Future of Chat and the Forum

Kind of an open question to @len and the TP folks, but I’m curious as to what the Liner community has to say about this.

What are the future plans for Chat and the Forum? When you go into Chat, it says “Please use this chat for in-park questions, comments, etc. General chat can now be accessed through our Discussion Forum!” However, Liners now seem to have devolved into two camps: Chatters and Forum-ers. I find this troublesome, as the Liner community is a very knowledgeable bunch and I would prefer to get their answers/opinions on things by posting in a single location instead of two.

In terms of my opinion as to what should be done, I think that the time has come to put a stake in Chat. The Forum provides a wealth of functionality that Chatters were always asking for, and if I understand things correctly the operation of Chat takes a sizable chunk of the TP IT resources. I know that many people were turned off of the Forum initially due to functional issues, but as far as I can tell these issues have been addressed. Change is difficult, but I think that once the last hold-outs have made the leap over to the Forum they will find that it is not as bad as they may think.

7 Likes

Ooo, you are not afraid to open a can of worms, are you @brklinck? :wink:

I’m interested in the answer to this question as well. I would love to see Chat continue, but it does bother me to see all the completely off-topic threads and giant trip reports there instead of here. I don’t think ending Chat is necessary. It serves a great purpose when used as intended. I even think “in-park questions” is a bit too restrictive. I would like to see the stated purpose expanded to include “in-park and trip-planning questions.”

If you want to talk about favorite Disney movies or trip reports, then use the Forum. If you want to ask about Poly construction, CS restaurants, rider switch, making Touring Plans etc., then it should be fine to pose the question in either format. You and I know that the Forum allows for more complete discussions for those sorts of questions, but sometimes people just want a quick and short answer rather than a long discussion.

6 Likes

I’m gonna follow this one. I’ve got my popcorn ready. LOL.

That said, I would like to see a movement of planning threads to the forum. Much of the information is searchable and easy to find here. Plus this format does allow for the expansion of thoughts so that explanations are much more coherent. Plus maps and pics can be added for even better assistance (like where to stand for the parade, etc).

I would love to be able to hit up chat while I’m in the parks and either get a reminder of the little tips (like “hey, I’m in Magic Kingdom right now… where was it again I should watch the parade?”) or to arrange Liner meetups (cuz really THAT’S what’s important anyway) or the countdown threads (because they are simple enough and does show quickly who will be in the World when).

All the other great information, despite the efforts of BFLS and SFLs, gets lost.

5 Likes

Given the strong opinions across the spectrum, this thread could get ugly…

The “problem” with the forum is that is suffered from a very poorly executed roll-out; it was not well advertised or explained, it had many technical issues, and the concept of different “levels” of membership based on participation (with no way to acknowledge years of Lines support) created a very devisive atmosphere. Many unkind words were said and many feelings were hurt over it. We lost some long-time members over the whole thing. Although most of these issues have since been resolved, there are some people who dislike the forum simply because it exists, and will have nothing to do with it. There are some people who got frustrated with the technical issues early on and gave up on it. There are some who find it very difficult to use - especially on a small screen portable device. There are some people who believe the forum to be a “clique”. There are some who have stumbled on “non-representative” threads and have been put off by the sarcasm, profanity, and general frat house tone that they have found there - and assume that all of the forum is like that. And some people just don’t like change.

I spend a roughly equal amount of time on Chat and in the Forums. Personally, I really like the the forums; I’m not limited to 256 characters, I can post pictures directly to a thread, and I can easily skip topics that don’t relate to me (as well as the ones I find offensive). On the Chat side I make very few OPs, but I hang out there to answer questions that others (who for whatever reason do not participate in the forums) have.

I don’t think Chat should be “staked”, but as others have said, I think there are too many threads in Chat that are bettle suited to the forums.

I’ll be interested to see what direction this thread takes…

6 Likes

I agree that there are too many threads on Chat that should be on the Forum, but I see no way to resolve that without eliminating Chat. One of Chat’s supposed advantages is quickness of answers, but if there were a Moderator enforcing a “Suitable for Chat” policy then the whole thing would slow down (I don’t believe that Chat is in and of itself faster - I think that that simply comes down to participation).

Fully agree. But that is now behind us, and I think that it is time to move forward. In any systems implementation if you leave the Legacy system available people will continue to use it, often to the detriment of the new system. That is why I am in favor of “staking” Chat - sometimes you have to give users a bit of a push in order to get things going. Yes, you may lose a few people, but I would think that these would be people who are likely to quick Chat at some point anyway due to some perceived offense.

