How do we all like the new site format?

Sep 19th, 2000, 12:33 PM
Posts: n/a
I think you're going to lose a lot of attention to the forums that are named in the lower part of the "travel talk home" screen -- for me that means everything below "budget travel."

Hate the ads. Understand the economics but hate the ads.
Sep 19th, 2000, 12:48 PM
Posts: n/a
I can't see the ads because I too have a little ad-blocking program on my computer, called the Ad Terminator. Here's the URL:

Download this, install and kiss those time-consuming third-party ad servers goodbye!
Sep 19th, 2000, 01:23 PM
Posts: n/a
Thanks for the response. It's my first time seeing a Fodors person discuss the forum. More questions, if you don't mind.

1. Does Fodors post topics or questions to spurn discussion / do Fodors employees post new topics or questions? If so, what is the regularity and concept behind these.

2. Can you comment on my IP-as-way-to-identify suggestion?

3. Can you add a section for National Parks and/or Outdoor activities.

4. Can you add an "all" US category that includes all sub categories (United States, Calif., Fla, etc..) so we can see all (US) posts if we want to?

5. Is there any possibility (done, in progress or planned) to publish (electronic or print) any content from our posts? For example, will a hot tip from tweedy (for example) make its way into one of your Fodors guides? If so, can we explicitly request that our posts not be used in other published materials.

If you want One-One feedback / Q&A, I'll write you with my e-mail address.

Sep 19th, 2000, 01:45 PM
Steve Mueller
Posts: n/a
The new categories should make it more convenient to target those interested in general topics, such as political unrest
in Europe, social issues, cultural attitudes, etc. Unfortunately, at least in the Europe forum, it has become annoyingly predictable that one or two individuals will express outrage whenever a general subject is introduced. Apparently, they would like to see this forum limited to questions regarding restaurants in Cleveland. Yet, if this forum were limited to routine factual matters, such as hotel recommendations, many of us would not be motivated to participate.

With this last point in mind, my one concern about the new format is that as the forums become more fragmented, it will become more common to miss topics or questions that one would be able and willing to contribute. Someone closely watching the Special Interest forum will be unaware that someone in the Europe forum is asking about a hotel in Brussels that they recently stayed at.
Sep 19th, 2000, 04:12 PM
Danny Mangin
Posts: n/a
Hello Grumpy, Sneezy, Wheezy, and everyone else!

Thanks for your feedback about the changes to our forums. You've brought up several interesting points. Our community editor, David Downing, has addressed some of them in his post, above. Below are a few additional thoughts.

1. Some of the changes to the site, including the addition of new forums, have to do with the significant increase in traffic we're expecting this fall. We wanted to ensure that with more people using the forums it remained reasonably easy to access information about particular destinations/themes.

2. Re the name switches (Forums>Travel Lounge>Travel Talk), we changed the name of Forums to Travel Lounge because the latter sounded friendlier than the former. But some new users couldn't figure out what might be going on in a travel lounge (and a few who did have an idea, weren't sure they wanted to participate). Several gurus of Web usability have decreed that the name of a site section should always state precisely what it contains. We felt we were somewhat deficient on that score, so we tried to be more specific.

3. Of course, many of those same gurus also decree that the names of site sections shouldn't change from month to month. So, we promise unto Lisa (a.k.a., Grumpy), Mike, and Doc that we won't change the name again. (To Doc: I'm not sure what's demeaning about "travel talk," but I'm with you: I'd rather hang around the lounge.)

4. As for the advertisements, the answer, as several of you have surmised, is quite simple: We do have a few bills to pay to put this site online. Not surprisingly, many of our advertisers sell travel-related products, which we hope you'll find helpful, along with the nontravel messages.

5. To "B": One of the additions to the site this week was our link to, which provides worldwide listings. There are links to in the left margins of all Miniguides pages, the hotel and restaurant indexes, and the Resources page. You'll find just about every place that was listed in our old Bed and Breakfast Finder -- plus thousands more (there are listings for 24,000-plus B&Bs). You can reserve a room at some of the B&Bs, and there are links to the Web sites of many properties.

