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Oakman
I have read on other websites that Social Knowledge now owns RV Park Reviews. Is there any truth to this?
docj
Yes, Social Knowledge, the parent company of IRV2.com and numerous other social media sites now owns RVPR. You should expect to see exciting changes and improvements to this site in the near future. In addition, a phone app is being developed. There was a separate thread on which some people were suggesting improvements they would like to see. You are welcome to post some of your ideas, also.
GandJ
Improvements?! How is that even possible, considering that RVPR is perfect already. smile.gif
Oakman
Thanks for the quick reply. RVParkReviews is an important research tool for my RV travels.
nedmtnman
New and improved is always scary for me. I like this site as is. Works good for me.
dalsgal
I checked them out yesterday after I saw this thread. Not impressed at all.
docj
I'm not sure what you saw on the Social Knowledge website that would have elicited your negative reaction. The company runs numerous social media websites. They are not exclusively focused on RVing, but they bring computer resources and $$ that have been lacking on this website. You may not be aware of it, but the server and software running this site are very limited in capability. Many of the extras that people would like to see, such as being able to upload pictures, requires more computer horsepower than we have today. I, for one, am excited about being able to modernize this site and improve its usefulness to users.
Andy R
Yes, RV Park Reviews has been acquired by Social Knowledge. I was in touch with the previous owners for many years expressing my desire to include RV Park Reviews in our network of RV forum communities. The stars finally lined up last year and we became the proud new stewards of such a wonderful resource.

We've been working on building a new back end system (database) that will allow us to build some new features in the future. We are 1,000% aware that most people don't like change and are making every effort to leave buttons and navigational bits in close to the same places. We would much rather an evolution of the site (ie. something very similar with slight changes) not a revolution (ie. something totally new).

Here you can see an example of the individual campground page:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/rk0ewk9id8wmngd/r...-campground.png

Currently the navigation is Country >> State >> City and we plan to leave that but also add in ways to see results based on your driving route (ie. all parks within 10 miles of I-35 between Austin and Dallas) and also parks near attractions since many people might want to go somewhere specific but no know what cities are nearby.

We plan to setup a section in the forum to discuss these changes and solicit input from the community. We are looking forward to helping make an already wonderful resource even better!
Oakman
OK Andy R, you've got me excited about the changes that are planned. Thanks for the response.
JDOLLEN
So far I like what is planned. The drop box sample looks clean and easy to read.
Andy R
It's great to hear the positive feedback on the screen shot of the campground page and our development plans. We have been thinking through a lot of the concepts that power the site trying to figure out if there might be a better way. For example, offering the members to vote up/down reviews is a great way to surface helpful info. We are also planning to separate the review process from the campground data submission process. Basically the campground data will turn into a wiki like system with logs of all changes. The review process will be shorter because the person leaving the review won't have to figure out if the campground data is correct or not. When a new campground is added it combines these two process as steps into a single process so you can add then rate a new facility.

Here is a screen shot of a review input form we working on:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/gtdhapgrkep10x9/r...eview-page2.png

You will notice that we are asking for more info about specific campsites. This is in hopes that we can gather more micro data around the campground on specific sites and other amenities so you can really get an accurate view of the place.

Once the new site is live we plan to roll out phone/tablet apps so you can take RV Park Reviews with you on the road. We have not defined any of the features but I'm pretty excited that we will have the foundation in place to push forward.
mdcamping
I noticed trip adviser uses a feature showing how many reviews are posted by the reviewer along with tagging a membership status based on the amount of those reviews: exp. new or full or advanced reviewer. I always thought that would be a good idea with this site because it would help loose credit to the people that post just one or a few ax to grind or advertisement type reviews.


Putting all this aside, love the new ideas you guys have planned!

Mike


Andy R
QUOTE(mdcamping @ Feb 4 2014, 09:34 PM) *
I always thought that would be a good idea with this site because it would help loose credit to the people that post just one or a few ax to grind or advertisement type reviews.
I agree. We are evaluating various methods like this in hopes that we can find a solution to prevent abuse of the system by disgruntled clients & unethical campground owners promoting their own or leaving bad reviews on competitors.

We plan to have a hover over which will let you see a better summary of a users reviews so it will be easy to see if a person leaves only really bad reviews. That might weigh in on your decision of how much value to put into that review.

Our first goal is to get the site switched over to the new platform and get rid of any bugs. We can then tackle projects to further enhance the site in the future. Phone and Tablet apps are also high on our priority list.

