Administrator From Sweden, joined May 1999, 3251 posts. Posted (12 years 6 months 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 2489 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW SITE ADMIN
Thank you all for your comments and suggestions i the Future Of The Forums thread. It's very nice to see that a lot of you are interested in and willing to contribute to make the discussion forums on Airliners.net a better place. I've read all replies in great detail and it has certainly given me a lot of new ideas on how to move things forward.
I'd like to comment on the major points brought up and will for convenience include a quote of the text I am commenting on:
Yes. Allow users to moderate posts. But ONE user should not automatically be able to delete posts; rather they can raise or lower the score of a given post. (This moderation score would be separate from the 'stars' rating -- although the 'stars' rating might be possibly weighted in the formula) Posts with scores lower than a certain amount are AUTOMATICALLY deleted. This makes the system fairer and more objective.
I've seen this system in action at Slashdot.org and it seems to work relatively well. It's not a bad idea and might be something to consider implementing although I think it's better suited for a wider scope site like Slashdot than for Airliners.net. I fully agree that ONE user alone should not be able to delete a post.
And notice how you can select the minimum score of posts you want to read. So someone who only wants to read the high-quality posts, can set their score to a high level, and not even read the 'crap' posts. So a 'minimum score' filter would be very nice to have as a user option on airliners.net.
I'm not too fond of the idea to keep the low quality "crap" posts at all.
Just to add something, I think these guys should be able to close threads and not delete them, unless they are offensive. I think closing threads is much nicer then deleting them, but has the same effects, this way we can see what was going on and understand why it was closed.
Yes, giving them the ability to close (archive) a post but not delete is a good idea.
As for the fee, why not talk to some companies like airlines, or publications like Airways to help sponsor the site? I have posted this suggestion many times on this forum before, but it has apparently fallen on deaf ears!
Airliners.net is currently relying on sponsor deals and advertising for financing. Unfortunately, the online ad market is not what it used to be and we're currently looking for other forms of income. That's another discussion though.
Also, agreeing with that LV-7772 said, a persons quality of post ranges VERY greatly! I've seen people in the TWFirst forums type ONE NUMBER AS A POST AND DO THIS 10 TIMES!
If the total number of posts will be included to determine whether a particular user can become a moderator or not, posts in the non-aviation forum will not count.
Another suggestion I just thought about: Allow users to submit questions/answers to the forum FAQ document. There could be a board of editors that would approve submissions, and add them. It would work similar to the articles.
This is definitely something worth implementing. It's been on my mind for quite some time but I haven't been able to decide the exact layout and who should be allowed to post questions/answers to that document.
However, instead of selecting these power users [Moderators] based on arbitrary criteria, why not create a "short list" long term, knowledgable users - and then put them to a vote from the general population?
It's a good idea but might be too much work. Not only is the programming of voting scripts and managing the voting process a problem, I'm not so sure this procedure will bring forward the people best suited for the job. I'd rather give moderator status (ability to archive posts) to everyone that reaches a certain level and remove those that cannot handle it (incorrectly archived threads can easily be "un-archived").
As far as raising revenues, a couple of suggestions: provide links to Amazon.com, etc for buying aviation books and when someone follows the link and buys something Airliners.net gets something. Also, in the aviation hobby section a lot of people are trading and selling aviation stuff, how about create a separate "auction" forum where people can do this, like eBay - and you charge them a % of each sale made.
I've tried working with Amazon and the revenue is unfortunately very small, far from the revenue needed to keep the site up and running (servers, network etc). Creating an entirely new section like an auction is a lot of work, not least writing the scripts that charges people a percentage of sales. Furthermore I'm not so sure it would generate any revenue to speak of as most people would use eBay anyway. The revenue issue is different topic that I'll get back to some other time.
If you do end up charging for the site make the system work so that you can view the posts for free, just it costs to respond. This way people will only post when they have something important enough that they will pay to have it said. For those that don't want to pay, they can still read the forum and learn what is happening in aviation.
