Access to the Forum -- Open to the public or Members only!

With the first MVP ( Mostly Viable Product ) Beta launch of this forum it will be accessible by WCC Members only.

We need to have a debate about do we want this open to the public as a resource or should this be restricted to paying members only. Although this is not clear cut and likely an option in between where some items are accessible to the Public, but some are Private will be the end result, but if so then we need to decide what.

Open to the Public

  • Promotes the Club and allows people to see what we do and join
  • Allows for Topics about bike repairs, trekking and such that can be utilized by anyone online

Privacy Required

  • Access to our rides is for members only so should not be viewable
  • Do we really want anyone seeing when we are out and away from home for hours at a time?

Grey Areas

  • Should our route libraries be viewable by anyone or just members?

Just some thoughts to start this topic rolling. Please chime in.

If the website is open to the public we will need to set permissions for who can see members of the site, so that the privacy of WCC members is protected.

If the website is only for WCC members then we could allow forum members to see a listing of other forum members.

We are adding WCC members to the WCC Members group, and we can set permissions so that members can see things, but not non-members ( standard users ) and not anonymous users.

I think a general category and for sale / classifieds should be available to the general public. We can also discuss read only versus ability to post for other categories.

I’m going to leave the Privacy and Ownership rights (e.g. of the Photos) to you.

I know it’s a thorny issue. And we want to minimize risk.

That said…yes…you nailed WHY is is important and good to open up to the Public.

In fact, I want to send some of these links to our friends in other clubs. The other OCA clubs are our Brother’s and Sister’s. When I was Prez…we learned from each other’s best practices…we supported each other’s efforts.

Building walls isn’t going to build community among cyclists.

That said…I could easily see aggressive journalists, police or others scanning our forums for information and people for unsavoury things.

Hmmm…not easy.

I like the idea of some part being public (as per Chris). There are a lot of people in other clubs that members chat with and it would be nice to provide this capability within our forum.

As for route libraries - in Ride with GPS all our routes are public. So in that sense I don’t think we need to share them on the forum. For routes each week, that should be protected.

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tough issue - my 2cents is members only - I think that provides value for price of membership and will alleviate the responsibility on the club to moderate and censor inappropriate or unwelcomed outside participation

Public (sections) seem essential to me, if the club wants to grow and serve in the larger community.

Weren’t the old forums public? It’s my understanding that the downsides were not a significant problem. Some of the downsides would apply to having an online community at all. And there will be member-only sections.

We are able - shouldn’t we take up this role??

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Forums like this rarely benefit by being closed-off unless they serve a very specific purpose. The Ride forum is the obvious example where member-only privacy is important. Female-only sections are another. But there are other areas where I think we only enrich the forum for our members by allowing wider participation: bikepacking in particular is something that tends to happen outside of your local area, so it would be a shame not to be able to benefit from knowledge outside our community. I also think that having a place where people outside the club can participate could also fall within the leadership mandate of our club. We want to be leaders within the club, but also the club is and should be a leader within Ontario.


Yup and it’s also great having conversations with members from different clubs as well. (Midweek, MG, London etc.)

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I’m late to the conversation, but I’m also in favour of being as open as possible. I think the benefits are greater than the risks. I’m not sure I fully understand what the risks are, but I’m also a bit naive:-) On the old site, many people went by a screen name. Wouldn’t that address the issue for people with security concerns? I’m suspecting that if ride organizing gets done in the members only area, the post ride discussion will end up there too.

On a somewhat related note, how would the club handle the scenario where some non-members attempt to organize a ride during a COVID shutdown?

Thanks for your work on this everyone. Looks great.


Re: non-members organized rides in a lock down.
I’m confident We have some people in the club who would be calling out this behaviour directly in a thread.
There is also the ability to flag posts and the site admins can look into the post.
From there a polite warning of please don’t do dumb stuff on our forum could be sent to the people involved. Worst case scenario for repetitive misuse we can remove people as per terms of service.

Of course I’m hoping the lock down conditions don’t last all summer

I concur that this lockdown does not last all summer!

Yes, you can Flag threads and the admins get a notification to take a look. People can also just respond and say, 'Hey don’t do that". We are also looking for Moderators to watch after different categories. They would have the power to stop thread, close them, hide them, block certain user, either temporarily or forever.

Hopefully things like this do not happen much, but we shall see.

Remember though, there is actually nothing wrong riding, and you are even allowed to ride with members of your own household. For now we do have people talking about riding solo courses.

Hopefully, in the not too distant future we will be able to do small group rides. See how the statistics go. The Reproduction Factor is below 1.0 now, so that is a good thing.

I’m in favour of keeping the forum as open to the public as possible (with limits for areas where there are secuirty concerns). Many non-members have reported being forum ‘lurkers’ for months and even years before they finally bought a WCC membership. Sometimes people want to develop a feel for the culture of a club before committing to join. And sometimes the forum discussions can, over time, lead a novice to take the plunge and go deeper into a sport that previously they only dabbled in or did solo. If we lock down too much of the forum we will lose those potential future members.