The Open Forum for Candidates

 
Old Oct 8, 05, 9:15 am
  #1  
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The Open Forum for Candidates

This forum is designed to allow candidates to address other issues beyond those in the direct questions from the members of FlyerTalk. All candidates have been advised to not make things personal - its about the issues and it's about only those things that happen on FlyerTalk.
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Old Oct 8, 05, 9:28 am
  #2  
doc
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Regardless of who you vote for, please do vote and be heard

Even if you do not vote for me, I do sincerely urge you to participate and to thus have your voice heard.

Thanks!

Mark/"doc"
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Old Oct 8, 05, 9:59 am
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Here’s a question that has been on my mind: Should corporate representatives of the companies or programs discussed be identified more clearly (such as their names appearing in green)?

I see some benefits in providing more prominence to those representatives. First and foremost, sometimes users want an “official” response. Their answers carry a certain weight to them and therefore it is a benefit to the community as a whole to highlight posts that they make and information that they share. The second benefit is that it more clearly highlights which companies have active participation on the board and that in turn incents additional participation. If most hotels chains, for example, have a representative here then others might be more inclined to jump on the bandwagon and ensure their message is also represented. And those representatives are the individuals who provide us a channel into the organizations themselves and have the potential to actually make changes to respond to the experiences of this group.

The down side is that some users might feel less valued as their opinions are shown to carry less weight than those of official representatives. It also increases the likelihood of negative comments that pollute the environment with anger and ire rather than constructive debate and it might therefore lead to additional moderation.

Overall, I think I would likely support giving it a try but I recognize that several here have far more history than I. Has this type of things ever been discussed before? And what are the broader opinions on whether or not it might be a viable direction for this community? Is it just me or do others see potential value in getting the providers more involved with our discussions?

Thanks.
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Old Oct 8, 05, 10:08 am
  #4  
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There are several questions that have occurred to me, as a voter, to pose to my fellow candidates. But I haven't decided if any in particular are good ones...

What one member who chose not to run do you most wish you could vote for?

Outside of yourself, who do you believe is the best candidate running?

What question that hasn't been asked yet would you ask your fellow candidates? (Bonus points if your answer is, "What question that hasn't been asked yet would you ask your fellow candidates?")

What have you done for the benefit of the community of Flyertalk (as opposed to the understanding of miles and points)?

How have you personally benefited from Flyertalk?

If any of y'all find those interesting or useful questions, feel free to pose them.
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Old Oct 8, 05, 10:09 am
  #5  
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Originally Posted by doc
Even if you do not vote for me, I do sincerely urge you to participate and to thus have your voice heard.
, doc!

(But then I wonder if you just want to get maximum participation possible to run up your own margin of victory? )
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Old Oct 8, 05, 10:21 am
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Something I believe should be address by each of the candidates is the recent discussion and vote regarding whether positions on the board should be “reserved” for members outside of North America. Dovster, who himself benefits from this rule, has been a champion of its rescission and has characterized it as a form of affirmative action that allows those with fewer votes to win over those with more. Perhaps it is unfair to discuss this in a forum where he cannot participate and defend his views but I believe that this discussion will likely resurface on the board and therefore it is reasonable that we make our own opinions known to the voters.

While I appreciate Dovster’s objectives, I find myself of the opposite view. In a representative democracy, both words are important. The board we elect must be representative as well as borne of a democratic process. To provide a salient example, if California has far better candidates than Oregon, should the former be permitted to elect 4 senators while the latter gets none? Of course not. The system is built to systemically ensure that everyone is represented. In some cases, that might seem unfair. And some excellent candidates might at some point be passed over. But I believe the objective is sufficiently compelling to warrant accepting those occasional lapses.

As you suggest, non-Americans are currently winning their seats without the benefit of this rule. That is a testament to the growth and maturity of this community. But I do not believe that this progress obviates the need for the systemic protection that ensures that this democratic body continues to be representative. For whatever it is worth, that is my opinion and that is how I would vote.
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Old Oct 8, 05, 10:28 am
  #7  
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Originally Posted by John C
Here’s a question that has been on my mind: Should corporate representatives of the companies or programs discussed be identified more clearly (such as their names appearing in green)?
Great of you to be thinking of new ideas!

