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After 3 weeks, it is now apparent that the only way one can find posts is to create a new topic. So be it.
"let's get back to the intent of the Insiders in the first place" *
Not to be adversarial or philosophical, what is the intent, Stepping Stones? Do the changes and enhancements support the intent?
If the intent is to provide the community with an enhanced online experience, that has not been achieved.
If the intent is to provide user-friendly tools to search for information, the enhancements don't deliver that either.
If the intent is to drive deeper engagement with the brand by having more people share positive experiences, was that achieved?
Three weeks + have gone by! We've tried finding several hundred to thousands of messages posted about our experiences with the Marriott brand. All those posts embody the core of the Insiders community.
What was the intent of burying them so we can't find them? If someone could answer that, perhaps there is merit to "get back to the intent of the Insiders in the first place" *
"Welcome to the Insiders, an online travel community for Marriott Rewards members"
That is the intent as posted on the top of the home page of Insiders. A travel community infers that the participants are people passionate about travel, but does not restrict that passion to business, personal, domestic or international travel, or does it mean that only Marriott related travel can be discussed on the site. The requirement for membership is a Marriott Rewards account. There appear to be no other qualifications.
Over the years that the Insiders has been in business I have seen many posts from many posters, yourself included. The recent addition of the "Ask and Answer" tab has opened new avenues to me, at least, and I find myself answering and asking all the time (too much Socrates and Plato in my Jesuit education experience I guess).
I wholeheartedly endorse Pingreeman's post that we move on, and get the Insiders back to it's original intent. Our voices about the changes made earlier this month are heard and have been heard.
Insiders used to be, for me at least, a fun place to share and be entertained. Now, for me, I wince when I see post after post about the site challenges, new format and the like. I have posted a few myself, so I have just slapped my own hand, just in case I was getting too cocky.
So, if it is an online travel community let's make it one. We can complain, but we should have a way to complain that is outside these forums. If we complain to each other that's fine but how about reaching the right ears?
Pingreeman has provided an avenue for those complaints and even an email address where they might be sent, so let's use it.
I would like to see posts about places and stays, positive and negative, return as the substance of the forums on the Insiders.
steppingstones Apr 22, 2010 12:52 PM No wonder you're so altruistic in answering and making people feel welcome. :-) Your education doesn't surprise me in the least. But one thing that is a small nuisance to me about this site is that it's so hard to get to (for me, at least). Is there a way to get here from the main reservations site? Does one have to log in twice, or at least, find Insiders from Google or one's computer history?
To TJC and SteppingStones,
I have thoroughly enjoyed our 'conversations' over the past year. I hate whining more than most since I listen to it every time I hand out graded exams and papers. But I can't navigate the new site for functionality to me. It used to be that first thing in the morning I'd get up, check my email, then go to Marriott Insiders (ok, so I don't have a life) to check postings on Rome, Paris, London, Ghent, France, Rewards, Hotels, Business and Sightseeing. I checked them all and read them all for the most part.
I can't do any of that anymore. So I'm getting close to giving up -- it's simply not worth the time to navigate this new 'enhancement' to try to find something that I usually won't find.
So I find myself agreeing with TJC and NUHUSKER that enough is enough. My posts have become fewer and fewer because I only see posts from a few of you 'I know'. And even fewer seem to ask questions to which I can give thoughtful and appropriate answers.
If that's the case, so be it indeed!
My unscientific sense based on nothing but direction that raptors and other large birds fly, is that many folks have decided that the Insiders is just a place for folks to complain that it is a different place than it once was. True or not, the tenor ranges from acrimonious to frustrated to OK, so what? In my opinion that is.
As a former president once famously said, "it depends on what the definition of "is" is...." In this case for newcomers and other folks who are veterans the site has little to do with travel and a lot to do with rumination about the past and complaints about the present, and a lack of hope for the future!