If we decide to turn parts of Airliners.net into a subscription service (note that I said IF, it's far from a certainty) that's the way I intend for it to work. Reading is free, posting will cost.
It would be a nightmare for the administration and would probably have to be "out-shopped" to an agency which would charge a percentage. You could not sensibly run a fee on anything less than an annual basis, without massive administration and probably a minimum fee of $20 pa.
Indeed true and yet another problem making the situation more complex. It is possible to use services like PayPal but micropayments on the Internet still has a long way to go.
Although I find the forums to be the best ones I have ever visited, who would pay to use them if there are so many other free ones out there?
Online services are growing up. The fact is that it costs money to run a quality service. It you want to be around in the long run, you'd better charge for your services. Just like any magazine, we have ads on our pages to pay for the costs we have. Magazines aren't free, you will have to pay if you want to read it. The same thing will happen to the Internet. Yes, there's a lot of free services out there right now living on "future expectations". But when all comes around, they too will have to find some way to pay for their hardware, Internet connection, staff etc and banner ads just doesn't cut it anymore.
Think if your favorite magazine. Sure, it would have a heck of a lot more subscribers if the yearly subscription cost was 0:-. That would unfortunately mean that they would go bankrupt pretty quick. Same goes for Airliners.net. Yes, we will loose a lot of visitors if we start charging for our services. That's however a price I'm willing to pay to keep the site up and running and I hope those of you that enjoy the site appreciate that. But again, the issue of the future of Airliners.net is another topic.
What you haven't suggested is something I have thought about. How about in the registration process requiring an email confirmation. The user will not be able to post until they have received and replied to the confirmation.
That's the way it currently works and has worked for a year or so (but I know it wasn't implemented when you registered in Feb 2000).
And perhaps have a daily posting limit for new members. Say 20 posts/day for 15 days max. That would certainly be enough to participate in the forums at almost any level.
I'm not so keen on adding a limit on the number of posts. However, for new users, it might be a good idea. Maybe limit new users to one thread-starting post a day for the first 10 posts or so.
Then there are the fishing expeditions, such as: What is the best/worst/mediocre airline/aircraft/airport/picture/food/service/stewardesses you have/haven't ever/will plan on/ not plan on in your life/parent's life/past life/future life? Perhaps individual polling areas should be introduced for these.
Perhaps. I'm not very fond of those posts either but I am not sure a "polling area" would be the best solution.
I think having a few mods would be a good idea. But just to "close" a topic, not delete it. Also, when they close the topic, they should give a reason at the end of the topic why it is being closed, that way people know why, and who closed it. But i think only you (Johan) should be able to totally delete topics. Also, you should be able to open topics back up if you feel they shouldn't have been closed.
Yes, that's exactly how it should work.
Aloha 737-200 wrote:
And, refelcting on all that I said earlier on users "bonding". That's what non_av is for too. you can chat with a person on a personal level there, or just laugh or have fun, or do what friends do. Granted, everyone is different and you also get your radicals who like to cause problems.
Yes, I too see positive sides to the non-aviation forum and hope we will be able to keep it.
Your goal here, I believe, is to keep away non-serious users. I think you can acheive this by simply putting a 24-72 hour waiting period on joining the forum. Even send them an e-mail reminder when this period is up. This would make the process of obtaining a new membership a pain-in-the-ass enough to keep away most people who just want to cause troube or even create a second false userid for some spur-of-the-moment activity.
An excellent idea I intend to implement.
I think that sometimes it would better to suspend a user for a period of time rather than delete them outright, or possibly suspend or ban them from peticular forums rather than the whole site.
Yes, the problem is that there's currently no such function in the scripts that manage the discussion forums. It's something I'll have to write. While at it, I'm also intending to add an automatic email notification to users when a post of theirs is removed or archived. It can contain a copy of the post and the reason it was deleted as well as a warning if the offence was severe.
