Question 6: New Forum Criteria and Reasons to be Cheerful (Part 3)

 
Old Nov 5, 07, 3:21 pm
  #1  
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Question 6: New Forum Criteria and Reasons to be Cheerful (Part 3)

This question was submitted by member Cholula:
Question 1: If elected to TalkBoard, what would be your personal criteria for the establishment of new forums?

Question 2: Please state your primary reason for running for TalkBoard.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 3:34 pm
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Originally Posted by flyertalk View Post
This question was submitted by member Cholula:
Question 1: If elected to TalkBoard, what would be your personal criteria for the establishment of new forums?

Question 2: Please state your primary reason for running for TalkBoard.
Question 1: I've been somewhat active in the TalkBoard discussion forum when new fora have been proposed. My personal criteria are; "Does the new forum have enough activity elsewhere that warrants segregating that traffic in it's own area?" and "Is the nature of the activity regarding the new forum ephermal or is it likely to be consistent?"

As an example, I was quite vocal in opposing a forum for Virgin America. At first the Other North and South America forum experienced a spike in traffic as information about the airline was disseminated. As time went on, however, the furor has died down and traffic has slowed considerably regarding VX. A FlyerTalk composed of many forums with very little activity will do far more harm than a FlyerTalk with certain forums that must share between several airlines/hotels/etc but consolidate traffic as a result.

Question 2: My primary reason for running for Talkboard is to do my utmost to ensure the continuity of FlyerTalk as we undergo the transition to InternetBrands ownership. I want FlyerTalk to remain the premier resource on points and miles worldwide. That is the core of my campaign. I believe FT is a great resource. I want to make sure we keep it great... and continue to improve.

Question 3: I'm cheerful because I have a TON of points and miles banked... and thanks to FT I know how to use 'em!!
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Old Nov 5, 07, 3:55 pm
  #3  
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A forum lives or dies on the interest of its participants. One can never know with certainty how much traffic a new forum will have, but the TalkBoard could perhaps establish a threshold of views, below which a forum would face merger with another forum in the absence of special circumstances. Perhaps the existence of such a rule would limit requests for new very narrowly focused forums?

With a "thrive or merge" rule in place, I would lean toward approval of new forums that the proponents strongly believe will succeed.

Carve-outs are another matter entirely. If the subject already has a reasonably comfortable home in an FT forum, that home would need to be approaching overcrowding before it would make sense to split it. Overcrowding is apparent in the moderators' workload: The smallest forums can survive indefinitely with no moderator action at all, whereas the largest need someone on duty continuously.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 5:21 pm
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Originally Posted by flyertalk View Post
This question was submitted by member Cholula:
Question 1: If elected to TalkBoard, what would be your personal criteria for the establishment of new forums?

Question 2: Please state your primary reason for running for TalkBoard.
Question 1: Two main criteria, Critical mass and Organization. For Critical mass, If there's enough discussion in a "shared forum" for a particular topic, that is an important requirement for creation of a new forum. This would cover new forums like a JetBlue. For Organization, Being able to organize the discussion is important for making a forum easy to navigate and easy to glean information. Creation of the subforums in Mileage run is a good example of organization.

Question 2: I've gotten a lot of value from FlyerTalk over the years. I really like this site. I think that we're heading into a crucial time as things transition from Randy to Internet Brands and I want to do my part to ensure that things don't change for the worse. Serving on the TalkBoard is a way to accomplish that goal.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 5:34 pm
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1) If it has to do with travel and it makes sense I think a forum should be given a shot. You never know what issue is going to find a good home here on FT. I include in this list government travelers, mens travel and travel with pets.

2) I run for Talkboard because it is the one time every year that I can speak my mind without fear of being moderated, censored or reprimanded for calling it how I see it. And maybe if enough folks agree I'll get a chance to actually DO something about it.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 8:21 pm
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1. Does it have, as been mentioned, critical mass. That said, I'd like to take a look at the history of all new forums since about 2000, and see how many posts it took in other forums to support a truly vibrant forum moving forward (I'll admit to not having yet done that research). I'd then codify that number of posts over X period of time, and use that as the only test going forward for whether or not to vote in the affirmative on a forum. By doing so, especially if consensus can be formed, we can spend time on more complex and harder issues than forum creation.

