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Author Topic: Locking threads for the feedback form?  (Read 7143 times)

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Veit Loderr

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Locking threads for the feedback form?
« on: May 29, 2013, 08:44:26 PM »

Hello,

Why even have forums if you're only going to use the feedback form to gather information? Can't you use both? You can direct people to your feedback form without locking a thread and it doesn't harm anything.

Even after using the feedback form, it would still be nice to be able to post into a continuous thread with other members. Maybe other members have more insight into what happened or other things that went wrong? Locking the thread and directing people to your feedback form more than likely makes your job more difficult since you now have to filter through each one of those feedback forms instead of having your community filter itself. Why censor the community? Why create more work for yourself? Why would you rather read through hundreds of feedback forms intead of reading one thread which contains the same information from hundreds of people? There is no reason to lock threads when a proper discussion is being had other than you're afraid that the information contained within will bathe the event in a bad light. The event is already bathed in a bad light by the fact that it had so many issues. What better reason to respond to the complaints and/or apologize to the people who feel wronged than to make you look better. An explaination or an apology would make us feel like you do actually take our complaints into consideration. The feedback form is like talking to a brick wall, we talk, we get nothing in return. Locking the thread is like walking away from the discussion. It gives us the feeling that you actually don't care and I'm sure that's not what you intend. It seems like it would be much more efficient for you to be able to respond to hundreds of people with one post than to respond to those same people hundreds of times (unless you're just using canned letters, which would make it seem like you don't care)? Do you really want to answer the same question hundreds of times?

Time and again I read and hear how volunteers are in demand. I understand that you may be short staffed (pre-register night proved that) but when someone states a valid complaint, the answer is not "Well, let's see if you can do it better!" which is how the whole "If you don't like it, volunteer!" comes across. Yes, you need volunteers, but throwing that in someone's face because they're upset is not a way to gain volunteers, it's a great way to lose patrons. Instead of further upsetting the people who attend your convention by their own free will, you should acknowledge their feelings and let them know that you want to do anything to make them feel better. You should not take any complaint personal. You should thank the people who post their complaints, instead of dismissing them as upset people who don't know what it takes, how else are you going to receive feedback? Would you rather we kept silent? Instead of being defensive, you should be accepting. Take the criticism and use it to make things better instead of taking things personal. The complaints are not personal! Now you may say the feedback form gets this same information to you. But what if people didn't use that either? Where are you going to get your information? Not everyone wants to use the feedback form. Heck, people are starting to use other off-site forums for the same discussions. I would bet that more people appreciate a multi-sided conversation, rather than a one-sided one (talking to a brick wall, again). More information can be gained from a multi-sided conversation than from a feedback form with three feedback fields and no filter.

The community does not complain because we hate the convention/event (even though that is complaining by definition). We complain because we want the convention/event to be better. We believe that our complaints are going to be taken into consideration and addressed. Whether they actually are we couldn't say, but the forums are a great place to voice these complaints. Whether you already know of the issues or not is moot. It helps the community come together and be stronger, and when those complaints are addressed, it makes us believe in you guys even more! It makes us want to support you! We attended your convention, we gave you a chance, now you need to give us one. A feedback form is no substitute for direct interaction with your supporters and you do need to think of us as your supporters no matter how much we complain, no matter how upset we get because in the end, the convention would not exist without us either. This is "By Fans, For Fans". We are all fans, and we all must work together because we are all on the same side!
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Jazqui

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Why are all the threads being locked?
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2013, 09:59:15 PM »

It seems like almost every single thread for con discussions that is in an area largely involving complaints about the con has been locked. I'm well aware that if you want a con to listen to your concerns, you should complain directly to them (which I certainly plain to), but it is so embarrassingly unprofessional that these threads are being locked without any good reason.

This is supposed to be a place for us to discuss our concerns and to give others a chance to contribute and share their related experiences. There will always be criticism involved. Locking all these threads just makes me feel like the staff doesn't know how to take said criticisms and is trying to shut down any threads in an attempt to keep us from talking poorly about them openly on the Internet, and to be honest, it just makes the whole of the staff look worse. There will always be Tumblr. People will find ways to voice their concerns and spread them like wildfire. Locking threads on the con forums isn't going to stop that.

