Our Teamspeak Environments are in Shambles

Zachary Beard

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Our Teamspeak Environments are in Shambles
« on: June 11, 2014, 09:36:33 PM »
Hello members,

Firstly, this is an honest discussion. Please be honest and reasonable in your replies, I welcome all opinions that are posted in good faith.

Recently, being a visitor at several ARTCCs and frequenter of each ARTCC's Teamspeak servers, I've noticed unfriendly "discussion" among members and staff/senior staff regarding other ARTCCs and VATSIM members.

Behavior and conversations I've observed have ranged from friendly and acceptable banter and discussion (of which I have no concern for and contribute to members feeling welcome), to outrightly unacceptable and unfriendly talk about other ARTCCs and VATSIM members. It's disappointing to me that a network where people are supposed to be able to enjoy learning about aviation in an acceptable environment are subject to this kind of degrading speech and atmosphere in Teamspeak channels. When senior staff are cussing out other ARTCC staff members, and talk of "coup de'tats" of other ARTCCs come up I start to get worried about our priorities and principles as VATSIM members, but that's another discussion.

Teamspeak servers are, in my understanding, owned and operated/monitored by the ARTCCs themselves, but I've noticed a VATUSA-wide ordeal here that ARTCCs alone will have difficulty combating, especially because senior staff members are contributing to this fiasco.  

People leave ARTCCs, or VATSIM as a whole because of this kind of behavior; let's keep each other accountable.

Likely some people don't see this the way I do of course. I understand that because ARTCCs manage their Teamspeak servers they can choose to allow anything they see fit to happen on them, but I am not interested in the faux-legalities of the issue, I'm interested in discussing the moral obligation I believe we have as VATSIM members to, "at all times, be courteous and respectful to one another." If you participate in these kind of discussions, please be reminded that you are likely driving people away from VATSIM by making it appear crude and unwelcoming.

Please discuss.

Cheers
ZY

P.S. Let's discuss staff positions and the implications associated with your behavior provided you become a staff member as well.

Colin Schoen

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« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2014, 09:43:29 PM »
Good discussion to have...

Another interesting idea might be to implement a division wide TS (like VATUK) instead of individual ARTCC teamspeaks.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2014, 09:48:09 PM by Colin Schoen »
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Don Desfosse

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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2014, 01:54:32 AM »
Good points, ZY, and thank you for bringing them up.  We, collectively, can do better.  We can certainly do a VATUSA-wide TS, though each ARTCC would likely have separate channels so, although likely to cut down on some of this garbage, it would not prevent it.  Preventing it just simply means all of us vowing to do better and following through on that promise.
Don Desfosse
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Division Director Emeritus, VATUSA

Michael Mund-Hoym

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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2014, 03:16:55 AM »
Very valid points being brought up here.

Of course, and I am sure everyone understands, VATSIM staff members, directors, supervisors, managers etc. have to occasionally discuss topics which are not so nice. But for that there are separate locked channels in TeamSpeak or other software such as Skype can be used also, as to not share such information with the public where it doesn't belong. As a perfect example the Code of Regulations allows for Executive Sessions during meetings of the Board of Governors and the Executive Committee, which are not shared in the later posted meeting minutes.

But cursing, degrading or otherwise talking bad about anything on VATSIM doesn't belong somewhere where its open to all. As the saying goes... "if you don't have anything good to say, don't say it"

This of course does not include constructive criticism, which is welcome at all times.

I have asked many people to see the VATSIM community like a virtual family. If we all work together, help each other, support each other, having the elder guide the younger (VATSIM experience wise), wishing each other well, that is the best way to a good and a friendly, inviting community.


edit: typing error
« Last Edit: June 12, 2014, 04:50:22 AM by Michael Mund-Hoym »

Tom Seeley

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« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2014, 07:22:53 AM »
There is, and always has been a sort of a team mentality in the various ARTCC teamspeak servers ... ours is better than theirs, etc. Some of that can be a good thing. A little healthy competition can drive a desire to improve. In fact, when the discussion is oriented toward particular practices or failures by a neighboring ARTCC, it can trigger changes and improvements. That's the constructive side.

