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Old Oct 20, 08, 3:28 pm   #1
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Thumbs down OMNI: open to all & posts showing up in web searches

Randy:

I'm all for trying new things. But the recent changes have resulted in posts made in OMNI now showing up in Google, Yahoo, etc. search results.

I find this troubling because these posts were made while it was a "restricted" forum, only accessible to registered members of FlyerTalk and members who reached a certain threshold. Now anyone can access OMNI and anything we've posted can be found via a Google search.

I can't word strongly enough what an mistake this is. Because it was restricted, OMNI was a watering hole where we could comfortably chat and banter without fear that our opinions, blabber and unique advice could be exposed to the entire world. This is very troubling to me, especially with this action taken without warning nor any update to the TOS/privacy notice.

Thank you for addressing this matter quickly.
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Old Oct 20, 08, 3:34 pm   #2
 
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Randy - could you also answer this related question?

Has Flyertalk previously guaranteed our privacy with respect to OMNI posts?
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Old Oct 20, 08, 4:27 pm   #3
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Besides the concerns about our threads in OMNI being available on search engines, I am concerned that the lifting of the 180 post minimum will bring the return of one-hit wonder trouble makers and trolls. The 180 post minimum did in fact cut that down and now that OMNI put the political and religious threads in a separate forum, OMNI can truly return to being a fun and informative place to bring up topics like purchase recommendations, sports, and the like.

Please return the 180 post minimum to OMNI. The fact that trolls can return to OMNI without that post count minimum will make the moderators' job much more laborious as well. Thank you.
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Last edited by Analise; Oct 20, 08 at 4:35 pm.
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Old Oct 20, 08, 4:33 pm   #4
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I too think the 180 posts should be returned.

Ideally I'd like to see us revert to the old policy for now and then let's start a discussion about how to best proceed.
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Old Oct 20, 08, 4:51 pm   #5
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There are some members whose use of the search engine far exceed my expertise and perhaps one of them will step forward to this answer. Once we have that information culled from years of posts on FlyerTalk I'll know like you what the answer is. I only know the same reference to something similar in the public TOS which is:
"FlyerTalk reserves the right to limit access to specific forums to members who meet experience requirements or other criteria and to change those requirements at any time."

From my knowledge, this has been there for many years.

But let's see what the search engines turn up.

Thanks for the question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by work2fly View Post
Randy - could you also answer this related question?

Has Flyertalk previously guaranteed our privacy with respect to OMNI posts?
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Old Oct 20, 08, 5:06 pm   #6
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Actually, they still exist and are on occasion found doing this same thing in the Continental forum, the United forum, etc. In OMNI, these would tend to be limited to posts involving politics and religion and often, and quite unfortunately, involved existing members, not newcomers. Perhaps in the past we have helped members from themselves, but that's always a challenge anywhere on the Internet. Have you not had a change to visit some of the other travel and deal related Web sites I reference in my research and wonder how they could not possibly have the same challenge? Honestly, I did not even think of the search engine implication. I know, being honest is a strange thing some times. But, seriously, some of the posts would indicate that there was far more posturing going on in the political stream of chat in OMNI and if so, then we already have the trolling and trouble-makers within our walls. I'm all for OMNI being fun and informative and if being "transparent" can help that, then heck, don't we all gain?

As for our moderators, frankly we have chased many of the trolls elsewhere and I think they (our volunteers) will be OK.

But I've always enjoyed exchanges with you so feel free to continue our conversation. Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Analise View Post
Besides the concerns about our threads in OMNI being available on search engines, I am concerned that the lifting of the 180 post minimum will bring the return of one-hit wonder trouble makers and trolls. The 180 post minimum did in fact cut that down and now that OMNI put the political and religious threads in a separate forum, OMNI can truly return to being a fun and informative place to bring up topics like purchase recommendations, sports, and the like.

Please return the 180 post minimum to OMNI. The fact that trolls can return to OMNI without that post count minimum will make the moderators' job much more laborious as well. Thank you.
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Old Oct 20, 08, 5:16 pm   #7
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I think the vast majority of members trust me to make these types of decisions so they can spend their time enjoying the value of the information on FlyerTalk. As we know from this change, no member is actually harmed by the change and in fact some members benefits increase. Now, granted there may be some harm, but nothing that we can't help the member with some willing assistance like the OP. Now, some may say they are being harmed because they made some posts that were made in an out-of-the-way forum we still must fall back on the golden rule and on the Internet that is ... you are what you post.

