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Old Mar 18, 11, 9:31 am   #61
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Koko, your snarka and innuendo give away your motives But I'd be happy to have such conversations offline, and indeed have invited them on more than one occasion.

There is nothing at all more commercial about the events you've identified in this thread than any other DOs that go on all the time. None of the organizers or participants benefit personally in any way from them, making a profit or coming out ahead financially through their involvement, other than helping fellow frequent flyers. It still mystifies me that you have a problem with htat. And as I've noted, I'm already down 100k miles myself in helping folks get to New York that weekend. So yeah, I guess I do take it personally.
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Old Mar 18, 11, 10:00 am   #62
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Originally Posted by gleff View Post
Koko, your snarka and innuendo give away your motives But I'd be happy to have such conversations offline, and indeed have invited them on more than one occasion.

There is nothing at all more commercial about the events you've identified in this thread than any other DOs that go on all the time. None of the organizers or participants benefit personally in any way from them, making a profit or coming out ahead financially through their involvement, other than helping fellow frequent flyers. It still mystifies me that you have a problem with htat. And as I've noted, I'm already down 100k miles myself in helping folks get to New York that weekend. So yeah, I guess I do take it personally.
Again, this is not about you or these specific events, it's about where the line is. So put your TB President hat back on and let me walk you through my question to the TB: where IS the line?

You do not think it is crossed when a host uses reveue for the event to fly himself (assuming he is a speaker) and other speakers in for the event, or provide free 'registration' and lodging, right?

Hypothetically:

- How about if at the end of the event the 'excess money' not go to a charity, but to a foundation established and run by/controlled by the host or by another FlyerTalker?

- Would it be crossed if an organizer used some of the 'excess funds' to fly himself and his speakers in in first class rather than coach? And stay at the Ritz rather than the Holiday Inn Hoboken?

- How about if the host does not 'take a profit' but does charge his time at a 'break-even' scale against the revenue?

Finally, and critically, if the rule is not-for-profit events only, who is going to ensure that no one is taking a profit at the end of the day? If we are going to allow for these sorts of quasi-commercial Dos where it's more of a class than a party then how do we keep someone from throwing one and walking off with a tidy profit under the current rules?

I'm not saying anyone has done these things. I am not saying anyone is going to do these things.

I am saying that the possibiliby that someone COULD do these things under the currently vague rules should be contemplated before they are done rather than, God forbid, after they happen.

See what I am saying? It's not YOU or Tommy or Ingy. It's where the line is, and what the possible unintended conceqeunces of where the line is are.

Please re-read the title of this thread: What is a 'Do?' When does a 'Do' become a commercial venture?

The more I think about it, the more I think the situation calls for...wait for it...guidelines. Guidelines far more specific than the general FAQ that Carol put forth.
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Old Mar 18, 11, 10:04 am   #63
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So if these events are about freely sharing information, the speakers won't have any problem posting their powerpoint presentations, right? Or maybe the events should be videotaped and posted on FT.
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Old Mar 18, 11, 10:31 am   #64
 
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I have never made a dime off of any of these efforts.
Where does the advertising revenue from your boarding area blog go?
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Old Mar 18, 11, 10:50 am   #65
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Where does the advertising revenue from your boarding area blog go?
Will, I'm talking about the events I spend the weekend flying out to at my own expense, 'these events' wasn't a reference to my blog. And if you think I somehow come out ahead flying to an event convincing someone to read my blog and generating their clicks that's a fundamental misunderstanding of the economics of internet advertising.

I do receive some very modest checks from the advertising on my blog, which isn't at all on topic for a thread about DOs.

