Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Community > TalkBoard Topics
Reload this Page >

Closing the Smoking Section Forum [Update: it will stay open]

Closing the Smoking Section Forum [Update: it will stay open]

    Hide Wikipost
Old Oct 1, 16, 2:01 pm   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: JDiver
Wiki Link
Post #116 by the Community Director:

"I've no plans to close the forum."

Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post

It's great to see new voices in this thread. Some have just learned of the Smoking Forum and hopefully will now use it. For the many reasons listed above:
  1. It's a resource forum that doesn't require give and take conversation to be of value
  2. Smoking has become a negative topic in general. This forum is a safe haven for discussion.
  3. It doesn't take resources from other forums

I've no plans to close the forum.

Carol
Community Director
Print Wikipost

 

Old Aug 4, 16, 12:47 am
  #31  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: The electrified part of North Carolina
Programs: UA GM, AA GM, DL GM
Posts: 4,157
If the main use case for the Smokers Lounge is to have very short threads with wiki-like posts rather than having active discussion threads, why can't the information for different locations/hotels/airports/etc. be collected and maintained in a wiki post in a larger and more frequented forum instead of having a separate forum?
As tcook052 pointed out, the more forums there are, the more fractured FT becomes.
A separate "eating at JFK" forum targeted at a niche group and with individual threads for each restaurant would probably generate the same wiki-like threads as the Smokers Lounge.
Separate niche forums for "eating at JFK", "eating at EWR", etc. would probably generate just as much traffic as the smokers lounge forum, and quite possibly even more traffic, but that doesn't mean that such forums should be started since the information can be collected in wiki posts in larger forums. The same applies to the wiki-like posts in the Smokers Lounge. Why not have a single wiki instead of a separate forum if the main intent is to inform rather than discuss?

Last edited by UA1K_no_more; Aug 4, 16 at 12:53 am
UA1K_no_more is offline  
Old Aug 4, 16, 4:18 am
  #32  
Moderator: British Airways Executive Club, Iberia Airlines, Airport Lounges
2019 FlyerTalk Awards
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: London, UK
Posts: 18,534
The forum reads as a rolodex of different locations/venues so perhaps if the format was loosened it might encourage greater discussion. Having a dedicated forum can instil a sense of community but I am wondering if the prescribed format (which works perfectly as thread wikis) is impeding the forum’s growth.

I think when a forum is created as place to encourage discussion and the anticipated discussion between members is not forthcoming then any questions concerning the forum’s future viability as well as alternatives should be considered.
Prospero is offline  
Old Aug 4, 16, 5:10 am
  #33  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Yiron, Israel
Programs: Bates Motel Plat
Posts: 60,963
Originally Posted by Prospero View Post

I think when a forum is created as place to encourage discussion and the anticipated discussion between members is not forthcoming then any questions concerning the forum’s future viability as well as alternatives should be considered.
It was not created as a place to encourage discussion. We knew from the outset that it was going to be a place to aid members in finding hotels, airports, casinos, restaurants, etc which allow smoking.

The only discussion involved would be if a place which formerly allowed/disallowed smoking had a change in policy, in which case we hope that someone would update the thread to reflect this. (It is also helpful, in the case of an old thread, to announce that the hotel has not changed its policy.)

Not only was no discussion expected, very little would be possible. The forum, if I recall correctly, does not permit discussion of the pros or cons of smoking, hence there is very little to discuss.

If you let me know that I can grab a smoke between flights while connecting at a particular airport or what hotel in the city I am about to visit has smoking rooms, you have done me a great service. In return, I try to provide that service to other members of the community. It can even be a big service to those non-smokers who want to be certain of avoiding smoke.

A wiki, in theory, might be able to handle this but they have never worked out as well as a separate forum on FT -- perhaps this is simply because most of us are used to, and like, the forum format.

This is truly a case of "it ain't broken, so don't fix it". True, by its nature, it does not encourage a large exchange of views so the post count is low, but the view count for each thread is high -- proving that it serves its purpose.
Dovster is offline  
Old Aug 4, 16, 10:18 am
  #34  
Moderator Travel News, West, The Suggestion Box, Smoking Lounge & DiningBuzz
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Programs: AS MVP Gold, Honors Diamond
Posts: 33,634
Originally Posted by Prospero View Post
The forum reads as a rolodex of different locations/venues so perhaps if the format was loosened it might encourage greater discussion. Having a dedicated forum can instil a sense of community but I am wondering if the prescribed format (which works perfectly as thread wikis) is impeding the forum’s growth.

I think when a forum is created as place to encourage discussion and the anticipated discussion between members is not forthcoming then any questions concerning the forum’s future viability as well as alternatives should be considered.
The remit, description, structure, and protocols of the forum were explicitly approved by the Community Director. The forum is functioning exactly as she intended it, I believe.

Yes (to revisit the issue that was raised before) such posts could be in other hotel/destination forums but a) they would be much harder to search for (do I search for "smoke," "smoking," "smoker," or ??); and, b) the mods in other forums would get to clean up off-topic posts that posts/threads about smoking almost always generate.

