Friday, June 11, 2010

The Overland Forum Review

The amount of overland related content on the web is growing daily.  The vehicle prep, the route, equipment and the paperwork all lead to many questions.  Often these questions have been asked and answered on various forums.  In this blog, I highlight and focus on a Southern Africa forum run by Hennie Rautenbach.

The Overland Forum has been online since the mid 1990's and has attracted a huge number of follows and contributors.

Primarily emailed based, each new topic and subsequent reply is emailed to the recipient.  This forum type works well as you get every topic in your inbox which allows for instant replies.
The Forum is now hosted by Google Groups which adds the benefit of search, email distribution,web views and additional content uploads.  Signup to the forum is easy, especially if you already have a Google account.

This forum is clearly Southern Africa based, which, as a result means that topics are generally African focus. This is fantastic if you are about to explore Southern Africa and in need of advice or information.

Like many forums, the Overland Forum does suffer from the occasional 'flame wars' relating to vehicle types, and what equipment is best.
Wikipedia describes Flame Wars as follows:
A flame war results when one or more users engages in provocative responses to the originally posted flamebait. Flame wars often draw in many users (including those trying to diffuse the flame war) and can overshadow regular forum discussion if left unchecked.
Flame wars are not tolerated and warnings are issued to users who attempt to flamebait.

The Overland Forum encourages users to share information and one good factor which has emerged over the years are Travel Reports.  These independent reports, written by forum members, are used to share trips, photos and various statistics.

Summary
In summary, this is a good forum to belong to, especially if you live in Africa. The content and response time to questions is prompt. Overall, a good forum and one that encourages all forum members to contribute.

Forum Overview
Advertising: None
Spam level: Low
Forum activity: high
Forum Content: Good (excellent for Southern Africa)
Off Topic Content:  Topic subject lines are marked Off Topic.
Language: Primarily English with a slight mix of Afrikaans.
RSS Feed: Yes, via Google Groups.
Twitter: Yes (tweets below)

Twitter Feed