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Question 5: Name the single most important thing in FlyerTalk's future

Question 5: Name the single most important thing in FlyerTalk's future

 
Old Oct 8, 05, 10:20 am
  #1  
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Question 5: Name the single most important thing in FlyerTalk's future

This question was submitted by member Randy Petersen (Because I am a general member/voter as well):

"I'm interested in each candidate naming and explaining what they feel is the single most important thing in FlyerTalk's future. I would ask that each candidate only post once and there is no debate. One item and one comment please."
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Old Oct 8, 05, 10:25 am
  #2  
 
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Maintaining a vibrant membership. Everything else flows from this. FT is the membership and the board will reflect the quality of its members.
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Old Oct 8, 05, 11:08 am
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Hello fellow members,

I think that the membership is the most important thing about FlyerTalk and in order to move forward into the future the board needs a strong membership as well as a strong leadership.

FlyerTalk is a multinational community and we must not loose track of this important fact. Also a board is only as good as its membership.

Regards
RadioMan
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Old Oct 8, 05, 11:20 am
  #4  
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Each group of new members eventually become veterans, and frequently some of those members observe a 'change' in Flyertalk ("it just isn't what it used to be, when a small group of us used to..." ... "back in my day, sonny..." ).

Somehow Flyertalk has managed to grow and yet remain incredibly vibrant and useful. It hasn't become a victim of its own success, despite becoming such a sprawling community.

Yet this is a constant challenge: how can we maintain the quality of information with 80,000 registered members? How do we maintain the high signal to noise ratio?

Put a different way, when major media covers Flyertalk and masses flood the gates looking for the next $0 fare glitches, how do we maintain the giving culture and valuable expert advice and not get overwhelmed by folks looking for a handout? How do we welcome newbies, inculcate them in the Flyertalk culture, educate them, and at the same time provide a forum in which they can educate us?

Part of this is effective moderation, part of it is forum structure, part of it is likely technological: culling member knowledge and distilling it in useful form doesn't need to come exclusively in the form of bulletin-board style postings (or as some here refer to them, MilePosts). Transcending the architecture of the bulletin board software and into other venues becomes part of this challenge.

Hope this doesn't seem too pendantic, I ain't no internet visionary...
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Old Oct 8, 05, 11:36 am
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Originally Posted by Randy Petersen
I'm interested in each candidate naming and explaining what they feel is the single most important thing in FlyerTalk's future.
Not taking ourselves too seriously. This is a -BBS-. Participating is something that one does as a diversion, as an alternative to doing one's expense reports, or because one has already seen all the PPV movies available on the hotel TV. It's something that's supposed to be fun. Let's keep it fun.
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Old Oct 8, 05, 11:50 am
  #6  
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I think the single most important thing for FlyerTalk's future is keeping its focus on the main reason we are all here. Points & Miles. We need to ensure that FlyerTalk does not loose focus on the main reason of these forums. By keeping FlyerTalk focused on its core purpose, we'll attract & retain the great community-oriented membership that we have.
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Old Oct 8, 05, 12:07 pm
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To me, this question is difficult because it is a bit like being asked to name which part of the body it is most important to keep healthy. As I have indicated in numerous responses, FlyerTalk works. This is a site that needs continued evolution, not revolution. And therefore everything that was an integral part of building the community will continue to be important as we go forward. Buzzard533 and Radioman were right that it begins and ends with the membership and maintaining a vibrant community. Mbstone was right that to do that, we have to maintain some of the character and personality that drew that membership to begin with. Gleff and bhatnasx are right that those colorful people come looking for information and that we have to serve that need in order to stay relevant. When you boil it all down, the most important thing is that FlyterTalk must continue to be what is it. This board and this community must be true to its identity and its roots. Sure there is room for improvement. But at the end of the day you don't recommend radical surgery for a healthy baby.
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Old Oct 8, 05, 12:11 pm
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Reputation - FlyerTalk has a great reputation for being an invaluable source of knowledge in travel. This excellent reputation needs to stay intact to help maintain FlyerTalk's success in the future.
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Old Oct 8, 05, 12:57 pm
  #9  
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The single most important thing is that Flyertalk remains Flyertalk. An open board for the frequent flying community. Just like the Internet itself, as long as Flyertalk remains open to the world, no one can kill it.

