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NOW LAUNCHED: Join 2,500 readers in the new HfP forums

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We have launched the Head for Points forums. Please join us!

Many of you will know that we have been planning to add forums to the site for some time. Initially, we planned to do it soon after we launched the new site design in August 2020, but life got in the way.

Sinead went on maternity leave and I took over the commercial side of the business for nine months, leaving Rob to do the majority of the writing. This left us with little time to work on bigger projects. Luckily Sinead is now back which has freed me up to work on this, with the help of our IT partner Neil Barrett @ Enbecom.

We launched the forums this week. Over 2,500 readers registered in the first 10 days and we have ironed out most of the bugs and glitches.

HfP forums screenshot

How to join the Head for Points forums

You can register for the HfP forums here. Note that your forum login can also be used to comment across the site.

Your first post / comment to the site will go through moderation to avoid spam registrations. If you cannot see your post immediately please bear with us as we process these.

If you have any problems registering or encounter any bugs or other technical issues, please leave a comment below. We have also created a dedicated topic on the forums where you can leave any suggestions you have here. Of course, if you have trouble registering then you won’t be able to post there 🙂

If your comment would require sharing any personal data, email your query to rhys@headforpoints.com instead.

How to navigate the forums

If you head to www.headforpoints.com/forums or click the link which will appear in the navigation bar later today you’ll see we have a number of forums dedicated to miles, points and travel in general. This should make it easier to find the information you are looking for versus searching old chat threads.

We have also added a ‘London life’ thread for off-topic questions about restaurants, going out, property or whatever. We may add other non-travel forums if there is demand.

If you want a quick overview of active conversations then I suggest using the ‘Recent Topics’ page. This is linked in the top right of the dedicated forum menu (or you can access it here) and lists all topics by most recent response. It’s a particularly useful way of keeping abreast of the entire forum.

Have we got the categories right? Only time will tell. We have done our best to second-guess what you will want to ask about. We will keep an eye on things and delete / add sections as necessary.

We have deliberately kept the forum ‘light’. You cannot have a linkable online profile, you cannot have a signature, you cannot upvote or downvote replies etc. From our side, we will keep your reading experience clean by not placing any advertising in the forum.

What you can do, for five minutes after posting, is edit what you have written – this was a much-requested feature in the old chat threads.

What will happen to the daily chat threads?

A daily chat thread will be opened each morning IN THE FORUM and not in the main news feed. There will be a new ‘daily discussion’ thread each day which will work in the same way as the current chat thread.

It will appear at the top of the forum listings so you won’t need to scroll down to see it.

The daily chat thread in the forum is a good place to, for example, post links to an interesting new offer you have found. However, we strongly suggest that any questions which can be asked in a dedicated forum thread are asked there. This will allow us to build up a strong Q&A database for the benefit of future readers.

It will obviously take a while for the forums to gain momentum, but we hope that we can create something that is both informative and entertaining. As with the site relaunch last year, you will see tweaks as the system beds down – readers have already given us some good ideas.

There are links to the forum in the HfP menu bar. We are working on ways to show a feed of current activity on the ‘news’ side of the site.

Thank you for your continued support of HfP.

Comments (286)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Barraclough says:

    I’ve been commenting in the daily chat threads in the forums and didn’t realize this old style chat thread was still being used. I prefer the new structure but I’ll put (or rather repeat) my two pennyworth here.

    Looking at comments made so far as regards the forums and chat thread, the majority seem to be constructive, whether for or against. A few posters have been sniping and making negative comments without offering ways forward and to these I would say look at what we get from HfP: almost 16/7 support, definitive insights into travel, rewards and points, and tireless effort, keeping HfP as the leading UK player. Yes, HfP is a business and provides livelihoods but we readers do not get charged and we should recognise just how good a service we do get. Rob and Rhys welcome constructive comments but just sniping gets us nowhere.

