Referring to this presumably?
The Sydney Morning Herald has an updated version on the temp closure of Lonely Planter's Thorntree with quotes from LP founder Tony Wheeler. Bizarre to say the least and awful timing for travellers on the road.
Another pertinent relevant read, is this on community management. While not explicitly about LP, the author is an ex-Torntree moderator, so you can read between the lines.
Amazing, that it is still closed. I find that a big problem on some of these forums is the lack of a proper profile, anyone can just pop up and say whatever, not surprised cyber predators would use this to their advantage.
Just a couple of updates:
*) I've altered the title of the thread just to make clear it is not this travel forum that is closing!
*) And this story in the Independent suggests the closure may me up to a week in length.
*) Travel industry site Skift suggests they're looking for a "new moderation system"
One wonders though, is this really best done over peak holiday season? Which suggestions earlier in the month that the BBC was trying to unload LP, this is hardly a great step towards that.
What a debacle.
The thought police are at it again. Oh well, I never liked Lonely Planet anyway. A lot of haughty crap there. Travelfish is, in my opinion, for SEA WAY better.
#8 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I agree Mac, those Thai branch folks can be a bunch of meanies, a couple of times it was all I could do to keep from crying.
I've been on a political forum of late that gets probably ten thousand comments a day, long comments. Maybe three hundred long posts with pictures and links, daily. They use a combination of self moderation and some paid but unnamed folks. What a thankless job, hope they're well paid.
What happnens their is a real disaster, in a social but also in an economic way. Lonely Planet is getting somehow suicidal.
I was member over years in the TT community, mainly SEA branch and Europe. But the closing of the community made it clear to me, that all the information WE contributed to the community was in the hand a one big player which now has just pushed the button and shut everything down.
Did they ever thought about what the economic value of the TT comunity and the information gathered their actually was? Guess not. I agree that BBC never understo0d what they bought.
To be honest, I stopped buying LL guides by 2005. I had a guide for West Africa which was the best guide I ever owned (printed in 1999) and a guide f0r Brazil from 2000 but when I bought the LL guide for Kroatia in 2006 I had to notice that quality was dropping tremendously. These days, I almost stopped buying these guides, information is better and more accurate available in the internet. If I buy, I prefer different guides. There are lots of grown up travel guides out there.
As for me, I packed my bag and move on. Just joined with my old TT username. So I hope I can share my information here.
Wish you all a nice holiday season!
#10 freiburger has been a member since 27/12/2012. Posts: 125
Thanks MADMAC & Somsai & welcome to freiburger
freiburger , interesting what you say about the best LP guide you having being quite an old one -- I'd agree -- the black covered India book I used in '93 was easily the best guidebook I've ever used by them. Perhaps it was easier then in a way as there wasn't as much other information out there (or online).
What you're seeing is the beginning of the end of an era. The BBC has no idea how to run forums, but the general grumpiness of the SEA branches - and the incredible gormlessness of some of the questions - certainly make you wonder why they would bother.
However, there is a massive depth of knowledge on LP, some of those people respond on this forum too. What I miss most on LP is the sense of fun that used to be there, I don't like my travel too worthy.
"I agree Mac, those Thai branch folks can be a bunch of meanies, a couple of times it was all I could do to keep from crying."
Somsai, the above sounds effete. When I said "haughty" I was trying to politely say self-absorbed dickheads. Guess I wasn't clear enough.
#13 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Much better Mac, thought you were going all soft on me there, decided you needed a bit of a nudge.
I stop by the TT once in a while just as I do Lao FAB or any other number of sites to try to keep up with what's going on. I love their guidebooks too, but wish they were edited a little less. I like reading what other people think of a place even if it's the opposite of what I might have found. Modern guidebooks seem to cull too much of the impressions and opinion.
Site still down, so it goes with a web site so closely tied to a business which is primarily dead trees.
What I hate about Lonely Planet is the tone. Describing the city of Sakhon Nakhon as the "usual concrete mess" is to demonstrate gross ignorance about what cities are all about. Describing American Fried Rice as repulsive is also a condescending example of how LP writers like to label things they don't consider sufficiently "authentic". In short, many of the writers are limp and I represent the kind of world view I don't respect.
#15 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
have you ever seen how these people at LP do their work? I once had the chance to spend 2 days with a small group of LP folks in Malaysia. We met them on a bus and went together with one of them to an island. We talked to her about the job and she said she has now 4 hours to gather all information for this island, whilst the other where checking neighbouring islands. In the morning they already checked the harbour town before the boat left. It was mainly 15 to 20 minutes at one place. I don't want to condemn this, since it is a way to do the work, but if you only have so few time, how you want to see the insight? So yes, then you get comments like "authentic concrete mess"
That is mainly the reason why I stopped buying the Lp guides and started to buy guidebooks with focus more on culture and seightseeing. The information on where to sleep and where to eat I can get easily in the internet, as are bus schedules.
Might be because I am getting older. I don't travel, I make vacation and want to get a touch of the country and not rush from place to place But I still miss the good old times, but my dad is the same
#16 freiburger has been a member since 27/12/2012. Posts: 125
@MadMac Sakhon Nakhon is a funny example - I've been there a couple of times and I'd generally characterise is as a typical, not overly interesting Thai provincial capital - it's biggest attraction is that lake which, if I remember correctly is infested by some vile parasite.
That said, I was there once over Songkran and had a fabulous time and if an LP writer had been there that time, perhaps it would score a better writeup, but, to be fair, for a traveller with say a week put aside for the northeast, SN should be a fair way down that list
I'd agree with freiburger's comments re how they work -- I know quite a few of them and they have to cover massive amounts of ground in very limited amounts of time. Some are excellent and very thorough in their work, others considerably less so unfortunately.
I just did an 11 day trip through the Mekong Delta covering more or less a town a day (it was part work part play) and I work very very fast. While we actually overnighted in Bac Lieu for example, from a research POV I only needed two hours there -- also bear in mind Bac Lieu (and Sakhon Nakhon for that matter) see about 8.3 tourists a year, so you need to invest time where people need it!
