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Trolls and Travel Promos - What's Happened to Fodor's?

Trolls and Travel Promos - What's Happened to Fodor's?

Old Oct 17th, 2000, 11:40 AM
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Trolls and Travel Promos - What's Happened to Fodor's?

I'm a longtime visitor to this site, although I've been so busy at work that I haven't checked in for quite some time. Let me just say that I hardly recognize this place which once felt so wonderful and welcoming to me.

I'm amazed at the changes I see here! I clicked on a few posts thinking I might offer some advice, only to discover that the posts are being called fake! You mean people actually plant fake questions to lead people on? Why? Teenage boredom? Nothing better to do?

Another change concerns the overwhelming number of hotel questions I see here. People post all these threads just to ask about hotels, nothing else? When did this forum become hotels.com? Between the hotel posts and the trolls, it's all I see. Where are all the old Fodorites that I've always seen here? Did they get discouraged and abandon this forum to teenagers and travel agents?

Just curious. I really miss the old forum. It's like going back to your old neighborhood and finding that everyone you knew moved away!
Old Oct 17th, 2000, 11:53 AM
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Visit more often, RegVis, and you will see it is the same good old place. These things go in waves. We had some real community going awhile back. Sorry you missed that wave. Stay tuned. It's still great here.
Old Oct 17th, 2000, 11:59 AM
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I thought the point of this website was to answer questions about travel. I find inquiries about hotels a helluva lot more interesting than the goings on of some of the little "clubs" on here. Why don't some of you snobs learn to use AOL Instant Messenger or ICQ to carry on your silly gatherings and reunions and leave these pages for learning about travel. If I see that stupid thread about "My mother was in jail, blah, blah, blah" I'm gonna puke on my monitor.
Old Oct 17th, 2000, 12:33 PM
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I've thought the same thing myself, but it IS shoulder season for travel, so perhaps some of the veterans here on vacation and we'll hear their travel stories soon.

I'm not particularly interested in the gag topics either, but like Visitor, I do miss the great advice from the seasoned and generous travelers who used to be here. And he's right, it was always more than "which hotel, this or that?" on a thread.

Let's hope for the quick return of wandering travelers!
Old Oct 17th, 2000, 01:40 PM
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They're still here, don't worry! Just viewed some replies from Bob Brown, Elaine, and Elvira, and even from Wes Fowler earlier, all some of my personal favs.

While we're at it, let me take this opportunity to thank those regular Fodorites listed above, and many others as well, for consistently using their real names and e-mails, especially in these times of trolls and spams. Wish I had the courage to do the same, but spam really bugs me no end.

Anyway, because these posters use their real names, we know who they are; we know they are genuine, caring fellow travelers who really ARE here out of the goodness of their hearts; and I for one always appreciate, trust and rely on their advice. They have that element of credibility that no one else here does.

Die Hard Fodorites, I LOVE YOU, MAN!!!
Old Oct 17th, 2000, 01:50 PM
Bob Brown
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This board is unfortunately a victim of its own success. If you were a struggling travel agent, would you not take a shot as a promo here? What have you to lose? As for trolls, they are just part of human nature. People need attention, and the articulate, well-informaed, good-hearted people who have so generously written up their expert advice are usually willing, ready, and able to respond.
Even if an issue is a troll, it is often one with merit. I think there is a good chance that someone who has a problem similar to the one expressed in the "troll post" will find just what he or she needs without having to ask the question. Some of the trolls have raised issues of a generic nature and the responses are minor classics.
Old Oct 17th, 2000, 02:06 PM
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Regular, I haven't been around quite as long as you, but things don't seem all that bad to me. Yes, we've spotted a few trolls. I don't know why people do it, but there are one or two people who like to play a practical joke or two. Too bad, because there have been a few people posing real questions who have been called trolls because we are all so suspicous now.

Yes, there are lots of hotel inquiries, but most fall away pretty quickly. I think the quantity of them is due to the limits of the search function.

But one thing I like about this site is the variety. We have jokes, bad poetry and banter; we have hotel questions; we have travel stories; we have discussions of all manner of things barely related to travel, and sometimes entirely off the subject. So long as the heading of the thread is descriptive, it's not so hard to navigate around things that are boring or annoying.

