Reserve Your Spot For The New OMAAT Community!

Filed Under: Misc.

We’re planning on making some improvements to the community aspect of OMAAT, including the comments section and Ask Lucky section. Yes, there will be some sort of status system and gamification element to this, because why wouldn’t there be? 😉

This is the chance for some of our more engaged readers to “reserve” their username for our new commenting system. So to commenters like “The Original Donna,” this is your chance to just become “Donna” again and have no one else be able to use it, should you so choose…

Why I value the comments section

Let me start by saying that we’re looking at making actual improvements here. This isn’t an “enhancement” whereby we’re eliminating the comments section, or anything. Not that any other site would do that. Since this blog is about miles & points, let me draw a comparison. Eliminating the comments section would be like eliminating award charts — it reduces transparency, and it makes lots of people less engaged.

We’re also not looking to build out dozens of separate communities on various platforms so we can sell your data. Instead we’re just trying to make the whole community and commenting portion of the blog a bit more cohesive and easy to use.

There are a variety of reasons I greatly value the comments section on OMAAT, including:

  • It keeps us honest
  • You guys have consistently insightful and interesting things to share
  • Understandably readers have questions, and it’s great to have a community of people willing to answer, without redirecting you to one of 62 different Facebook groups depending on your astrological sign
  • A lot of blog content comes from ideas you guys suggest in the comments section, or discussions on Ask Lucky

How we plan to improve the comments section

While we love the comments section, the truth is that the structure as such leaves a lot to be desired. That’s feedback we’ve been hearing from readers for years. We’ve been using the same system for commenting for the nearly 15 years that this blog has been published, and we know it’s time for a refresh.

This just so happens to coincide with a major blog overhaul in the coming months (purely aesthetic — nothing about the content is changing, for better or worse).

We’re trying to accomplish a few things with our new commenting system:

  • We’re trying to make the commenting system easier to use, and make conversations easier to follow (yes, at long last we’re introducing threaded comments)
  • We want to do what we can to encourage commenters to be polite, helpful, and engaged, and recognize those people who are adding value to the discussion
  • We all love status and gamification, so we’ll have a bit of fun with this, and reward participation — who is going to be the first to achieve World of OMAAT Concierge Services Diamond Ambassador 1K status?! (okay, we’re still working on the name) 😉

“Reserve” your username now

This is where we need your help. The new commenting system should be live within a couple of months. To get things synced up and ready to go, we’re asking readers to fill out the below form.

  • Reserve your spot now!

    We’re building a cool new space for the OMAAT community, and want you to be part of it. Secure your username now and we’ll save your seat.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Why?

  • This allows you to reserve your username for the new commenting system
  • It allows us to already link any past comments from you to your username
  • Comment history will be part of the future status/gamification system, and we want the folks who have been contributing for years to be recognized as such

Note that submitting this form doesn’t create a user account yet, but rather it reserves your spot. In a few weeks we’ll be emailing those who filled out the form, asking them to confirm their commenting history and giving them the opportunity to register at that time.

To answer a few questions that may come up:

  • We aren’t using this information for anything else, we’re not creating a Facebook group that we’re trying to direct everyone to, and there will be no cost for this
  • You’ll still be able to comment anonymously and without registering, but many of the commenting features, and other community-driven functionality, will necessarily be restricted to community members
  • This new system will replace both blog comments and the Ask Lucky section
  • People who have (in good faith) used different email addresses with the same handle should submit the form once for each email address

Bottom line

We’re really excited for the redesigned OMAAT that’s coming soon, and in particular for the improved commenting system. We’re hoping not just to make the comments section easier to use, but also to encourage people to be helpful and kind, all with a bit of gamification as well.

We’d appreciate if you could fill out the above form so that we can reserve you a spot with your chosen username, and start linking your comments.

Comments
  1. What system are you going to use for the comments?

    There are multiple ones that are much better than Disqus or the inbuild wordpress ones.

  2. Wow! Great idea, can’t wait for the roll out. Meanwhile, I remain “The Original Donna”

  3. Love the shade thrown at other sites for removing comments! You’re exactly right, moves like that turn people away. Thank you for your content and for being transparent.

  4. Cool.
    Comments are great. I enjoy reading about how boomers flew on XYZ aircraft of now-defunct airline back in the Golden Age of Aviation…all while in formal attire, no doubt!

  5. This is fantastic news. I really enjoy the OMAT community and look forward to the rollout of the new comments section.

  6. The OMAAT blog posts are very informative, but most of the fun is the comments’ interaction.

    Thank you!