I'm not making excuses for them (nor me) the work isn't perfect - nor is it meant to be -- it's a guide not a gospel Plus forums, like Thorntree help to build on the bones put together by the researchers -- it is more of a collaborative process than some realise.
There is a great piece by a LP writer floating around somewhere where they say travel guide researchers "See everything and experience nothing" -- I'd largely agree with that, but would add, we see it so you can experience it
BTW belated thanks to @MadMac for the time spent with David in Mukdahan - much appreciated -- I'll return the favour should you make it to Bali sometime -- they have salsa here you know!
I have a salsa friend in Bali Somtam. She has offered me free accomodation to come and dance with her - which is a good deal since she's a good dancer. I plan to go someday when I have the money. Hanoi first. Mai has priority as I promised her first.
And I understand they might not have a lot of time. I got that. It is just the tone of the write ups in LP I don't like. Condescending, arrogant, sometimes disrespectful. The cities of Issan are about the people, not the architecture. Calling it the "usual concrete mess" I thought was very superficial. If it was a one-off I'd get it. But there are lots of phrases like that disparaging all sorts of things.
#18 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Mac why you hate em is why I love em. Sometimes you have to read between the lines to tease out the opinion but if it's a fun guide it's there. When you think about it guidebook writers are not so much different than Somtam, traveling for a job, and have seen a lot of places. Often I say to myself "I can't believe they went here! What did they do?" I like reading about places after I've been see what they thought. Can't believe you defend American fried rice, live close to Sahkon Nowhere do you? -10 since before the holidays here, enjoy where you're at.
Touche on Sakhon Nakhon -- when I had exactly one half day to hit any one place in Isaan last June en route from Laos to Bangkok, I chose Sakhon Nakhon specifically to visit the Ajahn Mun shrine. I'm into Buddhism and specifically the Forest Tradition, of which Ajahn Mun is like the grandfather figure, so that was the one thing I wanted to see above all else. I was glad I did as it was a very special experience, but also one that wouldn't be too exciting to most. But it's a case in point that no two individual's interests are exactly alike and it's important for guidebook writers to keep that in mind. One person's crap shoot is another's paradise. For me the crap shoot is Pattaya, but I'll be damned if I don't visit someday and find something that personally strikes me in a positive way.
I generally agree with Mac -- not too hot on that sort of arrogant, condescending, even insulting tone that guidebook writers sometimes take. A label like "the usual concrete mess" is a cynical way to sum up pretty much any 'average' city in the entire world. In the case of Sakhon Nakhon, it probably reflects the mood the writer was in when they visited as much, or more than the place itself. I'd imagine it would be hard to see it as anything more than that if you only had a few hours to hit the old utilitarian budget hotels, the bus station and little else. Then again, it's a thin line between being overly cynical and just plain rosy eyed - if anything I'm probably more guilty of the latter.
What I find, especially with the non-touristy cities throughout the region, is that they often don't give the most enchanting first impression but an extra day can really reveal the charm (and often the best food, sights etc.) that lie beneath the surface. Plenty of places first struck me as veritable hell-holes but became favorites by the time I left.
My feeling is that visiting virtually anywhere outside of one's home town, and especially out of one's home country, offers some sort of worthwhile experiences or insights. From a guidebook writer perspective, I think it's important not only to be thorough but also to get a real feel for a place. It seems that a good guide is thorough and precise, touches on the individual writer's impressions and doesn't gloss over anything that just stinks, but also uncovers the positive in each place. Inevitably, if it's on earth and there are living things present, there's something positive to be found. Just my two cents.
"My feeling is that visiting virtually anywhere outside of one's home town, and especially out of one's home country, offers some sort of worthwhile experiences or insights."
My feelings exactly. I love Issan. Not because it has great architecture, or even particularly good food. But I enjoy the people here. I like the weather. I like the feel of the place. Hence I don't like when people disrepsect it. I am OK with "It's not my kind of place". Everything ain't for everyone. But I just find LP insulting and condescending as often as not. I think TF is much better.
And Somsai, yes, I like American fried rice. So does my Thai wife and my sort of Thai daughter. So do lots of Thais who eat it at Good Mook Cafe. Now, if someone doesn't like it, I'm OK with that. Sure. But calling it "repulsive" is ridiculous. They get all excited about fried insects (now that's repulsive) because they are considered "authentic" and sufficiently different but because American fried rice has a title with the word American and uses that sinful American condiment ketchup it's considered repulsive. It's just more disrespect coming from writers (again not all) who are inherently arrogant and disrespectful.
#21 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I'm not sure if LP writer Austin Bush was responsible for the sleight on Sakhon Nakhon, but here is his take on American Fried Rice on his own blog. Fair to say he probably isn;t a fan
He writes a lot of the Thailand food stuff for LP and his blog is well worth following if you're into Thai food - it is one of my favourites.
I can't open the link Stuart, but in general I don't need a food critic to tell me what I am going to like and what I won't. It's like a movie critic. Just because they like movie, doesn't mean I will. And just because they don't, doesn't mean I won't. Same for food. Maybe there is just a problem with his site at the moment, as I couldn't open it at all (none of his other links either). I can hardly wait to see the verbiage though.
#23 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I think Austin wrote or helped write the last LP Laos which I haven't yet read but I'd really like to. I remember reading great stuff by him then I lost track of his blog. It's great to read things by people from the area.
Mac you got to cut these writers some slack, I mean poor Austin is from Bangkok, obviously culturally disadvantaged by geography alone!
TT still down, parsing the posts from that guest house owner from Vang Vien called Nicky with the foul mouth will no doubt take days.
Once again Auntie shoots herself in the foot. No information ( that I can find ) other than a meaningless burble on the forum, no idea as to when, if ever the TT will be back, in fact nothing of any use- not even a news release/ update.
I guess Auntie doesn't consider the thousands of people that used/ relied on TT to be worth much.