I'm not sure I like this one, however.

Company representatives do a pretty good job of identifying themselves when, in fact, they're official representatives of a program rather than members who happen to work for a program or airline or hotel company.

One way they do this is identifying themselves in their signature line with their company role. Another way is through a clear Flyertalk username.

Has anyone had a sense of confusion over who was a legitimate program representative and who is not? And if so, was the confusion driven by anything other than infrequent posting on the part of the program rep?

I imagine that color-coding usernames would require something in the registration process, or special application through Randy or his tech staff. I'd hate to create additional barriers to program reps coming online.

Separately, while I do like to encourage program participation, I think Flyertalk is about the members and members are the best source of information in most cases. While I think that Starwood Lurker has done an amazing job, his information isn't always the definitive final word even if he is able to communicate an official word. (Sometimes members can offer suggestions about how things work in practice that differs from the way things are supposed to work -- either because of actual experience or because a program representative is somewhat handstrung by the official terms and conditions of a program.)

Starwood Lurker is a great example. I love how he's become a member of this community, not just a voice for Starwood. I'd like to encourage more program reps to emulate that model, if at all possible, and allow them to become members just like everyone else.

All that said, I think it would be great to brainstorm ways we could foster greater positive program participation... in ways that provide quick customer service replies and timely information.
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Old Oct 8, 05, 11:03 am
  #8  
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Originally Posted by John C
Here’s a question that has been on my mind: Should corporate representatives of the companies or programs discussed be identified more clearly (such as their names appearing in green)?
I don't have an issue with that per se or with some other manner of recognizing official representatives of companies or programs.
We want to encourage more travel companies to establish an official presence on FlyerTalk. I think a proper, resepectful manner for recognizing these representatives is something that should be discussed.
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Old Oct 8, 05, 11:27 am
  #9  
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Originally Posted by gleff
What one member who chose not to run do you most wish you could vote for?
Canarsie seriously considered running but decided against it as he has several other FT and business issues on his plate. I think he would make an excellent candidate.

Outside of yourself, who do you believe is the best candidate running?
I'm going to have a hard time deciding on just five candidates from such a talented field.
Having said that, however, I'm not going to name names so as not to cost myself any votes from my fellow candidates.
Here we're only 2 days into the election process and I'm already straddling the line.....

What question that hasn't been asked yet would you ask your fellow candidates?
I'd like to know what event or issue, if any, was the deciding factor convincing my fellow candidates to run for TalkBoard?


What have you done for the benefit of the community of Flyertalk (as opposed to the understanding of miles and points)?
I think my position as a volunteer moderator for two forums is a small way of giving something back to the community.
Also, I've always tried to be welcoming and helpful to new members. And even some of the veteran members....

How have you personally benefited from Flyertalk?

I've benefited in many, many ways but if I had to pick just one, I'd say it's the dozens of friends I have made at Flyertalk. Many feel just like family.
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Old Oct 8, 05, 11:49 am
  #10  
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Originally Posted by John C
Here’s a question that has been on my mind: Should corporate representatives of the companies or programs discussed be identified more clearly (such as their names appearing in green)?
Ft has a variety of corporate reps, both official and unofficial. I've been posting as an "unofficial" rep since the beginning, and was recently offered "official" status by the airline for whom I work. I turned it down. Mostly because everyone already knows who I am, and those who don't are usually filled in pretty quickly. It always warms my heart to read "I bet missy would know" or "why don't you send Missy a PM?"

People who post in the AS forum, know that when I say something, its coming from me and not the company line. The vast majority of company reps post here voluntarily, and I think an earned reputation (good or bad) is far more effective than one that comes with a green handle. I also don't believe that anyone who volunteers their time here should be more noticable in the firing line when program changes arise that don't particularly sit well with the membership.
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Old Oct 8, 05, 11:57 am
  #11  
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Originally Posted by gleff
There are several questions that have occurred to me, as a voter, to pose to my fellow candidates. But I haven't decided if any in particular are good ones...

