backchannel: responses to Is the RTR dead?

> Opinions are great,

My take is that in the larger community worshipful opinions on Bob/CRVL are accepted without question, lots of nodding heads. Criticism gets the hackles up,
emotionally speaking.
“Abandoned”: Bob’s attention was focused squarely on the forum before the ascendance of YT: he posted near-daily. Then he stopped posting for months (five months, at least, when I disabled my account). He left the forum broken for months while he focused on YT. I can’t give you exact date ranges since folks who aren’t logged in can’t see posting histories. You can check for yourself to see if he’s returned to his pre-YT level of involvement:

“Forbade”: “Fellas, you are totally welcome to have any gathering you want. BUT… RTR is a Registered Trademark that I own and I am NOT going to give you permission to use it.” [EMPHASIS in the original]
Bob is emotionally driven by his concerns for women in (real or perceived) need. It’s literally part of his “origin story”. And that’s cool, do what ya want with one’s own platform.. As for me I prefer to treat people equally, and will call out people who do otherwise.

“Cult”: “[an org with] followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader.” – wordnik
A little on the nose, if you ask me.

> Strong words with heavy emotional charges.

Maybe. I’ll point out that phrases like “the usual naysayers”, “especially inspired every year by women who face their fears”, “throwing the BS”, or “How anyone can believe that is beyond me.” aren’t precisely emotionally neutral.

> I’ll ask for specific examples, screenshots

See above

> direct experience.

I’ve attended precisely as many RTR as the author has, and we both live in vehicles. My posting history on CRVL forums is visible under user “fratermus”. It may not be as long as your posting history there; perhaps you could share your forum username.

My praise and criticism of CRVL is available on my blog:
This post is representative of my position that “feelz > realz” does a disservice to new ‘dwellers:

backchannel: peace in the forum

My praise and criticism of CRVL youtube posts is available under “frater mus”.

I have repeatedly encouraged new folk to attend at least one RTR, and I still do. I make the recommendation because exposure to experienced dwellers with functional builds is incredibly valuable.

> “they just don’t get it.”

There can be a lot of daylight between “disagreeing” and “not getting it”. This is a fundament of good faith discussion.

2020 RTR

The event will be held at the La Paz County Fairground, which is half way between Parker, Arizona, and Quartzsite, Arizona. It’s very near the intersection where Highway 95, heading straight north from Quartzsite, meets Highway 72 at a traffic light. To get to the Fairground, you go north through the light onto Center Ave (straight through if coming from Quartzsite, turn left if coming from Parker, turn right if coming from Bouse). The dates are January 18-27 for the RTR and January 14-17 for the WRTR.

From the description on this video.

I do not plan to attend any more.  The RTR was useful while it was an informal thing on the CRVL forum.  People had to be interested and involved to know about it.  Then Bob started talking about it on youtube and it exploded into the crowded, clueless, hand-holding, control-freaked monstrosity it is now.  Then he abandoned the forum.

I’ll remind onlookers once again that Bob supports a WRTR while saying he will “never” give male ‘dwellers permission to do a MRTR.  The privilege is practically dripping off me at this point.

CRVL: Thank U, next

I received another thoughtful reply from rvwandering, the only clueful mod at Cheap RV Living forum.  I understand his stated reasons (not presented here as it was in a private message).  Those reasons are not necessarily his own but are a function of Bob’s “hugs and unicorns uber alles” attitude.  It neuters the ability of forum members to correct misinformation/disinformation when they see it.

I’d already decided to throw in the towel on CRVL but since he is a reasonable, caring person I wanted him to understand why I’m walking away from it.

I put in *hours* of careful writing into that thread before the deletions because I knew it was important to rebut intentional misinformation/FUD. IDGAF what people like [redacted] buy or think as long as they aren’t poisoning the well for onlookers.

At any rate I have given up on CRVL. New folks are being misinformed at their impressionable stage by loudmouths and bullshitters. If folks are not allowed to push back on the bullshit (ie, “back and forth arguing”) then I won’t stick around to watch the newbs [get damaged].

