Question 2: Facilitating the platform/motto from your candidate profile.
This question was submitted by missydarlin:
How will you use your position on the TalkBoard to facilitate the platform/motto you have stated in your candidate profile. What (if any) specific actions/motions/recommendations do you have in mind for the Talkboard to further your platform.
My motto reads "FlyerTalk is like an airplane -- it either goes forward or it comes down. It doesn't have the luxury of standing still in the air."
We like to say that FlyerTalk is all about points and miles, and that might have been true once, but it no longer is.
The change started slowly. At first it might just have been about what seats are best on a 777 or what the lounges were like in CDG. The next step was the emphasis on the FlyerTalk community. We started to get interested in each other as people and in learning about what was happening in each other's lives.
Meeting each other in person was the next logical step and we started having "Do's".
Later, we had specialized forums that catered to people with special interests and needs.
Then, unfortunately, we got a bit scared. There were fears that FlyerTalk was growing too quickly. We started demanding that someone prove that a forum be successful before we would give it a try. The result was that most proposed forums never saw the light of day.
I did manage a breakthrough on that during the year I was on TalkBoard. Although the sticky on top of the TalkBoard Topics Forum demands "evidence of copious posts/threads that somehow don't seem to fit in their current locations" the fact is that forums did manage to get approved without such proof.
Frankly, I think this is crucial for FlyerTalk. It is what allows it, like the airplane in my motto, to go forward.
I would like TalkBoard to work on the following basis: If its members think that a proposed travel-related forum could be helpful to the membership, they should approve it -- even without any proof having been supplied.
Moreover, in the case of flag carriers, I would vote in favor of a forum if there were 25 members who are members of its FF program and state that they would be active posters on its forum.
We saw how the El Al Forum proved very successful, not only for Matmid members but also for people flying into Tel Aviv for the first time -- even on competing airlines.
Unfortunately, a similar request for Alitalia was turned down by TalkBoard.
Korean Airlines and Asiana Club were approved but backers of a Malaysia Airlines forum have been unable to get a vote from TalkBoard.
Given the kind of support I mentioned above, I think that any flag carrier forum would help both FlyerTalk members and FlyerTalk itself.
Technology Resting and Relaxing Aviation Vacation Employment Travel Loyality to Frequent Flyer programs
Flyertalk already brings these points to the community, but I also think that each forum should have a beginner's guide, hitting on these points, to show all the strengths of that forum. Every person who visits Flyertalk should see it as a door to a open community where everyone is willing to help.
Programs: DL PM/1MM, IC Platinum, Hilton Gold, SPG Gold, Marriott Silver; National Car Executive
This is exactly what I posted in my profile:
My goal will be to abuse my position of absolute power in order to enrich myself. However, I do pledge that once bribed, I will stay bribed. I stake my personal integrity on it.
Now, we all know that the Talkboard has tremendous influence in world geopolitics, and several international economies are totally intertwined with it. That is why it is so vital to have people of integrity on the Talkboard. The way to do this is to carefully study the issue, weigh all the options, and then sell your vote to the highest bidder. In other words, exactly the same as any other elected office.
Iím going in with no-preconceived ideas about what being on TB is like Ė Iíd be going in with an open mind, a fresh perspective through an experienced FTerís eyes, a willingness to listen to the opinions and arguments of others, but also the ability to make up my own mind when Iíve assessed the various positions. I may be closely associated with Sheep, but I certainly donít follow the herd for the sake of it! Basically Iím going in with the simple aim of looking to see how I can help improve the experience of those who use, moderate and manage FT. If I see or think of something I believe will be beneficial and improve the boards, then Iíll be in favour of it Ė if I donít think it will be beneficial, then I wonít!
As someone who thinks the community aspect of FlyerTalk is just as, or even more, important than the points/miles aspect, I would like to see TalkBoard do the following:
-- Involve more members in day-to-day decisions by communicating better to the membership. Not many people subscribe to TalkBoard Topics like I do, so getting the word out is near the top of my list.
-- Asking for more feedback from members when a new forum is proposed. I would support use of very visible polling, for example, as part of the process. While decisions would remain TalkBoard's, using the polling feature that is supported by this IBB would give TB members more feedback on which to make decisions.
-- Open up the process of communicating to be a bit more visible to the everyday membership. A weekly or bi-weekly newsletter could be posted in a visible place or sent out via email.
I will have more to say as the vote nears, but this seems enough for now.
FlyerTalkers need to remember that they were new members once, and not be too quick to put down the current new members when they ask that same question that has been asked 100 times previously. A little courtesy goes a long way in continuing and growing the community.
There seems to be much grumbling lately by the veterans on some forums about new members asking the same questions over and over and over and over and over and over and over. There was even a suggestion to further segregate the program forums into a ďbeginnerĒ and an ďadvancedĒ forum. (Which I do not support, as that would lead to further confusion and perhaps even more of the questioning that seems to frustrate the veterans.)
There will always be new members. New members join FlyerTalk to increase their knowledge about something, which of course means they will be asking repeat questions. I would suggest a twofold approach for handling such questions:
1.Veterans in the program forums should volunteer to create FAQ threads and other informational guides about their program. This has already happened in many forums, and some of my co-candidates even help maintain those threads.
2.When a question is asked that could be answered in the thread, welcome the member (if appropriate) and suggest they refer to the pertinent section in the FAQ/Guide.
