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Proposal: Time to Rethink Having a Spain Or Spain/Portugal Forum?

Proposal: Time to Rethink Having a Spain Or Spain/Portugal Forum?

 
Old Jun 12, 12, 5:58 pm
  #1  
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Proposal: Time to Rethink Having a Spain Or Spain/Portugal Forum?

I could only find one thread on the subject whether there should be a Spain forum. I think the discussion in that thread sort of took a strange tack, focusing on a comparison between Spain and Russia. I don't think that's the right analysis, and, in any event, that thread is three years old. Link: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/talkb...sal-spain.html

I would like to revive this idea and suggest that there should be a Spain, or Spain/Portugal, forum. Or, at least, the matter might be worthy of discussion.

Looking at the countries that have their own forums within the Europe group, Spain is a glaring omission. If you went up to a person in the street and simply said, "I am going to list four countries, tell me another country that is like these four that is not on the list: England, France, Germany, Italy," I think it is pretty clear that Spain would get the most responses.

In terms of population, Spain is sixth in Europe, behind the five countries that have their own forums. In terms of land area, Spain is fifth in Europe, and behind only two of the other countries that have their own forums (Russia and France). And, perhaps most notably, Spain has the fourth highest tourism rate in the world, behind only France, the U.S., and China. (Source for all of this: Wikipedia.)

Perhaps those might be seen as arbitrary stats. I think the last one is telling. But, just going by the non-stat I-know-it-when-I-see-it test, Spain is similar to the other countries that have their own forums in the sense that it has multiple climates, multiple tourist cities, multiple historical sites spread across the country, and multiple international airports, museums, and other features that promote discussion among foreign travelers and FTers. All of the issues that tend to be discussed on FT and in play in Spain -- best way to get there using miles, transportation from airports, which hotels to stay at in various cities, how to book train tickets, how to manage with luggage, what sites to see. None of this is meant to disparage other European countries, but I think none (other than perhaps Turkey) really has as much in common with the countries that have forums as Spain.

I would guess that a very large percentage of flyertalkers are from, or live in, parts of the world that were at one time ruled by, or significantly touched by, the Spanish Empire. Nearly 1 billion people speak its language. Each of these factors makes it a place that people care about visiting and talking about.

As one who recently has been researching Spain, Spain and Portugal dominate the general Europe forum. No subject is covered near as much.
Going back only to June 1, the following threads appear on the first page a half of the forum having either been created or posted in:

"Lisbon, Madrid and"
"best spots in Spain"
Inexpensive Restaurants in Lisboa"
"Spain for November"
"Barcelona or Madrid"
"Hello Madrid"
"Flights Manchester to Lisboa"
"Visiting Madrid . . . Advice?"
"Antequera, Spain -- public bus available?"
"Portugal: LIS to Coimbra"
"BCN car rental warning: Goldcar (the usual)"

I would also add that Spain is increasingly common as a cruise starting port. That's important, because it ends up presenting itself as a destination that people from all over the world want to know about to plan some days on land before or after the cruise. And all of these folks want to know about things FTers talk about -- taxis, trains, metro cards, etc.

It is my sincere belief that if a Spain forum were to be created, the discussion about Spain would increase, given the already extant interest on FT. Having a place to go instead of a general Europe forum would promote the discussion in a way that is beneficial to all flyertalkers and thus I hope we can have a discussion whether to give Spain its own forum.
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Old Jun 13, 12, 3:18 pm
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England isn't on the forum list

Still I suppose that it's another asset Spain can sell off when the end comes.

In a way, Spain suffers because so many Europeans don't need to come and ask about Spain, as we've all been there. That said, it's such a massive holiday destination, it does seem odd not having one.
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Old Jun 13, 12, 3:35 pm
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Originally Posted by Jenbel View Post
England isn't on the forum list
Well, I think my point in my reference to England was that it has a forum separate from the general Europe forum where discussion of it can be had and easily found. As the Europe FT subforums presently are constructed it would not seem that Ireland and the countries other than England constituting the United Kingdom would (even taken as a group) be given their own forum. Since England is the most populous and oft-visited of the countries to which that forum is dedicated, when I did my "which country is missing" hypothetical, it seemed the natural country to pick. The point is that England does have its own forum, though it shares it with a few other countries that it seems naturally make sense to include for reasons of politics and/or geography. I have no objection to having Spain as part of a similar grouping.