A professional con staff would listen to the concerns being posted here and take them into consideration and just try to better themselves the next year--not try to silence attendees and force them to keep their complaints entirely private. It's only adding to my distrust that the con will improve next year, if I can be frank.
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keitoghostie

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Re: Why are all the threads being locked?
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2013, 10:08:11 PM »

Well they have a feedback form so it's not that they're refusing to listen to criticism.

Rather I think it might be to make sure they're getting more honest feedback than when they've asked for feedback in earlier years.

It would be nice if there was some clarification on why this is being done, though.

Enkai

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Re: Why are all the threads being locked?
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2013, 10:16:14 PM »

I was wondering about this on twitter, and I was assured by Milton that they would be posting feedback received, and the reason for the lock was so they could have all the feedback in one place.

That being said, I'm still a little nervous, as I'm afraid that only the praise will be published, and not legitimate constructive criticism.  I felt like some of those threads were going to some very good places with the way everybody was bouncing suggestions off each other, so I hope that it doesn't just end there.  Collaboration is a good thing, and locking the thread still feels like another knock against Fanime's public relations.

Oh well.  Wait and hope. (and if you know what I'm referencing, you are awesome forever)

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otakuya

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Re: Why are all the threads being locked?
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2013, 10:19:31 PM »

My "Good  Feedback"  thread was locked, too
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ewu

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Re: Why are all the threads being locked?
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2013, 12:14:37 AM »

Hey all,

I was the one that locked them all. Basically, the feedback form is the best way to get the info out to staff ASAP. In these two weeks, lots of critical decisions will be made that will affect 2014. If its on the forums, there is no efficient way to sort and distribute the feedback before these decisions are made. I understand that it affects transparency and I mentioned it too, but providing transparency in exchange for not getting the feedback to the right place is no way to effectively improve a con.

While discussion of the feedback is productive, it is disorganized and ends up being scattered all over the place. In the end, it turns into a big rant and we do not have the bandwidth to read through it and direct it to each and every person who needs to see it and can actually fix the problems that spawn the complaint or feedback. So, please use the form. In the same way we don't have the bandwidth to sort through a forum discussion, we really don't have the bandwidth to cull out the "bad" feedback. We have little interest in making the con look good on the posted feedback and beyond that, we look better by listening to and addressing the feedback and be able to point back to the negative feedback and show we listened.

Look for it, I anticipate that we will air all our dirty laundry, in the form of negative feedback, soon.

TL;DR stuff happens these two weeks and we need the feedback immediately. Feedback on the forums = cannot get info to the right people. There is no intent to silence negative remarks, but an interest in efficiency.

Thanks,
Eric
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Eric Wu
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Re: Locking threads for the feedback form?
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2013, 12:24:16 AM »

Written before ewu's post:
I believe it was said on another thread that they want all of the feedback in an easy-to-handle google doc so that it will all be in one place, which makes it easier to sort through. That makes sense.

However, I still think that there needs to be at least one general feedback thread on the forums so that people can discuss. Even if feedback does get posted at a later date, there is no space for discussion and open communication. Yes, the con is getting honest feedback, but I think that the discussion back and forth between con-goers and staff and between con-goers is just as or more important than just straight feedback. I know that I like to read other people's feedback, opinions, and experiences when I write up my own feedback, as it allows me to see other perspectives, respond to other experiences, and help formulate some of my own thoughts (or suggestions, as I might not realize exactly how or why something was bothering me or what exactly was so good about something, but after reading what other people have to say, I'm able to use their opinions to help myself compose my own opinions into words, or I might be able to come up with better suggestions after reading other people's suggestions). I also like to see the staff take on the feedback as it happens rather than seeing it get posted up later, as the resulting discussion can create understanding on both sides and more fruitful feedback and suggestions than a later review of the feedback can.

I also understand that people seem to be much angrier this year than in previous years, and that may be difficult to handle, but all it needs is some careful moderation of the forums to make sure no flame wars erupt and everything remains civil.