    Some posters think there is a loss of posts with the new structure. Any reduction may be due to less duplication and less drivel! It is ‘swings and roundabouts’ I guess, or ‘you win some, you lose some’. The forums may well bring in new readers and posters. The new chat thread and forums can focus more fully on travel, miles and points rather than be a cosy social space for a few regulars some of whom would impose restrictions on topics covered. There were many posters on the old chat line with a wealth of experience and wisdom, and I’ve personally benefited from their advice and I do hope they will come to see the benefits of the forums approach. Give the new structure a chance and I’m guessing in a few weeks the refinements being done will be sorted and most of us will have adjusted to the new HfP normal!

    One poster said that “implementation on this website has always been underwhelming”; Really? I guess unlike BA’s implementation whose IT upgrades and changes are faultless? !!!

    • Rob says:

      Thanks, sounds about right to me.

      Implementation is about as good as it can be, and the changes will be modest, albeit cumulatively they add up. People forget that it is virtually impossible to design something which works on a huge desktop monitor, a big phone and a small phone. Unlike, say, Facebook which is now 90% mobile traffic, our traffic is still 50/50 desktop & tablet vs mobile. It gives us challenges which other ‘mobile first’ platforms don’t face.

  • Harrier25 says:

    I must say, I do like the link to the daily chat from the news page.

  • Jonathan says:

    I’ve tried, really tried to be positive but come back to the two main issues with the new forum vs the old daily chat thread and Bits before that.

    1) I don’t always know what I want to read about. The best information came from snippets buried in the comments that I didn’t set out for but stumbled across. The new forum doesn’t lend itself to this without drilling into every post which I’m not going to do.

    If posts go off on a tangent and the title has nothing to do with it the information I’m interested it, I overlook it and good information may get missed by the masses.

    For example Ghengis was one of the most regular and reliable commenters and I haven’t seen him once post in the forum. Or in the forum I would have missed Anna’s nightmare in Singapore.

    2) I worry I’m missing the good juicy stuff and following comments and that previously had nested replies chronologically was logical and easy to follow. Now all posts and replies are treated equally – chronologically, and mixed up it doesn’t flow right. If I wanted technical detail I’d go to FT and as really relevant stuff made it to this site anyway was happy with that.

    Forums are for specific types of people, not the masses. Maybe Rob wants this site to change from its heritage and be a copy of FT as it feels like it’s losing its identity. I regularly sent my parent in laws to this sites highlighting articles and comments but certainly wouldn’t bother now as I’d spend more time explaining how to navigate the site.

    I was a 7 year avid daily reader of HfP, religiously checking and reading comments 5+ times a day. In the space of 2 weeks sadly I’ve now stopped reading HfP on a daily basis and relegated the main site abd articles to an every few days basis. I’ve visited the forum daily and even using recent topics there’s so much information with 5,000 clicks and many hours of my life needed to read it all. As replies also include the original posts and subsequent replied it’s repetitive duplicated words.

    I just can’t get onboard with it. Maybe if I understood the problem with using comments and what you were trying to achieve going forwards I could get onboard but as it stands and I’m searching other sites for my daily points fix. Sorry Rob.

    • Rob says:

      The bottom line is that the chat thread was heavily used by about 200 people.

      (10,000 page views per day does not need many readers given how long chat was each day and the need to start from scratch each time due to nesting.)

      The content offered no value to literally 99.9% of the 300,000 people each month who visit the site, and absolutely zero value for anyone long term, even amongst the 200, as you couldn’t find anything.

      What we can build now is a massive database of Q&A information which can help everyone who visits the site and, via Google search results, many others who have never visited before.

      That’s why we did it.

