There has been much debate on how to improve the quality of the forums on airliners.net, but most of this debate has centred on what changes can be made in the future to improve, or at the very least stop the decline in quality that has been ongoing for the last 12 months or so. There have been various suggestions made, some of which may or may not be implemented at a later date.
However, most people visit here almost every day, and some clearly much more frequently than that! So why not use whatever tools we already have at our disposal to keep the forum at a reasonable standard of quality, and not let it get spoiled by pointless topics or personal disagreements....starting now! I believe that myself, and many others, may not really have been doing this.
When there is a topic is posted that has been discussed to death, or is simply pointless or childish - there is sometimes a great temptation to post some sort of reply, often to correct some inaccuracy or wild conjecture and to put a more reasonable opinion forward. I think the best things we can do if we feel a topic merits it are two-fold;
(1) Use the star ratings, let whoever started the topic know how you feel about it's suitability for the forum - I'm going to use this function more from now on to register my feelings on a particular topic.
(2) If appropriate, suggest deletion of a thread. If a topic really has been discussed to death, is childish, immature or another "Why don't United order the 737NG?" thread, then it adds nothing to the forum, and will be counter-productive in directing attention away from the more interesting threads. Why not suggest it be deleted if that's how you feel? This method of registering your feelings is far more appropriate than actually replying.
However, I personally find it very difficult to let a post that is full of factually incorrect information stand unchallenged, and I’m sure many other people do as well. There also appear to be a certain hardcore of members who hold certain set views who flatly refuse to re-evaluate those views or consider anyonelse’s opinion, even in the face of stated facts to the contrary
One of the biggest problems facing the forums appears to be attention seeking. Some members appear to put forward an endless stream of topic starters in a desperate effort to get people to reply to them. Unfortunately these topics usually are poorly-thought out, rarely based on any real facts and have been discussed many times before. They contribute nothing to anyone’s’ knowledge or understanding of aviation.
There are also far too many misleading topic headings, which you click on with interest, and then find the actual thread has little to do with the title - again usually an attempt to get people to read a thread because it wouldn't otherwise attract any attention. I don’t think people should really be tolerating misleading topics, if what you’re typing can’t generate any replies on it’s own merits, then that’s told you something hasn’t it.
Something else that appears to be a growing problem is the posting of photos directly into a thread in their full-size format. This is unnecessary, and causes threads to take a very long time to load. Why not just post the small-size photo links – if we want to see the large version we’re all capable of clicking on the image to enlarge it, just like the instructions say.
There are some very arrogant people here who think their right to hold an opinion also includes the requirement that everyone else should accept that opinion, and they also fail to see the difference between a statement of opinion;
“I think United will never order the 737NG”
And an implication of fact
“United will NEVER order the 737NG”
Of course those statements would never be backed up with any reasoned argument, supporting their claims. But when you as a respondent come back with a reasoned reply, stating that while it’s unlikely United will order the 737NG, it’s not impossible because…, you often get something like;
“Hey, I’m entitled to my opinion. Don’t flame me,” or something similar screamed back at you.
Maybe not everyone has noticed, but there are far fewer aviation professionals here than there were just a year ago. A very large proportion of experienced, knowledgeable people have left airliners.net because they were fed up. They weren’t bored, but fed up with the constant stream of posts full of mis-information, fed up with being challenged by 16-year olds who claim to know it all and fed up thinking they always had an uphill battle just to get the simplest point across.
It is exactly the people who are spoiling the forum that are losing out most due to their attitudes. They have most to learn, yet they have already lost most of the professional input into the forums for everyone, that element looks unlikely to ever return. Any insights or information such people could have offered is lost. The refusal to accept any information or opinion that does not tally with their views, no matter how well founded, will mean anyone with much knowledge will leave before too long.
The forum will be transformed;
From having people with a wide range of experience levels in aviation, from a wide variety of backgrounds eager to discuss and share aviation experiences,
To a place where a few people all sharing similar opinions can fight amongst themselves about issues which really aren’t of any interest to the rest of the aviation community.
Do you agree or disagree?
What can we do now to improve things?