  7. In a spirit of being helpful / contrarian…

    I have never felt part of any “community” here. I just comment sometimes on what is often an interesting blog. I’ve never met any of you, and have no interest in doing so, so I’m struggling to see why I’d want to sign up for status (especially since my primary interest here is reviews — I just don’t play the points game, which I know is what almost everyone else lives. Good luck to you!). My comments really aren’t worth linking together.

    So maybe that means I’m of no interest to you in your brave new world. In which case I wish you farewell, and hope everyone emerges happy into the New Normal of a COVID world.

    And no, nor do I care if someone takes The nice Paul handle. 🙂

  8. I hope this means you’ll have a better grip on removing clearly off topic as well as political and offensive (sexist, racist, xenophobic etc) comments with a means of reporting comments.

  9. It’ll be interesting to see how you sort out the various Ed’s. I’ve been commenting using the same email address for nearly a decade, butt there’s a lot of other ones as well.

  10. Request: Can we please have an upvote/downvote system with the new update (and an option to filter by the same)

  11. @ Max — It is a custom build. Disqus doesn’t meet the needs of this audience for several reasons.

  12. @ The nice Paul — But we love your comments and insights, and they add value!

    Folks will still be able to comment without registering, they will just not be auto-approved, and will have limited functionality in the comments section overall.

  13. Hopefully, there is a way for valued guests to vote other guest’s comments up or down, so the trolls aren’t awarded top-tier status for being frequent unprofitable guests.

  14. @ Chandan Bhat — Upvoting yes, downvoting probably not. We have too much drive-by dog-piling here as of late for the latter to be functionally useful.

  15. @ Ed — Yeah, that’s part of why we’re starting early. May have to do either first-come first-served or a lottery for certain handles.

  16. As long as Endre is able to comment his weekly reminder that he only buys his premium tickets with cash and doesn’t use miles

  17. @TravelManager: +1, and if what he says is true, I have no doubt he will be the first commenter to World of OMAAT Concierge Services Diamond Ambassador 1K status.

  18. I am honestly not a big fan of the new system. One of the big advantages of the old system was that you could just post your comment without having to login or anything. It was also good that there was no approval needed, because Comments and discussions were posted instantly.

    With the new system I fear that some comments won‘ t be posted anymore because they may seem to be political or not theme related. I always enjoyed reading the comments and Ideas of everyone especially regarding Covid and traveling even under articles which were not directly related to covid. I think you should let your readers decide which comments they want to read and only delete Spam.

    I never had the impression that many people used insulting or racist language, instead I found the community to be very nice and constructive, therefore I cannot understand why you see the need for a moderated comment section.

    I hope that Omaat won‘ t take the same path as TPG, which I stopped reading after it abolished the comment section, because it lost so much of its appeal.

  19. Thanks for leaving the comments on! While other sites have removed theirs, I really appreciate that this site has kept comments open. I have gotten questions answered by you, or other readers and it makes the points world easier to navigate.

  20. @ Kevin — Appreciate the feedback, and would ask that you consider withholding judgment until the new system actually launches. I think you’ll find your fears unfounded 🙂

  21. @Tiffany
    Well, after you graciously wrote that, it would be churlish of me not to sign up. 😉

  22. Seeing as I was here WAY before that “other” Peter showed up, I’ll bite. (Although he did have some great comments I’d gladly take credit for. Seems like a good dude.)

  23. The best part of this post is aaaaaalll the TPG shade 😀 !

    That being said – great initiative! We already have ways to “identify” ourselves although it is a little convoluted (took me a while to figure out how to get the picture next to my name and having essentially something close to an account). So I’m glad it’s getting simplified. I know that at least on one occasion somebody left a disgusting comment with the same handle as mine so that was heartbreaking. Also happy you didn’t choose Disqus, I have nothing but super frustrating experiences as a commenter with that platform.
    I also think that the loyalty program for commenters is a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see the tiers you’re going to come up with 🙂 .

  24. @Ben/Tiffany, while I get the overhaul on the comments, it feels like the site just went through that big overhaul? Or was it really that long ago/am I getting old quickly?

  25. I only read 3 travel blogs with any regularity : Live and Let’s Fly, View From The Wing, One Mile At A Time. There are some other good ones ( Loyalty Lobby, eg) but these three provide pretty accurate and up-to-date information, a diversity of opinion and argument and allow for some measure of interaction. They have credibility.
    Disqus (?) is a major turn-off for me. I wouldn’t like to see overly sanitized comments; diversity is healthy.

  26. I’m glad to see The nice Paul sticking around. Paul, your comments are always good.

    And I wonder if someone will beat DCS to the punch. This article didn’t mention Hilton so perhaps it will fly under his radar.

  27. Lucky and team, I’ve been a fan for quite a while. I have also received help and given help on to other posters. Looking forward to the changes!

