7 week critique

Bob Mobile Technician West Chicago, Illinois Posted   Latest  

I’ve had a few discussions with friends regarding Diag.net. The general feeling is the layout falls short. Having been a long time iATN member, I’m personally trying to look at it as just being different. Now as to what it is and what I thought it would be. I was under the impression that first and foremost, it was going to be a place for professionals, with a focus on diagnostics.

pro·fes·sion·al

prəˈfeSH(ə)n(ə)l

(of a person) engaged in a specified activity as one's main paid occupation rather than as a pastime.

I was also under the impression that we in the field would have the unique opportunity to be able to discuss topics with people that represent the OEM and tool manufactures. While I’ve seen some posts from Autologic, I was hoping for OEM content. Maybe it’s just too early.

This brings me to the next part, the subscriber and content providers. As professionals, we need to show professionalism.

pro·fes·sion·al·ism

prəˈfeSHənlˌizəm

the competence or skill expected of a professional.

"the key to quality and efficiency is professionalism"

the practicing of an activity, especially a sport, by professional rather than amateur players.

"the trend toward professionalism"

What does that mean? I can only tell you what this means to me, the company I work for and the techs I interact with.

It means you do your due diligence before asking for help in any forum. This means searching all SI, description and operation, TSB, Code flow charts ect. It may require the purchase of an OEM subscription. It means that when making a post, real data is shared to what the issue is and the tests that have been performed. It means open FB and YouTube videos are for weekend warriors. If we are to raise the bar, it requires restraint. We don’t make videos the world can see. How does showing the general public how to make a repair, raise the bar? We don’t give answers, we ask questions to bring the person to the answer. We don’t put people down for not knowing. We don’t let our panties get bunched up when we get challenged. We challenge those that call themselves trainers. This means we don’t take what they say as gospel, we go back to the shop and test it for ourselves.

Diag.net is a site for us; we get to help shape it. We have the responsibility to give feedback so it works for us and those who join later.

I’m hoping that this post bring dialog between Scott, Tom and the membership. Please don’t complain in the shadows. Step up with ideas for a solution if you see an issue.

I’m confident that Scott will dialog with us.

+19
Jim Mobile Technician
Southampton, Pennsylvania
Jim
 

Bob, I also agree with just about everything you wrote, I'm really not in a position to post too much right now ( I've been re-admitted back into the hospital ) I just wanted to say that I, just like most others that signed up right away really had little idea what would become of this new project of Scott's and the others. But knowing Scott and his dedication that he has always had, I was 100% onboard. I had an opportunity to be with Scott and some others in Long Island NY last week for three days and witness what I had already known, that Scott is looking to make Diagnostic Network everything he told us it would be. My reason for being there was to watch and advise what was being done and said in the making of a training video to ensure that it would be helpful to the technicians. What I did witness "First Hand" was Scott's feedback to some of the scenes that he felt needed to be done over to make it better, In other words, "He wanted everything to be RIGHT". Like a TRUE PROFESSIONAL would have.

I can tell, Yes, it will probably take a little time, But after 3 days with Scott, I was left with the thought that he is on the right path.

Lord knows I've been wrong before, But I don't think I'm wrong on this. Give the Diagnostic Network sometime and YOU the members get involved and contribute. We have all different levels of technicians out there and we ALL can use some help from time to time.

+5 Ð Bounty Awarded
Jaxon Technical Support Specialist
Stafford Heights, Australia
Jaxon
 

Bob, I hear you.

Your post resonated for me: raising the bar, defining professionalism, shaping this forum into what we, as members want.

Most of the Australian members on here will be looking for OEM content, no doubt. 

Personally, I support your call for "responsible feedback". I believe that clean discussion will bring growth to this community. 

In service, 

Jaxon

+3 Ð Bounty Awarded
Scott Manager
Claremont, California
Scott
 

Hi Bob,

In regards to the layout comment, yes, we have many changes planned with some dependent on volume. The fact that we knew that we weren’t going to have tons of volume out of the gate factored into those decisions among others.

Soon, (as traffic builds) users will be able to customize it based upon what their interests are. Examples such as:

[Carlines & Topics]

[Manufacturers & Topics]

[Topics]

[other?]

Additionally, posts will be editable not only by the author but also by staff. In addition to that, we plan to allow key individuals to help as well by allowing suggested edits. The realization that not all of us are good communicators and if the author can get help from his or her peers with telling the story, they will likely learn and improve their communication skills.

