VATUSA Forums

General => General Discussion => Topic started by: Derek Vento on November 07, 2018, 09:27:16 pm

Title: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Derek Vento on November 07, 2018, 09:27:16 pm
I don't think there's any other way to put it. We as a community don't talk enough. Your local ARTCC teamspeak isnt enough. We need more transparency with one another and need to speak more. You want a regional meeting? Whoop dee do. The goal is to advance a community of people that apparently love flying and enjoy controlling airplanes. If we took every teamspeak/discord and combined them on a Wednesday night, I could only imagine what the turnout would be?! We expect people to get "better" as students but think about how much a senior staff member could learn! Think about how much a new staff member of his or her ARTCC could learn. ATMs, TAs need to get better on how to run their respective facilities. I'm sorry but...we do not share enough information with each other. It's called a DIVISION and unfortunately that is exactly what's occurring...People need to step up. If the membership of your ARTCC is trying to suggest things to you, or is providing you feedback, LISTEN to them! You took up a volunteer position, so DO IT! RUN your ARTCC and if you need help stop acting like you're too good to ask for it! There are some older gentleman in some of these places that are offering SIMPLE life advice. The personal life you live transfers into who you are as a manger, leader and training administrator.

Students should pro actively be learning and should be consulting with people from other ARTCCs. Don't sit here and tell me it should occur through the forums, because I'll sit here and tell you why I wholeheartedly disagree. In aviation it's a field of communication...so why aren't we?! There are tons of members out there that have tons of knowledge and I'm sure would love to help someone else. There are tons of upper staff that I'm sure could use help or are willing to offer help, but we have got to put the ego to the side, reach out and ask for the help. If you're one of those that wants the help, reach out to your neighboring or ARTCC "across the country" and ask for a hand. Ladies and Gentleman, some of ya'll are complacent. I like going in TS to groan and moan every now and then but we have to speak with one another more often...

Oh and trust me, if you don't think I'm ready to get beat up on this post, you're 10 steps behind...

I love ya'll, I do, but we need to be better about speaking to one another.

That is all.

Derek
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Chris Hadden on November 08, 2018, 05:31:44 am
Derek, Im with you on this and agree with the very majority of what you have said.

    I believe we need the top of the division to be TRANSPARENT. I have no idea what USA 1, 2, 3 and up's goals are. Or what they want us to be doing. I want to be part of the change you guys want to bring, but it is impossible to help when there is no word being directly discussed with us. The forums are more like a battle ground of political debates rather than a resource. I purposely avoid most of the threads I have access to because they are like mini battlefields that are just not worth getting involved in. I don't feel like our opinions are truly considered and valued in some circumstances. Instead it just ends with who can prove the other person wrong. Rather than taking in and effectively using the feedback that was provided.

    Division staff need to come in our TS or Discord and TALK with us, you guys are in charge, check in with each facility on a frequent basis and offer assistance with our perseverance. Get to know the very people who are far under you by being there. Be physically present in the community! I take pride when I see our division staff on the network controlling or flying, but don't over do it. Because you never know when someone in the division will need your help. Without transparency from the division level, ARTCC level transparency will never happen. It always starts from the top.

    Where are our regular division meetings? The professional development course? Pilot and Controller training courses? Four great ways to connect with the whole community both facility staff and members via real human voices, not a forum thread. Create regular surveys or questionnaires to gather the interests of the division, and deliver where needed... I don't usually really voice my opinion on here (for the reasons I listed above). But I really do agree with this topic and hope that Mark, Tony, Brandon, and the rest of the team can take this critical feedback and criticism that we are providing, and implement new ways of connecting the division back together as one.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Rick Rump on November 08, 2018, 07:19:32 am
Hopefully no one on Division staff minds that I am speaking out of turn here.

I have been urging a transparent and interactive communications protocol in VATUSA. We need to be active, and we need to make it known why things are done the way they are done. I use to not like discord, but I totally recognize the community building aspects it creates. As someone who came here from a lot of RL organizations where team and community building is important, not having co-location makes the job difficult in some aspects but easier than others. Discord gives us a persistent community that you can access from anywhere and not miss a beat (an advantage over RL co-location), but it is so much more difficult to directly moderate. I would love to see a VATUSA Discord, I really would -- But I personally fear it becoming a free-for-all and very time consuming for that reason. Maybe if someone would make an unofficial one we all could use (Or is that also a bad idea? I do not know).
Another thing I would like to see is regular passive communication via a posted newsletter or something, I am hoping that when we hire a new Communications Director we can see something like this.

The forums are suppose to be an excellent form of passive communication, but like you put it, they can easily become "minibattlefields" and that discourages their correct use. That may be on us for not enforcing a requirement for civil discussion and then getting too involved in said uncivil discussion and the like.

Chris, you know that I personally have reached out to you and I have to every TA in VATUSA for any assistance I can offer. I think Brandon and I however can do a better job of being around personally, so if you guys at ZAU are using Discord shoot me a friend and/or server invite (terrorwolf#7622) and I will gladly hop in, participate, and do what I personally think my job is, be a resource and facilitator for your training department. I really believe in coalition building to an important thing to get something as daunting as a standardized training program to actually work, and I think that I need to be more active in the sub-divisions to work on selling it better to anyone who may detract.

I have always felt, and still believe that to affect positive change we need to be willing to accept opinions and criticism. One avenue I told Mark we need to start using are quarterly surveys to all controllers to cover topics of training, retention, events, etc., and I have offered to spearhead that effort. I practiced Appreciate Inquiry and informed decision making when I was ATM at ZDC in numerous changes we were thinking about (some were membership recommendations, others were ideas we gathered through brainstorming), and getting the feedback on these ideas from our membership at large was fantastic. A few on Division staff are working on exit surveys -- It is too late when you are giving exit surveys to really fix the problem they were having. Investigating in-process lets you adjust as needed.

Also, resource sharing is important! I also want to see a "best practices" guide for facility management and training (I am sure we can come up with other ideas) be developed. It has been something I have been passionate about for a while.

As an aside with respect to controller training: 12/8 is our first class if you missed my e-mail. These are going to be a monthly thing, I already have almost half of the ninety spots already reserved.

-RR

P.S. Derek, thanks for posting this. I am glad to know that the general membership has feelings on this that align with mine.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Tony Jeppesen on November 08, 2018, 12:38:28 pm
This has been something of a hot topic among the Division Staff the last couple of weeks.  I'm not in disagreement communications is in the pits as of late.  It's something the Division is currently, and actively discussing.  Its great to see this post coming out and I think this might be a great place to start sharing ideas as to ways to improve this.

So as VATUSA2 here is some questions I have for everyone.

In what areas would you like to see more communication from VATUSA?

What kind of tools do you feel we should be using to communicate with the membership?

How do you feel the goals of VATUSA haven't been communicated?

Would you read a monthly or quarterly newsletter?

Describe how you believe a VATUSA Discord Server would benefit the Division Communications, and what kind of information would you like to see on it? 



The key to making this work it has to be productive, because as mentioned already many times the topics in the forums turn ugly, get off topic, criticism is taken to far and people take it personally.  This stops communications or effective communications anyway and progress is lost.  I'd love to hit on a lot of these topics that Derek and Rick are discussing, but I think those are things we should discuss as separate topics.  Topics like resource sharing, training initiatives, etc are all subjects of their own with a lot of meat.

