Open Letter to the Community

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Roger
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Open Letter to the Community

Unread post by Roger » Mon May 11, 2015 7:54 am

AvCom – the past and the future.

Where to begin? Probably best place is most likely back to Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 3:05 pm, when the enter key was pressed and AvCom was born, well at least in the digital sense.
Our main objective was to build a community of like-minded aviation enthusiasts, where we could have a place to discuss topics that interested us, work through common obstacles and regulatory barriers, and improve on our safety culture.

For the first few years, we believe this objective was pretty much achieved.

If you ask my opinion as to whether we are still what was once a strong community, my answer has to be a categorical No! Our pages are littered with disrespectful remarks between fellow community members, threats of legal action between members and often a complete lack of tolerance if someone is perceived not to have a degree in the topic that they posted in, not to mention the constant dance that almost every accident discussion goes through.

The moderators group have over the last few years developed a comprehensive set of Terms and Conditions (T&Cs), which have guided as to how one should conduct oneself on the forum, but it is impossible to develop them to the point where they would be spelling out behaviors that should be instilled in each and every one of us by the time we reach adulthood. Behaviors such as respect for your fellow community member should not be required to be placed into our T&Cs – it is expected.

When I recently attended the AeCSA and CAA’s ‘Hello Winter’ presentation, one of the presenters suggested that we should look at one of the other SA based forums, as they were in his opinion, getting it right and keeping things positive. I did just this, and it is evident from my first visit there, that they are definitely in the same boat as us. See screenshot below discussing the recent police helicopter accident:
post.png
It is not my intent to judge the other fora in SA, the main reason as to why I have referenced it is owing to the large number of our community members that often suggest that many of our problems may be from the fact that psuedonyms are used on AvCom. The forum mentioned above is a Facebook based forum where persons are posting under their real names, yet it has done very little in improving respect between the members.

The other item that it demonstrates is the other constant request where it has been suggested that only pilots or persons with sufficient aviation background are allowed onto our forum. The same platform mentioned above is a closed group forum and does have this as one of it’s requirements, but it too has fallen short of curbing the confrontations. We are now satisfied that someone has tried these suggestions and it has not worked, so we can now discount those suggestions and move on.

When we began AvCom, our intent was and still remains to be a place for all aviation enthusiasts. One of the main drivers behind this is that many a pilot began out as just that - an enthusiast.
Looking back to where our name came from – it was Aviation Community. Community is defined as a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists. So we should see ourselves as a distinctive group of aviation enthusiasts that should be working together – not against each other.

So how do we fix our community? To me the answer is really simple and can be summed up in a single word. Respect.

We are going to ask you to do a test each time you post over the next while, and that is to ask yourself before posting:
• Does this post add value?
• Is my post or response respectful?
If these two questions can be answered positively, there would be no need for any other T&Cs.

We are going to suggest to the mods that we enhance the current T&Cs for the next 90 days and any post that cannot pass the above test, is deleted.

It may sound like we want everyone singing Kumbaya together around the campfire. No, this is not the intent. Persons should feel free to put their point forward, but without the campfire jumping out and flaming the member. Simply put, the community as it stands now - cannot continue.

We will be honest, for those that find it difficult may find themselves in exile. It may sound drastic, but we need to do something differently to restore our once proud community. You are invited and it will be great if every single one of you can join us on this journey of respect.
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That will give you at least 8 hours to think about it some more.
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Roger
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Re: Open Letter to the Community

Unread post by Roger » Sat Mar 03, 2018 3:31 pm

This is a post from 3 years ago and is still very relevant. We are going to do another 90 day campaign and posts that fall short of what is acceptable will be tagged like this:

Image
If ever in doubt about flying - drink a beer.
That will give you at least 8 hours to think about it some more.
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Re: Open Letter to the Community

Unread post by -CoBuS- » Sat Mar 03, 2018 3:48 pm

If you take away anonymity you take away the problem.
It really is as easy as that.
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Roger
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Re: Open Letter to the Community

Unread post by Roger » Sat Mar 03, 2018 3:53 pm

-CoBuS- wrote:If you take away anonymity you take away the problem.
It really is as easy as that.
Roger wrote:The forum mentioned above is a Facebook based forum where persons are posting under their real names, yet it has done very little in improving respect between the members
If ever in doubt about flying - drink a beer.
That will give you at least 8 hours to think about it some more.
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Christo
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Re: Open Letter to the Community

Unread post by Christo » Sat Mar 03, 2018 4:23 pm

-CoBuS- wrote:If you take away anonymity you take away the problem.
It really is as easy as that.
Oh the irony :lol: :lol:
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cage
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Re: Open Letter to the Community

Unread post by cage » Sat Mar 03, 2018 4:27 pm

Is this like the last drive where the winner with the most badges gets a cap? :^o :mrgreen:
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Marius Schrenk
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Re: Open Letter to the Community

Unread post by Marius Schrenk » Sat Mar 03, 2018 4:31 pm

cage wrote:Is this like the last drive where the winner with the most badges gets a cap? :^o :mrgreen:
:lol: :lol:
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Re: Open Letter to the Community

Unread post by -CoBuS- » Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:21 pm

Christo wrote:
-CoBuS- wrote:If you take away anonymity you take away the problem.
It really is as easy as that.
Oh the irony :lol: :lol:
What’s ironic?

