Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.
But this is not about RP as so many call him in short code when talking about him, it is about FT. I have a love/hate relationship with FT. I love the idea of FlyerTalk and the community aspect of it to share ideas. I post quite often, not just comments, but new “threads” as they are called with a topic that has not yet been discussed on FT. One sub board I really spend a bunch of time on is the Mileage Run one for obvious reasons both looking for inspiration and sharing what deals I have found in my research.
There is another similar major board that RP founded called MilePoint (MP). In many ways it is a little brother to the much older FT. I like MP but there are many more active members on FT so I tend to gravitate there most times.
Why most times? I went through a period where I gave up on FT for a while and I have talked to a great many who have even quit altogether visiting this site. They say things like “it is just too toxic of a space nowadays” and I understand their feelings. This is also one of the reasons you have seen such an explosion of blogs, not just here on BoardingArea and its sister site Prior2Boarding, all over the web. Blogs like these are happy to help both on the blogs and via E-Mail. I attempt to answer every E-Mail I ever get from readers either with a personal note or a link to a post that answers their question. On FT you can often get a very harsh reply or none at all from members. After that, many MODS, that is moderators, tend to allow some users to “get away” with saying things I bet they would never say face to face to that same person.
So I thought as both an educational, and maybe entertaining, list I would share the Top 10 things you need to know about FT if you are going to use it:
1) Learn gibberish. FT (yes I see the irony in this) makes twitter look like the oxford dictionary at times. Why say anything typed out when short code will do fine. Want more see (E15).
2) Zealots rule the roost. Some, not all, long time users “think they own the place” that is there are those who think they “are” FT and tend to comment on everything. Some tend to stick to certain boards while others are equal opportunity sharers of “knowledge”.
3) Got a bullet proof vest? Good – bring it and maybe layer up as well. I am constantly stunned by what is not just said, but how it is said, and that MODS allow many of the things they do on FT. I have seen new users ask simple questions and get digitally “pounded” for missing that this was talked about endlessly 4 years ago in a thread only the zealots remember in the first place (that is now locked to new comments)!
4) IBTL! Since we are talking locked, that is “in before the lock”, this is another common theme of FT 2014. You see MODS will lock a thread, that is shut it down to further comments, when the “discussion” gets out of control and this happens quite often. Many threads can start with a newbie question, links to dusty old threads, zealots taking over the thread, questions going off topic and personal, then the thread gets locked and the cycle can begin all over again.
5) Please don’t even EVER make a spelling mistake or math error. Let’s say you have found the secret of how to turn lead into gold. You start a thread and tell your fellow FTers how to do it too. Rather than thank you about the find, be ready to be creamed for not knowing how much lead will be needed to make a standard gold bar (plus you forgot about troy OZ vs just an OZ) or that lead should never be called lead but only referred to as Pb, its symbol on the periodic table of elements. – Deep sigh.
6) Other than some certain stone tablets that came down from a mountain, everything that has ever been said is on FT. You better believe there is not an original idea on this planet that was not first pointed out, discussed, or found out about on FT. The library of Alexandria you say? It would have just had a small sub board on FT. Oh, and if you happen to not understand this clearly be sure you review point 3! 😉
7) Clearly understand FTers are better than you (ie BTDT). Not only is all the info on the planet on FT (point 6) but many of the member have “been there, done that” no matter what it is you have done. As long as you go in knowing you this you are free to share before point 4 happens.
8) Have you ever been to a more confusing space than FT? Some folks are being a bit overly critical at the all the changes going on at the BoardingArea home page. Sure there are some tweaks that are going to need to happen. However, just try to find things on FT! It is all but impossible (but FTers know and thus the importance of point 6). What I do is use Google and add the word FlyerTalk to my search whenever I need to find anything on FT as it seems to be the only good method of finding anything.
9) FT is big enough that companies care. For all the talk of how PVT FT is and that no one “really” reads it, all major companies have reps that read FT each day. This can be good as what you say will be seen by someone with the company but the sad part is if you comment something you shouldn’t you may find your points account suddenly closed or audited or something along those lines. Just sayin’, be careful what you type!
10) BoardingArea is just a better place to get your info. OK the last one is not really part of the top 10 list but it should be. Due to all of the 9 points above it is clear more and more are turning to blogs for their daily info rather than spend hours searching threads.
Please don’t take from this that I don’t enjoy using FT and I am not saying you should not join and take part. You really should as it is a resource like all others on the web to be used. Think of FT as a travel wikipedia where you have to read sometimes dozens or hundreds of posts to get to the full summary of the thread (unless there is a wiki post on top of the thread that is)!
Just be careful and know what you are getting yourself into and some may prefer just to be a “lurker” and not brave the above. To be fair there are some who cling to what FT once was, that is a great platform to share info and help others but those kind helpful members are the exception not the rule nowadays! Tread carefully. – René
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.