The overall layout was selected and massaged to deliver a clean, responsive interface that works on any modern device. However, there are challenges with mobile view, and we also understand that it’s difficult to follow threads since we don’t currently show you what you’ve read in the past. These and more changes currently being ironed out.

As a startup with only 2 developers, we have been focused on core functionality first, accessibility second, and only lately have we been able to focus on many of our known issues that will greatly enhance usability. I've witnessed the man-hours my guys have poured into this thus far and congratulate them for what's been accomplished thus far. We have a pipeline of features we plan to implement and this is only the beginning. 

I would like to hear of specific concerns if you or anyone else has them. I (we) really appreciate the (constructive) feedback.

In regards to industry participation, I've been working on engaging with OE's and they are slow movers. I really hope that we can get them to notice by leading them to the platform and demonstrating the needs and wants of those faced with current and future challenges. I'm continuously engaging with our corporate partners about participating as well and I'm starting to make progress but it's been slower than I had anticipated. 

If you or anyone else has a connection or two with OE's and or other suppliers we should be talking to please consider making an introduction.

Again, I appreciate the feedback and look forward to the future.

Regards,

Scott

+11 Ð Bounty Awarded
Martin Instructor
Burnaby, British Columbia
Martin
 

Hi Bob. Valid observations for sure. I feel that navigating around is a little awkward for me right now. With other forums being much like restaurants with published menus for quick access that we're used as forum participants, the current interface is a bit clunky for me. I'm not one to select a handful of forums as preferences. I tend to do a complete cruise through and check out all post updates. Maybe we've been trained to follow paths faithfully and come to expect the same from Diagnostic Network.

So, is it just me being awkward at using the current interface or is it the interface that is not as user friendly as some we have become accustomed to using? Many years ago, a group of us GM technicians participated in the Cadillac Forums, but there was no formal structure. Instead, every member received email notification of every post on a daily basis and we all jumped in (or not) to discuss and assist one another.

What I am currently seeing here is an endless list of posts that I have to sift through to see what's transpiring, rather than the common posts and threads styles of most forums. I liken it to moving into a new home, but not having identified the moving boxes and stumbling around a bit to find what I'm looking for.

I think what is missing for me is the traditional post and thread view, where you can quickly scan an entire forum in seconds and pick where you wish to interact. That's a bit like going to a bar and seeing a bunch of people sitting at different tables and instantly seeing which table you want to join. What I am currently experiencing, is that I have to go and take a look at every table individually before choosing where I want to participate. There is no instant reference to indicate where the updates have taken place, or maybe its just my old brain trained to follow the same old path! As we all know, what can be achieved in this day and age boils down to funding and from chatting with Scott recently at Harv's celebration of life, it will take time to get it right. I liken it to a new baby. While my wife tends to go "Ooo Ahhh" (at the sight of most new borns), I'm used to seeing a little "apple head doll" that's going to take some time to blossom into something beautiful.

Personally, I'd like to see Diagnostic Network develop into a worthy place for interactive discussion and idea exchanges between members, rather than becoming a dumping ground for "silver bullets", or a place where those who have done little or no research strut their stuff in the usual style.

We've also just arrived at the time in the year where some of us are on summer vacation for a couple of months, needing to revitalize and regroup for the next "season" that faces us, while catching up on stuff that we've been too busy to attend to until now. Or, perhaps there are many who are so overburdened with a heavy workload at the shop, that it is hard to find enough waking hours in the day to get everything done and participate here.

As for the thoughts and hopes of OEM involvement, those entities also run on tight operating budgets that are lobbied for within their own administrative groups, just to get the needed work at hand done to serve their dealership networks. So I don't expect to see a heavy involvement of handing out "new stuff", offered up for the taking.

I believe that Scott and company are working hard to achieve their desired goals for this new network and that may take us in a slightly different direction from what we are used to. As a small startup entity with limited staff and funding, I'm sure that they are working extremely hard and taking constructive criticism seriously. I'm going along for the ride and hope to be able to make worthy contributions as time permits.

+2 Ð Bounty Awarded
Tom Engineer
Claremont, California
Tom
 

The end goal is that, similar to Facebook or Twitter, you will have a single place to visit to catch up on all the latest discussions on DN that fit your interests (via Watched Topics, and soon, Watched Makes). Unlike Facebook or Twitter, we are able to tailor everything specifically towards our industry, and provide tools to ensure the discourse stays at a high level.