    • Andrew J says:

      We should probably give up with our moaning as Rob is set on this new format and it’s his site, so who are we to argue and for every comment we post raising our frustration, he responds with the rationale which I’m sure isn’t a good use of his or our time. I’m drawing a line, not complaining anymore and saying goodbye to HFP. It’s been a pleasure and certainly made the last 18 months more tolerable and enjoyable but this new format is not for me and I can’t spend any more time trying to make sense of how to use it. As I said earlier, the chat page was a lot more scrollable but this new way of having to go into every topic on the recent page on off chance there’s something inside of note just doesn’t work for me. But anyway I’ll 🤐

      • Geoff 1977 says:

        Good to see that you’re being so level headed about something so insignificant

      • yorkieflyer says:

        I have to agree, I’ll dip in occasionally but HFP has lost its way in my view. No longer a first visit every morning. Accidentally through covid the site developed a community feel which requires a critical mass to work in the way it has. I recall the saying that 90% of advertising is wasted, but which 90%, yes I’m paraphrasing. Meddle with success at your peril. Where is the USP now? Just seems to be a clunky UK centric Flyertalk

      • yorkieflyer says:

        Aye let’s move on and just occasionally dip in

    • Genghis says:

      The forum in its current state is not for me. It’s much harder to just dip in and out with all of the required clicks back and forth and is clunky on a phone. The daily chat in forum format doesn’t work IMO. Yes – I’ll check it occasionally and I have registered but doubt I’ll comment much. I understand why it’s been created, but to be a bank of knowledge used for Google searches etc it needs some good content. Will that come?…

      • Lyn says:

        Well expressed, Genghis. Thank you. My thoughts too.

        • Andrew J says:

          And mine.

          • Freddy says:

            Spot on!

          • Froggee says:

            Me too. And I’ve tried. Not that I’ve added value. I think nesting of comments is the big issue on the chat thread. But it’s Rob’s site, not ours.

          • Rob says:

            We could allow comment nesting purely in the chat thread. It would take a few weeks to sort though because the only options we have out of the box are globally on or globally off.

            Note that we did have nesting last Monday and we had SO many complaints about it that it was turned off by the afternoon.

          • Froggee says:

            Or you could just keep the daily chat thread in the old place…

      • Farid says:

        I take this as a great marketing experiment. Changing the format ( the offer!) will have consequences on the change of users ..perhaps HfP is clearly targeting a specific population that may very much like the new approach. I would love , in a few weeks time, for the comparison of demographic to be shared. Perhaps a Harvard Business Review paper could be written?

        • Rob says:

          Let me do it for you:

          * forum page views exceeded chat thread page views from Day 1
          * forum will attract new HfP readers from Google who are the most profitable sort of reader
          * unlike the chat thread, the value of the forum will grow exponentially over time because more content will drive more Google visitors and will drive more repeat visits to search the ever growing database of content

  • RogerC says:

    It’s so sad. HfP has been my wake-up material every day for years. I’ve learned so much – and most of that by stumbling on stuff which I had no idea existed. I can’t open up two or three pages of ‘recent topic’ lists on the offchance – and then read every question umpteen times. It feels as though all the interesting stuff must be happening in some thread that I haven’t found and that removes all the pleasure that the site gave me. I was always sceptical of the forum idea, but bowed to the greater knowledge of those requesting one. But it really doesn’t work for me.

    • Harrier25 says:

      My God, has someone died? When’s the funeral? Cheer up everyone. It’s only a bloody forum!!

    • Crafty says:

      I do think that Rob and Rhys would be wise to take heed of these comments.

      Many years ago, I closed down an (ironically forum based) community that I had started, on the selfish presumption it was my own decision to make. In fact, the community that had built up was a significant part of the lives of a small number of people – 50-100 perhaps – and my decision hadn’t taken sufficient heed of their own wishes, nor those of the living breathing community our collective efforts had unwittingly created.

      I regret the decision, which was in hindsight a simple act of value destruction, based on a total misunderstanding of what had been built and whom had built it.

      • Harrier25 says:

        Yes but its already been said….it’s the 99.9% they’re interested in, not the little 200 active posters. Ho-hum

        • yorkieflyer says:

          Google…….

