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Old Nov 4, 08, 3:34 pm   #1
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Question 12: OMNI

submitted by Cholula
OMNI is FlyerTalk's most popular forum with 70% more posts than our largest airline or hotel forums. Do you visit or contribute to OMNI?

Do you believe that OMNI contributes positively to FlyerTalk? Please explain your position.
What is your opinion of the recent changes, i.e., political/religious threads split off into a separate forum and no minimum post count requirement for posting in OMNI?
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Old Nov 4, 08, 4:17 pm   #2
 
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Of my 1,389 posts - the grand total of 3 have been in the OMNI forum. It's fair to say I'm not an OMNIite.

Overall I have no problem with it's existance - indeed an 'off-topic' forum is pretty standard on most message boards. How positive it is - I guess it's good for the 'community' side of things and it's a place for people to let off steam.

The obvious dangers are that these OT forums can be rather crazy places at times, bad feelings can develop and the OT forum can become the main attraction for both posters and newbies. If care isn't taken they can have a bad effect on the ON-topic side of things.

Key things to remember are that:

1 - whilst OMNI is important to some, for many it's just another forum they don't look at. 2 - the initial draw to FT is best remaining as miles and points - hence I support minimum posting requirements and say 180/180 is about right. And yes - I'm aware that's now been changed.
3 - the continuing draw to FT should really maintain a link to miles and points. The community side of things might be important to some - but if that interest in the miles and points side of things isn't then this place starts to become nothing but a social networking site.

As to the political/religious threads being split off - they're both topics with plenty of potential for 'rather vociferous' debate. There's a lot to be said for having them split off!
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Old Nov 4, 08, 4:42 pm   #3
 
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No, I do not visit OMNI. I sometimes wind up posting on OMNI when a search reveals a thread that I can contribute positively to. However, this is very rare.

No, I do not believe that OMNI contributes positively to Flyertalk. To the contrary, I believe OMNI is one of the biggest components of what has led to the dilution of Flyertalk's quality over the years. This is so because OMNI, by its very nature, is opinion based. Flyertalk is not intended to be an opinion-based forum, but rather a forum to share facts - whether these be information, tips, experiences, etc... Personally, I find many of the regular posters on OMNI to be quite obnoxious and overly obsessed with their post counts. See, I can play the opinion game too but it usually isn't pretty.

I have no opinion about the fragmenting of OMNI as I do not read it.
If OMNI is to exist however, I support universal access, at least on a read-only basis, just as I support universal read-only access for every other forum. This included the "private" moderator forum when I was a moderator, and would include the "private" TalkBoard forum as well.

Once again though, I reiterate my pledge that should I be elected to TalkBoard, my first motion will be to propose the elimination of the OMNI forum.
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Old Nov 4, 08, 4:57 pm   #4
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Old Nov 4, 08, 5:15 pm   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Petersen View Post
submitted by Cholula
OMNI is FlyerTalk's most popular forum with 70% more posts than our largest airline or hotel forums. Do you visit or contribute to OMNI?

Do you believe that OMNI contributes positively to FlyerTalk? Please explain your position.
What is your opinion of the recent changes, i.e., political/religious threads split off into a separate forum and no minimum post count requirement for posting in OMNI?
I was wondering how long before this one came up!

Whereas I don't participate in OMNI regularly at all (maybe 10 posts my entire life), I read it on occassion (admittedly rarely, though).

As for its contributions to FlyerTalk? I definitely feel it has a place here on FT - it's a great place for many folks on FT - especially those who have "graduated" from focusing on points & miles. For many, Points & Miles brings them in, and OMNI keeps them here. Although I don't personally need OMNI to enjoy my FlyerTalk experience, I can understand those that do.

As for recent changes...I actually like the seperation of OMNI & OMNI P/R (it may actually bring me into OMNI as the P/R aspect is one of the things that kept me away from OMNI). Regarding the lack of posting requirements & the ability to search it all - I don't know that I agree or disagree with it being the right decision, but I think if that decision was made, it could have & should have been rolled out to the community a little bit better.

One of the challenges is that even though we are a community, it's still a corporate owned bulletin board whose patriarch will be the managing director for only so much longer. We're extremely lucky to have a member nominated & elected advisory board with management who takes the considerations seriously. That is what makes FlyerTalk such a wonderful place.

So did Randy & IB make the right decision to change OMNI? Maybe, maybe not? Was it rolled out to the community in the best fashion? Probably not.

