Question 7: Is there a need for Talkboard?

 
Old Nov 5, 13, 8:18 am
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Question 7: Is there a need for Talkboard?

Question from a member:

Turnout for TalkBoard elections has been diminishing. Last year, I believe, there were only about 1000 votes (among over 500,000 members). Is it possible that TalkBoard has outlived its usefulness? What would you do to make the FT Community engaged and involved?
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Old Nov 5, 13, 10:57 am
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I think there's a need for it, having someone to advice the upper echelons of FT management and a voice for the people is always necessary. I wouldn't mind a sticky at the top of each thread with a link to the TB forum and answering some basic questions about it.

I hope there's a need for it, I'm running for it
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Old Nov 5, 13, 2:14 pm
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post
Question from a member:

Turnout for TalkBoard elections has been diminishing. Last year, I believe, there were only about 1000 votes (among over 500,000 members). Is it possible that TalkBoard has outlived its usefulness? What would you do to make the FT Community engaged and involved?
Yes. How I look at it is this way:
A lot of the members coming to FT don't necessarily need the TalkBoard, but the Talkboard is fairly important to FT even if most people who just come here for points and miles don't really realize it.

I think it's important for the TalkBoard to relay opinions and the general FT consensus to Internet Brands just so that the reader experience could be improved, even if the majority of members don't care.
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Old Nov 5, 13, 5:38 pm
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I would agree with the above posts but also add this:

People like to feel they matter--especially in a vast online community such as this. And people like to feel that those running this stuff are real people not just some BOT, or some business somewhere making money off it all based on some über algorithmic garble related to the number of hits or something sinister like that. (or run by people who think only ONE way, and never THEIR way!)

I think if there's an elected board of members such as one that any of us may become a part of, then we members could help ensure others that there are real personalities and ideals behind all of this stuff.

As well, I think people can approach TB members and feel empowered when they ask a member to tell them about something or deal with an issue. It may not always work out but the fact there's a board makes members feel more in tune with the whole machine. Some may never do that but I guess if they knew more about the fact they CAN, then this alone may provide comfort.

Finally, the fact I am even able to run is important to me. I may make it and I may not but I like that this chance is given to anyone with something to say. Therefore, any member should be able to realize this and know that they could one day run as well.

And yeah, it had better matter. I am doing this now. lol

MM
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Old Nov 5, 13, 9:05 pm
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If there were no reason for Talkboard, then I would not be seeking a spot on it! The candidates are obviously a very biased group in terms of answering this question! We all should agree -- if we are rational -- that Talkboard serves a useful purpose, or why would we want to waste our time being part of it?

It probably is fair to mention that the Flyertalk moderators, and I am one, operate sort of in parallel to Talkboard, and the division of responsibilities between the two groups is, at best, less than obvious to most Flyertalk participants. I hope that this matter can be clarified -- and I will work toward that goal if elected.

Bruce
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Old Nov 6, 13, 2:06 am
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Voter participation seems to be an issue in most places...unfortunately.

That does not make TalkBoard any less relevant. The opportunity to propose/debate/approve/disapprove new ideas to help guide FT is important.

A diverse group of people on TalkBoard hopefully provide different perspectives from all over the travel world (location, programs, experience, etc.) to keep FT relevant and useful.
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Old Nov 6, 13, 12:29 pm
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TalkBoard does serve a purpose and the purpose is to make decisions as to how F/t is run/maintained/organized/what changes are made and etc. Is it perfect? No Can it be improved? Absolutely! Are decisions made good or bad? Only time tells that story and decisions should be made based on what the members want and not what a TB member thinks is best or based on a personal agenda and as for me, if I think a proposal/motion is a good thing but the majority of the members think it's a bad thing, I will vote the way the members want.

Now with that being said, I'll pose the question-If there was no Talkboard, who would make decisions on changes? There needs to be some form of governing body to do that
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Old Nov 6, 13, 12:38 pm
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Originally Posted by goalie View Post
TalkBoard does serve a purpose and the purpose is to make decisions as to how F/t is run/maintained/organized/what changes are made and etc. Is it perfect? No Can it be improved? Absolutely! Are decisions made good or bad? Only time tells that story and decisions should be made based on what the members want and not what a TB member thinks is best or based on a personal agenda and as for me, if I think a proposal/motion is a good thing but the majority of the members think it's a bad thing, I will vote the way the members want.

Now with that being said, I'll pose the question-If there was no Talkboard, who would make decisions on changes? There needs to be some form of governing body to do that
I agree with you 100%.

And the idea is that TB is made up of what all users can and should see as regular people/regular FTers who were elected by FTers. That way, the TB appears valid and transparent as best as possible.