    (Oh, since there are other Marks here, I gave you another non-Mark handle request in case I’m not the “first Mark”

    Cheers!

  28. @ Brutus – lolol my best guess for that particular handle is “QED?!” As though by virtue of simply writing it proves it?!

  29. @The Nice Paul. Glad that you changed your mind as I find your comments to be of great interest and always add to the quality of the discussion. Well done, old chap.

  30. @The Nice Paul yes, please do sign up. I may not always read all of the comments, but I will read yours. It is honest and helpful.

  31. I cannot wait to see who takes the mantle of the “First Class Only” traveler Endre as well as our forum entertainers credit and a debit

  32. I’m curious how you are planning to replace both the comments and Ask Lucky with the new system. Seems to me they serve very different purposes/needs. Someone mentioned no need for community in the comments and I agree with that. But I feel there is a sense of community in Ask Lucky — there are several folks who do a great job of responding to questions. I admire them while I might totally disagree with their comments. I’m thinking it’s nice to be able to have dual personalities.

  33. These ideas sound very interesting! And yes, agree the comments section can be tremendously valuable, and glad you removed the truly obscene vicious comments awhile back.

  34. @ neil — It’s definitely a tricky bit of engineering, but Ask Lucky is built on really old technology, and we don’t want to have a situation where people have two logins for one website, ergo combining profiles makes sense. But there will still be separate areas with different vibes, we hope.

  35. I LOVE the comments, and like others mentioned, when TPG closed comments my interest faded significantly.
    Looking forward to the changes. I find the comments to be strange, intriguing, informative, and highly engaging. I gravitate towards the posts with higher replies before others, even if the topic is less interesting.

  36. Hey, I just appreciate you ban the racists, white supremacists, hoaxers, etc. that sadly flourish on other travel blogs

    Send that trash to the QAnon threads on 4Chan or wherever those trolls are these days

  37. @iamhere

    No, but you can let the front desk agent know that you’re OMAAT’s Concierge Services Diamond Ambassador 1K at check-in, so you should have an upgrade to their best available suite.

    Should also get you to the front of the line for a J/F upgrade.

  38. Great idea! Love it, just signed up!

    Also yeah what a joke TPG is after removing comments, I rarely read them before but since then I have and I will never again. What a worthless site full of uneducated ill-informed writers.

    OMAAT FTW!

  39. I agree with @Chandan Bhat about up/downvoting. This dual feature will allow an ‘opinion’ to be expressed without having to do a post which may essentially be a duplicate of the original without really adding to the thread. Will reduce ‘clutter’ !
    Also, I am all for deleting personal attacks, which have no place here. I know you have wrestled with this sort of censorship, but allowing it sorta brings down the tone somewhat.
    Lastly, I am hoping after the washup of the elections that one-eyed political comment will fade away as reality hopefully returns.

  40. I totally agree with others that enjoy the comments section. Quite often they are a treasure trove of fascinating trivia. I certainly could do without the political snark though.

  41. When I have the time I take the time to read the comments and once in a while also leave a comment. What I miss is the possibility to like or dislike a comment. I don’t need need rewards nor status and I appreciate how easy it is to leave a comment. Whatever you are planning, don’t make it difficult (logging in, passwords, etc.)

  42. LOL, I am waiting for the return of Debit too. 😀
    BTW, happy to see @The NicePaul has reconsidered. Your comments are always insightful 🙂

  43. I miss Debit with his comments! I know they were shocking to some, but was it Mae West who said “Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often” ? 🙂
    Anyway, I found Debit entertaining and used to visit comment sections more often specifically for his “pearls”…

  44. Will people be able to click on your “username/profile” & read your past comments/etc like some websites have? Cuz if so I want none of that lol. Will there be an option to delete past comments too?

    Just worried about privacy regarding your “linking past comments to your username” thing.

  45. threaded comments – great at last

    a large part of the site value comes from readers sharing their knowledge. I think that TPG is significantly less usefull now that they have eliminated the comments section.

  46. I am Ivan X, and I plan for my comments to be unconstructive and puerile whenever possible. There are many helpful and thoughtful people here, and I feel a need for balance.

    Should any comments I have left here to date have been of utility to anyone, I sincerely apologize. I pledge to do worse.

  47. @Tiffany

    With respect to Up/Dn voting, what about only allowing those who have “registered” to vote, so that only one vote per post (but modifiable from Up to Dn, Dn to Up, or Cancel) can then be made by each registered member (hopefully thus eliminating trolls from piling on)?

    Allowing the original poster to Edit/Delete own posts will also be beneficial (especially Edit to correct spellings or mistakes).

  48. +1 for StrictlyFacts… all are good ideas. Like many others I look forward to the enhanced comments.

    Thanks for all you do, OMAAT team!

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