What Could Possibly Go Wrong With An Online Rant Section For Classic Boaters?

Art crash

Illustration Earl Norm

Recently one of the classic boat forums has been considering a “Rant” category on the forum. A place for people to vent and talk about bad or good experiences with suppliers, brokers, and restoration places. I am not sure if this is going to happen to be clear. But it did bring up a great question. Is there a place in this culture for this? For the record, we here at Woody Boater tried it, we spent a week trying to figure out a way to make a way to give up to 5 Stars on links on the page. It was one of the worst failures in our history. Hey, we are not to proud to admit our failures, and this was a whopper. It brought out the absolute worst in everyone. We killed it and decided we would only focus on the positives in the culture, not the negatives.


not an Earl Norm Illustration. Just a fun card for a boat ride.

We also want to point out that for every crappy experience there are always two sides. But there is a ongoing desire to do it. So we ask you for your opinion on the issue. Should there be a place to do this? Is it fair?  By The way if you like the art by Earl Norm, many of his Original art is for sale HERE on ebay.

Earl Norm Original art

More cool Earl Norm vintage Illustrations


40 replies
  1. Doug Pope
    Doug Pope says:

    Don’t do it. It will provide a forum for unsubstantiated claims and accusations that could ruin a solid reputation. It will only get ugly.

  2. Tom McGowan
    Tom McGowan says:

    Fully Agree. The information is not informative or reliable because folks with an ax to grind can get really mean and there is no way to undo the damage.

  3. Cliff
    Cliff says:

    Now many “Nope’s” do I get?
    Love the art work. This is one of my favorite things you do Matt you expose us to your ….. um … taste in art.

  4. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    I am torn on this subject.

    There are people and businesses that I avoid in this world simply because of what I have heard from others. That being said there are others in this hobby who praise the same people I am avoiding.

    One of the troubles with any kind of “Rant” is that it is often done in the heat of the moment. If people would allow time to pass and give the offending party a chance to correct their errors most disagreements can be worked out.

    I don’t think we should protect habitual offenders, but I don’t know as a “Rant” page is the right vehicle.

    Negativity feeds Negativity.

  5. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:


    What is that last picture, an orgy boat?

    And why is the PT boat attacking an orgy boat? Is the Admirals Daughter on board or something?

  6. Steve Moreau
    Steve Moreau says:

    Totally agree don’t do it never never never!!!! I’ve seen very reputable business try and please the un-reasonable customer. Never a good out come and still getting a bad rap. Like Troy said given time and working together the two parties should be able to work things out. I believe that also in today’s digital society people either lack the skills to confront people face to face and rely only on their typing skill to vent, or maliciously trash other folks. With little or futile recourse from the person/company on the receiving end.

    I would rather see us have separate categories with positive out come such as Wooden, Fiberglass, Cruisers and the such. However I don’t think that is needed at this point either.

    Just the way I see it guys have a great day!

  7. Ranger
    Ranger says:

    I agree, no to a rant section. Yes, there are some things that need to be called to attention and I see where it could be useful but…I think that in type of forum it could get real ugly, real fast and that’s not what Woodyboater or the entire antique boating world is all about.

  8. Dave Clyne
    Dave Clyne says:

    Can I write a rant here about negativity ? Boating and this website are where I escape such poison. NO. NO. NO.
    Is it spring somewhere yet ?

    • Wilson
      Wilson says:

      Yes, in Florida…It was shorts and tee shirt weather here yesterday…80 degrees in N. Fla. Weatherman says it could be cool and rainy here tomorrow so we take it one day at a time.

      • Dave Clyne
        Dave Clyne says:

        That’s where I am but will be heading north after a quick visit to Lake Dora. I will be picking up a classic fiberglass (shhhh) on the way so I want open water soon !

  9. Jon H
    Jon H says:

    I don’t post here much, but I have to chime in on this one. Put me down for another ‘no way’ vote. Don’t do it.

  10. Ronald
    Ronald says:

    I am a member of other online forums that some old car ones will accept a rant to warn others of shady vendor/individual transactions and it is appreciated by readers, another motorcycle forum has an area at the bottom of the page for this type of thing. either way if this type of thing is seperated and the moderator moves queationable things to this section, If done in this manner if you don’t want to read it don’t click on it. Any time you have interaction between people and their money their is a chance for problems, I have been on the wrong end in both wood boat and other areas (home,cars etc.)throughout life but sometimes you have to move on. Good luck with whatever you decide.

    • Phillip Jones
      Phillip Jones says:

      I would like to see someone start a forum for this, as I see to many not speak up and have the “not get involved” attitude, but not on this site. Maybe someone will start one and you could allow a link????

      • Paul H.
        Paul H. says:

        I like that idea, Phil. Excellent suggestion.

