Indexing or FAQing the Forum

I note that our Forum now has wisdom scattered over 118 pages from around 12 years. And that we, the owners, are now on our own in the sense that we can no longer rely on SLM Co backup.

And that using the Search function does not always get to the best post, because sometimes the terms used are different etc.

For example, let’s say you were concerned about the chainplates or the bobstay fitting and whether your chainplates need to be replaced, whether tiny cracks are normal, how often you should replace your chainplates, and with what metal you should replace your stainless steel chainplates. Searching for ‘bobstay fitting’ doesn’t always get to the threads that talk about the issues.

To make our 118 pages of 12 years of forum more useful, I thought of us collaboratively creating an index of crucial posts.

Of course this raises issues. Whether it’s worth doing? How best to do it? How to keep it up-dated? Who should do it?

I note that John Cole (hereafter JC) had started the idea of a separate ‘Maintenance’ sub-forum to which he would copy useful posts. But JC has a day job and we owners need to shoulder responsibility for ourselves.

For JC: how can I add bold or change the font size in a post to indicate a hierarchy in an index?

As a way of starting the process, in a separate post I’ll post a first stab at an index to the Forum, dealing with issues about the standing rigging and spars. I will add more details to that index post in the next day or so. And I may add some links to older Yahoo message list - I noticed that some of the older threads, when moved to the SLM Co server - seem to have lost attachments and coherence (ie some threads didn’t make sense)

Doing that exercise took time, of course. And it also revealed that not all the issues have been well covered in the Forum. So seeing the index and the gaps in knowledge might also prompt some of us to write posts to fill in those gaps.

I’d welcome debate about the question of indexing/FAQing here.

But please put additions/pointers to other posts (the ones I missed) about standing rigging and spars that I missed at that post (which might, in the future, be made a sticky if JC and you all agree), not this one.

As the initiator of the ‘index: standing rigging and spars’ post, I should be able to edit etc that index post to keep it up-to-date (so that just reading the index top post, rather than sorting through the whole thread, would be all that is needed).


Bil (who can usually improve his posts by edits!)

Thank You , Bil , you are always so very organized, “Good On You Mate”, and for sharing your information, too !

Some of my posts have been edited, too, and I really appreciate that feature on our forum.

I am reminded that, there have been some of the owners that have put a great deal of time and energy into this forum, Like John Cole ,Jeromy and Nica Waters, and others.

I wish that I could help, but my computer skills are soooo juvinal .

What a great idea, and thanks for being so enterprising.

The forum messages have now been indexed, with exceptions. The exceptions are where the post does not fit into a specific category, for example general chitchat, sailing plans, discussions over finishing a raw hull, or notices of videos or blogs posted elsewhere. I can add these if you wish, but you, as the owners of the site, have to tell me what you require.

IMPORTANT: Please, when posting messages from now on, select a category that is relevant from the drop down box; if you don’t you post will not get indexed. If you forget to index you post you will notice the there is no bold indexing tag on the left of your subject line in the forum list. This isn?t a problem; you can always go open the message, scroll to the bottom, and click on ?Edit Post?, then allocate a category, and save it.

The purpose of indexing is to pare down the responses when you do a search. An example is is your search for “Diesel” without specifying a category, and checking the All Dates box you will het 257 messages to sift through. If, however, you specify the category “Engine & Propeller” you will reduce this down to 78 results.

The explanation for the difference of searching by category and not specifying a category is simple; there are currently 22 postings under “Water and Fuel Tanks”, about 20 under “Electrical”, and even one under “Refrigeration”!

Using the Forum Search capability is very easy, but you MUST remember to look at the various check boxes, and check those that apply. Personally, I always forget to select “Check all dates”.

There are over 8,000 messages in the forum, so I had to write a series of algorithms to automate the categorization. This system is not foolproof; there could be messages mis-allocated; if you find them please let me know!

The current categories are listed below, and I have tried to keep the list as short as possible by considering : Engine and propeller" to be one item, i.e. the drive train.

Anchors, rodes and ground tackle
Autopilots and windvanes
Cabin Comforts
Deck Hardware
Deck Maintenance
Electronics & navigation
Engine and propeller
Heads and plumbing
Hull maintenance
Interior fixtures
Interior hardware
Refrigeration & icebox
Rendezvous and events
Running Rigging
Sails and canvas
Spars and rigging
Steering and rudder
Varnishing and finishing
Water & Fuel tanks


Very nice, thanks John.
Maybe one small change while you’re in there, or its fresh on the mind – maybe make the default search time period “all dates” or whatever the verbage is.


I will endeavor to do this, buy as the whole search system was created by
one of my long departed programmers, it may take some time.

It has been a frustration to me for many months.

John Cole
Coledata, Inc
419D Concord St
Havre de Grace, MD 21078, USA
Tel: 410 939 1653
-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of BCC Forums
Sent: Sunday, March 21, 2010 6:37 PM
Subject: [BCC Forum Post] benjiwoodboat: Re: Indexing or FAQing the Forum

Author: benjiwoodboat
Username: benjiwoodboat
Subject: Re: Indexing or FAQing the Forum
Forum: BCC Forum

Very nice, thanks John.
Maybe one small change while you’re in there, or its fresh on the mind –
maybe make the default search time period “all dates” or whatever the
verbage is.


John,thank you for doing this and everything else you have and continue to do for the forum.