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Old Oct 14, 05, 9:30 am   #1
 
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Question 14: Opinion on individual forum communities & collective FT community

This question was submitted by FlyBalletGuy:

"I'd like the candidates to talk about striking a balance between the communities formed in individual forums and the FT community as a whole. Where does the correct balance lie and how would they foster it?"
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Old Oct 14, 05, 10:04 am   #2
 
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As I have discussed in another thread, I believe most users of FT visit no more than four or five forums on a regular basis. Therefore, I believe that any discussion on community needs to begin with that reality in mind. The good news is that there is a significant degree of cross-pollination between forum memberships. Of two fliers who both fly Delta and visit that forum, one might stay with Marriott and enjoying talking about airport security while another might be a woman who prefers Hilton and who peruses the woman’s travel section. They share one forum, while differing on two others. In that way, the greater community forms as a web of connections. What in the real world might be six degrees of separation on here might be capped instead at two or in rare instances three. What an online community lacks is the equivalent of an introduction and therefore that whole “friend of a friend” relationship is not always as apparent.

The more difficult part of this question is in examining the correct balance and recommendations. I personally believe that more intimate settings lead to stronger relationships. In that way, having people get to know each other well on smaller boards is a good thing. The danger, of course, is if that sub-community then feels that it is somehow unrelated to, better than, or disparaged by the greater body. While I would love to say that I have all the answers to solve that problem, the reality is that a virtual army of social scientists has yet to derive a solution for those types of dynamics that do evolve with within modern multicultural communities. All I can say is that conflict will occasionally arise and I have found that it is best to tackle it as quickly and as forthrightly as possible as the biggest danger is not the conflict itself, but the resentments that can linger when issues are not resolved. The web of relationships is a foundation upon which we must depend, and therefore I believe that each of us has a part to play in calming the emotions that occasionally erupt.
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Old Oct 14, 05, 11:49 am   #3
 
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From my standpoint, the beauty of FT is that if I have a question or interest, you can find it on here. There's also too much info for anyone to keep on. My use depends on my needs, I have my usuals but then when I'm doing something different, I seek out other forums that I don't normally follow via browsing searching or by recommendation for others.

I think the key to have a good balance is to manage each topic appropriately. Big enough so that the diversity of topics and people are alive in each forum, to have enough traffic, but not too much that it's unmanagable or makes it hard for users to navigate. It can't be too small either, since then there isn't enough critical mass to motivate people to participate.

This is no easy task...
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Old Oct 14, 05, 12:16 pm   #4
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As John C implied, there are probably very few FT'ers who visit more than a handful of Forums on a regular basis. I've got 22 subscribed Forums on MY FlyerTalk home page. I visit 7 or 8 of those on a regular basis and watch for something of interest to pop-up in the others. And if it's a real slow day on FT, I'll cruise into new Forums that I haven't monitored before.
I think the community that we experience is unique to each of us and it's dependent on our individual interest in airlines, hotel, rental car companies, etc. I tend to "know" the regulars in the Forums I visit and interact with them on a daily basis.
I find one of the most important ways to foster a true FT community feeling is to attend a DO that is not Forum specific. A good example of this was a Venice DO I attended last year. The DO was originally organized by DL Forum posters but the main thread was created in Community Buzz and attracted a lot of attendees who I had never met online. I made several good friends at that DO and I now visit the Forums where these new acquaintances post.
I would encourage my fellow FlyerTalkers to visit different Forums on a regular basis, check out the discussions in progress and see if there are any experiences or advice you can share.
I'd also strongly suggest that everyone plan to attend at least one FT DO in 2006. It's a unique and rewarding experience that you'll remember for a long time.
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Old Oct 14, 05, 1:36 pm   #5
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I'm with Cholula. Visit the DO's and learn about what people think about other forums. Explore, learn.
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Old Oct 14, 05, 2:46 pm   #6
 
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Ok, time for a metaphor:

I view FT as a well run city. Wjhile there is an overall culture, it has a bunch of different neighborhoods - each with its own flavor.

The metaphorical city might have a neighborhood that is full of clubs and nightlife, where you can hear great bands and drink until 2 AM, while a couple of miles down the road is the residential area where you better not have a noisy party past 10PM unless you want to have a moderator . . .(oops, I meant cop) knock on your door.

At flyertalk, we are a big community. Different things are allowed on the Mileage Run board than are allowed on OMNI. And I think that is great (while I think the rules should be clear and consistantly enforced, I have no problems with the rules specifically allowing different things in different forums).

Some of the people I like the most on FT work and play in different neighborhoods than I (They fly different airlines, sleep in different hotels, etc.) - But its great to see them when our paths do cross.

