In Washington DC last October after attending a keynote conference by Steve Kaufer I felt uplifted. Here I was, sharing a room with Steve (and 500 other people). Elegant, gentle and soft-spoken he fitted the image I had foreseen. All of us need idols, well, Steve is one of them for me! When he started tripadvisor our website was already a young adult yet I couldn't but look upon the baby genius growing dramatically and way above our head. I was still fiddling with an html booking form when he had invented user generated content and envisioned web 2.0.
Now I wonder, does he know what's become of his website's forums? Namely Rome, but I'm sure it's no different for other destinations. It's a closed club for gossiping with a couple of destination experts (or wanna-be's) bossing around and using the tripadvisor terms as a tool to ban posts or even users they don't like. Going into the forums feels just like entering a Temple now. You go in hesitantly, take off your shoes, feel spied, unwelcome and if you talk the wrong time or the wrong way you immediately get kicked out of the place without explanation. I don't think this is what you wanted, Steve.
Go in unnoticed, if you manage, listen and feel the atmosphere. It reeks theocracy. You're the deus ex machina, so go check yourself the mess your guardians are making of your temple and, please, fix it!