Question 1: Effective Feedback

Old Oct 31, 08, 7:45 am
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Question 1: Effective Feedback

submitted by lucky9876coins
What do you believe is the most effective way for TalkBoard members to receive feedback in the public forum? Would you seek feedback mostly by reading the comments of the membership, or would you engage in debate with the membership?

Last edited by Randy Petersen; Oct 31, 08 at 11:39 am Reason: remove "quotes" for consistency
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Old Oct 31, 08, 8:33 am
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Originally Posted by Randy Petersen View Post
submitted by lucky9876coins
"What do you believe is the most effective way for TalkBoard members to receive feedback in the public forum? Would you seek feedback mostly by reading the comments of the membership, or would you engage in debate with the membership?"
Well there is no one real effective way. Both of the things you have mentioned each have their own good and bad points:

As we know there are a vast amount of lurkers in FT. This will never change. I believe that folk who post and take part in these debates/discussions are ones that usually have a point to put across or in some cases a grievance. So debates get be very good but can get very heated.

Recently on the BA forum a suggestion was made regarding changing some of the formats. This was put out to the forum members so that they could debate and also vote in a poll about what they though was the way forward.

A lot more people took part in the poll than actually posted comments. I think we could learn from doing more of that sort of thing. This means you can have the debate side, read the comments and see what others think via a poll.

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Old Oct 31, 08, 8:44 am
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The reading of the forum specifically devoted for the feedback is a satisfactory system right now.

However, a TalkBoard member should be able to read between the lines in no matter what forum he or she reads. Picking up trends, pluses and negatives in posts in all the forums outside of the ones specifically designed for feedback.

Some of the best ideas and feedback are assembled in the mind when you least expect them.
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Old Oct 31, 08, 8:53 am
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Originally Posted by Randy Petersen View Post
submitted by lucky9876coins
"What do you believe is the most effective way for TalkBoard members to receive feedback in the public forum? Would you seek feedback mostly by reading the comments of the membership, or would you engage in debate with the membership?"
As this is the first question i will start by saying how excited i am about taking part in the debate. I'm looking forward to answering questions, getting to know more FlyerTalkers and enjoy the wisdom of fellow members.

Now, to the actual question:

I think the Suggestions forum does a great job for member feedback, along with the actual talk board forum.

An idea i think would have been helpful to have polls and issues which are important to our members that allow lurkers and registered members alike to participate, similar to RadioMan's suggestion.

I'm not sure 'debate with the membership' is the choice i would have made, rather taking into consideration the input from all feedback and offering it for debate within the talk board.

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Old Oct 31, 08, 9:03 am
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Firstly I value feedback hugely - it allows me to develop my thoughts into something better than I can otherwise manage.

If elected to TB then I'll take feedback in any which way it comes. And I'd make a particular effort to actively seek feedback from a group wider than those few members who wander over to the obscure bit of FT that is 'TB corner' - feedback from those FTers who will be affected by Randy accepting any particular recommendation that TB make is critically important.

And now moving to the question (thanks lucky9876coins), which I see as being about conduct as much as anything.

My answer really has to be 'somewhere in the middle' as I believe the worst case is if a TB member adopts either of the extreme positions - the 'aloof silence' and the 'high school debating society' ends of the spectrum.

My commitment if elected to TB is to be open with my thoughts, to seek feedback, and to take said feedback it into consideration when further developing my thoughts. In fulfilling this commitment I'll no doubt engage in a bit of debate (I prefer the phrase 'interaction' myself), but have no intention of being seen as a member of the aforemention 'high school debating society'.
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Old Oct 31, 08, 9:19 am
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I read the TalkBoard public forum quite regularly, as I'm the current TalkBoard liaison. I'm often called upon to wear two hats, one as the liaison and the other as a TalkBoard member who is not speaking for the TalkBoard. I feel I do a good job of handling both of these roles. I'm mostly content to read the comments of FlyerTalkers who post in this forum, but I will engage in dialogue with FlyerTalkers when it is approporiate to do so through: clarification, points raised that I strongly agree/disagree with, or insights to provide.
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Old Oct 31, 08, 9:23 am
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I'm going to try and format my first responses to questions without reading responses from the others, to try and express my true feelings. I reserve the right to go back and decide I like someone else's idea, too.

I would definitely use the TB forum (both current and archives) to help get a sense of the community's view on a specific issue.

But I also think individual interaction can be very helpful in having members "convince" me of their views. In the end, TB is there to represent the members, and if a member doesn't have the ability to change my opinion on a topic, I probably shouldn't be on TB. Accepting this role with preconceived notions would be a disservice to the community.
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Old Oct 31, 08, 10:22 am
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Old Oct 31, 08, 10:28 am
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I appreciate this question also.

(FYI going forward that will hold true for all the questions)

I think there are a myriad of ways to engage with members and get their feedback on the forum about issues pertinent either to individuals or to segments of the FT membership. In my role as a moderator, I have learned that there are many lurkers and otherwise non-vocal members who have strong opinions about issues, and as a TB member I would want to try to engage those members as best I can.

To that end I would read the public forum, as well as use quick polls as some other candidates have suggested. I would also like to initiate a couple of campaigns a year, maybe through Talk Mail or FT-wide notices, to call attention to a particular change or policy that TB has initiated, discussed, or is otherwise of interest to members. It wouldn't have to announce major changes, just to point to some activities the TB has taken on.