I’ve removed the CRVL sticker from my van and have attended my last RTR.  I will continue to write on the RVwiki, reddit, and my blog, all places where I can revise/correct after 15mins, and not have my efforts sent to a black holes.

Please continue making a difference on the forums; you are are good mod and a good influence. Unfortunately I worry you are stuck in a situation where Bob’s “feelz > realz” worldview will limit your ability to do much good, and will lead to [burnout].

I might do some backchannel explication posts related to CRVL content, but I won’t cast any more pearls there.

backchannel: moderating abbreviators

From this thread:

[redacted] didn’t get banned or anything like that he just got put on moderation. he can still post but now his posts must get approved.

…at least we not PMing him back and forth trying to get definitions out of him. [He] could have avoided all of this at anytime in the last few months, all he had to do was define his abbreviations, he flat out refused. he was warned and warned and warned and warned and warned, still he refused. we had no choice.


What kind of forum mods can’t figure out what abbreviations mean and have to ask OP?  I had zero problems figuring out abbreviations from context and I’m not a mod.  I’m not even particularly bright.

If the mod’s motives were what they say then there were several choices:

  1. edit the posts to insert definitions where the mod finds clarification useful – some extra work required, but the mods are already doing extra work to moderate his every comment.
  2. add a link to abbreviation definitions in the mod’s signature
  3. add a link to abbreviation definitions in a sidebar, sticky, or forum header
  4. add a link to abbreviation definitions to the poster’s signature through mod access

a priori

Let’s assume the mod is self-aware and expressing his intent accurately.  Here are some reasons undefined abbreviations might be undesirable:

  • the information might not be useful to new folks.  If the mods wanted to enforce usefulness they would also have to moderate those who post misinformation, conspiracy theories, “funny” comments to real questions, and general foolishness.  I block them in the forum Ignore Users function, but it still leaves the info out there for the gullible to see.
  • the information might not be usable to new folks.  i.e, the content may be good but the presentation reduces the ability of readers to understand it.  If the mods wanted to enforce usability they would also have to moderate those who post walls-of-text, run-on sentences, bizarre spelling, nonstandard syntax and/or style, etc.

a matter of style

The moderated forum member and I have the same goal:  provide high quality information without having to type it all out every  single time.   Typing it out everytime leads to burnout.

His approach, as I understand it, is to maintain a storehouse of curated text that can be pasted in where applicable, and write transitional material as needed.  This has the advantage of providing the information wherever it is needed;  the readers can stay on the page.  The transitional material is where abbreviations are most often found.

My approach has been to write RVwiki articles then link to them in context, being as brief as possible.   Part of this is because on many topics the RVwiki isn’t complete/finished/accurate yet, and linking to the article allows me to refine the information over time.  The advantage is that the user can get the most corrected information available in that article no matter when they click on.  A real disadvantage of my approach is some of the greener newbies don’t realize that the links are links.    Part of this due to the webmaster’s decision to forgot the normal underlined style for clickable links.

the deep issue

IMO the deep issue is over time the mod took a dislike to the poster’s style, and is now (unconsciously or otherwise) using the abbreviations issue as a bludgeon against him.  The forum owner prefers warm fuzzy posts over informational-but-aloof posts and the mod is selectively enforcing it.

I will point out, perhaps unkindly, that the mod’s own posts are not models of clarity.  And the mod is as guilty of blunt language and imperative posts (“You should…”) as anyone else on the forum.

fragment: CRVL, patreon, and social justice

[draft fragment from June!]


Well, there it is:  the YT announcement of the CRVL patreon account.    Unfortunately, the concerns I expressed in my prior post about such things were valid.

My larger concern is the tone of this extract from the description:

In some way that I can’t even begin to understand, I’ve been given the opportunity and responsibility to be a part of helping the disenfranchised at a moment of crisis in American history.