        I don’t understand why everyone seems so afraid of tarnishing something, but what is being tarnished? A culture where we would rather pretend that bad things don’t happen, so we ignore them? Can we be considered complicit in perpetuating such abuses by not doing something to help people make wise choices?

        It would be a great solution as well in that it would/should not be ad-supported, so the inevitable conflict that occurs between ad-supported publications (print, internet or broadcast media) and their sponsors/advertisers could be avoided.

        I for one try to make informed buying decisions on most things, certainly big-ticket items and folks in this group are probably not a lot different. I would love to see the great suppliers get the credit they are due, and the bad ones outed.

  11. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    Yes, because we all know that review sites for car dealers, hotels, restaurants, resorts, body shops etc. are a total waste of time and serve no purpose? Nothing valuable to share or be gleaned there, right?

    If so, why do they proliferate? They do so because they add value for the consumer – rather obviously.

    Sarcasm aside, I am tired of hearing about horror stories “behind the scenes”. I am tired of hobbyists being victimized when, had they had access to better information, it could have been avoided. I am tired of seeing businesses skate through such episodes without ever being accountable, or even having to worry about their tactics being exposed in a forum where such experiences can be shared.

    In my view, the only people who have something to fear are the miscreants. Life has been pretty good for the habitual offenders, for wont of worry about something like this.

    Why suppose that it is only negative experiences that will be reported? I am sure such a forum would also attract reviews abut positive experiences and successful outcomes, which must constitute the majority of our experiences.

    We seem to labor under a carefully crafted illusion that it is all sweetness and light in this hobby, when in fact the hobby is a microcosm of real life, replete with occasional bad actors, vastly different characters, unethical business people, bad customers and the same problems we experience elsewhere in our lives. I am not interested in delusions, but am interested in reality and fact. Many folks will check a hotel review site before booking something as cheap as a hotel room or vacation, but wouldn’t something akin to that be useful to a guy considering an expensive restoration project, engine job or new trailer? I think it is a real challenge to say it would not.

    I believe that a well-moderated forum for such a topic would offer significant benefits to all hobbyists, especially newer folks who don’t know their way around, and it would also bring credit to the numbers of great suppliers, craftsmen and professionals in the hobby. Yes, it would also expose the chronic offenders who practice deceitful, unethical or even fraudulent business practices. It could warn suppliers of bad customers, which is just as important. Yes, there is so much to be afraid of here…..

    I have been part of the discussion, again “behind the scenes” on this and I advocate for the forum. Loss of ad revenue does not frighten me, and this has been brought up – big surprise there. I have had great experiences as a consumer in this hobby and have had some bad ones- real bad ones, and the bad ones should be easier to avoid than they are in the age of communication we reside in. Why do we pander to the miscreants who get away with this? If you don’t want such a forum, don’t read or contribute to it, but give those who are interested a chance to do so. That is pretty simple to me, and the arguments that this hobby is different just don’t seem to be supported by the reams of anecdotal and personal experience to which I can refer. Perhaps in broader life, 85% are good, the rest aren’t – with this number applied to both customers and suppliers alike. Why would this hobby be different?

    • Ed F.
      Ed F. says:

      Darn it Paul, I was going to say NO until you weighed in. I think the term rant brings a negative connotation with it that would would encourage bad experiences being the topic. If it were a review instead of a rant maybe it would encourage positive experiencs as well as negative. We have all experienced the person that can not be pleased no matter what. In a forum environment, that personality can do a lot of damage to a reputation whether it’s founded or not. There are always two sides to the story but I can see where a pissing match could get started if both parties were allowed to vent in the forum format. Managed correctly it could be a valuable resource. Not managed it could be a disaster.

  12. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    Matt – Why call a moderated forum a rant? A rant is not what such a review or information exchange should be. It needs to be controlled, balanced and moderated so it is all that a rant is not. I think you perhaps unintentionally mis-characterize what the forum would be or look like – if it was properly handled.

  13. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    Paul brings up another interesting factor in this.

    Advertising: Do moderators / organizations have a responsibility when it comes to accepting advertisers? I know that when I see an advertiser on a forum site I sub-consciously consider it an endorsement of that business.

  14. matt
    matt says:

    To be clear. Woody boater is not thinking of doing this. NO WAY IN HELL! We did try a variation on the concept and it went bad! Real bad. It always goes negative. no one believes the good and only focus on the negative. We ONLY support positive sponsors. If your company is on Woody Boater your a good group to work with. This conversation is about a forum someplace else.
    Paul I used RANT because thats what it will become

  15. Chad
    Chad says:

    Harrison should start “Paul’s Page” to expose the miscreants (had to look that one up).

    All comments should be no shorter than 500 words.

  16. Rick
    Rick says:

    I like the idea of people posting their positive experiences with a way to contact them and discuss it. But a negative forum will usually get out of hand.

