This is a great answer and I'm on same page. I don't know if Winston pretends not to see the pattern or is just in denial because whenever I bring up forum decline to him, he will claim that lots of new posters are coming on board and that content is as good as ever. Part of the problem is his inattention to the forum over long stretches of time and his management style but yes the other part is out of his hands - the trend away from forums and other factors you brought up.Mr S wrote:From my perspective as I've been pretty much with this forum since it's inception as well as been in contact with Winston since he began his foray overseas, yeah the forum is, as they say, in its winter season or entering its twilight. For this forum to remain competitive, as well as his overall website, he would have to basically do a complete overhaul of them with the newest software and design. Right now there are too many online competitors and better organized sites nowadays than when the forum was initially put up. There are numerous other places to go too with similar topics and information, without all the distractions that this site has nowadays due to numerous reasons such as spammers, slow load times, primitive interface, excessive negative commenting and attacks on fellow members, off-the-wall topics that distract and have nothing to do with the overall message of traveling and living overseas, etc.
I personally don't see anything changing much as to do so Winston would have to invest serious time and money to perform the necessary upgrade to Happier Abroad 2.0 version, which I don't see hm doing. As he admits himself, there are multiple things preventing him from doing so like Murphy's law, negative energies and whatnot....
He probably should upgrade the forum to the newest software or if that sucks, then find an alternative one that runs better and just start over again and maybe retire this one but keep a link where people can still access the old threads for reference purposes. He should probably hire, yes pay someone to be a regular forum monitor that will give a shit how it operates as there is some kind of monetary compensation involved. Also, if he wants quality posting he should probably create an alternative blog site like Roosh did with Return of kings and invite writers who can then get some kind of compensation and links back to their own sites. Personally, I'd rather not spend much time writing unique articles for someone else's site where I get nothing out of it other then extreme criticism from one side or the other, which is often the case in the forum nowadays. Since it's relativity easy to make ones own website or blog and post on there or find other sites where they will give you page hits and possible monetary income, I'm not going to spend a lot of my free time writing a descent essay for nothing anymore, those days are over and I think many other decent writers with half a brain aren't writing for free on forums either.
For example, I've been living in PI for quite a while now and could probably write a decent book for Westerners about the pro's and con's of the place, better than any of the current pdf's available in the market place. Why would I want to give away all this info for free when I can just write something up and put it up on Amazon kindle and monetize it nowadays? I haven't done so as of yet for personal reasons but all I'm saying is why should I be giving away tidbits of info for free which I know people will pay to read? The Internet has changed in over the last 10 years but Winston has not really modified his approach to capturing online readers and writers as it's changed. I mainly just keep in touch with Winston and occasionally participate in the forum because I'm friends with him and we share similar viewpoints on many things and I've met him in person and all that, but if I had not done so or had any personal communications with him I probably would have stopped participating a long time ago just as many previous members on this forum have done.
Money does not motivate Winston, personal freedom is his main motivator so as long as he has a comfortable steady stream of income to live off of, there is no incentive for him to improve his website because it is still providing him money, right now that is. However, I sense that in the next few years if he doesn't upgrade even the fumes that run his website and forum now will evaporate and there will be nothing much left in comparison to the revenue stream he once had.
Another reason is he will be inheriting a lot of money and properties when his parents eventually pass away and I'm assuming that this will also provide enough of a steady stream of income for him to live off of in the future so it's not like he is motivated to change his website and forum because he needs new income streams. He basically is just living off it's fumes at the moment and also he can periodically vent on it as well as meet occasional forum members that still exist on it or ask them questions about various subject matters that he doesn't feel like researching himself. Remember, this whole concept was initially just him writing essays venting about how life is so much better overseas for Westerners in relation to the dating and banging women market. He just monetized it back in the late 00's because there weren't many other competitors or alternative options back then, now there are and to keep up he'd have to put more time and effort into his branding and basically he' not willing to do that right now. So even though we feel we know what should be done and what we would do in his shoes, we are not him and thus have limited options since he does not listen to persuasion easily and follows his own path so to speak.