I'd love to use this topic to discuss ways of making our communication better so that we can effectively tackle those other topics brought up in this post.  I'd love to see some real progress. I don't want to just see a bunch of people complaining or giving examples of how bad its been, lets use this time to make it better.  To talk about how to make it better, and be positive about it.  Or if you have a complaint you want to point out thats fine, but please bring a possible solution with your complaint, don't complain for the sake of complaining.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Derek Hood on November 08, 2018, 02:17:59 pm
Tony,

All good questions.  I personally feel that a big problem with Vatusa is the BS we have all seen the past few weeks.  Everyone has their own agenda and feels they “run” the show.  This is a group effort and we aren’t playing well as a group. 

Transparency is key with any group and I feel like the higher ups here choose to keep a tight lip for reasons I don’t understand.  I still love this network 8 years later and cut my teeth while learning to fly real world on here.  It seems that there is no real urgency to keep people intrigued with our “passion”. 

Derek
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Antony Radley on November 08, 2018, 03:35:16 pm
Great points so far - excellent to get the ball rolling and I thank you Derek for starting it. My main issue with VATUSA is its structure, and I think if you want real change within the division is to change how its built from the ground up (This includes ARTCC staff).

It should never fall down to 1 person and should always work under a democratic system. A group of people decide the way forward but collectively organising ideas and voting on the best ones to move forward with.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Tony Jeppesen on November 08, 2018, 05:25:14 pm
Great points so far - excellent to get the ball rolling and I thank you Derek for starting it. My main issue with VATUSA is its structure, and I think if you want real change within the division is to change how its built from the ground up (This includes ARTCC staff).

It should never fall down to 1 person and should always work under a democratic system. A group of people decide the way forward but collectively organising ideas and voting on the best ones to move forward with.

Unfortunately VATSIM is not a democratic organization.  This structure doesn't just pertain to VATUSA, all of the Regions have a similar structure. It doesn't mean that doing what the masses need to survive shouldn't be done, and input is required to make decisions that benefit the masses.  To get the input, we need to figure out how to communicate.  This system has worked for a long time.

Derek-
What do you feel VATUSA has been tight lipped about? Things like this are important for us to know as well, so we know what you expect from us. 
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Derek Vento on November 08, 2018, 08:26:32 pm
Transparency is huge! Members like S1’s & 2’s are SO key to “keep around”. We talk about retention but one of your best ways to keep them around is to communicate. I can’t agree more with what Chris Hadden said…”we want to see you!” I see Brandon Barrett more than anything else. I enjoy the fact that he jumps into a teamspeak and jokes with us. He controls from time to time, and shares laughs, talks about life. No one ever feels on edge, and it’s like hanging out with one of the guys. I hate to say it, but I don’t think a lot of the newer members know who our top division staff even are.

Too many ARTCCs that seem as if they don’t know who to seek for help, when in fact, it’s VATUSA. Can I ask…what is the purpose of  the Air Traffic Director? I don’t get any updates from them? I can’t even think of the last time I’ve seen one. Again, is this position responsible for delivering information from VATUSA1? I'm not sure if many people know what these roles are or even consist of. Is the role of the director to supervise multiple ARTCCs because if so, I would love to see a system of checks and balances to ensure that the staff of an ARTCC is being held accountable.

I feel for the members that think that this individual is doing a good job. They think it’s a good job because they’ve only been here for 5 months and they have never been to any other ARTCC. These guys and gals deserve more but I don’t see anyone putting anyone’s feet to the ground to make sure they are doing their job besides asking “So how are things in the ARTCC?” “Good”. Well duh, they’re not going to say “I’m doing a terrible job”. I know some people have a lot on their plate but either there are not many tasks being delegated or people are not showing up to work.

Some in the above posts have mentioned a teamspeak or discord. Sure, but why not come in and hangout with us. We don’t get to vote for our leaders, so at least give us your time and show face. I am very happy with the responses this post has produced but please, please, please do not just stop in to appease me, please move a few pieces on the chess board. Surveys are great, but how about an anonymous suggestion box on the VATUSA website? The issue is, there are a lot of people that are afraid to speak up because they do not want to deal with repercussions, and they surely do not want to be critiqued. Giving someone the chance to speak without judgement is key!

Tony, you mentioned where do we want to see more communication from VATUSA? I think a great idea would be, to tell us what you’re working on, tell us what you discussed with the ATMs at a level that doesn’t compromise anything that should be TRULY kept under the sheets for certain ears. This is an age of digital media and there are talented people on this network. Can we improve a way to deliver messages to people? There are people that come and go and unless you’re on your own teamspeak about three times a week, and your ARTCC does not send out a newsletter, and you’re not on the forums, how will anyone know what’s going on within the division or local level? There has to be a sense of standardization and accountability.
I’m truly open to a constant discussion and if it requires like 10 of us to get together and I take notes/minutes, I’m game!
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Dhruv Kalra on November 08, 2018, 10:23:24 pm
Unfortunately VATSIM is not a democratic organization.  This structure doesn't just pertain to VATUSA, all of the Regions have a similar structure. It doesn't mean that doing what the masses need to survive shouldn't be done, and input is required to make decisions that benefit the masses.  To get the input, we need to figure out how to communicate.  This system has worked for a long time.

This attitude is a logical fallacy. You can't run a volunteer organization as a dictatorship. There's absolutely a need for someone to call the shots in administrative matters, but can you honestly tell me with a straight face that we're stronger as a division after the events of the past 8 days? We're down an entire facility staff, a division events director, and the only losers are the rank and file controllers and students at the affected facility, who are left leaderless and discouraged because the community that they built together has been blown up. I'm all for appropriate disciplinary action being taken, but to jump right to staff removal is something that should be done only after a grave amount of care. The previous VATUSA1 removed ONE ATM in a 5 year tenure; the current administration has made that same move three times in less than a year. Surely you don't disagree that there's some cause for concern with that statistic.

The volunteers - the ones devoting time, blood, sweat, tears, money, and expertise with little return aside from their own enjoyment are the lifeblood of this division. ARTCCs are tight-knit communities because for the longest time, the division hasn't done much to force us to co-mingle and coexist. The construct in which we operate makes us work together on things like LOAs, etc. out of necessity and not out of a desire to build bridges or relationships across the borders. Couple that with the fact that in this hobby, there's always going to be an implicit air of competition from one facility to the next, and you have the friendly, but largely adversarial view by which most controllers and staff regard their neighbors.

That being said, it also takes a cultural shift. Many times during high traffic situations, tempers flare, and we're busy looking for ways to blame everyone around us (including the pilots). What we need to be doing is taking more pride in the way we work and doing our best to not shovel our mess into the adjoining sectors or facilities. I just had a long conversation with one of my S3 controllers who is on the precipice of his Center OTS. He was concerned about "what if [insert Center here] screws us over on spacing?" to which I had to gently nudge him into acknowledging that none of us are perfect at this hobby. Rather than trying to blame the neighbors for underperforming, we should be looking for ways to help them step up their game. Constructive feedback and sharing of techniques and best practices goes a long way, and I'm incredibly happy to see Rick's initiatives to start that process.

DK hit it on the head - at the end of the day, we're all on the same team.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Derek Hood on November 09, 2018, 12:06:29 am
Unfortunately VATSIM is not a democratic organization.  This structure doesn't just pertain to VATUSA, all of the Regions have a similar structure. It doesn't mean that doing what the masses need to survive shouldn't be done, and input is required to make decisions that benefit the masses.  To get the input, we need to figure out how to communicate.  This system has worked for a long time.

