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What is TA's new enthusiasm for (Closed Topics)??

Essex
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What is TA's new enthusiasm for (Closed Topics)??

I have suddenly started to notice the (Closed Topic) message popping up all over the place.

Whislt I do agree that resurrecting REALLY REALLY old threads on various forums can be a pain, often they have been flagged up for containing loads of useful info that many of us have spent hours finding out for people.

Closing genuinely helpful threads just because they have not been used for 6 months or more, IMO is just daft!!

It's one thing to close obnoxious, argumentative/abusive threads, but another to close the genuinely useful, just because they are old.

Are the TA police becoming a bit ageist??

Calgary, Canada
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1. Re: What is TA's new enthusiasm for (Closed Topics)??

EssexWanderer, this policy was suggested and discussed on this forum, and TA announced several months ago that they would start to implement it. The closed threads are still there, as you know, they're just not open to new postings; they will not be deleted.

If I recall correctly, the feeling when this was discussed here on HUMTAB was that if nobody had contributed to the thread in six months, then it was appropriate to close the discussion. It's not meant to be a judgement the helpfulness of the thread.

Washington State
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2. Re: What is TA's new enthusiasm for (Closed Topics)??

If you feel the old thread has great information, have your Destination Experts write an entry for "Top Questions about ___" with a link to that thread as the answer. Folks will find it more easily and be able to read the helpful thread.

Newton Aycliffe...
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3. Re: What is TA's new enthusiasm for (Closed Topics)??

I think it's an excellent idea and I fully support it. It happens a few times every week on my forum where someone digs up an old thread for no apparent reason.

Boston and...
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4. Re: What is TA's new enthusiasm for (Closed Topics)??

It is interesting that this is applied very inconsistently, even within the same forum, since its recent inception. I wonder if the mods will ever have the time to apply it consistently, or if there ever can be enough mods to do this job?

It seems that there will always be people who want to clean up everything that looks cleanable, and those who say, "This question should be part of X thread." ...and both of these views are typically voiced by people who have thousands of posts, the vast majority of them answers.

Moreover, it seems a waste of mods' busy time (it takes a few days to address a RPB). If the thread isn't culled, but is only closed, what's the point?**

What needs to remain in everyone's mind is that the forums are for the questioners, be they newbies or otherwise -- sometimes even us. What may look like a fully answered question, and thus close-able, nearly always has a further nuance or piece that isn't. Or, in this changing world, is update-able.

This perspective, and this context's version of "There's no such thing as a stupid [or old] question" should trump. Better that the answerers should take a break from it all than to shut down a still living topic, or worse, shut down a newbie who was only trying to do the due diligence. Especially when there is nothing up front that says use of old threads is discouraged.

** Though, looking at this from a business bottom-line perspective, closing a topic and thus prompting a new one, probably does stimulate more click-ins and click-outs.

Ottawa, Canada
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5. Re: What is TA's new enthusiasm for (Closed Topics)??

TO ESSEXWANDER & FIREWIND,

The aspect of closing out topics that have no activity for 6 months helps improve TA in a lot of ways.

1- It ensures that the info that is active in the TRAVEL FORUMS is current... too often in the past when an OLD POST (and especially a post of several years age) was resurrected and continued, a great deal of the info held within it was already out of date.

2- The largest single users of TA are the DE Team... The valuable volunteers who give tirelessly of their time and knowledge for a Destination. It makes the job of being a DE easier... we were spending a ton of time explaining to posters that (a) info they had read "I just read _____" was out of date, and we had to correct misinformation by going thru a lot of back and forth correspondence with the Traveller to correct them in their misbeliefs (b) In many Destinations the info changes seasonally, so pulling up a schedule from an attraction in July 2007 doesn't mean it would be even available or similar for 2009 (c) Every TA Traveller deserves the best that TA has to offer... and that means that if they want to post a Question to fit their "specific" circumstance that there will be someone available to meet their personal concerns.

3- Along with the Closing out of "stale" topics came the Frequently Asked Questions for each FORUM. Now DEs can provide answers to the most popular Questions in a very complete manner (and current, even seasonal if need be) without having to do so hundreds of times each week / month / year (Where to Stay - What to Do - What's the Weather Like).

** The above 3 points not only make TA a better experience for the Traveller but also for the DEs who can spend their time more constructively... and in the end makes TA a better Vacation Planning Community as a whole.