2. Because I believe in giving back to Flyertalk. I'm tired of the politics of abstentions from a third or more of votes, motions brought that are only the figment of a talkboard member's imagination with no demand from the membership, and to change the way that the Talkboard does business by making the members responsible to the FT membership. Sometimes you have to grab the bull by the horns, and after a few years of watching the TB stagnant, I'm going to give it a go.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 8:57 pm
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1. If somebody wants to try a reasonable travel forum, why not? It doesn't cost anything. How could a forum have critical mass before it begins? Even after it is running, how do you determine critical mass? The Antarctica forum, for instance, has had a total of 28 threads in four years, but it is still cool (no pun intended) and I sure hope it is still around when I finally get around to going to Antarctica.

2. I am running for TalkBoard because I love FlyerTalk and am deeply concerned about how prepared we are to move out of our Benevolent Dictator phase into..................well, into what? The procedures we currently have in place work well in a Benevolent Dictator mode, but without Randy, they just won't hack it? I want to do what I can to help us prepare for a seamless change, and believe it will take every bit of 3.5 years to accomplish that.

Last edited by Punki; Nov 5, 07 at 10:17 pm Reason: typo
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Old Nov 5, 07, 9:12 pm
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Originally Posted by Punki View Post
1. If somebody wants to try a reasonable travel forum, why not? It doesn't cost anything.
That's not actually true. It takes database space, it requires all the php and webserver bits to parse an extra line every time someone's browser renders a page with a forum listing, it costs bandwidth for that rendering. When someone adds it to "myflyertalk," it's getting checked for activity every time a member uses that functionality. With the size of FT, these things are not trivial.

To your Antarctica example--the most viewed thread in the entire 28-thread forum has been viewed 7515 times. There are 6 threads on the current front page of the United forum with more views than that thread. There are 400+ threads in the United forum with more than 7515 views. I'd rather keep a speedy experience for the thousands of members who use the United forum rather than maintain a forum for 28 posts. I'd rather spend those server cycles on speedier searches that benefit a much larger percentage of the FT membership. I think it'd be cool to have forums about a lot of things. but without some degree of sanity regarding critical mass, we'd end up tossing good resources away to benefit a very small number of members, rather than do that which benefits the membership the most.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 9:44 pm
  #9  
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Originally Posted by flyertalk View Post
This question was submitted by member Cholula:
Question 1: If elected to TalkBoard, what would be your personal criteria for the establishment of new forums?

Question 2: Please state your primary reason for running for TalkBoard.
Answering my own questions:

Question 1: My criteria is a TalkBoard Topics Forum thread with "X" number of clear, concise, "duhhhhhhh <forehead-slapping> why didn't I think of that" posts laying out the reasons for the new forum.

I don't require a certain number of posts or an overwhelming number of members requesting the new forum. Just make your point in a clear, convincing manner and I'm on your team.

Question 2: The main reason I'm running again for TalkBoard is that I'm firmly convinced that it'll be a highly paid FT position someday and if only I can hang on long enough......
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Old Nov 5, 07, 10:26 pm
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I hate to "me, too" Cholula's answer, but here goes.

If someone lays out a solid platform for why a new forum should be established, I can stand in support of that.

As far as my reasons for running for TB, I've truly enjoyed my time moderating this year. I'd like the opportunity to contribute to the community in another fashion.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 10:52 pm
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I would give any proposed forum (that didn't offend me personally) at least six months to see what kind of traffic it generated. At six months, have a post-implementation review.

Yes, this means I would rubber stamp the men's forum without blinking. Why not?

As a tech guy who specializes in capacity management, I think the technical "issues" listed above are overstated and the current TB spends too much time worrying about whether or not to allow a new forum to exist.

I'm running for TB so that I can organize the first TB DO. Actually, I want to give back to a place I enjoy immensely and have some say in the direction it takes.
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Old Nov 6, 07, 5:04 pm
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Originally Posted by flyertalk View Post
This question was submitted by member Cholula:
Question 1: If elected to TalkBoard, what would be your personal criteria for the establishment of new forums?

Question 2: Please state your primary reason for running for TalkBoard.
#1: I don't have enough knowledge about what the impact of establishing a new forum is in terms of technology, resources, cost.


Ideally, I would like to see more airlines and hotel programs have their own space. As an example, I don't like having to look through Other European Airlines, North/South American Airlines to find out information about many of the smaller airlines and Other Hotel Programs.

These programs would be better developed if they were seen more as a primary level thread. On the other side, there is the concern of too many threads to the point you have to scroll past many limited interest topics.