I will be posting my own feedback on the forums as well as in the google doc, with a disclaimer saying that I am perfectly aware of the google doc format of submitting feedback, but that I believe that feedback should be posted openly, despite knowing that my thread will be locked because it will be deemed irrelevant and potentially incendiary, as it will be a thread and not just my submission to the official form. (I will also be posting all feedback publicly on tumblr and on coscom, and hope to get some discussion there)

I understand the desire for all of the feedback in one place, but if it is done in such a way that makes it appear that the con is hiding something or in a way that stifles discussion of con experience, then there is a major problem. Even a single thread that allows for discussion of feedback, in addition to the google doc, with all other feedback threads locked and directed to the official feedback form, would be satisfactory, as it would still allow for discussion, and all the feedback would be in just two easy places. It would have to be carefully moderated to stay on topic and such, but I trust that the mods here can do that.
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avatarkayla

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Re: Locking threads for the feedback form?
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2013, 01:27:48 AM »

It is exactly as :Nina Star 9: said. We post on the FORUMS because we wish to share and read about the collected con experience. I am sure plenty of us can post in here as well fill out the feedback form that you need. Mostly I am tired of seeing excuses as the only response out of staff. 
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DrScorpio

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Re: Locking threads for the feedback form?
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2013, 03:13:41 AM »

Locking threads and asking people to fill out some form makes it appear that Fanime is trying to hide the problem trying to prevent people from voicing their opinions publicly.

I also think the issues at Fanime 2013 should be quite clear to any and all staff. If the staff are not aware of what went wrong, then all is lost. Linus Lam wrote a pretty detailed report of the problems and what should have occurred:
http://www.usagichan2.com/Fanime2013/

The con chair and everyone in management positions at Fanime should read that report. They may find it quite informative.
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der Glitzkrieg

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Re: Locking threads for the feedback form?
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2013, 07:15:28 AM »

One of the reasons I wrote up such a detailed complaint regarding the Cosplay Spectacular is because I was a cosplay director myself for almost 6 years. I know first-hand that things can and do go wrong, but there's a point where you just have to step back and go "wow, we really messed this up".

I personally don't think the threads should have been locked, but rather direct/encourage people to post their issues to the feedback form, as well. That way it doesn't look bad for the con (even if the intent were good) and it doesn't shut down discussion between attendees.
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Veit Loderr

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Re: Why are all the threads being locked?
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2013, 07:44:15 AM »

Hey all,

I was the one that locked them all. Basically, the feedback form is the best way to get the info out to staff ASAP. In these two weeks, lots of critical decisions will be made that will affect 2014. If its on the forums, there is no efficient way to sort and distribute the feedback before these decisions are made. I understand that it affects transparency and I mentioned it too, but providing transparency in exchange for not getting the feedback to the right place is no way to effectively improve a con.

While discussion of the feedback is productive, it is disorganized and ends up being scattered all over the place. In the end, it turns into a big rant and we do not have the bandwidth to read through it and direct it to each and every person who needs to see it and can actually fix the problems that spawn the complaint or feedback. So, please use the form. In the same way we don't have the bandwidth to sort through a forum discussion, we really don't have the bandwidth to cull out the "bad" feedback. We have little interest in making the con look good on the posted feedback and beyond that, we look better by listening to and addressing the feedback and be able to point back to the negative feedback and show we listened.

Look for it, I anticipate that we will air all our dirty laundry, in the form of negative feedback, soon.

TL;DR stuff happens these two weeks and we need the feedback immediately. Feedback on the forums = cannot get info to the right people. There is no intent to silence negative remarks, but an interest in efficiency.

Thanks,
Eric

You should always be concerned with making yourselves appear to be interested in what your attendees have to say regarding the con good or bad. The point of it all is, locking the threads does not help you. As you can see, it just causes people to create more threads questioning your methods. Posting the link to the feedback form and locking the thread isn't going to force people to use the feedback form. Heck, the feedback form is stickied to the top of the topic list and highlighted and in bold type! I know that the second I saw the feedback form, I submitted feedback there and then read through threads to see what other people were talking about.

