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Animosity Towards Newbies in this Hobby – Justified?

Animosity Towards Newbies in this Hobby – Justified?
Ariana Arghandewal

Last year I did a podcast with the folks at Berkshire Hathaway Travel and one of the questions that came up was, “This hobby sounds terrific! So are people in this community really accepting and helpful towards newbies?” It pained me to say this, but I had to answer honestly: “Not really.” In fact, the level of vitriol aimed at newbies in this hobby can be downright disturbing. Anytime I see a newbie posting a question on the Flyertalk forums or elsewhere, I can practically see the eye-rolling preceding the response. A lot of people are rude at best and proactively mean at worst.

Some of the worst culprits are bloggers. Not in the comment section or via email, but in-person. I’ve seen some of the biggest bloggers talk down to newbies and treat them like nuisances. I’ve heard snarky comments and condescending responses to “basic” questions. A lot of the impatience towards newbies seems to be “Why are you asking questions? Go find out for yourself!” or “this is not the place to ask these newbie questions.” Really? A forum for frequent travelers isn’t where people are supposed to ask travel questions? A conference where bloggers speak about points and miles isn’t the appropriate place to ask newbie questions? Some people in this hobby act like they were born with all the answers and never had to consult with a blogger or strangers on a forum about something that everyone else deems “basic.”

When a manufactured spending deal goes bust, the finger-pointing often goes to bloggers and then gravitates to Newbies. No one ever considers the fact that it’s some of the “old timers” who often abuse deals. Who clear out the gift card racks and pick fights with their local Walmart cashiers until their sense of entitlement is satisfied. Not the timid newbies who still don’t know how to liquidate tens of thousands of dollars worth of gift cards so they can take their families to Hawaii just once.

Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating here. I’m sure there are newbies who are irresponsible jerks and seasoned vets who are good stewards. My point is, the vitriol aimed at newbies is unnecessary and unjustified. Are they really responsible for this hobby going down the drain? Or is it all those folks who’ve been heavily churning credit cards and gift cards for years until Amex and Chase decided they had enough? We’re all polluting the river to an extent. But let’s focus on our own behavior and see how that is contributing to the demise of this hobby rather than scapegoating newbies.

So remember those days when you were still wandering the interwebs, trying to find an answer to your question. Think of those people who helped you or nudged you in the right direction. Be the nudger, not the guy purposefully sending the poor tourist in the wrong direction. As our mothers used to tell us, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.


Do you agree/disagree? Comment below.

View Comments (51)



    December 16, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    Well said

  2. FlyingNone

    December 16, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    Why do you keep using the word “hobby” ?

  3. davistev

    December 17, 2017 at 9:36 am

    I think what you are saying applies to most conversations on the internet. In general – the human race has lost the plot!

  4. ilcannone

    December 17, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Such attitudes are not only within this community, it exists in presumably EVERY kind of community. However, there are two sides to the coin.

    1) No one should be subjected to downright/passive meanness from anyone, especially if they’ve made it clear they’re new to the field etc. It seems to me those who try and put others down tend to have some sort of ego complex that they can satisfy by trying to be the dominant one in public, online or otherwise. I, for one, am by no means a foolish traveller but compared to a good number of the FT community, I’m a mere minnow in terms of knowledge/experience etc, nor am I particularly interested in things a vast number take an interest in. Frankly, I see no point in top hotels (thus I doubt I’d ever ask anything related to this) and air miles confuse me like no tomorrow, so why not seek advice from those in the know? Especially as most of my acquaintances are not the intrepid travellers FT plays host to.

    2) It could be argued that those who post on subjects which are rather well documented or easily answered with a quick Google search, particularly when such queries have what can be regarded as a ridiculous justification, leave themselves open for sarcasm (or worse) from other members. I recall times on travel-related Facebook groups where people would ask about things as basic as what the best way was to get from Paris to Brussels. In my opinion, this is NOT the kind of question that really helps anyone, as there can be many posts related to this and Google can throw up answers easily. When one says “I want a real opinion from a real person” to validate the reasoning for their query, as far as I’m concerned, screams absolute laziness and expectation of someone else doing the work for them.

