Posting Rules and Pleasing Most Folks........But Not All.
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I've read some fairly acidic stuff about both me and my site on the web over the years, and I can't for the life of me remember saying, writing or thinking a single mean-spirited thing that justified the words written.  That someone's satisfaction with my little niche airplane website would hinge on whether or not they were allowed to promote their political beliefs is quite beyond me.  Or speculate on fatal airplane crashes with no facts known, while the bodies are still warm.  I guess if that's what you require for your online life to be fulfilling and meaningful, you're going to need to go somewhere else for those two things.  While on the subject of crashes, here's my regularly-updated list of over (570) RV probable cause documents going back a quarter of a century that I'm LITERALLY BEGGING for people to discuss and learn from.  Filled with ACTUAL FACTS!  It even has its own dedicated section in the forums.

Here we have seven simple, unbelievably simple, common sense rules.  Most who visit think this setup is a great idea, if the feedback I receive are any indication.  Pareto principle proved again - "80% of a company's complaints come from 20% of its customers."

Our family honestly believes we offer a great product.  A product we've been refining since 1996.  Those that want it to continue and feel they get value and entertainment from it help with a small yearly honor system donation.  Those that don't....don't.  Can't get more simple than that.

OK, let's start with the two big rules:

    Or government or aviation association back and forth - how they should be run, governed, etc.  That means no EAA, AOPA, COPA, GAMA, FAI, SPA, HAI, NAA, NBAA, NIFA, RAS, ACA, AAIB, AFEE, CAA, etc.  They ALL have their own dedicated communication channels.

  • JUST RV. 
    Make sure your post has something to do with building, flying, owning or maintaining Van's RV aircraft.  There are hundreds of aircraft type clubs on the internet to go to if you want to talk about other types of aircraft.

More detail below, but these two bullet points cover most of it.

Doug Reeves

Site founder/owner/janitor.

Now, on to seven simple, common sense rules...

Posting Rules in Greater Detail

Before we get to the rules in greater detail, a short note on anonymity in online forums, specifically the negative effects.  There is a good deal of data that you can find with little effort (search Anonymity and Online Communities).  It's worth some of your time.  For those here that choose to 'hide under the radar', that's of course perfectly fine, but just know that if there is any gray area when making a call in regards to moderation, if we don't know your name, or you never show your face, blank out your N-number in all photos, etc....don't expect to be given the benefit of the doubt.  While you could be Ethan Hunt, spy extraordinaire in hiding, you could also be some company's disgruntled employee.  Just saying...

One last bit on 'social media influencers' before we dig into the rules in greater detail.  If the primary reason you're joining this site is so you can 'promote your brand', 'raise engagement' and 'monetize your build' with every single thing you post being a reference (even a backhanded one) to some new and exciting youtwit, facebag, instapoop, vlog fluff that starts with 'hey gang!', proceeds next to 'buy my sponsor's merch!' and winds up with 'follow me on these 30 other social platforms' within the first thirty seconds...please don't bother signing up.  There are plenty of platforms out there for that type of thing, and is not one of them.  If your autosignature has five different social media platform links in it, yes, we're pretty much looking in your direction.

By all means swing for the fame fence elsewhere - just not here please.  We come to this site to get away from the TV vibe.

And I really do wish you well, I just prefer VAF not become an 'influencer' anything.

On to the details...

1.  No COMMERCIAL promotion, including URLs in forum signatures, unless you are an advertiser.
It's stealing, and those who steal are without honor.   Consider arriving at the restaurant you've sunk your family's life savings into, only to find a guy has parked a food truck in the middle of your parking lot.  Yeah, I get it...the economy is tough, but stealing is stealing.

If you are not an advertiser on VAF, DO NOT display your business name, URL, phone number, mechanic credentials, etc. in your signature or posts, or promote your business through the VAF Forums, VAF email or Private Message system.

Stealing is stealing....and you know it is stealing.

