I recall this topic being raised around 8–10 years ago on gaythailand. No doubt it's been raised elsewhere since then. It’s far from new and the posting base on all three Boards is now smaller.
It seems to me that finding new posters will be far from easy. As has been said by others, times have changed rapidly. In this mobile phone, faster-moving era, contributing to a chat room requires not only time, it surely also requires a degree of ‘ownership’. By that I mean a commitment to the objectives of the Board, a willingness to contribute and a desire to see it continue.
Pulling together the thoughts which have been expressed, these seem to be the possibilities for maintaining and increasing posting membership.
1. A reduction in general news items that are not specifically gay related.
2. More specifically gay-related topics particularly Thailand-related
3. Finding out why many thousands of gay expats in Thailand do not even know about the Boards and how they might be encouraged to become posters.
4. Is it desirable to try and encourage Asian gay tourists to become involved or is this to remain merely an expat/western visitor Board? If the former, how is it possible to make that happen?
Thoughts on the above.
1. One reason I enjoy posting on this Board is its openness to many general articles, Not because I wish to rehash what has appeared in the media. It’s more because I think gay people in general have a wide range of interests, including what is current in the news, travel reports particularly Asian travel, gay history, political events . . . and so on. As I mentioned in another post, ten years ago on gaythailand, the Beer Bar (dealing with non-gay non-Thailand general topics) was often the most contributed forum. As that Board has evolved, the Beer Bar is now much less important and the emphasis has shifted much more to reports of trip reports to gay venues in Bangkok and Pattaya by usually regular visitors. I just believe general topics are not a reason for a decline in either posters or readership.
2. I wish there were more posts on gay Thailand establishments and issues. But surely this depends on people being prepared to post - and to post in some detail. Had this Board been running between 10 and 25 years ago when gay sites were beginning to appear on the internet, I would have gladly written a vast amount. As a regular visitor and then resident, unashamedly I was a bar hopper, sauna visitor and loved gay massage. I think I was one of the first handful of visitors when Volt opened off Asoke. It was one of the first saunas in Bangkok. Same with Obelisks, the original Babylon and Chakran which in its early years I found the best of all.
In the 1990s V Club (in a separate building on Soi Aree and not its present location as part of the Chakran building) was a fabulous spa with masses of handsome masseuers, not a few of whom were models appearing in commercial advertisements or the various gay magazines which we could easily buy at the streetside stalls on Silom. I was at Albury literally on its opening day since I was staying with friends just around the corner. As I came to the end of my long week-end breaks from Hong Kong, I always visited one of the two massage spas on the fourth floor of Korea Town near the Sheraton Grande before getting a taxi out to Don Mueang. I loved Telephone Bar when it opened. It had several very handsome barmen, one of whom eventually ended up with me for several nights.
Even 5 – 7 years ago I was bar hopping. I remember and enjoyed the short-lived Heartbeat Club (what happened on the partly obscured banquettes was not dissimilar to what patrons could do in the relative dark on the long banquettes along two of the walls in the original Twilight sleaze Bar.) Super Lek had been a favourite for a while. After its demise Solid near Mango Tree took its place.
Now, though, times have changed and I have much less desire to hit the gay establishments. When off the leash, I find the offerings of Taipei and Tokyo much more interesting (novelty value? More than that, I believe). And I mention this only because they are two reasons why I do not post updates on what is going on in the gay scene in Bangkok.
My only other point here is that there is now vastly more basic gay Thailand information available with comments from patrons on a wide variety of internet sites.
3. This is a really tough one. Frankly, I don’t know. Best, therefore, I leave further discussion on this to others.
4. Another tough one. I mentioned before that there is, as far as I am aware, only one Asian contributing regularly to any of the Boards, Spoon from Malaysia on gaythailand. There have been others who have alleged they are young Asians but were/are obviously (through their postings) fakes who were/are clearly as old as the average poster and as Asian as a citizen of Kiwirrkura in Australia (population 216).
Two questions immediately arise. Would the current posting membership want an input from likely Asian visitors to Thailand? Secondly, is the existing format of give and take between western posters likely to be of interest to Asian visitors?
My answer to both is ‘no’ – even though I have before advocated this, and suggested that with Asians being the largest group of gay tourists of the future, the validity of any Board surely depends on some input from that group. The key problem as I see it is that the current format is not geared to gay Asians. As yet again mentioned before, Asian tourists are an even more mixed group than western tourists. Some like the bars. Most – for the present – prefer saunas, massage and dance clubs.
From chatting with friends in Taiwan and when I have had Asian visitors, what they want to know is pretty simple.
1. List of saunas, their location and facilities, the type and age of clientele.
2. Same with massage spas – traditional Thai, off-the-street offering no-sex massage, and full service massage. Especially they want some detail of individual masseurs and their massage skills. In the blowingwind Traveller’s Hut forum, the skills of the masseur is probably the most discussed issue. Oddly (at least I think so) they are less interested in the ending. A simple hand job is what most seek whereas many westerners look for more.
3. Discos like DJ Station along with description of facilities.
4. Bars which have shows, what the shows include and likely timings.
In other words, they want listings and some brief descriptions rather than general chit-chat. That raises a whole new topic that has again been discussed many times on all Boards. In a fluid situation, how does anyone draw up and maintain accurate maps and lists? No one, none of the free magazines which exist and used to exist, none of the several gay Asian travel websites have managed this. The one posted by Smiles here is the most accurate I have seen. But for how long will it remain current? Is the idea of maps therefore a dead duck?
Just some thoughts.