“Private” discussion forums.

It was my understanding that the “private” discussion forums were only open to participants in that specific trip.  Today I opened the general community forums and found that the messages I had posted in the private forums were included in the activity stream.  This may change what I choose to post in the private forums and other participants should be warned that these postings are not private.  I have had only one other person respond in the private forums I have posted in.  Possibly people are not interested or, more likely, the extreme difficulty in accessing these forums has led people to give up.  I’d be interested in other people’s experience with the private forums.

  • Unfortunately, the RS forums -- both public and private -- are very poorly designed. And every time they do an update to the interface, new problems erupt. The inadequate user interface and the other problems discourage people from posting, so the forums never reach the "critical mass" that would make them really useful. I think RS should decide whether they are going to invest in a solid social networking platform, and if not they should maybe just stop trying.
    I noticed yesterday that there are much more lively discussions going on in the RS Facebook page, but many people don't appreciate the lack of privacy on FB.
  • In reply to GerryL:

    Peggy, I noticed that recently as well. I inadvertently posted on a "Private" discussion which I clicked on from the activity feed page. I felt bad but realized no one else had answered the person's question so just left it up! The person did seem to appreciate my advice so that was good as no one but she and I have posted there!

    I agree with Gerry that the forums are poorly designed and difficult to find. I have no problem posting on Trip Advisor or another travel forum. In fact I do so every day! These forums are difficult and it's as if the designers have never actually been a part of a travel forum.

    Now having to sign in every day is a PIA! I actually sent an email to the help desk about the issue and got a template reply indicating they were adding me to the program I'd previously signed up for. I just laughed because they clearly didn't read what I'd written. Oh well.

    It also doesn't help that the person assigned to "monitor" the forums isn't able to post regularly as they will go weeks without responding to questions on the open forum.

    Just looked at a program I transferred out of and see there are 20 or so people listed on the page BUT if no one gets an email notification that there is activity how will they know to check?

    I didn't realize things were more lively on the FB pages. I'll have to check them out but you are right about privacy there. I tend not to be as open on FB - unless I'd tell the checker at the grocery store it doesn't go on FB, hahaha!

    ~Pam
  • Hello Peggy ,

    Thank you for your post. We want to assure you that private boards are private and posts are only seen by participants enrolled in your program date. Your activity stream is personalized to your account , so any post that you have contributed, private or public, will be displayed in your activity stream. Although it might look like all of your comments are available to view from the discussion board, participants outside of your trip do not see the private forums.

    Best,
    Rachel
  • In reply to PamInIdaho:

    Hello Pam, It is not possible to post on a private discussion unless you are enrolled in a program date. We looked into your experience and found that you replied to date specific public post. Occasionally participants will ask questions about specific trip dates in a public forum, which may look in your activity stream very similar to a post in a private forum. These conversations are public and open to any that may have gone on the trips already or may wish to in the future.

    We realize that it’s been difficult to access certain forums on the discussion boards and are working to make them more user friendly too. We are currently working to make changes behind the scenes and made some improvements already including the “ How to Use” tutorial appearing on the discussion board home page and discussion starters to encourage participants to join in their date specific discussion board page. We are also aware of the sign in issue and are working to solve for this inconvenience.

    We assure you that we monitor the discussion boards every day, but we view the discussion boards as a resource where participants can interact with each other. We comment on policy, procedure, or program content and interact when we can provide value to the conversation.

    Best,
    Rachel

  • In reply to Road Scholar:

    Thank you for the reply Rachel.

    I guess I thought it was private because it's listed in the "Programs" category which is not a forum that is accessible from any of the tabs across the top of this forum. In fact the only way I've found them is to either link thru my link to "my" programs, the forum front page activity feed, or in the case of the one I answered, a bookmark.

    I have been added to my program that I've signed up for in October. Do the participants get a message that there is any kind of post on the sub-forums? I'm happy to post if it will start things!
  • In reply to PamInIdaho:

    Hi Pam, other participants will get an email about posts on sub-forums if they have either posted something or if they are subscribed to that thread. It would be great if you started a conversation with the other participants on your program too! Let us know if you have any further questions. Best, Rachel
  • In reply to Road Scholar:

    I started a thread on the program forum just to see if I could get something started. Have had 2 views but no replies. No other threads in that forum so no one will get a notice unless they have figured out how to "subscribe" to the thread.
  • In reply to PamInIdaho:

    Hi Pam, we do have directions on how to subscribe to a thread under our How To section of the discussion boards available here -- www.roadscholar.org/.../
    Also for your convenience the instructions are to simply click on "Turn Reply Notifications On." on the right hand side of the thread which was started. If you no longer want to receive notifications you can click on the button in the same location which will now read "Turn Reply Notifications Off". Best, Rachel
  • In reply to GerryL:

    I totally agree with your observations and comments. I think it is unfortunate that those of us who refuse to use FB have to miss out on so much. I kept asking RS to stop sending so many paper catalogues and use the savings (from paper, printing, postage, etc.) to hire some top-notch tech people to make the website search and these discussion boards work better.