This attitude is a logical fallacy. You can't run a volunteer organization as a dictatorship. There's absolutely a need for someone to call the shots in administrative matters, but can you honestly tell me with a straight face that we're stronger as a division after the events of the past 8 days? We're down an entire facility staff, a division events director, and the only losers are the rank and file controllers and students at the affected facility, who are left leaderless and discouraged because the community that they built together has been blown up. I'm all for appropriate disciplinary action being taken, but to jump right to staff removal is something that should be done only after a grave amount of care. The previous VATUSA1 removed ONE ATM in a 5 year tenure; the current administration has made that same move three times in less than a year. Surely you don't disagree that there's some cause for concern with that statistic.

The volunteers - the ones devoting time, blood, sweat, tears, money, and expertise with little return aside from their own enjoyment are the lifeblood of this division. ARTCCs are tight-knit communities because for the longest time, the division hasn't done much to force us to co-mingle and coexist. The construct in which we operate makes us work together on things like LOAs, etc. out of necessity and not out of a desire to build bridges or relationships across the borders. Couple that with the fact that in this hobby, there's always going to be an implicit air of competition from one facility to the next, and you have the friendly, but largely adversarial view by which most controllers and staff regard their neighbors.

That being said, it also takes a cultural shift. Many times during high traffic situations, tempers flare, and we're busy looking for ways to blame everyone around us (including the pilots). What we need to be doing is taking more pride in the way we work and doing our best to not shovel our mess into the adjoining sectors or facilities. I just had a long conversation with one of my S3 controllers who is on the precipice of his Center OTS. He was concerned about "what if [insert Center here] screws us over on spacing?" to which I had to gently nudge him into acknowledging that none of us are perfect at this hobby. Rather than trying to blame the neighbors for underperforming, we should be looking for ways to help them step up their game. Constructive feedback and sharing of techniques and best practices goes a long way, and I'm incredibly happy to see Rick's initiatives to start that process.

DK hit it on the head - at the end of the day, we're all on the same team.

This is spot on Dhruv.  What I wanted to say, but diplomatic and eloquent lol.

Derek
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Tony Jeppesen on November 09, 2018, 10:26:51 am
Unfortunately VATSIM is not a democratic organization.  This structure doesn't just pertain to VATUSA, all of the Regions have a similar structure. It doesn't mean that doing what the masses need to survive shouldn't be done, and input is required to make decisions that benefit the masses.  To get the input, we need to figure out how to communicate.  This system has worked for a long time.

This attitude is a logical fallacy. You can't run a volunteer organization as a dictatorship. There's absolutely a need for someone to call the shots in administrative matters, but can you honestly tell me with a straight face that we're stronger as a division after the events of the past 8 days? We're down an entire facility staff, a division events director, and the only losers are the rank and file controllers and students at the affected facility, who are left leaderless and discouraged because the community that they built together has been blown up. I'm all for appropriate disciplinary action being taken, but to jump right to staff removal is something that should be done only after a grave amount of care. The previous VATUSA1 removed ONE ATM in a 5 year tenure; the current administration has made that same move three times in less than a year. Surely you don't disagree that there's some cause for concern with that statistic.

The volunteers - the ones devoting time, blood, sweat, tears, money, and expertise with little return aside from their own enjoyment are the lifeblood of this division. ARTCCs are tight-knit communities because for the longest time, the division hasn't done much to force us to co-mingle and coexist. The construct in which we operate makes us work together on things like LOAs, etc. out of necessity and not out of a desire to build bridges or relationships across the borders. Couple that with the fact that in this hobby, there's always going to be an implicit air of competition from one facility to the next, and you have the friendly, but largely adversarial view by which most controllers and staff regard their neighbors.

That being said, it also takes a cultural shift. Many times during high traffic situations, tempers flare, and we're busy looking for ways to blame everyone around us (including the pilots). What we need to be doing is taking more pride in the way we work and doing our best to not shovel our mess into the adjoining sectors or facilities. I just had a long conversation with one of my S3 controllers who is on the precipice of his Center OTS. He was concerned about "what if [insert Center here] screws us over on spacing?" to which I had to gently nudge him into acknowledging that none of us are perfect at this hobby. Rather than trying to blame the neighbors for underperforming, we should be looking for ways to help them step up their game. Constructive feedback and sharing of techniques and best practices goes a long way, and I'm incredibly happy to see Rick's initiatives to start that process.

DK hit it on the head - at the end of the day, we're all on the same team.

Well your right we can't run the Division as a dictatorship and its not being ran as dictatorship, and you took my words out of context.  What we have is a communication problem, we have people feeling like they don't know where the Division is going or what our plans are, and frankly I agree.  I think the we have done a horrible job of selling the things we are working on, keeping the masses up to date on projects etc. 

Regarding of the removal of three ATMs, I'm not going to discuss the ins and outs of those removals.  What I can tell you is two of those ARTCCs are in a better place now. They are more inclusive, their memberships have grown substantially, and most importantly the people within those ARTCCs are now having fun.  This discussion isn't about the removal of 3 ATMs, its about trying to figure out how we can communicate with you as a member of the Division so everyone knows what is going on, so everyone has an opportunity speak about initiatives, and get their input in.

You talk about volunteers devoting time, blood, sweat, tears, money and expertise to the Division.... What do you think I am? I don't get a paycheck for what I do, I have poured blood, sweat, tears, money and expertise into this Division too.  It seems this is apart of the disconnect, people don't look at us a volunteers either. Not a single person on this staff makes decisions with the intent to harm the Division or ARTCCs or members of the network. I didn't take this job to sit on my rear, I took the job to make VATUSA the best Division on VATSIM, and VATSIM the best ATC network in the world.  We aren't the bad guys.  I have an open door, and in 8 months in this job, I've had two people come to me regarding something that was going on to ask questions... two. Those two people were satisfied with the answers they received, one them was regarding a forum topic that had gotten out of control.

Cultural shift is required for improved communications, and you bring up some great points.  So how can we share information, and resources with everyone? Some ATMs don't want to do that, they don't want to share resources, they don't want another ARTCC digging around in there stuff, and sometimes they don't care what your doing at your facility.  What do we do? The Dictator thing and force them? We can't have it both ways. Many of these issues you are bring up are exactly that culture issues, and the culture is more related to their facility than VATUSA.  We don't have contact with these people every day, the ATMs and staff members do.  Your influence on what is going on in the Division is far greater than ours.  As has been pointed out many times, you are the boots on the ground not us.  If you are willing to come in here basically call us Dictators in front of the entire Division there is no doubt in my mind you are doing it at your facility.  All the does is continue drive the wedge, because in all reality this is your opinion and not fact.I know for a fact many others so not feel that way.  So culture starts with you, and your facility and how you present your relationship with VATUSA.  At the end of the day we are on the same team, and we are here to make sure you succeed, the Division staff doesn't succeed unless you do.





Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Tony Jeppesen on November 09, 2018, 11:18:45 am
Transparency is huge! Members like S1’s & 2’s are SO key to “keep around”. We talk about retention but one of your best ways to keep them around is to communicate. I can’t agree more with what Chris Hadden said…”we want to see you!” I see Brandon Barrett more than anything else. I enjoy the fact that he jumps into a teamspeak and jokes with us. He controls from time to time, and shares laughs, talks about life. No one ever feels on edge, and it’s like hanging out with one of the guys. I hate to say it, but I don’t think a lot of the newer members know who our top division staff even are.