What one member who chose not to run do you most wish you could vote for?
Starwood Lurker

Outside of yourself, who do you believe is the best candidate running?
You. I have a lot of respect for your opinion, and your level head.

What question that hasn't been asked yet would you ask your fellow candidates? (Bonus points if your answer is, "What question that hasn't been asked yet would you ask your fellow candidates?")
I haven't thought of one yet.

What have you done for the benefit of the community of Flyertalk (as opposed to the understanding of miles and points)?
The Community of FT is very important to me.. moreso personally than the pursuit of miles and points. As an airline employee, I'm not the avid collector of points and status, but I do enjoy getting to know those who do. I've hosted several Do's, and attended more than I can count. When my schedule allows, I participate in FT Chat, which has been a great catalyst in getting people to attend FT events.

How have you personally benefited from Flyertalk?
I've stayed in some great hotels for free or very little. I've visited Europe more times in the past 4 years than I ever would have thought possible. I've been able to use information I gleaned here to help my customers at work have a better flying experience. I've met some fascinating people from all walks of life. And most importantly, I've made some amazing friendships.
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Old Oct 8, 05, 2:57 pm
  #12  
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Originally Posted by gleff
What one member who chose not to run do you most wish you could vote for?
Not sure but SanDiego1K would be a good choice...
Outside of yourself, who do you believe is the best candidate running?
bhatnax only because I think we share a lot of similiar interests and ideas.

What question that hasn't been asked yet would you ask your fellow candidates? (Bonus points if your answer is, "What question that hasn't been asked yet would you ask your fellow candidates?")
For former TalkBoard members: How have YOU improved FT since you have been elected and what significant contributions have YOU made through your appointments on the TB?
What have you done for the benefit of the community of Flyertalk (as opposed to the understanding of miles and points)?
I pressed and pressed and pressed, and got rid of the Northwest Airlines "Newsstand." It was done as a trial and if it 'worked' it would have spread to every other airline forum. Thankfully, myself among a few vocal others, we pressed and got rid of it and put program/airline specific news right where it belongs - in the main program forums. It was a bad idea and would have been horribly unpopular had it been spread further.

How have you personally benefited from Flyertalk?
I learned about many things, miles, status, how to maximize flights for more miles, more EQMs etc. w/o FT I was literally clueless and had no idea how alliances worked or anything.

Last edited by civicmon; Oct 8, 05 at 3:04 pm Reason: formatting issues
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Old Oct 8, 05, 2:58 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by JohnC
Here’s a question that has been on my mind: Should corporate representatives of the companies or programs discussed be identified more clearly (such as their names appearing in green)?
If someone is actually a sanctioned corporate represenative, like Starwood Lurker or Marriott Concierge, then I don't see any issue with this - if that's what they choose to do. However, as gleff pointed out above, Starwood Lurker is more than just a company represenative - he is a member of FlyerTalk who has attended FT functions and has even been a TalkBoard represenative. FlyerTalk does have quite a few airline, hotel, and rental car (and even an Amtrak?) unofficial reps that are not sanctioned by their companies - and could potentially get in trouble if their companies knew they were actively posting on FlyerTalk. In my mind, those people are FlyerTalkers who happen to work for a represented company. There's no reason to single them out because of their knowledge, experience, and desire to represent their company, albeit unofficially.

Originally Posted by gleff
What one member who chose not to run do you most wish you could vote for?
I agree with Cholula on this 100% - Carnarsie would be an excellent TalkBoard member. I have always admired his moderation style and his genuine interest in making the forum he moderates the best it can be. I had the pleasure of meeting him last weekend in person and it was an honor & a pleasure to meet him. He would make a great member & although he passed on running this year, I would hope that he is able to find the time & energy to run at next years elections when current member terms are up.

Outside of yourself, who do you believe is the best candidate running?
gleff is one of the best candidates running. I believe that gleff has given quite a bit back to this community. He was one of the first FT'ers I met in person at a FlyerTalk Happy Hour in the spring of 2003. I read his blog regularly and I appreciate his ability to look and analyze things a bit deeper than a lot of people do. He's a great candidate and I believe he has been a great represenative of the FlyerTalk community during his most recent term as a TalkBoard member.