Might I ask you to assist me with a clear explanation of what actually is wrong with OMNI as it is now? Thanks, I'm always looking for clear concise data points for reference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by magiciansampras View Post
I too think the 180 posts should be returned.

Ideally I'd like to see us revert to the old policy for now and then let's start a discussion about how to best proceed.
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Old Oct 20, 08, 5:18 pm   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Petersen View Post
Actually, they still exist and are on occasion found doing this same thing in the Continental forum, the United forum, etc. In OMNI, these would tend to be limited to posts involving politics and religion and often, and quite unfortunately, involved existing members, not newcomers. Perhaps in the past we have helped members from themselves, but that's always a challenge anywhere on the Internet. Have you not had a change to visit some of the other travel and deal related Web sites I reference in my research and wonder how they could not possibly have the same challenge? Honestly, I did not even think of the search engine implication. I know, being honest is a strange thing some times. But, seriously, some of the posts would indicate that there was far more posturing going on in the political stream of chat in OMNI and if so, then we already have the trolling and trouble-makers within our walls. I'm all for OMNI being fun and informative and if being "transparent" can help that, then heck, don't we all gain?

As for our moderators, frankly we have chased many of the trolls elsewhere and I think they (our volunteers) will be OK.

But I've always enjoyed exchanges with you so feel free to continue our conversation. Thanks.
Sure let's converse. So the post minimum requirement was put in place in OMNI because of the prevalence of political and religious threads? Well I guess time will tell as we see what happens in OMNI from this time forward.

I never thought about other forum-type travel websites because this is the one I use. I have seen forum-type websites related to sports and they turn me off because of the troll-like atmosphere. These are forum webpages which are part of major media outlets like newspapers and TV stations. FT stands out because of how well, by and large, the forums are kept pleasant and fun in which to participate.

I really thought that the elimination of the minimum post count was indeed an oversight. I would feel better if that minimum were returned but that's just me.
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Old Oct 20, 08, 5:19 pm   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Petersen View Post
I think the vast majority of members trust me to make these types of decisions so they can spend their time enjoying the value of the information on FlyerTalk. As we know from this change, no member is actually harmed by the change and in fact some members benefits increase. Now, granted there may be some harm, but nothing that we can't help the member with some willing assistance like the OP. Now, some may say they are being harmed because they made some posts that were made in an out-of-the-way forum we still must fall back on the golden rule and on the Internet that is ... you are what you post.
I'm a tad confused by what you are saying here. Is there harm or isn't there? And if it is the latter, how do you know?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Petersen View Post
Might I ask you to assist me with a clear explanation of what actually is wrong with OMNI as it is now?
In my view OMNI shouldn't be accessible until you have 180 posts. You previously obviously thought this to be the case (as you implemented the threshold). Why the change of heart? What problem are you solving with this new move?
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Old Oct 20, 08, 5:23 pm   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magiciansampras View Post
In my view OMNI shouldn't be accessible until you have 180 posts. You previously obviously thought this to be the case (as you implemented the threshold). Why the change of heart? What problem are you solving with this new move?
And if so, why no warning or formal announcement?
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Old Oct 20, 08, 5:45 pm   #11
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At a minimum, please restrict it to logged in users only and keep it from being searchable/cached by google.

Some people have posted some very personal stuff in there over the years - particularly since it was locked down.

If you think 180/180 is too high, lower it, but have some sort of a minimum.

Having it searchable is going to do nothing more than attract crazies not interested in the core business of FT.
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Old Oct 20, 08, 6:11 pm   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Petersen View Post
Honestly, I did not even think of the search engine implication. I know, being honest is a strange thing some times. ..... I'm all for OMNI being fun and informative and if being "transparent" can help that, then heck, don't we all gain?
I am no techie but I know google is a very "powerful" tool that digs up deep in the virtual world. Once the info gets indexed, there's (almost) no escape. It was not a concern when OMNI was not open to "the public." The search engine implication due to their power is a more imminent issue now.

