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WTH is this? An "advice" forum? Travel for free forum?

WTH is this? An "advice" forum? Travel for free forum?

 
Old Apr 28, 13, 3:23 pm
  #106  
 
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Originally Posted by benzemalyonnais View Post
I have noticed that recently newbies have been giving newbies advice because veterans don't want to waste their time. This has led to some average advice being given.

I don't mind giving advice when I'm bored sitting in some awful Chinese airport lounge, but I like others would need to set up a booking service to do this all the time.

People do need help, although I agree that everything is available here on FT. Many of us are as good as or better than the booking services others recommend and often help for free. Honestly speaking, the booking services really only know *a and OW well and those are so simple to figure out.

It's a complicated situation but is a potential business opportunity for many of us as well.

While I recognize that there is money to be made in booking services, I do think it is unfortunate that a common response to requests for help is "abc blog offers a booking service. Hire them. Don't bother asking for help here. What is this? Free travel forum?!" Frequently, the requests are not so complex as to require a booking service, and a little bit of insight from a seasoned traveler can go a long way. As much as this might not be the "free travel forum" it certainly should not be the "advertise your booking service" forum. (To be clear, I am not accusing you of doing this, benzemalyonnais, you merely raised the topic of booking services.)
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Old Apr 28, 13, 5:04 pm
  #107  
 
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Originally Posted by Mountain Trader View Post
For the $300 an hour many good lawyers charge, I'd probably be happy to field questions on award bookings. But that's not the issue and the analogy isn't just imperfect, rather it is inapplicable.

Anyone wanting to book an award can learn how to do so through the resources readily available on FT and elsewhere. I often suggest the Mile Value blog, which is a virtual tutorial on getting awards on each of the three major alliances. Two or three hours of serious study over there would enable just about anyone in the basics of award booking. Since the awards we're talking about have a value in most cases of several thousand dollars, that's an hourly rate that even a lawyer would be proud of.

If folks don't want to spend a couple of hours to gain a few thousand dollars of benefit, they can pay an award service a few hundred dollars to do it for them-still a good deal.

The benefit in pointing folks in one of the above two directions is that some will actually go learn about award bookings and perhaps return to FT and share their knowledge on advanced matters, contributing to the common good. A FT version of pro bono work in a way.
But you get the essence of my point. You're not blowing off posters, you point them in a direction. I'm not against leaving some work for the person asking a question here; in fact, it's the old "give a man a fish, teach a man to fish" scenario. On the other hand, there are a lot of folks with the attitude (OP?) that it's against the purpose of this forum (and by that, I mean across FT, not just MilesBuzz) to consider or answer such questions.

I won't ask you to explain the unsupported statement in the second sentence of your first paragraph since one of the two of us has been a lawyer and has answered questions here at FT.
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Old Apr 28, 13, 6:54 pm
  #108  
 
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Don't get me wrong. We all started somewhere. I have asked questions - after doing a search. No one has said that no one should answer any questions. But, I think the frustration level comes from the same type of question being repeatedly asked or with very little variation.
As StartinSanDiego said "SFO to Berlin using AA miles isn't all that different from LAX to Dusseldorf".

How many times have we been reprimanded by newbies asking why don't we type out the names of cities instead of using the airport codes? When I first started the glossary was my friend. I eventually got tired of that and printed out the entire airport code list from the internet and eventually I memorized where MCO was.

Maybe I'm just different. I like looking this up. I like learning. Hubby just made Hilton Gold. I didn't ask, "So now what do I get". I went to the Hilton Forum. I searched the Athens Hilton. Now I know what I "may" get when we go on vacation this summer. Along the way I learned things I would not have necessarily asked. Now if I have a question, at least it is an intelligent one. And yes, I do believe there is such a thing as a dumb question.
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Old Apr 28, 13, 7:02 pm
  #109  
 
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Originally Posted by CFFrost View Post
While I recognize that there is money to be made in booking services, I do think it is unfortunate that a common response to requests for help is "abc blog offers a booking service. Hire them. Don't bother asking for help here. What is this? Free travel forum?!" Frequently, the requests are not so complex as to require a booking service, and a little bit of insight from a seasoned traveler can go a long way. As much as this might not be the "free travel forum" it certainly should not be the "advertise your booking service" forum. (To be clear, I am not accusing you of doing this, benzemalyonnais, you merely raised the topic of booking services.)
Yes, I completely agree. Always when someone mentions a booking service, it is as if the booking is so difficult only a blogger could handle it. At the end of the day, most of them are plugging the stuff into a website and having it return with a + showing availability. Anyone can do it with some effort.