        • To dare is to do says:

          Those 200 odd active posters who give their time freely to repeat themselves constantly on people’s problems that have been asked and answered hundreds of times before, you mean those posters? You dismiss them very easily.

    • Mike says:

      Roger C – I am with you. I used to read HFP first thing in the morning always heading for chat then check back at lunch time, mid afternoon and then in the evening- always found loads of useful info – since the forum was introduced I haven’t been on more than twice – I have kind of lost interest as all the fun seems to have disappeared….

  • David A says:

    I get it: people naturally don’t like change. But for me, having a separate forum means I can choose the subject matter quickly without having to wade through endless streams of unconnected ideas. An excellent idea.

    • Bagoly says:

      Yes, the advantage of forums over chats for finding information has always been obvious to me – in fact wikis are even better (although require more commonality of approach).
      What is educational for me here is to see how many people value something else.
      Not for the first time, I have learnt from HfP about something completely separate from travel.

  • Lady London says:

    TBH a number of people whose comments I remembered and enjoyed and used to look out for – people who could change my mind on something – have disappeared over the past 2 years or so.

    I think the site got big and well known and findable so it attracted then sort of people you find on forums – including some trolls – whether those here liked it or not. At least 2 people I know have said they stopped posting because of the general nastiness that was taking over with these parvenus. I nearly stopped myself.

    The site had also reached a critical mass where the daily chat.with its linear format simply took too much time to keep up with on any detail if you wanted to track that particular detail.

    Searches using site: headforpoints.com google search string worked but did not catch all the posts with the words being searched for.

    So I think the critical mass had got to the point where it was going to expand anyway but the existing structure wasn’t coping with the level of interest. There are advantages to making things findable on user as well as on revenue side and it had got to that point anyway.

    I’m touched it has kept so many feeling there was a place to connect in Covid. It’s also been fantastic having one place to look as travel requirements changed everywhere and official sources were unclear.

    I hope regular commentators keep an eye on the Daily Comments thread on the Recent Topics page, at least.

    Though only being able to reply by pressing a button that requotes everthing in the post you’re replying to is probably particularly frustrating reading on a narrow mobile screen.

    • Barraclough says:

      Well said Lady London. I became an avid follower of HfP four years ago and have seen how the general nastiness, as you put it, has evolved. I’m sure some potential posters were put off because of the negative reaction which might follow – if it was a repeat request, something a bit naive, or was just something a regular disliked. I found the headforpoints.com google search string on HfP a year or so ago and use it a lot but it’s not perfect. It will be a pity if wise and experienced regulars drop out but if we can persuade them to stick it out I am guessing in a few weeks most will eventually see the benefits of a forum structure.

  • Mart says:

    What frustrates me is the insistence that a forum is the new norm. A daily chat thread in the usual manner plus a forum would enable the hfp we love plus a forum for ‘google searches’ per robs comments.

    It does not need to be in the forum. The chat can and should stay in the old manner. I’m 25 myself and can tell you I have no interest in a forum. A chat thread full of random **** – much more exiting. Why do you think tiktok took off.

    R/R – please bring back the chat thread. It works, and forum might work for specific queries alongside. Don’t immediately beat down anyone who suggests chat comes back. Please listen.

    • Dave says:

      Get a grip.
      The chat thread was here for what, 18 months, and due to Covid. It was always a temporary arrangement, forum or not.
      It was mainly to same people day after day saying the same things to each other in an echo chamber of egos, and you had to go through that drivel to find anything of real use (I’ve no interest in reading how triggered people are by the existence of The Guardian, the Labour Party, mask wearing, lockdowns, or hearing from armchair virologists etc etc). It had also become far too much of a clique. A forum will address this and mean helpful information and discussion is more readily available IMHO.

      • Andrew J says:

        What seems odd is that those who are in favour of the forum seem to think they are the only ones with an opinion that matters – and people who don’t like the forum are just wrong, apparently.