I would think most of the fun in OMNI has been built on the sense of community. Folks were drawn to FT because of passion for travel, miles & points. The 180 "privilege" gives the posters enough time to know FT. We get to know what FT is really about. FTers get to know each other by the post interaction. Some actually meet in real life for DOs or other small gathering. Because you get to know the persons you are interacting with, and because the "wide" latitude OMNI has, OMNI frequent (OMNIites, sp?) are able to let their hair down and enjoy themselves over the years. You can't even get the "insider" jokes if you are too new.

And now the new "transparent" policy kicked in without any prior notice. Almost like living in a gated community for such a long time, you sort of know all your neighbors. The next day you wake up and learn your community is open for "all visitors." Now you don't know who may be passing by your front doors. You have no idea what brings in the visitors (or trolls). Folks didn't even have time to clean up their backyards and hide the laundry.

I am not sure what impact the lift of OMNI will have on the FT community (yet). I am sure the sense of FT OMNI community is going to change. I am just not sure if that's the direction FT should be heading for. I've more than I like in SPAM Forum when I spot those zero- or one-post newbies jumping in from all directions and cut the smooth flow of conga-lines with high referral bonuses. I don't think I want to see similar "ripple effect" in OMNI.

When there's a proposal or motion in Talkboard Topics Forum, there's always one challenge question: "does it serve the core purpose of FT?" Because there's a vision for Flyertalk, some proposals never go anywhere.

We all know there are tons of "strange" people (FTers included ), on the internet. Could the lifted OMNI turn into "fatal attraction" and "disturb" the sense of FT community? Randy, that the question for you to ponder.

Quote:
But, seriously, some of the posts would indicate that there was far more posturing going on in the political stream of chat in OMNI and if so, then we already have the trolling and trouble-makers within our walls.
<snipe>
As for our moderators, frankly we have chased many of the trolls elsewhere and I think they (our volunteers) will be OK.
Yes, I indeed observe the "decrease" of certain trolls since early October (i.e. before the OMNI/PR). Thanks for our mod teams!
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Old Oct 20, 08, 6:26 pm   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mary2e View Post
At a minimum, please restrict it to logged in users only and keep it from being searchable/cached by google.
When I tested it yesterday, you actually had to log in to see OMNI (see my other OMNI post on this issue). But it seems OMNI is now totally visible to the general public. Are we changing the requirement about OMNI on a daily basis now?

Last edited by lin821; Oct 20, 08 at 6:33 pm.
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Old Oct 20, 08, 6:32 pm   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Petersen View Post
I think the vast majority of members trust me to make these types of decisions so they can spend their time enjoying the value of the information on FlyerTalk.
Randy, I often use the "New Posts" feature to see what the latest threads have to offer. Many times OMNI threads are a large percentage of these new topics, and most are not of interest to me.

Without a post requirement, I can see FlyerTalk evolving into a free-for-all where life forms from all corners of the internet use OMNI to preach from their soapboxes.

If you are truly concerned about members enjoying the various aspects of FT without constantly encountering topics they would rather not have to read through, then I would recommend the following options:

1) Separate OMNI from the "New Posts" feature on the main FT site. Give OMNI its own listing of new topics, but keep it separate. After all, members don't get credit for their post counts there.

2) Allow new members to read OMNI threads, but don't allow them to post until they have contributed a certain number of posts on the travel side.

3) Allow new members to post on Omni, but not be able to start new threads until certain requirements have been met.

But I think option number one is critical. There have been numerous threads asking how to hide OMNI posts when looking through new posts.

Also, find a way to keep Google from archiving OMNI posts. This could potentially cause a firestorm down the road...
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Old Oct 20, 08, 7:06 pm   #15
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just want to chime in that i really preferred omni as a private forum. i'm neither as prolific nor as articulate as some of the other posters, but i'm very disappointed that this change wasn't discussed beforehand. one of the things i liked about omni was that i felt it was a community of people who'd 'been here awhile,' and that gave it a feeling of security that it no longer has, frankly (at least not for me).

thanks for listening.
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