Those booking service comments are probably made by newbies who couldn't figure out how to make the booking either. Others here obviously could help more
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Old Apr 28, 13, 8:02 pm
  #110  
 
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Talking

Originally Posted by lwildernorva View Post
But you get the essence of my point. You're not blowing off posters, you point them in a direction. I'm not against leaving some work for the person asking a question here; in fact, it's the old "give a man a fish, teach a man to fish" scenario. On the other hand, there are a lot of folks with the attitude (OP?) that it's against the purpose of this forum (and by that, I mean across FT, not just MilesBuzz) to consider or answer such questions.

I won't ask you to explain the unsupported statement in the second sentence of your first paragraph since one of the two of us has been a lawyer and has answered questions here at FT.
I agree with your thoughts, and appreciate your looking deep enough to see my true intent.

I am also glad you will not ask me to explain that statement as I would have to get a retainer before starting my investigation of the matter.
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Old Apr 28, 13, 9:46 pm
  #111  
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Originally Posted by balima View Post
...How many times have we been reprimanded by newbies asking why don't we type out the names of cities instead of using the airport codes?...
My answer -- never. And I've never actually seen a post reprimanding anyone for using airport codes. I have seen posts asking what city that was, because sometimes they are obscure. If I know the answer, I give it. It doesn't hurt.

Last edited by PaulMSN; Apr 28, 13 at 9:51 pm
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Old Apr 28, 13, 10:00 pm
  #112  
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I agree with the OP
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Old Apr 29, 13, 9:06 am
  #113  
mia
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Moderator action

Thread has been transferred to the TalkBoard Topics forum because it is TalkBoard which could decide to create a new forum for posts requesting help redeeming miles and points or (more broadly) posts by less experienced members.
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Old Apr 29, 13, 10:23 am
  #114  
 
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Originally Posted by PaulMSN View Post
My answer -- never. And I've never actually seen a post reprimanding anyone for using airport codes. I have seen posts asking what city that was, because sometimes they are obscure. If I know the answer, I give it. It doesn't hurt.
Again, thank you for your helpfulness and great attitude!

I don't know ANY of the airport codes, so I just Google them.
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Old Apr 29, 13, 6:24 pm
  #115  
 
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I have a suggestion.
This works brilliantly on another site -GameTZ.com and I don't see why it can't work here.

Basically this is how it works- You sign up to the site, and automatically a "mentor" is assigned to you. This user shall be your mentor for life. You can ask any question (no matter how silly) and the mentor is more than happy to help.
Some of my questions would take me a while to search for on google and an instant to answer.

I think something like this would be great on FlyerTalk. A pool of "mentors" is created. People can volunteer to be part of the mentor community. People who like challenges. People who wouldn't mind figuring out the best way to go from EWR to LHR. People who wouldn't mind answering questions like "which airport does UA fly out from in New york?"

__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ______________________


I really don't have an opinion on whether "How do I go from ABC to XYZ" should or should not get a separate forum or a sub-forum. I wouldn't mind either option.

But I will say that not all people can catch on to this as quickly as you.
I think "Ignore what you don't like" is good advice.
I am tired of seeing SO MANY threads where newbies have asked a simple question and the SAME people have given a snarky reply saying- "Read" or "Google is your friend".
It would have taken you the same amount of effort if you'd just have answered it.

When I first got into this, everything seemed so strange and foreign to me on multiple levels. I remember trying to redeem my UA miles on a JFK-LHR-BOM ticket...and not getting any results and getting frustrated. I remember asking for help here, and being surprised when the first suggestion was try EWR instead of JFK.
And suddenly I could see availability.

It's things like that. I would never have thought about using EWR. I always flew into JFK and out of JFK. I was not born here and the thought never occured to me that there could be another airport! This may seem silly to you but that's how it was.

I remember when I was a newbie who knew NOTHING. It was strange and confusing. And I think it's like that for most newbies. I was helped, and that made me learn even more.
If I had been told "Use the search function", I would never have bothered.
Everybody yearns for some help, for someone to say," Don't worry, I'm here for you".


