TalkBoard Elections/06 - Question 4: To which extent would FlyerTalk be a different place?
Nov 6, 06, 7:08 pm
This question submitted by christiansen:
If the owner of this BB had not established a user advisory board named
TalkBoard, in which extent would FlyerTalk be a different place?
Nov 6, 06, 9:13 pm
There would be no place for the members of FlyerTalk, who jointly form its most important asset, to have elected representation.
What may or may not be different beyond that is purely a matter of speculation.
Nov 6, 06, 9:53 pm
It's hard to speculate.
Nature abhors a vacuum.
Insert pithy saying here.
Seriously, who knows?
But it's nice to have a membership representation forum that has the ear of Randy and the HOM. It's also nice that those that win election to TalkBoard have been people who care deeply about FT and about its future.
Nov 7, 06, 3:49 am
Without TalkBoard, many new forums would not be made, or at least not as quickly. The users of the board would not have a voice heard. With TalkBoard, everyone has a voice, and can make a difference to the board.
The board would still exist, but it would be a different shape from where we are now. Possibly OMNI would not have been re-instated after its last suspension - some might think that good, some bad ;)
I think TB has been pretty good at reviewing the forums - so we had the en masse merger of dining and travel, which went off very well - the recent re-ordering was also a TB instigation, and again, I've seen quite a few positive benefits from it (If nothing else, putting London and UK & Ireland together has decreased the mispostings between the two forums :)). There are a number of new destination and airline forums, which would probably not have been spun off without TB looking and seeing the interest in those countries and regions, and they have been most useful - the China forum is one I visit regularly, and it has some great information on there :)
TB gives the site the kind of scrutiny that probably no-one in HOM has much time to do - looking to see where travel patterns and hence posting patterns are changing, and whether FT needs to be adapted to meet those changes.
Nov 7, 06, 6:48 am
The success of FT Ė resides in its ability to stay ahead of the times. Having a TalkBoard allows for ideas to be exchanged and like a board of directors at any major company Ė it allows for stability. We donít have shareholders interests to consider (thank goodness), instead we have only one interest to consider: and itís that of representing the community.
If we had only one person running the boards weíd have fewer forums or forums that only certain people cared about (as another fellow member mentioned earlier). That one person would only represent a few needs Ė itís hard to grasp what another mileage program subject thread requires.
With the TalkBoard you have the ability to stay ahead, exchange ideas that represent a whole community and make this place even better.
Nov 7, 06, 8:17 am
Cool question, christiansen.
I dont think FT would be too terribly different to be blunt about it. I think Randy's vision of what FT should be was strong and solid from the start. The TB really only operates around the fringes.
But the TB, I think, helps Randy keep in touch with the posters and what's going on in the communities of Flyertalk. It also gets him to think outside his box and sometimes even out of his comfort zone. And that's a good thing for any leader to have.
I'll give you an example: the proposed Mens Travel Forum. Randy's stated opposition to the MTF is that no other travel board has one. Any my response as a TB member would have been, 'And that's exactly why FT should have one.' FT is not just the leader in very frequent travel discussion, it is the fortress hub. And when you are a leader you cant just follow. You have to take chances to make improvement...wade into uncharted territory.
So while the TB is not the end-all, be-all or the 'legislature' or what have you of FT, it certainly can play an important role in the direction and enjoyment of Flyertalk.
Nov 7, 06, 9:25 am
Well thatís a loaded question, itís a difficult one to answer in many ways as itís hard to imagine Flyertalk without TalkBoard and Randy working together in the way they do.
I would say that I am not going to even try and speculate as to what might have or might not have happened to Flyertalk if TalkBoard had not been formed as there are far too many unknown variables to take into account.
Nov 7, 06, 9:29 am
I'm not at all convinced that FlyerTalk would be vastly different without the TalkBoard. It may lack a few forums, and there may be a few messy items here and there, but overall the backbone of FlyerTalk has been and remains the travel program forums. That is what draws in the members, and that is the reason why were are all here to begin with.
I do agree with my previous co-candidates' comments: the TalkBoard serves as the voice of the membership, and thus does serve a valuable service in letting the ownership know what us peons are thinking. :)
Without the TalkBoard, the owner of this bulletin board would become the choke point for many of the possible continuous improvements that could potentially make FlyerTalk a better place.
As he already has a life outside of FlyerTalk and a career, the TalkBoard frees up valuable time so that he too can enjoy travel and all the fun associated with it.
Without FlyerTalk, the would be less time for Inside Flyer, travel, consultation, interviews, and a personal life for the bulletin board owner. I think that freeing up some of his time through an elected advisory board is a small way that the community can say thanks for providing this bulletin board.
In addition to new forum recommendations, Randy also asks the TalkBoard for advice on other matters.
I suspect FT would no longer exist.
Because Randy would have killed himself by now trying to run his business and also try to do what's best for the FT membership.
The talk board acts as the buffer between him and the membership and helps to decide what direction FT should take.
I really don't know but I would like to think that it has made Randy's life easier although I am aware of one or two situations where it must have created a headache or two.
Frugal Travel Guy
Nov 7, 06, 5:20 pm
Without the talkboard, necessary change would take much longer.
Nov 7, 06, 9:01 pm
I think that a couple of things would be different:
1) There wouldn't necessarily be as much of a sense of community - although this board is owned by one person, many of the user experiences are not decided by that one person - they are decided by the member elected advisory board. That gives us members as sense of ownership. We are responsible for this board - we may now own this board in name, but without the members, this board would cease to exist. The member-elected board helps keep this board relevant to the membership.
2) As ingy said, things would take a while to get done. Randy's on the road all the time. I think part of the reason for the TalkBoard was to help keep this board relevant to the membership. Part of that relevance is change - TalkBoard keeps the change moving in a positive relevant way.
Nov 8, 06, 2:36 pm
First, my apologies for not posting sooner. I have been travelling in Singapore, Brussels and London (here now) and have had almost no free time to check in other than to perform moderation duties.
Even though it has been said before, I can only imagine the headaches it would have caused Randy if he did not have an advisory board to advise him and take recommendations on changes to his baby.
I believe a diverse advisory panel has also brought a different perspective that Randy may not have seen or thought of as he continually endeavors to improve Flyertalk.com.
Nov 8, 06, 7:22 pm
I have been around just long enough to remember the days pre-TalkBoard. The group has had time to evolve and I can say its definitely a different place! I like that Randy is open to soliciting user opinions about what is best for the community and that he allows the users the ability to allow the community to change as both FT and the online world grow.
I do think FT would still be around but that some of the structural changes that help make it a better place would have taken more time to be implemented without a community prioritized agenda.
Nov 9, 06, 11:59 am
FlyerTalk would be a different place in that it would not be a friendly place in my mind. With all of the spam and dregs of the Internet society out there today the site would have been drug down to just another site with a lot of nothing and not much of anything. Instead, this site is the best there is, supported by it's existing members and friendly to anyone wanting to be a new member.
Nov 9, 06, 12:16 pm
First of all, there would be no TalkBoard forums. There wouldn't be TalkBoard elections.
I would guess that Randy, his staff, or the moderators (or a combination) would act in lieu of a TB.