullet points cover most of it.

Doug Reeves
Site founder/owner/janitor.


RE: Anonymity
Before we get to the rules in greater detail, a short note on anonymity in online forums, specifically the negative effects.  There is a good deal of data that you can find with little effort (search Anonymity and Online Communities).  It's worth some of your time.  For those here that choose to 'hide under the radar', that's of course perfectly fine, but just know that if there is any gray area when making a call in regards to moderation, if we don't know your name, or you never show your face, blank out your N-number in all photos, etc....don't expect to be given the benefit of the doubt. 

While you could be Ethan Hunt, spy extraordinaire in hiding, you could also be some company's disgruntled employee.  Just saying...


RE: Social Media Sites
While there is some good social media aspects, there is also some really, really bad. and its forums are not trying to be social media (and the posting rules here reflect that).  Social media brings with it multiple, well documented, significant harms.  Social media sites rely on dopomine-driven feedback loops to survive, and that is not what I'm offering here.  There are no 'Like' buttons, and there is no goal of maximizing the amount of time you spend on the site.

"...something I think we're going to be hearing more about in the near future, is that there is a fundamental mismatch, between the way our brains are wired, and this behavior of exposing yourself to stimuli with intermittent rewards throughout all of your waking hours. It's one thing to spend a couple of hours at the slot machines of Las Vegas, but if you bring a slot machine with you and you pull that handle all day long from when you wake up to when you go to bed, we're not wired for that. It short circuits the brain and we're starting to find that it has actual cognitive consequences. One of them being this sort of pervasive background hum of anxiety. Now the canary in the coal mine for this are students from college campuses. If you talk to mental health experts from college campuses, they'll tell you, that along with the rise of ubiquitous smart phone and social media use among the students, came an explosion of anxiety related disorders."
-- Dr. Cal Newport

Watch this if you think you're not fundamentally changing your brain by using social media (and that includes PHYSICALLY changing it).  Also consider reading The Shallows by Nicholas Carr.


RE: "Influencers"
Nothing against them at all.  They are entreprenuers and capitalism is a wonderful thing.  I want them to succeed!  But, if the primary reason you're wanting to use the VAF Forums is so you can promote your videos and 'cross-pollinate your brand', 'raise engagement' and 'monetize' with every post being a reference to some new and exciting piece that starts with 'Hey Gang!', proceeds next to 'register to win and be sure to Like us!', then 'buy my sponsor's merch!' and winds up with 'follow me on these 30 other social platforms'...please don't bother signing up here.  Again, if mostly what you want to do is push your videos, twitter feed and/or instagram account, please don't sign up.  There are plenty of platforms out there for that type of thing, and is not one of them.  I'm positioning this site as the exact opposite of those, as a matter of fact.  If your autosignature has seven different social media platform links in it, yes, we're looking in your direction.

And I really do wish these folks well, and have absolutely nothing against them trying to make a living.  I just prefer not be used as an 'influencer' anything.

Dopomine-driven feedback loops and social media's effect on mental health and cognitive ability is a real thing.  It's tearing at the fabric of society, and it's worth some of your time to research.  If I come off to you as Don Quixote titling at windmills, then I would venture to guess you haven't given much thought to the link at the beginning of this paragraph.

Thousands and thousands of hours spent staring at your phone are hours that could have been spent building, flying or maintaining your RV (and physically interacting with others doing the same).  Cocaine, slot machines and social media sites all tickle the same spot in the brain.  But hey it's your brain and you can stop anytime you want, right?  <rolls eyes>. 

Check in on and the forums for a minute or two every couple of days, then go enjoy your RV (and your life).  Don't check on it 2,600 times a day.



From Summer 2013:
The Annual Free Speech Email...dr
  I got an email over the weekend from Los Angeles regarding how, in the sender's opinion, VAF stifles first amendment free speech - assuming it had to do with recent FAA/EAA/AirVenture management threads that were closed.  "If I want these type of restrictions I will move to Russia.  It is your site but freedom of speech is not your choice," were his exact words.  He requested I delete his posts and refund his donation from last December.  [ed. Those threads and all the replies were archived and emailed to the original poster in MS Word format so that they could start a free blog with all the original material.  The OP chose not, to my knowledge, to do this.  dr]
  We seem to touch on this cyclically - I guess it's time again.
  This website is an American private business, and free speech laws do not apply to private businesses here.  But, for the sake of argument let's say I would allow talk about government agency this and association that.  We can't forget this would have to extend to EVERY country.  RVs are globally enjoyed, it's not just a U.S. thing.  Lots of RV folks who contribute here live in countries outside the America.  Tens of thousands, actually.  Data point: countries in shades of blue below visited the VAF forums in the past 30 days, so says GoogleAnalytics.  Click to enlarge.  Lots of different governments and GA associations in that blue.
  Depending on the source, there are between 189 and 196 independent countries on planet Earth, all with governments and small planes (and issues between the pair).  The U.N. recognizes 192 governments.  The U.S. State Department 194.  That's an awful lot of non-RV pro-this and anti-that to cloud up the 'New Posts' results, wouldn't you think?  You couldn't possibly be so shallow as to assume only the U.S. citizens would be allowed to complain on VAF about their government and GA issues, would you?
 Go Google 'aircraft associations'.  You'll get over 11 million hits.  'Aircraft Advocacy' returns over 3 million hits.  Plenty of places for people to discuss how their government and GA associations interact with their country's small plane owners.
  I hope now you can understand why here at VAF we're just gonna stick with talking about building and flying and enjoying Van's RVs.  Not governments, or aircraft associations, or government agencies and their alphabet soups.
  If you simply can't live with that, you don't have to.  Nobody is forcing you to either sign up or stick around.
  The posting rules are short, and quite similar to tens of thousands of other forums online.  Go Google "free speech and online communities" if you don't believe me.  Nothing out of the ordinary in the VAF posting rules.  Further research will reveal that online communities that allow any topic under the sun, with no rules, quickly self-implode.  Godwin's Law and all that...
  Feel so passionately about your government, its GA agencies and/or associations that you just have to type about it somewhere?  I'd suggest going to or any other number of free hosting solutions and set yourself up a free spot on the web.  All the free speech a person could want is only a couple minutes away, if you agree to their terms of service (which means you can't talk about ANYTHING you want).  All the big GA association sites have online forums themselves, and interacting with local government on behalf of pilots is in their respective mission statements.
  I appreciate and read all private feedback emailed to me, but these free speech emails always make me roll my eyes to tell you the honest truth.  It's not just your country we're talking about here.  An RV-8 took flight in Thailand for the first time last week.  Thailand!  I recall reading they've had some political tension in the past, but that doesn't mean it should be hammered out here on VAF.
  Take the government talk somewhere else, please.  I'm good with keeping VAF discussion focused on one specific activity.....the hobby of building, flying and enjoying Van's RVs.  Something that is figuratively, and literally, uplifting.
  Sometimes though, people can't deal with that, and that's fine.
  As for the SoCal individual, I deleted his posts (as requested), his forum account (as requested) and PayPal'd him his 2012 donation back (as requested).  He complained later how I sent the refund (via PayPal check).  I wish him well.
  I happen to believe this site offers a good product, one worthy of its reader's yearly donations.  I strive daily to continue earning your trust, friendship and financial support.  I truly believe we have something special here, so much so I bet my family's financial future on it.
  Yours in Van's RV construction and flight,
  (and family)

PS: Want to email me your feedback?  I'll read it, then move it over to a folder called 'Feedback' so it can be reflected on periodically.


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