The forum is a useful and successful (judging from page views, as noted) forum that well-complements the library of information that is FlyerTalk.
cblaisd is offline  
Old Aug 4, 16, 10:41 am
  #35  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
2019 FlyerTalk Awards
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: CHA, MAN;
Programs: Delta DM 1 MM; HH Diam,Hz PC,
Posts: 10,978
Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
Please: debate the post, not the members.

As the late Moderator magic111 used to say, "Play the ball, not the player".

JDiver, Moderator
As opposed to No Limit Texas Holdem Poker where the best strategy is to play the player
GRALISTAIR is offline  
Old Aug 4, 16, 12:31 pm
  #36  
Moderator: British Airways Executive Club, Iberia Airlines, Airport Lounges
2019 FlyerTalk Awards
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: London, UK
Posts: 18,534
Originally Posted by cblaisd View Post
The remit, description, structure, and protocols of the forum were explicitly approved by the Community Director. The forum is functioning exactly as she intended it, I believe.
The first point is not in question; the second point has been questioned by others in this thread. As to the Community Directors' viewpoint, I wouldn't personally dare be so bold as to speak on her behalf.

Originally Posted by cblaisd View Post
Yes (to revisit the issue that was raised before) such posts could be in other hotel/destination forums but a) they would be much harder to search for (do I search for "smoke," "smoking," "smoker," or ??); and, b) the mods in other forums would get to clean up off-topic posts that posts/threads about smoking almost always generate.
I get your point but I don't think searching for smoke related terms is any less or more difficult in the hotel and destination forums - it really is a matter of what key words you use and obviously knowing which hotel/venue you are interested in does help. The hotel forums contain incredibly useful property indices which helps navigation immeasurably, so an alternative to the smoking forum might be as simple as adding smoking policies to specific hotel thread wikis. Easy to add, super easy to update.

Originally Posted by cblaisd View Post
The forum is a useful and successful (judging from page views, as noted) forum that well-complements the library of information that is FlyerTalk.
That is a very narrow view of FlyerTalk, IMHO. I see FT as a travel discussion place first and foremost, the "library" aspect is purely an positive by product but first you need enough eyes on the forum to sustain the discussion. A handful of pamphlets does not make a library, and page views do not automatically equate to a successful forum - The Ansett Australian Global Rewards forum still gets page views despite being closed down 8 years ago.

I actually have no desire to close the smoking lounge forum but when I see a forum that is struggling to take flight, I begin to ask questions, and try to make suggestions that might invigorate/improve the discussion numbers and density, and hopefully, encourage others who are probably much better placed than I and who possess the imagination necessary to step forward to make their own suggestions relating to how the forum can work better.
Prospero is offline  
Old Aug 4, 16, 8:01 pm
  #37  
Moderator Travel News, West, The Suggestion Box, Smoking Lounge & DiningBuzz
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Programs: AS MVP Gold, Honors Diamond
Posts: 33,634
Originally Posted by Prospero View Post
...when I see a forum that is struggling to take flight....
Begs the question.

No, it's not "struggling." It gets plenty of page views. It's a useful forum for accessing information and has a structure/protocols explicitly approved (although you don't seem to be believe me, but maybe if goalie said it too) by the Community Director.

Not every forum needs to get scads of discussion to be successful.
cblaisd is offline  
Old Aug 4, 16, 8:57 pm
  #38  
Moderator: Smoking Lounge; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: SFO, CDG, PBI
Programs: Lifetime (for now) Gold MM, HH Gold, Giving Tootsie Pops to UA employees, & a retired hockey goalie
Posts: 28,223
Originally Posted by bdschobel View Post
Furthermore, I posit that Flyertalk should give more weight to people who want forums retained than to people who want forums removed. The latter group gains essentially nothing by getting their way. They can easily just not go to a part of this site that they see as unnecessary or redundant. The former group actually would lose something they value. Whose interests should Talkboard serve?

Bruce
The Smoking lounge forum (as noted below) is a niche/specialty forum as are all the other forums under the Specialty Travel section* and it does serve an interest as do all the other forums in that section and by closing The Smoking Lounge, you do a dis-service to those who benefit from it. I don't know any simpler way to say it other than if you don't like the forum (or any other forum for that matter) or don't feel/have a need for a particular forum, don't visit it*-and afaic, if a forum gets one view and one post in response to a member's question, the forum serves its purpose and that is what The Smoking Lounge does-it serves a purpose for members who smoke

*I am a single straight non-disabled man with a cat who does not have a need to visit certain forums under Specialty Travel and I do just that-I don't visit them because I have not need to but it doesn't mean that I don't like them and want them closed

Now (and at the risk of going OMNI) if one is an anti-smoker who wants the forum closed because they don't like smoking (not saying one is but throwing it out there), THAT is not what the forum is about at all and is spelled out in the forum guidelines.

Originally Posted by CMK10 View Post
The Smoking Section serves an important niche on this website. The posts also don't really fit in in other forums, especially as they tend to draw irate criticism from militant nonsmokers while they're there. Posts above you seem to indicate people are happy with this forum, you can keep bringing it up every 9 months but I see no reason to close it and I don't think you'll find another TB member who does.