2. Threads SPECULATING about the causes of a crash/incident before the Probable Cause document is issued are not allowed here.  Offer condolences to the family and friends, of course!  Once the governing agency's PROBABLE CAUSE or FINAL REPORT has been listed online, then by all means we can discuss the mechanics and minutia of the accident until we are blue in the fingers, hopefully learning something that will make flying safer for us. 

Here's a list of over 570 RV accident probable cause documents to get you started.

3. No Politics, Government or Aviation Association Talk
Listed as one of the 'big two' above, but needing more detail.  Posts that contain the words Liberals, Democrats, Republicans, Bush, Obama, Pelosi, Limbaugh, etc.  If your post even remotely smells of politics, it's toast. 

Discussion about how EAA or AOPA, or any other aviation organization is run isn't for here.

4.Language and tone
...that would be inappropriate in the polite company of strangers and their young children shouldn't be used.

5. Keep the topic RV-related somehow.
Listed as one of the 'big two' above, but needing more detail.  Anything not RV is fair game for deletion.   You will not be notified it has been deleted, as we have over 21,000 folks in the forums, and the moderators are volunteers with lives.

You have a new baby, you let us know!  Fighting a medical condition and need support?  Post away.  Wanna make fun of my scooter in the 'misc' area....I'll let it slide, Clyde.  Put these type posts in the 'Test/Misc' area so they can be auto-deleted after a few weeks (so they don't clog up the archives).

6. Create your post in the appropriate area.
Put classified listings in 'Classifieds', etc.  Most folks come into the forums using either the Today's Posts or New Posts links, which pulls from all areas. 

Put time sensitive posts like 'Local RV builder on the ch 5 news tonight in XXXXXX' in the 'Test/Misc' area, as we can easily delete it later (so it doesn't clutter up the archives).

7. Civility, and not typing whatever comes into your head
This is intentionally vague, and gives the moderators a LOT of discretion.  If any one of them is rubbed the wrong way with a post, it's toast.  If you can't be civil at all times, don't participate.  We don't do hate.  Trolls get banned permanently (fmi:

Added 4/13/16    RE: Dealer/Vendor and Customer Disputes:
...this part modeled after the large Jeep Wrangler forum
The forum is not intended to be a mechanism for people to vent frustrations about vendors or sales from private parties. Please settle your differences with sellers, manufacturers and dealers through the long-established legal or arbitration systems or the Better Business Bureau, not through our community.  I expect everyone that uses the board to be nice.

A pattern of vendor bashing on your part will get your account locked down.

Examples of when you don't enforce civility:

[ed. Oct/2015:  From a popular pilot forum]

"After much debate and consideration, the Management Council has made the decision to terminate the Spin Zone. We are taking this action because the level of discourteous and uncivil behavior has increased, and unfortunately continues to spill over into the aviation related forums."

[ed.  From another airplane message board:]

Mar/2014 (startup):
"Little, if any moderation will encourage you to share ideas more freely with less restriction."

18 months later (shutdown)
"...I have decided to shut the website down." 

Read this article on how social media makes people more rude (Reuters)



Our Society Has Become More Polarized. Here's How To Survive This New Normal


Why websites are turning off comment sections amid 'flame wars' of vitriol

"THE INTERNET was supposed to facilitate better exchange between the public and news media. But vile and hateful comments changed all that.

In the face of rising vitriol - attacks, bigotry and general nastiness - some websites are increasingly throwing in the towel on online comments."


List of recently deleted threads:
List updated in this text file occasionally

Posts that will be deleted 100% of the time:

  • eBay, Trade'a'Plane, Barnstormes, etc.  links in the classifieds.  Posts that say 'go to so and so site and search for XXXX'.

  • Non-RV posts.

  • Bumps

  • Posts complaining about why a post was deleted.  This is called 'mod-baiting'. 

  • Posts complaining how the site is run.  Email to me is the way to do that.

  • Duplicate posts

  • Links to video clips showing illegal and unsafe flying (like buzzing a house or rolls over a congested area).  My thoughts on safety

  • "For Sale: Car, boat, 1965 Cessna C-172....selling to buy RV tail kit."  (the one exception: an airpark home or lot)

  • "Funny video clip of guys blowing up anvils." ....although I gotta admit that WAS a pretty funny clip.

