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Rules against campaigning prevent TalkBoard from being relevant to most users

Rules against campaigning prevent TalkBoard from being relevant to most users

 
Old Sep 24, 13, 3:13 am
  #1  
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Rules against campaigning prevent TalkBoard from being relevant to most users

I decided to write this post when I accidentally got sucked into the rabbithole* of kokonutz's manifesto ... but as I read through page after page of the 2-year old discussion of the role and importance of TB, I never saw this point made anywhere:

How can a large number of members learn about TalkBoard, and learn how TalkBoard may impact their FT experience, so that they are actually interested in the election? Discussion of TalkBoard and the elections are restricted to forums not visited by most FTers.

I hope this story can now be used without the political fallout/implications that would have occurred had I aired it immediately after the election. There have of course been several threads in the MR Deals forum debating whether or not login should be required to see the deals. When TalkBoard elections were being held last year, several of the candidates had a view that would directly influence/impact that issue, and I found out that, in fact, several TB members had voted against the issue in the previous year. (I was pretty much unaware of this at the time it happened as I don't follow the politics here very much.)

But apparently there are rules about no discussion of the election in 'regular' threads. Members who tried to bump threads related to the issue and mention there was currently an election on that topic were scolded for campaigning, and IIRC, the thread was locked. This happens to be an issue I was very passionate about, so I PM'd a bunch of the posters on the thread that had expressed support for my views, and I was reprimanded/reported for that by a moderator. (I'm not debating or challenging the moderator actions in either case - I assume they were correctly enforcing whatever policies exist. The story just doesn't make sense without those facts.)

But where is it more appropriate to mention an election than in a thread where people are complaining and upset about an issue that is currently a hot topic in the campaign?

You want to have a TalkBoard to pretend to represent 'the people', but it's completely verboten to inform 'the people' that there is a TalkBoard election going on where they can vote to change they things they have complained about.

The first step to making TB relevant to users is to be able to point out to users that there is a TB, and that the TB has purview over the issue they care about, and there is currently an election in which some candidates share their views. But there is literally no way to do that, as far as I could tell.

*Is the scope of TalkBoard campaigning a topic that is allowed to be discussed by TalkBoard? Or is TalkBoard campaigning a matter of moderator policy and enforcement that can't be discussed on TalkBoard? Is it Kafka-esque that I have to ask that question?

Last edited by janetdoe; Sep 24, 13 at 3:22 am
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Old Sep 24, 13, 7:31 am
  #2  
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Originally Posted by janetdoe View Post


You want to have a TalkBoard to pretend to represent 'the people', but it's completely verboten to inform 'the people' that there is a TalkBoard election going on where they can vote to change they things they have complained about....The first step to making TB relevant to users is to be able to point out to users that there is a TB, and that the TB has purview over the issue they care about, and there is currently an election in which some candidates share their views. But there is literally no way to do that, as far as I could tell.
The CommunityDirector is in charge of elections. Have you already contacted her to address your concerns & get clarification?

During the run-up to & during TB elections, there is a banner across all of FT letting FTers know there is a TB election, asking for candidates, & then letting FTers know that elections are occurring & pointing them to the TB forum & also where the candidates are expressing their opinion on questions to candidates posed by members. There are reminders in the Talkmail newsletters that come out during the call for candidates as well as during the election timeframes. There are "I Voted" avatars which display next to FTers names after they have voted in the TB election, further highlighting the elections. I think the CommunityDirector tries to publicly highlight the elections to FT members as much as possible.

Yes there are rules against campaigning, which all candidates are made aware of when they run for election. Most follow the rules; some try to skirt them (that's a generic comment, not pointed at you) & presumably that's when the mods or CommunityDirector gets involved.

FWIW and I've said this publicly many times. IMO most of the 450,000+ members come to FT for the info re: their airline/hotel/car rental/ credit card programs & that's what they're interested in, not the admin of a website.

