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I'm talking to a mirror.

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
6,722 posts
5 reviews
I'm talking to a mirror.

IF TA actually intends to try to improve it's site they are going to have to interact with us here. Out of all the different messages here very few, and I mean VERY few, have any kind of response from ANYONE who is a paid employee of TA. This entire part of the site looks like it was set up to allow members to blow off steam, think someone was listening while they did, and that should make them feel good & get back to answering questions. I've given up my DE status AND I DON'T WANT IT BACK, but I really hate to see all of my work go down in flames with this totally "blind eye" attitude. Just because you can't see our discontent doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

U.S.A. ( the land...
Level Contributor
4,238 posts
1. Re: I'm talking to a mirror.

Hey, Cicopo, you're not alone... those are exactly my thoughts and, I'm sure, many other members'.

Chester, United...
Level Contributor
63,268 posts
78 reviews
2. Re: I'm talking to a mirror.

I do think that TA have perhaps lost sight of the fact that the HUMTAB Forum should be a "two way arrangement" - I have raised this with them in the past and even with the Steve the CEO

All too often the posts on HUMTAB end up being a long protracted debate between users with very little input from TA themselves. I do know they monitor the forum so surely it is not that much effort to chip in more often

Come on TA "help improve this forum"

Boston...
Level Contributor
2,787 posts
TripAdvisor Staff  
3. Re: I'm talking to a mirror.

I'm here! I'm sorry that we haven't been commenting as much lately. We were busy with the redesign and the re-redesign. The good news is that I still read everything (just not as quickly) and usually the answer has already been given by another member.

If you ever see a thread that you thinks needs attention don't hesitate to PM me and I can look at it.

Again, sorry we've been absent.

Barbara-

Newton...
Level Contributor
638 posts
4. Re: I'm talking to a mirror.

Hi cicopo,

Rest assured that a staff member reads this forum and the Support forum regularly. The individuals who regularly read and participate here also handle all kinds of member support, forums moderation, DE nominations and support, and a host of other things. Sometimes we don't get to reply in here as often as we'd like, but we're listening. We try to reply when we are able to help out or shed light on a subject.

As flipflop_man knows, this forum has been a learning experience and an evolution for us and our community. We have implemented many of the ideas in this forum (including a few things coming soon, like a preview feature, the ability to see all replies when posting, and an edit button). When we know that we can't implement a suggestion, we let the community know.

FFM, if you want to explain about the HUMTAB list, feel free. It was updated fairly recently, and I'll do my best to go in there next week and clean it up again.

Thanks for participating. We hear you.

TA_Sara

Newton Aycliffe...
Destination Expert
for Cuba, Rafael Freyre, Guardalavaca, Holguin
Level Contributor
106,102 posts
57 reviews
5. Re: I'm talking to a mirror.

As I said on another post it's just like the buses. You don't see one for hours then two come at once.

I'm not complaining though, as it's great to see TA staff posting. Just wish it was more frequent.

U.S.A. ( the land...
Level Contributor
4,238 posts
6. Re: I'm talking to a mirror.

"If you ever see a thread that you thinks needs attention don't hesitate to PM me and I can look at it."

Barbara, since this is a forum where *TA* *wants to know* from members how things could be improved ( made better), I'd think it would be *the* one forum actively read by TA staff and that *staff* would keep an eye on *every* thread here!Your members contribute actively here,giving of their time and creativity, many with excellent suggestions and feedback. Now you want them to also *alert* you - by private message, no less! - to threads that "need attention"???

Sorry, but this kind of response only reinforces what the OP said. If you do not have enough staff to read every thread, then TA needs to hire more staff; if you want to put the onus on us, then pay us ( *not* me, but the many hard-working members, non-De's as well as some DE's, who not only give you their sincere feedback here on a regular basis but who also voluntarily shoulder the responsiblility of answering destination-forum questions almost daily, and on their time.. and of course, there are those few others who seem to only inhabit this forum and act as your voice, or should I say, toe the party line).

Your response only adds insult to injury - hey, being a TA staffperson is *your* ( full-time?) paid job, but many who contribute their comments and suggestions on this forum do so gratis, *in addition* to working daily at *their* full-time jobs.

U.S.A. ( the land...
Level Contributor
4,238 posts
7. Re: I'm talking to a mirror.

