Why Keep This Forum Going?

Discuss Christopher Ward watches
sproughton
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Re: Why Keep This Forum Going?

Post by sproughton » Wed Sep 25, 2019 7:57 pm

Two things have been raised here.

1) Why keep it going at all?

2) why does there appear to be less engagement than there once was.

On point 1, I assume they still see a benefit and as it's still independently run it would be a bit of a PR nightmare to close it down.

Point 2 is simple in my mind. There's not the same buzz around the company 15(ish) years in as there was after 5 or 10 years in. People finding out about a new watch company with great prices keep that buzz going; the same thing doesn't happen with a firm that his been around a bit and the value is not as clear as it once was.

Add in logo issues, customer service and QC c*ck ups (not to mention the whole hipster debacle) and you get fewer posts of genuine, unadultered excitement. This leads to more of a 'normal' vibe with chunks of negativity thrown in which seeps through older members and new ones.

AVO I'll be honest, I personally ignore almost all happy birthday and welcome threads as they clogged up the forum from my actual interest, watches. Perhaps I'm part of a wider issue in that regard, enabling a forum that's less of a community than it could be.

I'm sure we can work it out, just need to come together and get by with a little help from our friends.

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Re: Why Keep This Forum Going?

Post by StrapMeister » Wed Sep 25, 2019 8:09 pm

In my relative short time here I have also seen a change in what's being posted (or not as the case may be) - particularly around issues.
Fine, the Forum is setup to "invite" this type of post.
Yes it gets very frustrating and annoying but I've got to the point where I tend to ignore it.

For the record, if I have a problem (which I have had in the past), I'll do my research on the warranty, consult the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and then call CW directly and politely discuss the situation - this generally speaking is a far better way to get a satisfactory resolution.

Here's a contary thought about Facebook...
If you were not a regular user (i.e. accessing every day) then you would almost certainly miss loads of interesting stuff.
I certainly don't have the time or inclination to try and trawl through the um-teen posts/chat/whatever.
The benefit of the Forum is that I can scan through the latest posts easily and quickly and, if I feel inclined, read and/or reply.
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Re: Why Keep This Forum Going?

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia » Wed Sep 25, 2019 8:23 pm

sproughton wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 7:57 pm
I'm sure we can work it out, just need to come together and get by with a little help from our friends.
I wanna hold your hand (in the most hearty and hail-fellow way, you understand) on the long and winding road. But we need to ensure that our friends are all aboard, nothing’s gonna change my world, and then we can start to make it better.
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Re: Why Keep This Forum Going?

Post by scooter » Wed Sep 25, 2019 8:25 pm

Ob-la di, ob-la-da.

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Re: Why Keep This Forum Going?

Post by RustyinRochester » Wed Sep 25, 2019 8:59 pm

I was an early joiner of this forum right after I purchased my first CWL watch, a brown dialed Rapide. I had been involved with several other watch fora and all seemed quite busy. Now, most of them are gone, have been sold, or are sites where only crickets are chirping.

As to OP’s original query, I think that these fora have life cycles, peaks and valleys. Some where I have been were like the old west in that there were fights every day and night. Others were slow to welcome new members. This one always seemed like the friendliest. Even when one member told another to f#$k off, it was done in a gentlemanly manner. If this forum has outlived its usefulness, then it will be crickets here as well. Part of a brand centric forum has to do with the excitement surrounding the brand. I think some of the thrill around the CWL brand has waned.
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Re: Why Keep This Forum Going?

Post by Markornot » Wed Sep 25, 2019 9:04 pm

“And in the end, the love you take
Is equal to the love you make”
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Re: Why Keep This Forum Going?

Post by Korkki » Wed Sep 25, 2019 9:27 pm

Why don’t we do it in the road? No one will be watching us...
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Re: Why Keep This Forum Going?

Post by what-time-is-it » Wed Sep 25, 2019 9:59 pm

Good post Avo.

Downturn in my opinion is linked to...

Over moderation last year
Less goodwill to the brand and by association the forum due to poor customer experiences in 2019 which is also reflected on Trustpilot
Perception of more exciting and better value brands elsewhere on Kickstarter etc
Prices have been slowly creeping up

Some regular posters have left, others banned and they had character which left a void. Come back Tyke!

It's easy to post new or interesting content on the forum, but it needs regular contributions otherwise what's the point?

Still posting when I can, but no longer a brand promoter.
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Re: Why Keep This Forum Going?

Post by TigerChris » Wed Sep 25, 2019 10:08 pm

what-time-is-it wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 9:59 pm


Come back Tyke!
And Reggie, Chris (Disjt) etc.. Lets have some fun again :thumbup: :D
If it’s not from Yorkshire it’s sh1te!