  • Posts promoting individual-sponsored group buys. (here's why)

  • Post that list links to what an average person would consider a competing site.

  • Lawsuits and/or vendor bashing.

Bob Collins built an RV-7A and writes for Minnesota Public Radio.  He wrote a nice thread here that I'm copying below:

"Poor Doug. I hated to see him lock down a thread that was unbelievably helpful but he clearly had no choice.

You know, I run a blog for a living which involves a lot of writing, but without question most of the energy I spend during the day is on moderating comments.

For some reason, people have an increasingly hard time making a cogent point without resorting to a "shot" or an insult as if that somehow strengthens the merits of the argument.

Look, people who don't even put their real names in their profiles, nobody goes to Oshkosh to get insulted, nobody wants a customer in their store who tells them what jerks they are, nobody wants the old-timers streaming out of the little terminal when they land so they can be told how much their airplane stinks.

What they want is fellowship, friendship, and intellect.

I get it. It's the Internet and people always seem to want to "play to the crowd" on the Internet. But unless you put two feet on the floor when you get out of bed in the morning, stretch your arms above your head and say, "this is the day I'm going to be a jerk to people on VAF," then your strategy is misguided and illogical and illogical actions do not support the points you're trying to make that you think are logical.

This is more than just Doug's virtual living room. VAF is our Oshkosh, our store, our plane, our airport terminals and nobody -- but nobody -- like it when people act like jerks.

So I beg you -- I, a person who's presently sick of America's enchantment with boorishness -- be nice. Practice it. Start here, then take it out into the world with you.

RVs and aviation are an escape from the real world.

We have a stake in high-quality, low noise on VAF; that's what makes it a haven for us. Let's redouble our efforts and insistence to protect it.


By way of contrast, take a look at some forums online that have pages and pages of rules (iPod forum rules / Miata forum rules)

By submitting content to the VAF Forums, you are granting Delta Romeo, LLC. a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive right (including any moral rights) and license to use, license, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, derive revenue or other remuneration from, communicate to the public, perform and display the content (in whole or in part) worldwide and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed.  (This paragraph was copied/paraphrased and adapted for use here from the legal section of the 'Just Chat' online community.  My thanks to them for letting me use it.)

