Introducing Ask Someone Who Owns One

Hi everyone,

I wanted to let you know about a new feature that has launched for the site, in conjunction with our partners at It’s called Ask Someone Who Owns One. It allows people using Car Complaints to get some more information from others beyond what they’re seeing there. What does this mean for us?

You’re already starting to see some threads whose titles begin “Ask Someone…” with some text and a number. Individuals browsing Car Complaints can use the feature to post their questions, and it funnels through to the Car Talk Community. It’s just gone live on Friday, so we are all getting used to it. We’re aiming to bring some more questions and topics into the community, and bring in participation from others who may have brand-specific knowledge.

Inevitably with these launches, there are hiccups. I’ve been in touch with my fellow Lackeys with some observations, and of course if you notice what’s working or not working, let us know. I do ask that you give these questions a chance as you’d help others who registered directly to the site. The questions sometimes seem disconnected from context, as if they refer to source material we don’t see. Please be patient, and if needed, ask for more info. When you reply, it notifies the posters who originated with Car Complaints.

We want to keep the Car Talk Community lively and growing for years into the future. We appreciate your ongoing participation, and we want you to let us know how it’s going.

Thanks for your consideration, and welcome to all new users.



Here’s a link of a mock-up for what it looks like from their end.

How much extra work would it be on the CT side to have us regulars list which cars we own, and then when one of these questions comes through it notifies people who actually own it?

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Hi Folks,

I want to chime in with a bit of follow up.

What was supposed to be a quiet launch, as we worked out various kinks, apparently got everyone’s attention!

Here’s an update on this project. It’s something we’ve been working steadily on, since not long after we migrate the community to Discourse. It’s exactly the kind of creative thing we can do with Discourse— allowing like-minded sites to post questions seamlessly, so we can get the word about about the Community and allow more people to use it as they see fit— either to get crowd-sourced help or, for a few of them we hope, to stick around and help out.

Our moderators, Carolyn and Victoria, will be helping out with this process. We plan to make the subjects of the posts more user-friendly. And, we’ll assign categories as posts come in, so the discussions end up in the correct category.

Some of you have noticed a bug or two. We’ll be addressing those this week.

Anyone can now create a Car Talk account and receive emails whenever there’s a discussion about their car. We now have over 28,000 subscribers to this service. Together with Ask Someone Who Owns one, we hope we can create something useful and maybe even a little bit enjoyable for the Car Talk Community.

As always, thanks for hanging out here. Let me know if you have questions.

All Best,

Doug Mayer

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Personally , I can’t even imagine why a person would want to do that.

So do the questioners have to have a Car Talk account before they submit the question then? I haven’t seen a ton of responses from the OPs yet…

An account gets generated when they enter their question and share their email. We’re checking to make sure answers are being emailed correctly to them, now.

Doug, have you even looked at how many of those questions showing up in ’ Ask Someone ’ are impossible to answer or don’t even make sense.


Yes. We’re working on it. I just ask that folks please show some patience as we work through these issues. It will take time. None of us works full time on the web site, so fixes and new policies will not move as quickly as any of us would like.

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Please, please give these folks on the linking website some instruction. Somewhere on that site should ask them the model, year, the mileage, and ask for a brief description of their problem. These one line questions like - My car doesn’t run, what’s wrong? - are getting old really fast.

I am having trouble resisting the urge to reply - It’s broken!


Some of these posts we are getting from “Ask someone who owns one” seem to be replying to something we haven’t seen.

I looked at the carcomplaints site - it appears as if they do enter the model, year, and mileage on that site, but it does not transfer to the cartalk site resulting in annoyance for users/posters on both sites.

I did my own little unscientific research just now. I read 10 of the Ask Someone posts. Of the 10, only 3 were written in a way that someone could respond reasonably. That number confirms what I thought from my previous readings. Some were poorly written - run on sentences, no grammar, written like a text to a friend, not for a general audience. Some don’t have any info to help troubleshooting. Some simply don’t ask a question after a laundry list of complaints. In contrast, I would think that cartalk posts would meet the same standard 2/3 to 3/4 of the time.

This is just a lesson on merging different message boards with different expectations.

Perhaps in 3 months we’ll be happy with the connection and the additional new members it has brought, but right now it’s mostly a frustrating experience.


@cdaquila Hello Carolyn, dumb thought here. When moving the new posts from the ( ask someone ) place if the ask someone and reference number is left that might reduce people getting so annoyed because they might realize where the vague post came from.

Believe me, I’m not being glib…but @VOLVO_V70 a number of people seemed annoyed when they knew precisely what they were. Whatever works to help integrate this into the site, I’m open to. But we do have to make it work.

A post was split to a new topic: TPS on 2002 LeSabre

A post was split to a new topic: Oil pressure sending unit - 2002 Le Sabre

@cdaquila Has the ’ Ask Someone ’ category been sent into cyberspace ?

No. THanks for asking, though. I was going to post and let you know.

What we’ve done as we get the hang of this is make the posts tagged “Ask Someone…” visible only to moderators. We take a look at them and classify them appropriately in one of the other topic groups. Those that are completely impossible to understand (like the post referencing someone named Ted that we didn’t know about), we’re deleting them. I will say that sometimes posts that are moved into Repair/Maintenance or another category may not be presented in the way that you’d like (when there’s a problem statement but not necessarily a specific question, there’s minimal info beyond a vague problem and a make/model, etc) we ask that if you choose to respond (and if you think there’s insufficient info, you can certainly not respond) please do so in a respectful and welcoming manner. Just like with posts that don’t come from Car Complaints, we wouldn’t want someone not to reply simply because they thought the respondents responded in a harsh manner.