This idiot was allowed to reign havoc on the main forum for quite a number of hours before the posts were deleted. If "moderators" were not to have the same "power" as current admin, those threads would still be there for all to see on the main board.
Yes, that's a problem. Maybe we could let moderators delete posts as long as more than one (or two) request for it to be removed. They could also be given the ability to temporary suspend a user's ability to post.
Another feature that I would support fully, is that the IP address of the person posting should be available for people to see. This will stop people to some extent who are posting under multiple usernames, often to flame other users.
IP addresses are always logged although not shown to other users. It's a privacy issue and I'm not sure other users would appreciate it if their IP was displayed. As it's logged, we can always use it against troublemakers.
Personally, if it was my site, I would also get rid of the star rating for posts.
Some people claim it's a waste of bandwidth as it isn't used for anything but I think it does serve a purpose, especially for new users. If a post of theirs receives a low rating, they might refrain from posting a similar topic in the future.
We're Nuts wrote:
5 dollars a YEAR!? Why not just rob Johan as he walks down the street?
Yeah. If there were a million users, five bucks a year would pay the costs. Unfortunately there's not (yet) a million of you.
People need to start thinking of airliners.net as a MASSIVE "Airways" or "Airliners World" or one of the other enthusiast magazines, and it is only fair that people should pay for that privilege.
Imagine the look on the magazine publishers face if you were to go to them and demand a FREE subscription.
Also, I do not buy any of these enthusiast magazines because they:
a) Do not have anywhere near the number of photos which are available on airliners.net
b) Their news is limited
c) Their news is out-of-date by the time of publication, and the forums here on airliners.net are full of a wealth of information on aspects of aviation which you just don't see in these magazines, a prime example being my passion, Russian aviation.
I like your point of view!
If we paid a subscription fee, would that get rid of the friggen slow banner ads? No offense, this is a great site, but it's got some of the slowest ads on the internet, and they delay the whole page
That could definitely be added as one of the "features" of a paid subscription.
I suspect the difference is down to the relative focus of the forum. Civil is just too wide. Maybe the forums need to be re-organised into more specific groups, perhaps requiring separate reg. for each.
I'm not so sure splitting it up is a good idea. It is very important that the range of topics in the different forums doesn't interfere or people will just post where the most action is. I've tried to keep the distinction between the different forums very clear and still people tend to post photography related topics in the civil aviation discussion (As it's got "more users").
UAL Bagsmasher wrote:
Many users on this forum, particularly airline employees, do not want their true identities to be revealed. Doing so may put their job in jeopardy in the event they say something they aren't supposed to about their job and/or employer.
Yes, it will not be required to reveal your true identity to other users, that's that the username is for. However, you are required to give us your real name but as you all know, you have the option not to have it displayed to other users.
Go canada! wrote:
its sensitive data its the law..i didnt request to see your e-mail. ITS NONE OF MY BUISNESS. if you want to display your email address because of your liberila values then thats fine but dont expect me to do it as well.....
I am being liberal here and giving you the option of hiding your email address from other users. That's not a right, that's a service. If you don't like the rules and conditions you have the option not to sign up and participate in our forums.
How about creating a "New User" forum? All the newbies can go there and post all of their questions that they don't realize were already addressed many times. When someone signs up, the FAQ can suggest that they post in the newbie forum and only "lurk" in the other forums until they're comfortable that they have the a.net etiquette down.
Interesting though. I'll have to consider what the consequences would be.
Lindy field wrote:
Divide the Civil Aviation forum into two separate forums. The first, designed to attract more professional discussion, might be titled something like Aviation News, Facts, and History. This forum would be a place to discuss breaking news, to ask factual questions about airlines, routes, aircraft, or what have you. The idea is that it would be a forum for thoughtful analysis rather than defensive or emotional posts.
The second forum would be devoted to Love of Aviation and might contain the subjective topics about favorite liveries, airlines, aircraft, etc. This could be a place for topics like "Japan Airlines should serve Fresno!" or "Northwest would look better if they painted their tails green." It could also serve as a forum for fantasy liveries or other creative endeavors.
That's a split that might actually work despite the negative comments I wrote higher up about splitting the Civil Aviation forum. I'd appreciate comments on this idea, what are the negative sides to it?
Have 2 forums. Forum #1 for subscribers. Those who want a serious and knowledgeable discussion about aviation would be willing to pay a fee to use this site, if they knew they were receiving quaility exchange of information. I certainly would. Those who do not have a credit card or choose not to part with their money would be allowed to read only, but not post on this forum #1. This would help eliminate the non serious users.
Forum # 2 would be for all to use, and moderated as it is now. This would allow for non subscribers to still communicate and share aviation information. Naturally, there will be more topics of marginal interest to work through to find the nuggets of knowledge/opinion posted. But, this would allow those interested, but not interested enough to subscribe, to still communicate about aviation topics.
That's another interesting though I'd have to think about.
I am looking forward to reading your comments now that you know in more detail my thoughts on the issue.
Working on the site from morning 'till night that's livin' alright (1997-2007)
Teahan From Belgium, joined Nov 1999, 5275 posts, RR: 62 Reply 2, posted (12 years 6 months 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 2126 times:
Johan, I agree with most of your points but definitely not about charging people to use the discussion forum.
The Airliners.net discussion forums would lose most of the the good users! Remember, as Gerardo said, the site only provides the platform to a discussion forum. To get the good users is another story. Once the good users leave, you will start getting fewer and fewer new members and after a few months, the forum will sink to NOTHING!
If you had to charge people, what about a once in a lifetime $5 registration fee? If you were to be really nice, how about exempting current members?
Goodbye SR-LX MD-11 / 6th of March 1991 to the 31st of October 2004
Aer Lingus From Ireland, joined May 2000, 1535 posts, RR: 0 Reply 5, posted (12 years 6 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 2095 times:
Two things I'd just like to add/suggest:
1)I'm not at all in favour of this pay-per-post scheme at all. I realise that it would help with the much needed funds but it may also lower the forum hit rate or even the site hit rate for that matter, for me paying on the net is impossible. I'm just a student so have not got the luxury of owning a credit card.
With reagrd to the photography forum, If I don't pay and I have a photo opinion request, then it will be impossible for me to receive constructive criticism. I basically learnt photography from that forum and am proud to have my 73 or so pictures on the site in such a short space of time since i took the hobby up. Without these opinions I cannot improve my skills at a rapid rate and at such a convenience.
2)I think it would be worthwhile considering implementing a function whereby someone can actually delete/edit their own posts. I've often seen this work on other forums around the internet.
Sometimes I feel after posting a message that I may need to add something to it etc... Also lets say someone has pressed the submit button twice and has created a slight nuisance with the presence of the same topic one under the other, with a self deletion function ridding of nuisance meesages or messages of undesired contenet is made much easier
Teahan From Belgium, joined Nov 1999, 5275 posts, RR: 62 Reply 6, posted (12 years 6 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 2083 times:
And I must agree with Capt.Picard on the star rating system. Currently, Out of the 70 or so topics in the non aviation forum, only 8 have been star rates. It was fine at the start, when it was a novelty and everyone used it. Sadly, no one does now. It would probably work if more (and I mean many more) people used it.
I also agree with Martin's (Aer Lingus) point on an edit/delete function. It exists on most other forums/BBs I post on and it works!
Goodbye SR-LX MD-11 / 6th of March 1991 to the 31st of October 2004
VC-10 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 1999, 3691 posts, RR: 35 Reply 7, posted (12 years 6 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 2083 times:
I am against pay to post. I have posted 1110 times (excluding this one) and out of those posts 99% have been to answer technical questions. If I have to pay to answer people's questions, well........good-bye.
