Should FlyerTalk Have a Dedicated Forum for Discussions Pertaining to Weblogs?

Members of the TalkBoard of FlyerTalk are currently soliciting input pertaining to the proposal that a dedicated forum be created for the discussion of weblogs which concentrate on the topic of earning and using frequent travel loyalty program miles and points.

The solicitation for comments by FlyerTalk members is scheduled to end on April 11, 2013 at 6:16 in the evening — or after all TalkBoard members have registered their vote, whichever comes first.
For the record, I wholeheartedly support this proposal.

Most weblogs do have an area where readers can post comments; and of those “blogs”, the “blogger” will usually respond to the comments when warranted. This, of course, includes The Gate.

While that form of communication can work, it can also be limiting and is not truly a two-way communication between the reader and the “blogger”, in my opinion — nor is it fully conducive to an actual discussion amongst the readers who choose to comment on what the “blogger” has written and posted.

Worse, some “bloggers” can act as their own moderators, editing or deleting comments at will about which they dislike or may not agree.

I am vehemently against censorship — aside from “spam”, unnecessary profanity and inappropriate content, of course. Comment about your sexual fantasies in intimate detail at The Gate and it will be deleted.

A forum on FlyerTalk dedicated to the discussion of the content of weblogs would give the readers of those weblogs a place to post comments pertaining to those weblogs without fear of censorship — provided that the comments posted to that proposed forum adhere to the Guidelines & Rules of FlyerTalk.

Probably the most controversial portion of this proposal for a forum dedicated to the discussion of weblogs which concentrate on the topic of earning and using frequent travel loyalty program miles and points is that they have the potential to get contentious and out of hand. The following discussions, for example, have been closed to new comments by FlyerTalk members:

The main reason why those discussions were closed is because the discussion became personal — in other words, discussing the author of the weblog and not the actual content itself. Because many of the “bloggers” are FlyerTalk members, some of the missives being launched against them became personal attacks, which violate the Guidelines & Rules of FlyerTalk.

Please allow me to give you an example of what I mean: supposing I wrote something here at The Gate and you completely disagreed with it to the point where you thought it was idiotic. Post “What Brian Cohen wrote at The Gate yesterday was idiotic” — along with a cogent argument to back up your statement — and your content should remain untouched because you commented about the content I wrote and not attacked me personally. Post “Brian Cohen is an idiot” on FlyerTalk and your content will not only be deleted, but you may also face disciplinary action.

The Guidelines & Rules of FlyerTalk apply equally to all FlyerTalk members: absolutely discuss and debate the content and not the person — whether or not the author of the weblog is a FlyerTalk member. I would like to think that this should be extended to any person, regardless of whether or not he or she is a FlyerTalk member. For example, I would not post that Doug Parker is an idiot — whether or not that is my sentiment — either here at The Gate or on FlyerTalk. I will comment that a particular piece of quoted content or a particular act is idiotic, however.

Do you see the difference?

For that reason alone, I do not agree with the argument that the proposed forum would be too contentious. I think it is worth giving FlyerTalk members a place to air their thoughts on a particular topic or on a particular weblog.

Readers post comments to The Gate regularly — and I welcome and encourage that. I personally read every comment posted in response to what I write — whether the reader completely agrees with my point of view or takes me to task regarding an error in what I have written.

Please allow me to repeat what was posted here:

“I look at it this way: feedback is a gift. Regardless of whether the response is positive or negative in tone — if a reader is willing to give up his or her own time and effort to post a comment to something which you have written, that means that that person is reading what you wrote. That same person could simply not bother to comment if it was not worth his or her time or effort — which would indeed be an easier decision to make.
“While it is always nice to receive positive comments, the best comments are usually from those who offer constructive criticism from which the “blogger” and other readers can actually learn — and when done in a civil discourse, that helps the weblog to become that much more useful.”

In fact, I had written the following when the Comments section of The Gate was enabled back in January of 2012:

“Past entries posted to The Gate are not currently open to comments, but they can be opened. I will attempt to open as many past entries as possible to comments so that you may discuss them, starting with the most recent ones first.”

I am proud to announce that all past entries of The Gate — which date back to the summer of 2006 — are now open for comments by you.

By the way — while I am on the topic of weblogs — I have a bit of advice for authors of weblogs who post trip reports: please take the time to compose a short summary of your trip report as your “teaser” instead of immediately starting with your list of sub-topics. It is rather annoying to read your trip report when I see “Introduction: Boarding the Flight Day Two: Arrival at the First Destination Day Three: Shopping and Attractions Day Four:…” I am not the least bit interested in reading your trip report with that type of excerpt. Give me something to entice me to read it. Create some intrigue or suspense.

Thank you. I needed to say that…

Source: Internet Brands.

2 thoughts on “Should FlyerTalk Have a Dedicated Forum for Discussions Pertaining to Weblogs?”

  1. peachfront says:

    Actually, the difference between calling someone an idiot and calling their opinion and/or their writing idiotic is not as big or as important as you think. You can say, “Bless your heart, honey, I really respect you as a person but your work yesterday was idiotic and here’s the reason I think so” and you know what? They’ll still feel hurt. Just as hurt as if you called them an idiot. In many cases, MORE hurt than if you called them an idiot, because many adults just laugh at name-calling but when you come back and call their opinion/ideas wrong…that’s what hurts.
    In other words, if you want to talk about bloggers and critique their work, I don’t have a problem with it, but don’t pretend it won’t be contentious. And don’t pretend it won’t feel hurtful to some people. My opinion only, obviously.

  2. Brian Cohen says:

    I do not believe that a discussion should not be contentious – as long as it is productive.
    While I agree that calling content by someone idiotic can indeed be hurtful to the person who wrote it, the point I was attempting to make is that there needs to be an outlet of discussion about the growing industry that has become “blogging” about points and miles. In fact, there is nothing wrong with a lively debate – but when it starts to get personal is when the debate starts to lose its meaning, its purpose and its usefulness.
    Would you agree with that?

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