Programs: WN CP & A-list preferred, Interstate BBQ at MEM B17, fan of Hyatt, Priceline, and Hotwire
You can't really have one without the other. Information tends to come first, then people get to know each other. After that, friendly discussion occurs even during times when there isn't much travel news.
If I had to choose, I'd say that information is the fuel for this place, so it comes first. Community provides the stickiness.
I think that the content just slightly edges out the community. I think that the legitimate content that is posted on this site is what makes it great. And almost equally is the community that we have established over the years with the dos and the meet ups.
I would say community. Without the community, we won't have the vast of information. Though, content and community coexist with each other. If one dies, the other suffers. That is why we always need to be talking about the next big thing in travel.
The draw to FlyerTalk is Miles and Points.. and the valuable information obtained here to better understand FFP and Hotel Incentive Programs..
The Community aspect is a great way to get members plugged in.. I have met other FlyerTalk Members at GolfDo's and onsite at hotels.. The social networking, private messaging, correspondences.. It brings a sense of association to the Miles and Points interest..
FlyerTalkers heavily involved with l/earning of FFPs and Hotel Incentive Programs are focused on the goal of maximizing value of our dollar in the travels we all do.. and the dream of being able to do what we can otherwise justify or afford..
The Community Aspect brings individuals of the same interest.. that is Miles and Points, together.. in an aspect of support, friendship and comaradarie. I have come to appreciate this greatly in my personal life.
Moderator: Information Desk, Alaska Mileage Plan; FlyerTalk Evangelist
Join Date: Mar 2004
Programs: UA G, AA GLD, AS, AGR, HZ PC, Nat'l Exec, Costco Exec, NPS Passport
Knowledge itself is not enough of a draw to stimulate the discussion needed to bring out some of the finer points of knowledge about the programs we're here to discuss. If it were, the concept of a discussion forum would become outmoded, and we'd all just be editing wiki pages about different subjects. (That infrastructure exists, but there's a reason it hasn't taken off and completely supplanted the discussion forum format.)
The community and positive reinforcement we get from other members of the community is what makes us want to share what we know and help analyze the information posted here. So you truly can't have the level of information we provide without the strong community aspect that exists here.
Of course, if we were just a place to hang out and shoot the breeze without any core information or reason to come, things would wither and die, since we could probably all find better places to socialize (such as Facebook or even--gasp!--in person), so you can't have the level of community we have here without the information that gives us the fodder to talk about in the first place.
So, I'd say both are equally important, and you really can't have one without the other.
As for me personally, though, as I've spent more time on FlyerTalk, the friends I've made here and the relationships I've established have increased in importance in my personal life, even as I find the rate at which I learn new information slows.
I am still learning new things daily, though, and there is a ton of information about other programs I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of, so information is still important!
Programs: AA Gold 1MM, DL Silver, UA Silver, HH Dia, Hyatt Plat, Marriott Silver, SPG Gold, Amtrak S, Hertz PC
Community. As I wrote about in my Bio, this website for me is all about the community. With all the blogs that have sprung up, as well as Mile Point and other forums, there isn't much content here that can't be found elsewhere. However, I do not think there is a website that can match the tight knit community we have here. Off the top of my head I can think of numerous threads that came about during the Japan Earthquake that demonstrated this. We pull together and are there for each other in a way that all the snarky comments in the world couldn't undo.
When times go bad, when times get rough
Won't you lay me down in the tall grass and let me do my stuff?
Programs: Lifetime (for now) Gold MM, HH Plebe, Giving Tootsie Pops to UA employees, & a retired hockey goalie
I give the edge community but I'll take it one step further (farther?) and say that it is more than community-Flyertalk (as I said in my bio) is family.
While you can have content, what good is it if you can share it? You need to have family to share the content-whether it is spotting a yellow tag while en-route to asking for advice to sharing happy (and sometimes sad) news, we are a family and we do our best to help each other out.
I think information is the initial driving force behind FT. Without information, there is no FlyerTalk! Information on miles and points was the brainchild of Randy Petersen!
What keeps people engaged in FT, more so than a simple ask-a-question get-an-answer forum is the community. I love the community on FT, and it's what makes me feel "at home" no matter where I am on the globe.
But IMO, the main point and purpose of FT remains the information.
ETA: I do happen to like goalie's post, and do see his side of the equation as well.
Location: Either at the shooting range or anywhere good beer can be found...
Programs: HH Diamond, Priority Club Platinum
I think RichMSN says it quite well. Most people join FT because of the potential to maximize points/miles earning, score some great deals, or learn more about travel. However, what keeps them coming back and contributing is the community. The two go hand in hand and support each other. The community leads members to contribute and improve the content.
The church is near but the road is icy, the bar is far but I will walk carefully”