At long last, the OV-10 Bronco Association is proud to announce the long-awaited establishment of interactive forums for OV-10 Bronco fans everywhere!! This will allow Association members or any other interested party to have a place to discuss the Bronco in an interactive format, including the ability to post and answer information requests, have ongoing discussions, and even chat in real-time with other Bronco lovers!
In case you are unfamiliar with web-based online forums, message boards, or newsgroups, here is how it works. A forum is simply a site on the WWW where people can go to interactively exchange information on a certain topic, in this case, OV-10s and related things. A user logs into the forum with his or her web browser, and is presented with a listing of messages posted by users of the forum. Clicking on a particular topic - a category for discussion within the forum - will show the complete text of the specific messages under that topic which have been posted. The user may then reply to these message with an answer (or just add more information), they may post a new message of their own, or they may simply continue down the list and read other messages. Information posted to a forum can range from a short question about something ("How many Broncos were built in 1972?") to a short introduction of oneself to the group all the way up to a long story about a particularly exciting combat mission... and anything else that may be related.
Users establish a login when they first go to the site, so that they may gain posting privileges and can set site options for themselves. This is stored either as part of the forum's database or simply as a browser "cookie" file on the user's machine. Once you are established as a user, you shouldn't need to change your login information very often, if at all. The forum has a person in charge, usually the founder (the person who set it up in the first place) and that person has the ability to moderate postings... so if someone comes in and posts things wildly irrelevant or abusive, such as the nearly-inevitable and hopefully infrequent spam message trying to sell you all sorts of garbage nobody wants, those postings can be removed quickly. The OV-10 public forum is set up to allow anyone to login and participate just by going through the setup procedures. There is no cost or checking up on your information, so you don't have to give out your name or any private information. However, it is possible to control who can log in in the first place, based on the permissions granted to their nickname... this is often done for "members only" type forums, or any situation where only a certain group of people should have access to the forum. Typically you cannot gain access to those forums until the founder invites you in specifically, although some of these allow you to request to be made a member, and the request is sent to the forum founder or their designee for final approval.
Typical topics for this forum will of course relate to the OV-10 Bronco Association and OV-10s in general. As the Association is a gathering place for people associated with or interested in OV-10s, a fair number of the postings will be people introducing themselves, looking for other OV-10 types, or looking for information about units that flew the Bronco. There will also be postings related directly to the aircraft itself, to the business of the Association, and other such topics. (Below we will discuss the private forum designed to handle things that are more of an Association business nature.) Inappropriate topics would include discussions of last week's football game (even if the Broncos were playing), ANY form of advertising unless it's strictly related to OV-10s (best to just ask first if you're unsure on this one), and anything meant to be abusive or disruptive to other users. This should be obvious but just in case it's not, just remember that every user of this site is (allegedly) interested in Broncos and the postings should be related to that in some way, shape or form. There are a ton of other forums and newsgroups out there on every topic imaginable, so please use those for topics that aren't related to the OV-10 Association. Also, you never know who will stop by so please don't be too rude or vulgar, there are all sorts of differnt users out there, and some of them (or their parents) may not appreciate having to see a bunch of four-letter words in a public forum. (OK, 'nuff said.)
Before you can post to the forum, you will have to sign in. As Yahoo! (who hosts the forum) may modify the exact details of how they handle new logins over time, I will leave the details to their help pages, however the general procedure is as follows:
A user who has never been to Yahoo forums must first register a nickname (i.e. Merlin_FAC - which is your fearless webmaster's forum nickname.) At the same time you also choose a password, and set some other info, such as a profile of yourself, your location, etc. You must also enter an email address, although this can be set to not publicly display... a good idea to avoid spam. Once you do this, you can log into the room as a guest. Guests can view the postings, but cannot make a post of their own. To post, you must click the "join this club" link. This will lead to your receipt of an email containing a URL encoded with your name, the forum name, etc. When you go to the address emailed to you, you may enter a comment to appear next to your nickname in a list of users and also read the terms-of-use agreement. When you click the "Agree" button, you should be in. Note: when I did this, clicking the button produced a Windows 95 error message. I tried it about 10 times with the same result, it never went on to let me into the forum. However, I finally just ignored the message and went to the forum URL I had bookmarked at the beginning, and it accepted me as a full member... all was well. Apparently it got me registered, but for some reason the registration page just failed to forward me back to the forum page properly when it was done. For a private forum, it is the same except if you go there before being invited, you get a "go away" screen. For me the initial registration after being invited produced the same error from the join screen, with the same solution. I suspect that going to a forum from the invitation email without having already establishing a Yahoo identity would just lead you to get to the nickname creation screen first.
The forums also have a chat feature that is similar to AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ or IRC if you are familiar with those. I will skip a detailed explanation, but it is pretty simple and you are quite unlikely to break anything by trying it out!! Many users can chat at once, it's a neat way to communicate with other Bronco fans in real-time without accumulating phone bills!
We run two forums, one is unlisted and private, and one is listed and open to public access. The public forum is intended to cover anything OV-10 related, and we welcome any and all comers with an interest in this aircraft, or who want to find people that they served with in an OV-10 unit, etc. The Ready Room is a private forum (i.e. by invitation only) and is reserved for members of the OV-10 Bronco Association to communicate with each other, discuss Association business and issues, and meet regularly via the chat as an added benefit of membership. You will find that OBA members frequent both forums, however.
We welcome and encourage you to check out the public forum and try it out for yourself. The address is: