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

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

Oct 9th, 2019, 02:57 PM
Join Date: Feb 2015
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I find this forum very helpful, and love to read trip reports. I do find the USA and Canada forums pretty quiet; therefore uninteresting. I do go on though, in case I can answer a question for the CDN forum.

Like any forum, the interest lies in the updated posts. No point coming on if there is no action. So sometimes I will post a view or opinion even if my info is a bit outdated, or I haven't been to every village in the south of France.
mdinbc is offline  
Oct 9th, 2019, 06:51 PM
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Such thoughtful answers!

One thing that strikes me: There is something we can all do to add both quality and clicks, and maybe make people feel better, and that's to acknowledge each other -- to say thank you for advice or for trip reports. From my perspective, one doesn't actually have to find advice directly helpful to appreciate that someone took the time to provide it and to express that appreciation. And I'll never understand why people read trip reports without saying something, anything! Ah well, to each his/her own. As many of you do (but many Fodorite's don't), we can, when appropriate, acknowledge the responses of prior Fodorites when responding to an OP -- that won't add to clicks (I'm certainly not suggesting that we should all start posting "good idea" to every post!) -- but it could contribute to a collaborative, rather than competitive, tone.

Another thing that strikes me is that we all have our pet peeves. I'd guess that there are as many ways of giving advice as there are ways to travel -- and I think that's to the advantage of anyone who posts a question. I choose to believe that people mean well, whether I agree with their advice or with the way they provide it or whatever. And I choose to (at least try to) contemplate the possibility that what seems to me to be snark may be because of the way I'm reading it, not the intent behind the writing of it. I'm well aware that I could be mistaken, but I'd rather err in people's favor than against them. Too, I know that I certainly say things that aren't particularly constructive -- I'm still learning ways to be more effective and more sensitive in my comments, and I appreciate it when people give me the benefit of the doubt. To further abuse JFK, maybe: "Ask not what Fodor's can do for you; ask what you can do for others who post on Fodor's."

In case anyone at IB actually pays attention, I'll add my comments on a few of the ideas offered so far:
  • I have little use for the lounge, but there is one reason why I do check it out at least once in a while: Some Fodorites post there when they face difficult health challenges or painful losses, and I appreciate the chance to offer my sympathies. Too, it gives people a place to engage in off-topic discussion -- I think they'll do that with or without the lounge, and I prefer that it stay off the main forums.
  • I'd love to think that IB could do something to make us feel appreciated, but I would hate for them to use TA-type designations of expertise -- I think expertise defies easy definition. IME, the real experts on various places become readily evident after perusing the forums a bit, and that works for me! (BTW, I would never claim to be an expert on any aspect of travel.) And by all means, I hope IB stays away from "likes," etc!
  • I think the idea of merging some of the less-used forums is very interesting!
  • I like having a "Travel Tips" forum -- witness my use of it for this thread.
One last thing: Obviously some of you disagree, but I'd like to offer my sincere thanks to our moderators! I certainly don't know everything they do, and I don't agree with every decision that I know they have made, but I think they do an incredible job -- and they do it almost thanklessly, at least from my read of the their reception. IMO, no one needs to read some of the vile insults that get posted from time to time, and I'm sincerely glad that the moderators remove them. Kudos, moderators!

Looking forward to hearing more!

Last edited by kja; Oct 9th, 2019 at 07:46 PM.
kja is offline  
Oct 9th, 2019, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by kja View Post
I like having a "Travel Tips" forum -- witness my use of it for this thread. :
But it might be better identified as something like "Cross-Forum Topics." And only if whatever name it is given is actually used in each and every listing of forums!
kja is offline  
Oct 9th, 2019, 09:58 PM
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Quality clicks are worth something. Just clicks aren't. That means people have to stay . If somebody finds the forum via google and leaves after 30 seconds for whatever reason it's a click but it's a fairly worthless click.

I think of the DE more like moderators light. They answer the questions the rest would rather just roll their eyes at. I remember somebody asking if there was a Catholic church in Rome Italy. I kid you not. They hopefully correct the really outrageous comments some people make in answers. .