Currently you can select the "Watched Topics" filter option on the homepage, but we are well aware of (and still working on) improving this in several ways:

  • Right now, only the latest discussions appear in the feed. To find previous discussions that are active, you need to participate in or "Watch" them, to be notified. In the future, the homepage do a better job of exposing recently active discussions.
  • Currently you can't filter discussions by vehicle make, this will be addressed soon.
  • For those on small mobile devices (e.g. phones), you can't currently reach the filtering options, this will also be fixed soon. In addition, we will be improving the UI on small devices so that there's less wasted space.
  • The homepage should remember your last-selected filtering preference when you return.

We have a very long list of things we are working to improve. Right now we're trying to focus on the ones that have the biggest impact. Currently we're working on making the discussion view easier to follow when you return later to the same discussion. 

Thanks for the feedback!

+5 Ð Bounty Awarded
Martin Instructor
Burnaby, British Columbia
Martin
 

Thanks Tom. With just a few weeks in and a tremendous amount of work already completed and I'm sure a long list of "things to do", I welcome the opportunities for interaction with an active membership of like-minded individuals.

I appreciate the forum that you are building to allow this to take place and look forward to implementation of each new application.

FWIW, the watch and notifications all seem to be checked by default for in my settings. However, I receive no notifications at all.

+3 Ð Bounty Awarded
Tom Engineer
Claremont, California
Tom
 

I checked our email sending logs and it shows your email address was on a suppression list because it previously had a "hard" bounce (essentially your ISP indicated to us that we should not continue to email to your address). I've taken your email off the suppression list. Assuming the address is working OK, you should receive notifications going forward. The initial bounce that caused the issue happened on May 14, and the error we received from your ISP was "550 5.1.1 ... recipient rejected". 

If you have any more problems with this, please contact us at … so we can help.

+2 Ð Bounty Awarded
Martin Instructor
Burnaby, British Columbia
Martin
 

Much appreciated Tom. Thanks for looking into it. I received your message so all should be well. It wasn't a big issues since I've been extremely busy, with free time at a premium.

0 Ð Bounty Awarded
Robert Diagnostician
Ballston, New York
Robert
 

Bob

I agree it’s your views and I too have the same hopes and outlook for diag.net. It does seem to be a step above most all of the other sights. So far most all of the members are top notch I am impressed how many industry Gurus are here! 

For the most part the participants have been very professional and I am proud to be and excited to be part of the first group of members to this new venture. 

One thing that I am somewhat surprised at is that there does not seem to be any guidelines to follow so that this sight only includes top professionals in our field. There is also no schedule of reprimand for those who choose to use this outlet for anything other than to move our industry in a positive direction. 

I understand that in order to build it in to something great it requires a lot of members. But if it’s a sight for the top auto diagnosticians then it should have some guidelines as to what is expected from the top level diagnosticians. And how it is determined that an individual is considered top notch. 

I have truly enjoyed the posts from almost everyone and most always I learn something new. I truly appreciate posts from the sponsors such as Autologic. I hope that in the future some of the other sponsors will be able to offer some of their great insight also. 

One of my greatest hopes is for more interaction between the OEs and the aftermarket. With all of the new technology there seems to be a great liability risk for those of us that are not backed by OEs. As a professional I try to follow all service procedures and use OE tooling and parts when available. I am sure that would be the general opinion amoung mist other members

Participating in webinars for the body side of repair was very eye opening for me. I find it interesting that most OEs will have a specific set of guidelines as to how an independent body shop needs to repair that manufactures vehicles in order to be a certified shop for them. They require special OE tooling and procedures for body work but not the mechanical side. There is as much if not more liability on the mechanical side. 

While some deter more regulation I for one would like to see the OEs give us independents some rules to follow. If we take their training, purchase their parts,why couldnt they endorse the qualified independant shop as OE certified. Maybe even offfer the certified shops better discounts. Access to reduced fee or free training. And in a perfect world maybe someday we could become qualified to even perform recalls and warranty work for our clients that do not wish to return to the dealer for service. 

This new sight diag.net is not going to prosper without a very good group. It is up to us to help out Scott and Tom to make this the best we can. We are members for a reason. They need our knowledge as much as we need them to give us a way to share it. 

Auto repair is not just a job it is a lifestyle. So let’s go and make this thing great So we can change the industry for the better for us and for the motoring public. 

