Question 3: The Welcoming Tone to New Members

 
Old Oct 31, 08, 10:35 am
  #1  
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Question 3: The Welcoming Tone to New Members

submitted by wharvey
There has been feedback that FlyerTalk is not user-friendly to new users. In addition, many veteran members are not welcoming to new members. What would you do as a TalkBoard member to improve FlyerTalk to make it more welcoming to new members?
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Old Oct 31, 08, 10:38 am
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nothing
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Old Oct 31, 08, 10:54 am
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I'm not sure that this issue, to the extent that it is an issue, is something TB can deal with - it's really a case of how certain members conduct themselves.

TB could suggest Randy create some 'ambassador' programme or other and he may well agree - but those members who are rather less than accomodating to newbies are hardly likely to be the ambassadors so the problem would remain. Albeit hopefully the 'good' would start to outweigh the 'bad' - not that I don;t think it doesn't alreaddy.

The only real solution is in terms of moderation - which is obviously not TB's thing. At best TB could perhaps look to get Randy to tighten to TOS - but it would be a very difficult thing to try and define and the simple fact is that some people will always be more/less welcoming than others.
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Old Oct 31, 08, 11:04 am
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Originally Posted by GK View Post
nothing
Interesting point of view, there, GK...

I think that phillipas' insight is relatively correct...it's difficult as an advisory board to make members be more welcoming to newbies. There was talk of an ambassador program previously, but versions 1 seemed to offend a lot of the moderators who felt they were being slighted & version 2 was put to rest given the ongoing debate that never conclude with anything positive coming out of it.

That said, I think that the TB can lead by example by being welcoming themselves to folks that are new to FT and folks that are new to the TB forum, even.
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Old Oct 31, 08, 11:19 am
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Originally Posted by Randy Petersen View Post
submitted by wharvey
There has been feedback that FlyerTalk is not user-friendly to new users. In addition, many veteran members are not welcoming to new members. What would you do as a TalkBoard member to improve FlyerTalk to make it more welcoming to new members?
I've written about this before. Like any community in the real world, unless we have a constant infusion of new blood -- people bringing new ideas and perspectives -- we're going to stagnate. We'll become an insular group, speaking in code to each other about the same old topics.

For the most part, I think we do a fairly good job at welcoming newcomers. Someone posting for the first time will always receive a series of "Welcome to FT!" posts from the vets and, usually, if it's a reasonable question or interesting point, and not just trolling, a considered response.
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Old Oct 31, 08, 11:26 am
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I'm not a particularly sociable person so I leave the welcoming to those who can handle it best.

I do support some sort of formal program though to recognise and assist new members, as the only way a community can thrive is to constantly renew itself with fresh ideas and personalities.
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Old Oct 31, 08, 11:47 am
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I don't have any really good ideas about how to make Flyertalk more welcoming to new members. The "ambassador" idea was good in concept but very difficult to implement properly especially since it could setup a bad ("good cop" / "bad cop") dynamic between the "ambassador" and the moderator within the forum.

I (as a moderator) try to be welcoming in the forums that I moderate and will continue to do so and perhaps even try to expand it if I'm on TalkBoard.
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Old Oct 31, 08, 12:09 pm
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I feel nervous about posting in forums that I haven't posted in before. And I've been conditioned to, unfortunately, feeling like I'm going to get my head bit off if a question was asked somewhat recently. There are a couple of forums that are notorious for that.

While the overwhelming majority of FTers are great in extending personal welcomes in general and/or answering a newbie's questions, we should understand that most of people who sign on for the first time, in my experience, look for a simple question to be answered.

I think we should have either a sticky and/or a bolder message when people register to encourage them to use the search feature within a thread. It's all about understanding why many people come to FT in the first place.
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Old Oct 31, 08, 12:32 pm
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As a FlyerTalker who is also a TalkBoard member, I always greet new members with a "Welcome to FlyerTalk" when responding to a new poster's thread/post.
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Old Oct 31, 08, 12:42 pm
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Well I always try and be helpful to folk when they are newbies and dont really understand what its all about. No use shouting at them to use the search facility, they probably don't know how to use it....

