TalkBoard to Disband After November 30, 2016 on FlyerTalk

“T alkboard will be disbanded at the end of November. Many people have faithfully served as Talkboard members. Many good decisions have come from it, and FlyerTalk has been strengthened as a result. However, FlyerTalk is now a mature board with little activity where Talkboard can engage. It’s been increasingly difficult to get members to vote in the Talkboard election. I think that readers are happy to engage in conversations about miles and points but have little interest in the mechanics of the board. I deeply appreciate all that Talkboard has done over the years. We are a better site thanks to their efforts.”

Those are the words posted by Carol Hahn — who is the current community director of FlyerTalk and also known as SanDiego1K — in response to this request posted by FlyerTalk member ediemac1 pertaining to the annual election for members of TalkBoard, as this is the time of year when the annual election typically occurred but has not happened.

While a successor process to TalkBoard still has not been officially announced, FlyerTalk members should not be concerned that their voices will no longer be heard. Feedback is important to both the community director and to employees of Internet Brands, which is the company that owns FlyerTalk; and a mechanism will be established to ensure that the lines of communication remain open in the future.

“I expect to set up a new forum called ‘The Suggestion Box’ and place it adjacent to CommunityBuzz”, SanDiego1K posted earlier today. “It wlll be the place for members to come who have an idea for how to do better what we already do very well.”

Reasons For TalkBoard to Disband After November 30, 2016 on FlyerTalk

Although some FlyerTalk members oppose the disbanding of TalkBoard, there are a number of reasons as to why it will happen after Wednesday, November 30, 2016 — one of them being less engagement overall from members of FlyerTalk. In the most recent election last year, 468 ballots were cast. That is a decrease of almost 66 percent from the 1,375 ballots which were cast in 2011. Creating an election each year consumed a significant amount of time and effort — and that included posing questions to the candidates from FlyerTalk members as to their stances and positions on certain topics.

Also, FlyerTalk is no longer that upstart forum of topics dealing with miles, points and travel. It has existed in its current form for greater than 18 years; and it was first conceived by Randy Petersen greater than 21 years ago in its first iteration. Many significant issues dealing with the operation of the forum have been resolved; and many of the issues still yet to be resolved — technology and advertising, for example — are under the purview of the employees of Internet Brands responsible for the administration of FlyerTalk. These factors helped to contribute to TalkBoard becoming increasingly obsolete.

Actually, the winding down of TalkBoard as a user advisory council was first conceived as early as nine years ago. “The concept originally came about in the late 90s (FlyerTalk officially started in 1995) as a way to open up a channel of communication within the members of FlyerTalk and use the voice of members to help build a path for FlyerTalk”, Randy Petersen — who founded FlyerTalk and BoardingArea — posted earlier today. “Of and by the members was important in those early days. While not true today, FlyerTalk at the time had no mentors, had no competitors to learn from, no existing business/community model and as a pathfinder in a new and growing forest called the World Wide Web, used a process that is now called ‘crowdsourcing’ as it’s listening device. Yes, FlyerTalk was early on in travel: among the first to form a crowdsourcing ‘business plan’, among the first to create what is called social media today by introducing formal lurkers and among the first at so many other things. All members should be proud of its heritage.”

About TalkBoard

TalkBoard is a user advisory council of FlyerTalk which consists of nine members of the community — all of whom are chosen by popular vote of the active FlyerTalk members and served terms of two years — whose purpose is to provide input regarding feature requests for FlyerTalk; action requests which fall outside the scope of policies and procedures that are already established; and general user issues as may be directed to them by the FlyerTalk member population and the host of FlyerTalk.

As part of the FlyerTalk Town Hall created by Randy Petersen during the autumn of 2001 when he still owned and operated FlyerTalk, TalkBoard served as a method of input for members of FlyerTalk who wished to opine about the future direction of FlyerTalk. After discussion and a vote on an issue, members of TalkBoard — who followed these guidelines — would then recommend to the community director the course of action to be taken on that particular issue. This process saved time for the community director, who could concentrate on other issues which concerned FlyerTalk.

