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Defining the mission of MilesBuzz; Adding a Flame Free Q&A Forum?

Defining the mission of MilesBuzz; Adding a Flame Free Q&A Forum?

 
Old Jul 8, 13, 1:07 pm
  #1  
nsx
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Defining the mission of MilesBuzz; Adding a Flame Free Q&A Forum?

I would like to discuss the mission of MilesBuzz and its tendency to attract Newbie/Handholding request threads.

I see the primary missions of MilesBuzz as:

1. Highlighting Hot Deals: high-value limited-time offers of all kinds, even if only by pointing to discussion elsewhere on FT,
2. Discussion of industry trends in FF programs, e.g. pros and cons of revenue-based accrual and/or redemption, comparisons between FF programs, and even major gripes and kudos directed at specific programs
3. News of important adverse changes to any program. This is the flip side of hot deals. MilesBuzz would carry a summary, discuss the issue briefly, then direct further discussion to the correct company-specific forum.

Member-specific help requests are certainly NOT within the mission of MilesBuzz. I will discuss that subject later in this post.

In short, reading MilesBuzz should be sufficient to give any member a degree of assurance that he has not missed anything of critical importance. If there's one thing we FT'ers hate, it's missing out on a deal because we never heard about it!

The trick here is to allow MilesBuzz to carry information whose default home is elsewhere. Wikis can help accomplish this. My initial idea is to have:

One unlocked sticky thread for discussion of *all* Hot Deals. The member-maintained Wiki for that thread would summarize the best current hot deals and contain links to detailed discussion on MilesBuzz or elsewhere.

One unlocked sticky thread for discussion of *all* Devaluations and other bad news about points and miles. Again, a member-maintained Wiki for that thread would summarize the most important recent devaluations and contain links to detailed discussion on MilesBuzz or elsewhere.

Discussion threads about industry trends for loyalty programs, comparisons of Program A vs. Program B, and any other generic discussion of miles and points. Once the discussion turned program-specific, the moderators could lock the thread and provide a pointer to a thread in a company-specific forum.

As to questions from newbies and others who want specific advice for their needs, IMHO that badly needs to be separated from the high-value miles and points news. A Flame-Free Q&A forum should be created for this purpose, and these questions should be moved there immediately from MilesBuzz.

Please comment on any or all of this. Let's either shoot this down in flames or make it the best it can be, so the TalkBoard can get it right the first time.
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Old Jul 8, 13, 3:58 pm
  #2  
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Very much looking forward to the responses to this thread. I think nsx has put forth some good ideas worth consideration.
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Old Jul 8, 13, 10:40 pm
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Originally Posted by nsx View Post
The trick here is to allow MilesBuzz to carry information whose default home is elsewhere.
If the default is elsewhere, why repost in MBuzz?

Shouldn't the 'training' be, if looking for hotel deals see hotel deal forum, if looking for mileage run deals, see mileage run deals forum, etc etc.
-
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Old Jul 8, 13, 11:20 pm
  #4  
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Originally Posted by Sweet Willie View Post
If the default is elsewhere, why repost in MBuzz?

Shouldn't the 'training' be, if looking for hotel deals see hotel deal forum, if looking for mileage run deals, see mileage run deals forum, etc etc.
-
Exactly on all counts.

There's already far too much duplication of information in too many places, and far too many off-topic threads in the wrong forums that no one searching would ever expect to find in those places. Why intentionally make all of that worse? The main point of FT is to be an up-to-date library for information about travel/miles/points/destinations/etc., and one ought to expect to put in a little study in order to use a library well. And the library ought not have practices in place that undercut its own purpose.
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Old Jul 9, 13, 2:03 am
  #5  
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Originally Posted by nsx
In short, reading MilesBuzz should be sufficient to give any member a degree of assurance that he has not missed anything of critical importance. If there's one thing we FT'ers hate, it's missing out on a deal because we never heard about it!
It's a great idea - but unfortunately I've never read Milesbuzz as its too US centric. I don't know how you address that because you need to get a core group of non-Americans participating in it to share the information which would make it less US centric but they have to be willing to battle through the fact 95-99% of all stuff in there are US related. Have a non-US sub forum?
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Old Jul 9, 13, 4:25 am
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A New Award Planning Forum?

