Thai Visa Forum
What started off as a forum for obtaining thai visa's for the curious visitors to Thailand soon grew from a few bangkok expats exchanging messages to a flawed power-house of a forum. It's reputed to be the busiest forum in Thailand. An elusive expat called George runs the forum.
In 2001 the forum kicked off officially having previously being a newsnet style-topic.
The vibe was fresh the nightscene booming and the moderators very laissez-faire. And that's how it was for about four of five years. Then, coinciding with TRTs morality campaign things began to get very strict and commercialised indeed.
From about late 2006 any talk referencing the naughty night-life scene was banned, along with bar girls, massage girls, pretty much anything to do with casual sex in Thailand. Well, correct me if I'm wrong George, but Thailands nightlife scene is what brought 80% of expats out here.
As if this wasn't bad enough it was made a Thai Visa policy that moderators actions and policy was, under no circumstances, to be questioned or discussed on Thai Visa.
Now I'm a pretty right-wing kinda guy but this just reeked of facism to me and many others. The forums terms and conditions read like the Khmer Rouge riot-act, the subjects went from lively and interesting topics to boring and mundane.
Valued and characterful members were cut down and either banned or deserted the forum in disgust. The exodus went from a trickle to a flood.
Some have speculated that Georges motives for this bizarre and backstabbing move was to push out the single, free and vocal expats and bring in families and the samsonite brigade who would be more likely to fall-in with Georges next step...
In came an aggressive commercialisation program which had previously been the usual google ads. All of a sudden, everywhere you looked were banner ads. Thai Visa Insurance, Thai Visa Health Insurance, Thai Visa Toolbars and so on. All of the services being expensive (as TV operates as the middle man). This tactic undoubtably increased Georges Thai Visa revenue but many would say at the cost the forum what was left of it's heart and soul.
Some would attribute the rise of other thai expat forums to this unfortunate 'paradigm' shift.
For all the negative there are some very handy things on Thai Visa, the commercialisation and paradigm-shift hasn't been all bad if you look at it from an information reference angle.
The currency converter is a nice and handy tool as is the video section and the thai language section.
There has been some talk of toning down some of the naughty night scene. Unfortunately the moderators on Thai Visa are in their hundreds and each has his/her own agenda. What can be said on one section is not necessarily welome on another.