FlyerTalk member Kiwi Flyer — who joined me as one of the two original contributors to The Gate when it debuted back in August of 2006 — created what he calls a “brief history” of TalkBoard on FlyerTalk. I call it detailed and rather informative.

Some of the more popular — and controversial — topics amongst all of those presented to members of TalkBoard over the years included:


For nostalgia purposes, you can view all of the decisions reached by members of TalkBoard over the years pertaining to the passing or failing of motions…

…and if you would like to post your thoughts — or if you want to wish the members of the last TalkBoard well — you have until Wednesday, November 30, 2016 to do so.

Just for fun, can you guess the names of at least five authors of weblogs at BoardingArea — including Prior2Boarding — who have served on TalkBoard as elected members in some capacity?

5 thoughts on “TalkBoard to Disband After November 30, 2016 on FlyerTalk”

  1. Tom says:

    “FlyerTalk is no longer that upstart forum of topics dealing with miles, points and travel. ”
    Indeed it is not, it’s now a venue for a seemingly never end stream of travel credit card ads (mixed in with a lot of whining). I joined FT some 15 years ago and was quite active–I can barely stomach it now.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I was going to comment how long ago you became a member of FlyerTalk, Tom

      …until I realized that I joined as a member of FlyerTalk not much longer after you did…

      1. Tom says:

        It’s kind of sad really. I think all the mergers and subsequent devaluations really tainted the water there with the whining. Lots of good memories though.

        1. Brian Cohen says:

          I think you have a point there, Tom.

          Unfortunately, weblogs and social media are far more prevalent today than when we first joined as members of FlyerTalk; so information can be found in multiple places these days as opposed to years ago.

          I remember how much valuable information there was on FlyerTalk back then because of all of the deals, which are relatively few and far between today…

          …but I still have many friends on FlyerTalk; and I will still do whatever I can for them — as well as other FlyerTalk members…

  2. Ryan says:

    I’ve been a member for 7+ years and never saw the utility of TB. It was a self-licking ice cream cone from what I could tell.

    I think what FT needs is to really be open to growth, with free discussion of open feedback. That includes 2 things:

    1. Addressing the dreaded “moderation”. IB posted that thread not long ago for ways to improve FT and various moderation issues were the top category of items mentioned by members. Yet in the follow-up survey thread, the hammer came down on “thou shalt not discuss moderation” and the matter was close with the perfunctory “send a PM to the CD with any moderation issues” which is entirely tone deaf. No one was trying to get personal with any particular mod nor discuss specific moderation actions – the desire was, and is, for a general, non-attribution public dialogue about policies and practices. IB, FT, and the CD continue to hide behind the inane policy and threats to ban people for even uttering the word “moderation”. It’s childish and ridiculous, and shows a thin skin when the operators of the site refuse to openly discuss an issue of concern with members.

    Interestingly the history of this policy was recently discussed by Dovster here:
    “Yes, and no. When I originally joined FT (in 2003) there was no rule about discussing moderation. Then Randy put a ban on criticizing a specific decision made by a moderator on the grounds that it constitutes a personal attack. Later, this morphed into a ban on all discussion of moderation.

    If I recall correctly (and I am certain someone will correct me if I am wrong) it was originally TalkBoard — before I joined FT — that established the very basic concept of having moderators for the forums. Later, when I was on TB, Randy told TalkBoard that it could not discuss the issue or make any recommendations to him about it.”

    2. Work to grow beyond the Cult of Personality in FT leadership. Randy Petersen created a great thing and I love FT, but he’s not a god nor infallible. The way Randy did things doesn’t have to be the way things are always done. A similar, though lesser, butt-kissing occurs now with the current CD – any comment slightly critical of something brings a chorus of Yes-Men. (I’m sure she is a very nice person but “Carol is wonderful, she really cares…” isn’t a valid retort to substantive critiques or suggestions about the site – FT is a business. This flows down to certain other members that are part of the “old boy/girl network”.

    With the growth of Reddit forums, blogs, and other sites about this frequent flyer “hobby”, FT may well go the way of the dinosaur if it remains so set in its ways.

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