Putting to the side what the forum is named, as compared to what its contents are, England (with its close neighbors) are not relegated to the general Europe forum. If Spain like England were to be given a forum with its neighbors, I think my proposal would be satisfied. To eliminate any confusion, labels aren't important to me -- if one wants to call the forum "Iberian Peninsula" and include Andorra and Portugal, that's ok with me. But the reason for having it as its own forum -- much like the reason for having the UK and Ireland split out in a separate forum is England -- is the presence of Spain, if that makes sense. It would be a place where people who want to talk about Spain would know to go and would so so. (Whether Gibraltar should be discussed there or in the UK/Ire forum is an interesting question that I think could be resolved with a simple common sense approach.)

I take your point about Europeans already knowing a great deal about Spain, but I suppose if that's a disqualifier, France shouldn't have its own forum either, nor perhaps should Germany.

I very much hope that this post is not seen as offensive to my Irish, Welsh, Scottish, and Northern Irish friends. This isn't about merits as a country or a people, but merely about how to organize forums to (a) find discussions and more fundamentally (b) promote discussion. (I myself am a citizen of one of these fine nations.)

Last edited by lkar; Jun 13, 12 at 3:44 pm
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Old Jun 15, 12, 7:30 pm
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Spain being probably my favorite country in Europe (having been to all but four of the non-CIS European states), I am somewhat surprised to discover Spain did not already have its own forum.

You lay out a decent case.
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Old Jun 16, 12, 9:55 am
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Originally Posted by jackal View Post
Spain being probably my favorite country in Europe (having been to all but four of the non-CIS European states), I am somewhat surprised to discover Spain did not already have its own forum.

You lay out a decent case.
Tho I have never been to Spain, goalie-parents and goalie-sis have on many occasions and based on their observations, I agree with what you say
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Old Jun 16, 12, 12:30 pm
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Thanks, lkar for making such a coherent argument as to why there should be a Spain Forum.
Based on your research I would definitely be in favor of a Spain Forum or Spain/Portugal.
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Old Jun 18, 12, 6:48 am
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Originally Posted by goalie View Post
Tho I have never been to Spain, goalie-parents and goalie-sis have on many occasions and based on their observations, I agree with what you say
They say Spain is pretty, though goalie's never been
Well koko says it's the best place that he's ever seen
Oh and he should know, he's been there enough
I support a Spain forum
I support one so much.
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Old Jun 18, 12, 10:03 am
  #8  
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Originally Posted by kokonutz View Post
They say Spain is pretty, though goalie's never been
Well koko says it's the best place that he's ever seen
Oh and he should know, he's been there enough
I support a Spain forum
I support one so much.
As appealing as the forum might be, since we all know that the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain, what is left to discuss?
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Old Jun 18, 12, 10:27 am
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Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
As appealing as the forum might be, since we all know that the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain, what is left to discuss?
Changing plain to plane?
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Old Jun 20, 12, 1:51 pm
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Originally Posted by kokonutz View Post
They say Spain is pretty, though goalie's never been
Well koko says it's the best place that he's ever seen
How about Portugal, though, which I suspect is a little less traveled than Spain for U.S. tourists? goalie might even be familiar with a certain bridge in Lisbon. I'm all for a new forum for Spain and Portugal.



and for beef-lovers:

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Old Jun 21, 12, 9:52 am
  #11  
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Originally Posted by tom911 View Post
How about Portugal, though, which I suspect is a little less traveled than Spain for U.S. tourists? goalie might even be familiar with a certain bridge in Lisbon. I'm all for a new forum for Spain and Portugal.



and for beef-lovers:

Like
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Old Jun 22, 12, 11:10 am
  #12  
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Great fish as well in Portugal. Cataplana!
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Old Jun 26, 12, 5:34 pm
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Hm. Is combining Spain and Portugal going to create the same sort of angst as combining Russia and the Baltics might have!?
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Old Jul 10, 12, 7:23 am
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I'm not going to comment upon whether there is a NEED for any section.
There might well be. Or there might not. I'm not sure.
Personally I think there is certainly enough that it would not be empty or under used. But I don't know if it is needed.