If you want more participation the answer was alluded to above. Have more interesting threads for people to read and comment on. How? No idea.

But it's almost 2020. Shouldn't it be easier to have images?
Traveler_Nick is offline  
Oct 10th, 2019, 12:34 AM
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"Dead and dying I'm afraid but I appreciate those of you like kja and crellston who hang in there with trip reports." Thank you mlgb. My intention with our South Africa trip is to post as we go here and then expand on that in our blog when I have the time. When future questions arise, I will no doubt provide links to our blog simply to avoid repetition.

Somewhere above, someone asked the question "how is it possible to make the forums more interesting" Can I just say that your own post are amongst the most helpful on these forums. Why? Because you actually take the time to read and understand the question being asked before answering clearly and concisely. The help you have provided to me personally in travelling around South America invaluable. Lima would not have become one of my favourite cities in the world if it were not for you.

Of course the owners of this site are primarily concerned with the quantity of clicks rather than the quality of the contents. That is what drives their advertising revenues. However, the two factors are inextricably linked. Without decent content who will visit more than once? A little guidance on how to ask and answer questions, present trip reports might help, although it is always very difficult to get people to change there habits. Chicken and egg I suppose!

The suggestion of creating Destination Experts seems not to be a popular one. My short experience on being a DE on trip advisor seems to be a little of what the above post #24 suggests - answering the posts no one else will and sometimes correcting erroneous info. The advantage is that I always get notified anytime a post for my particular forum happens so I can answer straight away. I think this can only encourage new member when their questions are answered quickly. That said, I have never been too sure why I was chosen to be a DE as I have far more in-depth experience of a dozen or more places other than the one I was appointed for!

Moderators are a different matter. It is quite easy to work out who a few are as they sometimes forget to log out of their moderator accounts and into their personal accounts and VV when posting. One of those springs to mind as one of the more prolific posters of put down and snarky comments which makes me question how they were chosen in the first place.

I confess it has crossed my mind more than once over the past year just to quit these forums as the traffic has declined. I am sure that others feel the same which is a shame, but maybe we need to accept that with the ageing membership demographic Fodors needs to do something to attract a younger participant. Will I still be asking myself this question this time next year?
crellston is offline  
Oct 10th, 2019, 01:12 AM
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Oh no! In my effort to keep this thread focused on what we can do, I decided to keep my comments at a high level -- I didn't want to constrain the flow of the interchange of ideas. But in pursuit of that goal, I failed to do what I just asked that we all do, namely, to acknowledge one another. My bad! So, as the OP, let me offer at least a few words to each of you who have posted so far. I'll address you each in alphabetical order; I will not try to address all of the intriguing and thought-provoking comments you have offered.

@ AJPeabody: I agree that change can be -- and has proven to be -- disruptive, and that IB should take the opinions of regulars into consideration before implementing changes that drive us away. I'm not sure they can keep us from death but if they can, by all means, I agree that they should not let regulars die without consulting us!

@ baldone: IB might want our clicks, regardless of quality, but as users, I think we agree that we prefer quality. Thank you for focusing our attention on quality!

@ crellston: IMO, your cogent analysis forces us to focus on what we, as individuals, can do to make things better. While aware that those who participate in this particular thread are, perhaps, preaching to the choir, I think you have effectively drawn attention to the importance of posting with attention to the usefulness of advice, even if we don't always agree about what that means.

@ fourfortravel: Your argument against the ways in which designations of expertise promote unwanted competition is, IMO, compelling -- thanks!

@ Macross: You provide an important cautionary note about how enthusiasm for a particular mode of travel can discourage others: IMO, it is important to acknowledge alternatives, for example, noting when public transportation provides an alternative to renting a car, since there are pros and cons to each.

@ mdinbc: What a great point about why people with possibly outdated information might comment! There can be value in even old information, and there can also be value to "bouncing" a thread to the top.

@ mlgb: I can't argue against your perceptions, but please don't abandon us, annoying as the ever "improving" Fodor's experience becomes! Instead, maybe you can help us find a way to deal with "'bosses' and group-think cliques" -- if through no other means than by encouraging each other to "speak truth to power" by describing one's own experiences, no matter what others have said.

@ mms: I agree that bad behavior should have consequences, at least if repeated! My blood pressure rises when I see new threads by people who have, in the past, regularly attacked other posters. I never expected to use the "ignore" function, but I've learned to appreciate it.

@ schmerl: I'm glad you find a feeling of camaraderie in the lounge, and maybe that's an argument to keep it. I must admit that my experiences of the lounge have been quite different. Nonetheless, as noted above (post 22), I see value in keeping it.

@ suze: IMO, you've nicely highlighted the "Catch-22" difficulty we face.

@ thursdaysd: Your words drew attention to the message that is actually sent to those who now sign up for Fodor's -- and I admit that I'd love to see it! Just not enough to try doing so. I suspect that several of us might have suggestions about how to make it more welcoming and more useful. I could be wrong.

@ Traveler_Nick: That's an interesting perspective on the role that could be played by "experts"! I wonder if there's a way to implement an initial "screen" that ensures that a new OP on Fodor's gets a constructive response to even a wildly bizarre request, without "clogging" the main forum with that initial interchange. Not that that's what you were suggesting... just a thought you inspired.

Again, I'm not trying to diminish any one's comments by focusing on just one or two elements -- I just want to acknowledge each of you without limiting or constraining our conversation.

Please keep your ideas coming, despite the awkwardness of my shepherding of this thread!

Last edited by kja; Oct 10th, 2019 at 01:30 AM.
kja is offline  
Oct 10th, 2019, 01:25 AM
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@ crellston: You posted even as I was drafting a post that now follows yours, and I'm afraid I won't have time to take your response fully on board in the few moments I can spare just now, but I want to thank both you and mlgb for your help and kind words over the years, and to say how much I hope you both continue to participate on Fodor's. More tomorrow.
kja is offline  
Oct 10th, 2019, 07:36 AM
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If it were not for the lounge posts, I probably would only visit here for trip planning and reporting, which would be far less frequent. I always click the "new posts" list, so I will sometimes see a travel post I could comment on.

As for blogs vs trip reports, I rarely click links within posts (paranoia?). When I do a trip report, I write it in a word processor then copy paste into Fodors. Travel bloggers who post abbreviated trip reports here would do well to copy paste the good parts of their blogs onto Fodors, although the standard relinquishment of ownership rights to Fodors might be a deterrent. Perhaps adding a copyright notice to the blog extracts may be protective. I don't know. I'm not a lawyer. and I don't play one on the internet.
AJPeabody is offline  
Oct 10th, 2019, 08:09 AM
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crellston--You comments regarding the moderators is interesting. I saw that happen once, where a moderator posted her personal comments, but on her moderator user name. It was changed immediately, but I saw it. That was from a very nice poster, but I still very much disagree with having users being moderators, and not saying who they are. A moderator needs to be unbiased, IMO.
mms is offline  
Oct 10th, 2019, 09:50 AM
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It does not seem very professional the way it is handled.
suze is offline  
Oct 10th, 2019, 09:54 AM
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Professionals are paid.
thursdaysd is offline  
Oct 10th, 2019, 10:50 AM
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Good point, AJ. Hadn't considered the copyright protection issue. I was assuming most bloggers use a copywriter protection feature.

Still, perhaps the powers-that-be could work on that somehow. I follow a number of travel bloggers and it's nice to read a story in its entirety and without the cut-ins of conversation.
fourfortravel is offline  
Oct 10th, 2019, 11:39 AM
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Thank you crellston for the kind words. And thank you to kja also.

It's really the quality of certain posters who I "know" which keep me coming back to Fodors and inspire me to branch out to more "exotic" locations.

Re blogs, if they're on Wordpress or some of the other platforms (even the old Blogger) I'm more likely to peek at them, and I won't look if the link doesn't show up as "safe" on my browser.
mlgb is offline  
Oct 10th, 2019, 02:59 PM
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This thread is great! We really appreciate the insights on how to make the Fodor's forum a better place.
I think the occasional gift offer is a great idea! Looking forward to more suggestions!
IBanna is offline  
Oct 10th, 2019, 07:00 PM
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@ crellston: Another thoughtful response. Thanks, and please don't quit Fodor's! It's always nice to have new members, including those who are new or relatively new to travel, but from my perspective, the greatest value that Fodor's provides to its readers (new or old, experienced or not, signed in or not) -- and the thing that will allow it to bring in new posters (even new clicks) in the future -- is the input of experienced and thoughtful travelers. IMO, you are such a traveler. (I won't try to list others -- I'd hate to inadvertently omit anyone!) Maybe I should ask: What will keep experienced, thoughtful travelers -- like you! -- engaged with Fodor's?
@ mlgb: Ditto!

@ AJPeabody: Another good reason to keep the lounge!

@ crellston,
@ mms,
@ suze, &
@ thursdaysd:
.....I suspect that Fodorites will always disagree about the merits of our moderators, and sincerely hope that we can avoid turning this thread into rehashing those questions. I admit that it was unwise of me to summarize my view of them along with other themes from this thread.

@ AJPeabody,
@ fourfortravel,
&@ mlgb:
.....blogs do introduce another layer of complexity, don't they? I admit that I rarely open links to blogs, and generally do so only when I'm convinced that I will find the traveler's blogs of particular interest. And only if they show up as "safe"! Same (for me) with links to photo albums.

@ IBanna: Thanks so much for reading this thread and letting us know that you've found it helpful!

*** IB is paying attention! I look forward to seeing other ideas that they might be able to implement. ***

Last edited by kja; Oct 10th, 2019 at 07:27 PM.
kja is offline  
Oct 11th, 2019, 04:58 AM
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I have deleted several posts that referenced posts that were deleted because they contained attacks on another poster.
Moderator3 is offline  
Oct 11th, 2019, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Moderator3 View Post
I have deleted several posts that referenced posts that were deleted because they contained attacks on another poster.
That happens, I participate because there are moderators like you. I believe freedom of speech comes with responsibility
vipsha is offline  
Oct 11th, 2019, 05:22 AM
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Kja, to answer your question, I would participate more fully if I traveled more often and went on longer trips. I have a tendency to log on to fodors only when I am planning a trip, and I participate in the forums or answer questions randomly during that time based on my more recent travel experiences. My responses tend to be relatively short. The typical poster on the fodors forums is an experienced traveler who seeks a more immersive experience and is able to articulate these experiences in an engaging manner. I sense less interest or tolerance in logistics and plain tourism on these forums, that seems to be more the style of tripadvisor as some members have pointed out. So in that sense I think Fodors is getting full participation from its members, unless they want to change their profile.

Last edited by vipsha; Oct 11th, 2019 at 05:30 AM.
vipsha is offline  
Oct 11th, 2019, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by vipsha View Post
I would participate more fully if I traveled more often and went on longer trips.
lol, I imagine that applies to many of us!
Thanks for sharing your perspective, vipsha -- the differences between posters and forums is interesting, isn't it?
kja is offline  
Oct 12th, 2019, 12:40 PM
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I would be happy to share my trips and tips, but I don't travel in a noteworthy way by Fodor's standards, like what people would photograph and blog about.

So I have to stick to helping (and I do, daily) about using public transportation in Seattle, about hotels and activities in Puerto Vallarta or Waikiki. A few places in the Caribbean, my favorite towns in Switzerland. On the Solo Travel forum I'm really good (i think) at just helping newbies understand and do the math about why they can't see half a dozen countries in a one week trip and why it's OK to eat dinner alone. Or why maybe your very first time leaving home doesn't need to be a RTW 6-month adventure.

Different people have have different things they can help with. I wish that posters didn't attack each other. That would probably be my #1 input. To me is the biggest negative on this forum. Why people have to critique others contributions and spew hateful messages. That to me doesn't serve anyone well.
suze is offline  

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