D L X From United States of America, joined May 1999, 10794 posts, RR: 52 Reply 8, posted (12 years 6 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 2066 times:
Your analogy about magazines is a good one. BUT, be careful. Raising the price is not how a magazine improves its quality; quality improvement must precede a rate hike, or in this case, an introduction of a fee.
We're Nuts From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5722 posts, RR: 21 Reply 9, posted (12 years 6 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 2052 times:
Regarding the use of member-moderators: if you want to regulated what they delete/close, you could simply make it a two-person process. One moderator finds a post that is offensive, and hits the delete button. That "delete" is logged, and if another moderator does the same thing, the post disappears. Therefore, no one user could remove a post!
Also Johan, I think you ought to start the moderator selection process now. It may take a while, and you should try to get 2 moderators from every time-zone. It would also be nice if the moderators had a way to communicate. These things take time.
PanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 9 Reply 10, posted (12 years 6 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 2037 times:
Although there is room for improvement on this forum, it is honestly not that bad. With all the good/bad posts I have learned a TON about aviation.
Everybody always brings out the bad points. Today when you talked to your friend, did everything he/she say deserve a "5-star rating"? No, but you listened anyway, and although you may have disagreed with him/her on their opinions you nevertheless accepted their opinions and showed where you disagree with them. You may have also fought a little bit on the subjects...same thing here.
The point is, this forum isn't perfect, and it will never be perfect. This is the same thing as talking to 8000 strangers on the street, it is never going to be a perfect discussion.
Just for example, go over to abcnews.com and see how the "professionals" do their forums. I guarantee you will see more swear words there than in a gas station bathroom.
I personally think if you start charging for the forums, some kids will obviously drop out and you will lose someone who dreams about being a pilot and who has now lost his only source for information for their dream. Just go ask all the commercial pilots on here for their take on this. I guarantee all of them will be sad to kick that kid out because he couldn't pay the fee. Remember they have stood in the shoes of a 13-year old who has dreamed those dreams before, and with a little knowledge, and a source to share and grow that dream, the 13 year old kid that dreams today, will be the one in the left seat of an A380 tomorrow.
I say keep doing it they way you are doing it now, but with a little more help. Cut out the offensive/vulgar posts, but keep the "crap" ones. The "crap" posts are the ones you learn from.
Johan, you made a great site, but don't go nuts and lose sleep trying to make it perfect, since when has aviation, and the world ever been perfect before.
Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
We're Nuts From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5722 posts, RR: 21 Reply 11, posted (12 years 6 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 2030 times:
I think of the rating system as more of a warning light. It might not have as much use in the Non Aviation forum, but it certainly does in the Civil Aviation forum. If I see an "American Airlines 727 crashes!" post with a 1-star rating, I won't waste my time reading it or turning on the news.
Flyf15 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 12, posted (12 years 6 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 2032 times:
I'd like to agree with PanAm747...I don't really see anything wrong with the forums as they currently are. Sure, every once in a while there is a fight or somebody who comes in to cause trouble. But, take the front page of the forum, how many of those posts shouldn't be there? Not too many of them...
Aside from figuring out a way to make revenue (and thus keeping the site going), I see no need and no personal desire for anything in the forums to be changed at all.
Ryu2 From Taiwan, joined Aug 2002, 474 posts, RR: 0 Reply 14, posted (12 years 6 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 2018 times:
I support a splitup of the Civil Aviation forum, and Non Aviaiton forum as I have previously posted. If you look at the other forums, Tech/Ops, Photgraphy, Military Aviation, Hobby, Photo Requests. they are much more free of problems than Civil Aviation. Therefore, they should remain as is.