That’s a little… overwrought.

possible fallout

Coming down explicitly on the Social Justice side may exacerbate some tensions that hide under the surface* — consider the mods’ stated willingness to kill threads about homelessness.   It could cause a schism or hard split[s] in the community: Continue reading “fragment: CRVL, patreon, and social justice”

Backchannel: abbreviations are not gibberish

from this thread:

this thread is loaded with abbreviations. try to remember there are many newbies here and they don’t learn from gibberish which abbreviations are. is it that hard? are we that lazy?

  1. Abbreviations aren’t gibberish.
  2. Is pressing the <Shift> key that hard, once at the beginning of every sentence?  Are you that lazy?

Here was the reply I wrote then moved here:

John, please use purple text, rainbow emojis, and lots of hugz and feelz. This is far more important that mere correct information and similar wastes of time. People come here to feel better, not to learn how to live cheaply in a van or other vehicle. That’s why the forum is called GoodHappyHugsTown!!!!!!.com You are a disappointment to us all etc, etc.

John treats people as if they are competent adults with full agency, and they are the better for it.

CRVL and fundraising posts

from a recent mod post:

Consider helping vandweller [redacted]* with her financial need for eye surgeries due to Graves Disease. Here are Bob’s 2 latest videos about [redacted] for updates about her current living situation, as well as the link to her Go Fund Me Campaign.

Seems to me that the income from the Amazon links on CRVL could be set aside for “worthy cause” situations like this.   Why dun the poor when the founder is already making money from their posts and purchases?

Bob is making a comfortable income off YT (I have seen estimates of $70k/yr based on views) and seems to have abandoned the forum.  The timestamps on his profile suggest he hasn’t logged in since the forum was resurrected, and his last post was on 5/8.


*I redacted the name because the issue is general and not personal.  I don’t know the person referenced and make no judgements about worthiness.


overhead storage in PM

Note:  I originally tried to post this on CRVL, but the borked forum software has stopped parsing clickable thumbnails and displaying them.  So pasting the post here.

Been a while since my last update. Work has been weird, then I got Lyme disease a coupla weeks ago. Not as much fun as it sounds.

I took down the steel pieces I was going to use to hang overhead storage, rearranged them, and added in an extra mountpoint on each side. Bolted them back in.

This weekend I was determined to get some kind of storage installed. It needed to be Continue reading “overhead storage in PM”

forum sabbatical

I’m taking a break from the forums for a bit.  Couple of reasons:

  1. I really didn’t miss CRVL while it was down
  2. Bob didn’t seem to care much that it was down (youtube has become the tail that wags the dog)
  3. I have been getting grouchier from FAQ burnout.  To paraphrase Dr. Bruce Banner:  “I don’t like me when I’m grouchy”.

I’m going to use that time to improve the wiki.  I think it’s where I can do the most good.

WAG about CRVL’s mentor program

[Correction – It appears the downtime was an unplanned outage and the host/webmaster service is unwilling or unable to get it fixed. frater/jason]

I haven’t seen them yet, but I have read that Bob has said in a video that the CRVL downtime is due to changes made to accommodate the mentor program.  Maybe that’s a bit of retconning the unannounced forum downtime, or maybe it’s real.  [note – see blog comments below for more info on this — frater/jason]

Both are problematic, from my point of view.

If the downtime was unplanned then Bob’s hoster (Hello World) is more clueless than I thought, and Bob is more careless than I thought.  The host should be making backups automagically, and Bob (or delegate) should be making an off-site backup regularly. It’s really not hard to restore a forum’s DB from a backup:  close the forum-db connection, load the backup, open the connection.

If the downtime was planned this suggests some functionality being built in for the Mentoring program.  I don’t have a good feeling about that.

A mentoring program could be implemented informally, with new members being assigned to older ones (quasi-moderator role).  Support would be done in PM.

Implementing system changes for mentoring makes me think there will be some [additional] control freakery to keep non-approved folks away from newbs.  We already know what Bob thinks about posters who fail to hand out hugs with their advice.

I suppose it is possible the mentoring program will be implemented in a non-forum section of the site, and the designer[s] for that dorked up the DB accidentally, taking out the forum.

Regardless how it’s implemented, I think there is a 25% chance the mentoring program will be pay-to-play, even if a nominal amount.  🙁