If it does come back, how will they ensure that the content meets "their standards" as they so quaintly put it? If they intend moderating anything controversial off the forum, I'm pretty sure that not many of the regulars ( those that still exist after the great massacre when they bought it and destroyed the community spirit ) will bother to spend hours giving advice and information to anyone.
If anyone thinks that Auntie cares an iota about the people that use the forum, just consider WHEN they shut it down. Right at the most busy time in high high high season.
If I believed in conspiracies, I'd be thinking it is all a plot to quietly get rid of the untidy forum, and concentate on making money by selling LP books and other suchlike rubbish that they try to flog off.
Well, time will tell!
#26 thaibeachlovers has been a member since 25/5/2006. Posts: 38
Maybe this sheds some light:
Pity, there's some very funny stuff on YC.
Thanks fondo - you just beet me to posting that I saw that link mentioned on the Any Port In A Storm travel forum which is home to a few ex-TT posters who left at the same time I did a few years back. I never paid much attention to YC personally, but going off that post seems it was a truckload of material.
Travel tech site Tnooz also has a wrap on it here.
@Thaibeachlovers - I struggle to think they're trying to kill it off -- if they wanted to do that, they could just close it as Rough Guides did a while back.
^^ Somtam, if they just killed it off, IMO a lot of people would have also stopped shopping at their website, and that's all they care about.
They certainly don't give a rat's a' about their forum posters.
However, it does seem as though it's coming back "sometime" this month, if anyone bothers to log on.
How NOT to do it.
#29 thaibeachlovers has been a member since 25/5/2006. Posts: 38
I just read fondo's linked article, thanks for posting that.
So, the problem was the Your Choice forum, something I have rarely even looked at, and populated by people that rarely post on the travel forums, so they shut down the ENTIRE forum community, instead of dealing with the main offenders. What a bunch of incompetent idiots!
I noted the last sentence with interest
What the author seems to have overlooked, is that TT questions ( on the Thailand branch, anyway ) are usually answered by the same few people, and, believe it or not, we are not a free public service. Rather, we go on to satisfy our own needs, not some BBC corporate policy, and if we get moderated every time we have an opinion, guess what, not many will be answering the zillion questions about visas, weather and itinerary that we get inundated with.
I'm waiting with interest to see what happens next time I give my usual description of P P or Samui.
#30 thaibeachlovers has been a member since 25/5/2006. Posts: 38
I checked out a link to the virtualtourist web site, and after working out how to get Thailand specific ( but only for Bkk ) posts, discovered people asking for budgets for each days shopping and 24 hour checkout. Strewth mate, gimme strength!
Compared to that site, TT is an oasis of rationality, LOL.
If there is an equivalent forum to TT with any sort of "community" feeling, I haven't been able to find one, but if Auntie "corporatises" TT I sure hope there is one out there, somewhere.
#31 thaibeachlovers has been a member since 25/5/2006. Posts: 38
The "community feeling" you refer to is easily the most challenging "feature" of a forum to create, nurture and grow over time.
Thorn Tree certainly had it at one stage but then through a series of miscalculations/general ineptness they've slowly been destroying it. I walked away from the site a few years ago when they did that major "upgrade" that annoyed the hell out of a lot of members, and I think that is one of the reasons why I find this current predicament so fascinating and yet so infuriating!
I've heard on the rumour mill they're going to shift it to a pre-moderated system, but I find that difficult to credit, as given the volume of posts involved, from a practical point of view it would be an absolute truckload of work.
nice to see you around here. I almost totally agree with your opinion. As for me TT is dead and won't be posting there anymore, since I am not BBCs corporate postings answering slave. If they do precheck the postings, they could also answer the posting, something like preanswering. They could even charge 1 Dollar per answer In any way, as to say with "The beach": the party is over, go home.
I really missed it. I was around since 1999 with a different name and changed my profile in 2007 because I lost my old profile. It was a good time. So let's keep it in good memory.
We will find another publisher who will happily take our money for a good travel guide
#33 freiburger has been a member since 27/12/2012. Posts: 125
Tnooz has just published another piece on it, quoting from a BBC/LP email to LP authors & moderators which suggests the non-travel branches are not coming back.
"Keep it relevant. This is a travel forum. We canâ€™t support off-topic discussions and will remove them."
You can read the full story here.
The Thorn Tree is live again, though at this stage, drastically pruned back and the SEAsia bit is still MIA.
SEA questions welcome here
Hmmm I wrote a really long reply and it got deleted, rats.
However, shortened version, they are pre moderating everything. I just tried to post something and got a message that it had to be checked first.
Good luck doing that with a thousand or more posts an hour!
So long TT, it was great once upon a time.
#35 thaibeachlovers has been a member since 25/5/2006. Posts: 38
Just checked my profile and guess what?
It is all gone. They shut down the messaging system too, so all the contacts I had there are gone as well. These freaks at BBC did a real good job. Don't know what happened to topics in the SEA branch, but lots of my replies in the Eropean section are gone as well, only 2 of my topics left. I guess they deleted approx 80 % of threads I replied to.
They will soon see, that premoderation a community like TT is likely not going to work because you can't process this amount of replies. So what happens, we will see delay in replies and if time inbetween writing and zensoring is too great, people will just stop writing, since you can't get any uptodate information en route anymore.
Really sad storry.
#37 freiburger has been a member since 27/12/2012. Posts: 125
Good Deal! I'm pretty sure of the thousands of comments and posts I wrote not many were worth the electrons used to send them. Still no SEAsia, I knew those vile rants of Sir Nicky would take them a while. Probably had to use multi editors due to burn out from the yuck factor.
freiburger #37. Yes, it seems that everything has gone. I still think that they want to shut it down, but didn't want the bad publicity.
It was a bad day that those *(&^%%% idiots at Auntie bought TT. Never been the same, and now it looks like it's not even worth bothering with anymore. sad
Of course, the people that really suffer are the newbies that can't use google or the search function. Who's going to write their itineraries for them now?
All those good people wanting to know about visas and the weather- they'll be waiting by their computers and all they'll get will be someone that visited once a couple of years ago, LOL.
TT I knew you well, but it's over.
#40 thaibeachlovers has been a member since 25/5/2006. Posts: 38
I really don't see how they can sustain it longterm pre moderated just cause of the workload involved. At the moment they're censoring, not moderating which isn't so hot, but I assume they're doing it hard off the bat and will chill out over time.
I logged into my old profile (travelfish) and I now have 21 posts. Holy hell it used to be thousands and some of those (if I do say so myself, were kinda useful!)
I haven't posted on TT since the schism a few years ago, but other people would post our stuff pretty regularly (be it weather stuff/accom reviews/whatever) and all my posts had the TF URL in the signature (which I'd had personally okay'd by one of the mods back in the day) so there were clicks from that too.
Here's our visit graph from LP for Nov/Dec/Jan. Ops.
In the scheme of things it isn't a big deal from our point of view, but that's a lot of posts awol.
Just went back to have a look. Still don't have Thailand or the SEA forums.
I did check out the Australasia forum, and good grief, soooooooooo boring. If that's what the Thailand branch is going to be like, it won't be worth wasting the energy to log on.
Like someone else said, all my thousands of posts are now come to nothing.
So, it's a brave new world, where I can answer weather, visa and "is it safe for a single female to travel in Thailand" threads, or do something more constructive with my life.
Just to look on the bright side, I won't be having kananga blitzing everything I write. However, I'll miss tezza and all the others that made TT more than just another boring travel forum.
So long TT, adios, sayonara, haere ra, au revoir, sawatdee khrap.
It's been a long and interesting ride, but the corporate &%^$%$#% at the Beeb did it in ( for me anyway ).
I might go back if someone realises that they made a horrible mistake and changes it back, but I'm not holding my breath.
#42 thaibeachlovers has been a member since 25/5/2006. Posts: 38
Lonely Planet's famous Thorn Tree travel forum seems to be dead, squashed under the jackboot of excessive rules and moderation. Every post now has to wait for "approval", and may or may not meet the unspecified criteria of the new regime. This, plainly, is unacceptable to the traveller out there on the road. Mozziebite.com/forums is a vanilla copy of the Thorn Tree, but without the backing of a faceless corporation which doesn't care about the independent traveller. It was created by a backpacker, for other backpackers. Please help it become the "new" Thorn Tree.
#43 Mozziebite has been a member since 8/1/2013. Posts: 3
TBL, this is a real mess. Who'd have thought that Jimmy Saville's inappropriate fumblings 40 years ago would have brought about the demise of the internet's most useful (if at times frustrating) travel resource? Travellers all over SEA and elsewhere are, as we speak, bereft of the information they need. Not want, or think might be useful, but need. This is a dark day.
#44 Mozziebite has been a member since 8/1/2013. Posts: 3
You've scored another self-imposed exile here. I say self-imposed but I may as well drop that and just say exiled as that appears to be what LPBBC are intent on doing to their members.
While I can understand in an extreme situation the need to close down a forum site if it is full of illegal ****, it is my understanding the problem revolved around a part of the board I never used. For the life of me I don't understand why they had to shut it all and for so long.
But what really annoys me, annoys me enough that it has pushed me over here, is they have also removed all my private messages. These messages were private -- that's why they're called PRIVATE messages you nincompoops. Their not available to the general readers so why shut them down? I had a heap of stuff stored in there for an upcoming trip to Thailand, I leave in a week, and they're all gone.
Aside from being annoying it is also bloody inconvenient.
If you take a look at their "Welcome back" thread (oh what a hollow welcome) you'll see questions about the PMs are being ignored. Thanks a lot.
And don't get me started on the moderation thing. A compleete stuff up and as others have mentioned already, i can't see how it will work in the longterm.
So hello Travelfish, I've not always been your biggest fan, but you've hooked me (geddit?) now.
Now that I've got that off my chest, I have a few questions, but I'll post them elsewhere.
#45 ThorntreeExile has been a member since 8/1/2013. Posts: 10
Hey thaibeachlovers , yes this website has so much potential, and its alot fresher looking than the old tired thorn tree forum. I hope more people join here . The atmosphere is really friendly and you dont get judged for not knowing as much as some people think you should know, after all, isnt that why one asks questions?
#46 anewromantic has been a member since 6/1/2013. Posts: 9
It makes me really sad that as a newish member of thorn tree I am not able to benefit from the goldmine of information about thailand. What would take someone months of research to figure out, is all layed out nicely for you on one forum, chock full of first-hand travel experience. Honestly, Ive already bought tickets and Im going to thailand this summer. I was able to figure out my whole trip, costs, itinerary, and burning questions from that forum. Imagine that you are an inexperienced backpacker like myself , relying on a community of people for very much needed advice , you saved up all your money , went to thailand for the 2012 holiday season and it turns out that its shut down because of some political B.S? I would be furious! ...... at least I have a few months to research on here and hopefully there will be many more thorn tree exiles that will join and rebuild.
#47 anewromantic has been a member since 6/1/2013. Posts: 9
mozzie, count me in.
#48 anewromantic has been a member since 6/1/2013. Posts: 9
Spread the word, ANR I'd love the regulars from TT Thailand and all the other branches to move over to Mozziebite and start afresh, a) not for any commercial reason (there isn't any), and b) to piss off the BBC. What they've done is just the final confirmation, if it were needed, that they haven't had a clue how to run a company which was geared towards independent travellers. I'm really pissed off about this.
If anyone has any ideas on the best ways to spread the word, let me know. Internet marketing isn't really my forte
#49 Mozziebite has been a member since 8/1/2013. Posts: 3
To be fair, when I spread the word I will name both lol
#51 anewromantic has been a member since 6/1/2013. Posts: 9
Your site's been up for a while now mozzie, maybe you should revise your business plan, review the content and think about how you might get an audience. Or you could forget it because there's no sign of any owner activity lately. Just sayin'.
My business plan at this stage would be to clear the cobwebs and sweep the floor.