Too many ARTCCs that seem as if they don’t know who to seek for help, when in fact, it’s VATUSA. Can I ask…what is the purpose of  the Air Traffic Director? I don’t get any updates from them? I can’t even think of the last time I’ve seen one. Again, is this position responsible for delivering information from VATUSA1? I'm not sure if many people know what these roles are or even consist of. Is the role of the director to supervise multiple ARTCCs because if so, I would love to see a system of checks and balances to ensure that the staff of an ARTCC is being held accountable.

I feel for the members that think that this individual is doing a good job. They think it’s a good job because they’ve only been here for 5 months and they have never been to any other ARTCC. These guys and gals deserve more but I don’t see anyone putting anyone’s feet to the ground to make sure they are doing their job besides asking “So how are things in the ARTCC?” “Good”. Well duh, they’re not going to say “I’m doing a terrible job”. I know some people have a lot on their plate but either there are not many tasks being delegated or people are not showing up to work.

Some in the above posts have mentioned a teamspeak or discord. Sure, but why not come in and hangout with us. We don’t get to vote for our leaders, so at least give us your time and show face. I am very happy with the responses this post has produced but please, please, please do not just stop in to appease me, please move a few pieces on the chess board. Surveys are great, but how about an anonymous suggestion box on the VATUSA website? The issue is, there are a lot of people that are afraid to speak up because they do not want to deal with repercussions, and they surely do not want to be critiqued. Giving someone the chance to speak without judgement is key!

Tony, you mentioned where do we want to see more communication from VATUSA? I think a great idea would be, to tell us what you’re working on, tell us what you discussed with the ATMs at a level that doesn’t compromise anything that should be TRULY kept under the sheets for certain ears. This is an age of digital media and there are talented people on this network. Can we improve a way to deliver messages to people? There are people that come and go and unless you’re on your own teamspeak about three times a week, and your ARTCC does not send out a newsletter, and you’re not on the forums, how will anyone know what’s going on within the division or local level? There has to be a sense of standardization and accountability.
I’m truly open to a constant discussion and if it requires like 10 of us to get together and I take notes/minutes, I’m game!

Derek

All great points!

The part I don't understand is how people don't know who they are suppose to go to for help or information.  The structure of VATUSA is laid out in the Division policy, and in my opinion its really simple.  Maybe I'm biased on that because I've been here a long time like you and know the ins and outs of the network and how to get around on it for the most part. 

The Air Traffic Director's are in place for several reasons. The first is to be a point of contact for the ATM's their staff and members if there is a need for assistance through VATUSA, or if there is clarity needed on a matter.  It's to maintain a certain span of control.  One person can't handle everything there is to do at the Divisional level, and we like to see things handled at the lowest level possible.  As a member of an ARTCC your point of contact is going to be your ATM, and if he/she can't assist you they should be reaching out to the ATD to get the answers or assistance for you, or if you feel like your not getting what you need from ARTCC staff, its a point of contact for any member.  Like I said we like to see the chain of command (structure) used whenever possible, but we also understand sometimes you just have to talk to one of us, and we're completely okay with that.  We actually have implemented a system of checks and balances to some extent when it comes to ARTCC staff.  This does apply more to the hiring process and the time period after they take on their new role... Again though... We don't want to micromanage the ATMs, we want them to be empowered to make the decisions the need to make with as little interference from the Division as possible. 

People do have a lot on their plate, and something I actually can't stand is when someone can only complain and whine about something but they don't offer up solutions, or time to help fix the problem there is only 10 VATUSA staff members when we are fully staffed, and in all reality we need help on some of these projects.  Especially when it comes to training initiatives, those effect everyone and the more input the better calculated decision we can make.  Complaining doesn't get us anywhere... We'll thats not true, complaining without solutions to what your complaining about don't get us anywhere.  Presenting problems and viable solutions to try is progress in my opinion.

On the aspect of communication from VATUSA, I like the idea of updating everyone on what we are doing and where we are going on the aspect of projects that effect all facilities or even individual facilities especially of another ARTCC can look at that and say... Hey we might like to try something like that.  On the aspect of what comes out of ATMs meetings this is where the structure comes into play with the dissemination of information.  I believe if the ATM's meet with us and there is information they feel their membership needs to know that came out of that meeting, in a way its the responsibility of that ATM to disseminate that information to their members...  This all ties back to span of control, if the information is coming from ATM then the members will discuss that with that ATM who will hopefully bring those discussions to the ATD or Division Director during a meeting or through any other means they wish to use.  However that's how "I" feel about that and if the masses feel different I'm not opposed to doing the things you mentioned here to make sure the membership is apart of what is going on.

Regarding visibility in the Division, you may want to see us, but there are ARTCCs that really don't want us around.  There is ARTCCs where I certainly don't feel welcome, and then there are the ARTCCs that require I sign up to visitor to come hang out in their TS...  I can tell you with you saying that I will make it a point to get over and hang out with guys.  I do try and get around to the facilities I'm welcome and feel welcome regularly, but I will certainly make it a point to get around a little more. I agree with you full heartily, that having the relationship like Barrett has with you guys is a positive thing and we should probably get out more and mingle with the masses.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Matthew Kosmoski on November 09, 2018, 11:37:11 am
and its not being ran as dictatorship
That's your opinion...

As a current facility staff member who works division, I'd agree with his assessment (or opinion).  The number of ATM meetings and collaboration with division has gone up in recent history.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Derek Vento on November 09, 2018, 11:49:42 am
I'm not going to get into what Kos & Bruno are referencing because whether or not that is true still should not take away from the fact that, there is a membership of individuals that deserve a connection with the upper echelon. I want the words I'm using to not be looked at as an "attack" but instead a constructive conversation where we can acknowledge fault or say "He, ya know what Derek, I disagree, this is what's occurring". That's fine with me but we have to acknowledge the people who still want to make this fun. I'm sorry to say this, but a lot of people have lost their drive to actually control airplanes. Managing is more "fun" for them...managing is "their game"..well listen...I didn't come here for that and neither did most of us. I came here to have an equal balance of fun, with good management serving the people. Let's have a conversation in the next few days/week or so, to sit down and facilitate a genuine dialogue.

As always, I got nothin but love for ya'll...Yes, the slang came out! Be good, I'm done with this post. See you on the scopes fellas.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Dhruv Kalra on November 09, 2018, 11:50:48 am
As a current facility staff member who works division, I'd agree with his assessment (or opinion).  The number of ATM meetings and collaboration with division has gone up in recent history.
Meetings are only as good as the people who attend them, and the resultant actions taken. Thus far, I haven’t seen any meaningful evidence that ATM feedback that goes against the grain is particularly well-received, despite our best intentions. It feels more and more that those of us who dare to uphold providing a quality service to the pilots alongside the being inclusive and having fun goals of the division get noses turned up at our efforts.

The overwhelming sentiment that I keep hearing from above my proverbial pay grade is “Why bother getting better as long as we’re having fun?” That’s not why I signed up to do this, and it’s certainly not why I signed up to instruct or to lead a facility. I’m sorry, but I don’t believe in participation trophies.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Matthew Kosmoski on November 09, 2018, 12:18:10 pm
As a current facility staff member who works division, I'd agree with his assessment (or opinion).  The number of ATM meetings and collaboration with division has gone up in recent history.
Meetings are only as good as the people who attend them, and the resultant actions taken. Thus far, I haven’t seen any meaningful evidence that ATM feedback that goes against the grain is particularly well-received, despite our best intentions. It feels more and more that those of us who dare to uphold providing a quality service to the pilots alongside the being inclusive and having fun goals of the division get noses turned up at our efforts.