6. To Charles: The techies have all gone home, so I can't tell you why it's not there, but there's supposed to be a general thread for California, where discussion of the entire state or large regions can take place. I'll make sure it's available as soon as possible.

7. To Lisa ([email protected]): Thank you for asking your question. At least the transition was seamless for someone!

8. To all: Keep your comments coming. Thanks for the advice, and please continue to enjoy the site.

Yours truly,

Danny Mangin
Editorial Director

Sep 19th, 2000, 06:46 PM
Posts: n/a
Does everyone feel that separating "Topics" into 10 categories is helpful?
Sep 19th, 2000, 08:05 PM
Posts: n/a
Thank you so much, Fodors, for separating some of the busier sites. It was getting pretty tiresome scrolling past so many Hawaii posts (for example) when there's no way I'm going to be going there for a long time. I think this change just makes sense, and I appreciate your doing it.
Sep 19th, 2000, 08:25 PM
Kevin K
Posts: n/a
I'm cool with the new layout. Is everyone that change resistant. The junkies among us are all going to have to "shop around" a little more to catch every last new post, but I think Fodors' is right because people who are looking for exact information won't have to wade through so much stuff.

Change is good.
Sep 20th, 2000, 05:16 AM
J T Kirk
Posts: n/a
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Fodors:
If you're reading this, please accept the fact that not everyone will like everything you do. Having said that, let me add that I'm not crazy about your new format. What I would have liked to have seen was a "special" place for people to post their questions, comments, insights, etc. about hot dogs, trolls, travelling with celebrities, etc. (call it a "Special Interest" Forum) and leave the "true" travel stuff where's it's always been. And now if I want to look at Florida or California, I have to go to BOTH the U S forum AND the Fla and CA forums. Dang, that's a lot of clicking my mouse. But still, you have provided us with a great source of travel info!!!
Sep 20th, 2000, 09:56 AM
Posts: n/a
Hey, I'm not THAT grumpy!

Thanks Fodors for your replies. The main point I was trying to make was the one that Steve Mueller made (he made it better than I did).

The site is still great though.
Sep 20th, 2000, 10:26 AM
Danny Mangin
Posts: n/a
Dear Captain Kirk --

We've *definitely* accepted the fact that not everyone will thrill to every change we make. The main reason: The advice we get on any given topic (from our monitoring of forums to how they are arranged) generally covers the entire spectrum of possibilities. At some point we have to choose a course of action (or decide to keep things as they are). We just hope that we please well more than 50 percent of our users and don't drive the remaining folks crazy.

As for your California/Florida problem, we're still making a couple of adjustments, but as I understand things, you'll shortly find all your California/Florida posts *only* in the California or Florida forums.

More later…and thanks again to all for the comments.

Danny Mangin
Editorial Director
Sep 20th, 2000, 10:31 AM
Posts: n/a
I second the idea that the subcategories would be ok if the main categories contained all the posts in the subcategories. I'm afraid that all this splitting into different categories will lessen the feedback. I know that I will often scroll through the US or Europe sections to see if there are any questions asking for advice that I might be able to offer. I live in the DC area, have traveled around this country and in Ireland, France, Italy and Spain. It's highly unlikely that I will check each of the individual categories that I would have to in order to respond to questions about all these areas. I suspect others will have the same reaction.
Sep 20th, 2000, 11:31 AM
Community Coordinator
Posts: n/a
Hello again. Glad to see positive feedback, too! I just wanted to answer a few more questions of yours.

To 'GOL': The only place that we, as editors of, post our questions is the Grab Bag on the Travel Talk home page under the Hot Threads. We choose a new question each week merely as a conversation starter, then transfer the thread to the Grab Bag forum area under Topics. (This week it's "Do you take your cell phone on vacation with you?")

2. Regarding your IP identification suggestion, I'm not sure about the technical aspects of it or the privacy issues involved, but it's worth looking into. As for your queries regarding publication of forum posts, see our Subscriber's Agreement ( for the particulars outlined there.

3. We do have both a National Parks and a Sports and Adventure section---they're listed under Resources on the left hand side of the home page. If you mean a Forum area, we have that, too: The Special Interest forum under Topics on the Travel Talk home page. When you post your message, you can choose either category as a subject of your posting.

4. Regarding the ability to see all the US posts at once: Again, we're looking into the feasibility of that one.

Thanks to all for your input.

Dave Downing
Community Coordinator

Sep 20th, 2000, 01:02 PM
Posts: n/a
O.K., what would be the point of combining all the U.S. threads AND having separate categories? You're right back where you started, which is a U.S. forum clogged and overwhelmed with posts about Hawaii, WDW and Vegas. I thought the whole point of splitting off categories was to give high volume destinations their own links here? Do you really think that anyone will visit the subcategories when what they want is on the main category again? Please keep it the way it is sooooooo nice to finally log onto the U.S. forum without having to scroll through 48 posts about Hawaii every day.
Sep 21st, 2000, 07:01 AM
Posts: n/a
Regarding the B&B listing; I personally preferred reading Fodor's opinion and write up of these B&Bs instead of reading a generic write up either by the owners themselves or someone writing for a B&B listing site. I still like it best how you had it before - please consider bringing back YOUR B&B writeups.
Sep 21st, 2000, 07:23 AM
Posts: n/a
How can I put this politely? I don't care to have California and Florida split off (although splitting off Hawaii did make sense). I also don't like the idea of subcategories like "etiquette" and "travel agents", so I'm not feeling too positive about the new format.

Personally, I occasionally have something to contribute on Cal and Fla based on my experiences there. If I see a question I can answer, I answer it. But I also have a life. So I really can't go clicking all over the place on the off chance there will be a Cal or Fla question in need of a reply. Therefore, I doubt I will visit the Cal/Fla/Hawaii subsites unless I have a question of my own to pose.

Also, I am not inclined to click on all of the interesting little subcategories. My personal view of the forum/lounge/talk is that many people come here for a few minutes of entertainment and they answer hard-core travel questions while they are here. Separating the categories means that people seeking entertainment will find it someplace other than the main travel categories, so they may not frequent the main categories as much. I think the end result will be less fun and less sharing of travel information. Too bad.
Sep 21st, 2000, 07:27 AM
Posts: n/a
Very well said, Cindy. I am finding the entertainment value of the site to be considerably lower. All the topic headings are just too much, and even if you click through all of them, you see nothing at all, or nothing new for two days. I am finding I spend less time here, and only looking at main US and Latin America--just too much time to look at everything else to see what's new.
Sep 21st, 2000, 07:35 AM
Posts: n/a
Agree entirely with Cindy. I've already noticed the difference on what I do here. In fact I spend less time overall as I haven't the time to go clicking around for ca and fl , both areas I have a great deal of experience with. Well as was stated earlier you didn't expect to please everyone. But for me this fragmentation will mean I'll most likely spend even less time here.
Sep 21st, 2000, 08:50 AM
Posts: n/a
I'm with the last three folks starting with Cindy. Give Hawaii its own spot but keep everyone else together. This ghettoizing will reduce the number of folks giving advice on areas. You already have areas where one person dominates and this will become even more pronounced as that forum splits off from the main listings. Carried to the extreme you end up with something like Frommers message board which is totally useless as you have to click on each individual state.
Sep 21st, 2000, 10:32 AM
Posts: n/a
Dear Fodor's editors:

One question. Why are you creating all of these new categories and making unimportant little changes when the search function still does not work properly?

I just tested the search function again to see if it would pick up some current active threads. Nope. This site would be greatly enhanced by a functioning search function. Shouldn't we worry about that first?


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