I value these differences and will do what I can if elected to city council (sorry again, I mean TalkBoard) to keep it a happy safe place for the entire community.
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Old Oct 14, 05, 3:18 pm   #7
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FT will always be primarily focused on the individual forums for the reasons already mentioned. That said, it is incumbent on members and moderators to make sure that a visitor's first impression is a positive one. If visitors are welcomed, they will come back. This strengthens FT. Hostility to "newbies" in a forum harms all of FT.
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Old Oct 14, 05, 3:31 pm   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nsx
FT will always be primarily focused on the individual forums for the reasons already mentioned. That said, it is incumbent on members and moderators to make sure that a visitor's first impression is a positive one. If visitors are welcomed, they will come back. This strengthens FT. Hostility to "newbies" in a forum harms all of FT.
Agreed.. if AC wants to be all things Canada, so be it, let'em. I don't mind.

There should be a sense of community in the individual forums. People who post a lot seem to like the styles of a certain one etc, and often, become 'friends' with people in the individual forums.

They're essential to helping build FT as a community and should be fostered and encouraged.
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Old Oct 14, 05, 6:51 pm   #9
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Most FTers started on FT by reading forums that are of interest to them so they become part of the smaller group within the Forum. And eventually, people will want to meet others in their group. However, we're all part of the big FT group and as such all FTers should have the opportunity to attend, so gatherings should be in a central Community forum and I fully support this.

Last edited by peteropny; Oct 15, 05 at 8:54 am.
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Old Oct 14, 05, 8:06 pm   #10
 
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There are some localities on FT that aren't for me, and some that are. For example, the appeal of Luxury Hotels escapes me -- as Tom Bodett says, when you turn off the lights, we look just like those biig, fancy hotels. (But Motel 6 is usually more expensive than a 3* hotel purchased on Priceline.)

I can think of other examples of boards I don't frequent very much. I've never flown on QF or CX. But the big secret of FT is that we're more than frequent flyers. We're (on the average and as a whole) brighter, hipper, and wittier than denizens of other BBSes -- travel makes us that way.
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Old Oct 14, 05, 8:49 pm   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyBalletGuy


"I'd like the candidates to talk about striking a balance between the communities formed in individual forums and the FT community as a whole. Where does the correct balance lie and how would they foster it?"
All Forums have very specific personalities.

Some are small and very loose and casual. Others are much more formal.

The Qantas Forum I hang out on a lot. Like Air Canada it is very regional based. And often threads in there have NOTHING to do with AC or QF. That is fine with those there - including the mods on QF forum. And the mod on the AC forum seems cool with that too, whose name seems to be Randy Petersen. That's how the AC folks like it, and indeed attempts to change them this year created a mass riot. This is what the AC forum looks like today:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/forum...ysprune=&f=375

Maybe it just proves that Aussies and Canadians do not like being TOLD what to do.

Delta Forum in the last week or so started a total nonsense thread.

The United Mods would never allow that IMHO. Possibly as it is busier.

As stated in my campaign profile "FT Community" is one of my favourite 3 Forums as I have personally met 100s of FT'ers - on 6 continents.
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Old Oct 15, 05, 8:24 am   #12
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I believe that each forum has its own unique identity & its own unique userbase. I don't see any problem with this. I believe that the Community forums are great forums & I'm glad they exist. However, each forum will always have its own "sub-community" - the people that regularly travel on a certain airline or stay at a certain hotel will create bonds with other travelers that use their suppliers since those are the people whose posts they will probably reply to or read the most. It's natural. I don't see any issue with forums having subcommunities. As Oz pointed out, the DL forum recently started its own community-based thread - from what I can tell, it's something that benefits the membership of FlyerTalk & benefits the regular posters in that forum - nothing wrong with that. He also said that he didn't think the UA mods would "allow" that sort of thread - maybe there isn't a need for that thread - maybe there is. The only way to find out is to try it out & see where it goes.
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Old Oct 15, 05, 1:54 pm   #13
 
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Hi

I believe that each of the forums should have its own unique identity and that there really is no need too strike any sort of balance between as I would say that its impossible to do as the each member of FlyerTalk has his/her own thoughts on the particular forums that they take part in.

Overall they are travel related so form a very large community with excellent help and advice for anyone who travels the world or wishes to travel the world.

Regards
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Old Oct 15, 05, 1:56 pm   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbstone
There are some localities on FT that aren't for me, and some that are. For example, the appeal of Luxury Hotels escapes me -- as Tom Bodett says, when you turn off the lights, we look just like those biig, fancy hotels. (But Motel 6 is usually more expensive than a 3* hotel purchased on Priceline.)

I can think of other examples of boards I don't frequent very much. I've never flown on QF or CX. But the big secret of FT is that we're more than frequent flyers. We're (on the average and as a whole) brighter, hipper, and wittier than denizens of other BBSes -- travel makes us that way.

Hi
I am the same, some forums I keep in my favorites, others I will glance into and then the rest I will very rarley visit or not visit at all as they are "currently" of no interest to me.

Please note I use the word "currently" as things are always changing in the travel industry and even in life so you should really never say never.

regards
RadioMan
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Old Oct 15, 05, 11:45 pm   #15
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These things happen by evolution - some people are social by nature and others just want information and would never want to spend social time discussing points and miles.

I think the balance is right - people who want to be social will find the Community Board. If I wanted to make more of an issue of this, I might vote to move Community up the list.
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