4- As already stated none of the "stale" topics have disappeared, they are still there... and can be found easily whenever someone searches the TRAVEL FORUM. They still form a "basis" of info for the Traveller... and the TA Statement that closes out the topic clearly states that this is an "OLD POST" and that if the Traveller would like current info, they are encouraged to post their own topic.

5- The "closing out" of topics that are not active for 6 months or longer DOES NOT require assistance by TA Personnel... it is a computer generated program, that does it automatically. So it in no way effects any of the other services that TA provides to its members.

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Cabarete, Dominican...
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6. Re: What is TA's new enthusiasm for (Closed Topics)??

I fully agree with closing old threads. In my experience, they're revived by someone other than the OP not to add useful information to the topic but to ask a slightly related or completely unrelated question. Need be, there is always the chance to link back to the closed thread to answer.

Boston and...
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7. Re: What is TA's new enthusiasm for (Closed Topics)??

Those pesky old nuisance threads...

I'm encountering one type of example, right now. New England fall foliage color. Closing related topics buries them further and further in the past. Sure, people can search, but when topics older than six months old are closed, that includes last year's fall foliage threads, and they sink further and further...

I still strongly believe it's axiomatic that the questioners interest trumps all in TripAdvisor. In fact, it could take some of the work off of Experts who are complaining, if you think about it -- both in not having to answer a portion of the new questions (that then don't get asked), and also by not having to either maintain the "organization memory" or to try to think back: "Where did I see that one before?" ...when that memory fades -- along with old threads. Experts and thousands-posters, you know you do this. Even if you're employed by your tourist bureau, you can't know all.

I'm keeping at this both because I don't think we'll hear much from the newbie constituency on this particular board, and because I just ran into a good example.

Boston and...
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8. Re: What is TA's new enthusiasm for (Closed Topics)??

One more thing... I've observed thousands-posters get burned out on the London, Paris and Bermuda boards. Some wisely just give it a break for a while. I think of the analogy of taking your foot out of a bucket of water. It fills in as if you never were there. You know what? Someone ALWAYS fills in, even if they have only 35 posts, sometimes if it's their first. Then the thousands-poster comes back refreshed because s/he still loves this stuff. (Unless it was a part of a job.)

Williamsburg...
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9. Re: What is TA's new enthusiasm for (Closed Topics)??

Firewind, that fall foliage topic is actually a very good example for why closing the stale topics is a good thing. Anyone can take a topic such as "fall foliage" and turn it into a Traveler Article or a Traveler List. A Traveler Article is a "wiki" so it can be edited by anyone, but a Traveler List is your own personal creation. Either one can be referenced and linked to in a new thread, and those who respond will be giving the freshest information. That eliminates the quandary of what to do with posts that have otherwise good information, but the restaurant recommendation or highway closure that's new since last year can be mentioned. Likewise, if a once-recommended place is now closed, or a highway is (still) under construction (yes, I visited Boston during the time of the Big Dig, several times), that doesn't become an issue either because the info can be mentioned in new threads.

Closing genuinely helpful threads just because they have not been used for 6 months or more makes good sense, as I think few threads contain useful information that does not require updating once in a while, and someone who dredges up an answer in an old thread may or may not ask a question that will bring new info to the forefront. What happens far too often, in my opinion, is that someone answers a months old thread weeks or months after the trip is over and seldom is this helpful to someone reading the thread months later.

Ottawa, Canada
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10. Re: What is TA's new enthusiasm for (Closed Topics)??

TO ZOEY1996,

You are right Fall Foliage is a "perfect" example, what happened in 2008 does not relate to 2009... It is a seasonal issue (and weather related). So that the percentage of change for September 27, 2008 and 2009 could be quite different for various regions. True here in Ontario... where we are having a much milder Fall (haven't even had an overnight frost as of yet).

Yes there is some "good" info in last year's posts... such as website info, BUT having a poster say "I read that the leaves are over for Mont Tremblant" for example would be inaccurate based on 2009 conditions.

And you are right, the more I use TA the more I believe that TRAVELLER ARTICLES and TRAVELLER LISTS are great tools in that they can be edited (or featured) and supplement the info in TRAVEL FORUMS... far more effectively than an bunch of out-of-date topics in the FORUM. And sadly often times from "unreliable" sources.

Cheers!

Wine-4-2