The overwhelming sentiment that I keep hearing from above my proverbial pay grade is “Why bother getting better as long as we’re having fun?” That’s not why I signed up to do this, and it’s certainly not why I signed up to instruct or to lead a facility. I’m sorry, but I don’t believe in participation trophies.

You and I aren't always going with the grain.  While I'm not party to your conversations, I can tell you that I know division at least listens when I speak up.  They don't always agree, nor do they always do anything as a result, but they listen, which is the most important thing.  Even when we argue, it's generally respectful, and we can always move past it.

Also -- Fun is important.  Arguably more important than anything else.  Without it being fun, there won't be anybody left.  The key is to make "better" more fun.  How do we accomplish both?  That's what we should strive towards.  That being said, you were the one who just a few posts back brought up the volunteerism point.  Volunteers need inclusion and fun first and foremost if we want to keep them around.  The majority of the demographic isn't folks who have delusions of this being a way to impress the FAA.

By the way, if people want absolute realism, I hear there's some federal agency that'll pay you for absolute realism.  Can anybody confirm?
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Dhruv Kalra on November 09, 2018, 12:26:29 pm
By the way, if people want absolute realism, I hear there's some federal agency that'll pay you for absolute realism.  Can anybody confirm?

Trust me, there are plenty of delusions about what our standards are vs. said federal agency. I agree that the target demographic isn’t here to aspire to that standard; we don’t even come close to demanding that level of proficiency. That misconception needs to be taken out back and shot.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Josh Glottmann on November 09, 2018, 01:13:16 pm
By the way, if people want absolute realism, I hear there's some federal agency that'll pay you for absolute realism.  Can anybody confirm?
Some of us have different aspirations that your own. And some facilities have different aspirations as your own. To say that people in this division should not partake in realism if they so desire, is a disappointment. You diminish the value of other people's interests by making these egregious statements.

If I said "by the way, if people want absolute fun, I hear there's a bouncy castle and petting zoo they can go to," think about how that would come off to someone that wants to have fun.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Meg Bruck on November 09, 2018, 01:14:42 pm
One question that I've been asked a number of time is why the teamspeak/discord information for each artcc is such a closely guarded secret. Currently this list is only available to ATMs/DATMs. Why not all staff? For that matter, why not all of vatusa? I understand the necessity of keeping the general public (ie non-vatsim people) out of our servers but most of the servers I've been to have public channels for socializing and member-only channels for controlling. Especially as more and more artcc's move to discord, why not open artccs to neighbors near and far, and pilots?

I don't think another platform for communication is going to solve any of the problems described above. The cultural change we seek is behavioral, not technological. To DK's original point, we need to talk to each other more. A friendly ATC chat while controlling can do wonders to improve relationships between artccs because it is a personal interaction. And it's through these small personal interactions that we develop an understanding of each other.

Ok, going back under my rock now.  See y'all after winter. :D
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Josh Glottmann on November 09, 2018, 01:25:59 pm
I'd like more transparency in the division regarding the state of VATUSA. We haven't held a townhall in quite some time and I feel like I'm out of the loop in terms of what is happening at the division level. I know that I, as well as other members of my facility, have questions and concerns about how the division is operating. I call question to sudden and frequent staff changes. As an outsider who is not a staff member (and does not have access to staff related forums), I cannot tell if this division is being run into the ground or not. While this division may not be a dictatorship, there are enough obscurity and lack of public forum that it is impossible to differentiate what is going on at upper levels from that of an authoritarian regime.

Regarding communications between ARTCCs, I find no issue in how ARTCCs are running right now. I have 8-10 ARTCC's teamspeak/discord information and find it fairly easy to just hop in and have conversations as desired. My ARTCC frequently sees guests from other ARTCCs participating in conversation.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Ryan Pitt on November 09, 2018, 02:05:18 pm
By the way, if people want absolute realism, I hear there's some federal agency that'll pay you for absolute realism.  Can anybody confirm?

I strive for realism to a certain extent. I don't control to have fun necessarily, but I do have to enjoy it enough to stick around.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Ira Robinson on November 09, 2018, 03:48:01 pm
I'd like more transparency in the division regarding the state of VATUSA. We haven't held a townhall in quite some time and I feel like I'm out of the loop in terms of what is happening at the division level. I know that I, as well as other members of my facility, have questions and concerns about how the division is operating. I call question to sudden and frequent staff changes. As an outsider who is not a staff member (and does not have access to staff related forums), I cannot tell if this division is being run into the ground or not. While this division may not be a dictatorship, there are enough obscurity and lack of public forum that it is impossible to differentiate what is going on at upper levels from that of an authoritarian regime.

I promised myself I would stay out of this.  I don't speak for the Division and I won't speak for #1 or #2.  And although I have more than a couple of opinions on what I have read here I am going to limit myself to this one question, because i feel the answer to it is important and may in some way go to the heart of the matter.

Josh, you said you feel out of the loop.  There isn't enough transparency.  We should have more town hall meetings, and the lack of a public forum troubles you and, you know what, it should.  So let me ask you, if there truly is a lack of a public forum why haven't you asked your ATM the questions that trouble you?  You have questions and concerns why haven't you brought them to your ATM?  I could go on, but each point ends with why haven't you brought your concerns to your ATM?   He is the point person for your ARTCC.  He has, or should have, the answer you seek and if he doesn't , he knows who to speak with to get it.  Your ATM is supposed to do more than just kick people off the roster because they haven't controlled enough last month.  He is your representative to the Division.  You want a democracy?  You got one.  Convince your ATM to keep you informed. Convince your ATM to make sure that all of the new guys get trained.  Convince your ATM to bring to the Division any questions, problems, or good ideas that he thinks will enhance what we do. Convince your ATM to sit down with the ATMs of the surrounding ARTCCs and develop a plan for sharing information and creating good time events.

You want democracy?  You want a town hall meeting?  You want to meet with the Division to find  out what's going on?  No you don't. You want a town hall meeting because it's easy to roast people, policy and plans in a group setting than argue with your ATM about something he already knows about and maybe even agrees with. 

One last thing. Is a town hall meeting an important piece of this puzzle?  It is. But it is because it's a public relations requirement and not because anything good ever comes out of them. 

I'm done here now.  Any ARTCC staff member who wants me for whatever reason need only ask.  Anyone else can sit down in their ARTCC and get the news from the ARTCC town hall meeting.  Uhmm... you do have them right?   Your ARTCC isn't being run into the ground is it?


Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Dhruv Kalra on November 09, 2018, 04:30:25 pm
You have questions and concerns why haven't you brought them to your ATM?  I could go on, but each point ends with why haven't you brought your concerns to your ATM?

Probably because his ATM just got fired...
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Matthew Kosmoski on November 09, 2018, 04:33:34 pm
By the way, if people want absolute realism, I hear there's some federal agency that'll pay you for absolute realism.  Can anybody confirm?
Some of us have different aspirations that your own. And some facilities have different aspirations as your own. To say that people in this division should not partake in realism if they so desire, is a disappointment. You diminish the value of other people's interests by making these egregious statements.

If I said "by the way, if people want absolute fun, I hear there's a bouncy castle and petting zoo they can go to," think about how that would come off to someone that wants to have fun.

By no means did I say that nobody should partake in realism.  Great misquoting and misrepresentation of my comment.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Matthew Kosmoski on November 09, 2018, 04:34:16 pm
You have questions and concerns why haven't you brought them to your ATM?  I could go on, but each point ends with why haven't you brought your concerns to your ATM?