As far as not being able to get info to the right people from forums. How exactly can't you do that? Even if you have one person reading the forums and taking notes on issues expressed within, can't that person take that information to the "right people"? It's digital, you can copy and paste or send a link to the post. I don't see how the feedback form is any more efficient.
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Hakaru_chan

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Re: Locking threads for the feedback form?
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2013, 10:50:17 AM »

As a communications major/PR minor, I can't help but want to see this conflict both ways. The internet, its communication methods and the way people interact with one another here (using the forums) is such a powerful tool in itself that once someone or something tries to control it, it's like censorship at it's core. People don't like censorship at any level and even more so, online. At the same time, from a PR perspective, I can see why Fanime and it's staff is doing what it needs to do here (locking threads). Again, the forums is under the jurisdiction and image of Fanime as a whole and Fanime basically created these forums for us, the people, to use so... I mean, what I'm saying is that because we are using it's services, then in a sense, it (Fanime) has the right to do what they feel is necessary for it's organization, reputation and image. Again, all of this is debatable but like what others have said on here, there is tumblr, facebook and other forms of communication where you can voice your opinions. The open conversation is still going on guys, even if it is more limited here. I know some of us might be slightly angry and for others certain things are on that subjective level, but I'm just posting here to show that again, the two sides of everything...
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hikanteki

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Re: Why are all the threads being locked?
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2013, 10:52:12 AM »

My "Good  Feedback"  thread was locked, too

True, but it was only one thread that had 10 replies, vs. about 10 criticism feedback threads some of which had dozens of replies.  This gave the appearance that they were sacrificing a minuscule amount of good feedback in order to shut the much larger criticism ones down so they could say "we're balanced, we locked all feedback threads, the good and the bad."
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djmonolith

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Re: Why are all the threads being locked?
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2013, 11:07:07 AM »

Hey all,

I was the one that locked them all. Basically, the feedback form is the best way to get the info out to staff ASAP. In these two weeks, lots of critical decisions will be made that will affect 2014. If its on the forums, there is no efficient way to sort and distribute the feedback before these decisions are made. I understand that it affects transparency and I mentioned it too, but providing transparency in exchange for not getting the feedback to the right place is no way to effectively improve a con.

While discussion of the feedback is productive, it is disorganized and ends up being scattered all over the place. In the end, it turns into a big rant and we do not have the bandwidth to read through it and direct it to each and every person who needs to see it and can actually fix the problems that spawn the complaint or feedback. So, please use the form. In the same way we don't have the bandwidth to sort through a forum discussion, we really don't have the bandwidth to cull out the "bad" feedback. We have little interest in making the con look good on the posted feedback and beyond that, we look better by listening to and addressing the feedback and be able to point back to the negative feedback and show we listened.

Look for it, I anticipate that we will air all our dirty laundry, in the form of negative feedback, soon.

TL;DR stuff happens these two weeks and we need the feedback immediately. Feedback on the forums = cannot get info to the right people. There is no intent to silence negative remarks, but an interest in efficiency.

Thanks,
Eric

Hi Eric... thanks for the clarification.  I would STRONGLY suggest you add one or two "OFFICIAL" feedback topics on the boards.  That way people can comment (good or bad) and you won't have to go searching everywhere for the responses. 

It solves a problem that is growing larger every day.

And it is a win/win!!!
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djmonolith

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Re: Locking threads for the feedback form?
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2013, 11:17:25 AM »

Locking threads and asking people to fill out some form makes it appear that Fanime is trying to hide the problem trying to prevent people from voicing their opinions publicly.

I also think the issues at Fanime 2013 should be quite clear to any and all staff. If the staff are not aware of what went wrong, then all is lost. Linus Lam wrote a pretty detailed report of the problems and what should have occurred:
http://www.usagichan2.com/Fanime2013/

The con chair and everyone in management positions at Fanime should read that report. They may find it quite informative.

