Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Travel Topics > Travel Tips & Trip Ideas
Reload this Page >

What would make you participate in Fodor's forums more fully?

What would make you participate in Fodor's forums more fully?

Oct 7th, 2019, 05:19 PM
  #1  
kja
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,802
What would make you participate in Fodor's forums more fully?

I'm curious about what would make people engage with Fodor's forums more fully. I'm sure we each have our own reasons for participating at whatever level we do, but maybe some of us -- and IB in particular -- would find some value in hearing our thoughts.

I'll start off with some of my suggestions, the bottom line of which is: Make us feel good!
  • Offer a nominal gift on occasion! When I joined, people who were quoted in Fodor's guide books were given a free Fodor's guide book, and as unlikely as that seemed to me at the time, I thought it was a nice gesture that made it seem that the efforts of Fodorites were appreciated.
  • Let us know when you use our words in a guide book! I was stunned to learn, some time ago, that I'm quoted in Fodor's Japan. I would have liked knowing that Fodor's considered my input of potential use to future travelers.
  • Let us know what "Eugene's team" does with our answers to the questions that team poses.
  • Improve the search function!
  • Make sure the message sent to new members is welcoming. I have no idea what it's like, but the mistakes new members make suggest to me that it is lacking in the information they would need to feel welcomed here.
I'm sure others have ideas -- please share them!
kja is offline  
Oct 8th, 2019, 09:08 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 92,748
Good question! I hope this stands to allow discussion.

But I am already participating fully. I'm on the forums most days checking on any areas I might have experience in (destinations or general topics). I'm not thrilled with the recent step-up in moderation moving threads around, deleting people's comment on Lounge topics, etc. And the "related threads" and new "trending topics" are of zero use to me. But none of this negative enough to make me quit.

As far as information I personally need to my own vacation planning purposes, that comes from Trip Advisor. There just isn't much participation here for places I need help with... well until and when I can get a Europe trip on the horizon again.

thanks for asking...
suze is offline  
Oct 8th, 2019, 12:11 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 92,748
.. you see the problem, right? No one reads this forum.

What would make me participate more fully in Fodor's would be if more people participated on Fodor's. So a catch 22 going on.
suze is offline  
Oct 8th, 2019, 04:24 PM
  #4  
kja
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,802
I agree there's a bit of a catch-22, suze, but still, this thread has been viewed 278 times. Maybe you have a better idea about how to generate ideas for IB's consideration about how to increase the value of the forums? I'd love to hear it -- even from people like you who DO participate as fully as possible!
kja is offline  
Oct 8th, 2019, 07:16 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 926
I'm not sure quantity, i.e., participating more fully, is what Fodor's needs. Quality might be a better goal. Less is more. In addition, the Lounge needs to go to some hidden corner of the site, if not banished altogether. It's mostly nonsense, and has nothing to offer regarding travel. Is that not why Fodor's says not to post travel topics there? Well then, remove it from the 'Travel Talk Forums'. Maybe Fodor's uses it simply as click bait. Probably Travel Tips and Trip ideas should be eliminated as well, and simply made as an additional option when posting a question or Trip Report. I also think regular participants should refrain from commenting on threads on which they don't have any personal experience regardless of their Googling prowess. Most folks that ask questions in the forums are capable enough of Googling themselves and can sense the phoniness. I think regulars should do more trip reports, even if it's just a couple of sentences and a picture or 2. Even if it's a place you go to regularly and not much is necessarily new to you It shows you actually care about content on the forum, rather than just upping your post count. I think of recent posts by Daniel, Shellyk & MmePerdu. Something other than 'I'm here in X'. That's not a trip report. That's just being lazy. It'd be nice too if those that ask a question could offer some sort of acknowledgement either as a trip report or a simple thank you. How that happens, I dunno.
Anyway, I think some of those things might make the forums better, although I don't know if I'd participate any more than I do. I suppose I could post in any number of forums if I was a pretend travel agent. I really liked Venezuela, but there's not much current interest there. I tend to stick to what I know or where I've been recently.
What or who is IB?

Last edited by baldone; Oct 8th, 2019 at 07:23 PM.
baldone is offline  
Oct 8th, 2019, 07:36 PM
  #6  
kja
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,802
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, baldone!

Originally Posted by baldone View Post
What or who is IB?
Internet Brands -- the owner of Fodor's Forums.

kja is offline  
Oct 8th, 2019, 11:52 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,607
An interesting question KJA - best of luck getting some sensible input!

I did start typing a reply, but it quickly turned into a rant about what I don’t like about these forums rather that what could be done to improve them. Then I read baldone’s eminently sensible and more well balanced response and deleted it!

I totally agree that a lot more attention should be on encouraging quality rather than quantity. Way too many, long standing members, people focused on getting their "post count" numbers as high as possible and rather than impart knowledge and information in their posts, just post for the sake of it. No point in having 50k posts to ones name if only 500 are actually helpful.