Mozzie, hope your site makes it. I've had withdrawal symptoms since TT bit the dust. IMO, by the time they get all the forums up, if they keep up the pre moderation garbage, they'll be moderating stuff all. I mean, why would we bother? As someone said, we aren't corporate BBC slaves to comply with their incredible BS. They seem to have forgotten that any forum is only the product of the members, and the regulars are the ones with the info. Lose the regulars, and a forum is doomed.
#53 thaibeachlovers has been a member since 25/5/2006. Posts: 38
I joined travelfish same time as TT, but usually posted on TT.
I miss the list of posts I contributed to here though. It's a drag having to look through all of them to see if anyone responded to whatever I wrote.
#55 thaibeachlovers has been a member since 25/5/2006. Posts: 38
@thaibeachlovers -- do you mean this page (need to be logged in to access)?
Is is easy enough to layout as per the "Possibly related discussions" at the end of this page (so you see how many replies and when the latest one was) -- is that what you mean?
BTW general welcome to the new members who have popped over for a looksee from Thorntree -- suggestions for ways to improve the board here always welcome.
This is my home now...my utter astonishment to LP's massive fail went unanswered..E-mailed Tom Hall got the same lame platitudes as I got on their welcome back board.I'm almost shocked,not because I so dearly need a community or need to vent...I'm shocked because they say they are running a business and as a part of that business they host a forum that supplements their product.So when I'm complaining there,I'm not just howling from the rafters ...I'm actually upset that their product have violated my membership...and nothing in return.
20 years of buying their products and posting on their forums(when I could be Helpful)and all I get is ...silence.
Pretty laughable...I had even suggested if you went to a restaurant and were treated this poorly...the manager would be buying your meal.but do you think they would say hey...look, sorry we messed up here...we'll offer massive discounts on some travel guides or videos as a show of good faith for putting your travel research on a bind...nope....that would only make sense, instead like the parasite they are...they're digging in deeper to defend their indefensible position.Banking on their users to be spineless and desperate...Travelfish saved my ass
not enough thanks can be said
#58 DSawyer has been a member since 9/1/2013. Posts: 48
#59 DSawyer has been a member since 9/1/2013. Posts: 48
@RakiMan - careful what you wish for. We'll be adding some new countries into the forum later today, China will be one of them.
We're just arguing (I mean discussing) grouping at the moment as we're divided between adding as regions (so for eg, North Asia, comprising China/Tibet/Hong Kong/Macau/Taiwan; and South Asia (India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh) or as individual countries. There are pros and cons to each and we are leaning towards individual countries -- some of the boards will just be pretty quiet.
Nice to see so many familiar nicknames
#62 freiburger has been a member since 27/12/2012. Posts: 125
SEAsia Mainland up again as well as Tland.
I got this message at the top of the page when I opened it.
Welcome back!As you may have noticed, we made the decision to temporarily close Thorn Tree over the holiday period â€“ a move we felt was necessary in order to put in place some additional moderation systems. You however Mr. Somsai are a fount of witty and insightful comments and there fore we are enabling the magic ban hammer on your behalf. If you find any comments to be objectionable or if maybe you simply have indigestion insert the offending party's username here (box to link omitted) and not only will they be forever banned but fake inane comments will be posted in their username. They will be cremated and their ashes spread across the most polluted klong available in Bangkok.
Y'all have been warned.
@ Somsai...I'm not going back...at least not in any helpful way
#65 DSawyer has been a member since 9/1/2013. Posts: 48
Somtam #56 Yes, that's it thanks. It'll take me a while to get used to how this forum works.
Looking back at TT. I was only away a day, but the complaints have multiplied by many pages. I was very surprised to see some that welcomed the "new" TT- some "fake" posters perhaps.
Many posts mentioned Travelfish, and I think this site will gain more than a few new members now.
It was the "community" that made TT and if I can only answer questions without any back and forth, I'll do that here, where I'm not pre moderated, and have to wait to see my reply come up.
#66 thaibeachlovers has been a member since 25/5/2006. Posts: 38
@somsai that is funny
@thaibeachlovers ok, no prob, just wanted to check before I changed it only to find you're talking about something different!
I was going to make a separate post for this, but I figure most popping over from TT will probably give this a read anyways, so I'll just drop it in here. I just want to clarify a couple of the differences between here and there for new members.
We do not manually premoderate threads on the forum. Reviews on the destination guide are pre-moderated (for editing purposes) but that is entirely separate to the forum.
We do though use two bits of software (Akismet & another one) which will flag blatant spam (flogging viagra, stolen credit card numbers etc etc). In cases like this the message doesn't appear until we manually check it. In very very rare cases, perhaps once or twice a month, we'll get a false positive -- we endeavour to correct the false positives asap, but I do need to sleep sometimes, so it may take a few hours
Posts even remotely disrespectful of the Thai Royal family will be removed for legal reasons and we don't allow sex-tourism focussed posts.
There is a language filter, so typical four letter words get replaced with XXXX.
We do post moderate.
Spam that slips through, commercial posts and anything from a Vietnam-based business gets deleted as we catch it. You'll see a small red "x"to the lower right of each post, if you click on that I get sent an email telling me you've found a dodgy post -- please use it to report spam etc. You'll note that compared to some travel forums there isn't too much spam, nor commercial posts here. I am completely irrational regarding spam. Sorry.
On the rare occasion that conversations get abusive or out of hand, we may prune it or just lock the post if it is going nowhere. Generally I have far better things to do with my time than doing this kind of thing and, generally, this isn't much of an issue at all.
We have a brand spanking new set of usage guidelines you're welcome to read here (I'm yet to move it to somewhere more permanent). It is a long and fairly detailed document, but I can sum it up by saying:
Please be civil, be helpful, don't spam and please don't be a pain in the XXXX.
