I emailed Stone Anthony, the club president, to ask him what was going on. He just gave me a call.
Asked him specifically if he removed the thread, and he said it was done by a moderator. He told me the thread was deleted as soon as it was posted. He indicated that since I'd joined one year, logged in 11 times, and was only posting for the first time apparently I was not involved enough to have an opinion. I did point out that my current bike is my third Suzuki of the five bikes I've owned.
I asked him if he could answer the question about what the value of the club was and he pointed to the regional rallies they have (seven listed on the website - fair commentary) and other group rides. He further stated that it was not the goal or intention of the club to be a technical resource like this site or SVrider, also fair commentary.
Had these benefits (and opinion of "where I was coming from") been posted in response to the thread I would have considered it a positive sign. I posted on a members-only area so it's not like broadcasting to the interweb.
If you look through that section, you'll see that there isn't a lot of participation: sometimes only one or two posts a day, with zero posts some days.
It appears that the response of deleting the thread was as much about the current leadership of the club being made uncomfortable about their apparent lack of progress in growing the club as it was about an apparent troll. Rather than responding to the thread (as he did in the phone call) or even pm'ing or emailing me to ask my intention they took the uniquely heavy-handed approach of deleting the thread and cancelling my account.
My post was a well-meaning effort to open some dialog about what they were doing and what they might do to attract more members and more interest. Customers don't go away mad: they just go away.
Specifically, my opinion is that the people currently directing the club are trying to make it a "Metric HOG" patterned after the Harley owner's group, right down to the veteran patches, vests, and rides. I am a veteran myself and don't begrudge any efforts to promote our interests, particularly to make sure the combat vets returning home are well taken care of.
I sure wish there was some way to get communication from Suzuki about the V-Strom. It certainly won't be from SONA, and since most dealers only stock a few of the bikes, they don't seem to be very interested either.
There is an outdoor power equipment forum called OPEonthenet. Ariens assigned an engineer to monitor the forum and it has resulted in immense goodwill and loyalty for the Ariens brand, and a lot of frank (and usually positive) product feedback. One would think that Suzuki, a company many times larger, could do something similar for this site and VSRI. Until then, I guess we remain the stepchildren of the Suzuki brand.
2005 DL650 (sold) | 2009 DL650A (sold) | 2008 Tiger 1050 ABS | 2012 WR250R | 2008 CRF100F