How do we all like the new site format?

Sep 21st, 2000, 12:37 PM
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Personally I think a great deal of this whining and complaining is just fear of the unknown. If certain regulars here are spending less time because they can't find their entertainment threads, maybe that's a good thing. New blood and a new mix are to be encouraged, as is a real travel forum for people who really want to talk travel. I think a lot of these people would be happier in a social-issue-of-the-day chat room rather than this forum anyway. That seems to be the draw for them.

As far as certain areas being dominated, you'll notice that those areas also tend to be the vacation destinations with the highest numbers of visitors, and IMO, certain topics are dominated because it's in certain people's financial best interest to dominate. It's pretty evident that this forum has a healthy population of travel industry people who frequent it.

If you'll go back and read older posts, you'll find people asking Fodor's repeatedly to create separate areas for topics, mainly from people who don't want to read any posts which disagree with their own. Be careful what you wish for, because you may get it!

Bravo Fodor's! Keep up the good work.
Sep 21st, 2000, 12:55 PM
Posts: n/a

Ditto to Terry's comments. This change is just like anything new; it's unfamiliar and thus uncomfortable to many. Give it two weeks and the old format will have been forgotten.

And don't forget the protests that took place after the changes of a couple of months ago. I didn't see any real fall-off after that, and I don't expect to see any now. Take, for example, the "Rants" section. When it first appeared, there were numerous complaints about how difficult it was to use and that it was a waste of time. Look at it now--lots of responses with interesting insights. Just relax--it's fine.
Sep 21st, 2000, 05:06 PM
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Fodor's Editors,

Since you seem to be reading and responding to the comments on the USA forum, rather than the European forum I'll post here and I'm addressing only the European forum. I'm going to miss seeing all the postings together in one place and miss the variety of topics/places but I guess I'll adjust. I did become discouraged with this forum and jumped over to Frommer's and spend a couple of minutes trying to find their bulletin board. I found it, but the bulletin board, and the entire web site was more conjested than the roads in New Jersey, so I left immediately. I sincerely hope that this forum won't look like Frommer's in a year from now. Please don't segment too much or it won't be worth coming here. Also, I did email you about that annoying flashing red arrow pointing to the messages. Maybe I'm the only person who is easily distracted but can't you make it stop flashing? I keep looking at the arrow and not at the messages. Also, can you fix the search engine so we can once again search on recent postings?

Thanks for a great forum, even with the ghastly changes.

Sep 22nd, 2000, 12:45 AM
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I think most travelers are disillusioned with Frommer's because they allow unfettered advertising there. Pretty discouraging to go through all those subcategories only to find that the only info there is somebody wanting to sell you something. At least at this point, Fodor's claims that it doesn't allow that, although the sellers are quite vocal and adamant in their "right" to be here and continue selling!
Sep 22nd, 2000, 09:45 AM
Posts: n/a
I like the sub topics. Hawaii was taking up too much space. If you plan to have more sub topics, please don't just have a listing of states. Maybe split up states in the same format as your books (New England, NC/SC/GA, etc.)
I would like to suggest adding Alaska as a sub topic like Hawaii, since it's a dream vacation for many. And a National Parks one that's easy to spot in the forums (one of the editors gave a five step way to get to National Parks, sorry but I'm from a short attention span generation).

A general US catagory is a must for threads like "been there, done that, don't bother," which provides useful information about destinations across the country to avoid. Also if someone is planning a trip across the country (have seen a number of posts on this subject) it is the most obvious place to post instead of in each state.

The people who suggested the ability to get a list of all topics in addition to the breakdown of subject is valid. Some people want to know all, read all, and get involved with all. Some want specific information. The ability to fulfill the needs of all the readers would be a benefit to all. I don't know the technical aspects of doing this, but I'm sure it is possible (if not now, sometime in the future).

And please, I implore you, allow the anon. postings. Yes I am at work using company time for this. I do realize it's hard to separate travel professionals trying to increase business vs. true requests, but having this ability allows some to be more free of themselves.

Thanks for this opportunity and I'm glad to know that the Fodor's editors read and respond to the posts here.
Sep 24th, 2000, 02:48 PM
Danny Mangin
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Dear Fodorites --

Thanks as always for your feedback. One of the things we love about our forums is that we never have to guess what our users are thinking!

I just wanted you to know that I'll be calling a meeting on Monday to address all the comments and suggestions expressed in the forums or by e-mail over the changes we made on September 18.

In the meantime, we appreciate your patience. As the regulars know, we made the changes last week in response to months of requests from users for subforums for the most popular destinations. (Which is to say that we didn't just step in unilaterally and rearrange the set-up.) But if you're not happy, we're not happy, so we'll see what can be done (or undone).

Danny Mangin
Editorial Director

P.S. Thanks one last time for making Travel Talk a great resource for travelers, myself included. I've been planning my next vacation (looks like I'll need it!) using the United States forum. The advice has been very useful, and some of the trip reports have been downright inspirational.

Sep 24th, 2000, 03:23 PM
Posts: n/a
Please, please, please leave Hawaii and Florida as subs! I love begin able to easily access topics about destinations all over the U.S now, without having to go through 200 headings about Hawaii and Florida hotel promos first! What do you know, a lot of people seem to enjoy visiting New York, for example! You would never guess it when all those WDW and Maui posts are all over the front page every day.

Sep 24th, 2000, 04:15 PM
Posts: n/a
The United States is all states, not just selected ones, Fodor's. It was so much better the old way, please reconsider what you did. How about some poor slob out there who wants to go to Las Vegas, New Mexico and the Pacific Northwest but has some questions about whether CA would fit into his time frame. He's totally out of it with your new system unless the poor fool wants to post all over the place (who would???). You took all the fun out of the "lounge". By the way I prefered the old Forum name myself. "Improved" does not always mean better you know, why mess with something that works well. You would be better off monitoring the posts more carefully and heading off some of the obvious travel agent that have lurked around. Another thought, why not simply have a note in big letters asking the poster to clarify his area of interest, i.e. "Need hotel in Kalamazoo". Those interested in Kalamazoo or those that can help him can respond, others scroll on by. If people were more specific it would solve many of the problems you thought you were solving breaking up the forums.
Sep 26th, 2000, 12:26 AM
Posts: n/a
I think the sub-categories may have been a good idea but there are several problems w/ the way it is working now.

First of all, as has been pointed-out before, many people have the U.S. forum url itself bookmarked and so never see that CA, FL and HI have been separated.

Because of this and the fact that there are still many threads about those states which were posted before the great divide, threads about these states continue in the general U.S. forum in addition to the sub-forums, thus defeating the purpose.

At the very least, there should be a conspicuous disclaimer at the top of the general U.S. Forum. Something like,

"Please be aware that as of _____ CA, FL and HI have been separated into their own forums which are accesible from the Travel Talk homepage."

Another thing is which is extremely tedious is how the threads are organized. In order to reply, one must wait for _all_ of the previous posts to load, some at least two years old, and then scroll _all the way_ down.

At the very least, there should be some system whereby older messages were collapsed.

Sep 26th, 2000, 08:54 AM
Danny Mangin
Posts: n/a
Hello all --

Our meeting yesterday went well. We decided to take a few of you up on the suggestion to use the Grab Bag question to allow everyone who uses Travel Talk to discuss the pros and cons of the new system. That question went up this morning.

Thanks for your input.

Yours truly,

Danny Mangin
Editorial Director

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