In my day job, I've spent the last 6 years working at the corporate headquarters of the multibillion dollar Fortune 500 company (the highest Fortune rated position in its industry) - I recently transferred to a position in the field where I work with some of our corporate managed products & some of our franchised managed products. I can understand & appreciate that every business decision (including the one to change OMNI) was made at some corporate level by someone who thought it was the right thing to do. Unfortunately, I don't think the folks that made that decision (whether it was Randy or IB) necessarily fully considered the impact it would have on the end users and what their response would be. FlyerTalk is like a "loyalty program" in that regard - management makes decisions & the end user has to accept it whether they like or not. The greatest thing about this particular program is that the end users can elect a body, your TalkBoard, to represent them in their interests. No matter what the result is though, management still has to evaluate whats best for them. In this particular case, IB &/or Randy, felt that this was the best move for them to make for the long haul. And keeping in mind that FT was started as a pet project that Randy personally financed through profits from other ventures, which IB may or may not have the means to do in the future, if it keeps FlyerTalk operating under the core principles Randy set out to have it operate under, rather than bankrupting it & going under, then I'm all for it.
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Old Nov 4, 08, 5:50 pm   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Petersen View Post
submitted by Cholula
OMNI is FlyerTalk's most popular forum with 70% more posts than our largest airline or hotel forums. Do you visit or contribute to OMNI?

Do you believe that OMNI contributes positively to FlyerTalk? Please explain your position.
What is your opinion of the recent changes, i.e., political/religious threads split off into a separate forum and no minimum post count requirement for posting in OMNI?
As I posted in the Question 11 thread, I don't visit OMNI, but I believe that OMNI adds value to FlyerTalk in at least these two ways:

1. Threads need a place to be moved to when they "go OMNI". The discussion can continue among willing participants without burdening the original forum.

2. FT members build friendships with each other in the miles and points forums. Sometimes they want to discuss other subjects with their FT friends. Providing that capability adds value to FT.


As to splitting off the Politics/Religion content, I tend to agree but I'm open to persuasive arguments. Political and religious discussions get heated and can alienate casual readers who encounter them. Putting these discussions in their own sub-forum reduces the chance that FT will lose a member to such an accidental encounter. I'd like to hear the other side of this issue, however. Especially because I'm not an OMNIite.


On the post count issue, I don't have a strong opinion either way. On the TalkBoard Topics forum I posted this:

Reality-based monikers would have a progression like this:
FT Newbie
FT Lurker
FT Tortoise
FT Searcher
FT Explorer
FT Contributor
FT Loudmouth
FT Slut
FT Addict
FT Obsessive
Perhaps such a progression would reduce the ego benefits of building one's post count.


Edited to add:
I'm open to persuasion, but I don't agree that eliminating the post count and longevity requirement for access to OMNI improves FT. Randy is correct that other sites do it that way, but this is FT. Some people have suggested that users be required to login to read OMNI (in order to defeat automated web indexing programs), and that sounds mighty reasonable to me. I believe that maintaining a hurdle for OMNI access will add value to FT by improving the quality of OMNI posts.
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Last edited by nsx; Nov 4, 08 at 7:06 pm. Reason: added omni open access answer
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Old Nov 4, 08, 5:52 pm   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nsx View Post
Reality-based monikers would have a progression like this:
FT Newbie
FT Lurker
FT Tortoise
FT Searcher
FT Explorer
FT Contributor
FT Loudmouth
FT Slut
FT Addict
FT Obsessive
Perhaps such a progression would reduce the ego benefits of building one's post count.
I don't know - there are some folks, myself included, that wouldn't care about being called an FT Slut. Now being called an FT Tortoise - well that's just offensive!
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Last edited by bhatnasx; Nov 4, 08 at 5:59 pm.
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Old Nov 4, 08, 5:55 pm   #8
 
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submitted by Cholula
OMNI is FlyerTalk's most popular forum with 70% more posts than our largest airline or hotel forums. Do you visit or contribute to OMNI?

Do you believe that OMNI contributes positively to FlyerTalk? Please explain your position.
What is your opinion of the recent changes, i.e., political/religious threads split off into a separate forum and no minimum post count requirement for posting in OMNI?


Hi
Well the question is actually three questions not one. I am also not surprised that Omni has raised its head again this year.

1. I dont mind Omni. Its been part of FT for a while now and a lot of folk post there. I dont visit Omni, it does not interest me but I would not scrape as it does have a place in FT for folk to talk about whatever they want within reason.

2. As for things being split into different forums, well I was always told never mix politics and religion, it starts too many wars.

3. Minimum post count for Omni. Well lets make it 10, thats a nice and easy number and with any luck we will see folk posting in other forums before Omni, or do we really need a minimum post count? I see people posting in other forums who have a post count of less than 100 but have been FT members for years, does it matter? Hmmmm not really.

One more last thing. I have already highlighted this, but is this years election going to be answering questions on specific forums and why we dont post there? It seems that in order to get some peoples votes we must visit and post in every forum going. This is just not going to happen.

J
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Old Nov 4, 08, 5:56 pm   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhatnasx View Post
I don't know - there are some folks, myself included, that wouldn't care about being called an FT Slut. Now being called an FT Tortoise - well that's just offensive! :P
I am a self confessed total and utter points slut....but I have also admitted that......
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Old Nov 4, 08, 6:59 pm   #10
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1. I think that OMNI has a place on Flyertalk - it provides a place for people to discuss (and get advice) subjects that do not belong in the "core" part of Flyertalk (miles & points) or for that matter some of the Travel forums (like GLBT). It also "keeps" people on Flyertalk especially the more "experienced" members who may have learned most of the intricacies of their program of choice already. However, the drawback is that sometimes the antagonism between individuals that start in OMNI . I look at OMNI fairly often but only post occasionally and very rarely in the Political / Religious threads before the split.