And I'll repeat what I've said several times now that we need more international participation, just like the Internet. I was on the Internet back in the 80's and watched it flourish in the 90's as more and more nations got hooked up. It was a wonderful thing to see.
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Old Oct 8, 05, 1:02 pm
  #10  
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There have been a lot of great answers here. If we focus on the core mission of FT (miles and points) and the positive growth of the community and forums, everything will fall into place from there.
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Old Oct 8, 05, 3:24 pm
  #11  
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For me, my idea of FT has to emcompass ALL aspects of travel.

The main focus was on Miles originally, but that has changed if it's not already evident by looking at the subforum listings. That needs to continue.

FT is the premiere travel discussion forum on the Internet and needs to remain that. The airline/hotels discussions are essential to keeping it as travel forum to critique, learn and assist others flying a specific airline or staying at a certain chain. This goes beyond 'just miles and points' since it influences decisions on what airlines to fly and hotels to stay at.

To say 'we need to focus on miles and points' is narrow and doesn't take into account the fact that there's no other real site on the internet to critique, question, and inquire about travel industry services, and that's what FT has become already and needs to continue to be in order to maintain it's top spot among travel forums.
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Old Oct 8, 05, 4:12 pm
  #12  
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At the risk of either sounding mercenary or taking member contributions for granted, the actual answer to the question is Money.

We can't take Randy's substantial financial support for granted. It would be wonderful if we could come up with win-win ways in which FT can generate revenue and secure its future. Perhaps we could promote establishing a consortium of loyalty programs that contribute relatively small sums to collectively fund FT to some degree.

What would we give in return? After all, everything posted here is by definition already available. But perhaps some of us can volunteer to summarize the best ideas from each forum, provide them to the program, and support an extended chat to discuss any questions they have of us.

I don't think we want to go the advertising route, and I don't think we need to worry about becoming corporate shills (since we are virtually all customers). What we have to offer is knowledge. Properly presented, that has value. We should capture that value to support FT.
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Old Oct 8, 05, 4:15 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Randy Petersen
This question was submitted by member Randy Petersen (Because I am a general member/voter as well):

"I'm interested in each candidate naming and explaining what they feel is the single most important thing in FlyerTalk's future. I would ask that each candidate only post once and there is no debate. One item and one comment please."
Simply put, meeting the needs of the community. With the number of domestic carriers in Chapter 11 I believe the sharing of information regarding our accounts on these airlines will continue to be a primary need for many
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Old Oct 8, 05, 4:17 pm
  #14  
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I think that we have seen a number of copy-cat boards established recently which disappoints me. Some of these are in responce to specific issues or actions, but they do not really compete with Flyertalk.

However, a threat always present is that we get too comfortable with where we are - we need new blood in order to keep the information flowing in and out.

Not so long ago the board was pretty much ignored by the airlines/hotels. Now they provide Lurkers (in the open or in private) who know when we share promo codes, know when someone finds a too cheap fare, and monitor our posts. Sometimes they can find a member from what they say. We need to be every aware that what we post is not private.

We need to develop relationships on the board, for old and new members, to make them more welcome and to assist them in joining in.
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Old Oct 8, 05, 4:24 pm
  #15  
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I think the single most important thing in FlyerTalk's future is maintaining our relevance as THE definitive online site for all things travel related. Whether it be the cheapest fare to Hawaii, the best ways to upgrade, the unique places to visit in Europe, etc., FlyerTalk is the premier location for finding the answer. There's not another site even challenging FlyerTalk IMO.
But we must keep this leading position by staying on the cutting edge of technology, attracting and maintaining the most helpful and knowledgeable members and organizing FlyerTalk to be user-friendly.
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