    I’m sure my opinions will prove to be controversial, particularly 2, but everyone is free think as they wish!

  5. RNE

    December 17, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Sadly this is all too true. Worse, it’s true for all of travel. Newbies are routinely and deliberately pummeled with jargon (obscure codes, abbreviations, symbols and other crap), blackballed from deals grapevines, and generally dismissed at best or denigrated at worst. Yeah, there are some (like me) who don’t play favorites, but there is no old boy/girl network like that of travel hackers.

  6. LukeO9

    December 17, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    There is certainly an element within travel forums who are eager to patronize.
    My pet peeve are those fanatics that use colloquial terminology to create an artificial estrangement between expert and novice. This contrives a form of hierarchy that belittles an unsuspecting public that simply want advice on a particular dilemma they have with their travel.

  7. TheRealCho

    December 17, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    There is an blog by PointChaser on regretting helping others (December 7th). It’s these accumulating regrets that make me increasingly wary of newbies.

  8. Dalo

    December 18, 2017 at 7:28 am

    Absolutely agree . I have tried offering helpful advice in forums and gotten criticized and insulted . It seems there is a secret cut off date after which one is not due even simple courtesy .
    I will never agree with such .

  9. javabytes

    December 18, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Everybody started somewhere. I’ve been at this game for almost 10 years and am still learning, and I seek out answers to questions that others may find remedial when I start flying a new airline or staying at a new hotel chain. I have nothing but empathy and support for those who are navigating new waters.

    That said, a number of people expect to be spoon fed without bothering to do any work themselves. Between FlyerTalk, blogs, and Google, they have the ability to obtain at least a base level of knowledge, and get answers to many of their own questions. Prime example: “I have miles/points in programs A, B, and C, and want to go from XXX-YYY over Christmas, leaving 5 days from now. Please find flights for me and tell me where to transfer the miles to book it.”

    I will always help those who are willing to help themselves. Some people are just sponges.

  10. StuartMI

    December 19, 2017 at 8:01 am

    Totally agree. This is why I never post anymore. In most cases whenever I would be putting together a MR or asking a general question I would get attacked on some inane/obscure point of my original message. It’s just not worth the headache honestly. I would love to continue contributing but it’s just not worth it. Now if I need information I just search for it and never post. Quicker, easier, and less dramatic.

  11. MStieb

    December 19, 2017 at 8:02 am

    As a web administrator for a site with over 8k pages of information, I can tell you that finding information for a new user can be daunting. These same individuals can’t formulate and accurate search query sometimes for what they are looking for, they get extremely frustrated and offer up their neck to the guillotine by asking a question that to users seem so simple. Most people don’t start out by being able to formulate a search query, it is a learned skill. And, if you don’t know the terms you need, you will never “get off the ground.” Groan, yes I said that.

  12. Gone4Weeks

    December 19, 2017 at 8:07 am

    Unfortunately the Pinheads exist everywhere. Their sense of entitlement and superiority comes from their mother not slapping them in the head when they acted this way as children. In a sense, they are still children. Acting with complete disregard fro anyone but themselves.

  13. olindacat

    December 19, 2017 at 8:13 am

    Four years ago I made a post/thread and it got so hostile I found myself getting into the ix of hostility and just had to stop. I have to admit that I love this site, but not the tenor I have encountered here, and so, in a way, I am forced out of participating. It isn’t timidity, although that would be implied, it is downright nasty people. It’s just a cruel world, I suppose.. Still, my reason for even posting this is to also cite the many nice people here. I see, regularly, people trying to tolerate lazy questions, etc. They could blast away but try to be PC. Some of the nastiest and most-offputting rhetoric has come from the gurus, moderators, or other Gods on this site who apparently have a lot of free time on their hands and seem to find bullying newbies to be their favorite sport. YMMV but that seems to be the trend….