We were all newbies once and sometimes when I dare wander into another part of FT, I feel like a newbie as well, there are some strange dark places...not wanting to point fingers at individual forums...

I know that newbies can be frustrating at times, as they dont read further down the threads and we get duplicates etc, but that will never change on FT or any other forums. Its part of life and we should help these folk out.

A lot of forums have some really good "sticky" but again newbies might not understand what that is and again we should point this out but in a nice way, not bark at them.

regards
J
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Old Oct 31, 08, 12:47 pm
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Originally Posted by Randy Petersen View Post
submitted by wharvey
There has been feedback that FlyerTalk is not user-friendly to new users. In addition, many veteran members are not welcoming to new members. What would you do as a TalkBoard member to improve FlyerTalk to make it more welcoming to new members?
I moderate the Southwest forum, and almost every new arrival is publicly welcomed at least once. The forum participants do it, and nobody had to ask them to do it. Furthermore, I urge forum regulars to cut new members some slack even though they may appear to be trolling. Some percentage of those people will turn constructive if we make an effort to be constructive ourselves.

Busier forums may feel less welcoming (e.g. "Do a search" responses), but it's the moderators' responsibility to improve that. A busy forum is like a busy downtown, and people need to have reasonable expectations. The Southwest forum is still relatively quiet and calm, like most of the less busy forums.

The best the TalkBoard could do in this area would be to recommend an addition to the FlyerTalk guidelines asking all members to make the extra effort to be kind to newbies and welcome them if no one else has already done so.
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Old Oct 31, 08, 4:06 pm
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Originally Posted by Randy Petersen View Post
submitted by wharvey
There has been feedback that FlyerTalk is not user-friendly to new users. In addition, many veteran members are not welcoming to new members. What would you do as a TalkBoard member to improve FlyerTalk to make it more welcoming to new members?
It seems to me that most new posters are either long time lurkers who found a topic that relates to them and post a follow up question or comment, or "passengers" who have a specific issue they need an answer for. In both cases my experience in forums i frequent (LH,LY,BA,CO) is a warm welcome by both members and modorators.

I believe like any online community FT is very open, users usually register and chime-in only when they have some specific in mind. I would suggest an easy guide to compliment the available FAQ to welcome new members and help them with what sometimes seems as a "maze" of forums, but not much other then that.

D.
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Old Oct 31, 08, 4:07 pm
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I'll steal an idea from l'etoile that she mentioned recently. I really like the idea of a new members forum, sort of a Genius Bar (l'etoile's term, not mine, but a great fit).
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Old Oct 31, 08, 4:34 pm
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Being welcomed doesn't me being demeaned.

Being a newer FT isn't easy. There are very few things that are new to people that are easy.
Why do some people want to ridicule and rag on people that were in my shoes and your shoes? I have seen the rude and often time disgusting comments made. It made me skeptical and hesitant to ask questions or post advice.
I don't believe that Mr. Petersen ever intended for people to act like thugs and make people shy away.
One solution may be the addition of a "Bootcamp" thread. As a director I would like to take the reigns and make FT a place that could bring new FT members into our group without the loss of dignity or face embarrassment.

I would address etiquette, rules, regulations, & standard operating procedures.
Like a young person, if you give them a goal, show them a path, advice for staying on that path, consequences of leaving the path, and show them a reward, then we can eliminate a large majority of the negativism that new members often encounter.

I would encourage your thoughts, comments, and your votes! If I don't get back to you quick, I am most likely our taking care of Uncle Sam's problems!

Thanks
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Old Oct 31, 08, 5:22 pm
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I'm mixed on this regarding TB 's role

I think some forums more than others can be scary or downright unfriendly to newbies. However, in my experience, the moderator team with Randy's help has worked very diligently to make sure particularly devilish forums, were assigned moderators who took special care to both welcome newbies and instruct those members who had a hard time with basic questioners and new questioners.

I think that is a role moderators serve to do and don't know that the TB should take on any special responsibilities about this, except for discussion of the idea of a newbie forum. I have always liked that idea and I'd be curious what the membership at large would think of it.
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