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'Travel Buddies' Post

Travel Forums System Talk 'Travel Buddies' Post

1. Posted by wanderer82 (Full Member 111 posts) 4y Star this if you like it!

I enjoy reading these forums and sharing my experiences with those who about to embark upon their travels.

BUT (here comes the rant) I am getting tired of the constant 'Travelling to Auz/NZ and on the lookout for travel friends' threads. Of course there's nothing wrong with wanting to get in touch with like minded people heading to the same destinations but can' they be housed elsewhere?

There are far too many of these threads and I find they are spamming the forum and get in the way of other threads which are more relevant and interesting.


2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5174 posts) 4y Star this if you like it!

I get where you're coming from. In theory there's a forum here designed for these types of threads: Travel Companions. And I'm one of the people whose 'job' it is to move threads from the Australia & New Zealand forum to that forum when they belong there.

The reason I've effectively stopped doing this is that about a year and a half ago (maybe even two years by now?) we started getting an influx of these type of threads, and almost all of them were in the grey zone, as the people posting them weren't specifically looking for travel companions: They mostly wanted reassurance, or some advice, and if someone else was in the same situation, it'd be great to hear from them to compare notes, and maybe they could even travel together. With a poster saying all those things, it wouldn't be justified moving the thread to the travel companions forum, as only the last part was specifically related to finding travel companions. (Plus the thread title frequently wouldn't make any sense in the travel companions forum, but would in the Australia & New Zealand forum.)

But of course, new posters look at existing posts before starting their own - and then post similar things, but with maybe one or two parts missing. And so the grey zone started being a very long and very subtle gradient, while the volume remains rather overwhelming. I can't really make the distinction of when something needs moving. Particularly since the discussion in such threads frequently veers back to giving advice and swapping tips, and I constantly find myself jumping in on page 3 or 4 to explain a bit of immigration lore; which just wouldn't have happened in the travel companions forum.

It's all rather more fluid than it used to be, and I believe that this is in large part due to the 'new' forum setup, where the first page isn't a clearly categorized list of forums, but immediately shows all the threads. It's much more inviting for people now to just dive in, and post without clearly separating their concerns beforehand. And y'know, for them, it's working pretty well. They get great response, and so the forum is clearly serving its purpose.

But I totally get that for you, just wanting to help, all these "anyone else in the same situation?" threads are just cluttering up the forum. And that sucks; but I don't know what to do about it.

I'm going to move this thread to the System Talk forum, as in essence I see this as an issue of the forum setup. Maybe some kind of technical solution is possible? I'd like to hear some more opinions, and see if Sam and Peter have any thoughts.

(Stuff I'm thinking of at the moment: Create an Australia-specific 'travel companions' forum with a different name to appeal more to the current audience? Tell us moderators to start moving all such threads, but give us the option to 'prefix' them to also make sense in the travel companions context? With an off-topic-like toggle in the Australia & New Zealand subforum to make them show there, too?)

3. Posted by Peter (Admin 6283 posts) 4y Star this if you like it!

Yeah, I see where you're coming from too. I think a sizeable part of our forum visitors are people who want to connect with other travellers before they go. It's understandable and in my opinion, quite a good thing to offer. However, these are not necessarily the types of threads that the forum regulars are interested in.

One thing I've been pondering is the possible addition of "topics" to our forums. Then you could tag a thread with several topics, ie "companions, Australia, Sydney"

This would have to be a community managed thing, since it would be a huge job. I also wouldn't expect the moderators to be loaded with this job. Maybe if we allowed the Full Members and over to do this we would have enough people on board. Or it might even require an entire new points system to encourage people to help out with things like this (points could be given for helping categorise posts too for example).

Anyway, thanks for bringing this up for discussion.

4. Posted by mojorob (Moderator 1047 posts) 4y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Peter

One thing I've been pondering is the possible addition of "topics" to our forums. Then you could tag a thread with several topics, ie "companions, Australia, Sydney"

Going that route, you may well consider going the full way and making the topics the same as the current forums, and follow a "Gmail" approach of "labels" that allow things to be filed under more than one folder/category (as opposed to the other email approach of having one folder (that is forum) only per thread). That way a topic can be filed under both the existing "Aus/NZ/Pacific" AND "Travel Companions".

Instead of having "Jump To" as the selector, change this to "Topic" - "General Travel Forums" would be "General Travel Topics", "Destination Forums" would be "Destination Categories" and "Community Forums" would be "Community Talk" or similar.

This approach probably wouldn't sit entirely well with how the forums are currently set up, as it would change the approach in moderation - i.e. a thread listed as both Aus/NZ/Pacific and Travel Companions could then be moderated by all those listed against both the existing forums (or topics in the updated approach).

Saying that, an approach like that may be a way to avoid some duplicates, and also wondering what to do with "grey area" threads. Also, if someone chooses to look at (for example) either Aus/NZ/Pacific or Travel Companion label/topic then they would still see the one thread that has been marked with both labels so questions covering both will get the full coverage.

[ Edit: Edited on 31-Dec-2013, at 04:54 by mojorob ]

5. Posted by KellieBarnes (Travel Guru 813 posts) 4y Star this if you like it!

Incidentally, I have been moving a number of blatant travel buddies posts from the Aus/NZ/Pac forum lately.

Those with any question for advice I am leaving but anything that only asks 'anyone else doing the same' deserves to be in Travel Companions. Hopefully the distinction can be made for many of these new members that are copying the style of previous posts they've seen.

Posts 6 & 7 were removed by moderators