I've been blogging since 2002. I actually never received even a dime of ad revenue in the first five or six years at least. But I have managed to pick up a few hundred bucks here and there over time from writing it.
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Old Mar 18, 11, 10:51 am   #66
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Originally Posted by DeaconFlyer View Post
So if these events are about freely sharing information, the speakers won't have any problem posting their powerpoint presentations, right? Or maybe the events should be videotaped and posted on FT.
I suspect the problem there is that, like at all FT DOs, there are things shared between folks in person that never get posted online. That folks are comfortbale sharing in person that they woouldn't post. A lot of the 'grey area' stuff or things that they're concerned would get shut down if posted too prominently. Hence many past DOs have had an off-the-record policy and ingy's last year followed in that tradition. I don't know what the April event's policy is in that regard.
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Old Mar 18, 11, 11:07 am   #67
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Originally Posted by gleff View Post
I suspect the problem there is that, like at all FT DOs, there are things shared between folks in person that never get posted online. That folks are comfortbale sharing in person that they woouldn't post. A lot of the 'grey area' stuff or things that they're concerned would get shut down if posted too prominently. Hence many past DOs have had an off-the-record policy and ingy's last year followed in that tradition. I don't know what the April event's policy is in that regard.
So people are paying for access to information.
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Old Mar 18, 11, 11:08 am   #68
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Koko, earlier you said your concerns were pedagogical (teaching vs sharing or some such). That didn't work so you're on to different issues.

I am no longer TalkBoard President, and no longer a member of the TalkBoard and I wouldn't presume to put on such a hat.

Rather I know that the events you've referenced are not commercial in the least.

No one is making a dime off of them. And as I've shared, I'm out of my own pocket... not just my flight to the Chicago DO last October where I gave three talks but also for the upcoming April event where I've gone 100k miles in the hole.

This isn't just about 'not making money.' Dude, it's downright generous and you've yet to acknowledge that as you bash the efforts that some folks are undertaking on behalf of their fellow frequent flyers. Which I don't see the critics undertaking themselves.

As far as whether it's ok for ingy or anyone else to cover the expense of their speakers out of funds they've managed to get sponsors to cough up, well I think the best way to handle that is allowing the members to decide.

The TOS it seems to me isn't implicated when the event isn't commercial, which is to say it isn't designed to make a profit. And I don't think the TalkBoard, moderators, or anyone else ought to be in the business of micro-managing the finances of anyone's DOs. Rather, constructively offer some best practices so that organizers don't get hosed with a leftover tab, that seems like a good idea. But nit-picking the details of an event that so many FTers value, what good in that?

Now, I paid my own out-of-pccket airfare to go to Chicago last year. I did get upgraded. Was that wrong because not all of the folks flying there received an upgrade? Do I give a care if ingy pays my hotel or airfare for Chicago this year? Hey, if he says he's got the sponsorship dollars and can do it, great, but I told him I was there last year without any of that and I'd be there again. And I do not expect Frequent Traveler University to pick up the tab for my flights to New York, I'm going to be there anyway.

But if we can get folks who might not otherwise be able to show up? (Remember, I'm out 100k points personally in this to help make that happen!) Then it seems like it ought to be at the discretion of the organizer.

What I do think is important -- and the relevant line morally if not from a TOS standpoint -- is that folks being asked to be to attend be able to ask what their money is going for.

Although if Rick or Tommy or anyone else can get a third party to pick up other costs, great, and those parties are disclosed in both cases. So I'm failing to see the problem here either.

Last year the Chicago Seminar DO gave away several thousand dollars to a bona fide charity. I recall that Tommy's StarMegaDO efforts raised many thousands of dollars for the Captain Jason Dahl Scholarship Fund.

Quote:
- Would it be crossed if an organizer used some of the 'excess funds' to fly himself and his speakers in in first class rather than coach? And stay at the Ritz rather than the Holiday Inn Hoboken?

- How about if the host does not 'take a profit' but does charge his time at a 'break-even' scale against the revenue?
Is there any evidence that this has ever happened? That a DO organizer has taken community member funds and used them to fly in first and stay at the Ritz, or taken an honorarium for their speaking or organizing?

I am personally not aware of it, so I'm wondering if there's something I'm missing here?

Quote:
Finally, and critically, if the rule is not-for-profit events only, who is going to ensure that no one is taking a profit at the end of the day? If we are going to allow for these sorts of quasi-commercial Dos where it's more of a class than a party then how do we keep someone from throwing one and walking off with a tidy profit under the current rules?
There is no absolute guarantee that none of your parade of horribles, that you are much more worried abot than I, could never come to pass.

But until we have an actual ripe controversy I would be much more concerned about the effect of coming up with rules that could stifle the creativity nad generosity of members in planning, organizing and participating in events than I would be worried about someone hypothetically making a buck off the service they provide to other members.

