Cruising the Turbulent Waters of the Internet
If you are reading this you already have some Internet experience in surfing the Web. Whether you like to view the various boating sites or if you only visit E-NATION for Evinrude information and entertainment, you have to admit that there is a lot of information online. Almost everything is available with the press of a few computer keys. The thing that is important is to know what is factual and what is mis-information or dis-information when something is displayed on your screen.
Because of the anonymity of the internet, some people act completely different online than they would if they were face to face with another person. It is called flaming when one launches personal attacks on another individual and/or belittles the other’s opinion, whether factual or not. In other situations the online crowd takes sides and it appears to turn into a full-blown war of the words.
On the other hand, a few qualified and experienced people spend time online to help and to educate others who ask honest questions or to share experiences on a boating forum or a newsgroup. E-NATION readers and followers of Evinrude’s Facebook page are fortunate as they have a group of specialists on hand who can offer advice and wisdom about boating, outboard servicing, and all things nautical.
There are a large number of boating websites on the ‘net. Many are part of fishing websites and others are stand alone such as we are at E-NATION. One of the largest and most popular online boating sites is The Hull Truth. Because of its size and popularity it sometimes resembles a wild-west town from the early frontier days. Other times experienced boaters offer their thoughts, suggestions, and recommendations to “noobies” — neophytes – who ask questions on internet forums. THT also has the reputation for allowing flamers and hate-mongers when it comes to discussions about various engine manufacturers, boat and motor dealers, and the type of oil to use. For some unknown reason the Evinrude E-TEC happens to be a target for some of the brand-haters who happen to frequent the site. This often results in a more bitter situations than friendly rivalries such as between sports teams, schools, or TV-networks.
A recent thread (internet-speak for a discussion in a forum) on The Hull Truth is about someone who wants to repower their boat and chooses an Evinrude E-TEC. This is one of the more mild threads without the loud and boisterous brand-bashing that occurs at times. Click HERE to read the thread.
Joining a forum is easy. Most want you to sign in with an email address and you choose a “handle” or screen name that you want to use if you prefer not to display your real name. The sign up page also may ask for other information about you and your boat but that is optional depending on how much you are willing to share online.
It is best to “lurk” for a while before posting questions or comments to get a feel for the neighborhood. Sometimes there is an FAQ section (frequently asked questions) that is recommended to read first as many commonly posted questions are answered there. Most sites have a SEARCH feature to help locate information that has been discussed previously and saves time learning about a subject. The forums also have MODERATORS that oversee the discussions, warn participants of inappropriate behavior, and may also be the GURU who can answer many of the questions asked. Some sites are free-for-alls and others are tightly controlled by the moderators. By “lurking” for a while you can soon tell whether the website is one for you.
Some other good sites for Evinrude information are E-TECOwnersGroup, BassBoatCentral, and one that I moderate FloridaSportsmanEvinrude. Boating and fishing organizations and magazines may also have forums on their websites. If you have an interest in marine mechanics and repair be sure to check out www.am-tech.org and for classic/antique outboards visit www.aomci.org. You can also use a search engine such as Bing or Google to find other forums that may interest you.
Be adventurous, try a few forums if that is something that interests you. Not only is it educational but can forge friendships that last for years, even though the people may be miles apart. Be advised that you do have to filter the “chatter” as much may be untrue or incorrect due to the different types of personalities who prefer the anonymity of online forums.