Some do care to get involved with TB which is why they either comment on the forum on issues that come up or run for TB, but I'd say the vast majority of FTers just want to know how to be better informed re: their programs and don't care about the admin part.

Also, when TB is voting on a motion there is a banner across all of FT letting them know of the vote/topic & asking for comments & if it falls within a Talkmail newsletter cycle, it gets mentioned there as well. Again, I think the CommunityDirector does try to publicly inform FT of TB topics/elections/motions.

Cheers.
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Old Sep 24, 13, 8:27 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by SkiAdcock View Post
During the run-up to & during TB elections, there is a banner across all of FT letting FTers know there is a TB election, asking for candidates, & then letting FTers know that elections are occurring & pointing them to the TB forum & also where the candidates are expressing their opinion on questions to candidates posed by members. There are reminders in the Talkmail newsletters that come out during the call for candidates as well as during the election timeframes. There are "I Voted" avatars which display next to FTers names after they have voted in the TB election, further highlighting the elections. I think the CommunityDirector tries to publicly highlight the elections to FT members as much as possible.
Completely agree and not sure how many more ways the elections can be promoted around FT. I try and help by updating my signature to highlight the election, the candidates and where to cast a TB ballot but it's IMHO not as much a question of visibility as interest as all the signs, links and avatars aren't always enough to get people interested as many like OP simply don't care to follow the workings of TB until it directly affects them. That disconnect is unfortunate as those on TB and those running for it are committed to doing what they feel is best for the most members and always welcome their input.

Talking about the issue however never hurts so am glad OP decided to create this thread and maybe the next TB election will garner more interest and participation.
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Old Sep 24, 13, 8:53 am
  #4  
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Your post is very timely, as it will be time for the election process come October/November. Sharon has done an excellent job of explaining all the ways we use to draw attention to the election. There are a series of boardwide announcements that I make.
  • Call for folks to self nominate
  • Request for questions for the candidates
  • Announcement that the special election forum is open, where folks can read the candidate responses
  • Announcement of the election period
  • "I Voted" avatars for those who vote
  • Announcement of who has been elected

In addition, canarsie
  • blogs about it
  • covers it in TalkMail
The rule against campaigning by individuals in any forum but the special election forum has been in place for years. Imagine how unfair it would be, both to other candidates and the membership at large, if candidate A spoke about his/her position on access to the Mileage Run forum in that forum. Most members don't care about the elections, no matter what we do. And other candidates could be blissfully unaware of candidate A electioneering there and have no opportunity to respond. The rules in place are there to try to garner boardwide attention to the election which allowing business as usual to go on in all forums except the Election forum.

If you go to last year's special election forum, you can see how many folks read the questions put to the candidates. If you look at the election results, you'll see very few vote. I believe that it is a matter of most folks are here for information and not for politics. I honestly don't know of anything more we can do to promote elections.

Carol
Community Director
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Old Sep 24, 13, 9:00 am
  #5  
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Right, but none of the official promotion and messaging tells anyone why TalkBoard is important or lets people know what issues TalkBoard has the potential to impact. I ignored the election for homecoming queen when I was in high school because it was irrelevant to me, (even though there were countless signs and people canvassing the halls, etc) and I ignored TalkBoard elections for several years because I had no idea why I should care.

It seems to me that the inability to do issue advocacy during the election 'season' is a huge barrier to making TalkBoard relevant and meaningful to people who (like Sharon said) only visit the hotel or airline or MR Deals forum. It's purposely trying to make TalkBoard a popularity contest rather than a real election with debate of issues. How meaningful would the presidential debates be if they were only allowed to be aired on HBO, or more accurately, on the free community access cable channel that no one ever watches?

I am suggesting that the ONE THING that you could do to get people interested in the elections is to allow bumps of threads that are related to current election issues, and allow people to point out that this issue could be voted on by TalkBoard. Everything else you're doing is not working, you say yourself you haven't allowed issue advocacy on main threads for years, and the results show. Last year some tiny tiny fraction of members voted. No one votes because they are never informed/reminded of the election in a context they care about.