  17. Dennis Mykols
    Dennis Mykols says:

    NO, NO, NO ! I just want to log in here each morning with my cup of coffee, and enjoy our hobby, and comments made by my fellow boat owners.
    Paul, as always, makes a good point for having such a way to vent a bad experience, But please not on this site. And call it something else than “RANT” which leads to more negative than positive messages,

    • Paul H.
      Paul H. says:

      Thanks Dennis – Matt has made it clear that this is not the place for that forum and I totally agree with him. My point is that the hobby SHOULD have such a forum for conferring plaudits on the good guys and exposing the chronically bad actors and customers – it goes both ways.

      By the way, I don’t agree at all with the view that negativity is always destructive – I would say that outing bad actors through relating bad experiences is actually a very POSITIVE thing. It prevents further damage and bad experiencs and the negativity associated with them. People could use the forum when needed and avoid it otherwise – not a difficult concept. I don’t go to review sites everyday – I go when I want an opinion on something.

  18. Fred B
    Fred B says:

    The problem is human nature. We tend to remember more the times we were burned rather than when we were pleased by our purchases. Add to that the relative anonymity of the internet and it can easily be a disaster. Having said that, i would enjoy reviews for products and services in a “Consumer Reports” style of presentation. If done by members of the forum, there can be a system of ratings like ebay does. Somebody get a bad review? Look who gave it. If they give everybody a bad review, you know you’re dealing with a cranky cuss who doesn’t like anybody. I don’t know anybody who would have the time to moderate such a site unless it was a full time job with pay.

  19. don vogt
    don vogt says:

    Paul always seems to have very thoughtful comments on the questions Matt presents, and I agree with him on this one. It would be nice to have some kind of site for the hobby where experiences with vendors–the good and not so good–can be shared.

  20. Allen
    Allen says:

    I think Paul should start the blog “Paul’s List” for the Classic Boater community…….where to go and not to go if you need professional assistence. Lets keep Woody Boater the BRIGHT spot in our morning…………..just my two cents !

    • Paul H.
      Paul H. says:

      Careful what you wish for, Allen!

      It appears that the concept of such a “list” site or review page is not negatively received in and of itself, but rather the presence of it here on WB (which was never Matt’s suggestion in the first place) is. That much is easy to solve.

      Such an undertaking would have to be a service to the hobby and not supported by ads or sponsors. It would not be high-traffic or updated daily, but would be used by people when the need arose – probably infrequently. I think most hobbyists who had something to gain from such a site would be pleased to see it come into existence. The others? Not so much. I think the whole debate over the efficacy of such a hobby specific “list” site is silly as the benefits are obvious, but the debate over where to lodge it is important and valid.

  21. matt
    matt says:

    Lets imagine for the sake of conversation, the boat restorers and brokers do a site on customers! How would folks feel with a restorer talking about how you don’t pay your bills, or that a specific buyer is a cheap skate and can’t make a comitment. It’s no different. What i am saying here is that doing online reveiws, good or bad is not a fair way to do this. Each case is unique and has two sides. I was burned, burned bad, but I am sure there is another side to the story, not one I agree with, but just as valid. I have found in my short life in business and dealing with people that everyone needs to feel good about working together, if someone screws you, never do business with them again. If someone is great, brag about it, share it and talk about it. The cream always rises to the top. We are not the police here, nor is it our place in life to be judge jury and executioner, wait, did i spell that right?

    • Paul H.
      Paul H. says:

      Bring it on I say. If I am a good customer, then I should have no trouble – if I don’t pay, or pay very late or long or create problems, I should expect problems and businesses should be warned to take precautions. I would not expect to be treated differently than any business either. I don’t fear it, and neither should honest business people that maintain their commitments.

  22. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    There is no reason restorers shouldn’t warn each other about bad customers. Feedback goes both ways. If I am 6 months late paying a bill, the next restorer should know that going in, just a like a customer should know if someone is 6 months late getting a prior job done. Put them both up on Paul’s list.

  23. Texx
    Texx says:

    An excerpt from the recent ACBS Winter Board Meeting notes (February 13, 2015 Las Vegas, NV) – Website Ad Hoc Committee Report.

    Key Objectives

    Recommendations: Develop a website that will help increase and retain membership by positioning ACBS as a leader and as the definitive source for all things antique and classic boat – related.

    Following along the lines of the ACBS being “a definitive source for all things antique and boat – related” – Should the ACBS include a section in their new website for such a “List” as described today?

  24. Brian F.
    Brian F. says:

    I think there should be a section for a “list” of outstanding businesses to work with from all around the country, maybe even world… There are a lot of small restoration shops that do great work because they are a crew of only 1-3 people they can’t do the volume that garners the attention that a shop like Katz gets… So if their few customer had a place to “rave” about their work then perhaps those little shops could bring in more projects and therefore hire more employees and oh my god I just solved the unemployment crisis!!!

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