Thanks again for keeping it fun and friendly,

Doug Reeves
VAF Forums Owner/Founder  

From Summer 2013:
The Annual Free Speech Email...dr
  I got an email over the weekend from Los Angeles regarding how, in the sender's opinion, VAF stifles first amendment free speech - assuming it had to do with recent FAA/EAA/AirVenture management threads that were closed.  "If I want these type of restrictions I will move to Russia.  It is your site but freedom of speech is not your choice," were his exact words.  He requested I delete his posts and refund his donation from last December.  [ed. Those threads and all the replies were archived and emailed to the original poster in MS Word format so that they could start a free blog with all the original material.  The OP chose not, to my knowledge, to do this.  dr]
  We seem to touch on this cyclically - I guess it's time again.
  This website is an American private business, and free speech laws do not apply to private businesses here.  But, for the sake of argument let's say I would allow talk about government agency this and association that.  We can't forget this would have to extend to EVERY country.  RVs are globally enjoyed, it's not just a U.S. thing.  Lots of RV folks who contribute here live in countries outside the America.  Tens of thousands, actually.  Data point: countries in shades of blue below visited the VAF forums in the past 30 days, so says GoogleAnalytics.  Click to enlarge.  Lots of different governments and GA associations in that blue.
  Depending on the source, there are between 189 and 196 independent countries on planet Earth, all with governments and small planes (and issues between the pair).  The U.N. recognizes 192 governments.  The U.S. State Department 194.  That's an awful lot of non-RV pro-this and anti-that to cloud up the 'New Posts' results, wouldn't you think?  You couldn't possibly be so shallow as to assume only the U.S. citizens would be allowed to complain on VAF about their government and GA issues, would you?
 Go Google 'aircraft associations'.  You'll get over 11 million hits.  'Aircraft Advocacy' returns over 3 million hits.  Plenty of places for people to discuss how their government and GA associations interact with their country's small plane owners.
  I hope now you can understand why here at VAF we're just gonna stick with talking about building and flying and enjoying Van's RVs.  Not governments, or aircraft associations, or government agencies and their alphabet soups.
  If you simply can't live with that, you don't have to.  Nobody is forcing you to either sign up or stick around.
  The posting rules are short, and quite similar to tens of thousands of other forums online.  Go Google "free speech and online communities" if you don't believe me.  Nothing out of the ordinary in the VAF posting rules.  Further research will reveal that online communities that allow any topic under the sun, with no rules, quickly self-implode.  Godwin's Law and all that...
  Feel so passionately about your government, its GA agencies and/or associations that you just have to type about it somewhere?  I'd suggest going to or any other number of free hosting solutions and set yourself up a free spot on the web.  All the free speech a person could want is only a couple minutes away, if you agree to their terms of service (which means you can't talk about ANYTHING you want).  All the big GA association sites have online forums themselves, and interacting with local government on behalf of pilots is in their respective mission statements.
  I appreciate and read all private feedback emailed to me, but these free speech emails always make me roll my eyes to tell you the honest truth.  It's not just your country we're talking about here.  An RV-8 took flight in Thailand for the first time last week.  Thailand!  I recall reading they've had some political tension in the past, but that doesn't mean it should be hammered out here on VAF.
  Take the government talk somewhere else, please.  I'm good with keeping VAF discussion focused on one specific activity.....the hobby of building, flying and enjoying Van's RVs.  Something that is figuratively, and literally, uplifting.
  Sometimes though, people can't deal with that, and that's fine.
  As for the SoCal individual, I deleted his posts (as requested), his forum account (as requested) and PayPal'd him his 2012 donation back (as requested).  He complained later how I sent the refund (via PayPal check).  I wish him well.
  I happen to believe this site offers a good product, one worthy of its reader's yearly donations.  I strive daily to continue earning your trust, friendship and financial support.  I truly believe we have something special here, so much so I bet my family's financial future on it.
  Yours in Van's RV construction and flight,
  (and family)

  The simple and short VAF forum posting rules.

PS: Want to email me your feedback?  I'll read it, then move it over to a folder called 'Feedback' so it can be reflected on periodically.


Your VAF Forum moderators:  

If any of the following folks come across a post that doesn't follow the rules above, they can delete (or edit) it.  They very rarely do.

RV-12 RV-10 RV-
RV-4 RV-3
Buchanan, Sam x
Burgess, Ross x
Concannon, Milt x
Daves, Russ x x x x
Dye, Paul x x x
Hull, Don x
Lervold, Randy x x
Mayeux, Sid x
McMartin, Clayton x
Oliver, Brad x
Pardue, Larry x
Pratt, Chris x
Reeves, Doug x x
Romeiser, Clay x
Schmidt, Scott x x
Starkey, Mike x
Stewart, Mike x x
Sutter, Martin x x
Syracuse, Vic x  x x
Zilik, Gary x

Many of these folks are repeat builders.  An 'x' means they have owned,
built (or are building) a particular model.  An 'xx' indicates they have owned/built two!


You might someday get the following text from a moderator in an email, or private message, or even have your post or reply replaced with what's below.  Any large forum board has to eventually deal with this - it's not personal and is just a reality of large communities:



I have been asked by the owner of the VAF site (Doug Reeves) to help enforce the forum posting rules (  I deleted your recent VAF post about _________________ for the following reason(s):

__ Civility / Tone

__ Not RV-related

__ Commercial promotion by non-advertiser

__ Mod/Policy bashing

__ Politics / Government

__ Illegal video clip

__ eBay / Barnstormers / etc.  (classified-specific rules at:

If you feel the need, please direct comments regarding this to the owner of the site (Doug Reeves).  His contact info can be found at:

Thank you.


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