Another pet peeve. When responding to a post - answer the bloody question! Too many response just do not address the question asked and seemed aimed at demonstrating the poster’s superior knowledge of some vaguely connected subject. Alternatively, it is -Oh, I wouldn’t do that if I were you or "don’t post here, no one will read it" etc. It’s ok to provide opinions but make them positive and pertinent, rather than negative and irrelevant.

Certain members, yourself and Baldone amongst them have been exceptionally helpful to me in planning recent trips. Mainly because I know you have actually been to the places you are commenting on and keep your posts relevant to the question as well as offering up other ideas I hadnt considered. Yestravel , Glover, CaliforniaLady, Kathie, Marmot immediately spring to mind ( not an exclusive list,)


TRIP REPORTS - My intention is to post a report on our forthcoming trip to South Africa in a sort of repayment for the help in planning that trip. The reality is that few will likely read it but if it helps lift the traffic a little great. TRs used to be a big feature of these forums and very helpful but maybe travel blogging has replaces them. I know that is where most of my efforts go. If someone goes to the trouble of posting TR and people find it useful - make a point of saying so, not just visiting the post.

TOO MANY FORUMS - as mentioned above, some forums are seeing much less traffic than others. South America, Mexico and Central America used to one forum and was much better for it. USA and Canada could probably be combined. Is there any need or relevance to things like Air Travel & Cruises? I do thing that fewer but more encompassing forums would result in increased traffic and encourage cross fertilisation of ideas. e.g. many will combine Central with South America - USA with Canada.


FREE GIFTS AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I have lost count of the number of book Fodor’s sent to me over the years. Nic eto have and to be quoted in said books but I am not sure it actually encouraged me to do more. Maybe some form of acknowledgement similar to the "Destination Expert" tag on TripAdvisor. Maybe combine that with the "moderator" role.


Any forum belongs to its members and, in reality there is only so much the organisers can do to facilitate a healthy and informative exchange of views. It is really down to the individual forum members to up the quality. With apologies to JFK "ask not what Fodors can do for your, ask what you can do for Fodors"

PS good job I didn’t post my rant!
crellston is offline  
Oct 9th, 2019, 04:06 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 2,798
I try and add positive help to travellers but the snark runs off new posters quickly. I am an old poster and have asked maybe two questions. I go to Rick Steves or my Facebook group or TA. TA has helped me a lot with transportation help since we do public in many places. If I asked here I would get a lecture on how you can't see anything unless you rent a car and how easy it is. BS on that. Prime example is the diplonat's wufe driving on the wrong side of the road and killing that young boy in England and then running back to the US.
Macross is offline  
Oct 9th, 2019, 04:36 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,523
I'm one for quality versus quantity. But unless “every” post is scrubbed to meet the posting guidelines (and who wants to do that?) there will always be people who ask the subjective questions like "What are the must-sees in MajorCity?" or the equally so, “Ten Days for London, Paris, Amsterdam and Belgium. Itinerary Help, Please!” And there will always be people who respond with genuine help. Or with genuine sarcasm.

On the subject of quality, I would love for the Lounge to disappear. I think having it cheapens the website; and the bad manners expressed there on a regular basis add no value to the travel community.

"Destination Expert" a la Trip Advisor is the one reason I don't engage on TA. Some members here already consider themselves as such and that's enough ego for the boards. I can envision a devolution to members debating who is “more of an expert.” Anything that encourages competition on Fodors would discourage me from participating. I appreciate very much the advice and help I receive, and try to give back with helpful responses with trip reports, but I neither need nor want to somehow be rewarded for doing so.

I know Fodors doesn't permit touting one's travel blog as the sole "Trip Report" to be posted, but it would be nice to have a category with nothing but links to member’s travel blogs (entirely voluntary) and also keep the TR format requirement for posting. I like reading Trip Reports but often they get bogged down with extra commentary and then I don’t return to finish; I also like looking at the photos but not necessarily opening each link. With a Blog category I could choose to “cut to the chase” or follow along for the ride in the forums.
fourfortravel is offline  
Oct 9th, 2019, 05:43 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,284
I think "posting guidelines for newbies" would help cut down on snark and unanswerable first posts. Either a sticky or something sent on sign up.

I'm not convinced that banishing Travel Tips is a good idea, it's the only place for threads that aren't destination specific. I mostly avoid the Lounge so have no strong opinions on whether it should stay. If it keeps off topic snark out of the destination forums I
am in favor of it.

If I asked here I would get a lecture on how you can't see anything unless you rent a car and how easy it is
Not my experience at all. There has certainly been useful discussion on traveling by public transport in the UK and Sicily, and I hardly think anyone has recommended renting a car in Asia. There have even been TRs by people traveling without a car, I've written some myself - I haven't rented a car on a trip since 2004 (for two days).
thursdaysd is offline  
Oct 9th, 2019, 06:25 AM
  #11  
mms
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,269
I agree with a lot of what baldone wrote. I gave up on the lounge about a year ago. I just left one day, no regrets at all. fourfortravel summed it up well.