Though, elections are coming up, in case you want to think about campaigning on a closing of forums platform.
Bolding mine. This sums it up completely afaic
goalie is offline  
Old Aug 5, 16, 2:22 am
  #39  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Programs: QFF Gold, Flying Blue, Enrich
Posts: 5,342
Originally Posted by cblaisd View Post
Begs the question.

No, it's not "struggling." It gets plenty of page views. It's a useful forum for accessing information and has a structure/protocols explicitly approved (although you don't seem to be believe me, but maybe if goalie said it too) by the Community Director.

Not every forum needs to get scads of discussion to be successful.
The forum is successful?

It was created, has a tiny number of posts and a handful of views. A small number of people (more or less a majority poster and the moderators) defend it.

I don't care if that forum lives or dies, but I'd enjoy seeing someone make a decent case that it's actually successful. The recent posts in this thread defending the forum haven't done that.
BadgerBoi is offline  
Old Aug 5, 16, 10:23 am
  #40  
FlyerTalk Evangelist, Ambassador: World of Hyatt
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: NJ
Programs: Hyatt Diamond, Fairmont Lifetime Plat, UA Silver, dirt elsewhere
Posts: 44,158
If little used forums are being targeted, why just this one?

I looked at the women travelers forum and there is also very little posting activity. I think I counted 20 posts in the last month - and it was a busy month - normally there are fewer.

But this forum also has a place in FT. I'm just curious as to why a forum with so many views and who has useful information is the target and not the rest that don't get much use.
Mary2e is offline  
Old Aug 5, 16, 12:57 pm
  #41  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend and Moderator: Air Canada Aeroplan & Manufactured Spending
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: YEG
Posts: 48,056
Originally Posted by Mary2e View Post
If little used forums are being targeted, why just this one?

I looked at the women travelers forum and there is also very little posting activity. I think I counted 20 posts in the last month - and it was a busy month - normally there are fewer.

But this forum also has a place in FT. I'm just curious as to why a forum with so many views and who has useful information is the target and not the rest that don't get much use.
That's not the case Mary as I've brought other seldom used forums to TB's attention including the Gaming Loyalty forum which saw 28 posts in 2015 and was discussed here. It and the iDine forum see so few posts they should both be considered for closure as well so it's not just the Smokers Lounge that is being 'targeted'.
tcook052 is offline  
Old Aug 5, 16, 2:27 pm
  #42  
Moderator: British Airways Executive Club, Iberia Airlines, Airport Lounges
2019 FlyerTalk Awards
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: London, UK
Posts: 18,534
Originally Posted by cblaisd View Post
Not every forum needs to get scads of discussion to be successful.
Maybe not, but I am fast coming to the conclusion that each forum needs a hook, so that when members first visit the forum, there is a reason for them to stick around and contribute. My observation of the Smoking Lounge is of a few members who swing by, post a recent hotel or airport data point then make a sharp exit. Consequently the forum is only receiving one way traffic which may explain why questions posted by members sit for weeks without a single answer or even a consolatory response.

I appreciate both you and Dovster visit the forum, contribute and have expressed an interest in making it flourish. Do you have any suggestions on how to harness a hook, or address the issue of one way traffic?
Prospero is offline  
Old Aug 5, 16, 4:20 pm
  #43  
Original Member, Ambassador: External Miles and Points Resources
 
Join Date: May 1998
Location: Digital Nomad Wandering the Earth
Programs: UA 1K/MM refugee to cheapest business class fare, SPG Lifetime Plat, CBP Global Entry, TSA Pre!
Posts: 47,115
FlyerTalk doesn't DO closing sleepy and/or redundant forums.

It's just not a thing.
kokonutz is offline  
Old Aug 5, 16, 4:21 pm
  #44  
FlyerTalk Evangelist, Ambassador: World of Hyatt
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: NJ
Programs: Hyatt Diamond, Fairmont Lifetime Plat, UA Silver, dirt elsewhere
Posts: 44,158
Originally Posted by tcook052 View Post
That's not the case Mary as I've brought other seldom used forums to TB's attention including the Gaming Loyalty forum which saw 28 posts in 2015 and was discussed here. It and the iDine forum see so few posts they should both be considered for closure as well so it's not just the Smokers Lounge that is being 'targeted'.
The point is that there are others that don't get much use, and they're supposed to be conversational forums. The smoker's forum is to store information that would be scattered all over the other FT forums, often accompanied by nasty comments. It gets used. Just not the way the other forums are used.
Mary2e is offline  
Old Aug 5, 16, 9:10 pm
  #45  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Durham, NC (RDU/GSO/FAY)
Programs: AA EXP/1MM, DL PM, UA Plat, HH DIA, IHG Spire/AMB, Marriott Titanium, Hertz PC, Amtrak Select
Posts: 28,750
In my opinion, there's very little reason to close forums where the information contained in the forum doesn't fit easily anywhere else. The Smokers Lounge is a great example of that. Also, people keep coming here and saying how much they like the forum and why they like it, why isn't that enough for people?
CMK10 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread