Question 21: Structural Changes to FlyerTalk

 
Old Nov 8, 07, 8:49 pm
  #1  
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Question 21: Structural Changes to FlyerTalk

This question was submitted by member Cholula:
What structural changes would you favor for FlyerTalk?

Some examples might be a general face lift, increased choice of smilies, use of avatars, return of the thread rating and reputation features, ability to post images or file attachments in threads, etc.?
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Old Nov 8, 07, 9:19 pm
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Originally Posted by flyertalk View Post
This question was submitted by member Cholula:
What structural changes would you favor for FlyerTalk?

Some examples might be a general face lift, increased choice of smilies, use of avatars, return of the thread rating and reputation features, ability to post images or file attachments in threads, etc.?

I dont think there are many things that I would change. As for smilies and the various other things you list, yep they are all nice things to have but at the end of the day the vast majority of folk come in lurk around, read the posts they want to read and then leave. I dont think they would really care about the things thats been listed.

I would also say that its more stuff that could go wrong. I believe in KISS....factor in these things.
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Old Nov 8, 07, 9:58 pm
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As a user of other BBSes, I'd say all of the above, but not at the cost of slowing the board down or decreasing stability.

I've noticed (and I'm sure you've noticed) that we've had some reliability issues of late. I'd hope that the Talkboard could act as a conduit between the members and IB.

I'd like to know how they monitor their servers, what their service level agreements are for up time, etc. I'd hope that we could establish better communication on board reliability (metrics, etc). I'd also like to get IB to communicate better around estimated time for availability when the board is down (unscheduled). Too often we've come to a blank page with no communication on what the issues are, and when the board is coming back.

Stability has to come first, new features second.
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Old Nov 9, 07, 7:05 am
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I tried reading some other boards, and found *way* too much clutter. I like our format, in that expressive members have plenty of ways to distinguish themselves, but we don't look like a neon convention.
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Old Nov 9, 07, 8:08 am
  #5  
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I think we need to take our role of revisiting forums seriously, we've engaged in some experiments that have worked out well and others that have not, and when we create a forum we have an obligation to check back in and make sure it's serving the membership well. If it's dying on the vine, posters with questions in those areas aren't having thier questions answered. So we need to consider folding the forum back into a larger parent.

Doing this will allow us to experiemnt with more, different forums without running too much risk of fracturing Flyertalk and making it less useful.
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Old Nov 9, 07, 10:03 am
  #6  
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This is one area I would leave alone. I think the organization of the board along with simple posting rules (no attachments, for example) enforced technically by the staff makes this a pretty pleasant board to be around.

As far as forum organization, I would encourage people to use MyFlyertalk to their advantage. I have my own FT experience with the dozen or so boards I frequent. Everyone can do this with minimal effort.
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Old Nov 9, 07, 10:16 am
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I am with gleff on the idea of revisiting stagnant forums. Not all ideas work.

From a user-interface standpoint, I'm very happy with FT and would not make wholesale changes, lest it impact the technical stability or speed of the operation. And, if those changes are proposed during my tenure on the Talkboard, I'd seek the input of the HOM and Internet Brands folks who have responsibility for running the site, to ensure that any proposed changes don't negatively impact the speed or stability of the site.

I am actually a fan of the minimalist feature set that FT currently employs: it emphasizes the quality of content over the presentation (bells and whistles and such), which I believe is part of what makes FT the incredibly valuable resource that it is.

Why mess with what works?
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Old Nov 9, 07, 11:32 am
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Structurally, the place is great. As I noted on another thread, though, the TB needs to do a better job of defining the forums for maximum moderator and poster guidance.
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Old Nov 9, 07, 11:50 am
  #9  
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Did you know that you can restructure FT yourself? It's a feature called MyFlyerTalk, located near the upper left of your screen.

You can subscribe to forums to see what the latest (and perhaps hottest) thread is in any forums you like. You can also auto-subscribe to view new posts any thread you have posted in. I learned this from SanDiego1K and Canarsie. Here's how to do it.

Setting up auto-subscribe to threads in which you post.
Go to MyFlyerTalk.

Select Edit Options at the left.

Look for "Default Thread Subscription Mode" and select "No email notification" from the pull-down menu.

While you're here, look for "Number of Posts to Show Per Page" and select "Show 40 Posts Per Page", which will give you fewer pages to look at.

Don't forget to scroll down and "Save Changes".
Setting up subscriptions to a forum:

Go to the main page for the forum you want to subscribe to.
Near the right end of the taller blue bar, next to "Search this Forum", you will see "Forum Tools". Click that, and select "Subscribe to This Forum". Select "No email notification" and "Add subscription".