Probably because his ATM just got fired...

His ATD is the acting ATM.  He still has an avenue.  Chain of command, as previously described.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Dhruv Kalra on November 09, 2018, 04:36:03 pm
His ATD is the acting ATM.  He still has an avenue.  Chain of command, as previously described.

That's one of the issues at the forefront of the discussion here. ATDs haven't proven themselves to be immediately approachable by rank and file controllers.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Ryan Geckler on November 09, 2018, 04:38:43 pm
Quote
I promised myself I would stay out of this.

You didn't do very well there.

Josh, you said you feel out of the loop.  There isn't enough transparency.  We should have more town hall meetings, and the lack of a public forum troubles you and, you know what, it should.  So let me ask you, if there truly is a lack of a public forum why haven't you asked your ATM the questions that trouble you?  You have questions and concerns why haven't you brought them to your ATM?  I could go on, but each point ends with why haven't you brought your concerns to your ATM?   He is the point person for your ARTCC.  He has, or should have, the answer you seek and if he doesn't , he knows who to speak with to get it.  Your ATM is supposed to do more than just kick people off the roster because they haven't controlled enough last month.  He is your representative to the Division.  You want a democracy?  You got one.  Convince your ATM to keep you informed. Convince your ATM to make sure that all of the new guys get trained.  Convince your ATM to bring to the Division any questions, problems, or good ideas that he thinks will enhance what we do. Convince your ATM to sit down with the ATMs of the surrounding ARTCCs and develop a plan for sharing information and creating good time events.

Josh doesn't have an ATM to report to. Because his ATM got removed. For reasons unknown to most, if not all, of us. Speculation can run wild in a situation where your regular members don't know what's happening to those that are supposed to be leading them. And now, it's resulted in a situation to where it feels like there maybe something personal that caused all this to happen. But what do I know? I'm just a controller in the dark.

Quote
You want democracy?  You want a town hall meeting?  You want to meet with the Division to find  out what's going on?  No you don't. You want a town hall meeting because it's easy to roast people, policy and plans in a group setting than argue with your ATM about something he already knows about and maybe even agrees with. 

One last thing. Is a town hall meeting an important piece of this puzzle?  It is. But it is because it's a public relations requirement and not because anything good ever comes out of them.

Got it. We'll just go and sit in our own kingdoms and scheme up some cool things to try. God forbid we try and collaborate with others and make find improvements that we can make to have a more connected division.

But nope, it's apparently just a PR stunt, so let's pull up the drawbridge and fill the moats again.

Quote
Your ARTCC isn't being run into the ground is it?

My facilities staff hasn't been randomly fired yet, so maybe it is, maybe it isn't? How would I know?
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Jackson Gilliam on November 09, 2018, 04:46:56 pm
By the way, if people want absolute realism, I hear there's some federal agency that'll pay you for absolute realism.  Can anybody confirm?
Some of us have different aspirations that your own. And some facilities have different aspirations as your own. To say that people in this division should not partake in realism if they so desire, is a disappointment. You diminish the value of other people's interests by making these egregious statements.

If I said "by the way, if people want absolute fun, I hear there's a bouncy castle and petting zoo they can go to," think about how that would come off to someone that wants to have fun.

By no means did I say that nobody should partake in realism.  Great misquoting and misrepresentation of my comment.

Yeah, but you basically said that if you want to participate in more realism, you should take it elsewhere (to the FAA in your case).
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Dylan Lundberg on November 09, 2018, 05:12:47 pm
Here is my two cents:

Consistency is key. Taking feedback from anyone who attends the town hall meetings is key. Coming up with plans to address any concerns that are brought up in these meetings is key. (Listen, Discuss, Take Action).

Although, I think there is an unrealistic expectation that VATUSA staff need to take action immediatley because ATM of XYZ facility said so. I'm sure there is some sort of discussion that goes on after these meetings between VATUSA staff to discuss how they ought to proceed. Transparency comes into play when they believe they found a solution, and implement it. I feel that there is another unrealistic expectation that VATUSA needs to tell all of us what they do to discpline others. Quite frankly, I don't feel that is any of our business. If VATUSA feels that a user broke policy, or whatever the case may be - they are in the position of dealing with the issue as they see fit. Let them.

What do I want people to get from my post? I want them to understand that just like us ATMs, DATMs, TAs, ECs, FEs, I1s, Mentors, heck - even pilots - is that VATUSA is a volunteer job. They volunteer countless hours to lead the division. It might take them a little bit of time to interpret the feedback and discuss ways to address it. This isn't a simple feedback that a pilot ARTCC management would get and address by sending an email. This is a division with 19,000+  members (according to division statistics, weather or not they are active) that the VATUSA staff need to please. We all know it's not easy pleasing people in our own facilities (if you're a staff member). It's not all about the 1,084 of us that work the scopes. It's about the overal 19,000  members that they need to find a way to please that wish to enjoy this network, specifically in VATUSA. Yes, it would be nice to see every member smiling, being optomistic and enthusiastic  in this division. However, it's a lot easier said than done. What I also see a lot of is a majority of the membership are quick to jump to conclusions on issues based on what they hear, and they often like to jump to social media and voice their concerns. I get it. But, don't be the guy that complains and watches - be the guy who does something about it. Be the guy that reaches out to your direct supervisor for clarification  (weather it be your ATM, your ATD if you are an ATM, or even the division director if you are an ATD, and so on..)


Some of you noted that there are so many staff changes. That is something that happens whether we like it or not. Does this indicate a problem? Maybe, maybe not. This is up to whoever is that members direct supervisor needs to survey and address.

This is a two way street (or should I say airway.. 8) ?) How can we expect VATUSA to be transparent, hold more meetings, etc. if we aren't transparent, or half the members who are calling for another town hall will likely not attend (maybe I'm right, maybe I'm not, who knows!)

What would I like to see from VATUSA:

- Develop AFFs (Areas For Focus) based on feedback
- Come up with a plan
- Execute the plan


What am I saying?  I'm saying put yourself in their shoes. You are now in charge of 1,084 controllers, and any pilots that have an active USA membership. You have to deal with the emails that come through daily, support tickets, etc. Oh, did I mention you get an annual salary of $0? Right, good luck!

Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Dhruv Kalra on November 09, 2018, 05:28:07 pm
What am I saying?  I'm saying put yourself in their shoes. You are now in charge of 1,084 controllers, and any pilots that have an active USA membership. You have to deal with the emails that come through daily, support tickets, etc. Oh, did I mention you get an annual salary of $0? Right, good luck!

I’m going to respectfully disagree. As VATUSA Staff, 1 and 2 are in charge of 3 ATDs, each of whom is in charge of 7-8 ATMs, each of whom is responsible to their controllers. 3 is in charge of the 22 TAs, who oversee their instructors. 5 is in charge of the 22 ECs. The simple fact is, the hierarchy has not been respected and promoted. I’ve received wildly conflicting opinions on how to interpret VATSIM, Region, and divisional policy from my ATD and USA1. If the division staff isn’t on the same page, compliance and cohesiveness within the ranks falls down.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Ira Robinson on November 09, 2018, 05:54:22 pm
You have questions and concerns why haven't you brought them to your ATM?  I could go on, but each point ends with why haven't you brought your concerns to your ATM?

Probably because his ATM just got fired...