Quote:
See what I am saying? It's not YOU or Tommy or Ingy. It's where the line is, and what the possible unintended conceqeunces of where the line is are.
And the unintended consequences of attempting to draw lines, of enforcing rigid rules rather than social normas, the latter of which is often best for governing interactions within a community.

And again, koko, for those folks who give their time and their personal resources to help improve the travel lives of others in the community -- since despite my request several times in this thread for you to say it, I will -- to those folks, thank you.
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Old Mar 18, 11, 11:15 am   #69
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Originally Posted by gleff View Post
I suspect the problem there is that, like at all FT DOs, there are things shared between folks in person that never get posted online. That folks are comfortbale sharing in person that they woouldn't post. A lot of the 'grey area' stuff or things that they're concerned would get shut down if posted too prominently. Hence many past DOs have had an off-the-record policy and ingy's last year followed in that tradition. I don't know what the April event's policy is in that regard.
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So people are paying for access to information.
At every single DO that someone flies to or buys dinner at, potentially yes, because some members will share some information in person with some people that they will not post online.

Though I had some concerns last year at the Chicago Seminar DO, that I might say something extemporaneously that I wouldn't ever post online, and so I preferred not to be recorded. With a post I get to write it out, re-read it, and even close out of the post if I think better of it. Speaking live I have no such opportunity.

But I don't think I said anything at that event that I haven't ever posted, or if I hadn't posted it up until that time that I didn't post subsequently.

Still, there is no way around it that flying to an event if you aren't local, joining in for a meal, and getting some face-to-face will often lead to more or different information sharing than will happen online. So will buying a beer (or three or six) grease the tongue and generate more information.

I don't think anyone is proposing a standard that everything that's said in person at a gathering must also be posted? That would have a pretty chilling effect on community, on sharing, and just cause events not to be posted here for fear of running afoul of rules when in fact people do want to share some thing in person that they won't share in writing.
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Old Mar 18, 11, 11:23 am   #70
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Originally Posted by gleff View Post
At every single DO that someone flies to or buys dinner at, potentially yes, because some members will share some information in person with some people that they will not post online.

Though I had some concerns last year at the Chicago Seminar DO, that I might say something extemporaneously that I wouldn't ever post online, and so I preferred not to be recorded. With a post I get to write it out, re-read it, and even close out of the post if I think better of it. Speaking live I have no such opportunity.

But I don't think I said anything at that event that I haven't ever posted, or if I hadn't posted it up until that time that I didn't post subsequently.

Still, there is no way around it that flying to an event if you aren't local, joining in for a meal, and getting some face-to-face will often lead to more or different information sharing than will happen online. So will buying a beer (or three or six) grease the tongue and generate more information.

I don't think anyone is proposing a standard that everything that's said in person at a gathering must also be posted? That would have a pretty chilling effect on community, on sharing, and just cause events not to be posted here for fear of running afoul of rules when in fact people do want to share some thing in person that they won't share in writing.
So would I be allowed to walk into the conference room in Chicago if I hadn't paid my registration fee?

I'm guessing the answer is no, and that's the fundamental difference I see between these events and "traditional" DOs. Sure, previous events may have included meeting at a bar or a restaurant, but there was never an obligation to buy anything to receive the information that was exchanged.
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Old Mar 18, 11, 11:35 am   #71
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So would I be allowed to walk into the conference room in Chicago if I hadn't paid my registration fee?

I'm guessing the answer is no, and that's the fundamental difference I see between these events and "traditional" DOs. Sure, previous events may have included meeting at a bar or a restaurant, but there was never an obligation to buy anything to receive the information that was exchanged.
You'd be welcome to come into the hotel lobby I'm sure. But folks are paying for the conference room at the hotel. They're personally signing contracts with the hotel and making financial guarantees. So I wouldn't be surprised if folks were asked not to come who hadn't paid their share of the expense for the event.

Plus there's limited seating, the Chicago Seminar DO was full and I expect it will be again, as I expect the April Frequent Travler University event will be too.

So, no, I do not see it as different.

Furthermore, it's not different than past DOs where there were activities that involved buying tickets to things, that's gone on for years, DOs haven't just been meeting in bars. Groups of people have gotten together for all sorts of stuff which involves up front cost, which participations have had to pay in order to join in for the activities. There's really nothing new here.
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Old Mar 18, 11, 11:36 am   #72
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Question: would any of this have been an issue say, two years ago when there was no MP, and everyone on Flyertalk was still holding hands with Randy?