So basically to put this to rest, nothing we suggest or complain about is going to change anything that's done on this forum. Until Winston decides to change his behavior and priorities, this forum will continue to just die a slow death until there are no regular posters anymore. I suggest those with the will to set up a competing website and forum with similar branding and moderate it to their liking if they want a place to communicate about topics that this forum used to contain on a regular basis and run it appropriately with proper rules and what not.
Personally, now that I've been living overseas for over a decade, the happier abroad message is kinda a misnomer and I'm not so sure I'm sold on it anymore. I think a better branding might be living happier abroad occasionally or seasonally rather than permanently....Globalism and technology has pretty much removed the very things that made living overseas great as one could get away from their native culture completely. Nowadays Western globalism and corporatism is everywhere and it's like your living in a shitty version of whatever Western country you initially came from minus the benefits. If I had known this was going to occur 15 years ago I would have just stayed in the states and set myself up there then traveled overseas periodically from that point in my life. I don't suggest moving overseas and giving up ones entire life in the West anymore, there's no benefit to it unless your running away and want to cut your life completely from your past culture. If you do that though, make sure you run away to a country where it's easy to get a second citizenship. i f'ed up and stayed in a place where it's difficult for a foreigner to get a passport and if you did want it, you'd have to give up your original country of origin citizenship and having a Philippine passport is essentially worthless outside of South East Asia. I suggest if you're in you're 20's and 30's to figure out a way to create your own online business or some other way to be your own boss, become financially stable then travel the world occasionally from there. There's no reason nowadays to have to completely uproot yourself anymore from your home country, there's no benefits anymore because of the technocratic globalism everywhere which intrudes on your life wherever you are.
I'm just hoping it's not too late to turn around my life after being in PI for so long, it's truly a place that sucks the life out of you and give little to no return investment. That's why so many Filipinos want to leave and never come back... I interview hundreds of them every month and in the back of their minds they must think I'm the crazy one that is staying in this whacked out country!
This is going to be one of the rare and few posts where I actually write something longer than a few sentences, I won't be doing this much more in the future....
P.S.: I do respect the uniqueness of this forum and it's ideals regarding free speech on ANY topic, however I do also feel there is too much negativity and bashing of others writings on here, which in turn, turns people off after a while. Fortunately or unfortunately, this kind of forum attracts individuals who are generally more intelligent and discriminating than the average person and I believe what goes along with that are ego's to match, thus intellectual mini wars break out. If we could come together and figure out a way to limit or prevent this from occurring and turning into recurring flame wars against each other, I think the forum could be saved and resurrected. That's why I suggest just creating a new one using the latest and best forum software while also having better monitoring and stringent posting rules, then just mothball this one (just maintain a link to look at old threads). In it's current inception I'm not sure it can survive much longer in the coming years where this forum software cannot provide adequate place for people to post and read where there a better places to do so.
I feel if we were to meet each other in person we'd all be able to get along and share similar interests with each other, a forum should be a similar place to do so but all the current forum does is bring animosity on each other from what I read, which turns people off except for the die-hards who are probably reading this....
If you go elsewhere and contribute in those places, let us know how we can still gain access to your essays and postings.
The HA forum has already lost a lot of great content providers. The older timers who do stick around including us don't write nearly as much and probably remain here just because we're all kinda friends with Winston and/or each other. But the forum is dying a slow to not so slow death if the production of new and interesting content is the metric you judge it by.
Since the owner has other sources of income and assets, there's no fire under his ass in case income generated from forum drops off which I imagine it will (could be wrong on that though).
Anyway, it is what it is. Don't expect anything out of Winston. He's kinda like Trump. He'll do his own thing in his own way and will react to any criticism by lashing out lol.