In the last day or so, there have been a few posts regarding "cleaning up the chatter" aka, non-Marriott-related content. We've also been guilty of having "too much fun" with reaching Guru or Jedi status for participation meters. However, it's time to move on to making the MRI site a "go-to first" site when asking or seeking information about the Marriott Experience. So here is what I would like to propose:
Instead of a "participation meter" how about a "best answer" meter analogous to a "top reviewer" on Amazon who gets tagged with "most relevant answer?" After all, this is a site that has an abundance of MR experts and road warriors who know Marriott inside and out and who are most capable of addressing most, if not all, of any questions ever posed on this site.
Egos aside on participation meters, I would rather boost my ego by having the most "best answers" or "best reviews" (when the hotel review functionality is enabled) where a "real contribution to the site" was accomplished and acknowledge through the eyes of MRI members rather than some computer program counting the number of name-associated posts I created. To take this concept an addition step, I would advocate that any post marked without the question check-box selected (many are in fact questions but have not been checked as such) be monitored by stewards or CMs who could have special privileges to turn the discussion, blog, etc. into question-enabled post so that a "best answer" can be enabled. Lastly, some questions go for weeks or months without a "best answer" or "answered" result (see We Could Use Your Help in Marking Open Questions as Answered) and I would be in favor of the stewards and CMs to make judgement on the best answer if the post goes beyond 30 days without such designation. What better incentive is there to boost egos that to have a rating of "most best answers?"
PS - I know we have the "Like" feature, but sometimes this is "abused" and offers less of a measure of good content. For example, one person can mark a post and every reply with a "like" which can quickly run a long post to the top of "most liked," but with only one best answer, this is more controlled and useful in measuring a persons contribution.
I appreciate very much the thrust of your argument, not least because it addresses the key issue of what this site is trying to achieve. For me, the essence of this type of site is that it should raise questions and/or issues as well as answering them - probably not on a 1-2-1 basis, but with genuine enquiry and subsequent exploration as important outcomes. Let me give you a little example: a while ago Jerry C posted a reference to Burlington, Iowa, which seemed interesting in part because, in my ignorance, I knew nothing of it. I found his response to my "tell me a bit more"question genuinely stimulating and perhaps one day I might get round to taking a trip along the Missouri in the steps of ....another enquiry beckons! Likewise, all I know of Columbus, Ohio, has to do with Jack Nicklaus (I think?)
Working out the best way of encouraging and, if you like, "incentivising" actual and potential contributors could a difficult and sometimes delicate challenge. I'm more than happy to leave that to the experts - with the one proviso: that it should be transparent and non-judgemental.
I would also like to offer up for everyones consideration the following. Perhaps the site, and its members would be better served if the beautiful photos of folks family vacations were tied to another parties request for information on a particular travel spot. The wonderful pics then become relevant to travelers as opposed to playing a "where's Waldo?" game where the one with the most posts wins. Clearly, several folks enjoy the picture games, as well as the "guess who this is?" game. Maybe Marriott can provide the site with a "game" topic where these things can go on. I agree with Husker than no one should try to censor another, I just don't want my inbox to be junked up with all the nonsense.
Interestingly, so far the poll that ss provided in leaning 9 to 1 that either some, or a lot of tinkering needs to be done with the site. The status quo is receiving 10% of the vote. Time for a change.
Countless times I have thought that the counters are distracting and not that relevant. As you all recall the original insiders had a top poster cutout on the right side of the home page, which seemed to cause little consternation or comment. I vote for the end of counters (does that make me counter intuitive?) and all such emoluments.
NathalieF , If we decided to do away with the counters and the 50 posts, 150 posts, and anything posting count related, how hard would that be to implement? I agree that they do seem to have had a negative impact and even enticed people (such as myself) to get caught up frivolous posting.
Shoeman -- someone else mentioned receiving a ton of emails from this site when people made a post and you talked about your inbox being full. Why are you getting emails? Why not just go to your communications page when you want to see what's been posted? Essentially, it's the same people posting all the time anyway, so I don't think you miss very much by doing it that way. The only time I get a email from Insiders is when somebody sends me a private message. I first look at the most recent posts listed on the home page, then on my communications page, then if I'm really bored I look at posts under each of the four categories. Meets my needs.