And frankly, if one candidate is willing to go out and advocate/campaign in individual forums and another isn't, I don't really care how fair it is. I want the candidates who have the time and the passion to dedicate themselves to issues. I really have no interest in monitoring or ensuring 'ease and convenience of campaigning'. <shrug>

Last edited by janetdoe; Sep 24, 13 at 9:27 am
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Old Sep 24, 13, 9:13 am
  #6  
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Originally Posted by janetdoe View Post
Right, but none of the official promotion and messaging tells anyone why TalkBoard is important or lets people know what issues TalkBoard has the potential to impact. I ignored the election for homecoming queen when I was in high school because it was irrelevant to me, (even though there were countless signs and people canvassing the halls, etc) and I ignored TalkBoard elections for several years because I had no idea why I should care.

It seems to me that the inability to do issue advocacy during the election 'season' is a huge barrier to making TalkBoard relevant and meaningful to people who (like Sharon said) only visit the hotel or airline or MR Deals forum. It's purposely trying to make TalkBoard a popularity contest rather than a real election with debate of issues. How meaningful would the presidential debates be if they were only allowed to be aired on HBO, or more accurately, on the free community access cable channel that no one ever watches?

I am suggesting that the ONE THING that you could do to get people interested in the elections is to allow bumps of threads that are related to current election issues, and allow people to point out that this issue could be voted on by TalkBoard. Everything else you're doing is not working, you say yourself you haven't allowed issue advocacy on main threads for years, and the results show. Last year some tiny tiny fraction of members voted. No one votes because they are never informed/reminded of the election in a context they care about.
This is no different than society as a whole - how many people vote in the USA? How many people tune in to debates, news, or other media to determine the issues, if any why they should vote, etc? Not that many. Most people don't care, even if it affects them directly.
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Old Sep 24, 13, 10:08 am
  #7  
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OP's point was - TB and members (can be allowed) to post their opinion, but running-for-TB (can be not allowed)

OP is not talking about informing people about the election, voting, etc

OP is saying there are election issues that may not be known to be election issues outside TB forum

(unfortunately i get the impression this does get into moderation)

this just happened in TB proposal discussion >

Originally Posted by SkiAdcock View Post
Perhaps the OP wants to start a thread in the appropriate spot in TSS mentioning the idea & providing a link to this thread & ask FTers to weigh in here, so TB members get an idea of the interest/support.
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/pract...sub-board.html

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Please do comment in the Talk Board Topics forum, toward the very end of the list of forums on FT.

We'd especially appreciate comments
but running-for-TB not allowed to comment, even that it was an election issue? (without saying they are running or their position.)

OP was not incorrect to bring this kind of thing up in TB forum, but in this case it seems that TB only >
Passed...recommend the following suggestions to [Community Director]
hmm >

That signatures concerning the election or candidates be allowed as long as they otherwise abide by the TOS regarding size, color, etc
could signature mention an issue?

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Sep 24, 13 at 10:42 am
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Old Sep 24, 13, 10:17 am
  #8  
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I actually think that TB has become not relevant to FT (and that's why the majority of FTers are not interested in it). It was an interesting experiment, but times have changed. We have a Community Director who is able to make decisions now. Close TB and move on.
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Old Sep 24, 13, 10:30 am
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Originally Posted by Jenbel View Post
I actually think that TB has become not relevant to FT (and that's why the majority of FTers are not interested in it). It was an interesting experiment, but times have changed. We have a Community Director who is able to make decisions now. Close TB and move on.
it seems to me TB could propose FT Rules changes (whether FT Rules include TB Rules or not)

TB "could" be more active under current (setup?)