The closest we have to an equivalent of Your Choice is Idle Banter and Culture & Politics both of these are home to pretty much any kind of more "general banter" style conversations. The same rules apply though, so be nice
You can subscribe to a conversation by posting on it and selecting "Check this box if you want to be notified of replies" or you can subscribe to a thread without posting on it by clicking on the greeny diagonal icon way back up top right. Both will result in you being sent an email notifying you of a reply to the thread. Note the email will not contain the message -- just a link back to here (we do it that way so that spam doesn't get distributed should spam get past the filter on a post you are subscribed to). You can unsubscribe through one of the options in the Member Centre.
You can only edit a post you make for a limited period of time, 30 minutes after you first published it. After that it is locked.
Yes photos can be published in posts -- you can read how here.
We don't paginate discussions on the forum -- meaning there is no clicking from page to page toread a single conversation. It's just one page that goes and goes and goes. (you probably figured that out by now!)
I can't think of other things off the top of my head -- but if you have questions or features you'd like to see added, let me know and we'll look into it.
One last thing, I'm curious about the WT forum on Thorntree. I get why BBCLP were annoyed with YC, but I don't get what the problem was with a forum about Women's Travel. Any potted history would be much appreciated.
"It was the 'community' that made TT"
Funny, the reason I've stuck almost exclusively to Travelfish over the last 5 years is I've found it to have a more intimate, grassroots feel (and of course more than a few seasoned traveler contributors). It's not run by a mega corporation but a couple of adventurous yet conscious travelers who have lived in the SE Asia region for many years and care deeply about it. To me, that makes all the difference and always has.
If you stick around, I think you'll find there's a great little community around here too -- and made all the better of course by all of y'all from TT who obviously know what you're talking about.
Hello Everybody from LP TT forum,
What a stinkin mess. Good to see some familiar names here, though I was not as active on the SE Asia/Thailand Forum the last 3 years as I have been in China/Central America.
You know what is so utterly wrong about the shutdown, well, its a few things-
For one, they overreacted obviously to some New York Times inquiry about the content of its travel forum, when it came the "Search" of certain bad words/subjects, which is hard to avoid in the travel forum, though the filer system for foul language was lenient to say least, most people that mouthed off on the regular travel branches were scolded by members and reported for deletion anyway. It was the YC branch that did them in, as it was a free wheeling subject forum and people could make jokes, debate social issues or just blow off steam. Okay, so close the YC, and come up with a more PC YC in some way, the regulars there than could at least get in line or get out.
But what gripes me the most, is the lack of communication to its member community, each branch had its regulars, they were the custodians of the branch, they in many ways moderated the branch, alerted LP Moderators to touts, scams, foul language or abusive post. They also put a lot of hard work and time over the years, usually maintaining the FAQ as well. They were all thrown to the curb like rubbish, no email, no apology, no attempt to keep them updated, no nothing. How is that possible? How crude of customer service can that be to not even attempt to explain, update and reach out?
The community on the LP Thorntree forum was great, as member since 2001, as TicoTim with 25,000 post, mainly Central America/SE Asia, and then banned in 2009 after being attacked on the Costa Rica branch by a nut, I rejoined as Solohobo, and had 25,000 post. In that time, I may have been a jerk at times, and had some heated debates, that maybe did not belong on a travel forum, but the fact was, everyone could air their perspectives and opinions, and if you were dead wrong, the others would put you in your place, so be it.
I maintained the Central America FAQ, I kept the Trip Reports linked by country that had great info, or were off the beaten path and hard to find info on any forum or guidebook. I did this to help others, as I want to share my passion for travel, culture, adventure and discovering new places. I also saved over 20 Trip reports of mine, that now are all gone.
In addition, the friends I made from the LP TT Community, they were many (and a few enemies), it was great to meet up with a expat or fellow traveler and hang out, an instant friend and buddy to bum around a new city with, stay in contact, share eachothers homes, meet family, I even attended a wedding from a LP TT Member. I now dont have many contacts I never had the personal emails for, and I am about to head to El Salvador, I am so bummed out at that.
Well, BBC/LP have no morals these days, they are one scandal after another, management has no clue what a proper guideline is, much less how to implement it. It must be a terrible place to work, and worst of all, poor Tony Wheeler, to see a great idea come to this. Screw LP/BBC at this point, MOON/Roughguide are my favorites as of late anyway.
So, is Travelfish opening more branch forums? I would be happy to help put up the FAQ for Central America, after 40 trips, I ca share a ton of info.
Happy New Year Everyone, and I hope the travel community for the independent traveler can survive, as Trip Advisor is mostly All Inclusive, Resort and Tour types on many branches, though there is at least an active forum for each country, where good on the ground info is shared, but you cant say anything negative about anything on that forum, its all everything is great 24/7 on the TA.
#69 SoloHobo has been a member since 12/1/2013. Posts: 10
For new forums we drew the line at the Pacific and Central America is most definitely on the wrong side of it!
Perhaps we'll look at it down the road, but for now we'll see how we go fleshing out the new ones we added. Thanks for the offer though -- it is much appreciated.
Sympathise with you re BBC/LP/TT as has already been said here and on a number of other forums, it is a trainwreck of epic proportions.
I made a post in the thailand forum on "delayed messages" writing "good thing is we don't need to answer. Meanehile I am at travelfish"
Guess what? Censored
This is not moderating a forum, this is censorship. Anyway, RIP TT
#71 freiburger has been a member since 27/12/2012. Posts: 125
freiburger....They just don't care...It's pretty sad watching everyone over their trying to spin the pile of stink into something positive.That whole company can burn to the floor for all I care.I said and did everything possible in official proper channels to get LP to understand that what they had done to me personally was not ok.I wrote Tom Hall their online editor.He basically told me nothing ...this was his answer to my questioning the closure of the TT and destroying all the research and bookmarks I had saved over months of planning...
Thank you very much for your note which I have just received. I understand â€“ and share - your frustrations over the temporary closure of Thorn Tree and am pleased to tell you that as of about three minutes ago a limited service has resumed. At present we are able to offer a limited subset of the destination branches, and a limited amount of content for these branches but it was of great importance to us to get the utility of Thorn Tree up and running for travellers as soon as we could. More branches and more content will follow over the coming days and weeks.