Over time I've seen very derogatory discussions develop on teamspeak, and ARTCC senior staff nip it in the bud, maintaining a civil atmosphere. But if this is allowed to get out of hand, the result is as Zachary described, and that's not good for an abundance of reasons. But there are other facilities where such is not the case, and even the senior staff participate or even  foster the negative environment. A lot of folks simply do not wish to be around that kind of negativity, and as described, will leave for some other endeavor ... and that's our loss as a community.

To hit the second part of the OP's comments, the implications for staff members are very basic: If you are now or become a staff member, it is your obligation to set the example for the rest; what you do, they will do. As was previously said, if there is a genuine need to discuss negative matters, take them private. Think of how you are influencing others. Simple.

Hopefully this very timely discussion will help to end that type of activity. If you refuse to participate, that's a start. It's so much easier to be positive and constructive.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2014, 07:35:59 AM by Tom Seeley »
Tom Seeley
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Davor Kusec

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« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2014, 12:35:07 PM »
As Tom stated, a little healthy competition is certainly a good thing but there is a clear line between healthy competition and unhealthy banter.  I have always maintained that we are here for the same reason, a love for the aviation community.  One of the downsides to being on the internet is that not everyone sees the implications of their actions as outright as they might were we in the real world.

I think the real issue is that it can be easier to join in on the negative actions rather than take a stand against it.  Forcing some sort of stiff regulation down on everyone is likely not to be welcomed with open arms.  Although having just one division wide teamspeak would certainly promote unity to a certain level, I don’t think that this idea would be welcomed by all too.  Even if each ARTCC had their own spot within, there is little that makes me think that this would be a solution to the problem.  I also believe that some ARTCCs are bound to want to keep their own private servers open.  In the end it’s important for every individual to remember to be mindful of others even if we are here to have a little fun.
Davor Kusec DK
Air Traffic Director - Northeast Region VATUSA
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Zachary Beard

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« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2014, 09:31:59 PM »
I really appreciate the thought-out insight so far. A VATUSA-run Teamspeak is great in theory, but as DK mentions each ARTCC will likely find it difficult to abandon the developed member usage of their private Teamspeak servers. Perhaps an incentive to use a VATUSA Teamspeak server, if one was to be created, would be in order to help consolidate our division's communications.

From a controller's perspective, I think being able to coordinate with intrafacility controllers via voice would be a wonderful perk of this proposed VATUSA Teamspeak server.

Please continue to discuss.

Cheers
ZY


Harold Rutila

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« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2014, 10:12:30 PM »
[!--quoteo--][div class=\\\'quotetop\\\']QUOTE [/div][div class=\\\'quotemain\\\'][!--quotec--]When senior staff are cussing out other ARTCC staff members, and talk of "coup de'tats" of other ARTCCs come up I start to get worried about our priorities and principles as VATSIM members, but that's another discussion.[/quote]
It's not really another discussion if your complaint is centered around TS behavior. It's best to just bring it up with the ARTCC's regional director or Don rather than making a generic post where nobody knows who you're specifically complaining about. Unless you visited over 50% of the ARTCCs and seen the same behavior, it's hard for someone like me to look at this and say "We have a widespread problem in VATUSA." It's likely just one or two ARTCCs that need a little work.

Zachary Beard

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« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2014, 10:37:17 PM »
Quote from: Harold Rutila
It's not really another discussion if your complaint is centered around TS behavior. It's best to just bring it up with the ARTCC's regional director or Don rather than making a generic post where nobody knows who you're specifically complaining about. Unless you visited over 50% of the ARTCCs and seen the same behavior, it's hard for someone like me to look at this and say "We have a widespread problem in VATUSA." It's likely just one or two ARTCCs that need a little work.

You might be right logistically speaking. However, I think the discussion has been fruitful thus far, and could continue to be so provided that people give their ideas about palpable issues related to these behaviors. What's a conversation but a discussion that starts in one direction but ends up going in a direction that focuses on what's (potentially) been on the minds of the majority anyways?

Looking for open minded thought on VATSIM members' priorities on the network, not a quick and dirty solution to 1 or 2 ARTCCs' behaviors, at this point. Maybe discussion about generally caustic/elitist attitude problems existent on the network as of late is in order. That's at least one of the causal background issues that made me want to write this post.