2. Elimination of post counts in OMNI - I fully support this since the OWOT (OMNI Waste of Time) threads such as counting up / down were being abused by some individuals (some post like 100 times in a row) simply to post count. I'd support some modification of this if it comes up like splitting off the OWOT threads in to a separate forum like the PR ones.

3. Splitting off OMNI into OMNI and Political Religious forums - Good idea since this provides a place for members to discuss and get advice on the non-controversial subjects separate from the controversial issues.

4. Totally opening up OMNI - I'm not really in favor of this change since it opens up the forum to people who have no interest in the core of Flyertalk (miles & points) and spammers (I've seen a couple of spammers already). Also, some degree of privacy is lost by opening it up to even lurkers. I would support a lower threshold for the forum (perhaps 30 days / 30 posts?).
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Old Nov 4, 08, 7:15 pm   #11
 
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Good question. I like those OMNI mods! They really have their stuff together.

I never ventured into OMNI before I co-moderated it. Now that I'm there, I'm having a great time. I really enjoy the personalities.

I'm also in favor of the forum split. It doesn't seem to have made things worse, and it keeps a politics-sanitized version for those who don't like that subject matter. We are a worldwide community, and there are plenty of people that don't give a damn about American politics.

I don't have a problem with removing the post count obligations to access OMNI, but I think it might be good to consider restricting it to those who log in to FT.
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Old Nov 4, 08, 7:51 pm   #12
 
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Though I haven't been involved in the conversation on OMNI, I do enjoy the banter. It breaks the tension that is often relayed in some of the other forums.
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Old Nov 4, 08, 9:17 pm   #13
 
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I dont really contribute to Omni, probably have a handful of posts since 2003.

However there are some funny posts to read and it certainly brought the one or other smile on my face which is very welcome some days after dealing with the "pleasanties" of air travel.

I dont think that the Omni forum is contra-productive for FT and as long as such a massive amount of our members enjoy posting and reading on this forum it has it's place in our community.

Personally I dont like to over analyze everything too much, a forum is there and people like it, let's leave it alone - simple as that !
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Old Nov 5, 08, 11:12 am   #14
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Some thoughts. Forgive me if I ramble (I'm between conference calls and I feel my brain starting to become jelly as it is):

I love OMNI and loved it more when it was one forum with entry requirements. I do not understand why post counts still do not increment there when there are no special requirements for posting there anymore. IIRC, this was one argument *against* post counts when they were taken away in the dark of night months ago.

I do not get the feeling that OMNI existence, organization, or requirements are within the purview of the TB at this time, although Randy forwarding this question tells me he may be open to TB having a role in the future.

I used to participate in the "PR" threads in the old OMNI, but didn't bother much to go into the PR forum until recently. Now, I am checking both equally and, frankly, I find the "non-PR" OMNI to be a bit lacking. But I still check both and participate in both.

My interest in FT was driven by my move to a travel job about 9 years ago. I was a member of FT using my first and last name as a User Name. Five years ago I decided a bit more anonymity was probably desirable and I gave up my start date (1999) and post count at that point, although I still got into OMNI before the most recent requirements were put in place in 2004.

Over the last year I shared some very personal feelings in OMNI, including a week last month where I, in the end, had to put one of my pets to sleep. It was reassuring to me that OMNI was a semi-hidden nook of the Internet. I am not happy at all with the change to make OMNI public and opening it up to the Google-bots. But this is outside of my sphere of influence as a general member, and I fear it would be as a TalkBoard Member, as well.

I am still a regular reader and poster (when I have something to say) in my points and miles forums and they are what brought me here. But OMNI and TravelBuzz and some of the community forums -- that's what keeps me coming back day after day after day. While I respect those that do not post in or read OMNI, I would fight tooth-and-nail with anyone who thinks that shuttering OMNI is in the best interests of me or of FT. Here's a suggestion to those who don't like OMNI and stay away from it: Keep on keeping on.
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Old Nov 5, 08, 11:29 am   #15
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I like OMNI.

I have gone back and forth - there have been extended periods of time in the past when I've given up reading or posting there; there have been times when I had burning non-travel questions that OMNI-ites were happy to answer. I am not a regular poster but I am a pretty regular reader.

A few points come to mind:
- IMHO OMNI works best with consistent moderation coupled with an openness policy around topics. The times I have been least interested and I think it's been detrimental to the FT experience have been those times when there was no or very inconsistent moderation to keep out the most egregious of flame wars.
- I support keeping it divided between politics/religion and Other. When I want to ask a q. about car maintenance it's easier not to have to dip into a number of threads about Palin's glasses. (Which is kind of true in every forum - we may all like to visit the topics near and dear to us and skip the rest, but it's particularly relevant on OMNI.)
- I support a return to a minimum post count to post on OMNI but I am guessing that's not gonna happen. My further guess is that this change is just as IB-driven as Randy-driven.

I like OMNI and support its continued existence in its current two headed form, but I'd still support it if the two sub forums were merged back.
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