If you are looking for information on a subject or destination that we do not currently offer a branch on then I would be pleased to either help you myself (I offer travel advice in the Guardian newspaper, so do know a thing or two) or endeavour to find out the answer from one of our authors. This is not a substitute service we are able to offer everyone, but your note landed in my inbox at the right time, so Iâ€™m happy to do what I can to help.
Please let me know if there is any way I can help you further, and thank you for your loyalty to Lonely Planet and writing to us on this matter.
Very best wishes,
So basically he tells me he can maybe answer my questions...If I ask him...what nerve!...as If I could just say oh well start over never mind we are the ones who just put the screw to your plans...
I wrote him back this:
Thank You Tom,
I have and had all of my comments and contacts in the SE Asia boards...this is highly discouraging.I am traveling to Singapore Malaysia Indonesia Laos and Thailand in May...and I'm basically blacked out still...this is ridiculous....I have not done anything nothing...why was I not, at the very very least contacted to be made aware of the Thorn tree post closure?so I could get posts I needed and had book marked to help me on my travels...you guys have literally set me back big time.
You have become a hindrance rather than a resource...I just don't get it...it's a semi public forum... things get said it can be removed...to unilaterally wipe out everyone of my questions and posts and my access to saved posts is terrible.Travel advice has so much to do with trust...you guys have blown that trust with the way you have handled my account...my questions contacts...Tom I'm highly disappointed
I basically feel like I should just move on down the road and find another travel resource that wont violate my account
because of "issues" that have nothing to do with me
Tom never bothered to ever write me back...clearly he "understands and shares my frustration"
from the moderators to official channels...nothing...LP can kiss my ass
#72 DSawyer has been a member since 9/1/2013. Posts: 48
I think that in university courses on websites, they will be using the TT fiasco as an example of how NOT to do it for as long as there are forums.
The thing that comes over big time is the sense of betrayal, the complete lack of any recognition of, or respect for the fact that WE were the forum, not some corporate wage slave. Also, how dare they talk about "standards" when they obviously don't have any themselves.
In fact, the whole "standards" issue is bogus- who's standards, what standards, does anyone know, does anyone at HQ care?
They still haven't allowed PMs!!!!!!! What for?????? Are they going to "pre moderate" PMs??????? As usual, no info at all.
What a monumental mess ( just being polite here ).
What really surprised me though, is that Captain Bob and Westwood are still answering questions!
Of course, the people to pity are the ones plainively writing " I wrote this post before, and it was deleted", and lucky to get 5 answers.
#74 thaibeachlovers has been a member since 25/5/2006. Posts: 38
Hello everyone. TT's done for me too, after 8 years of work and entertainment. Be it ever so humble, this is now my new home, and I'm a little ashamed to only have joined today as this has been a great resource for me over the years, so I'll make an effort to give something back.
Good to see some familiar names and I hope some more come across.
#76 seaflux has been a member since 15/1/2013. Posts: 3
welcome here. This is my new home too
#77 freiburger has been a member since 27/12/2012. Posts: 125
All the destination channels on Thorntree now look to be back in action, though other bits and bobs like messaging still waiting for attention.
@somsai You'll no doubt be interested to note that the "Why is Pawn gone" thread hasn't resurfaced. Off topic?
For those not familiar, the post, albeit from a few years ago, referred to the probable kidnapping and murder of a Lao environmentalist working with a guesthouse in Luang Nam Tha.
What indeed is "off topic"?
The original thread was here.
I don't know. There has recently been another disappearance that has raised much more widespread comment. All of the major media sources have weighed in (NYT, Financial Times, Australian Newspapers of course, as well as the more high brow blogs) yet no mention on TT that I can see.
They might well be avoiding anything that might be considered political. Hope Pawn and Sombath reappear some day.
I posted recently about a supposed bridge going in at Xienkok and it has't been deleted yet. I'm sure a bridge there would have exactly nothing to do with tourism issues and everything to do with resource extraction, corruption, access to Kentung from Boten, etc.
#75 can you shed some (any) light on what the issue was with the women's travel branch?
Sorry, I posted almost exclusively on the Thailand branch, and never even knew it existed!
#81 thaibeachlovers has been a member since 25/5/2006. Posts: 38
I just spent an hour or so reading through that welcome back thread and am just fuming.
Over a month after the closure and STILL no private messages. At one stage one of the moderators suggests there may be a replacement system on the way, but as of some 900+ messages there is not one that explains WHY a system that was inherantly private had to be turned off in the first place. There are a number of comments from one user who is gutted because she lost messages regarding her husband's death! I have no idea why she was storing them in pms but whatever, made me feel awful for her (and awful for moaning here about what I lost).
Women Travels and gay/lesbian travel not coming back. They're apparently "offtopic" yet travel for old people and travel with kids is back and deemed ontopic. I think this is just appalling and seems very discriminatory - I'm neither a woman nor a gay traveller, but if I was I'd be taking my business elsewhere (as if i have a choice).
Overall the thorntrree seems quiter than it was, but still a good deal busier than here. Travelfish you need to start advertising -- a number of times readers on the welcome back discussion recommend you but you need to do more!
#82 ThorntreeExile has been a member since 8/1/2013. Posts: 10
@ thorn tree Ex-ile ..these boards are functional ...fully...every and any time I needed help here I got it...I also get less blather about answers here than on the TT...I am sooo done over there it's beyond a dead horse.I deleted my account and of course the ghost of my image and words still remain ...how ironic they could F over my posts and my private messages...yet they maintain my intellectual property in the form of my image and comments from the past...and I deleted my account F the TT do yourself a favor and delete your account.The sooner you stop looking back, the better this board will be.
#83 DSawyer has been a member since 9/1/2013. Posts: 48
Just an update as Tnooz have just published an update where BBCLP defend shutting the forum down. For those still with an interest in this matter, the story is worth a read.
