This is probably a dumb question and been answered before, but here goes. I just looked at the Lines chat seriously for the first time and there’s some good info in there. But the interface is atrocious compared to the forum. So, why do people post there instead of here?
I agree with you regarding the interface. Chat came first; for may years that’s all there was (I have somewhere around 28K posts over there before I jumped pretty much entirely to this side. Some reasons:
“Officially” Chat is primarily for in-park, rapid response questions, and the Forum is for long term planning, reviews, trip reports, etc. Not everyone follows these guidelines.
As I’ve discussed on previous threads, the Forum had a very rocky roll-out and a number of people had a very bad opinion of the Forum and basically said “never”. I’m not sure how many of these people are left. There were other related issues as well, but they’re better left undredged…
If someone comes over to the Forum “just to check it out” it can be very overwhelming. In the early days it was rare for there to be more than maybe a dozen threads a day; now there can be 10 times that. Chat is a simple linear approach where all of the responses are nested under the OP. Not only are there many different threads, they can also be difficult to follow; people don’t use quotes, so you may see a response like “I prefer your first choice” that’s 40 posts after the original.
Oh! This could get interesting! Once upon a time…
Ok- forget that…I have just about 33,000 posts on chat. I have also been here every single days since the forum was shared with all subscribers. For years, on chat, people complained they wanted features found here: search buttons, the ability to post pictures, the ability to bookmark. At the same time, chat was stretching touring plans resources. The “social” threads were taking up a lot of server capacity (?)- I think that was what was going on? So Len added the forum and asked liners to use this for planning, and Laurel created LaCava for the fun and games. To say this was a disaster is actually being kind. First, some people were hurt they were not asked to pilot the forum (you could see who was invited and the threads). Others felt like they were losing something they loved. Others- well maybe they just don’t like change?
For a long time there was the open threads and very little going on in the other threads. I remember a period of time when I would wake up and find that @MeetMeAtThePoly had answered all the unanswered threads she could find. At first chat was very slow after the split but it has picked back up. If there is breaking news I almost always see it there first. The responses are usually fast, but it does seem like the posts have decreased . I honestly think there is more going on here on a daily basis. I know @brklinck has some thoughts on this topic ( this is what you call “poking the bear”).
Edited to add: I think another solution addressed the capacity issues and although chat still says it is for park only discussions planning is ok?
Ok, ok, I guess that I’m gonna do it. The continued existence of Chat bugs me. When there was just Chat, the users were constantly asking for more features. Even back then Chat was horribly outdated and could not cope with even the easiest of these features, so TP obliged by rolling out the Forum, which had all the requested features and more. Yes, the roll-out was a little rocky, but this was exacerbated by certain individuals who couldn’t cope with change, even if it was for the better.
One of the cardinal rules of rolling out a new system is that you need to kill off the legacy system as soon as the new system is viable, or users will continue to use it and refuse to transition, often for silly reasons. Information ends up being split across two systems, which is what has happened here. As an IT professional this really, really irks me. Frankly, if I were Len I would have taken Old Yeller out back and shot him a long time ago.
but i like Windows XP and i believe it was the most stable operating system!
I’ve wondered the same thing. Chat seems for popular still for some reason. I much prefer this forum but have gotten good info from chat.
Wow thanks all for the interesting responses. Especially the history. All good to know!
I am really bummed that most of the DLR activity takes place on chat. I tried to operate on chat because so much goes on there for DLR, but it was just way too frustrating. Now I am solely on the forum. It is unfortunate that so many of the DLR “experts” choose not to come on the forum. They have an amazing wealth of information, I am just not willing to wade through all that on chat.
OK, if we’re going there…
The first version of the Forum that rolled out was buggy beyond belief and it just plain didn’t work on many phones/OSs. I was there from day one, and fortunately the Forum (kind of) worked on my phone and I played along. Word spread that “it doesn’t work” or “is too hard to use” on cell phones. It got better, but it took most of a month before it worked well on all platforms. Had this taken less time (or had been addressed before general roll-out), some of the people initially turned off would have stayed.
The original concept for La Cava was that it was to be a “premium” room that you could only gain access to if you had “x” number of Forum posts. Although not an uncommon practice in many forums, this really pissed a lot of people who had 10s of thousands of Chat posts who would get no “credit” for them or for the as many as 10 years that they had supported TP. This was quickly changed to allow any paid member access to the Forum, but again, it was too late for some.