I see this as simple courtesy, and it takes the same amount of time to refer a poster to a guide as it does to flame them or tell them to ďuse the darn searchĒ. Also, by referring the individual to a guide thread, you begin to teach them how to look it up them self.
Yes, we do have a search function on this bulletin board. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that well on occasion, and we members tend to use our own syntax and abbreviations which causes confusion for the virgin posters.
As a TalkBoard member (and even as a general peon), I would advocate the compilation of the vast wealth of knowledge possessed by the FlyerTalk population into stickied reference guides/FAQs/libraries/etc. Is this worthy of an Official TalkBoard Resolution? Perhaps, perhaps not. It seems to me to be more of a voluntary thing. Most forums seem to have members who are dedicated to the community and are willing to give back in this way.
Finally, you can never have too much cowbell.
A committee is a life form with six or more legs and no brain.
Saying one thing and actually following through are different things.. That's why I'd like to offer how my platform can bring value to the FlyerTalk Community.
"Donation: A yearly drive to donate x miles from FT members to charity (Maybe a competition between mileage programs)"
How:We, the community of FT, are very lucky (and smart) - to have access to hundreds of millions of miles.. Let's make Flyer[i]Talk]! I propose we have a challenge based on which Mileage program you belong to.. We'll work with the airlines and their program to make this happen. It's fun and we can use just a few of our miles to help others.
"Outreach: Let's make lurkers(not all) members. Let's make newbies welcome with semi annual gatherings across the US+world."
How: I'm a newbie and I admit, that I stood around a few weeks wondering if I should sign up to FT (or just be a lurker). Why? Because acronyms were everywhere and it seemed like there was a large learning curve (thank goodness for the MR tools 1+2 thread.) And people seemed upset if someone asked a question in the wrong forum or asked the wrong type of question. All I knew was Ė hey these people like to fly just like I do.
I propose we do a newbie presentation - heck I'll make a 10 minute orientation session presentation (in web viewable powerpoint). And let's get out (when its warmer) and have an old fashion BBQ! Letís promote VJís classes and make them even more popular.
"Always evolving: Let's integrate new technologies - like the wiki that has already begun"
How: I love the idea of a wiki. Itís already there and it needs to promoted a bit more. Perhaps the presentation I mention earlier can be posted in the wiki. Wikis are easily searchable, easily updated, and a wealth of information can indexed properly.
Bring the lesser known forums up front. I think a lot of people do not know about forums outside of the MR and their Mileage program. There are valuable resources that just need a little promotion to bring in members, new and old.
How: Perhaps we can use the banner ad location to run (on occasion or even near by) a pseudo-ad for the other forums. I enjoy the dining thread and I think if more people participated it would be even better. Perhaps a reward system for reviews posted, etc.
Original Member, TalkBoard Member, Ambassador: External Miles and Points Resources
Join Date: May 1998
Location: 7 minutes from DCA
Programs: UA 1K/MM refugee to cheapest business class fare, SPG Lifetime Plat, CBP Global Entry, TSA Pre!
OUM: Power to the Posters, baby!!!!
- Open governance
- Freedom from over-moderation
- Let our communities grow and evolve naturally
- Tell us the rules we are playing by and the rules we are being moderated by
- Together we are greater than the sum of us...we are a community
- Relax, and try to have some friggin' fun
I will continue to listen to the community and take action based upon its needs.
I've voted my conscience based upon what I feel would be best for the community in terms of efficient access to travel information while keeping within the spirit of what the owner of this internet bulletin board would like to see it evolve into. I'm not a rubber stamp for either entity.
My motto is "continuous improvement" and I don't have a radical agenda that calls for big changes to FlyerTalk because I feel FlyerTalk is working very well in its present state, with only occasional tweaking and direction required from this advisory board.
You cannot uphold American ideology with un-American actions. It's time for Change.
Programs: Hyatt Diamond, Fairmont Lifetime Plat, UA Silver, dirt elsewhere
The premier location on the internet for all travel information. Primarily it should be miles and points, expanding to have more general travel information would include those who are not road warriors, but like to travel and get the best deals.
Give more prominence to non-points & miles forums to attrack the general traveling public. While points & miles are important, most people don't have a clue about them and all they care about is their vacation planning & getting the best bang for their buck.
If we can attract those people they may actually start to care about points & miles and start contributing.
I saw this happen in the mileage run forum. While many people showed up after some deal hit the news, a handful became contributing members who visit the site every day.
Life is too short to spend it being angry
Well, to start, I'd like to say that we are definitely on the right path - and we are a great place for travelers, both seasoned road warriors and freshly-minted passport holders can and have found a home for that.
But, we need to ensure that FlyerTalk remains relevant for all members. Change is important and over the past few years, for those of you who have been here for quite a while, have seen quite a bit of change. FlyerTalk is not a worse place with this change - it's a better place. My goal would be to continue on with that forward progress. Member input is huge factor for me. I believe that our members have excellent ideas sometimes (and sometimes, the ideas are a little strange - but doesn't always mean they are without merit) - the way that we can move forward is to develop these ideas and to make FlyerTalk a board that's relevant to all of our members.
As far as specific actions - one major thing that I would push for would be a thread in the TalkBoard forum asking for member feedback on everything that gets put to a vote in the TalkBoard forum. Too often, I hear the complaints about how things are voted for without member feedback - well, if we're your elected represenatives, then I really believe that we should be soliciting your feedback. And this is something I plan to do.
Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of faces if you look at them right.