__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ______________________


For the people who say "They learnt about this from blogs who spoonfed them and now we are being forced to clean up their mess", the closest analogy I can give you is what if you were given candy by a teacher, and then got sick and the doctor told you to go ask the teacher to fix you? That's a flawed analogy, I know, but the reasoning stands.

There is No clear page that teaches newbies on
-How to earn 70points/doller with Club Carlson
-A Hhonors analysis for San Francisco
-Breaking BA avios by using stopovers
-Singapore Airlines now releasing two saver suite awards
-A side by side comparison of Airline Elite Status
-The five Cardinal rules of American Airlines awards

This is just an eclectic list of things from random blogs. If a newbie asks for "Could someone tell me what are the rules when booking AA awards?", he's sure to get flamed for not "doing enough research!!!"

So they go to blogs, who put it in a clear cut and simple manner.
Before this devolves into a discussion about how blogs ruin deals etc, let me say that, THAT is not what I'm talking about here. Newbies ARE going to want something in a simple form that they can understand.


Coming back to the original discussion, expecting a newbie to read some things here and some things there, and then to suddenly have an epiphany and know how to book a ticket from New York to Hawaii is like me giving you a book on "How to flair" and then expecting you to do it.
It's not going to happen. One needs practice. And there are many moves that no matter how long you try, you won't get it right until someone shows you that your wrist is supposed to flick the bottle in this way and your fingers are supposed to turn that way.
This can't be learnt just by reading. It takes reading and practice, simultaneously.

This has turned out to be a semi-rant and for that I'm sorry.
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Old Apr 30, 13, 12:55 am
  #116  
nsx
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There have been suggestions for a newbie questions forum, tentatively called Information Desk. That's one of the subjects I've hoped the TalkBoard would get around to discussing further this year. This seems as good a time as any.

It sounds as if all the problem threads mentioned here would be correctly moved to such a forum. Eventually newbies might learn to post in that forum first.

Better yet, new members would automatically be directed to MyFlyerTalk and pre-subscribed to the Information Desk forum. That way they learn about the newbie forum and the indispensable MyFlyerTalk at the same time!
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Old Apr 30, 13, 8:11 am
  #117  
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Originally Posted by nsx View Post
There have been suggestions for a newbie questions forum, tentatively called Information Desk. That's one of the subjects I've hoped the TalkBoard would get around to discussing further this year. This seems as good a time as any.

It sounds as if all the problem threads mentioned here would be correctly moved to such a forum. Eventually newbies might learn to post in that forum first.

Better yet, new members would automatically be directed to MyFlyerTalk and pre-subscribed to the Information Desk forum. That way they learn about the newbie forum and the indispensable MyFlyerTalk at the same time!
You know what's funny: you have been talking about this idea that I thought it had already been implemented. And i was surprised to not find it when I went looking after seeing this thread when it was back in MilesBuzz.

Seems like the time may have come...
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Old Apr 30, 13, 8:43 am
  #118  
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There are Newbie Lounges in all the major forums today, opening a 'newbie information desk' in the MB shouldn't be so difficult.
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Old Apr 30, 13, 9:14 am
  #119  
mia
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Originally Posted by oliver2002 View Post
...opening a 'newbie information desk' in the MB shouldn't be so difficult.
The threads which are the specific topic of this thread are those which present an origin, a destination, and a list of mileage balances. I don't think that a single thread is an effective format for responding to those requests, because it will be difficult for readers to match replies with the interwoven and overlapping questions.

I think TalkBoard needs to decide if there is a broader need for a new member forum which could accommodate these threads, in addition to other topics.
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Old Apr 30, 13, 11:33 am
  #120  
 
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Originally Posted by mia View Post

. . .

I think TalkBoard needs to decide if there is a broader need for a new member forum which could accommodate these threads, in addition to other topics.
I think the other issue is that it is not just new members that might want help with award booking. I certainly have asked for help and suggestions with bookings - and although I am not a "senior" member I feel like I am pretty active and am more than willing to do my own research. I feel that there are two different needs being discussed - a need for new members to get assistance and guidance, and a need for a designated spot for award bookings help. These problems get merged because there is a recurrence of posts by new members asking for help with award bookings, but I feel they are separate issues.
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