  14. c141heaven

    December 19, 2017 at 8:16 am

    It’s never justified to be rude. If you don’t like the question, move on and let someone else try to help the person, or if you can’t bring yourself to do that, just give them a few search terms and graciously send them on their way.

  15. Albritton43

    December 19, 2017 at 8:16 am

    I experienced that a couple of times. That’s why I’ve only made a few posts and it’s highly likely it will be a while before i do it again.

  16. Ronlap

    December 19, 2017 at 8:18 am

    Indeed. I see this all the time in my main field of cyber security. You know how you lock out newbies? Acronyms. Okay, some are obvious, like PNR and PAX. But go back and pretend you are a newbie when you read some threads — then see if you even know what is being discussed.

    In my professional work, I do NOT use abbreviations or acronyms. I have my text editors set up to expand many of them for me because frankly I’m lazy.

    But how hard is it to write things out so that newbies can understand what is being discussed?

  17. highstream

    December 19, 2017 at 8:18 am

    No, it doesn’t exist eveywhere. There are many forums I visit where the more knowledgeable people are typically helpful and explanatory with newcomers and with anyone who just don’t know how to do something, or is trying to figure out why something is happening that doesn’t seem right. Flyertalk is not one of them.

  18. brp

    December 19, 2017 at 8:19 am

    As someone who has, in the pas, dished out my share of eye-rolling (although not outright animosity) here in the past, I also see the “both sides argument. As a point of reference before going on – I pretty much completely stopped any of that several years back (I also pretty much stopped posting/reading here as well…coincidence? :))

    Yes, we were all new to this hobby (and it is a hobby for us, so I like the word). However, even when I was new here (or go to some new forum/area where I am again new), I do basic searches (on the board or Google) before asking questions. That seems a (should be, but often isn’t) common courtesy for someone coming to a new community. So, even though I no longer do it, I don’t think some minor chiding is out-of-line to those who come with basic questions (yes, there really are “basic” questions) with clear indication that they’ve not done a modicum of work themselves to find out.

    But animosity- no, never appropriate in this case.


  19. Scott Kiwi

    December 19, 2017 at 8:22 am

    Sadly, I agree. The moderators can some of the most impatient people here.. Newbies, like me, post in the forum that seems appropriate only to be told that their post is moved. Where? It’s not always said, but the implication is that you fouled up. Posters who use tons of acronyms also might condsider that many of us don’t speak that way!

  20. mgreen418

    December 19, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Absolutely agree. I think it intimidates people and keeps them from learning new things. It is a shame

  21. lucke27

    December 19, 2017 at 8:28 am

    Yep, simply, there are some real condescending a-holes in the world. People are very quick to jump to the conclusion that you want them to do all the work for you instead of assuming the best about someone. Hint: if you feel compelled to post a snarky comment because you think you’ve got someone pegged as not worthy of your knowledge, JUST DON’T RESPOND. It really is that easy.

  22. farwest101

    December 19, 2017 at 8:28 am

    Ariana, since you are one of the worst bloggers wrt to blowing methods, you should be the very last person entitled to comment, let alone pass judgement. Your cozy neck of the woods has almost no competition – and thus you’ve had no compunction blathering away because it doesn’t affect you. At least not enough to offset the income from shilling credit cards for “free travel for family and friends”.

    But try to understand how problematic it is for those who have spent years cultivating a few locations, never making a fuss and to then see constant stream of noobs who try and palm cards and upset the apple cart – I used to shake my head and mumble to myself about how stupid and short-sighted their actions are – now I speak up: “wow, didn’t know we can use gift cards again!” That gets CSRs back on their toes and shoots down some noob competition then and there. Nothing more satisfying than seeing a transaction canceled and a noob walking out dejected and pissed off, belatedly wondering how to cash out thousands of gift cards they can’t afford to float. I’ve never once seen them return – too ignorant to learn how to do it properly.