I would also be very aware of my role as a TB member in dealing with individual members or through my general posting behavior. Many times those postings can help open up dialogues, officially or otherwise, with individual members on issues dear to their hearts.
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Old Oct 31, 08, 10:47 am
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Originally Posted by Randy Petersen View Post
submitted by lucky9876coins
"What do you believe is the most effective way for TalkBoard members to receive feedback in the public forum? Would you seek feedback mostly by reading the comments of the membership, or would you engage in debate with the membership?"
I think both methods are mandatory. I believe that TalkBoard should function as a representative body, voting on issues based on the will of its constituency. A public forum is a neat and convenient way for FTers to express themselves, but some issues are so sensitive that direct communication with the TalkBoard member may be required.

I'd read and respond to comments in the forum daily, but I would always be receptive to PM (or, if an FTer thinks its necessary, private email).

Finally, note that the phrasing of this question is a little odd. I don't view the role of TalkBoard as one of "debating with the membership" -- a representative body shouldn't sit in an adversary relationship with its constitutents. Discussion is important, and I'd always participate in discussions with the membership, whether on the public forum or by PM or email. I don't think debate is appropriate as that implies taking a position contrary to that of the membership.
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Old Oct 31, 08, 10:57 am
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There are multiple ways to gather feedback from membership - and no one way is better than another, IMHO. Each has its different attributes.

A couple of the ways:

1) Read the TB Forums as an observer - this is good to get an idea of what folks are saying - but keep in mind that only the the passionate may be actively posting, so it's important to to also read & focus on the folks that may just post one post in a particular thread and listen to their point of view as well. In the TB forum, it's important to filter the noise to signal input.

2) Actively participate in TB threads - this is important when you need clarification on an idea - or if you personally are passionate about an idea and want to win support for it. It's important to engage members on occassion though to ensure that they know you are working towards a common goal.

3) Solicit feedback from forum participants - recently when a forum closure has been recommended, the TB has tried proactively soliciting feedback from the actual forum participants who may value the forum rather than the proverbial "outsiders" who are just requesting the forum be closed based on post counts within the forum.

4) Talk with folks in person can be helpful as well - earlier this year, the TB met in person for the first time ever on our own dimes to better work together. This occurred at the Freddies - which was a good opportunity to meet other FTers in person & put a face to the name & have a meaningful two-way conversation.

5) Be available for members - many members this year have sent me PMs or emails directly to bring up ideas that they may not feel comfortable bringing up in the public TB forum - this allows us to discuss the matters that matter to the membership.
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Old Oct 31, 08, 11:38 am
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I would like to see as much feedback as we can get from all Flyertalkers including trying to reach out to those who do not regularly post in the TalkBoard Topics Forum.

While I will always attempt to post my thoughts on the issue, I do not believe that the endless back and forth between a couple of individuals (including TalkBoard members) are productive.

I will take all comments into consideration in my final position on issues however.
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Old Oct 31, 08, 1:42 pm
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The members who post (and debate) in the TalkBoard Topics public forum are the very vocal minority whose views do not always reflect the views of the userbase at large.
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Old Oct 31, 08, 4:28 pm
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Find compromise and consensus; don't polarize

Originally Posted by Randy Petersen View Post
submitted by lucky9876coins
What do you believe is the most effective way for TalkBoard members to receive feedback in the public forum? Would you seek feedback mostly by reading the comments of the membership, or would you engage in debate with the membership?
The TalkBoard Topics (TBT) forum can be contentious. Furthermore, the viewpoints posted there are not necessarily indicative of the views of most FT members. Some of the people who post on TBT have completely immovable opinions. All this makes it very challenging to wade into TBT and achieve any useful result.

But that's what I've been doing for all of 2008: wading right in there and attempting to get TalkBoard members to see the advantages of cooperating with each other. In effect, I've been working the flip side of this question: using TBT to give my feedback to the TalkBoard.

The TBT forum is best used to find and cement a compromise on a difficult subject, where the easier path would be for the majority to steamroll the opposition without accommodating them. I am pleased as punch that my efforts this year have helped avoid steamrolling and have helped achieve a remarkable result on the most contentious issue of the year: how to handle suspensions of TalkBoard members. You can read the full details of that in the Question 5 thread later today.

Here's what I will _not_ do on TBT. I will not start petition threads asking for a meaningless head count of people who agree with me without providing any opportunity for opponents to be counted or dissent to be heard. Maybe it's just me, but I find such threads to be both polarizing and pointless.

Polarizing action would be a perfect fit if the TalkBoard members were supposed to operate like politicians. I reject that view. In my opinion, the TalkBoard should be a cooperative group, not a bunch of political backstabbers. The recent (presumed at this point) success on the new TalkBoard guidelines brings this cooperative ideal closer. This was the improvement I wanted to see before deciding to run for TalkBoard. Because I'm no politician.
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Old Oct 31, 08, 9:11 pm
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Feedback is as always appreciated and important.

I would see two ways: Either reading the general comments or having counter questions asked.

Depending on the nature of the feedback it can be useful to engage in a constructive Q&A, especially if there are questions in regards to my already expressed opinions that were maybe unclear or need more detail.

A supportive race of counts and applause seems to be unreasonable for anyone. It doesnt give you any indicator and only leads to fake hysteria. And dont we have enough of this already on the news !?
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