Oh come on Dhruv.  Really?  Snide doesn't suit you my friend. On the other hand, it is pretty funny.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Mark Hubbert on November 09, 2018, 06:30:29 pm
Derek, I am thankful that you started this post.  I am as frustrated as a lot of you are maybe from a different perspective.  I think the common denominator in all of this is communications.  Communications has been a big topic of discussion amongst Division Staff; we concede that we have not done the best job that we could do but I would also argue that communications is a two way street.  Certain individuals have questions or concerns but rather than follow a simple process to get to who can give you the answer, they resort to social media to try and stir up a big stink.

With regards to transparency, there are some things that cannot be transparent, some things are private and confidential and those sort of things should never be transparent.  I do agree that the direction that the Direction that this Division has been trying to move in may not be transparent to everybody so that is something to work on.


Quote
I’m going to respectfully disagree. As VATUSA Staff, 1 and 2 are in charge of 3 ATDs, each of whom is in charge of 7-8 ATMs, each of whom is responsible to their controllers. 3 is in charge of the 22 TAs, who oversee their instructors. 5 is in charge of the 22 ECs. The simple fact is, the hierarchy has not been respected and promoted. I’ve received wildly conflicting opinions on how to interpret VATSIM, Region, and divisional policy from my ATD and USA1. If the division staff isn’t on the same page, compliance and cohesiveness within the ranks falls down.

Dhruv, point taken.

The big question that I ask is.  If Division works on better communications, will the ARTCC's work with us?  I know the answer will be Yes from certain ARTCC's.  Keep in mind there have been several times that I personally have asked for input and got none or my request was twisted into something negative and like somebody else mentioned the discussion was turned into a battlefield.  Which to be honest with everybody is one of the reasons I do not use the forum that often anymore because I got tired of a few individuals who purposely turned conversations into something negative.

On another note, I have attempted to visit some ARTCC's Teamspeak and most of the time I could not get in. 
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Matthew Kosmoski on November 09, 2018, 10:54:45 pm
Yeah, but you basically said that if you want to participate in more realism, you should take it elsewhere (to the FAA in your case).

Basically?  Close, but no.  I was still grossly misquoted.  There are limitations to the game, no matter the "As real as it gets" slogan from MSFS.  You want real?  Go get real.  Video games *have* to make concessions.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Dhruv Kalra on November 09, 2018, 10:59:46 pm
Basically?  Close, but no.  I was still grossly misquoted.  There are limitations to the game, no matter the "As real as it gets" slogan from MSFS.  You want real?  Go get real.  Video games *have* to make concessions.

False equivalence. What if I told you there's a whole spectrum of gray between your absolutes? "Fun" vs "realistic" is not a zero-sum game.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Manuel Manigault on November 09, 2018, 11:31:14 pm
I take exception to a lot of what I've read in this post about ATDs.  I've been in this position just over two years.  In that time, I have been on the network over 600 hours in one capacity or another in addition to the hours off line I have devoted to being ATD.  I have held numerous meetings with ATMs and have been very transparent about the goals of the Division.  The goals of my region have been regularly communicated and have been in alignment with the Division.  At times Divisional goals have changed based on feedback from Town Halls.  As these goals have changed,  I have been quick to communicate these changes to my ATMs.  When ATMs have shared concerns/objections with me,  I have routinely escalated those concerns to my teammates in HQ.  I am easily accessible by phone, Discord, FB, etc.  I have been quick to respond to any communications I have received.  How often have messages been cascaded down by the ATMs to their ARTCC membership to ensure alignment?  When ARTCC staff hear complaints, how often do they communicate these complaints up the chain of command to give us an opportunity to respond and adjust?  When ARTCC staff hear complaints, how often do they participate in complaining rather than communicating the Division's message and encouraging members to escalate concerns to their ATD if they still have concerns?  ATMs should be communicating with each other to share best practices and come up with some workable solutions.  Divisional staff cannot do it alone.  Also, ARTCCs are subdivisions of VATUSA.  We should be working together instead of some ARTCCs attempting to go rogue and follow their own agenda.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Matthew Kosmoski on November 09, 2018, 11:34:57 pm
Basically?  Close, but no.  I was still grossly misquoted.  There are limitations to the game, no matter the "As real as it gets" slogan from MSFS.  You want real?  Go get real.  Video games *have* to make concessions.

False equivalence. What if I told you there's a whole spectrum of gray between your absolutes? "Fun" vs "realistic" is not a zero-sum game.

Which I explicitly acknowledged above.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Matthew Bartels on November 10, 2018, 12:22:31 am
Yeah, but you basically said that if you want to participate in more realism, you should take it elsewhere (to the FAA in your case).

Basically?  Close, but no.  I was still grossly misquoted.  There are limitations to the game, no matter the "As real as it gets" slogan from MSFS.  You want real?  Go get real.  Video games *have* to make concessions.

What is your solution for those of us with disqualifying disabilities that make getting real impossible?

VATSIM can’t be everything to everyone. We are definitely not a video game, but a community of simulation enthusiasts. The beauty is that we have the ability to make our personal experience as realistic as we want provided we choose to exceed the required minimum.

Those that want to be more realistic shouldn’t be discouraged, in fact the staff at every level of our organization should be encouraging our members to pursue such an attitude. Not only does it make the entire network stronger, it provides for an enriching and educational experience for the individual.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Matthew Kosmoski on November 10, 2018, 02:38:57 am
Yeah, but you basically said that if you want to participate in more realism, you should take it elsewhere (to the FAA in your case).

Basically?  Close, but no.  I was still grossly misquoted.  There are limitations to the game, no matter the "As real as it gets" slogan from MSFS.  You want real?  Go get real.  Video games *have* to make concessions.

What is your solution for those of us with disqualifying disabilities that make getting real impossible?

VATSIM can’t be everything to everyone. We are definitely not a video game, but a community of simulation enthusiasts. The beauty is that we have the ability to make our personal experience as realistic as we want provided we choose to exceed the required minimum.

Those that want to be more realistic shouldn’t be discouraged, in fact the staff at every level of our organization should be encouraging our members to pursue such an attitude. Not only does it make the entire network stronger, it provides for an enriching and educational experience for the individual.

While I can appreciate your frustration, just because your situation leaves you with a hole to fill, not everybody is in that position.  Entertainment is as much a tenant of VATSIM as education.  There's a balance, but if we're not having fun, we won't have people.

What good is a realism-only attitude if there's nobody left?  Strike the balance.  Promote the strength of the network -- Don't run 13 year olds away just because they aren't perfect.  Neither were any of us at that age.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Dhruv Kalra on November 10, 2018, 05:37:59 am
What good is a realism-only attitude if there's nobody left?  Strike the balance.  Promote the strength of the network -- Don't run 13 year olds away just because they aren't perfect.  Neither were any of us at that age.

There you go again with the false equivalences. No one runs 13 year olds away because they aren’t perfect. All we’re asking is that they come into the conversation ready to learn something. The measuring stick has more graduations on it than “empty” and “full”. No I don’t expect every single controller to treat this like they want to go into the FAA someday. The way you’re advocating your position, it comes across as a blatant disregard for ANY standards all in the name of good fun. You’re obsessed with appeasing every 13 year-old VATSIM hopeful regardless of whether or not they actually want to put effort into the hobby. Perhaps we need to resurrect MS Zone - that seems to be what you’re looking for.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Ryan Pitt on November 10, 2018, 07:32:55 am
What good is a realism-only attitude if there's nobody left?  Strike the balance.  Promote the strength of the network -- Don't run 13 year olds away just because they aren't perfect.  Neither were any of us at that age.

