Obscure posts and questions
Replies: 40 - Last Post: Mar 21, 2013 3:25 AM Last Post By: bjd
Mar 12, 2013 7:21 AM
Obscure posts and questionsI guess we can tell it is getting close to the big holiday period when a lot of posts on here on from people who
1. have done no research themselves
2. expect us all to be travel agents giving them everything they need to know
3. from posters who have no idea why they are going somewhere just decided it would be good
There are lots of regular contributors on here who are only too happy to help, but not too plan every minute of someones holiday for them, we all love to give advice on places we know of, of alternatives that's why we come on the forum, but we do this for free and do not charge. That's what travel agents are there for.
Also most people would say thank you to a travel agent out of courtesy!!
Mar 12, 2013 7:37 AM
Mar 12, 2013 9:49 AM
Mar 12, 2013 10:25 AM
3Maybe it helps when you react by saying things like ...vague question ... provide more info ... what do you alredy know/found out etc. ?
What doesn't help after this kind of reticent answer is that a colleague whizkiddy poster drops by and gives a long and detailed answer with all kind of options.
This lack of 'solidarity' will never help to educate (often new/enthusiastic) posters, spoilt ..... uuuuh better: influenced by the internet mores.
Thanks for reading and emphasizing the item again, richiavo. The 'offenders'will unfortunately not read this. More than 5 sentences;-)
Mar 12, 2013 11:18 AM
4On the positive side, there have been some posters in the past couple of days who have prefaced their questions with the comment that they do not know what to do. They are at least open to the idea that they can learn something. Some interaction is possible in these situations.
I suppose I am .. blunt .. with my answers. But I also ask the OPs to explain themselves (partly as protection against the mods). Most of the time they do not reply.
I also do not agree with the apologists who defend such posts with the argument we were all beginners at one time. That is true, but the issue concerns quality of the questions, not being a beginner.
More troublesome (in the past) are the few posters who expect certain kinds of answers and explode when they don't get what they want. I've finally figured out how to handle this sort - it is more of a game for me now.
Anyway, I have my own idea of what helping means and, no, it is usually not giving people detailed answers. I'd prefer to get them to think for themselves, or think before asking a question, or do their own exploratory research. It can be part of the fun.
Mar 12, 2013 11:58 AM
5I agree with you all that some questions on this forum are lazy questions. If somebody's asking (and I see this a lot): "I'm going to x for two weeks, can I get some advice on what to see/do?" the only right answer would be "Get yourself a guide book".
On the other side, however, I think that some of the very active people here have a tendency to react blunt, irritated, annoyed and/or arrogant too quickly. For experienced travellers some questions may sound really stupid, while they may be genuine questions to others. Some people just do not have that much travel experience and simply do not know where to start. A forum like this can be a good starting point in such cases.
Mar 12, 2013 12:01 PM
6i'm with you richiavo. i also work in the travel industry, and its some times very frustrating.
i like thorn tree, and i like to help out and answer questions (for free) if i can.
but i have to admit, that a couple of times i got a bit annoyed. if i answer a post, and give (in my opinion) good adivce and more importantly - FREE - adivce - and the op doesnt seem to care about it :-(
Mar 12, 2013 12:50 PM
7I could have written this, richiavo. Or in fact I did write a similar post, a couple of years ago... Anyway, I still stick to my basic approach to this forum: people who expect us (= other forum users in general) to invest more time in planning their trip than they seem to do themselves, deserve every type of blunt, irritated, annoyed and/or arrogant response they get.
I am well aware that I too was clueless and gullible when I prepared for my first backpacking trip. I still used my brains before asking other people for help, though; not to mention that I only asked questions to others with the purpose of learning from their advice. I guess the internet age has made it all the easier to approach strangers on the internet when you have only a spur of the moment idea and let them spend time fire suggestions at you, and then when you give up on the idea you just forget that you even asked for help and move on.
Or maybe I am being too cynical; after all, for my first trip I had one guidebook and one Interrail timetable -much less overwhelming than 50 internet sites and 259 Facebook "friends" who tell you you haven't seen Europe if you skipped their must-see, perhaps.
Mar 12, 2013 1:00 PM
8people who expect us (= other forum users in general) to invest more time in planning their trip than they seem to do themselves, deserve every type of blunt, irritated, annoyed and/or arrogant response they get.
Don't get me wrong, I'm with you on that! But not every question that sounds stupid to experienced travellers means that the op did not invest enough time in planning / searching / looking things up before he asked the question.
Mar 12, 2013 1:27 PM
9Those who did invest some time in planning or at least thinking about their vacation are those who usually come back and react to the feedback given.
Those who are just expecting others to do their work for them either never return or else keep on asking vague questions when they don't hear what they want.
And then there are everybody's favourites: those who get annoyed and insulting when they don't hear what they want to hear.
Mar 12, 2013 2:06 PM
Mar 12, 2013 4:20 PM
11There is way too much information available from various sources including the Internet. Normally, I don't ask for advice but give it, but a few years ago we were planning a trip to Namibia, and I had read a stack of literature over 2 feet high and nothing stuck out as something I would really like to do. So I asked a vague question about people's favorite things as I could consider incorporating them into the trip. This resulted in such comments as do your homework, etc. How ridiculous, I probably did more homework than the people on that branch. I finally was able to elicit some responses with some effort including a nice one about music which I had never really considered. So, there are people out there that do ask vague questions, but that doesn't mean that they are lazy, etc. If something about a post doesn't turn me off, I always try to give useful advice when I can. But to give the most useful advice you need to know the nationality of the poster, the firm dates of the trip, arrival and departure points, and interests. Unfortunately, these are things that almost all posters are loathe to give. And then give a (long) list of places they want to visit irregardless of the worthiness of the place, instead of asking for better suggestions that might fit their interests.
Mar 12, 2013 9:01 PM
12Me, I tend to be a librarian...provide a couple links if I can find them, let the poster follow up that way (of if I really like the website and know it's useful).
I think about what would have helped me...I, too, suffered from not knowing enough to ask intelligent questions...but I wasn't using a forum, I had a friend who had travelled so I'd ask him and he'd tell me what to look for online...
But something I've been feeling recently is either burnout or apathy. I see a post and I think: maybe I can help. And then I decide, I'll wait and see with other people come up with. Then half a day or a day later, I read the replies and usually decide that if the OP comes back and asks more questions (good ones) then maybe I can help. But if no reply, no 'thanks'....then goodbye.
I think part of it might be the lack of the companionship (online) of people who have chosen to stop posting...some of the more entertaining people, sorry to say.
Mar 12, 2013 9:12 PM
But many OPs just ask forum members to be their travel agent for them e.g. 'I'm going to be in country x for y days, what's a good itinerary?' Heck if you don't know why you are going or what you want to see in a country, what's the point of going??
Mar 13, 2013 1:51 AM
14There are a lot of different kinds of people out there. It can be a challenge to find your own balance in the variation. I used to get quite upset by the egotistical types; now, I'm just more aggressive with them, meaning that I'm more direct in stating and defending my own point of view rather than passively adjusting to theirs.
The notorious WT and YC branches served a 'community' not in any way related to the LP content, so they're now gone.
Currently, the LP forum is taken over by a corporation with a different agenda than the original small-company Lonely Planet, and the original community idea of interacting frequent users is now almost disappeared.
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