    The shittiest part of this business, er, hobby is those bloggers who prey on the gullibility of noobs to sell credit cards w/out any warning of the many difficulties involved when they attempt to cash out cards. Always 99% happy talk selling snow jobs and 1% real world warnings. Perhaps we shouldn’t expect anyone to bother writing a blog to be honorable – takes a certain type of cretin to sell out an entire community

  23. spartacus

    December 19, 2017 at 8:33 am

    High tech has replaced high touch. Keyboard warriors are everywhere, especially when hiding behind the persona of an avatar or screen name. The explosion where many who blog consider themselves legitimate journalists is rather amusing; not to say there are some who possess impressive journalistic or literary skills, but they are the exception, not the rule. If a blog contains errors in mechanics, usage, grammar, or spelling, I don’t even read further. That being said, people are who they are. Instead of scrolling down or doing a quick search, some are quick to simply post a question. Even for those of us who grew up without Google, the ability to do a little digging should be basic.

    There’s a trade-off with growth and FT is no different. Having been around since the early days, I have seen the changes from what our small community was to what it has become. It’s probably one reason I do more lurking. But I enjoy the community feel and it’s why I decided to participate in Secret Santa for the first time this year. The joy of FT hasn’t left for me. Other than a small Facebook travel group, I don’t participate in other forums. More people are sensitive to perceived personal attacks these days. Sarcasm is apparently lost on many, so a measure of caution is often necessary. Possessing a dry wit and a strong sense of humor, I know things posted in jest haven’t always been received that way, so I have made it a practice to add an emoticon or ‘LOL’ when I’m not speaking seriously.

    What does concern me is when someone offers advice or an answer that differs from some of the ‘experts’ who then seem to take joy in the way they disagree or shoot down the other opinion. Life has given me a thick skin. Especially online, I live by the mantra, “You find it offensive. I find it funny. That’s why I’ll live longer.

    Peace out and Happy Hanukkah or Merry Christmas, or both!

  24. ChrisInSD

    December 19, 2017 at 8:41 am

    I completely agree! I have been a top tier elite flyer for years, but can barely understand some FT posts with endless insider jargon and acronyms and am often yelled at immediately after posting for not finding the answer elsewhere–even though I DID search the forum and read lots of comments that didn’t answer my specific question. I only post when I really want some insight or need help. It seems people LIVE to correct others on this site. Many top tier posters on this site remind me more of pesky HOA board members or school vice principals than helpful fellow travelers.

  25. Pdg

    December 19, 2017 at 8:48 am

    I actually like to research if I have the time and will click through on a dozen or so articles before I even consider posting a question. Some are not good at reading comprehension or just are not good at research or possibly hate it. But, coming to FlyerTalk actually IS research, folks. To suggest it isn’t a source for research is sort of nuts.

    Also, I’ve spent easily 100 hours doing my own research and find conflicting information online at least in large part because the BLOGGERS fail oftentimes to date their own posts, which appear in searches a decade or more after posted. So, this means changed policies will show up in other blogs/posts without reference to this change and I’m left looking at two tabs on my browser with confidently-written opposite answers.

    So, I sometimes end up at FlyerTalk for clarification and SOOO appreciate the insights of those who have actually done the things imagined possible by pay-per-click bloggers using SEO optimization to get weary researchers like me to click through and read their click-bait engineered (though sometimes still helpful) blog post.

    I can’t thank everyone on FlyerTalk by name, as I would surely miss someone who helped me in a huge way. But, you know who you are and I am forever grateful!

    Anyone who just says “go find out for yourself” is clearly in denial about the overwhelming amount of outdated information and even plain WRONG answers that can be found in the wild of the Internet. Also, they are in denial about the amazing amount of discussion right here on FlyerTalk that stems back several years and may have since become outdated.