I know my wish list is impossible, but I do think the forums would be much better and draw more people and be of better value if everyone would check their ego at the door. Not everyone travels the same way. I like fast travel, I like things other posters do not. That is ok, just as it is ok for others to like other ways. Also, post on your personal experiences and do not put down other peoples personal experiences. There are some posters that no matter what you post are going to attack you and that is just wrong. Since these posters can't seem to practice self control, I actually would opt for more moderation. Let the bad behavior have consequences.
mms is offline  
Oct 9th, 2019, 07:31 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,853
I guess I am in the minority here, but I enjoy the "lounge". Yes, there are certain people who seem to always be looking for some sort of conflict, but there is also a feeling of camaraderie there.
mms suggestion of checking egos at the door is a great one and would help avoid a good deal of the conflicts.
schmerl is offline  
Oct 9th, 2019, 07:41 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 2,798
Thursday, it is mostly when talking about Ireland. We are hopefully changing that by proving that you can see hidden treasures without the car. I appreciate my husband driving in France for his WW1 trips. We did take a one day tour last year and it was worth the money not to drive pluse the guy was amazing. I gave up the lounge for two years and it was nice but tend to hit new post and you get it all. I just don't read or reply to certain political ones.
Macross is offline  
Oct 9th, 2019, 08:31 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,523
"I know my wish list is impossible, but I do think the forums would be much better and draw more people and be of better value if everyone would check their ego at the door."

This is a good point against a "Destination Expert." Certain egos are strong on these boards and this would drive a wedge into what should be an inclusive community.

Speaking of inclusivity, schmerl, fair enough that you enjoy the Lounge. But quite often this camaraderie is based on one's political leaning, and if you're not part of "The Club" the minions swarm. "So, just ignore the political posts..." you might say. I generally do. Mostly I ignore the Lounge altogether because I can look at a post title and predict how the "discussion" is proceeding. What value is any of this to new members? Online forums are rather old-school and I can see their appeal; but why accelerate their decline by servicing garbage non travel-related content?
fourfortravel is offline  
Oct 9th, 2019, 08:41 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 18,222
It's obvious that IB has interest only in quantity (clicks) and not quality. The constant website tweaks in a vain attempt to drive traffic, leading to various "fails" when attempting to post are truly annoying.

Certain forums have "bosses" and group-think cliques which lead me not to ask questions or comment much. (Europe and California in particular).

While I'm in favor of less moderation, I do wish people would only answer from personal, recent experience. Too much of the "I've been to the opposite side of the country but people tell me" or "I was there twice a long time ago" by prolific posters who need to chime in on everything on "their" forum. It would be nice if posters would disclose just how long ago that visit was. Things can change a lot in 10 or 20 years, if not 5.

Dead and dying I'm afraid but I appreciate those of you like kja and crellston who hang in there with trip reports.

Yes, blogging is the new Fodors.

Last edited by mlgb; Oct 9th, 2019 at 08:46 AM.
mlgb is offline  
Oct 9th, 2019, 09:07 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 92,748
Maybe you have a better idea about how to generate ideas for IB's consideration about how to increase the value of the forums?

No, sorry I've got nothing. And believe they have a business model they are implementing that is not open to our input. I wish they'd lighten up on the overly enthusiastic moderation that seems the latest style.

If you don't like the Lounge don't go there. It is not meant to offer anything regarding travel, that's the whole idea. There are typically all of about 43 people there these days so hardly problematic.
suze is offline  
Oct 9th, 2019, 09:44 AM
  #17  
mms
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,269
fourfortravel--I agree about the DE comment, and I am a DE, lol. I think too many times people think they have to be an expert, and that the experts opinions are the only ones worth anything. Completely false. There are terrible DE's and excellent non DE's. Your comments about the lounge are my feelings about it as well.

mlgb--I agree regarding bosses, group think etc. Also, yes, recent experience is the best, and if it isn't recent then at least say when it was so people can decide for themselves.
mms is offline  
Oct 9th, 2019, 10:13 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 92,748
Negative critiques of what others choose to contribute does not build a forum either. As long as people are truthful and transparent I see no problem saying... "I looked this up for you on Google" or "here are the best online maps I found for the city" or "I was in Paris but 10 years ago" or "this is a 2nd hand story told to me by someone I met on the plane". As long as you are clear about where what you said came from, the person reading can decide the value or lack thereof.

If we have to meet the criteria given in these few posts above you will have even LESS people on the forum than there are now. I feel the biggest problem with Fodor's is the low number of participants as it is.
suze is offline  
Oct 9th, 2019, 10:18 AM
  #19  
mms
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,269
suze--I agree about being transparent. If people would do that, it would solve a lot of the issues, IMO. The issue is people not being truthful.
mms is offline  
Oct 9th, 2019, 10:28 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 5,057
Every change in format and every change in ownership caused a loss of regulars and traffic. So, to help this site, STOP CHANGING THINGS! Oh, and don't let regulars die.
AJPeabody is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:58 PM.