Civil Aviation would become:
Airline Industry (orders, routes, etc)
Passenger-related issues (eg, does Airline X have PTVs, how do you think about the service)
Fantasy/What If? (Anything that's speculation, do you think airline X should fly to Y, Check out my fantasy livery, etc)
I think that covers about 90% of the stuff you see in Civil Aviation. This will also eliminate the problem of a user posting something in Civil Aviation that shouldn't be there, simply because that forum has the "most" users
Alternatively, the Civil Aviation forum should be split by geography (Asia, Australia, NA, SA, Europe, Africa, maybe)
Non-Aviation would become:
Comments/Suggestions about the Site
(I don't frequent non-aviation, so I don't know what are the major categories of posts, but definitely, there needs to be a forum ONLY for site suggestions, comments, etc)
VirginLover From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 958 posts, RR: 15 Reply 15, posted (12 years 6 months 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 2010 times:
All I know, no matter what the cost would be, my parents, who just had their credit card stolen, won't let me buy much off the internet... let alone a website.
For selecting new volunteer monitors, you could do it the way my National Honor Society holds elections, but slightly different.
We shouldn't have democratic elections, I know unfair in one aspect, but it'd just be a popularity contest anyways.
What my NHS chapter does is before you want to vote, you have to have 25 members to sign your petition. The e-mails or usernames the candiate puts down would have to be willing to give a recommendation on demand, just to make sure the candiate doesn't just randomly put names.
Then, from these candiates petitions, Johan would make his selections.
Watewate From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 2284 posts, RR: 2 Reply 16, posted (12 years 6 months 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 1977 times:
I don't think Johan is out to make $25/yr off every user of this site. Even $5~7 US should be suffice for him to keep up with necessary upgrades and costs that he incurs while running A.net. I'd take one thousand serious aviation entusiasts anyday over a group of 8000 users- most of them not even active anyways.
The point here is to address the rapid degradation of the forum quality, first- and Johan's balance sheet, second (as much as I'd like to see it the other way around). As long as there's $ involved, it will deter any jokers from signing up under multiple user names and wreaking havoc on the forum.
I understand that many prospective new users will be reluctant to pay upfront to participate in a forum they've never posted on before. Something like a trial subscription maybe the answer for those needs. This would be 7~14 days where the user has limited posting privileges.
CYKA From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 17, posted (12 years 6 months 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 1986 times:
I know you mentioned that the future of airliners.net is another topic but I thought I'd ask you here since you will probably be checking here what people are saying anyway. Ok here's the question: Is Airliners.net in danger of going under and disapearing from the internet if a source if income is not found soon?
If that is the case I think it would be a good idea to remove some of the old, exremely low quality photos from say the first two years of the site being up. This would no doubt reduce costs since the size of the database would be reduced dramaticly.
CYKA From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 18, posted (12 years 6 months 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 1969 times:
Back on topic now:
Instead of all the trouble with extra moderators and stuff, why not just have the site automaticly remove a post which has been recomended for deletion by five diffrent users?(provided it is possible to write such a code)
LHMark From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 7255 posts, RR: 50 Reply 19, posted (12 years 6 months 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 1946 times:
Revenue is one issue, post quality is another. I'll address the post quality issue here.
It doesn't matter.
So a post is stupid, or juvenile, or uninformed, or repetitive, or insulting, or inflammatory, or annoying, or redundant, or boring, whatever. I ignore those, and I'm confident that most of the serious users ignore them, too.
Is anyone really losing sleep because one user tries to antagonize other users?
We don't need more moderators... we need to learn what to ignore. I'm confident in my ability to do so.
"Sympathy is something that shouldn't be bestowed on the Yankees. Apparently it angers them." - Bob Feller
Jwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 20 Reply 20, posted (12 years 6 months 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 1946 times:
As has been brought up, paying to post but not to view would turn the forums into a large archive of unanswered questions.
I do not see many people forking over money just to answer other peoples' questions or have a lifely discussion. They would find other ways (IRC, Usenet, etc.. With the proliferation of high-bandwidth connections it is becoming ever more easy to set up such services even at home).
Asking payment for the entire site (with some form of free trial, maybe view 5 photos free, plus lists without photos and read a subset of the forums but not post) might drive away some users but would probably increase the overall quality of the site as a lot of those leaving will be the incessant trolls and flamers who will go back to usenet where life is free and flamewars rage all day and night