Thanks for the link to your site - I look forward to checking it out later this evening.
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CeruleanRogue

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Re: Locking threads for the feedback form?
« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2013, 11:39:09 AM »

I agree with a lot of the sentiments being posted in this thread.  I'm incredibly leery of con staff who shut down discussion threads and direct everyone to a 'Feedback Form' that may or may not even be shared with attendees.  It seems more like an attempt to stifle online critiques of the various issues Fanime had this year, and not a constructive attempt at remedying them.  Very poor form, it really only encourages complaints elsewhere online.  I understand you're trying to consolidate feedback, but you'll end up making it tougher for yourselves by making people spread out to share it elsewhere.

And Fanime did have a bunch of issues, from registration LineCon to Cosplay Spectacular issues to various other bits and bobs that didn't really go well.  You really need to keep some kind of feedback thread online in the forums so people have a consolidated thread to talk in about things.
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Veit Loderr

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Re: Locking threads for the feedback form?
« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2013, 11:45:16 AM »

As a communications major/PR minor, I can't help but want to see this conflict both ways. The internet, its communication methods and the way people interact with one another here (using the forums) is such a powerful tool in itself that once someone or something tries to control it, it's like censorship at it's core. People don't like censorship at any level and even more so, online. At the same time, from a PR perspective, I can see why Fanime and it's staff is doing what it needs to do here (locking threads). Again, the forums is under the jurisdiction and image of Fanime as a whole and Fanime basically created these forums for us, the people, to use so... I mean, what I'm saying is that because we are using it's services, then in a sense, it (Fanime) has the right to do what they feel is necessary for it's organization, reputation and image. Again, all of this is debatable but like what others have said on here, there is tumblr, facebook and other forms of communication where you can voice your opinions. The open conversation is still going on guys, even if it is more limited here. I know some of us might be slightly angry and for others certain things are on that subjective level, but I'm just posting here to show that again, the two sides of everything...

They explained that they weren't locking threads to protect their image, but to get people to use the feedback form. I think they even said they weren't concerned with how people were talking about their complaints. They just want to use their way of consolidating feedback information, but we are further upset that even after using the form, our threads were being locked. The threads were not removed, which is what they would do to truly censor the community, at least they didn't go that far. But like I said, the response has just created more work for themselves because of the new threads regarding the action taken. I'm sure their intentions are good, but it just doesn't reflect well on them.
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hikanteki

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Re: Why are all the threads being locked?
« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2013, 12:44:54 PM »



Hi Eric... thanks for the clarification.  I would STRONGLY suggest you add one or two "OFFICIAL" feedback topics on the boards.  That way people can comment (good or bad) and you won't have to go searching everywhere for the responses. 

It solves a problem that is growing larger every day.

And it is a win/win!!!

This sounds like a very good idea!  Also, that way it would make the thread easier to be monitored so it doesn't get too off topic/out of hand.
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Gigantor

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Re: Locking threads for the feedback form?
« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2013, 12:59:43 PM »

I absolutely agree with and support the decision to use a more official Feedback Form for this year. It centralizes feedback and makes it much easier to sort through and address claims and problems more efficiently. I think this was a great decision by Staff this year and to me it shows they are taking feedback extremely seriously.

However that being said, I can't why the threads were locked. I feel discussion and talking about experiences can give a "feel" about the convention in the way a feedback form can't. While it is difficult to obtain direct feedback (Which is the strength of the feedback form) it is easier to observe how people are talking about the convention and how they feel afterwards.

Also at the base of the issue, I feel many people used the form or would have used the form. I think a message requesting that people use the feedback form in addition to forum discussion would have been just as effective and not had the unintended consequence of looking like feedback is being censored. Although you say it is not being censored, people will feel more scrupulous when they see feedback results and wonder.

I support djmonolith when he said to add an official feedback forum feed. That way there can still be a discussion and Fanime can obtain the metrics that it is searching for.
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chifunii

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Re: Locking threads for the feedback form?
« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2013, 01:23:35 PM »

It makes sense to me to have threads temporarily locked while staff collect feedback, though I'd hope/expect them to be unlocked after the official feedback form is closed. That said, I think having an official feedback thread would be nice too, though that makes collecting and sorting feedback more difficult.

I understand wanting to have a discussion, though it'd be most helpful to the staff to at least have filled out their form with the same feedback... It's more straightforward for them and, as I'm under the impression they're on a time crunch, the most efficient way for them to get things done right now.
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