What question that hasn't been asked yet would you ask your fellow candidates? (Bonus points if your answer is, "What question that hasn't been asked yet would you ask your fellow candidates?")
Well, if bonus points are there, then my question is "What question that hasn't been asked yet would you ask your fellow candidates?"

Seriously though, I guess my question for my fellow candidates would be whether or not the candidates view themselves as an influencer and/or a leader. I believe that since TalkBoard's role is to make recommendations that will ultimately affect the members' experience, it is important that the FlyerTalk TalkBoard be leaders and be able to fight for what they believe is right for members.

What have you done for the benefit of the community of Flyertalk (as opposed to the understanding of miles and points)?
Well, I used to coordinate the DC Monthly Happy Hours (which is currently managed by headinclouds). I had started & for 2 years managed the Amtrak Discount Code thread (which has been since taken over by ByeByeDelta, the Amtrak forum moderator). I started the Mileage Run Tools thread in the MR forum before I was a moderator & have continued to update it since. I believe that this compilation was one of my best contributions to FlyerTalk since it gave users a single place to learn about Mileage Runs. Lastly, I helped countless members get a free iPod mini which eventually led to more freebies, such as free flat screen TVs & other items. The very cool thing about this particular thread is that there were a lot of FlyerTalk members that contributed to the thread management. Although I was the one that initially started it, when I was traveling for an extended period of time with no access to the internet, other members thankfully stepped in & assisted with the thread management. I believe that quite a few FT'ers got the free iPod mini!

These are just a few examples of what I have done which I do hope show that I am interested in serving this community that I am a part of.

How have you personally benefited from Flyertalk?
Well, I got free iPod mini & a free flat screen TV thanks to my participation in FlyerTalk. I also was able to go to Iceland for 61 bucks, and Fiji for 51 bucks. I have been able to meet many new people & now have friends in countries that I have never even been to. I went from being a one to two times a year leisure traveler with about 150K total points & miles in all my accounts combined to being a leisure traveler (who is just starting his first job that has business travel) who will earn NW Platinum & US Silver this year soley on leisure traveler & the total costs for both of these levels of status is about 1300 for NW & 400 for US. I have been able to give friends free tickets when they are needed and as gifts. My post FT mileage balance as stated earlier was a cumulative 150K - now, it's a cumulative 750K - and I've only been on FT for 2.5 years! Last year in NW alone, I earned 170K miles - this year, I'll surpass 230K banked miles! So as for the question "How have you personally benefited from FlyerTalk?" - I'd have to answer that with "Quite well, thank you!"
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Old Oct 8, 05, 3:13 pm
  #14  
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Originally Posted by civicmon
I pressed and pressed and pressed, and got rid of the Northwest Airlines "Newsstand."
Well, since this was actually a TalkBoard decision --

Originally Posted by civicmon
For former TalkBoard members: How have YOU improved FT since you have been elected and what significant contributions have YOU made through your appointments on the TB?
You're welcome!
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Old Oct 8, 05, 3:16 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by Cholula
I'd like to know what event or issue, if any, was the deciding factor convincing my fellow candidates to run for TalkBoard?
I can't say that there was really an event or issue that led me to running for TalkBoard. The reason why I am running for TalkBoard has a lot to do with my addiction to FlyerTalk. I love this place and it has benefited in me in so many ways. I want to give back. That is the reason why I applied to be a moderator of the MR forum. That is also the reason why I am now helping out with the Budget Travel forum as well and helping our new moderators understand what it takes to be a moderator on FlyerTalk. I am here, running for a position on TalkBoard because of my interest in serving FlyerTalk. If I don't get elected, I won't be disappointed. I will be happy that the membership got the opportunity to decide who will best represent them. I ran for TalkBoard last year & was not in the top 4 candidates, however, I am back again this year to give it another shot. I believe in giving back to the community that has given me so much.
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