Repeat this for all forums you want to subscribe to.
Now you have one-stop shopping for all your main interests on FlyerTalk at your MyFlyerTalk page. Enjoy!
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Old Nov 9, 07, 12:32 pm
  #10  
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If this were a perfect world and everybody behaved in a responsible manner, I'd like to see the return of thread ratings as well as reputation ratings. I'd also like to be able to post images and attachments in certain forums.

We are able to post images in a roundabout way in the Travel Photography subforum as well as in the Trip Reports forum.

As FT is a website dealing with travel and a picture is worth the proverbial thousand words, I'd support expanding the .img capacity to the airline and hotel forums. These are moderated forums and pictures of questionable content can be removed along with those who post them. Just as we do on text-based posts now.

Plus it's my belief that 99% of FT'ers would not abuse this privilege and it would make the FT experience that much richer.

Many of the wildly popular sites like Second Life have gone way beyond images to fully animated avatars and alternative cyber-lifestyles. While I'm not advocating this for FlyerTalk, I think the trends on other websites are worthwhile tracking.

One thing I would like to see is an expansion of the smilies we currently offer. We have 15 of the simplest ones available and I'd like to see a few more added. Perhaps chosen by all FT members from a list of acceptable smilies. We're an increasingly international site and a picture (smilie) cuts across language barriers when trying to make a point.

I'm not advocating motion, or neon flashing lights or any of the other distracting things one sees on some other websites.

But I do think we need to be aware of what techniques are used on like websites and also stay tuned to the needs and wants of FlyerTalk's ever-growing and changing membership base.

One of my least favorite slogans is "If it isn't broken, why fix it?"

I'm much more in favor of "If it isn't broken, break it anyway and rebuild it bigger and better than anyone could have imagined."

And, BTW, great post by the OP!!
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Old Nov 9, 07, 1:18 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Cholula View Post
And, BTW, great post by the OP!!
ROFLMAO!!!!!
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Old Nov 9, 07, 3:00 pm
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I participate in quite a few other boards that use UBB software. While I think the advanced features they offer can be intriguing, I don't think they're appropriate for Flyertalk. In short, there's very little gained considering the massive downside potential.

I understand why others might want them but considering that we have issues with inappropriate signatures as it is, I think avatars would simply be ripe for abuse and would distract from the main thrust of points and miles. Another consideration is that as we are much more a global board than others, an avatar considered appropriate in the US or UK might be horribly offensive in Asia or the middle east and so on and so forth.

As for reputation, that was an unmitigated disaster. Thankfully that feature rolled out before I was a moderator! I've never seen more adults throw playground-style tantrums over a ding to their reputation than during that period. It needed to be turned off. Far too many people used it for personal entertainment purposes as opposed to the poster rating system it was supposed to be.

What might work is a thanks system whereby FTers can click on a helpful post and 'thank' that person. While still subject to people gaming the system, it wouldn't be open to the abuses the reputation system is.

Beyond that, I like the simple style of FlyerTalk, especially when abroad on a slow connection. I don't want bells and whistles; I want easy access to my points and miles info! That, FT provides as it is in spades.
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Old Nov 9, 07, 4:50 pm
  #13  
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It might be nice to have avatars, just so we can put a face with the name. That would be a big help when attending larger DOs.

I belong to another board, www.cruisecritic.com and they have a lot more posts than FT and almost twice as many members. They allow avatars and it doesn't seem to cause any problems. It sure makes it nice when you go on a cruise to be able to identify other posters from their pictures.

Other than that, I'm happy with the current structure. Well it might be night to have a few more smilies.
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Old Nov 9, 07, 8:22 pm
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Structural Changes

For ease and speed, I'm fine with the structure of the boards.

I like the idea of putting faces or avatars or logos with people, but think that may slow down the speed of the boards. (You always can link off to a profile page elsewhere on the MySpace/Facebooks of the world so you can be "seen" there.)

However, while 3-letter search is now allowed, I think the overall search feature on this site is still in need of an overhaul. There's tremendously incredible content deep within the site, but trying to get to it is extremely painful.
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Old Nov 10, 07, 9:05 pm
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I find the current structure fine, but I would like to see a few more (or different) smilies added. Since TB is a representation of all FT members, I think this change should be voted on by all members to choose which ones to include or get rid of.

On some other BBS that I've seen that allow avatars, I have seen some threads with 6 posts by 6 people - and 4 of the logos are the same! The listings in your profile are much more descriptive of you, as opposed to a picture of a dog, cat, cloud or mountain!
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