Hope you'll visit again soon.
Old Oct 17th, 2000, 02:48 PM
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Regular---- if you were in fact a regular for a reasonable amount of time, you would have known that the time period between June & September is particularly wacky on this forum. It never fails. Even the countries cycle; Paris & Greece in the fall, Ireland in early spring; Germany and Italy in May; London in the summer....

I do notice an increase of people using fake addresses trying not to be spam whch somehow impacts the sense of community. Oh, well...

All in all, this forum only gets better.
Old Oct 17th, 2000, 03:23 PM
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Thanks for your responses everyone.
Maira, perhaps my definition of "regular visitor" and yours differs somewhat. I never did park on this site for hours or days at a time like some seem to do, just checked in when time permitted and never noticed much difference in the nature of this forum until now. But glad to see you are still here.

I used to post under a consistent name (although it was one of those freebie web mail addresses) until I received an unsettling e-mail from some whacko who somehow knew things about me, commented on my Fodor's posts, then asked an obscene question. That was enough for me. No more e-mail addresses. And no more details about me or my life here. But like someone else said, I appreciate those who do post consistently. Hope what happened to me doesn't happen to you.

I DO see some other old regulars here now, so I'm feeling encouraged again! Thanks.
Old Oct 17th, 2000, 03:59 PM
Paul J
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I consider myself a "regular" on this forum- at least 3+ years. I'm fascinated by the diversity. I usually don't originate too many posts and I respond if I think I can be helpful. But I read almost everything!!
Yes, there's nastiness and yes there's a lot of thin skins, and yes there's trivia, but there's an awful lot to be learned.
We're leaving for Europe next week and I haven't found it necessaary to ask questions. I've just read other posts and responses. This Forum is a tremendous resource and has given me the confidence to try new travel experiences that I wouldn't have thought of doing 5-10 years ago.
I'm glad I found this Forum....Paul J
Old Oct 17th, 2000, 05:26 PM
Posts: n/a
I am fairly new to this site--4 months, and I'm finding it very helpful.. What did it use to be like?
Old Oct 17th, 2000, 09:56 PM
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To answer Maura, there were far more questions and answers about actual travel experiences and activites, answered by reliable folks who usually provided their real e-mails and often had friendly exchanges off the board as a result.

Right now I agree with RegVis; the board is just overwhelmed with questions about hotels and tours. People used to come to post a bit of their histories, trip planning, favorite travel tips, family experiences, culture differences, street food or whatever, but now it's generally just question after question simply comparing hotels or tours and nothing else. This makes me believe that the questions are not posted by newcomers to this place, but rather by people with something to gain by constantly bombarding the site with headers about certain establishments. Fodor's used to me more vigilant about commercial promotion here.

Now too, as the result of spammers, advertisers, weirdos and the like, many people post incognito and do not give out their e-mails, including me.
Old Oct 18th, 2000, 04:35 AM
I Miss Mama
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When they took Mama away to jail I did puke on my monitor. Can anyone recommend a good hotel close to the Federal Pen at Leavenworth?
Old Oct 18th, 2000, 05:46 AM
Call Me X
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Yes, there are lots of hotel questions and not much exchange of stories and experiences. That is because some people like it that way and attack people who dare to post an anecdote or experience that isn't strictly and stringently related to hard-core travel. Look at how Neal and Elvira have been attacked for doing exactly what Jill proposes. As for me, I'm just not willing to give a little of myself only to have someone call me names, accuse me of monopolizing the board, or of being a frustrated writer. No thanks.
Old Oct 18th, 2000, 06:05 AM
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I enjoy some of the anecdotal postings, so long as they include travel information or stories. I do find it odd that there is a long post about "let's share tell each oour personal information" Geez, get a (chat) room (or a life,or some friends or. ...). I do like some of the sarcastic trolls who occaisionally take someone to task for poor questions (remember, there are no stupid questions, just stupid people!), or make fun of such posts as the one about sharing info. Trolls may be bad, but sometimes they serve a purpose. I also find it a little odd that there are some "personalities" on this board who may try to perpetuate that they are a legend in their own mind. Having said that, there are some regular posters such as Ben Haines (sp?) who are very factual and whose posts are very helpful and factual. I just don't care for those "personalities' who post in an effort to convince themselves that they are someone more grandiose than a keyboard loser.
Old Oct 18th, 2000, 11:34 AM
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Well, I still see Neal and Elvira here, among others, so good for them. I think people make a BFD out of comments that differ in any sort of way from the majority. If ten people gush about someone's trip report and one person doesn't, the fur starts flying.