Originally Posted by nsx View Post
Member-specific help requests are certainly NOT within the mission of MilesBuzz.
Agree 10000000000%!

Unfortunately that's the current de facto state of MilesBuzz! Forum today, which is very disappointing and frustrating for those of us who visit for milesbuzzing purpose. We have a significant number of people that lay out their requests and take over MilesBuzz! Forum and MilesBuzz! isn't milesbuzzing no more!

Chase UR Forum was created for a reason: traffic & demand. IMHO, same thing has been happening to award redemption/planning that floods MilesBuzz! Forum, due to the "ripple effect" from years of cc churning and/or signup bonuses. Folks got help and earned tons of miles/points, but they don't know what or how to use them now.

Maybe it's time to think about a dedicated forum for this line of member requests. When folks need assistance to use their points/miles, either as a novice or savvy FTer, I would think a separate forum for the purpose of award planning or redemption should be more helpful and useful. I don't think a thread-oriented approach will adequately address this specific type of need.

With a dedicated forum, folks who need help would know where exactly to ask for assistance. For those who are willing to help out, they would certainly frequent such forum. When a request turned out to be a simple FFP redemption, MOD could easily relocate such thread to the airline forum, thus no worries for cross-posting. Everybody would be happier!

So what about a new Award Planning Forum?

Originally Posted by nsx View Post
As to questions from newbies and others who want specific advice for their needs, IMHO that badly needs to be separated from the high-value miles and points news. A Flame-Free Q&A forum should be created for this purpose, and these questions should be moved there immediately from MilesBuzz.
My idea for an Award Planning Forum is different from a Q&A Forum. A general Q&A Forum is certainly not milesbuzzing but would do good for those who:

1. are clueless newbies;
2. want to travel (for free) but don't have miles/points at bay;
3. need basic FT education;
4. don't know how and/or where to start their research for FFPs;
5. don't know where to ask their questions or which forum their questions belong;
6. have questions that involve multi-FFP or alliance;
7. have many more general Qs.

I do think separating award planning from general Qs will be a more clean-cut restructuring for FT. Award Planning Forum would still belong to Miles&Points Section but a general catchall Q&A Forum shall be less fitting.

Originally Posted by Jenbel View Post
... non-Americans participating ...willing to battle through the fact 95-99% of all stuff in there are US related. Have a non-US sub forum?
Same challenge with credit card offers but there are just not enough deals or discussion to warrant a non-US subforum in CC Programs. I suspect the same low level of traffic with non-US milesbuzzing threads.

Last edited by lin821; Jul 9, 13 at 10:29 am Reason: adding a quote & reply for clarification
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Old Jul 9, 13, 9:39 am
  #7  
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Years ago, I had suggested reordering how the forums show for members. I think one of the reason MilesBuzz gets so loaded with new member posts is that it is the first forum that shows for them. It is no surprise that new people post in that forum... it does not require any "searching" of what other forums are available.
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Old Jul 9, 13, 12:33 pm
  #8  
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Originally Posted by wharvey View Post
Years ago, I had suggested reordering how the forums show for members. I think one of the reason MilesBuzz gets so loaded with new member posts is that it is the first forum that shows for them. It is no surprise that new people post in that forum... it does not require any "searching" of what other forums are available.
Originally Posted by lin821 View Post
So what about a new Award Planning Forum?

My idea for an Award Planning Forum is different from a Q&A Forum.
Thanks for the insightful replies, lin821 and wharvey.

How about putting Flame Free Q&A at the top of the list of forums and also adding a new Award Planning Forum somewhere near the top of the list?
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Old Jul 9, 13, 1:05 pm
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Originally Posted by lin821 View Post
My idea for an Award Planning Forum is different from a Q&A Forum.
With an award planning forum, wouldn't a lot of people end up posting questions there that should go in the appropriate airline forum instead? Will it confuse people? If I have a question about redeeming my miles for a DL award, do I ask the questions in the DL forum or the award planning forum?
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Old Jul 9, 13, 1:36 pm
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It could be called something like "award planning across programs" or "award planning when transfers of miles/points are involved" for emphasis since a lot of people don't read the forum's description before posting, let alone any "read this first" sticky or announcement.

Moving MilesBuzz lower on the list would indeed protect it from some of the posts that folks find counterproductive or objectionable there, but at the cost of inconvenience to people who want to be able to check MilesBuzz quickly and often to make sure that they don't miss any big news.

Last edited by MSPeconomist; Jul 9, 13 at 1:49 pm
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Old Jul 9, 13, 2:17 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Moving MilesBuzz lower on the list would indeed protect it from some of the posts that folks find counterproductive or objectionable there, but at the cost of inconvenience to people who want to be able to check MilesBuzz quickly and often to make sure that they don't miss any big news.
That's where "My Flyertalk" comes in handy

Cheers.
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Old Jul 9, 13, 6:15 pm
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Originally Posted by SkiAdcock View Post
That's where "My Flyertalk" comes in handy

Cheers.
True, but not everyone uses it or even is aware of its features.
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Old Jul 9, 13, 10:16 pm
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Originally Posted by kipper
With an award planning forum, wouldn't a lot of people end up posting questions there that should go in the appropriate airline forum instead? Will it confuse people?
Of course it will for both new & not-so-new members alike and is why I'd not be in favor of creating such a forum. IMHO the best way to rationalize access to information is to consolidate and have fewer forums, not constantly be creating more forums which only helps to divide & diffuse.

For example why have one idine forum, which sees only a few threads created per month, and a separate DiningBuzz! forum when the two could be consolidated into something that serves both purposes? Call it "Dining Discussion & Meal Plans" or something similar to indicate the dual purpose but it just seems natural to me to have both together.

Same with having Hotel Deals within Miles & Points when to me it's morphed into more of a hotel misprice/special offer forum than one to earn miles or points from posted hotel stays. Again, maybe it would be more intuitive to have it amalgamated within a renamed Hotels subheading.

If that kind of consolidation means we need to redo the current headings of Miles & Points, Community, etc. then maybe more generic headings can be used instead such as "Air Programs", "Hotels", "Destinations", etc.

Like cblaisd & Sweet Willie I'd rather see us maximizing the forums already in place before rushing to create new ones which to me is the easy way out.
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Old Jul 10, 13, 2:55 am
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Why an Award Planning Forum will do FT good?

Originally Posted by tcook052 View Post
IMHO the best way to rationalize access to information is to consolidate and have fewer forums, not constantly be creating more forums which only helps to divide & diffuse.
I do agree creating new fora isn't the ultimate solution for every demand or problem on FT. Just like I think our current Budget Forum should be sufficient to address the need to discuss LCCs. Not to mention there's not that many threads to complain about Spirit/Easyjet/Ryannair on FT to start with.

The reality is things have evolved now that we've seen an influx of FTers, both new and old, who need assistance with their award redemption and planning after earning thousands (or millions) of miles/points. Not to mention award redemption has outgrown from a single FFP to alliance partners. The way I see it is, currently, there's not a proper forum on FT to discuss awards with complicated routings and/or multiple redemption, especially across alliances and/or hotel chains. That's also one of the reasons why an increasing number of threads pops up in MilesBuzz! everyday, asking for help to use their miles/points. Afterall, those thread have no where to go on FT.

If FT is able to educate FTers how to earn their countless miles/points in every possible way, why not step up to teach people how to take the full advantage of what they've earned? Back when the U.S. mint deal was alive, FT was able to help folks earns millions of miles/points. Now the FF world has grown much bigger than mint earning (thanks to FT & countless bloggers ), why shouldn't FT live up to its reputation as "The FT University" by having a forum devoted to award planning & redemption?

FT is filled with knowledgeable savvy FTers that do know how to get to destinations on awards. Better yet, FTers get educated and help each other for free. Although I've never had that many miles and haven't flown that many airlines, I simply can't tell you how much I'd learned from reading the advices given in those award assistance threads about creative routing and possible combinations of programs. Just like the old saying, "you learn something new everyday on FT!"

FT deserves an opportunity to have an educational corner so FTers can do and be their best: planning awards using FF knowledge. Imagine the joy when every award mission is accomplished with a new Award Planning Forum!

Originally Posted by kipper View Post
With an award planning forum, wouldn't a lot of people end up posting questions there that should go in the appropriate airline forum instead? Will it confuse people? If I have a question about redeeming my miles for a DL award, do I ask the questions in the DL forum or the award planning forum?
If your example of Delta redemption is all on a single carrier, Delta, of course Delta Forum will be where to ask for help. I had thought about the possible confusion and addressed such concern for misplaced threads in my post:
Originally Posted by lin821 View Post
With a dedicated forum, folks who need help would know where exactly to ask for assistance. For those who are willing to help out, they would certainly frequent such forum. When a request turned out to be a single or simple FFP redemption, MOD could easily relocate such thread to the airline forum, thus no worries for cross-posting.
Let's face it. Newbies or not, there will always be people who post in the "less-fitting" forum. I lost count of how many misplaced threads I've read in MilesBuzz! Forum when they should have been in the airline fora. Those simple award redemption threads are always easy to tell and moved by MODs promptly afterwards.

The Award Planning Forum I envision is to not overlap with airline/hotel fora. Furthermore, it should cut down confusion and the need to cross-post. For those of us who know FT well, we do know where to post such threads. For those who are still learning about FT, an "educational" redirect from either MOD or helpful fellow FTers should do the trick. So I wouldn't be too worried about single FFP redemption threads steal base in the new award planning forum. They would end up where they belong eventually.

Let's see the example in Chase UR Forum. When Chase UR Forum was created and introduced, it was made clear not a forum for all Chase cards. As we all know it by now, depending on the nature of the cards, Chase CC discussion can be seen in either the airline forum, the Credit Card Forum, or Chase UR Forum. The new Chase UR Forum doesn't create more confusion.

Just like Chase UR Forum is not a catchall forum for every Chase card, my proposing Award Planning Forum isn't for every award redemption either. With a new forum, it's easy to give instruction and direction to folks. A clear and straight-forward forum description should guide the users well, explaining a simple FFP or hotel award redemption belongs to their designated airline/hotel forum. As a matter of fact, I can only see more good coming from an Award Planning Forum for FT in a long run.

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
It could be called something like "award planning across programs" or "award planning when transfers of miles/points are involved" for emphasis...
ps. I am not protective at all of how to name my proposed new forum for award redemption, if TB decides to work toward such reorganization, either "Award Planning" or something with more wording to specify what I have envisioned so far up thread, I am good! I actually see this proposed new forum as both educational and challenging in FFP and loyal program knowledge among FTers. How much more fun can FT be, right?

Last edited by lin821; Jul 10, 13 at 3:14 am Reason: clarification
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Old Jul 10, 13, 7:21 am
  #15  
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Originally Posted by lin821 View Post
If FT is able to educate FTers how to earn their countless miles/points in every possible way, why not step up to teach people how to take the full advantage of what they've earned?
But isn't that education already happening within the individual airline fora as well as the alliance forums? Why create yet another redundant layer? Rather than create an award 'answer desk' I'd rather us encourage members to learn by seeking their own answers by breaking down a multifaceted question on air & hotel into more manageable components and research each component within the applicable airline or hotel fora.

While strictly MHO to use the "teach a person to fish" proverb it seems we'd rather give members a fish rather than teaching them how to fish for themselves.
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