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1. Posted by Dodger (Respected Member, 859 posts) 7 Mar '12 20:50

Just wondering if the term "travel guru" should be changed. It's misleading to call someone a travel guru, just because they make a lot of posts on this forum. I notice a number of people that make post after post of non information, or even bad information, and they are termed "travel guru". Not from any experience they have traveling, but just from the number of posts they make.

Maybe a system that ranked people by the mileage they racked up on the route map would be more appropriate. And encourage people to log their trips on the map. Which reminds me I haven't done any of mine in a while!

2. Posted by mojorob (Moderator, 1042 posts) 8 Mar '12 02:45

Quoting Dodger

Maybe a system that ranked people by the mileage they racked up on the route map would be more appropriate. And encourage people to log their trips on the map. Which reminds me I haven't done any of mine in a while!

Then a person could just add anything they like to the map, whether or not it's true.

3. Posted by Peter (Admin, 5355 posts) 8 Mar '12 03:09

Yeah, it's probably easier to fake a status by adding a lot of info to the map. This title is not really meant to be taken that seriously - more of a reward for being very active in the site. Plus, I kind of think if you've racked up enough posts and guide contributions, then chances are they are rather dedicated travellers. At least "travellerspoint gurus" by that stage ;)

4. Posted by Sander (Moderator, 4275 posts) 8 Mar '12 09:48

Quoting Dodger

Just wondering if the term "travel guru" should be changed. It's misleading to call someone a travel guru, just because they make a lot of posts on this forum.

It's not just forum posts which go into these titles. Wiki activity, blog posts and featured photos also count. (Maybe also accommodation reviews nowadays? If not, they should totally be added into the mix.)

I notice a number of people that make post after post of non information, or even bad information, and they are termed "travel guru".

From your phrasing here, I suspect you're actually referring to only a single travel guru, whose posts I've seen you criticize. Asking to change the ranking system (flawed though it might be) just because you're disagreeing with one person seems something of an overreaction.
That said, it used to be that we had the ability to rate the quality of contributions by other members (specifically forum posts) and that this was taken into account as a major factor of the travel rank. Unfortunately I'm the only one who ever really used that feature (okay, not quite, but I still accounted for 50%+ of all ratings), so that went away, and now photo uploads are the only contributions left which are measured by quality rather than quantity. So I do think it could be a good thing if rating forum posts was brought back in a form which would perhaps be used a bit more frequently by a few more people. (Then again, it'd have to also be very subtle; we wouldn't want "upvote-whoring" or anything in that realm.)

5. Posted by frequentflyer (Budding Member, 15 posts) 8 Mar '12 11:13

Being new here, I would like to put in my two cent worth. I personally don't think there should be any rank or names for the number of posts one does posts on here. It encourages one to just post to increase their rank. If you look at that other travel site VT you will find that the same person will post two or three replies to one question in hopes of increasing or keep their rank, and I find that most of those on VT that do this are those with the highest rank.

6. Posted by Dodger (Respected Member, 859 posts) 8 Mar '12 11:28

Quoting Sander

Quoting Dodger

I notice a number of people that make post after post of non information, or even bad information, and they are termed "travel guru".

From your phrasing here, I suspect you're actually referring to only a single travel guru, whose posts I've seen you criticize. Asking to change the ranking system (flawed though it might be) just because you're disagreeing with one person seems something of an overreaction.

Sander, jumping to assumptions is also a huge over reaction. Maybe it's because English is not your first language, but when I say "a number of people" it means more than one! If travel guru is to be taken literally, which most people new to the site would, then it's a very abused term on Travellerspoint. I just wonder if it discredits the site to call someone such when the information they give out is often dubious.

As frequentflyer mentions, these ranking systems are often abused on many sites. On Amazon the people with the highest rankings are the people that give the most gushing book reports, regardless of how crap the book actually is. Eventually the ranking becomes worthless and the site is discredited.

7. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin, 5572 posts) 8 Mar '12 11:38

Quoting Sander

(Then again, it'd have to also be very subtle; we wouldn't want "upvote-whoring" or anything in that realm.)

Added a new word to my vocabulary there Sander! :)

8. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin, 5572 posts) 8 Mar '12 11:59

Okay, so there are 45 travel gurus according to this page. As a few members have pointed out, that title is given for contributions across the site, not just the forum. There's at least one member on the list that doesn't have a single forum post for example.

Also, whilst the off topic forum has traditionally been a great way to rack up lots and lots of posts, those do not count to any kind of ranking algorythm on TP. So someone with 1500 posts, might in fact just have 50 giving them a boost.

Now that's not to say the system is perfect, because it isn't. But what is perfect? Most travelled isn't necessarily the best either. I've met a bunch of very well travelled people that are downright rude and unhelpful, and as the titles are really more of a way of showing who has participated most on the site, I certainly wouldn't want to see those most travelled getting it (assuming we developed a system which couldn't be gamed, which is not possible). Take for a moment the term 'respected member'. It's just as inaccurate really as travel guru.

In all honesty, these titles were just thought up quickly, years ago, as a way of giving back something tiny to those members that were participating. Personally I wouldn't mind if they disappeared altogether as well, but I suspect a lot of users actually quite like little terms like this. Then again, we've batted around ideas several times over the years of adding different badges/titles for participating in different parts of the site, instead of one title that tries to encompass it all. Imagine getting a bronze badge when you have 250 forum posts, or 100 000 guide characters etc. The more active you are all over the site, the more of these little badges you'd have on your profile.

Would that be any better though than a title?

Also remember that all these systems can be manipulated to try and gain something. Some people always will. The flip side is that adding titles and badges and the like does increase real participation on a site. There's tons of research around that.

Sam
ps. I think a lot of folks born and raised in an English speaking country would love to speak/write English as well as Sander does...

9. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin, 5572 posts) 8 Mar '12 12:05

Quoting frequentflyer

Being new here, I would like to put in my two cent worth. I personally don't think there should be any rank or names for the number of posts one does posts on here. It encourages one to just post to increase their rank. If you look at that other travel site VT you will find that the same person will post two or three replies to one question in hopes of increasing or keep their rank, and I find that most of those on VT that do this are those with the highest rank.

And welcome to TP frequentflyer! I've never heard of this VT site ( ), but you will surely find that no TP member would ever do that kind of thing!!

10. Posted by Sander (Moderator, 4275 posts) 8 Mar '12 14:37

Quoting Sam I Am

In all honesty, these titles were just thought up quickly, years ago, as a way of giving back something tiny to those members that were participating. Personally I wouldn't mind if they disappeared altogether as well

Wow, that's quite a change from the last time this topic came up (or was it more Peter who really was in favour of them?)
Given that the "rewards" (in photo storage / number of blogs / ...?) for respected/guru levels have become pretty meaningless, I think it might actually be a very good idea to abolish the visual demarcation of these different member groups. My ideal would be to limit the display to just 2 ("new member" and "long-term member") or 3 ("new member" (< 14 days OR < 30 posts), "member" and "long-term member" (> 1 year AND > 100 posts)) categories, also removing the number of posts from the forum view, so that that wouldn't get all the attention instead, and have an internal-only extra rank for people trusted enough to report spam.

Then again, we've batted around ideas several times over the years of adding different badges/titles for participating in different parts of the site, instead of one title that tries to encompass it all. Imagine getting a bronze badge when you have 250 forum posts, or 100 000 guide characters etc. The more active you are all over the site, the more of these little badges you'd have on your profile.

I can see where it'd be good to promote people to participate more, but personally I'd dislike that severely, and you'd really get people pushing out meaningless contributions just to reach the "the next level". The current titles certainly aren't perfect, but one thing they do absolutely right is make it impossible for people to *know* how close they are to going over the edge to the next level. Of course you could add something similar with badges, but that kinda goes against the mental model most people have of how a badge system works.