And perhaps also a more important point, what value did your snide above add?
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Re: Open Letter to the Community

Unread post by VRef » Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:55 pm

The above posts are a great example of what is wrong on Avcom - as well as most social media sites.
How on earth does Cobus know that Christo's post was "snide". Oh the irony - does not say sufficient information to judge whether the post was snide or not.
In a face-to-face situation communication takes place - verbally - body language and facial expressions. On a social media site, there is no way of knowing whether a person is being genuine or sarcastic - ironic or honest.
But the bottom line is respect, self-respect and trust - without those, forget it.
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Mauler
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Re: Open Letter to the Community

Unread post by Mauler » Sun Mar 04, 2018 9:18 am

It's just a cultural thing. It is what we have become. There certainly is no respect or deference on any forum or in everyday life.

It's not just on AvCom. It really gets my goat that ANYWHERE it is posted that someone flew a little differently to the norm, a little low, a bit enthusiastically, has a slightly different opinion, the villagers have their torches lit and their pitchforks out - and make some of the most absurdly hostile comments. And it is not just the newbies, it more often than now is bile spewing from people who should know better.

My biggest gripe is the posters we see who often say "I'm an expert with 100000000 hours on biiiiiiiig aircraft. You are a fool and don't know what you are talking about. I know everything, but I'm not going to tell you."

Can the mods please re-instate the summary death sentence for them?
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Re: Open Letter to the Community

Unread post by SaraLima » Sun Mar 04, 2018 4:38 pm

IMHO, respect for others begins with respect for yourself, for if you have no self respect, you may find it difficult to grant respect to others.
I am in full support of the 90 day campaign and fully expect the mods to step in if I have not been respectful to other aviators (or enthusiasts) 8-[ 8-[

That said, I have noticed that some of our members have remarkably thin skins and see every contrary comment as either (a) A direct personal attack on them or (b) a veiled indirect reference on what their mothers might have done for a living.. :shock: (c) finally, and worst of all, those who can only get personal gratification or validation by belittling others.. :roll:

But we should also consider that often experience does generate strong opinions, and I feel it only fair that members should have the latitude to express their opinions on aviation topics as strongly as they wish (within the provisos of the campaign) as often, this leads to the debate which I so enjoy on this forum. 8) :D

I leave it up to our mods to find that fine line of distinction and act on it. :smt045
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jimdavis
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Re: Open Letter to the Community

Unread post by jimdavis » Sun Mar 04, 2018 10:22 pm

RESPECT - absolutely

+ HONESTY. My biggest complaint is when folks say "Certain posters ....". I would like folks to say who they are talking about, or who are they are talking to. This business of hiding behind anonimity is made worse when folks don't have the guts to say who thay are talking about, or talking to.

Otherwise, thank you Roger, I for one, applaud your call for what I regard as good manners.

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Re: Open Letter to the Community

Unread post by Mouser » Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:46 am

I support the idea and will take it on the chin as needed. I do not have a great deal of interaction with like minded people in my work and tend to trawl (not troll I hope) forums where I am interested (bicycle dirt bike, 4x4 and, of course avcom). All have threads that get off the rails due to the points noted - anonymity breeds contempt and, in our often adversarial society this can easily escalate.

My business partner and I sometimes get coaxed into being "expert" witnesses (in his case adjudicator and arbitrator). Almost every time we are surprised and saddened at how readily some supposedly upstanding professionals (and others ha ha) will do just about anything and everything to WIN (it is not even about the money, principal or finding a solution), including personal insult, legal and financial threat, innuendo and perjury or at least embellishment. Using facts selectively is a given.

Forum / internet arguments can follow this more easily and often do. Can we try and rein this in, just a little? In my tiny way, I am going to try.
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Re: Open Letter to the Community

Unread post by happyskipper » Mon Mar 05, 2018 9:36 am

Precisely, Mouser.
People say things on a Social Media Platform that they would never dare to say in a Flying Club Pub.
I remember, in the good old days of TAC at Rand, that there sometimes troublemakers - but they were quickly sorted out by the members, or Molly......
:roll:
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Re: Open Letter to the Community

Unread post by Mauler » Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:13 pm

Roger wrote:It is not my intent to judge the other fora in SA, the main reason as to why I have referenced it is owing to the large number of our community members that often suggest that many of our problems may be from the fact that psuedonyms are used on AvCom. The forum mentioned above is a Facebook based forum where persons are posting under their real names, yet it has done very little in improving respect between the members.
Roger has thoroughly analysed the question of anonymity/pseudonyms on internet forums and reached a thoroughly reasoned and demonstrated conclusion on that issue.

So, instead of continuing to thump your tubs about that (including on this very thread), can we just RESPECT his views and decision on that point please?

In my respectful submission, the cartoon below demonstrates why much of the poor behaviour occurs:
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