TA Sara, you said: "The individuals who regularly read and participate here also handle all kinds of member support, forums moderation, DE nominations and support, and a host of other things. Sometimes we don't get to reply in here as often as we'd like, but we're listening. We try to reply when we are able to help out or shed light on a subject."

Just what I referred to in my post above.

You mention one member, FlipFlopMan, as "knowing" ...what are the rest of us, dodos?

Chester, United...
Level Contributor
63,268 posts
78 reviews
8. Re: I'm talking to a mirror.

living

Personally, I think the use of the word "dodo" is rather apt as it is extinct and I view many of the changes that TA are rolling out are to make sure they do not go the same way.

As for Jane's comment about flip being in the know I think she is referring to the fact that I have being around HUMTAB from very early on and have made well over 1000 posts to it. I have seen it grow and turn into what it is today.

I was also instrumental in getting Steve the CEO to open a thread and was also instrumental in getting them to come up with the "list"

I have got fed up with HUMTAB on a couple occasions and left and now I have drifted back in again. I like to think I think less about "me" and more about the bigger picture and the community.

Overall TA is a great website - less it has its faults as most companies do

Scunthorpe, United...
Level Contributor
1,734 posts
77 reviews
9. Re: I'm talking to a mirror.

For me the issue is not that TA staff are not responding to comments here, it is that they do not seem to take action on the many shortcomings of TA that get highlighted in HUMTAB. That way lies problems for the future.

Many of the ‘improvements’ we have seen over the last year or so have done little, if anything, to improve users’ experience of the forums or the quality of information contained on the site. We have, however, been subjected to a number of seemingly pointless developments such as the Facebook debacle, the increase in profile and numbers of DEs and larger avatars.

The new forum design was so unbelievably bad that even TA had to take note of what the members were saying and rethink it. How it was ever allowed to see the light of day is beyond me. The current version is a lot better, and I think, an improvement on the old version, but it still has major layout drawbacks such as the intrusion of large DE tags, usernames being hard to see, glare and readability problems for some and so on (not to mention the ads - shh!). It still lacks basics taken for granted in virtually every other forum I visit, basics such as preview, the ability to see if any thread you have been involved in has been active, the ability to go to the last read thread in a forum. I could go on. I know changes on some of those are in the pipeline, but they have been there an awfully long time. TA forums remain a pretty clunky browsing experience.

But people will put up with clunky browsing (which is, in any case, subjective) if the quality of information is satisfactory. So what of the quality of information?

The whole review system is in disarray. The inclusion of unvetted, fatuous one-liners from non-members did nothing whatsoever for the credibility of reviews. The delays in publishing reviews from real members annoys many of them and means readers cannot get current information readily. Many reviews are obviously fakes, be they the gushing praise which sounds like a blurb from once-only posters - or possibly proprietors - or the damning criticism (again often a single post phenomenon) from someone with an axe to grind - or possibly an unscrupulous competitor. The number of hoteliers complaining about false reviews seems to have shot up recently, although I take some of the claims with a pinch of salt. Linked in with all this we seem to be seeing manipulation of the grading systems for hotels, attractions etc. Reviews are now an embarrassment. Presumably TA know this, but there seems to be a lack of corrective action.

But what of the forums? To me the standard of questions has gone down and so has the standard of answers. We get too many people asking ‘I’m arriving in Barataria tomorrow for three weeks, what is there to do?’ and too many answers from people who went there on a whistle-stop tour four years ago and give answers based on out of date information from an incomplete experience. OK, I exaggerate but that is the way things seem to be going. I also know that in user-to-user forums the rule of caveat emptor always applies and you need to approach well-meant answers to your questions with caution. But I see TA doing nothing to try to up the standard of information in forums.

There seem to be plenty of people around who look at this site with Panglossian wonder. But a few of us, like the little boy who was not impressed by the king’s new clothes, see a very different picture in which TA standards have declined a long way. I think we share a concern that TA will eventually cease to be a credible travel forum if no corrective action is taken.

Michael

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
6,722 posts
5 reviews
10. Re: I'm talking to a mirror.

"I think we share a concern that TA will eventually cease to be a credible travel forum if no corrective action is taken.

Michael"

I think it's already at that point. To me the forums were the ONLY credible part of the site these days & now that's going down the toilet too. Loading that area up with ads cheapens it, and untimately says to viewers "set your spyware software to a high guard setting".