#2: My primay interest in running for TalkBoard is that over the years I have wanted to be more active in FlyerTalk at an administrative level. I wanted to be a mileage run moderator in the past, but never pursued the position. I am now in a position where I can devote more time in a role for the FlyerTalk community. I look at it as social and professional development.

I will definitely be a new voice as I do not know anyone on the TalkBoard personally. I am an avid fan of FlyerTalk and someone who uses the Forums daily, but I never used FlyerTalk as much of a social outlet. I have trouble making time for people locally and family. I have not attended many FlyerTalk gatherings. I attended a Mileage Run workshop in 2005 in San Jose and the Freddies in LA 2006.

I think I will be a good representative for the vast majority of members who use FlyerTalk to share information and build a community and the forums work just fine day to day. I like to know about good travel deals and learn about places, aircraft, airports, and hotels and the personalities of the FlyerTalk members are all secondary in importance to me. Social interaction is great and I am glad to see that FlyerTalk functions in that realm also for the members. That is the FlyerTalk I support.
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Old Nov 6, 07, 5:22 pm
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Originally Posted by flyertalk View Post
This question was submitted by member Cholula:
Question 1: If elected to TalkBoard, what would be your personal criteria for the establishment of new forums?

Question 2: Please state your primary reason for running for TalkBoard.
Q1. I would not have a personal criteria for th establishment of new forums, its not upto me to do this, its up to the elected members and not just one person. It would have to be looked it and dicussed with all the pros/cons of the idea of a new forum.

Q2. I want to give something back to the FT community.
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Old Nov 6, 07, 8:43 pm
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Forum Criteria / Interest in Running

Originally Posted by flyertalk View Post
This question was submitted by member Cholula:
Question 1: If elected to TalkBoard, what would be your personal criteria for the establishment of new forums?

Question 2: Please state your primary reason for running for TalkBoard.
For Question 1, I don't have a set criteria in mind. My intention is to hear-out the needs and passions of the community and use common sense to add new forums. FlyerTalk needs to be anchored in efficient dialog so that new and old users alike can get the insight they're seeking or willing to share quickly. Necessary new forums will bubble up to the surface naturally whereas ideas for unnecessary forums will die off naturally too.

For Question 2, I'm a passionate traveler who wants to foster the dialog that happens between the traveler and the travel company. With airlines and hotels adding staff to purposely scan these forums and/or become engaged in the dialog that happens here, it's very important to make sure the community has the tools and the venues to share insights and opinions. I want travelers to have as many positive experiences as possible. At FlyerTalk, they can get feedback and insights from other travelers in their shoes ...while also influencing and impacting the services they get from the travel providers (i.e.: airlines/hotels) too. FlyerTalk is a great community ...and I'd like to do whatever I could to foster an even greater sense of community.
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Old Nov 7, 07, 7:30 am
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I believe new forums are useful when there's (1) something unique about the travel experience that is sufficient distinct to draw a circle around in the new forum and (2) the forum is likely to generate enough activity to be useful to members.

Sometimes a topic will be best discussed in a more general forum, eg TravelBuzz, because that forum gets enough eyeballs such that questions receive useful answers. Other times it appears as though the topic has reached enough of a critical mass that members will see posts in the new forum and add their insights, and drawing a circle around that topic will be useful to others in the community as a way of finding information.

So my criteria for new forums is whether those forums are likely to serve well the folks asking questions on a topic -- are they likely to get the answers they need in a new forum, or in an existing larger forum? And will the new forum help members seeking out information on a topic to find what they're looking for?

In other words, a forum structure should help organize information and should not hinder the crtiical mass of eyeballs necessary to generate the kind of activity that leads to a useful exchange of information. (We need enough people reading to get posts so that others who might post come back often enough to see new content which then draws them in to post. It's a bit of a catch-22 that the spinoff frequent flyer sites that have developed over time have failed to attain, but that Flyertalk has done incredibly well... it's an important and delicate balance, I use my best judgmnet in placing my bets on new forums given that balance, and I'm somewhat likely to be wrong but on the whole so far Flyertalk has done well in this regard. I don't claim by any means that I'm the cause of it, but I certainly haven't harmed it during my years of service!)

My reason for running for TalkBoard is that I believe I have the experience, context, and drive to be helpful to the community that has given me a great deal over the years. I care deeply about Flyertalk and naturally want to be a part of its evolution so that it can continue to give to me as it has, and can be just as valuable for others.
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