3 Likes

We’ve largely addressed most of the performance issues with chat, so it’s now taking up only a fraction of the resources as before. (In fact, the performance optimization went well enough that we’re going to move to a smaller database server next month, to save some dough.)

I don’t plan on making any decisions about chat or forum in the next 6 months. Each one has its benefits and supporters, and there’s no pressing need for us to do anything right now.

I am going to start promoting the chat and forum communities as a way for potential and new subscribers to get answers to their trip planning questions, and guidance around the various parts of the site. You’ll see chat promoted in screen shots on the Google and iTunes app stores, and possibly on the home page in the future. I think the Lines community is just as much a feature of the site as the software tools we’ve developed.

28 Likes

Well said, everyone. I am always impressed by how well people here can articulate what they think on an issue like this. Would you be interested in posting a link to this discussion about Chat on Chat, @brklinck? I hesitate to do it, because I don’t want it to be perceived as stirring up trouble. However, a discussion about how Chat is used really should be open to those who use it most. It would be nice for them to be able to read @len’s answer instead and be a part of the conversation instead of speculating or relying on gossip.

But maybe I’m being too idealistic.

3 Likes

I’ve been thinking about that - I’ll give it a go and see what happens. Hopefully not a screaming fight with handbags flying…

5 Likes

Oh my… Picking up a fresh supply of popcorn (and maybe some adult beverages) on the way home from work… :slight_smile:

3 Likes

I asked people to please use their indoor voices - like that is gonna work… :wink:

4 Likes

I use Chat 99% of the time. I use Forum if it’s something specific and I try to search for the answer.

I have no plans to use Forum exclusively. I was part of another forum before finding Chat and I enjoy the Chat quick question and answer format much more.

It seems @Len has answered your concerns over TP IT being burdened.

7 Likes

I’m a chat liker but will post questions to forum time to time. I like being able to send private messages.

3 Likes

I am just still struggling with how to use the forum as a chatty place and on my phone it doesn’t seem as easy as chat. I do look at it now and then but I just haven’t been able to get used to it bit I have nothing against it.

1 Like

I have not yet used Chat, as I figured it was more something that would be used while one is in the park. I like the idea of being able to use Chat when I’m in the park and perhaps get a quick answer from the TP community to a question rather than trying to locate that answer myself on my smart phone. It would save so much time, and I’d be able to focus more on enjoying my park visit rather than being concerned about locating an answer, phone battery life, WiFi issues, etc.

On the other hand, I typically prefer to use my PC when I’m not in the park rather than my smart phone. Is there any way to access Chat on my PC or can it only be accessed through the TP app? It might be nice if Chat could be linked somehow onto the Forum so that the community could help our friends who are in the parks. I know that there are many Forum-ers who would be happy to assist with providing answers.

1 Like

You can access Chat on any device with an internet browser - just go to http://m.touringplans.com and click on WDW Chat (or go to http://m.touringplans.com/wdw#_chat_page_1)

2 Likes

Stake chat? That is a bit extreme, isn’t it?

I use both. They both serve different purposes. I find that the Forum is great for Private Messaging, contacting a Liner, arranging Liner meets, etc. Chat is better to ask question or just talk Disney. It is also easier to navigate on my phone.

6 Likes

@RobertSch6 - I love that you found us this way. You had questions. You started threads. People answered. That’s exactly the way it’s supposed to work. Chat has always worked the same way, but with more limitations. People ask questions. Other people answer.

There was no TP Forum six months ago, only TP Chat. Most of the people who answer questions here started out in Chat. Some migrated. Some didn’t. Some still answer and ask questions in both places. There was a big dramatic schism, but t’s water under the bridge for most by now. I just thought I’d give you some context for this discussion. :slight_smile:

1 Like

I hope both continue in the same fashion that they are now. I’ve slowly started to use the forum, but I still don’t like the layout on my phone and ipad. So I stick to the chat. If something changes I’m sure I will learn to live with it or not renew. My biggest issue would be the lack of enforcement by @staff. If they have rules then everyone should be made to follow them.

1 Like

As a long time chat user, I was shocked when I found out that the forums were coming into being. I so loved Chat. Now, I move back and forth. Chat is still a great way to connect instantly but I, like bswan26, like the flexibility of the forums, the expanded text/picture capability and the search functions. Fortunately, I guess, I was in my Disney blackout period when the forums came online and missed the drama.

If we were voting, I’d vote to keep both.

4 Likes

Thanks @brklinck! I’ve got Chat bookmarked on my browser now, so I’ll be reading it regularly too. :grin:

And thanks, @SallyEppcot for the background. Why can’t we all just get along? :wink:

4 Likes