But what I am going to comment on is the possibilities for what a section could be called and would contain.
- And why I think logically, we have a simple choice.

Option 1: Just "Spain".

The country called 'Spain' includes a mainland element which shares the Iberian peninsula with other countries, it also includes Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean sea, Spains two North Affrican enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, and the Canary Islands - 800-1000 miles away from the mainland, in the Atlantic Occean off western Africa.

This is single country, so no problem (itself) having a section on its own. And as the geographically remote parts of the country (Canaries, etc) do not really directly border anywhere else, so there is not a problem including them with it. [There is no other sections it could be argued the remote parts should be grouped with.]

However a number of threads regarding Spain also discuss Portugal, and certainly a number cover Gibraltar.

Having Gibraltar threads within a Spain section would be deeply offensive to many people. Neither Portugal or Gibraltar are part of Spain. [And to clarify, Gibraltar is not part of the UK - although it has a consitutional relationship with it.]

A section titled simply 'Spain' would create constant problems with a great many Gibraltar related threads.

Option 2: "Spain and Gibraltar".

By having a section that does explicitly provide a home for Gibraltar, it not only solves the probelm mentioned above, it also resolves the current problem of whether Gibraltar threads should be in the 'UK & Ireland' section, or 'Europe'. [Personally I stronly believe they should currently be in the 'Europe' section, Gib is not part of the 'British Isles' (the island grouping containing UK&I) nor is it legaly part of the UK - it just has a constitutional relationship with it.]

By having a section name that includes both country names, it makes it acceptable to have Gibraltar threads in a seciton that also has Spain in the section name. And many threads that include Gibraltar also include Spain - due to geographical contact.

However, some threads do also certainly cover Spain and Portugal. And given that we have grouped UK & I, it would be odd to have Spain and Gibraltar section but not include Portugal.

Indeed, it could even make the somewhat offensive suggestion that Gibraltar and Spain should be bound together to a greater extent than Portugal and Spain.

Option 3: "The Iberian Peninsula"

While this avoids all country names, and describes the main landmass predominatly covered by the countries, it does however create anomalies regarding whether the section covers the islands of Spain and Portugal that are located far away from the peninsual and whether it covers Spains north African enclaves.

There is also,potential for confusion with threads about the Spanish airline Iberia.

Option 4: "Spain and Portugal"

These are the two larger countries (who have their main land on the Iberian peninsula).

Howver as I said above, many Gibraltar threads also include Spain. Even if the explanation text said the section also covered Gibraltar, this would be highly offensive to me. I would not be happy posting Gibraltar content and helping people regarding Gibraltar in a section that was titled Spain and Portugal, but not Gibraltar.
It should be in the section title.

Option 5: "Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar"

If we are having any section for Spain or for Portugal, this is my strongly preferred title for a section. It clearly covers all three countries located on the Iberian pensula, and because it covers them as countries, it also covers their islands and enclaves located elsewhere.

And because the far flung islands of Spain and Portugal do not directly/immediatly border any other georgraph locations, there is no real argument for them to be excluded from here and included elsehwhere instead, etc.

Option 6: Do nothing

Don't make any change now. However demand could eaisly grow for one, and I think to aviod problems, a three title section could be made to work far better than individual ones.

----

I strongly advocate that the only sensible and acceptable options for right now are either 5 or 6.
i.e. if a section is created, it should be called 'Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar'.
Or we stick with present.



[Andorra (which does not have its own airport) can be discussed either in the new section (if created) or the France section, or the Main Europe section. This would usually be driven by how the visitor was accessing Andorra letting them decied where to post, etc, or just use Europe, etc. ]


As I said, I'm not necessarily advocating creating a section or not. I'm just saying that I would be strongly opposed to any other title if a section is created, as I think any other title would create many, many problems.

Last edited by David-A; Jul 10, 12 at 11:55 am Reason: Improved presentation/typos
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Old Jul 10, 12, 8:39 am
  #15  
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David-A, thank you for your well thought out analysis.

Cheers.
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