    Also, what do you think a newby will use as a search phrase if they don’t know what some of these colloquialisms are or what the acronyms mean or possibly if this varies by airline/hotel? They use common language and get thousands of results because, in case no one has noticed, common words are found in nearly every category of topic. So, telling someone to “go search for their own answers” without at least suggesting the proper search phrase is pretty daft. And, yes. Newbies could read the 2,150 returned entries on the message board first. But, c’mon. Really?

    And, they ARE trying to find out for themselves, which is why they are writing on this fantastic research site’s message board. Unless you are sitting in front of their computer typing their question, they actually ARE trying to find out for themselves. *taps head* Think about it.

    To say someone should research while they are actually doing just that – albeit by querying experts on FlyerTalk (er, “FT”, sorry if I offend with use of full trademarked names) is nonsense.

    I shake my head at snarky responses that actually make the author of the snark sound dumb. I may whisper “Jacka$$” under my breath and move on.

    Also, some of you actually enjoy doing this and many of you have numerous tools at your disposal that you can navigate quickly to find an itinerary. I love you folks!!! I so recognize and appreciate the probably hundreds of more hours you have put into this learning before I even knew it was a “thing” a person could learn. You have saved me dozens of hours and hundreds of dollars! And, that you would share the fruits of your learning with me, a total stranger, always touches me and makes me have hope for the human race.

    New folks don’t know these tools you all have mastered even exist, much less have they spent hours and hours learning the ins and outs of using the tools such that they can quickly return a result that is useful.

    So, I’d suggest this.

    If you don’t like to help people to learn or don’t get satisfaction just knowing that you helped someone save a dozen hours of research/downloading apps/reading tutorials to learn advanced methods for utilizing those tools, or that you saved someone a bunch of money, then just don’t respond.

    Seriously. It really is that simple..

  26. Ifti Khan

    December 19, 2017 at 8:52 am

    Ego and greed! Enough said.


    December 19, 2017 at 8:57 am

    Animosity is never appropriate whether it’s against newbies or those with experience.

  28. Buzzz

    December 19, 2017 at 9:06 am

    I agree with those who say that people should do their own research first before coming to the forum with a basic, elementary question, but it would be nicer for everybody if that sentiment could be communicated in a friendly and polite manner.

    My own issue is that I consider myself a somewhat wizened veteran of frequent flying over the past 30 years, and even my own inquiries inspire snarky responses. There is a faction of folks, always the first to reply on a new thread, who seem to feel that condescension is an integral part of the FlyerTalk mechanism.

  29. rexb

    December 19, 2017 at 9:12 am

    There was a time that I was a very frequent contributor to the Europe forum on – – and “common mistakes” (usually from newbies) triggered antagonistic responses (what is a good moderately priced hotel in Rome? – – moderately priced for WHOM?)

    … and it required some arm-locking by the “oldsters” to keep some kindness and empathy in helpful responses.

    The principle that seemed vital to maintaining civility… was to provide a gentle reminder that NEWBIES are the LIFEBLOOD of this (or any experience-based) forum, internet or otherwise. Where else do “oldsters” come from? Moreover, especially for matters related to travel, all experience is inherently PERISHABLE. Give me the insight of a newbie that flew the exact route / airline / class of aircraft – – just a few months ago – – that pertains to my question

    … ANY DAY… over the “words of wisdom” provided by a “seasoned veteran” who is inclined to make inferences from “similar” flights he took a dozen times… 4 years ago, 9 years ago, 11 years ago, etc!

    And for questions that any of us want to ask (as opposed to info generously and thoughtfully share by contributors here in an FYI context)… aren’t we all newbies for that thing we don’t know anything about?

    Seasons greeting to all,

    Rex in Indiana

  30. wetsand

    December 19, 2017 at 9:37 am

    Got interested in points and miles about six years ago. Have to thank Darius at MMS for the “circles and arrows” to spoon feed me starting out. Smoother sailing now but still hard to keep up with ever changing rules.