I think it is obvious what the core issue is here.
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Old Mar 18, 11, 11:55 am   #73
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You'd be welcome to come into the hotel lobby I'm sure. But folks are paying for the conference room at the hotel. They're personally signing contracts with the hotel and making financial guarantees. So I wouldn't be surprised if folks were asked not to come who hadn't paid their share of the expense for the event.

Plus there's limited seating, the Chicago Seminar DO was full and I expect it will be again, as I expect the April Frequent Travler University event will be too.

So, no, I do not see it as different.

Furthermore, it's not different than past DOs where there were activities that involved buying tickets to things, that's gone on for years, DOs haven't just been meeting in bars. Groups of people have gotten together for all sorts of stuff which involves up front cost, which participations have had to pay in order to join in for the activities. There's really nothing new here.
So ultimately it boils down to the fact that you are paying for the ability to access information. information that is not freely available outside of the room, and people are being compensated for providing that information. Is any of that untrue?
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Old Mar 18, 11, 12:00 pm   #74
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So ultimately it boils down to the fact that you are paying for the ability to access information. information that is not freely available outside of the room, and people are being compensated for providing that information. Is any of that untrue?
Yes, all of the above is untrue.

Nobody is making a profit or coming out financially ahead for speaking or organizing.

And only those who cover their portion of expenses participate as with any other Flyertalk DO.

If you don't go to the London DO you won't share in whatever is discussed amongst folks there, if you don't go to the SIN DO you won't share in whatever is discussed amongst folks there. And if a bunch of folks get together and plan a whitewater rafting DO or a SCUBA DO and you don't pay your share of the raft you don't get on the raft.

Likewise, when the Chicago event is full of people participating, if you've chosen not to sign up (which includes paying your share of the room rental fee -- or in the case of the New York event, less than your share) then you'll be told that there's not any room.

You can ask folks who were there what they learned, of course. Nothing wrong with a thread "tell me what you learned at the Chicago Seminar DO" which is different than a speaker saying that they would rather not be recorded. I'm not real keen on recording, personally. At least I wouldn't want to speak without the ability to edit myself.

There's this certain video of me on Facebook, telling a joke when I was in high school, and let's just say it would probably bar me from higher political office. Maybe that just has me scarred.
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Old Mar 18, 11, 1:34 pm   #75
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Question: would any of this have been an issue say, two years ago when there was no MP, and everyone on Flyertalk was still holding hands with Randy?

I think it is obvious what the core issue is here.
I hope so, because it's in the thread title: When does a 'Do' become a commercial venture solicitations for which, per the TOS, have no place on FlyerTalk?

But sure, here's the thing: we've seen many, many of the things we used to take for granted were part of the 'community spirit' commercialized and then monetized. From seat preferences to hot topic summaries to award booking space availability to award booking services to FlyerTalk itself all the way to a(nother) clone of FlyerTalk.

Call me a cynic but more and more it seems to be all about being a 'little Randy;' building up cred as a FF 'expert' then trading on and monetizing that cred.

And now some of the folks who own those businesses are setting up a FT (no relation!) Education Foundation...basically a non-profit business to put on these seminars. And many of the speakers at both the foundation events and the non-foundation events who are being comped to speak at these seminars...are the founders of the foundation...and are the owners and proprietors of these commercial services. Who presumably are free to use those seminars to pump their commercial services.

So, sure, the cynic in me thinks that that is part of why now it seems as though Dos are similarly on the road to monetization.

But the other, far more obvious, reason it seems that way is because of the impression it leaves when you say, "Come to X and for $49 you can buy loads of expertise from lots of Little Randys...and sometimes even Big Randy himself!'

It may be inevitable. It may be wildly popular. But I think it ought to be discussed whether and how it fits into FlyerTalk.



And gleff, I do have to say, it makes me laugh that you keep berating me to thank people for services they offer when I 1) have not and will not avail myself of their services and 2) I am dubious as to whether the services actually promote what I see as the best interests of FlyerTalk. If and when I feel gratitude, I will thank them. Til then, well, feel free to keep asking!
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