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To all members, please take a minute to read this!

Travel Forums Off Topic To all members, please take a minute to read this!

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1. Posted by Pardus (Respected Member 2356 posts) 11y

This is really important to me.
There has been a good bit of friction on the forum lately and a lot of fist clenching, and the atmosphere has changed significantly. THIS IS A CONDITION I DON’T WANT TO SEE CONTINUED!
I think it is important at this point that we all put our heads together to find a way to make the best website of them all the Even Better Best Website of them all.
There seem to be a fair few items that people are unhappy with, especially in relation to the Off Topic forum and we need to tackle the issues now.
I think it would be a good idea to get as many people as possible to say what they like about the forum/the postings, what they don’t like, what they would change and how people should behave/treat each other in an open and constructive manner, without any finger pointing.
Based on that we could discuss a Code of Conduct on which we all (or the majority at least) agree and try the best to live by it. This would be an addition to the rules, which I find don’t need any changing, it would merely make it easier to keep a certain standard on the website and allow people to remind other people about the standards without appearing to be bossy.
Thank you for your help. I won’t voice my own ideas here at this point as I merely want to facilitate the discussion. At a later stage I will put in my own comments and ideas.

2. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 11y

Phil,
I admire and respect what your trying to do, but I think it is impossible. You can't please all the people all the time. There will always be those who don't play with with others, or who think they are superior to others, etc.
I don't see it as being unbearable. It is just life. We get along with those whos ideologies are closest to our own. Naturally there will always be people we can't find common ground with.
I dislike people who try to 'divide and conquer'...but it is all smoke an mirrors. People see through that stuff eventually. This is all just my opinion;) And much to deep a subject for someone who hasn't had enough coffee;)!

3. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 11y

Play WELL with others *

4. Posted by Caroline25 (Full Member 27 posts) 11y

I have noticed the change as well. I posted a question about traveling advice/suggestions for the Balkans, and was bombarded with others' political beliefs and a few bleeped-out explicitives! I certainly wasn't looking for this type of response, but rather some simple travel advice/tips.

On the other hand, I understand that issues DO exist and they can't be ignored. But to echo your statement, this doesn't mean that we can't still communicate with respect!

5. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 11y

It's all part of what a forum is about surely. I mean its hard to have 28,000+ people in one place on any given day without a few of them locking horns occassionally.

It's important to make the distinction between debate and argument. Obviously anyone who is openly abusing someone else or using expletives is in the wrong and should be counselled accordingly. (I am quite happy to introduce them to some of my instruments of torture if Sam or Peter are otherwise engaged)

I dont feel that there is any hostility in the forums really. Okay, so there are some heated political points being raised here and there, but people tend to get quite passionate re matters political and it all makes for interesting reading.

I thought the recent issue that was raised Problems with the Off-Topic Forum was handled well - everyone made their point, Peter proffered his opinion, and it was sorted out almost immediately without anyone's nose being really out of joint.

I find the members of this website to be an exceptionally courteous and stimulating bunch of people (seriously). They are a cut above your average chatter. ;)

6. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 11y

I agree that this is an issue of importance also. The "Powers That Be" (Pete and Sam) have created rules that are, not only easy to follow, but also allow for open and lively discussions between all members who wish to participate. Travellerspoint is one of the few forums where many of the members feel a sense of community, experience the development of new friendships, and can agree to disagree - which is (as Joz said) just life.

But, as one would with thier friends in the real world, decorum and tact are important tools in keeping those relationships from disintegrating. As with any lively discussion, there are bound to be differences of opinions, disagreements and comments better left unsaid. Since our discussions here are not of an "on the spot" verbal nature, all of us have time to think about our next response. No, it's not always easy to do, even in a heated internet exchange. I am as guilty as anyone of pushing the limits with my replies. I have tried refrain from being insulting or hurtfully sarcastic -probably unsuccessfully. And, I'm not saying anyone should "bite their tongue" or forgo a reply that is contrary in nature. Just be mindul that we (ouselves) are not the only ones with feelings.

I also agree that the dynamic of this particular forum has changed and it has an uncomfortable feel about it - that's sad. I believe it will be able to mend itself with the help of those who are still willing to participate. I would like to believe that members who feel that I have veered off course, are able to bring that to my attention at that time, and without a "slam dunk" approach.

Pete and Sam have done well with Travellerspoint and it will continue whether any of us decide to leave or stay. It is theirs and they have made it easy for us to all have a voice. I plan to keep "talking", as I'm sure others will too.

7. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 11y

The bigger TP gets, the harder it's going to be to keep the peace. There will always be one or two people who stand out for being rude or mean or just downright nasty - but we'll remember them as if they were an entire crowd. Theirs are the comments that sting.

For my two cents' worth:

  • Off topic means off topic. Sam and Pete gave us the option not to view off-topic threads, so what we read/respond to is entirely up to us.
  • I agree with keeping the whole thing civil and friendly - it's what makes this place so great! So many people are so happy to help a stranger; it gives me that warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from knowing the world is still so very good.
  • On the reverse, I love being able to reach out to help people so simply and easily - and then learn from other people's posts in the process. That back and forth is also a unique and very welcome part of TP.
  • Aside from people who are outright mean (plus, I may have missed a few threads that spurred this post from Pardus), my one small and very personal "ick" is the tendancy of certain forums to turn into closed conversations. It's not the conversations themselves that bug me, but rather coming in to an inbox of 250 TP notifications (like this morning-although it was a 4-day weekend!) and having the forums go so wildly off topic that they, in essence, become completely irrelevant for all but the immediatly concerned.

That being said, though, if it's "off topic" then it's off topic - and I can and have just unsubscribed to posts that are no longer of interest me.

8. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 11y

Hello all,

I feel compelled to answer :) Firstly, I should mention I have been away over Easter so I might well have missed any forum threads that took a serious turn for the worse. With that I mean offensive, as forum threads starting to lead a life of their own which is (way) off topic (regardless of which forum the thread is in) just has a way of happening. I've seen that on a lot of forums and there is really extremely little to do about it, unless Pete, myself (or any other moderator) decides they are going to start deleting or editing posts that go overboard. I personally don't believe that's the way to go either as I have seen that kill the feeling of a forum, which after all is about discussing things and in discussions one doesn't always stay on track either.

Having said that, the off topic forum is seeing it's fair bit of usage at the moment and I think this is particularly where, as isadora puts it so nicely, the 'hurtfully sarcastic' comments sometimes come out of the box. I personally feel this might be a large part of why this particular area of the forums are getting a different feel. I think there's a couple of reasons for it, the first being that the people using the off topic forum the most, use it a lot. There is a general sense that most things can be said and everyone has 'seen' each other around quite a bit so they are more comfortable and feel more at ease with (sometimes 'disciplining') others. Whether this is right or not, it is inevitable as people post more and more and feel a sense of ownership in the community they have helped build.

Also, I have noticed a tendency with members that frequent the forum to give shorter and shorter answers (particularly in the off topic forum which often resembles a chat room). Although I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing, it can leave a lot of room for misinterpretation, which can quickly get out of hand.

I also think it deserves mentioning that the travel related forums don't have this same 'issue'. Partly because members posting there are specifically posting for advice and help about certain countries or trips and naturally that won't always attract the same crowd, whereas in the off topic forum by it's very nature everyone can pitch in. There is basically a type of self moderation in the travel forums due to this and those forums remain extremely helpful in my opinion. Some of you mention threads here turning political which is not something I'd hope to see too often but it's a part of travel that can't be denied. Naturally, if these threads get out of hand, some nasty moderator like myself might rightfully decide to snip away at them though...

However, one can not always be talking about travel and that's why the off topic forum is so popular with those that frequent the forum. I for one think it's great to see as it's a great area to get to know other members better in a quick manner. You might not always like what you see, but simply ignoring a post every now and then goes a long way and will help self moderate threads starting to get out of control.... With a little consideration for other members feelings and remembering that all our contributions are important to the well being of TP, it'll continue to go a long way

Okay, way too long post, time for dinner now!

Sam

9. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4136 posts) 11y

Wow, I vist this site almost everyday and I haven't noticed anything.

I thought we al got on very well. Perhaps we should forget about TP Island!

10. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 11y

Quoting james

Wow, I vist this site almost everyday and I haven't noticed anything.

I thought we al got on very well. Perhaps we should forget about TP Island!

Sorry James - you're being hijacked to the island. I still think the TP Isand get-away would be a great thing - even if it is just a virtual journey. The way we would deal with each on a real TP island adventure is the way we should deal with each other virtually.

(Besides, Mr. Isa is really keen to be bartender in his grass skirt. Though, he may have to share the responsibility with Pardus - who's also an excellent bartender. I've also heard that MattXIII has almost completed the treasure map.)

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