"Measurable effectiveness" of a post, or however someone would like to word it, is not something I wish to discuss here personally. Broad discussion is something these forums are good for in my opinion.

Cheers
ZY
« Last Edit: June 12, 2014, 10:37:54 PM by Zachary Beard »

Matthew Bartels

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« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2014, 01:23:20 AM »
Quote from: Zachary Beard
You might be right logistically speaking. However, I think the discussion has been fruitful thus far, and could continue to be so provided that people give their ideas about palpable issues related to these behaviors. What's a conversation but a discussion that starts in one direction but ends up going in a direction that focuses on what's (potentially) been on the minds of the majority anyways?

Looking for open minded thought on VATSIM members' priorities on the network, not a quick and dirty solution to 1 or 2 ARTCCs' behaviors, at this point. Maybe discussion about generally caustic/elitist attitude problems existent on the network as of late is in order. That's at least one of the causal background issues that made me want to write this post.

"Measurable effectiveness" of a post, or however someone would like to word it, is not something I wish to discuss here personally. Broad discussion is something these forums are good for in my opinion.

Cheers
ZY

Call me the minority here but why not let sleeping dogs lie. I've been in a quite a few teamspeaks myself and it seems that this type of behavior is very, very rare. Is it appropriate for an ARTCC's management to openly encourage flat out bashing another facility? No.

However, everyone has been guilty of talking bad of another facility or controller and if you want to play the higher than thou card, look me dead in the face and tell me you have not said  a single unkind word about a bad pilot. It is human nature to express our opinions and frustrations. It is unhealthy not to do so.  

A facilities teamspeak is their home and they should have the right to do what they please there. If you don't like what you are hearing, then either don't listen or leave the teamspeak channel. It's not up to a teamspeak visitor to come in and demand that things be changed or tattle on them for what they're doing in their own space. It's akin to going into a chain smokers house and telling them not to smoke in their own house because you chose to come and visit., then running to their employer to tell them that they smoke.  It doesn't need to be regulated, or taken away from the facility. Our teamspeak is where we as a huge group of friends hang out even if we're not using the network.  It is a core tool that has helped foster the relationships I've made on the network first, and a coordination tool second.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2014, 01:34:55 AM by Matthew Bartels »
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Brandon Barrett

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« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2014, 10:58:24 AM »
Quote from: Matthew Bartels
Call me the minority here but why not let sleeping dogs lie. I've been in a quite a few teamspeaks myself and it seems that this type of behavior is very, very rare. Is it appropriate for an ARTCC's management to openly encourage flat out bashing another facility? No.

However, everyone has been guilty of talking bad of another facility or controller and if you want to play the higher than thou card, look me dead in the face and tell me you have not said  a single unkind word about a bad pilot. It is human nature to express our opinions and frustrations. It is unhealthy not to do so.  

A facilities teamspeak is their home and they should have the right to do what they please there. If you don't like what you are hearing, then either don't listen or leave the teamspeak channel. It's not up to a teamspeak visitor to come in and demand that things be changed or tattle on them for what they're doing in their own space. It's akin to going into a chain smokers house and telling them not to smoke in their own house because you chose to come and visit., then running to their employer to tell them that they smoke.  It doesn't need to be regulated, or taken away from the facility. Our teamspeak is where we as a huge group of friends hang out even if we're not using the network.  It is a core tool that has helped foster the relationships I've made on the network first, and a coordination tool second.

Agree

Brandon Barrett | Deputy Division Director Eastern

Zachary Beard

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« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2014, 01:24:56 PM »
Quote from: Matthew Bartels
However, everyone has been guilty of talking bad of another facility or controller...

This is one idea I'm concerned about. How has this become the norm? What constructiveness comes out of this activity? VATSIM is a learning environment to some (large) extent, so I don't have the expectation that every controller is going to be retired-FAA quality when I fly, or even observe. That being said, if someone knows of a controller doing something blatantly (or even slightly) wrong by the book or otherwise, what is stopping a more well-versed controller from improving the other's knowledge/skillset? In my opinion, we should be using those moments of receiving poor or less-than-perfect quality ATC service as a pilot on the network to teach, if the controller is open to it. All in the name of improvement, you know? Nobody is forced to do this, of course, but when a pilot who is also a well-versed controller on VATSIM talks behind another controller's (or pilot's) back with their friends, that's when the real "holier than thou" activity rears its ugly head.