Everyone is free to express opinions here. If they differ with yours, so what? Why do people fly off the handle about it? And no, you cannot claim that every single dissenting post has been "mean" or "rude" (i.e. dares to oppose the majority). Those are purely subjective labels. What I feel is "mean" here is defended as "humor" by others and vice versa, so who is to judge?

I don't think anyone has been chased off this board by anyone else, and if they have, shame on them.

Keep up the interesting travel posts, all.

Old Oct 18th, 2000, 12:07 PM
Human Nature
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CT, If I read you correctly, you're saying it is perfectly fine to chime in to say you find someone's trip report not to your liking.

I don't agree at all. Sure, people can have honest disagreement about travel or a travel opinion. But posting just to say someone's trip report is dumb or bad is just plain mean. When I feel that way, I just keep my yap shut and don't post.
Old Oct 24th, 2000, 11:25 AM
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Today alone I've seen one guy repeatedly pitch his web site and new travel book here, two people pitch their tours, and who knows how many others trying to keep the hotel names in the titles for name recognition. The word is out in the travel world -- come to Fodor's and advertise for free! They do nothing about it.
Old Oct 24th, 2000, 08:00 PM
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I found this site a few months ago--July--and have been reading it pretty consistently since. I am not an inexperienced traveller but I haven't been everywhere and seek information from a variety of sources. I am well educated--my doctorate is in the area of international relations and cultural studies--so I do have some sense of how the world works and a basic appreciation for different cultures. I think the fact that Fodors set this up at all is wonderful. But, there are definitely areas that could be improved by the users. For what they are worth, here are my observations:

I have yet to feel welcomed into this community. When I ask questions, I guess they are deemed too "boring" as I often get no response. No, I did not ask about hotels. I asked about things to do or how best to approach situations. But why wouldn't I seek out the advice of those who have travelled to places I have not been to get their feedback? And, if this is a community, why wouldn't at least one person deem it appropriate to provide me with at least some information, however meagre? I didn't see any rules posted at the top prohibiting the posting of "boring" or mundane questions. How incredibly arrogant of others to determine that any one reaching out to try to get information is not worthy of basic respect.

Initially I thought perhaps I had not framed the questions correctly or perhaps had been too short on detail to generate a reply. I now know that it really was because I was boring others.

On the other hand, I have gleaned quite a bit of information from the questions and comments posted by others. It is sort of like going to a clique-ish cocktail party. There are those in the in-crowd to whom all recognize and respect and respond. But, if you have not become annointed with the official "community" okay, well....good luck trying to fit in. Just better to sit back, eavesdrop and try not to get in the way. You've seen what happens to those who get in the way.....

The internet is still so new and there will be enormous changes in the years ahead for everyone. The nature of these sorts of sites will inevitabley change. Perhaps Fodors should establish two seperate forums--one where the novitiate can ask questions to the fodorite gods who deign to respond and one for the gods themselves. As individuals, folks could be both novitiates (when asking quesitons about places they have not been) or god (when speaking about places they have).

Or, we all could simply be a little more accepting of others, learn to be a little more polite, actually try to help those who need it, and not be so quick to judge. Those seem to be the basic rules of life in any context.
Old Oct 24th, 2000, 08:30 PM
Posts: n/a
Unfortunately, Fodor's has not made it a requirement for people to respond to posts. Maybe people were waiting for others to respond, figuring someone else might have a better answer. Or your post got pushed down by other posts, or responses to other posts, that happened at the same time yours came in. Maybe just nobody had the answer.

If you get no response, try bringing your post back to the top by 'replying' to your own post, even adding details that you might have left out or think might help in getting a response. If your post actually was too boring or mundane (just for argument's sake), then better it was ignored than getting a negative comment.

By the way, what were your posts?

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