  31. redanman

    December 19, 2017 at 9:48 am

    First, the internet is not for softies. You will get trolled for saying the sky is blue.

    To answer the main question:
    No. The animosity is best directed to those who gave out all the secrets and killed the goose.

    I’ve been at this forever and even though I follow all the Goose-Killers on FarceBook, I still can make it work somewhat for me although top HYATT status if you don’t travel for work (Where you never want to see a freaking hotel ever again) is impossible for a chain with so few, but the greatest percentage of wonderful hotels.

  32. screwedbyaa

    December 19, 2017 at 9:48 am

    I disagree with you on two counts:

    1) I don’t think that there is a systemic “abuse” of newbies. Sometimes it happens (and it’s painful to watch!) and sometimes it doesn’t. I don’t think it’s fair to say it always happens.

    2) I do think that it is unfair when some newbies expect a “shortcut.” Most experienced frequent flyers had to learn the hard way, read up, follow blogs, etc. for many years before knowing all that they do. The problem isn’t passing on that knowledge, per say (I think that’s the generous and humane thing to do!), the problem is when a newbie joins a conversation about an advanced subject and expects somebody to give him a “quick” lesson on everything that led up to that point! It’s annoying, arrogant, and slows down the conversation for everybody else. That said, if a “newb” has read all the stickies, read all the posts in a thread up until the end, and still doesn’t get it, then obviously asking a question is justified. But let’s agree that this is not the problem you’re talking about. The problem is asking basic questions that show that the person made no effort at all and just wants things handed on a platter.

    For the record, I am neither a blogger nor active on Flyertalk or elsewhere and I live abroad, so 90% of your deals are not eve available to me, so please don’t accuse me as being one of the condescenders! :) I just think that you’re exaggerating a bit.

  33. mike turnbull

    December 19, 2017 at 9:49 am

    But, to be honest, I do think that a little homework wouldn’t go amiss sometimes. There is an awful lot of information out there and I think some of the questions just verge on the laziness aspect. If you can’t even be bothered to take a look at the hotel or airline scheme in the first place, then that is a bit of a poor show, not that I’m condoning rude replies, but……

  34. gordiegem

    December 19, 2017 at 9:52 am

    I’ve actually been on the receiving end of this. I posted a good business class fare last week I stumbled upon. In my haste to post I accidentally used one incorrect letter when posting abbreviated airline code. It would have became apparent to anyone reading post what I actually meant.

    Some posted in their reply ‘ your title doesn’t stand your words’. Seemed like nit picking in response to me posting a really good fare which could assist others. I could have kept info to myself.

    It has made me think about posting another good fare.

  35. johnec4

    December 19, 2017 at 9:58 am

    I got in about 3 or 4 years ago. I found people to be helpful in pointing me to resources, but they weren’t going to research for me.

    Expecting people to do their own legwork is different from “being mean.”

  36. bizzarODog

    December 19, 2017 at 10:00 am

    @ilcannone Re: 2) It could be argued that those who post on subjects which are rather well documented or easily answered with a quick Google search, particularly when such queries have what can be regarded as a ridiculous justification, leave themselves open for sarcasm (or worse) from other members.

    Agreed, but this drives me totally nuts in other fields as well. I’ve recently been working on some computer stuff involving Linux and some programs I’m unfamiliar with. In general I’m savvy, but whenever I do google searches on the topic I find about 100 posts that all respond to a top level comment with something like “Not another one of these questions, read the damn FAQ’s” Then you go and read the FAQ (again) and its completely arcane, non descriptive or flat out doesn’t answer the original question. While I agree that its irritating when people don’t use easily available resources that people have spent time curating, but at the same time these “Gatekeepers” don’t do the community any favors at all. Firstly, they fail to recognize that these resources they think have all the answers are probably insufficient for the true beginner. Secondly, they scare away potential future members of the community. Sure, a significant proportion of people will sponge up some time and disappear, but some will get hooked and become productive members of the community. Failure to treat them with any dignity is a great way to end up with a dead forum.

  37. BeanTownBoy

    December 19, 2017 at 11:12 am

    My experience and take is somewhat different. I now spend the vast majority of my time on the UA MileagePlus forum. IME every time a newbie makes a first post, it followed up by one, two or three “welcome to FT” messages, usually by the moderators. It then is frequently followed by questions to help get to the root of the problem or hyperlinks to where the subject or question is already covered in FT. I think what frustrates many of the “regulars” is when someone jumps in with a request to help with an
    action or request for vengeance against a carrier on their first post with very little background or context. When first-timers are sincere in their request for information or help (and are not obviously obnoxious or in the wrong), I find the group pretty gentle in teasing out necessary information or providing guidance.

  38. tigertanaka

    December 19, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Some good comments here, I guess we have 4 parties who have an interest in this discussion:

    Existing posters: We were all newbies once and posters should remember that doing a 10 segment mileage/tier point run is not second nature to some others. A polite and respectful response is just good manners. Also, the manner in which some posters dominate certain discussions and forums (*cough KLM*) really does put people off (my old boss used to say we have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason….).

    Newbies: Think of the rest of the FT community as being your new work colleagues or regulars in your new pub, listen to the people around you before shouting your mouth off (ie read the thread in full before posting comments on a subject you are not so familiar with). Opening new unnecessary threads is particularly frowned at on FT but then it is good practice on any forum to find a relevant thread to post your question in first. If you do open a new post and ask a question, please do not disappear when people have some clarification questions, the majority of peopledo want to help.

    Flyertalk – there is a fantastic amount of information on the FT forums but the search engine is pretty poor in my experience and I often resort to google first. We should also encourage the use of wiki posts more as a way to flag up the posts containing the most useful information (the BA forum guys are very good at this).

    Other travel websites – totally agree with @pdt’s point about undated blog posts which just adds to the confusion, particularly when people have technical questions relating to milage earning or tier points and out of date information is counterproductive.

  39. mafuqua

    December 19, 2017 at 11:45 am

    I am new to all this….well, not really….I have been reading threads on FlyerTalk for over three years but this is my first post. I have learned a few things about various airline/hotel policiies and offers by flying/staying at certain airlines/hotels and by reading what little they have to offer within their frequent guest websites. I don’t travel enough to be a “big boy” member with loads of miles/points. However, that doesn’t mean that i don’t want to learn….I want to learn more about the terminology, about the upgrades, about the rules, etc even though I may be able to make only limited use of what I learn (given my non-elite status). But the main reason I don’t ask questions here is that I fear being made to feel that I am the Village Idiot for asking what most of you may consider ridiculously simple questions….so I just continue to read the threads here and continue to Google items that I don’t understand…..which is often times not helpful. Some of you might be trying to explain processes that can be taken to save money or to get certain upgrades or to get more bang for your buck. It would be helpful to those of us who don’t have hundreds of thousands of miles/points if we are told that certain threads can still apply to us….if there is something to be learned that would help ALL of us, no matter what status level with have…..perhaps a thread that would be more inviting to those of us who are newbies and would invite questions. Perhaps starting threads by stating who they are meant for….who the audience ought to be. Does this make any sense?

  40. SerialGriller

    December 19, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    A well organized and concise FAQ section of any website will curtail a lot of repetitive questions. Sure, there are those who don’t research first but simply blast out a question, but some of us would rather find the answer than post-and-wait. Alas, many FAQ sections appear to be the product of someone checking off a to-do-list item.

  41. Cubillas

    December 19, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Excellent article. As a ‘newbie’ with less than 100 posts, I can fortunately state that the majority of posters have been very kind to the majority of queries I’ve had and appreciate their openness and the fact that they take time from their busy day to help.

    Having said that, I’ve been part of several different unrelated forums where I witnessed this type of newbie abuse – Very sad. Probably the same people that as kids bullied others.

    I think it’s easy to forget oneself after a hard day and lash out at someone’s perceived ‘stupid’ question. As has been indicated above, during those tough days, it’s probably best simply to not post at all in order to save you and the newbie much stress and, later, to save you from a lot of regret.

  42. tvon

    December 19, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    Flyertalk is one of the most toxic messageboards i’ve been on that doesnt deal with politics. I’ve been roasted so many times for basic questions and inquirys from everything to flying information, travel credit cards, etc etc. The people of the board are just plain MEAN. And they seem to delight in that misery. Dont get me wrong, theres tons of great information and threads.. i read many of them. But I dont dare contribute as I know someone will find offense with my “noob” question and will derail the thread.

  43. henry999

    December 19, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Part of the problem in this modern world is that newbies refuse to recognise their status as newbies. They come on the fora and expect instant gratification. I’m afraid there’s a vicious circle with two vortices: (a) their unwillingness to READ the accumulated wisdom before asking their question — the same question which has been asked a thousand times before — and (b) their INABILITY to read the existing threads. It’s too hard! I’m a snowflake, don’t you trigger me with your microaggressions! These FNGs need to pay some dues before expecting all the benefits of the hobby to magically lift them to nirvana.

  44. sddjd


    December 19, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Safe to say anyone using the term “noob” to describe others is giving you a preview of your experience in dealing with them, followed shortly after by tossing their toys out of the pram in response to the crime of ignorance in the forums…

  45. RealityBites

    December 19, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    Even though I am not a “newbie”, I was recently abused in FlyerTalk because I didn’t use some arcane insider phrase or other, and had just used plain English to describe my experience which had particular relevance to a current topic in a forum concerned.

    It served to remind me why I mostly just read here, rather than posting.

  46. TWAflyer


    December 19, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    I’ve run into this with a post that I added which was discounted with a ridiculing tone. Since then I avoid posting on this forum (this thread being an exception). I do participate in a few non-travel related forums which are very welcoming and understanding of, and helpful to, newbies. They also understand that many times there is too much “data” in a thread for a (relative) newbie to pick through to find “information”. My experience with these other forums points to the treatment of “newbies” (or even moderately experience travelers) being an unacceptable environment set by FT’s “experts”.

  47. PapaJack

    December 20, 2017 at 12:13 am

    A lot of the mean people tend to eat TV dinners, just sayin’

  48. jrpallante

    December 20, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Right on Ariana! Aside from one xxxhole who felt compelled to attack you personally, it sounds like the respondents are in total agreement.

  49. MikeZ

    December 20, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Well put, Ariana. Yes, some noobs aren’t willing to put forth the minimal effort needed to be a valued member of this community… but the handful of long-timers whose arrogance reflects their lack of class do at least as much damage, if not more.

    Perhaps we’ve reached a point where it may be necessary for moderators to gently remind certain posters that our community demands the same courtesy, respect and civility that we’d hope to receive almost anywhere else. For the betterment of everyone, but especially for FT itself!

    To everyone concerned — no matter your status — I recommend some sage wisdom attributed to Mark Twain: “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

  50. percysmith

    December 20, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    I’m cynical. I like newbies. They accumulate miles without thinking it through, redeem them on low-value awards and cross-subsidise my travel.

    I help newbies. But only a small portion of them, whose questions reflect they’ve taken the trouble to read the wikis and recommendations I and other members have already written. Those who do not demonstrate such effort get redirected to those “guides”.

  51. chrismk

    December 21, 2017 at 1:55 am

    I can only speak for the BA Executive Club Forum.
    As an infrequent flyer trying to maximise the potential benefits of membership, responses have always been friendly and helpful.
    This was particularly true when I embarked on this adventure and trying to see the ‘wood from the trees’!
    Almost always, newbies are welcomed and treated with courtesy. The excellent moderators would be quick to intervene if this wasn’t the case.

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