I would trust an entity that is designed in this way. Heck I have been for many years now no matter the level of my involvement with all things FT
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Old Nov 6, 13, 1:46 pm
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Originally Posted by Marathon Man View Post
I agree with you 100%.

And the idea is that TB is made up of what all users can and should see as regular people/regular FTers who were elected by FTers. That way, the TB appears valid and transparent as best as possible.

I would trust an entity that is designed in this way. Heck I have been for many years now no matter the level of my involvement with all things FT
Yup but as to the "1,000 votes" cast last election, that is an issue that falls on the members with a side to F/t-TB, and the CD but neither the latter two in a negative way

You can't force anyone to vote (well, maybe in Australia but I digress) as case in point: I work as an election day precinct inspector here in San Francisco and yesterday's ballot had no state officials running, no state propositions, 3 minor city candidates running un-opposed and 4 city propositions so needless the to say the voter turnout sucked (city wide 22% with my pct 18%) and with that, people only vote if they feel it is beneficial to to them and won't vote if they feel it is not tho they sure as "anything" will complain about election results but if they don't vote, afaic, they have no right complaining about the results.

Now take that and put it in F/t speak with an example.

A member posts: "What happened to XXX Forum and where did it go" or "Why can't I access Coupon Connection?" where inevitably the answer will be something like "TalkBoard voted last April to change....."

Now you have a member hopefully wondering how & why and who might now want to know what Talkboard is and does (not holding my breath but in a perfect world, maybe ) and hopefully become involved in the public discussions (and not holding my breath but still ).

So take the above and then have it perhaps fall to TB and the CD to get the word out about what TB is, what they do and etc so members can become more familiar. How to do it it? I'll be honest and say I have no idea but you need to have the exposure in order for members to be aware. Getting them to vote however is a harder problem but you still need to have as much awareness as possible to get them to the vote/not vote point.
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Old Nov 6, 13, 2:02 pm
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Well goalie like you said, if people do not vote they cant really complain. I mean, yeah they can (I have in the past lol) but their words would have been better heard and considered had they cast a vote when needed.

Also we cannot hold peoples' hands all the time. Why, just an hour ago I erased something detailed that I posted in a MS thread because three people PMd me and one emailed me saying that what I shared was good stuff but people should really think for themselves and work through issues on their own and in groups first and usually they will arrive at the right conclusion. I mean to say, that while one can share good things, people still need to do their work too. My post, some argued, had too many overly-user friendly arrows and circles in it and many had to work hard to learn that content but now it was being shared with people who have yet to show the interest in giving back to the community at all. I mean we do not know if they would, but it can generally assessed that a majority of people do not care to.

this is to say that many like me think so many nowadays are kind of lazy --ie not voting or caring and just wanting things to work the way THEY want it but not willing to do more--and this has to change. I think one of the ways to make that change is to make people aware of what TB could be and what it could do for them if they participate in things more often.
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Old Nov 7, 13, 12:03 pm
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Frankly, I am torn on this question, and almost didn't run for re-election because I am so torn.

On the one hand, I think it's great that Carol has a focus group of users to bring ideas and feedback to her. And even better that it comes from folks elected to that focus group. It helps her keep her finger on the pulse on the users in terms of changes and updates to FlyerTalk.

On the other hand, TalkBoard's remit is ultimately rather inconsequential. We make recommendations on cosmetic things like what a forum is called or whether a new forum is needed. But when it comes to the really important stuff like moderation, moderation best practices, or even moderation of the TB Topics forum itself, the TalkBoard is as toothless as every other poster. And of course if Carol or a few mods don't like what the TB has to say, it gets trumped anyway. For example, the closing of the BD forum as well as the merger process between UA and CO forums were made by moderators and Carol, with little to no input from the TB.

Obviously, I ultimately decided TB is not a TOTAL waste of time as I decided to run for re-election. But if I don't get re-elected I wont shed any tears because there are more productive things out there than serving on an advisory focus group on cosmetic issues.
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Old Nov 7, 13, 10:59 pm
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I'd like to think it is useful, otherwise I'm wasting my time running for it!
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Old Nov 8, 13, 9:47 am
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I think it is valuable. To show it's importance I wouldn't mind seeing a function that wouldn't allow any forum use until that logged in member voted for Talkboard. It happens with various websites we log into when they want you to say you read the T&C's of something or whatever. When a member logs in for the first time after Talkboard has started voting they have to complete their ballot before they can surf. If they want to get some knowledge from the board voice your opinion on those who are volunteering to help run it.
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Old Nov 8, 13, 11:58 am
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This is an interesting question. I do believe there is a need as there are quite a few things that can be improved on FT, but I do think things should be implemented quicker.
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