I agree with you about Teamspeak activity being a place where groups can do whatever they want, that's a given. I'm calling for us to do a little better. There are points when I'm frustrated by ATC service on VATSIM (and yes, the occasional pilot as well) but I've realized the opportunities these create to teach. It isn't our responsibility to, as I hinted to before in this reply, but if you have the time, why not? A good deed goes a long way for the network. I don't personally believe in karma, but I do believe in making a difference, no matter how small. Not sure how somebody could disagree with this idea, but people have tried tirelessly to prove me wrong on here before.

I guess what this specific reply is trying to address is the idea that we can all do better to improve the network with a little effort, if not just restraint. Nobody likes a snob, especially in a learning environment. We should have fun here how we see fit of course, but always consider the implications of our actions and words.

Cheers
ZY

Ryan Parry

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« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2014, 01:51:02 PM »
Quote from: Matthew Bartels
Call me the minority here but why not let sleeping dogs lie. I've been in a quite a few teamspeaks myself and it seems that this type of behavior is very, very rare. Is it appropriate for an ARTCC's management to openly encourage flat out bashing another facility? No.

However, everyone has been guilty of talking bad of another facility or controller and if you want to play the higher than thou card, look me dead in the face and tell me you have not said  a single unkind word about a bad pilot. It is human nature to express our opinions and frustrations. It is unhealthy not to do so.  

A facilities teamspeak is their home and they should have the right to do what they please there. If you don't like what you are hearing, then either don't listen or leave the teamspeak channel. It's not up to a teamspeak visitor to come in and demand that things be changed or tattle on them for what they're doing in their own space. It's akin to going into a chain smokers house and telling them not to smoke in their own house because you chose to come and visit., then running to their employer to tell them that they smoke.  It doesn't need to be regulated, or taken away from the facility. Our teamspeak is where we as a huge group of friends hang out even if we're not using the network.  It is a core tool that has helped foster the relationships I've made on the network first, and a coordination tool second.

Just because a lot of us have been guilty of talking bad about another facility or controller doesn't make it ok, there is no justification in that. I agree that we can say whatever we want in a private teamspeak server, but when it is an ARTCC server there are lines and limits that shouldn't be crossed, especially by a staff member. It is one thing to express an opinion about somebody, and an entirely different thing to bash somebody. An ARTCC ran server will have people in it that may not take kindly to bashing, and it may make them wonder what is being said about them when they aren't around. Sure they can move to another room, and sure they can disconnect but that is only dividing the ARTCC rather than uniting it. I've personally witnessed a handful of people leave an ARTCC because of this, to make it worse they aren't even on Vatsim anymore. Being disrespectful is a great way to kill off an ARTCC's culture and ultimately turn the ARTCC into a no mans land.

If you want to go out and purchase your own TS server for your and your friends and bash everybody you can, then go for it, but I don't see how it would be alright to do on an ARTCC server.
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Don Desfosse

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« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2014, 02:01:06 PM »
Guys, what I thought was a discussion about staff/senior staff cussing out other ARTCCs' staff, etc., for which a "we can do better" was a no-brainer, has now started to devolve into a "holier than thou" discussion.  Just as Matt said, I've been in just about every Teamspeak in the USA over the past year or so, and appreciate the candor, fun and sense of community I've seen.  Constructive, good-natured competitiveness is good for the whole.  Evil, despicable vitriol and bashing should not and will not be tolerated.  There's a huge chasm between the two, though.  It's pretty simple:  egregious behavior should not and will not be tolerated, but minor operational gripes do happen, and do happen regularly, as does letting off steam (which, by the way, happens all day long at all (yes, all) of the many RW facilities I've visited over the years).  Yes, we can all do better, myself included in that respect, we should indeed teach others to be better as often as we can, but be careful about casting stones, glass houses and all that.  Just like Ryan was alluding to, it is common sense not to cross the line on official ARTCC Teamspeaks.  It's up to us all, as a community, to determine where "the line" is, but it should be much closer to the "competitive, fun gripe" side than the evil side.  

The points have been made, and I think this thread has now run its course.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2014, 02:06:44 PM by Don Desfosse »
Don Desfosse
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