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Re: Why Keep This Forum Going?

Post by what-time-is-it » Wed Sep 25, 2019 10:13 pm

Agree, plenty of others - not just from Yorkshire. :shock:
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Re: Why Keep This Forum Going?

Post by TigerChris » Wed Sep 25, 2019 10:14 pm

what-time-is-it wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 10:13 pm
Agree, plenty of others - not just from Yorkshire. :shock:
Reggie was from your neck of the woods I think mate, and Chris from Plymouth way :thumbup:
If it’s not from Yorkshire it’s sh1te!

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Re: Why Keep This Forum Going?

Post by FloridaPhil » Thu Sep 26, 2019 12:05 am

Many of the relevant points have been raised already so I won't repeat them.

Facebook engagement is what has drawn me away from the forum. I experience a camaraderie on FB that I never particularly found here.

Additionally, the forum largely has a single brand focus (duh!) compared to the wide variety, from new microbrands to established big-hitters, discussed daily on FB. It is self-constraining despite other non-CW areas being available.

For me personally, I have outgrown my focus on CW (initiated by the new logo which for me was, and continues to be, a stone-cold turn off). The target demographic moved away from me and I moved away from CW so I now post a lot less than I once did.

The excitement has gone for me and, I suspect, many other 'old timers'. The new, (younger?) customers are much more likely to use Instagram than the forum or even Facebook. I suggest they will come here largely to find specific information about their watch, CW, or how to handle issues. And that's what we are seeing.

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Re: Why Keep This Forum Going?

Post by Kip » Thu Sep 26, 2019 12:16 am

Some good questions raised here for which I will try to offer some answers and opinions.

I have been here longer than most and have seen this forum grow along with CW. In fact, I like to think I have had a bit of hand in its growth, along with our founder and many excellent moderators over the years.

The brand centered forum that we started as, is still our primary focus, but we have added many forums and research areas over the years. Most with the help of many forum members. Yes… that is you guys…This forum is a group effort. Good bad or indifferent.

Paul is correct that our first tipping point was at the time of the first CW rebranding. This change brought forth a tremendous amount of negative posting due to dislike of the logo and or the change in general. Truth be known, one of the current Admin Team was among the most vocal regarding his dislike of the logo. The problem was not the discussion and personal views of the rebranding, it was that many people decided that they had to express their dislike in most of their posting at every slight opportunity. This went beyond joking and the repetitiveness put many members off to the point they were just so sick of it they stopped posting and several veterans moved on.

Eventually things settled down and many became used to the new logo and even grew to like it. Round 2 started with the most recent rebranding and we started going through the same thing all over again with similar results.

Looking back at the survey sent out last year the results would seem to bear out the negativity aspect being an issue, perceived or otherwise.

While I will agree that CW has seemingly had more CS/QC issues over the past 6 months, I do believe that they have started things in motion to get a handle on things. However, in the meantime the forum seems to have become the complaint center. Why?.... could be any number of reasons, but I will also tell you that The Admin Team could easily have disapproved all these complaint/issue posts and directed the new registrants directly to CW where they could get help. We did not disapprove these posts. Now as AVO stated we end up with 11 pages regarding a matter that, although now resolved, generates a negative connotation over the forum with old issues being brought up over and over again.

Perhaps we should just send these complainants directly to CW. After all we are a forum for enthusiasts, not the complaint dept. or customer service. Most are willing to help when we can, but if it is a CW issue all we really can do is point them to where the watch was purchased and point out, as so many like to do….repeatedly, the guidelines of British law.

Warts and all, we are, and have been a marketing tool for CW, whether we were completely independent or operated independently as now. I will reiterate that we get no editorial influence of pressure from CW.

So why are we still here and why does CW support us. Because we are good for them in the long run and they do read this forum. They like constructive criticism and they like to see what they are doing right. They really do appreciate the feedback. What they do not appreciate is being attacked because they screw up.
We are still here because we provide an information source for many questions that CW receives both current and historical. We are first and foremost a CW forum, but provide areas where other brands can be discussed. You do not need to own a CW to be a member of this forum.

We do part to promote horology in general as evidenced by our Gateway Forum.

What else does this forum provide besides a platform for like minded enthusiasts to discuss CW watches?
Sub forums to discuss any brand you wish.
A Gallery to show everyone your new CW watch(s).
A Reference Gallery to view real world photos of models that CW built currently and since day 1. ( I will remind everyone that we still need many photos here and to please add the model numbers with your photos.)