Professor -- I probably did not use Insiders but an in'th of its capability, since I basically only followed posts of certain insiders rather than particular subjects. So, yesterday, I subscribed to all posts by you, SS, TJC, Ping, Shoe, and possibly a few others. Now I get an email every time one of these people posts on insiders. It sounded like a good idea at the time, being able to keep up with my favorite posters, but now my inbox is loaded. Now, granted, I don't look at every post when I receive the email, but at least when I want to see it later, I can find each and every one by clicking on the link for that particular post. I'm going to weigh the value of this method and may keep it until the site offers a more efficient way of following people/subjects I'm interested in.
SteppingStones -- This is a great site, partly because we can voice opinions that may or may not be in favor of another insider. Your's seems to be "so what, it is what it is, and to hope for a better site." That's ok, but I don't find "hope" to be much of a strategy. I actually get the impression from Andrew at Marriott that he's heard, and is hearing the concerns, and is reacting to them. My opinion is that we need to hold Marriott accountable, and in my view silence doesn't accomplish that. I still enjoy your posts, even if you're tired of my complaining. And by the way, watch out for those birds directly overhead.
Hi SteppingStones and others,
I don't feel so much that many of us are complaining per se as that we are wisftul, sad and feeling at a loss for what was. Marriott Insiders was a site that had become a familiar companion to my morning and sometimes later routine, to see who had been where and what their experiences had been. Then I'd add my two cents and sometimes my photos, while looking at those others had posted. To me, the Ask and Answers section has proven beyond useless. I would go to tripadvisor first or just use google.
So I think while many of us (including me) use words like frustration and anger, what we really are talking of us is loss. I lost the ability to communicate with everyone who'd been to Rome or Ghent or wherever I'd been, especially with the truncation to so few sites (and limited responses).
In some ironic way, Marriott should take this as a compliment. They had created a nearly perfect travelers' communication site -- and I do think what we are expressing in different ways is that sense of loss.
PS - You know a lot more IT than I do!
I give up, not really but it seemed like a good opening line.
I have shied away from blogs most of my long and ill-spent life and reluctantly got into Insiders a few years back then raced to the top of the leader board in posts (each one a pearl of wisdom of course), then slipped as TJC decided to put his (mouse) pedal to the metal!
I check in to Insiders a few times a day, get lost, and I never have subscribed to any threads due to just what NU Husker mentioned--my fear of the morning email dump, which he's experiencing every day.
I would rather hang on the every word of the three Realtors who are absolutely sure they have found the perfect house for us to buy at the elbow of Cape Cod this summer and beyond.
Having communicated via email with Andrew back there I can tell you that he fully understands the problem(s) and is working to get a solution, but like a well-known king of Corinth who was forced to roll a huge stone uphill for eternity; it always falls back before he can reach the top. (His fate is mentioned in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey.)
Sisyphus is the perfect metaphor for IT and IT-wrought changes: they often say, "when this works it will be wonderful but pay no attention to those downslope rolling stones!"
"watch out for those birds directly overhead."
Very apt image.
In comparison to Welcome to our 2009 Program Changes forum!, this is quite benign.* The rage that started October 2008 reached a feverish pitch and did not stop until late February 2009 when all 636 posts vanished.
If the intent of Insiders was to engage loyal Elite, and create a place for, "people passionate about travel," hiding content that drew in over 27,000 views was not an obvious way to achieve that goal.
To characterize this discussion, "Intent of Insiders in the first place" as complaining is misguided. The point here is to reaffirm goals and objectives and ask whether or not the decisions made will achieve them effectively.
The objective of covering up, Welcome to our 2009 Program Changes forum! was very clear. To Marriott's credit, restoring the content in late July 2009 acknowledged the importance of user engagement and participation in the formation of vibrant community.
Reaffirming why we should continue to participate in the absence of engagement is imperative. Stepping-up (pardon the pun) and asserting that Marriott be acccountable, acknowledges the very important role that Marriott plays as steward of the brands we know and love. Requesting reaffirmation of the Insiders goals and objectives in extending our brand experience online in no way diminishes the importance of that stewardship role.
