Question 9: How Will You Seek Input?

 
Old Nov 5, 07, 5:51 pm
  #1  
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Question 9: How Will You Seek Input?

This questions was submitted by member Kiwi Flyer:
It has been written: "This council establishes the direction that FlyerTalk is heading into our future and represents and directs the general membership in issues that serve both the short- and long-term interests of the FlyerTalk community."

I would like to know how the TalkBoard candidates will seek input from the membership at large whom they're seeking to represent.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 7:24 pm
  #2  
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This is an important issue IMO so my thanks to KiwiFlyer for posing the question.

To quote from my platform:

1. My primary purpose in running again for TalkBoard is to be YOUR voice in creating a more effective, responsive and efficient FlyerTalk. I'm a very reachable FlyerTalker and I quickly respond to PMs, e-mails and online posts. Feel free to tell me what you think needs to be changed on FlyerTalk. While I can't guarantee that everything can be changed, I can guarantee you a fair and objective audience.

I encourage everybody reading this thread to contact me regarding any questions or input they may have regarding FlyerTalk matters whether it be a TB issue, a moderation issue or just how to find a thread or how to contact a fellow FT'er.

I also read all posts in the public TalkBoard Topics forum so this is also an excellent way for FT'ers to provide input.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 7:42 pm
  #3  
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Totally echo the sentiments of Cholula. The TalkBoard members are there to represent the people and not to come up with all the ideas themselves. Therefore the most crucial part of the TalkBoard is feedback from the members. I am also very easily reachable, and welcome any PM's or emails on my views if you'd like to debate it, seek clarification, etc.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 8:26 pm
  #4  
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My first official action as a moderator was to delete my own thread in response to a request. I don't have a problem admitting a mistake.

When someone sends me a Private Message disagreeing with a decision I have made as a moderator, I consider it carefully. Probably at least half the time I accommodate the request to change my decision. The same applies when I receive a Report Bad Post about a post that I initially thought was OK.

On a recent thread I posted a request for PMs pro or con on closing the thread for the benefit of forum members. It wasn't exactly a vote, but I found the members' arguments persuasive and reversed my initial decision, closing the thread that I had started and posting a public explanation of the reversal.

Maybe I'm a pushover or maybe the Southwest forum has members with great judgment, but this track record indicates that I will listen to input from FT members and take it to heart.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 8:34 pm
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I'm not only planning on being available via PM and e-mail and the Talkboard forum, but I'm also planning to:

1. Motion to change the structure of TB voting such that anything motioned has to be put before the FT membership in the public TB forum for some minimum time before voting can begin. That way, the FT membership will have the opportunity to comment and/or lobby before any voting begins. This will include elections for TB president and vice-president, any changes in TB voting and/or administration rules, and anything else except that which the Talkboard is specifically asked to exclude from such a disclosure requirement by Randy and/or Internet Brands. I do think there is a need for the TB members to deliberate in a non-public forum. I don't think the membership should be blindsided by what the Talkboard is considering, and I do believe the FT membership should have a chance to lobby before voting begins on any applicable motion.

2. Inquire with the House of Miles/Internet Brands technical staffs if the Talkboard can use the poll functionality to put poll questions before the FT membership. Use such functionality to poll the membership on ideas that I might not initially feel strongly about one way or the other, or that which is sufficiently important and/or controversial to warrant it.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 8:42 pm
  #6  
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I've just received this follow-up PM from KiwiFlyer, who posed the original question in this thread:

"Just to clarify the key word in my question is seek input, i.e., being proactive rather than reactive. At least it is the key thing for me."

I think it's an important distinction and my original answer is somewhat lacking as a result.

My fellow TB members have often discussed, formally and informally, how we could involve more members in the decision making process on FT.

No matter what is done to encourage participation, for some unknown, unfathomable and bizarre reason, 99.9% of the folks who post on FT are concerned only with maximizing miles and points.

There are just a tiny handful of FT'ers who are concerned with the structural, policy and/or legislative matters on FT. And I don't think that whatever we do is going to change this.

TalkBoard Topics, the public forum where members can register their opinions, questions or comments on FT structure/policy, is one of the least visited forums on FT. And has always been so.

I don't have the answer to this question but perhaps others will weigh in here and we can come up with a solution to this.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 9:00 pm
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Originally Posted by Cholula View Post
I don't have the answer to this question but perhaps others will weigh in here and we can come up with a solution to this.
Two things come to mind here:

I just looked on the front page of the US Airways forum, and in honor of you, I looked in Travel Safety and Security. Nowhere in either of those forums is there a thing about the ongoing debate here, much less anything about the election. Prompting the House of Miles for one of the "announcement" type stickies might help. I would personally post a non-announcement sticky, but I specifically want to avoid any appearance of impropriety and allowing any further accusations that moderators differ in practice from forum to forum (since I cannot guarantee that all moderators would do it, or use the same verbiage).

Trying to spent a bit more "print time" on the subject in the Talkmail e-mail.

Beyond that, the sledding gets tough. A few years ago, Randy kind of stopped all direct interaction between membership and candidates, as well as any real chance for the membership to discuss the election among itself on forum.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 9:15 pm
  #8  
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I got the same PM as Cholula from KiwiFlyer, so thanks for following up with the question.

I think ClubByFour has some really good ideas in his posts above, and I can't say it any better, so I wont even try to go into details in that regard. I think the idea of members being able to lobby with "advanced notice" is a great idea, and I would definitely push for that. While I'm not necessarily sure about the poll, I thought moderators could already create polls, right, so that shouldn't be an issue?