Please keep the feedback coming!
Fitzjohnfan
Andy, I like the new format and I think it will be a great inprovement, BUT, with one comment: Please make sure this does not slow down the opperation of the site, and it is still just as easy to use. I have seen too many websites add "improvements" which slow down performance (e.g. Yahoo mail is now much slower, Craigslist is slower and screen hops around making it more difficult to use).

Also, what is the purpose of the "is this review helpful (yes) (no)" button. Those of us who use the site find most of the reviews helpful as a collection.

Finally, I love the idea of being able to see RV Parks along a specific route! Make this a priority!

Also, please try to allocate more time to database admin. You may know that within a national park and state park, there can be several campgrounds. The admins have spent alot of time breaking out the campgrounds in the national parks so you can find the individual campgrounds, but the state parks still need lots of work.
Lindsay Richards
Looks great to me. I hope you keep the feature of being able to see the basics of all campgrounds in a town on one page. That makes it a lots easier for us. I like the nearby towns with the mileage feature also. I hate to see any changes, but I know there will be coming I assume that the advertising will be increased as that is what pays for the internet. The mobile website has been a great feature for us also. A phone app might make it easier to navigate to.
docj
QUOTE(Fitzjohnfan @ Feb 5 2014, 04:42 PM) *

Andy, I like the new format and I think it will be a great inprovement, BUT, with one comment: Please make sure this does not slow down the opperation of the site, and it is still just as easy to use. I have seen too many websites add "improvements" which slow down performance (e.g. Yahoo mail is now much slower, Craigslist is slower and screen hops around making it more difficult to use).


As Andy noted, the entire website is being migrated to an entirely new server in order to provide additional capabilities and to provide the "horsepower" necessary to ensure that these aren't added at the expense of performance.


QUOTE(Fitzjohnfan @ Feb 5 2014, 04:42 PM) *
Also, what is the purpose of the "is this review helpful (yes) (no)" button. Those of us who use the site find most of the reviews helpful as a collection.


As an example, both TripAdvisor and Amazon let readers "vote" on whether or not a particular review is helpful. That way when you encounter someone's review you can see how many "helpful" votes they have received. It doesn't mean their reviews are better but it is another method for evaluating this person's reviews and how much trust you should put in them.


QUOTE(Fitzjohnfan @ Feb 5 2014, 04:42 PM) *

Also, please try to allocate more time to database admin. You may know that within a national park and state park, there can be several campgrounds. The admins have spent alot of time breaking out the campgrounds in the national parks so you can find the individual campgrounds, but the state parks still need lots of work.


A lot of the features many of us would like to add have been limited by the capabilities of the current system. For example, even the excellent re-do of the national parks has resulted in all of the campgrounds in a park being aggregated as if they all were in a single location so that the "nearby" box is meaningless. As a result, someone who wants to know what town a specific campground is near has to use a map or Google maps. Ideally, a campground can have multiple attributes so that it can be tagged, for example, as being in a national park AND that is near a particular town. Not all these improvements will be available immediately when the new system is ready, but moving to the new platform will give RVPR the ability to evolve.

Dutch_12078
I like the new look, but please keep in mind that many of us are dependent on mobile data plans with limited bandwidth. Excessive use of complex pages and graphics can be serious data eaters, and Flash or any streaming media should be avoided, including in any third-party ads. A well implemented CSS layout can be low impact as well as functional and aesthetically pleasing. The security issues related to Java are well known, so best to avoid that as well.
edcornflake
They keep telling me that "the only constant is change". As long as I can still get the info I need in a quick and efficient manner, and find interesting topics in teh forum, I'm all for it.
Andy R
Thanks for the great feedback, keep it coming!

Joel's (docj) responses above are spot on regarding those topics.

Dutch, we will indeed take into consideration data plans. We plan to have a responsive style that will keep the page size small on phones/tablets but many use devices like MiFi for mobile data so we will keep the main website trim as well.

I'm looking forward to working with you all on ideas to make the site better in the future!
John S.
I am the moderator of a high line motorhome manufacturer that is very active. We went to new software and the learning curve was a bit steep but doable for many who are not super computer literate. I would say make the best site you can and do not worry about where the buttons are as the functionality of this site is not very robust. It does serve a purpose. I will say if there is too much advertising you might see a drop off in numbers. Remember that this site was the first to start up but there are now other sites that have been catching up and getting a few reviews on many of the campgrounds.
docj
QUOTE(John S. @ Feb 12 2014, 05:17 PM) *

I will say if there is too much advertising you might see a drop off in numbers. Remember that this site was the first to start up but there are now other sites that have been catching up and getting a few reviews on many of the campgrounds.