      • Lady London says:

        …you forgot to mention my rants about Heathrow moneygrabbing…..

      • Barraclough says:

        Those wedded to the old chat thread might remember it only started 18 months ago in response to the pandemic and before that comments were spread about under the bits articles. I think Dave summed it up well yesterday. The old thread was at times an echo chamber of egos (although many regulars were not like that) but there was a lot of drivel to wade through to find the nuggets, and the forums under the new system make it easy to hone in on topics of interest and to search.

    • Rob says:

      We have a chat thread, in the forum. It is linked from the news home page, as it always was.

      The ONLY difference apart from some formatting changes is that you can’t nest comments.

      What you’re saying is that you think a chat thread, with airline and hotel specific questions in it, can exist alongside a forum, which it clearly can’t. We could allow a chat thread but on the condition that we deleted any questions about airlines, hotels or credit cards that were posted there. Is there really a point to that? What would actually be covered if no questions were allowed?

      In terms of numbers, yesterday the forum did 15,600 page views vs 10,688 page view for the chat thread for the previous Friday. With over 2,300 registrations we are clearly engaging people.

      • Metty says:

        I’ve waited a few days to comment while trying out the new setup.

        I think it’s absolutely fine. Daily routine for me is: scan the headline HfP articles then > Forums and > Recent Topics if just browsing. If actually looking for something, I now know where to go, the appropriate sub-forum.

        The old chat forum was the only place I found out about the Sheraton Park Lane ‘intern’ deal, but that was because I had time to read all the posts that day and stumbled across it. With the new forum it should be easier to find as it should pop up in Recent Topics, assuming someone posts in the appropriate Hotel Loyalty forum.

        So the new setup suits me just fine. I’m sorry some don’t like it.

      • Andrew J says:

        The other ONLY difference is that daily chat isn’t really being used and everything is hidden away in sub categories requiring many clicks to see what going on. The old way was far more modern, like the continual scrolling of Facebook or instagram – imagine if on Instagram you scrolled through a list of cryptic titles, needed to click on them to see what it was about, the oldest at the top of the page, scroll down through people quoting back what the OP was to finally get to the new info – can’t see Instagram having quite the market share that it does if that was the case!

        • Sam says:

          I am one of the many who used to visit multiple times a day for the comments.

          I have tried to use the recent threads but it does require a lot more clicking which has resulted in me using HFP less.

  • Roger C says:

    How are page views calculated? (A genuine question – I don’t know) Yesterday I probably checked a dozen of the tiny sub threads of the ‘recent topics’ page. Does that generate 24 page views since I need go back and forth each time? Except on a crazy day I would probably not have opened up that many pages before – but would have scanned and read many more posts.

    • Rob says:

      Clicking ‘back’ does not count. If you go back by clicking a link then it counts (ie the Google Ads refresh).

    • Mike says:

      Daily chat was helping me get through all the covid nonsense and general depression in the media – now that it is gone – I am gone from HFP – which is bummer

      • Freddy says:

        Rob is happy, page views are up! Have they increased though due to the number of click through’s you have to do within the forum. The number of posts appear to have diminished significantly across the board. Those nuggets of information (which often fed through to an HFP article) have disappeared.

        • Andrew J says:

          Agree, all very quiet now, I still check every few hours on the off chance but nothing of note anymore.

          • Rob says:

            11,700 page views to 10.50pm vs 10,033 for last Sunday’s chat thread.

          • Genghis says:

            @Rob now is that more engagement or because people are having to click more to actually read something?

          • Rob says:

            The old chat thread counted as a page view every time you clicked to a new page of replies, remember.

            It was actually worse for inflating page views, because the ads were at the top of the page so were not seen each time you clicked to a new page of chat thread replies.

            With the forum, you will actually see the ads on each page refresh so the advertisers get what they pay for.

      • Andrew J says:

        +1

      • Geoff 1977 says:

        Wasn’t people whining like babies about restrictions a big part of that thread ?

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