What is it?
TECH EXCHANGE is an online program to promote the documentation and sharing of automotive and powersports technical, repair, modification and restoration information for enthusiasts. The World Wide Web provides a unique opportunity to collect, catalog and make this information available to anyone with an Internet connection.
As indispensable as the actual tools, repair procedures and experiences are widely sought by enthusiasts as part of their preliminary research and buying decisions. Autoforums.com is undertaking a program to encourage forum participants to document their knowledge and experience using photos and descriptive text, on a wide variety of topics specific to the brand or brands that the forum specializes in.
In this process, more experienced contributors can pass their wisdom and knowledge on to newer enthusiasts, promoting safe practices, proper tool use and common sense concepts in selecting repair parts. TECH EXCHANGE is not intended to turn readers into mechanics, but to inform and entertain readers, as well as affording the opportunity for anyone to make an appropriate judgment on whether a given task is within their capability, or should be taken to a professional shop for completion. Some may find that a task they expected to be beyond them is not, while others will come to understand that what they thought was a small job is best handled by an experienced technician.
How Does It Work?
Forum members are encouraged to submit their experiences in one of three forms – a Quick Tip, an Article or a Feature. Each of these varies in content length and photo content. Topics may range through the entire spectrum of automotive interests with the only restriction being relevance to the forum subject matter. Members are encouraged to clear the topic with a TECH EXCHANGE Editor or representative to prevent duplication of efforts.
Each submission is reviewed for its level of content and readability before publication. Members are encouraged to submit on an ongoing basis, for which they are awarded points. At specific levels of accomplishment, members receive recognition and rewards for their contributions. These rewards will include forum recognition badges, premium memberships, swag items such as caps or t-shirts and even cash.
How Do I Get Started?
First, identify yourself to the TECH EXCHANGE Editor on your forum. Let him know that you are interested and what topic or topics you have in mind. You will need a digital camera, or be able to borrow one, to take photos and upload them. Decide on the best type of submission for your first try. Unless you are experienced at this kind of thing, a Quick Tip is usually best the first time around.
Here are the requirements for the types of submissions:
Quick Tip = 250 words minimum + 2 photos minimum
Article = 500 words minimum + 5 photos minimum
Feature = 1000 words minimum + 10 photos minimum
Once your submission is received, it will be reviewed for suitability. Please see the Writing and Photo Guidelines later in this FAQ. Once your submission is approved, you will be awarded points for your contribution. A Quick Tip is worth one point, an Article is worth three points and a Feature is worth five points.
What’s In It for Me?
Good question. How about fame, fortune and glory? How about the respect and adoration of your peers? How about a warm, fuzzy feeling about having shared your knowledge and experience with others in the community? Well, that’s part of the deal, but we’ve got some additional perks for you.
With your first approved submission, you will receive a bronze `Contributor’ icon under your User Name on the forum, plus a special User Title to recognize your contribution. Once you have accumulated 10 points, you’ll receive a silver Contributor icon, plus an updated User Title, a Silver Contributor magnet and a GenCoupe.com T-shirt.
At the 20 point level, your Contributor icon goes gold; you will receive a 1-year Premium membership, Gold Contributor icon, updated User Title, Gold Contributor magnet and a GenCouple.com ball cap. A little more effort can take you to the top level, 40 points, which gives you a Lifetime Premium Membership in the forum, a Lifetime Contributor icon and magnet, updated User Title and $100 cash.
How does that sound? Are you ready to start now?
The Content Guidelines
To get started, you need an approved topic and a plan. You don’t have to be an accomplished writer, but we hope that you can follow a few simple ideas. The main one is called The Five W’s, and this will give you the content of your story. Each of the five W’s represents a question that someone reading your work is going to have. To write a great submission, just answer the questions.
- Who is doing this/who makes this?
- What is it? What is the job / fix / modification?
- How recent is this? When do I need it?
- Where can I get it? Where do I use it?
- Why do I care? What problem does this solve?
On top of this, there are just a couple of other important things to keep in mind. First, write everything yourself. Do not copy text from someone else's web site or posts. Before you are ready to send in your submission, please run it through a spell check tool. If you need a free access one, just go to Spellchecker.net - Spell Checker, Web Spell Check Solutions
It is also a good idea to have someone else read through it before clicking the Send button. Another point of view may find something that you missed. Taking these steps will help to get your work through the approval process more quickly.
Everything that you talk about will be a lot easier to understand if you have some photos with the written work. We need digital photos only and color ones are preferred. You don’t need a fancy camera if you follow a few simple ideas.
Please ensure that your photos are in focus, well lit and show what you're talking about. Before sending your photos, resize them to 1024 pixels on the longest side.
If you did not take the photos yourself, you must include the real name and email of the photographer. Please do not "scoop" photos from another web site or online source without their explicit permission. If you have permission, you must also include a photo credit.
If there is relevant video available, please include a link. If you are linking to someone else’s work on YouTube or another video sharing service, we will credit you with one additional point upon approval. If the video is produced by you, additional credits will be given. Please do not produce video on speculation, though. Talk to the TECH EXCHANGE Editor ahead of time to avoid duplication or disappointment.