The angst that came about over the rollout caused a deep schism in the Liner community. There were some very unfortunate threads (in both places) saying very disparaging things about people “on the other side”. It became a dark “us verses them” mentality that caused people to pick sides; we lost some very seasoned Liners completely over the ugliness of the first few months.
Sadly, many of the early Forum threads came across (intentionally or not) as being very cliquish and not terribly welcoming to people who had not been part of those sub-groups of Chat Liners; attacks, by name, on people who stayed in Chat (only) were not uncommon. I stayed on both sides for quite some time, and even having been part of the forums from day one, I often felt like “I didn’t belong”. And quite frankly, the content was often off-color with lots of double entendre and outright profanity (i.e. all of those things you couldn’t get away with on Chat).
Given all of the above, had Len killed Chat - which was one of the rumors at roll-out time that really fueled the angst, he probably would have lost half of his subscribers.
I gravitated to the Forum - almost exclusively after the first 6 months or so - because the format better suited me. The 256 character post limit was difficult; it often took 3 or 4 posts in a row to answer a question. In Chat you had to scroll past threads of no personal interest to find ones that were of interest. You couldn’t post pictures in Chat; you could only post links to a third party web picture service such as Instagram. If you wanted to find an old thread, you had to scroll through hundreds (thousands) of pages and read every single one to find what you were looking for. I also stopped checking Chat because most of the questions were about “current issues”, and having been 3-4 years since I had been to WDW there weren’t really very many I could help with. With a trip hopefully coming up in December, I’ll probably start checking in there more frequently for “perishable intel”.
This, of course, is only one man’s opinions/memories of the transition that was a number of years ago. It was a very unpleasant time, and not one I really enjoy bringing back up. I’m glad to say that most of the issues have been resolved, and I have no issue with multiple platforms running in parallel; different tools for different people.
As a relative newcomer here, I’ve found that there are somewhat different groups of people in each place. Not everyone in chat is dispensing or asking for right-now-in-the-parks info. It’s a lot like Twitter- little bits of random info that you really have to sift through to find anything useful. But people seem to have a lot of fun socializing, so in that way it’s like snapchat too.
Given the same question asked here as asked there, I’d trust the advice here more, but that could just be due to the fact that this format gives people time to think.
Or just time to log in and read. On chat, if something comes up while you are sleeping, chances are it will be so far down the list by morning that you’ll never see it. On here, new people show up to answer questions after they’ve gone inactive for many hours.
For me this is key.
When I first subscribed I saw the forums and had a look. For ages I had no idea what “Chat” was, and when I did look I found it really odd.
I guess because I don’t do snapchat or even Facebook, the lack of structure really confused me, one open thread per day with a scattering of specific threads. And with the time difference I was never going to see any answers to questions, as they’d be buried by the time I read them, even though I am on almost every day.
Here at least I get a notification if someone answers a question or posts in a discussion. I still miss stuff sometimes, I don’t actually go through each notification, but I can easily see the threads that have been active since I was last on, and usually (I think) pretty much pick up if someone tags me. And if I do miss one, they can always send me a message to alert me to it if they really want to!
Also I mostly use a tablet, not my phone. Sometimes I’ll read on my phone but I would rarely answer that way - I wait until I’m home and get my tablet out.
We should all go on chat and tell everyone to use the forums and how great it is.
People have done that lots of times. Sometimes we entice people across to read a trip report or interesting thread by posting the link.
I remember the first three days. Len had asked us to use the forum so I wanted to. I think I emailed him for three solid days. He worked with me to find the settings that worked for me. If I remember correctly I could get the view that worked but I was on a data plan and for some reason it was causing me issues?
There have always been friendships that have grown “in real life” from TP. There have also been many groups that have created groups on Facebook for liners. Maybe it was the ability to post longer responses but the early days of the forum has been the only time I have point blank read people posting that people didn’t understand because they weren’t part of the group- it was a group you needed to be invited to- and everyone was not invited. Up to that point liners were much more subtle in their “inside jokes and inside groups”. Just my own personal opinion.
I wonder how true that is today.
Very good question!