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How can we better inform members that Coupon Connection runs are not allowed?

How can we better inform members that Coupon Connection runs are not allowed?

 
Old Jan 5, 2010, 11:00 am
  #1  
nsx
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How can we better inform members that Coupon Connection runs are not allowed?

According to the FlyerTalk Guidelines and Rules, post padding to gain access to Coupon Connection (or for any other purpose) is not allowed:
Posting meaningless information in an effort to increase one's post count is not permitted. Posts will be removed and the post count reset. Members who engage in this are subject to disciplinary action.
Far too many members are unaware of this rule. When they disregard it, they not only pollute FT but they risk being barred from Coupon Connection for a long time. What's frustrating is that members seem to have no trouble finding out that Coupon Connection exists and how many posts and months it takes to gain access, yet these same members remain ignorant of the prohibition of post padding.

I'd like to hear some ideas on how FT can better communicate this information to users. Ideally the solution should accommodate all sorts of useful information to FT newbies, providing instant access to specific answers without requiring the member to read a long document. (Nobody seems to read the Guidelines and Rules, any more than we read owner's manuals for the appliances we buy.)

One possibility is a FAQ forum containing only locked threads with subject-specific information, one subject being Coupon Connection. Another possibility is a Wiki with this information, prominently linked from the main Forums page.
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Old Jan 5, 2010, 6:23 pm
  #2  
 
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The Coupon Connection is mentioned from time to time in other threads. I didn't know about it until I saw it somewhere else.

When I saw a reference, I searched for it. I was still lurking at the time, so I got some sort of restriction message. It said I needed 90 days and 90 posts. However, that message did not stress about "post padding" banning. It was only AFTER gaining access to Coupon Connection that the restriction clearly appeared, in the terms for the board.

If you want it to be clearer, it should be part of the restriction message. Yes, we should know that, but padding post counts is the 35th entry (I think) about 3000 words into the guidelines. That's pretty deep.
Tell people that a moderator will check everyone when they make their first post in CC. I don't know the numbers - is that more than 3 or 4 people a day? Maybe it's too much.
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Old Jan 5, 2010, 7:01 pm
  #3  
nsx
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Originally Posted by ramolnar
Tell people that a moderator will check everyone when they make their first post in CC.
That would be too late to avoid up to 90 content-free posts. Besides, if the moderators are not asleep a post padder will not gain access to CC.
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Old Jan 5, 2010, 7:54 pm
  #4  
 
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Just keep calling it CC... I had always wondered what CC was but didn't give it much thought until after a few months and 60 odd posts a FTer friend told me. I proceeded to 'post more often than usual' until I hit 90 but still haven't used CC (it's usually a bad deal for the poster, IMO).

Maybe just increase the membership time requirement..? I didn't know there was one or how long it is, though.
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Old Jan 5, 2010, 8:45 pm
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Originally Posted by nsx
That would be too late to avoid up to 90 content-free posts. Besides, if the moderators are not asleep a post padder will not gain access to CC.
Possibly, but possibly not. A new poster has to find out about CC. Once someone does, they will likely search for it. Right now, when that person does, the blocking message says something like "you must be a member for 90 days and have 90 posts to access this forum."

My proposal is to change the blocking message to something like "you must be a member for 90 days, have 90 posts, and be approved by a moderator to access this forum. Moderators will look at your posts for content. If you engage in post padding, you will not be approved for CC."

This makes things a lot more clear. Will it end all post padding? No. Will it end some? Yes. Plus, this solution is cheap.
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Old Jan 5, 2010, 9:05 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by ramolnar
My proposal is to change the blocking message to something like "you must be a member for 90 days, have 90 posts, and be approved by a moderator to access this forum. Moderators will look at your posts for content. If you engage in post padding, you will not be approved for CC."
That's exactly the kind of good idea I was hoping members would post. Keep them coming! ^
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Old Jan 5, 2010, 9:31 pm
  #7  
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Sometimes post padding is easy to spot.

Let's say you open the Hilton forum, and see a posters name as the last respondent to multiple threads. If you open the thread, and see a simple response, just RBT (report bad thread). That's the little triangle over there on the bottom left. The Moderators are good about policing this.
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Old Jan 6, 2010, 12:47 am
  #8  
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While I appeciate OP's initiative I will wonder aloud whether a FAQ forum would get used by newer members any more than current resources which often seem ignored. As anecdotal evidence I'll cite my experience from the MR Deals forum which sees almost daily posts from those brand new FTers whom you just know fer sure haven't bothered to take the time to read the forum sticky. If someone isn't motivated enough to read a sticky why would they seek out a separate FAQ forum or wiki?