My expectation is that Marriott respond and reaffirm or outline how the goals and objectives have shifted. I can appreciate and respect that Stepping Stones might have an inside track and speak on our host's behalf. But, I think after spending 25+ years or more loyal to the Marriott brand, we deserve to hear from Marriott directly.
I am so frustrated with the new system that I have stopped visiting the site and posting. It appears that some consulting company sold Marriott a bill of goods and could not deliver. I am very disappointed that it has taken this long and nothing has really been done to correct the situation.
Hey Superchief -- glad you came back to make this post. We've got to keep the heat on Marriott to fix this fiasco, regardless of the cause or any problems they're having with their "partner." It's unfortunate that Insiders is losing a lot of great and interesting voices due to someone's stupidity. Hope you hang in there with the rest of us.
I agree with you, SuperChief1 and NUHusker. I am one of the people who posts much less and checks in infrequently.
This is a long time for nothing to be happening without regular reports. It suggests to me the problems run very deep. Probably TJC can speak more to this, but don't most computer providers/systems have backups of past logs, etc. that can restore lost information? I guess I don't get why the system can't be returned to the status quo ante, even if it means dropping LiveWorld for their former support base. (That seems like a very good idea considering how people they're making mad.) Yes, I know, we stay at Marriotts because we love them and that's where our loyalties and points will probably remain. But making us all so upset and frustrated is bad business.
PS - I'm going to Greece again in three weeks so if there is still a community here, I will post some pictures.
With reduced posting very evident, it's clear active members feel a sense of common ground. Given the experience with "My Subscriptions" recently, the risk of "deeper defects" poses a very real threat. I don't think Marriott would say that gratuitously. Backups can get corrupted, but we don't know if that's what happened.
In the meantime, let's stay in touch, continue to check back periodically and provide honest feedback along the lines we have already done.
Best wishes to all. Professor Chiara I look forward to your photos of Greece.
Just sent the following to Andrew:
Andrew -- some insiders are waiting patiently, others are just waiting, some are leaving Marriott, while you, your team, and your partner attempt to overcome the mess that's been made of the insiders site. On 19 Apr, one insider, Pingreeman, offered his assistance. Was that offer excepted, rejected, ignored...?? Please give the insiders community another update as to your progress, or lack thereof. Thanks.
I would guess that one cause of the drastically reduced posting is the many that are there are about the new, sadly inadequate state of the Insiders site.
Someone new might figure they stumbled on to a Beta session for programmers to converse with Live World, rather than an Insiders travel community. Not mutually exclusive I would say but see my point anyone?
I was recently about two hours south of home and after a wonderful dinner of Greek Calamari and Scallops in a Lemon sauce at Ciopinot, I tried to get back on the Freeway (The 101, as Angelinos love to call it adding the article to every numbered road) when the car behind me honked twice to get me to move faster, or I suppose, to get out of the way?
Why am I relating this? Seems that the honking on Insiders could be seen as a "move over" message to anyone visiting the site for the first or second time.
And no I did not retaliate to the honker above, just moved on, paddle shifting to 3rd gear and pushing my 380 hp Eco-Boost engine to 6000 RPM's and leaving him or her in the dust! Hope it was not the CHP, but he may have missed my tag number
NUHUSKER - thanks for speaking on our behalf. I think you are like most of us, in that you know you don't like the updated site, but don't have any idea what kind of fix would work. I think that is why you, ProfChiara, Taxman, Superchief, and myself, as well as others, all want the old site back. It will be interestig to see what the final outcome will be.
On a different subject, when I checked into the 2 Marriotts I stayed at this week, I was informed by the desk of the upcoming 'free internet' policy coming in 2 weeks. In both cases, when I asked if we could start the fun a little early I was told NO. I guess they are holding on to this revenue source as long as possible.
All - Quick update 4/26/10. Messages are posted under topics in reverse chronological order, or more simply, newest first in the Marriott Rewards Forum only. Anyone else noticing this?