(without getting into things that TB have no input on etc)

TB term limits only took effect in the 2012 election, after TB voted to change TB guidelines

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Sep 24, 13 at 10:40 am
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Old Sep 24, 13, 10:46 am
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
This is no different than society as a whole - how many people vote in the USA? How many people tune in to debates, news, or other media to determine the issues, if any why they should vote, etc? Not that many. Most people don't care, even if it affects them directly.
That's pretty much it as imho, it's the classic "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink the water" so no matter how you promote something, there will always be folks who either don't see it, don't want to see it or couldn't be bothered with seeing it and that afaic, is sad because (bolding mine) it is when something affects someone directly and that "something" gets implemented, that you hear about it from the someone but if they fall into "the didn't see it, didn't want to see it or couldn't be bothered to see it" category, there's really not much more one can do
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Old Sep 24, 13, 10:48 am
  #11  
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For the record, my post quoted above was my response to the OP's post in TSS about the proposed TT sub forum. When I responded, that thread was already a sticky, so presumably a moderator was aware that this had been posted. I was looking through the TSS forum to educate myself a bit for this discussion, saw the thread, and decided to add my encouragement for FT members who actively participate in TSS to come over here, to the thread in TBT, and express their opinions.

If I were up for re-election this year, I might have been more cautious about posting as I did, even though the election hasn't been announced yet. [For the record, SkiAdcock isn't up for re-election this year either.]

AFAIK there's some precedent for similar threads in various fora informing members that TB is considering a proposal that will affect the forum. Also AFAIK sometimes these announcements are started by the member(s) advocating the proposal, sometimes even leading to a discussion in the forum that will potentially be affected, and sometimes someone from TB, such as the TB President, posts about the issue and potential proposal in the substantive forum. When the issue is ready for a formal TB vote, this is announced too, but often it's much more useful to get suggestions and opinions before a formal proposal has been formulated for a vote. Once the vote is underway, the nature of the discussion is a bit different: it shifts from being somewhat brainstorming in nature to a much more focused discussion of the formal proposal, tending to change from collaboration to advocacy in style.

For example, I remember a lot (relatively) of discussion about the Marriott/Ritz-Carlton forum name (and, to some extent, official scope) change in several threads in that forum. When the Aegean forum was started, IIRC most or all of the discussion took place here because at that time A3 had no home other than Other European Airlines.
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Old Sep 24, 13, 10:58 am
  #12  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
For the record
my comment was about solicitation - point being those-running cant comment - not anything else, sorry if unclear
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Old Sep 24, 13, 11:08 am
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Originally Posted by Jenbel View Post
I actually think that TB has become not relevant to FT (and that's why the majority of FTers are not interested in it). It was an interesting experiment, but times have changed. We have a Community Director who is able to make decisions now. Close TB and move on.
I look at TalkBoard as a way to make suggestions to IB and to serve as a check and balance against unilateral Community Director decisions without any input from the community.
Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
my comment was about solicitation - point being those-running cant comment - not anything else, sorry if unclear
If one would like to know where those running stand, one can submit a question to the Community Director to be asked of the candidates. IIRC, in prior years, candidates were asked questions where they stood on current TB motions and even items of note that had not yet reached motion stage.
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Old Sep 24, 13, 11:25 am
  #14  
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Originally Posted by kipper View Post
without any input from the community
good point that is probably another that gets lost. that the TB forum has a ton of discussion. regardless of what votes/actions are.

Originally Posted by kipper View Post
If one would like to know where those running stand, one can submit a question to the Community Director to be asked of the candidates. IIRC, in prior years, candidates were asked questions where they stood on current TB motions and even items of note that had not yet reached motion stage.
that does not address discussion of a "hot topic" (quoting OP) from candidates in any threads outside TB forum
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Old Sep 24, 13, 11:30 am
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Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
that does not address discussion of a "hot topic" (quoting OP) from candidates in any threads outside TB forum
It does though, in that a member can submit a question to the Community Director, Carol, and she'll add it to the debate forum. Those campaigning for TalkBoard can answer the question in that forum. Should there be discussion about that issue in a different forum, perhaps Carol could post a link in that thread to the debate thread. She'd need to be alerted to do that, but it could help boost awareness of the elections and the views of potential TB members.
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