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New features for the Car Talk Community

Hi Car Talk Community Friends,

I wanted to drop you a note, and let you know that the Car Talk web site crew is currently considering a change to a new back end for the forum. Later this summer or in early fall, we’ll be moving the Car Talk web site into a new content management system. That will give us access to great forum software that will allow a number of new features-- examples include user ratings of answers, ranking of posters, better usability on mobile platforms, and easy integration of audio and video into posts.

We’d like to know what other features you’d like to see, as part of the new Car Talk Community. Let us know right here. We’ll check back from time to time, and do our best to pick a solution that meets as many of our needs as possible.

Best from Car Talk Plaza,

Doug Mayer

Senior Web Lackey

Go here:

And make yours do what theirs can do. Or just make it easy on yourself and buy theirs :wink:

I personally am not fond of user rankings and popularity contests. They don’t tend to be useful, and tend to encourage popularity contests.

I’d also suggest not having a post counter, because that just encourages people to post incessantly whether or not they have anything to say.

I would do a mobile-friendly version - preferably one that autodetects a mobile device and defaults to the mobile version.

I’d make a larger text entry box than what we currently have, and I’d make the threading better (which will require you to widen the forum size - -which should be very doable since on my screen you have literally over half a foot of wasted space consisting of red background on each side of the forum.

I’d also allow the users to select from a few color schemes, including one high-contrast one for people who may have trouble seeing regular text.

I’d put in a notification system that allows users to subscribe to threads, and receive emails when those threads are updated.

And I’d revise the “recent discussions” scheme to a “new posts since last visit” scheme.

If there was one thing, it would be a link on the discussion page to the ‘Mechx’ files. Many replies recommend the OP go there.

An optional background color would be nice also. That blinding red gets hard on the eyes.

And…will it fix the logon problem?

I agree with what Shadowfax said about post counters and by extension, seniority ratings. There are people who post and often say nothing of value. Post counters and seniority ratings may encourage this.

On the other hand, a rating system that detracted from post counts etc could be useful.

Amen, mountainbike!

I was hesitating to mention the ongoing logon problem that has existed for–perhaps 2 months. However, now that the subject has been broached–How about fixing that problem?

The ability to edit one’s own original post.

On some of these long threads that last for months, and even have weeks between comments, someone will post a comment mid way amongst the 50 or so there already. This bumps the thread to the top most current but it’s very difficult to see this single newest comment when it’s burried down somewhere near number 17.

  • perhaps when we click on that topic, it might pop on to the most current comment, central on our screen, then we could scroll to read others if we want.

How about a link to probable solutions to check for an answer before posting. I had to bookmark how to check for a battery drain as their were a few great answers, unfortunately the link is on another computer. The great answer does not always get posted. The rating of the answer would be good.

Perhaps a screen resolution adjustment for youall.
On my screen I see red on the left side merely 1/16", it’s just a little line.
On the right, less than 1/4".

I have to scroll all the way top or bottom to see any amount of red at all.

How about a CarTalk link to manufactures Technical Service Bulletins. I get weak in the knees when I think of how many people we could train if the site provided a easy way for the public to look up TSB’s

And recalls too.

There’s a lot of great stuff in the “Actual Car Info” heading at the top of this page.
They could put it there, but so many people don’t think to even look there, it needs to be a little more obvious.

I know the real repair sites like ALLDATA are subscription services. Would this free CarTalk site be able to make some kind of deal with them ?

The res problem might help. I currently have my monitor setup at 1920x1200, and about 1/4 of the screen is red bars.
I’ll also echo the return to the old style post setup where the newest post is always at the bottom of the thread, with an optional “quote post” when one replies.
A kind of private messaging system would be nice, but I could see it being abused too. Say I’m heading out to Oklahoma and want to know some good places to eat that aren’t on the local tourist map. I know one person on here from there, and a PM would be nice to have so it wouldn’t clutter up the forum.

Two things, Doug:

  1. I don’t like rating responders, though rating specific responses was and still is an excellent feature. Rating responders could discourage newbie participation if someone is not immediately accepted, or holds an unpopular opinion. Opinions are OK, even if they don’t jibe with mine. Expressing them poorly, on the other hand, is unwelcome and we seem to take those responders to task without a rating system.

  2. It would be great if the new system allowed us to see new posts without paging through the old posts. Popular threads become tedious when I have to page forward 4 or more times to find the newest post. IIRC, we had that feature before the present system was put in place.

And thanks for giving me a great place to waste, um, spend my free time.

More posts per page or at least when you go to next page so many times there are 1-2 posts from last page.

And a FAQ section, there are a few questions that show up every other day:
-How often should I change my (choose your fluid)?
-What pressure in the tires?
-What’s the best tire?
-Should I coast?

Being able to see when the Original Post was created would be really nice.

Being able to see if I have already posted to a thread would be REALLY REALLY nice.

Subscribing to threads isn’t really needed, but every now and again, would be kinda okay, but even better for the Original Poster, so that they can see when someone responds to their thread, and they can possibly update it with requested info, or get the info that will solve their problem.


I have to agree with JT. I also do not like the idea if ranking responders. This is not a competition or a contest. All who participate in a respectful manner should be afforded equal respect.

I emplore you to reconsider the idea of ranking participants.

this idea is so totally BOSS, yes do this for sure.

restoring the old text size would be nice, or a feature where we could enlarge the text, for better visiblity would be good.
Being able to correct misspellings or typos after we post, to clarify an answer instead of having our mistakes set in concrete.
being able to look back through those items where some particular responder has posted, over say two or three weeks would also be good.
having a note of explanation for deleted posts would be very helpful.

When I follow an active thread, it’s often difficult to search for the new replies which I’ve not read. This is especially true when replies are not added to the end of a thread but to the middle of a conversation. It would be good if there was some easy way to determine where the most recent replies are.