As a side note: First, just to keep it relevant, there's probably a marriott somewhere near Thousand Oaks, CA, although I've never stayed there if there is one. But did you watch Tiger battle it out with Zach Johnson and win today? That is a beautiful area. Within the past month, I had the chance to play the SeeBee course at Naval Base Ventura County, also known as Port Hueneme. After playing over 100 military courses, I can attest that NBVC is definitely the best maintained and best condition military course I've seen.
Husker - I was not referring to an email inbox, but rather my homepage that shows either ALL posts, TRENDING posts, or something else. Either way, it's a TON of posts to read thru. Oftentimes the title does not really describe the content, so a peak is necessary.
The course was beautiful! I did not get to see the end, actually, your information just allowed me to now who won. I, for one, hope this is the beginning of a real comeback for Tiger. The game needs him and he needs the game.
Sorry, Shoeman, I thought you were talking about a ton of email. One of these days, I'll learn to quit acting like I know what I'm talking about when it comes to computers.
Agree, ready to see the real Tiger Woods back in the game! Like him or not, the game goes to a whole new level when he's in the mix.
Shoeman, you bring up a good point. You are not even getting email notices and it still takes a lot of time to go through postings. If we get more people involved in providing good travel input, like we are trying to do, this will only get harder to find what you want to find. Hopefully we can still try to get the site organized so we can filter, search, or categorize results easier. I hope the new website changes will be a step towards finding what we want to find, along with the changes we are trying to make to remove and not perpetuate the non-travel, non-Marriott chatter.
I see your point, but learning more about a place I have/have not been from a respected MI, is enjoyable to me. As mentioned before, I find this site to be not only educational but entertaining. Communication among Marriott customers seems to be very good for Marriott and all.
Personally, I am not particularly interested in any scoring. The thing that I find most frustrating is trying to find under which main 'posting heading' a specific posting can be found. For example, I was looking for a comment and photo that someone had posted ... the location in which I eventually found it, bore no direct link to that place.
I guess that a reviews link to Marriott hotels is still a way off. Perhaps we could take the initiative and have a standardised heading for a location review? Many of you guys have been at this a lot longer than I have ... any suggestions?
Jerry and I compared London restaurant recommendations a while back ... perhaps a heading "London (UK) - Restaurants" would be an easy posting to find?
(I just realised that I have clearly gone off at a complete tangent to your original discussion Pingreeman ... and I will never be able to find this response again ... )
Until the review process takes effect, we could start each review with the word "Review", and then they might be easier to find. I know when I enter something I want in the search box, I many times can find it easier if I limit the time (such as for the past week or month). Hope that helps.
The first time I posted on this site was to ask about a Marriott property I knew nothing about. I also found a place where travel questions (of many types) were asked, but mostly questions regarding Marriott properties, the Rewards program and offshoots from it (Visa marketing, free nights, elite nights, BOGO's, etc.) There were also questions about how to...(transportation, restaurants, things to do, etc)...in an area around where the poster was staying or going to stay...and it was always around a Marriott property. Certain MRI members would always chime in to help a poster (you know who you are). Help, advice, some chatter and a lot of goodwill. I'd like to think I played a small part in helping some of those posters like I was helped.
I share the sentiment with all the posters on this piece that hopes we can return to that type of posting. I think we're going in that direction and hope we continue. Anyway, just my thoughts.
Thanks Pingreeman and others for broaching the subject and bringing it to the front.
Thanks all for your thoughts and suggestions (and musings!). Based on your feedback regarding the participation meter we are open to changing how it works. Right now the awarding of status points is based on a number of different types of activities: posting & responding, correct or helpful answers, creating information (docs, blogs), etc. We wanted it to be broad so that it would cover a number of types of contributions. Not everyone in a community wants to participate in the same way and we wanted to be able to give points for all types of contributions. However, we can certainly revise this and only give points for correctly answer discussion questions or helpful responses to discussion questions -- but we want to make sure this is what the majority of you feel would truly reduce the gaming aspect. Andy will be setting up a poll so everyone has a chance to weigh in and we'll move forward with the majority ruling. Thanks!