FWIW I would like to see newer arrivals have to click through a pop-up in each forum with a quick guide given to that location's do's and don'ts, perhaps for the first 10-20 posts to encourage good habits of seeking out answers to questions rather than simply posting questions without any effort having been made to find an answer. There's still no absolute guarantee that a brief guide would be read either but maybe the message would get through that some self-education is recommended for new posters to get the most out of the FT experience. Just MHO, OP.
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Old Jan 6, 2010, 8:30 am
  #9  
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While not talking about moderation (would hate to have to moderate my own post!) let me say:

The Coupon Connection moderators have struggled with this issue for years... and there seems to be no easy answer. No matter what notices, stickys or message we put out there, people ignore them. It is clear in the TOS... but most people do not read it. It shows up in the Technical Issues forum... but people do not read or ignore it. Heck, we even have stickys in the CC forum itself about what is and is not acceptable, and that gets ignored.

But, on the positive side, we have very few members who go on "post runs".... and we are able to manage them effectively. We also have some general members who are very vigilent and will also alert us when they see this issue.

Spiff, Philemer and I had asked the technical staff about the feasibility of pop ups before someone gets to CC for the first time, and told it was not feasible with the current software configurations. So, I think some ideas of having screens pop up will not be happening anytime soon.

Randy has always said that Coupon Connection is a "reward" for membership and participation on Flyertalk. That is why it just suddennly appears after a members meets the entry criteria. I would say 99.9% of the members understand this and "play by the rules" as they are intended. Now, that may not be true once they get in... but that is another issue...

I do think this question is broader... is there some way to better inform members of the very basics of the site... and have some way for them to have to acknowledge "receipt" and "understanding". Problem is, people will still just check off the box to gain immediate access.

I like the suggestion of a Forum... perhaps "Not Just For Newbies Forum" which has key threads and policies.... that everyone might read... and make it the first forum people see on the list. I do not know... but I do like this conversation.

I know I speak for the entire moderation team in saying that we are all for anything that improves the Flyertalk experience for our members.... because it will also make our "jobs" easier.
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Old Jan 9, 2010, 4:38 pm
  #10  
 
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Randy recently responded with his thoughts on the issue

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/only-...onnection.html

Is it possible to limit number of threads started by a member offering trades in CC? Perhaps limit it automatically to something like 10 per calendar year.

Post padding in other forums seem to get picked up by the Moderators or the general membership through the flag bad post mechanism.
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Old Jan 10, 2010, 2:05 am
  #11  
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Why would you want this? Really does nothing to address the OP issue on people getting access... not what they do once they do get access.

The moderators already monitor the behavior of CC members... and take appropriate action. I know I would not want us to put an arbitrary number on people posting... besides I bet it is not technically feasible.

Originally Posted by opushomes
Is it possible to limit number of threads started by a member offering trades in CC? Perhaps limit it automatically to something like 10 per calendar year.
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Old Jan 15, 2010, 12:45 am
  #12  
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Originally Posted by nsx
That would be too late to avoid up to 90 content-free posts. Besides, if the moderators are not asleep a post padder will not gain access to CC.
Exactly! It cannot be allowed into the CC any longer. If someone who are trying to padding the post count. This is not acceptable for some members behaviors. I think it would eventually to be reset the post count back to zero. It would be banned access into the CC. It will be refusal access the CC is no longer existed.
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Old Apr 12, 2012, 5:41 am
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Why is there the 90 days treshhold mark?

I understand that you do not want to give access to any-one to that subforum. I am a newbie here, but did spent a lot of time reading throgh posts. Even got the famous BKK-CSA fare on my first weekend here ;-)

So some people will have the 90-days experience sooner than others that spent years here.

For me this forum is something I discovered thanks to the guy behind the blog travel.bart.la . I was 20 years ago a rep in the Tourisme business. Now I am owner of a soccer journalist-mediaum with 6 employees. In order to reduce the cost of my 4 employees in the European Cup I started to read everything here, and it helps a lot!

Thank you
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Old Apr 12, 2012, 6:55 am
  #14  
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Originally Posted by mgo72
Why is there the 90 days treshhold?
Welcome to FT!

A dual-entry requirement (ie, # of days & # of posts) was implemented to avoid someone joining FT & posting 90 posts rapidly just to gain access to Coupon Connection. Those who do that are usually more interested in what they can get from CC than actually contributing to Flyertalk. The thought was that by implementing a timeline, that people new to FT would visit the various forums, learn about their programs, regions, etc, and contribute/give back to FT with posts, and thus earn their entry into CC.

Cheers.
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Old Apr 12, 2012, 7:06 am
  #15  
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Originally Posted by mgo72
Why is there the 90 days treshhold mark?

I understand that you do not want to give access to any-one to that subforum. I am a newbie here, but did spent a lot of time reading throgh posts. Even got the famous BKK-CSA fare on my first weekend here ;-)

So some people will have the 90-days experience sooner than others that spent years here.

For me this forum is something I discovered thanks to the guy behind the blog travel.bart.la . I was 20 years ago a rep in the Tourisme business. Now I am owner of a soccer journalist-mediaum with 6 employees. In order to reduce the cost of my 4 employees in the European Cup I started to read everything here, and it helps a lot!

Thank you
The entry requirement was changed to 180 days/180 posts. Sharon does a good job of explaining why an access requirement was implemented.
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