GCaptain Forum VS Social Media

A large part of gCaptain’s success has been our ability to leverage social media. My technology freinds in silicon valley have advised me for years to shut down this forum and move everything to social media. And I get frequent messages from people within our industry saying the forum is out of control and needs to be reigned in or shut down.

I admt this forum is far from perfect but I still, as I did when this forum was launched, contend that this is the best method for public discourse.

Over the past 6-12 months the discussions on social media have turned sour on the platforms that allow the tools to have a public debate.

Other platforms (e.g. linkedin, instagram, twitter) appear to serve mostly as platforms for bland press releases, self congratulatory messages or sheer entertainment.

As an experiment I posted a controversial (but important) post about open lifeboats across all our accounts. Most landed with a thud but two are getting a decent response.

Here is the post on facebook:

And here is the identical post on this forum:

As you can see the facebook comments unravel much quicker and at a deeper level than this forum.

Anyway… this is all just a long way for me to say thank you. I value the discussion here on this forum and look forward to seeing it grow in the future!



@john, we are the ones that need to say thank you! Everything you and the others do to keep gcaptain up and running is outstanding. This is the best forum I have ever been a part of, though I only created a account recently I have been an avid reader for many years. I love the forum and what it stands for. It would be hard to ever have this amount of mariners with different backgrounds and experiences contribute the way that we all do in this forum. This is the best place for maritime information and collective knowledge that I know of.

So on behalf of all gcaptain members, THANK YOU!


I know that and since the day you created your account I’ve been eagerly waiting to say the following:

Thank you Captain Obvious!



I like GCaptain in Forum form without all the political bullshit that Facebook offers. Thanks John for keeping the Forum going this long.


I’ve seen many clubs and organizations that had strong forum and communication die when the younger punks went to facebook.

Facebook does not have posterity, organization, nor ability to search.

If your business model makes money on clicks, views, likes, and lots of words, then I guess facebang is better. But how do you find that old discussion and add to it a year later when new information is discovered?

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John, You’ve done an admirable job for the industry and hopefully for yourself. However, I know the business depends on clicks and ad revenue. I know you must use Google Analytics among others and can see your sites activity. I would hazard a guess that your activity has gone down with the US offshore activity but I may be wrong. Perhaps this could become more of an international forum just as shipping is. I know there are others that lurk but do not participate. They perceive this forum as a bit too nationalist for them and don’t feel comfortable. This is unfortunate and I think they are wrong but that is the perception. After awhile they don’t click because they feel it’s a USA only forum.
Dipping a toe into the general social media might draw some attention towards this forum but I would not want this forum to degenerate into yahoo or twitter beast. At least we maintain a modicum of professionalism.

^What they all said above, +one. My rant above was a poor attempt to point out social media can be a very useful and positive tool, but also a slippery slope. The GCaptain forum itself is a form of social media, and fine one at that. On one hand you have social media being used to connect and notify groups of a disaster - who is safe, who is not. It has allowed oppressed peoples to be heard and have a voice. And many other positive examples. Then you have instances where social media is abused for nefarious reasons, trolls, spam, bots, etc. Look at the alleged involvement of Russia in U.S. elections - pitting groups against one another. What is real, what is not?

Don’t know how large your staff is but hope that someone is wearing the hat of Social Media Director. Anyway, kudos.

Now, on to the lifeboat wall of shame search…

I really enjoy the gCaptain forum, possiby because I am British, since it provides a window on what is happening elsewhere in the English speaking world. I was encouraged to sign up when c.captain pointed the finger at Admiral of the Fleet Lord West, suggesting he was a pompous Brit, so I thought I’d defend him, but by the time I’d drawn breath things had moved on. To hell with facebook; on the gCaptain forum no-one wants to be my friend, probably the opposite, and I just can’t be bothered with the rest. I read stuff that makes me think and sometimes contribute, hoping to make others think. Nothing’s perfect John, but this is probably the most effective marine forum on the internet.


I found this forum because I was curious about why a large and fast vessel like the El Faro could get too close to a hurricane, capsize and sink with loss of all hands.
I didn’t find any sensible and informed information in any of the regular American press and little interest from the rest of the world.

I joined in Oct. 2015 and was met by a barrage of insults for being a furriner asking questions. (Probably a landlubber, a yachty, or at best maybe somebody working in shipping in some shore position)
Not being of the type to get scared off easily, or accept insult without repaying, I gave back with some insults of my own.

I did even quit posting for a while, but I got interested in some of the other subjects being discussed and started posting in other thread, asking questions to learn more about the attitudes and opinions on the those subjects. (Not that I hadn’t heard many of them before)

Since I’m now retired this forum has now become part of my daily routine and I hope we can continue to have educated and sensible discussion on maritime and other subjects for along time to go.

I do agree, and have frequently express, that the forum could do with a bit more of an international feel, both in membership, contribution and opinions. (I have tried to do my part on the last two) If everybody come from a similar background and with much the same opinions, there isn’t much useful arguments being brought to the forum.


…please keep the forum running for the few of us that don’t have facebook or myface

@john, to me the biggest difference between FB and here is people can post anonymously and feel safer saying something that could get back to their Company. To me this is the best thing about a Forum setup as it can lead to more open conversation. There is always the otherside where people feel they can say anything as no one knows who they are and this can and often does lead to a large amount of B.S.

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I’d like to be your friend Gryhpe! :wink:

We certainly agree and garnering a diversity of opinion (not just between nationalities but between vessel types and job description) was the reason we launched this forum. Unfortunately this view is not always popular along my near shore.

I thought so too… but having a real name and picture attached to every comment posted doesn’t seem to be a major concern of most FB trolls.

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gcaptain on Facebook is sometimes less civil then this forum. And has a strong following of luddits. It’s actually fascinating what people dare to write under full name.

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Who says either are real? Facebook doesn’t require ID in order to start an account.

They’re idiots.

I can’t imagine why, unless they’re afraid of the information we share here, in which case fuck them.


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I cannot imagine why anyone would advise you that you should shut down the forum and move to social media or the forum is out of control. In one case I can imagine they are jealous or want a piece of the pie; in the other case they are incoherent or ignorant. God knows we can do “out of control” but a moderated forum allows us to peek at the abyss but not plunge over the edge.
As Capt. Phoenix so eloquently put it “fuck 'em” …both.

I managed to write exactly the opposite of what I wanted to say. Happens sometimes! But nevertheless very happy to have you as a friend John, we do have a former employer in common.

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