0 Ð Bounty Awarded
Tom Engineer
Claremont, California
Tom
 

The upvote/downvote capability on every message is what will allow members to drive the discussion in a positive direction. Currently we are in the "gathering data" phase of this part of the network's capabilities. These up/down votes (along with many other events) will affect a member's score, and will help reward positive discourse and disincentivize negative behavior. One would assume the scoring will highlight the top diagnosticians and provide for many interesting features down the road.

+2 Ð Bounty Awarded
Terry Diagnostician
Milton, Florida
Terry
 

After paying a monthly subscription fee, I too feel like this site is missing something. After reading Bob ‘s post decided to chime in as well. I was looking and hoping this site would fill in the missing gaps of information. I was picturing a site where if, a tech and or myself was having an issue with a vehicle make, that it would be more in a category. For example; if say you were having a diagnostic challenge with a BMW vehicle, there would be a BMW “icon” or section category that any one writing about BMWs would fall into that heading. So anyone looking for BMW help, it would be a lot easier to find articles, tips or trouble areas that other techs had run into. Instead, there is set parameters of any of the write ups that techs, OEM people or vendor of equipment Sunmit. In other words it all random articles. Don’t get me wrong , I still think the site could be useful and I actually used one the tips (about Honda radio codes). If I was looking for help on BMWs, I wish there was an easier path to get me there, quickly.

A friend of the site.

T …

+2 Ð Bounty Awarded
Tom Engineer
Claremont, California
Tom
 

There will soon be a way to filter the conversations down by make, just as there is currently a way to filter down the discussions by topic.

+4 Ð Bounty Awarded
Scott Manager
Claremont, California
Scott
 

Hi Terry,

Writing to let you know that we pushed out two recent updates, one last night and one about 2 weeks ago that addresses your request for vehicle filtering. 

Users now see a few feed options at the top of the page.

Selecting BMW produces all of the BMW related posts.

Pushing further, you can open the keyword search box and filter even further

We have plans to enhance the search capabilities down the road. Thanks for the feedback and let us know if you have any questions.

+1 Ð Bounty Awarded
William Diagnostician
Ashland, Virginia
William
 

I joined looking for a site with the best, most knowledgeable techs to discuss and learn from. What I DON’T want is a bunch of silver bullet seekers and techs that don’t do any testing and can’t post results.

Just waiting to see what develops…

Willie

+6 Ð Bounty Awarded
Rudy Technician
Montebello, California
Rudy
 

The site is,relatively speaking, brand new.

Its going to take a few years to really get it off the ground. I dont know what you expected to happen in 7 weeks. Comparing this site to a site that has been around for 20 years isn't going to yield a positive image for you or anyone else.

Im just a worker bee and the best I could offer at this point was my hard earned $200 bucks to show my support. Im pleased so far. It appears to be moving in the right direction. Im sure the architects of the site welcome critiquing as a way of improving the experience here, but general negativity or displeasure because of a perceived lack of content or demeanor isn't going to help the site move forward.

While my primary role is that of a diag tech,I didn't join this site solely for the purpose of receiving (or giving) diag help,but rather I hoped to be able to glean information on systems that I cannot find anywhere else. I hope to have access to industry insiders that can provided answers that can fill in the blanks for me when I am on a diagnostic course. 

Personally,I feel its too early for me to judge whether or not the site is a success. I can say that Autologic has definitely kept it interesting.....

+4 Ð Bounty Awarded
Bob Mobile Technician
West Chicago, Illinois
Bob
 

Rudy,

I completely disagree with you. If you are building anything, the most important part is the foundation. Scott and Tom are building that now. If we don't give feedback (critique) how are they to know if what they are doing is what people want? 

If people think they were sold that it was going to be one thing and it is not what they thought, are they going to be happy? I gladly gave up my hard earned $200, but for me or anyone else to continue to do that, value needs to be seen.

Do you think all the posts have been professional? I sure don't.

As to general negativity, the responses I read seemed to be positive.

I wrote this to hopefully get the people whining in the dark to share what they would like to see. You state that you'd like to have access to industry insiders. If Scott and those he is trying to get to play with us don't hear that is important to us, it will go on the back burner and may never happen.

As to judging the site as a success or not, you read something that was never written.

0 Ð Bounty Awarded
Marlin Technician
Estacada, Oregon
Marlin
 

I believe that you reading in what Rudy didn't right. Relax a bit, Bob. Rudy actually wrote a non-inflammatory post, and you lightly roasted him for it.

+2 Ð Bounty Awarded