I can't understand why anyone complains about advertising on forums. If you don't like seeing it, block it. I run AdBlock with Chrome and see absolutely no ads. I'm sure the advertisers aren't pleased, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to use it.
Andy R
QUOTE(John S. @ Feb 12 2014, 03:17 PM) *
I would say make the best site you can and do not worry about where the buttons are as the functionality of this site is not very robust.
I've been working with RV related communities for more then a decade and it's obvious that software changes can be challenging for the users. Knowing this, we have made every effort to try and keep familiar links and navigational elements in the same places. One of the first things we did before designing a single thing was to use some heat map tools to monitor how people actually click through the site. Here you can see a couple of them.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/xex9uhafj7e8bez/r...e%20heatmap.gif
https://www.dropbox.com/s/cd7aa1feg36426l/r...e%20heatmap.gif

Even though we are trying hard to keep things similar, it will be a new system and some things will be in new places. We will be here to help everyone get settled and this change is the foundation for being able to create some really amazing features in the future.
MaineDon
Yikes! This site has been so good and so helpful. We've used it extensively for over 10 years and, reading the proposed changes, has me worried. Dutch's comments above are right on the money. I think of all the parks we've stayed in across the country with fragile and weak WiFi signals, where you wait and wait to get the current review format downloaded. How will access be with what appears to be 2-3 times the information now provided for each park? I suspect not good. Guess i am getting old and cranky.
docj
QUOTE(MaineDon @ Feb 16 2014, 12:19 PM) *

Yikes! This site has been so good and so helpful. We've used it extensively for over 10 years and, reading the proposed changes, has me worried. Dutch's comments above are right on the money. I think of all the parks we've stayed in across the country with fragile and weak WiFi signals, where you wait and wait to get the current review format downloaded. How will access be with what appears to be 2-3 times the information now provided for each park? I suspect not good. Guess i am getting old and cranky.


Just because the new format may have a few additional buttons doesn't mean that the amount of data required to load it will be all that much greater. Even if there are pictures and/or video available online doesn't mean you need to view them. Social Knowledge manages lots of websites and I trust they know how to design them to be user-friendly.
mdcamping
Might consider expanding the forum, maybe something similar to the RV.net or irv2 forum... like the idea of a introduction/new member discussion threads.

mike
Texasrvers
QUOTE(mdcamping @ Apr 13 2014, 08:37 AM) *

Might consider expanding the forum, maybe something similar to the RV.net or irv2 forum... like the idea of a introduction/new member discussion threads.

mike



Our forum could use some expansion. Thanks for the suggestion.
Texasrvers
In light of some comments that have been posted in other threads here and on RV.net, I would just like to say that I have been an admin on this website for about 7 years, and this site is definitely due for a major overhaul. I liked and respected the previous owner. He turned RVPR into a leading website making it so popular that it outgrew his capabilities to take care of it. He simply did not have the time or the staff to maintain, much less update, it anymore.

From what I know of Andy he is a great guy. He is excited about purchasing the site and is ready, willing, and able to take it to a much higher level of information and service. We are essentially creatures of habit, and anything that disrupts our way of doing things is traumatic, but Andy has some great ideas for improvement that will make the site easier to use and more helpful to RV enthusiasts. Of course, as with anything that is new, there will be a period of adjustment, and there could even be some glitches, but I know Andy and his staff will respond quickly to resolve any issue.

Therefore, when the new site finally rolls out, I hope all of you will give it a chance because I know a lot of thought and hard work went into making it better. We hope that you will find it to be more user friendly while continuing to keep and expand all the good information that RVers need so that they can make informed decisions about RV parks and campgrounds.
Andy R
Thanks for the kind word Barbara. Having worked with many communities over the years, I learned we have to earn the trust of the members. We earn trust by being part of the community, trying to be open/transparent about why we manage things a certain way and putting forth our best effort.

When it comes to change, we will make mistakes and that's ok. Sometimes we just have to try new things to see how they work out and if the results are better, great. If not, then revert and try something else. The important thing is that we not be afraid to try and evolve. If we are, others will gladly try to take our place. With such a smart member base and team, I think we can do great things here with RVPR!
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