I think major topics should definitely me included in TalkMail, that's a great idea, although I am not so sure if cluttering up more of the top of the forums is a solution either with more announcements. Ultimately while we should encourage people to be interested, they either are or they aren't, and I don't think the TalkBoard issues should dominate the site to the point that it gets in the way of those that just want their miles & points.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 9:23 pm
  #9  
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Originally Posted by ClueByFour View Post
Two things come to mind here:

I just looked on the front page of the US Airways forum, and in honor of you, I looked in Travel Safety and Security. Nowhere in either of those forums is there a thing about the ongoing debate here, much less anything about the election. Prompting the House of Miles for one of the "announcement" type stickies might help. I would personally post a non-announcement sticky, but I specifically want to avoid any appearance of impropriety and allowing any further accusations that moderators differ in practice from forum to forum (since I cannot guarantee that all moderators would do it, or use the same verbiage).

Trying to spent a bit more "print time" on the subject in the Talkmail e-mail.

Beyond that, the sledding gets tough. A few years ago, Randy kind of stopped all direct interaction between membership and candidates, as well as any real chance for the membership to discuss the election among itself on forum.
Originally Posted by lucky9876coins View Post
I got the same PM as Cholula from KiwiFlyer, so thanks for following up with the question.

I think ClubByFour has some really good ideas in his posts above, and I can't say it any better, so I wont even try to go into details in that regard. I think the idea of members being able to lobby with "advanced notice" is a great idea, and I would definitely push for that. While I'm not necessarily sure about the poll, I thought moderators could already create polls, right, so that shouldn't be an issue?

I think major topics should definitely me included in TalkMail, that's a great idea, although I am not so sure if cluttering up more of the top of the forums is a solution either with more announcements. Ultimately while we should encourage people to be interested, they either are or they aren't, and I don't think the TalkBoard issues should dominate the site to the point that it gets in the way of those that just want their miles & points.
You both bring up good points.

But at what point does a pro-active "Get Out The Vote, Speak Up Now and Get Involved With FT Structural Issues" message interfere with our members primary mission?

If I thought for one second there were legions of FT'ers willing to weigh in on legislative/policy issues, I would pull out all the stops. And post a sticky to call attention to the election process in progress.

But everytime I bring up this subject, I'm met by deafening silence from my FT buddies.

I guess I'm one of the very few FT policy wonks I know.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 9:28 pm
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My entire staff and family all think I was born with a phone (which is also a computer) in my ear/hand. I am very well connected and, moreover, love to ask a lot of questions and reallly care about what other people think.

Even though I am not now a TalkBoard member, I will often PM or e-mail another member (even a complete stranger)when I am curious about what they were thinking when they made a post. I have learned a lot that way.

It is all about open communication, especially with those with whom we might initially think we disagree. Talking, listening, really opening our hearts and minds to new possibilities, rather than trying to argue others into our point of view, is how we grow in understanding, and understanding our consituents concerns is paramount to serving as their representative.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 9:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Cholula View Post
If I thought for one second there were legions of FT'ers willing to weigh in on legislative/policy issues, I would pull out all the stops. And post a sticky to call attention to the election process in progress.

But everytime I bring up this subject, I'm met by deafening silence from my FT buddies.

I guess I'm one of the very few FT policy wonks I know.

Perhaps the issue is not so much promoting awareness of the election process, per se, as it is promoting the success of actions the Talkboard has taken.

That may require making bigger and better strides in terms of actions taken, it may just be a PR thing. Only way to know is to try to improve on both fronts.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 9:50 pm
  #12  
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Before voting on a proposal, we need to be sure that we have considered all the possible ramifications. Often the proponents will overlook some serious deficiencies. Extended discussion involving several people will usually reveal any serious potential unintended consequences or other problems.

Once we have all this information, the better decision will usually be clear-cut. Provided that TalkBoard members resist the temptation to make up our minds too early in the process and refuse to change positions out of false pride.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 10:42 pm
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At the recent Mod Do, we discussed having a thread in each forum (or a general thread in the TB forum) where we could openly discuss moderation.

I felt strongly that I would be fine with this in the forums I moderate, as an open effort to critique my efforts at effective moderation.

To be honest, I'm not sure how to implement an open and honest review of the TB activities. However, I do believe its critical for us to explore ways to increase participation by the community at-large.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 10:57 pm
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Originally Posted by ClueByFour View Post
I'm not only planning on being available via PM and e-mail and the Talkboard forum, but I'm also planning to:

1. Motion to change the structure of TB voting such that anything motioned has to be put before the FT membership in the public TB forum for some minimum time before voting can begin. That way, the FT membership will have the opportunity to comment and/or lobby before any voting begins. This will include elections for TB president and vice-president, any changes in TB voting and/or administration rules, and anything else except that which the Talkboard is specifically asked to exclude from such a disclosure requirement by Randy and/or Internet Brands. I do think there is a need for the TB members to deliberate in a non-public forum. I don't think the membership should be blindsided by what the Talkboard is considering, and I do believe the FT membership should have a chance to lobby before voting begins on any applicable motion.
I know it sounds like I'm jumping on ClueByFour's bandwagon, but I would open up discussion on any motion and restrict the discussion to people not on the TB. While I would carefully consider any member feedback, I would vote my conscience just as any member of a representative government should.

For me, input can come in any way possible, from PM to email to a post on the TB Topics forum.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 11:16 pm
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I have been wondering, just what is the community at-large? Lately I have been checking the people who show up on the birthday list, which I figure is about as random a list as we will get. Generally speaking, over 90% of them never post, so that brings our at-large number down to something under 15,000, rather than the frequently mentioned 150,000. Even among that 15,000, most have only a handful of post, although I am not really sure how many posts one can hold in their hand.

I would be very interested in knowing how many members actually have over 500 posts, or even 100 posts, and how many of them really consider themselves part of the FlyerTalk Community.
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