Since April 1st, the 'View All Posts' section of 'My Profile' lists only the posts created by you and excludes any replies you may have authored. 'View All Posts' is an inaccurate term since not 'all' posts are included as the phrase implies. More simply, 'View All Posts' is a DEFECT.
As noted by many Insiders earlier, the ability to 'View All Posts' enables more efficient search and cross-referencing. We all want to find our stuff. As frustrating as it may be, let's continue to discuss the need to restore the 'View ALL Posts' capability. Or, if you feel more comfortable, continue to submit FEEDBACK to Marriott/Andrew.
Kindly note that FEEDBACK now supports the submission of screen captures, images, and photos as well. If you encounter an error message or a defect of any kind, the PRINT SCRN key captures the screen to the Clipboard. Open an image app and Paste the image. Save it to a file as a JPEG. You can then upload the image like a photo. Doing so makes it easier to convey what you saw when the error happened.
Let's not forget about restoring BROWSE by Destinations and BROWSE by Topics. We can continue to discuss the value of these features and how user-friendly they are to Insiders.
Above: Browse by Destinations prior to April 1st.
Above: Browse by Topics prior to April 1st.
Messages are posted under topics in reverse chronological order, or more simply, newest first in the Marriott Rewards Forum only. Anyone else noticing this?
TJC -- Did not notice until you mentioned it. But posts on individual threads are still backwards and needs to be fixed, along with the "view all posts" (NOT!!!!!) and the other things you identified.
Like a Marriott hotel guest, we are online guests at Insiders. As such, our intent is to share and exchange stories about memorable and maybe not-so-memorable experiences at Marriott hotels. But, they are our stories and our photos, and we are passionate about them.
"What we need is a complete paradigm shift... hotel hospitality professionals should see complaints as opportunities and understand that the worst complaint is the one that is never mentioned. Some do complain on their own and in doing so actually offer the favor of a chance at resolution. Meanwhile, many other disgruntled guests depart without ever voicing their complaint, later venting their frustration online."
"see my post that describes my testing" *
Thank you for taking so much of your time to undertake these tasks. I am very interested in reviewing your efforts. After 28 days, it is amazing that even the most basic enhancement, a boolean search tool, Filter by Brands, does not work. Anyone coming to this forum for the first time would find Filter by Brands completely useless. Clearly, Filter by Brands is not ready for Prime Time and deserved to be pushed back further than Photo Albums?
As a suggestion perhaps you might initiate a Topic for each feature tested and include the description, results and screen captures? This will enable anyone interested a chance to reply.
Using your recent post as a starting point for a new Topic:
Title: View All My Posts
As of 4/1/10, "View All My Posts" illustrates the deepest defect of Insiders.
Title: My Ask & Answer
Consider creating a Free account at Photobucket.com and uploading the screen captures. This will enable you to paste images as above. Even though many of us are non-technical, there is value in sharing your notes and observations. Those who want to, can collaborate. Others can choose to ignore.
But, the Insiders team will have a clearer indication of whether or not the enhancement tested/described align with the actual or perceived Intent of Insiders based upon the replies.
All the best and again thank you.
* In case you're challenged finding stuff as I am, Pingreeman is referring to a Apr 28, 2010 8:56 AM post in reply to Andrew's Site Challenges Progress Re: Site Challenges, Progress:
"In regard to recent requests to aid in testing our new systems, we gratefully appreciate your offers. However, our Marriott Rewards staff has been working alongside diligent, well-qualified testing personnel for all site updates and enhancements."
Allow me two comments:
2) On Friday 04/23, I documented several issues I believed were of highest priority and sent an 11-page document to firstname.lastname@example.org in hopes I would be "helping the team." Here is the response:
Thank you for this information. This mailbox is managed by a third party. We can only deal with emails about our panel. However, we have forwarded the document you provided to the appropriate department.
The My Marriott Voice Team"