The Gateway – General watch information including stories of movement and brand development, service information, watch and movement evolution, technical, movement information How to’s, why’s, service. Parts and tool sources along with Reference lists to watch blog and review sites, watch brand groups and a comprehensive list of over 2000 brands with links. Lists and links to almost 100 other watch forums are also included.

I didn’t put these lists together…we all did! We are better than the overall atmosphere that we are currently under.

More recently we have launched the all new CWArchive. While still, and always will be, a work in progress it will provide a central place for all things CW.

If some would just take a step back and look at what we have done instead of focusing on what is wrong, this will be a far more positive place to be. I think this might bring back a few members and be a far more welcoming place for newbies to join in the discussions of CW and horology.

That is why we are still here.

As to Facebook, Instagram etc…. We have taken the view that that they are different animals than this forum. Fine for what they are… just as we are. We are not competitors…we appeal, mostly, to different type people although we have a large percentage of members who crossover. Some have left the forum because they find other forms of social media more appealing. This will always be the case.

There is much more we can do. Frankly I have been so involved with the CWArchives over the past year that a few things have slipped through the cracks. I will be looking to correct that issue over the next few months. The Admin Team speaks almost daily, and we will be stepping things up a bit. Hopefully you will all join us in making this a happier place to be.
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Re: Why Keep This Forum Going?

Post by 0uatiOW » Thu Sep 26, 2019 12:36 am

I started writing this offline a while ago and since then have returned to find some points already made. Rather than editing below, and risking upsetting what little continuity I weaved into the paragraphs below, I’ve pasted it as I’ve written it, but apologise if I repeat any insights made above.



It’s true, this forum is what we all make of it, but it also reflects the member demographics.

CW has deliberately chased younger customers with a change in brand direction. And they’ve caught them, in large numbers, so their new design and marketing strategy has worked. A side-effect has been that they’ve left many, long-standing loyal customers behind. Although not as long-standing as some, I do own 4 CW watches, consider myself a good customer, and I do feel like one of the left-behinds. I am far less interested in the new offerings than those of 3 or 4 years ago, and I perceive, as I know do some others, that our views are considered to be less important than the masses of new buyers. That has been conveyed, though perhaps not explicitly in those terms.

Meanwhile, some newly acquired younger customers, with no prior history of good service from CW, find their first experience to be poor QC/CS or some other dissatisfaction, and they have used the forum as a means to expressing their dissatisfaction. These new members are understandably less forgiving than customers who have built up a bank of goodwill over the years.

These changes, in addition to some heavy moderation in the last 2 years, have caused some senior members, including some quite frequent posters, to be driven away (from both the brand and the forum), while the number of new members announcing their membership with a complaint has increased, and that has changed the tone of the forum, as well as the volume of varied content.

CW got what it was looking for, and what has happened to the forum is a reflection of that. I continue to visit the forum and post occasionally, but not as frequently as I used to, as my horological tastes are leading me in a different direction.
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Re: Why Keep This Forum Going?

Post by jtc » Thu Sep 26, 2019 2:24 am

Forums such as this aren't easily discoverable and posting pictures/generating discussion happens on social media either directly (a group on Facebook) or more generally (pictures and hashtags/searching on Instagram). The main discoverable feature is problems.... hence the recent post focus.

I think it's only people with a specific need that seek out either an "old style" forum or go to somewhere like Reddit.

For years I was a frequent poster on a car forum, dedicated to a specific sub "sporty" brand of a Japanese manufacturer. The forum declined so much that when I visit it now, the once hourly updating "General Chat" is as I left it a few months back. Even the Facebook page, then group, that seemingly replaced the forum has become stagnant; all the useful information is already out there and Instagram provides the rest.

CW is also no longer unique in its direct to customer "internet only" approach now either. There aren't hundreds of forums for the hundreds of online only watch brands... which itself is quite telling.

While I appreciate the work the mods do, I think CW as a brand have moved on from a php powered forum that people have to register a username and separate password for, giving away their email address in the process.

The future is social, and using those single-sign-on identities (with multi-factor authentication) to access other things related to a brand. I'd suspect CW will permit logging into an account on their site using a Facebook, Google or similar identity in time.

Maybe if the forum was at the cutting edge it might be more appealing? Unfortunately phpbb itself is quite dated, so not much CW can do there. Which is probably why CW's focus is Facebook, Instagram, using Stories on those platforms, and engagement elsewhere through modern media. Given the anti-social-media stance of a large number of posters (evidenced by others offering to share screenshots of social media apps even!) the days of a busy forum are numbered - perhaps the odd topic on new releases, others on problems with CS, then the wrist shot topics in third busiest threads place will be all the forum becomes.
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