Laughable that they are claiming it has not hurt their bottom line....that's complete BS!!! I'll never buy one of their books again
they can go F themselves and the horse they rode in on
#86 DSawyer has been a member since 9/1/2013. Posts: 48
Been quite a while since I posted anything about Thailand. I used to post for about 2 hours every other day, but it's like a past life now. I'm not saying that I was the ultimate authority or anything like that, but thanks to LP yet another source of info for the tourist to Thailand has been lost.
It was more the community than anything else that I went on for, and I'd say that's gone for good.
There may be those that want to answer 10,000 similar posts about the weather or visas, things that can be found with a simple google search, but not I.
The worst thing about it is that all the info in the archives has gone, so any interesting places that I thought I'd like to visit "one day" will be starting from scratch if I ever get around to it.
At least tezza's info is accessible from here. Thanks tezza.
#87 thaibeachlovers has been a member since 25/5/2006. Posts: 38
I hadn't realised that the archives had been deleted TBL? That's appalling. That was the single most valuable repository of travel information about Thailand on the planet, and whilst it might belong to the BBC in law, it most certainly belonged to the community and contributors from an ethical point of view.
#88 seaflux has been a member since 15/1/2013. Posts: 3
Popular travel blog The Longest Way Home has a good round up on the whole shebang and some of the comments are also pretty interesting. You can read the full entry here.
@Tezza I write off crazy letters to people and papers all the time -- yet to have one published
@Thaibeachlovers & @seaflux there continues to be discussion of archives being restored piecemeal, but then there were a lot of suggestions Private Messages was going to come back and that got nixed recently.
And so it appears Lonely Planet is to be sold again, this time to a Kentucky cigarette magnate. Unusual deal to say the least.
Perhaps he is really into travel forums.
Looks like people have 30 days to retrieve their Private Messages - but you'll have to cut and paste! Nice one. (Not!) Saw this posted by another user...
So I'm reading 2012 Lonely planet guide and I look up Mukdahan. Described as a "hum drum" city it mentioned no nightlife at all, and it still had the Riverside Restaruant as a recommended place to go - it's been closed for over 5 years now.
#92 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
The only way LP get's me to pay two shits about them is they sell to the American(he turns out to be a good owner)He fires all of the Moderators...He squashes any managerial decisions made by BBC...They contact me...apologize for violating my loyalty...
none of which I expect ...
It's really sad to go back to their forums and still see people whining and crying...dear God people get over it
the LP sucks now...you wanna get satisfaction? erase your account
#93 DSawyer has been a member since 9/1/2013. Posts: 48
I realy loved the nightlife in Mukdahan . I was there for three nights in the Loy Krathong of 2011. I still remember the time I spent one night having beers with an expat who was living there. I had my dinner in that restaurant in the main road... for sure you know it Madmac... the one with the style of Harley-Davidson and the farang food (a quite good burger), and I was going to have my last beer behind the tower, some hundreds of meters down road. This man came with his car (previously I had been talking with him in the motorbike bar) and gave me a free lift to the tower. It was lovely, really quiet, no farang, a bunch of karaoke bars and that kind of country-bar in the other side of the road. I loved it... After so many parties in Isan I keep on thinking that Mukdahan and Sakon Nakhon have the best nightlife. At the end It is a big pleasure to read the mistakes in the damned guidebook... I know that when I am back in Mukdahan there won`t be loads of farangs ...
P.S. Sorry for the off-topic
The only reason I was even on the TT forum is because I was looking for info on Cuba - unfortunately an area not (yet?!) covered by TF. Anyone have any good alternative sites (send me a PM rather than hijack this thread)? I hated the idea of even going to the TT site in the first place. They still have reinstated my helpful posts about Tonga from a year ago. Bah humbug.
Davix - you must be talking about The Picking Cowboy. They have great burgers.
The place across from the tower is called Kingdom Country Club. It's a bit too loud for my taste, popular with the younger set. Lots of naughty nightlife around the tower as well, which isn't my scene, so I don't hang there. I prefer Norees, now located on the bypass road (great band there), the cowboy and also Share Yes. For good fusion food and a chilled environment with nice background music there's the excellent Good Mook Cafe and it's smaller twin on the southern edge of town called Bei Mieng Muk.
#96 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
In a fit of procrastination here at Maggie's in Prachuap Khiri Khan, when I should really be sending out the now two days late newsletter, I took a look at the traffic we receive from Lonely Planet and TripAdvisor and then charted them against one another (the vertical scale is the same).
The collapse in traffic from LP makes sense when they shutdown TT -- when they reopened it you can see the traffic returns, but at about half the level of before -- which reflects mostly the old posts they nuked/archived which had TF links in them.
After it reopened, you can see the traffic steadily drop from LP/TT (some seasonality here, but I'd normally expect it to rise in July onwards for EU summer) while the inbound traffic from TripAdvisor has increased more or less steadily ever since the TTpocalypse.
What does this say to me? TripAdvisor has never been much of a traffic source for us -- that has now changed (which I'm very happy about) -- and I'd put it down to Thorntree members now making more use of Tripadvisor's forums, and occasionally plugging Travelfish.
So whoever you are, thankyou
TA has lots of useful info and the forum is underated. I don't see much value in the LP site at all while the LP books are trading on the name alone as they aren't worth what they cost.
#100 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
Thanks somtam and others for including the links, graphs, charts.
In post #3 the community management link is pointing to an unrelated webpage. Maybe the original page has been moved?
In post #43 it appears mozziebite forum is gone because the link takes you elsewhere.
#101 fuckLPnTT has been a member since 8/11/2014. Posts: 3
Yes looks like mozziebite is done. That community management link is the right one - Vanessa was talking about community management in general - not LP or TT particularly. Given she used to be a TT moderator etc I thought it was interesting.
Thanks for the headsup re the other links.
LP Moved TT to a https setup earlier this year, so we now see almost no traffic from them -- not because it isn't coming, but rather because it doesn't show up in our server logs anymore (moving a site to SSL hides the referer). I have heard TT traffic is a fraction of what it once was, but it is still considerably busier than here!