There you go again with the false equivalences. No one runs 13 year olds away because they aren’t perfect. All we’re asking is that they come into the conversation ready to learn something. The measuring stick has more graduations on it than “empty” and “full”. No I don’t expect every single controller to treat this like they want to go into the FAA someday. The way you’re advocating your position, it comes across as a blatant disregard for ANY standards all in the name of good fun. You’re obsessed with appeasing every 13 year-old VATSIM hopeful regardless of whether or not they actually want to put effort into the hobby. Perhaps we need to resurrect MS Zone - that seems to be what you’re looking for.

And that seems to be an issue. Some of these 13 year-old students won’t put in the effort to be prepared for their sessions. So do you just pass them along, or do you hold them to a standard? I hold them to the same standard as everyone else.

Like I said earlier, I don’t do this to have fun. I do it because I still have some sort of enjoyment.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Kyle Kaestner on November 10, 2018, 10:24:46 am

While I can appreciate your frustration, just because your situation leaves you with a hole to fill, not everybody is in that position.  Entertainment is as much a tenant of VATSIM as education.  There's a balance, but if we're not having fun, we won't have people.

What good is a realism-only attitude if there's nobody left?  Strike the balance.  Promote the strength of the network -- Don't run 13 year olds away just because they aren't perfect.  Neither were any of us at that age.

One thing that is being left out is the fact that entertainment/fun comes from the realism. People who fly on the network generally fly where there is ATC. Pilots want to be immersed because it's supposed to be a simulation. The reason that FNOs get 70+ arrivals is because people want to experience top-down ATC like it is in the real world.

Regarding driving 13 year olds away because they aren't perfect: "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink." If someone really wants to learn, they will buy into the process and work towards it. Pushing a controller along just because they want the C1 next to their name at the end, doesn't do any good to pilots or the rest of the community. If someone goes through the process the right way, the individual also just got pilot training as a side effect.

The fun in training to become an air traffic controller, is the actual learning curve. The trophy at the end has no meaning if there isn't a process to go through that isn't somewhat difficult. I'll be honest, a lot of the fun for a controller diminishes after they get their C1, but you have to find things to improve at.

Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Ryan Barnes on November 10, 2018, 11:25:42 am
I dont normally chime in on these posts but I will this time.

I have been part of VATSIM for almost 2 years and have gained over 1400 hours as a controller. I don't have this many hours because it's a hobby, but is just something entertaining.

I can see the whole realsim arguement while also see the whole "video game" arguement. Like in most things, there is a middle. There are some realism things that are hard to emulate, such as runway/taxiway closures, weather, navigation data. And there are things that are hard to impliment in a video game, like no phraesology, lack of ratings, and such.

I get why people strive for realism, but what do you do if a pilot doesn't want to run real world weather? In that case, why do you close taxyways and runways for that matter? Is it because there are construction crews in the sim? If so that is an addon I never heard of. Navigation data is not a requirement, but recomendation on VATSIM. VATSIM is free and only requires a client and a simulator. That's it.

I do believe there should be a standard as a controller. I believe phraesology should be about 75 to 80 percent correct generally. There are some people who want to work just events or no events at all, which is why I believe very high training standards are not a great idea. It should take a year to get a C1, in my opinion.

Anyways, thats just my 2 and a half cents.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Nolan Danziger on November 10, 2018, 12:41:07 pm

While I can appreciate your frustration, just because your situation leaves you with a hole to fill, not everybody is in that position.  Entertainment is as much a tenant of VATSIM as education.  There's a balance, but if we're not having fun, we won't have people.

What good is a realism-only attitude if there's nobody left?  Strike the balance.  Promote the strength of the network -- Don't run 13 year olds away just because they aren't perfect.  Neither were any of us at that age.

One thing that is being left out is the fact that entertainment/fun comes from the realism. People who fly on the network generally fly where there is ATC. Pilots want to be immersed because it's supposed to be a simulation. The reason that FNOs get 70+ arrivals is because people want to experience top-down ATC like it is in the real world.

Regarding driving 13 year olds away because they aren't perfect: "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink." If someone really wants to learn, they will buy into the process and work towards it. Pushing a controller along just because they want the C1 next to their name at the end, doesn't do any good to pilots or the rest of the community. If someone goes through the process the right way, the individual also just got pilot training as a side effect.

The fun in training to become an air traffic controller, is the actual learning curve. The trophy at the end has no meaning if there isn't a process to go through that isn't somewhat difficult. I'll be honest, a lot of the fun for a controller diminishes after they get their C1, but you have to find things to improve at.

I couldn't agree more Kyle.

I try and make a point of telling my new students at least once that VATSIM is just like one of those 'choose your own adventure' books. Some people are going to want to control and fly to 100% max realism and some people just want to hop on and hang out (because we're cool people, right?) or fly the default 737 GPS direct from LAX to JFK. It's perfectly acceptable in my mind for a controller to not want to simulate a runway closure or a taxiway closure. But what's unacceptable for me is when a training staff or an ARTCC as a whole drops the training standard to the bare minimum to accommodate this. I was doing a visiting controller checkout for DFW local last week, and was shocked to find out that the controller (an S2) stumbled his way through several takeoff clearances, had two runway incursions, and even after I discussed the concept of the D10 departure gates for 10-15 minutes, still cleared people to their destinations not on a DP or through a gate. This is unacceptable at a tower level, and in my opinion, it's unacceptable at a GND/DEL level.

To Matthew's point, I would never suggest running off young guys. I was probably around 13-15 when I first joined VATSIM and had my first lesson. But I remember that right out of the gate, I had an understanding that things needed to be done the right way or I wouldn't get my certification. If we lower the standards across the board, we can't be surprised when everything falls apart. Simply passing off a student because he tried his best is unacceptable. Dhruv and Ryan and Kyle are hitting the nail on the head here.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Manuel Manigault on November 10, 2018, 01:03:17 pm

While I can appreciate your frustration, just because your situation leaves you with a hole to fill, not everybody is in that position.  Entertainment is as much a tenant of VATSIM as education.  There's a balance, but if we're not having fun, we won't have people.

What good is a realism-only attitude if there's nobody left?  Strike the balance.  Promote the strength of the network -- Don't run 13 year olds away just because they aren't perfect.  Neither were any of us at that age.

One thing that is being left out is the fact that entertainment/fun comes from the realism. People who fly on the network generally fly where there is ATC. Pilots want to be immersed because it's supposed to be a simulation. The reason that FNOs get 70+ arrivals is because people want to experience top-down ATC like it is in the real world.

Regarding driving 13 year olds away because they aren't perfect: "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink." If someone really wants to learn, they will buy into the process and work towards it. Pushing a controller along just because they want the C1 next to their name at the end, doesn't do any good to pilots or the rest of the community. If someone goes through the process the right way, the individual also just got pilot training as a side effect.

The fun in training to become an air traffic controller, is the actual learning curve. The trophy at the end has no meaning if there isn't a process to go through that isn't somewhat difficult. I'll be honest, a lot of the fun for a controller diminishes after they get their C1, but you have to find things to improve at.

I couldn't agree more Kyle.

I try and make a point of telling my new students at least once that VATSIM is just like one of those 'choose your own adventure' books. Some people are going to want to control and fly to 100% max realism and some people just want to hop on and hang out (because we're cool people, right?) or fly the default 737 GPS direct from LAX to JFK. It's perfectly acceptable in my mind for a controller to not want to simulate a runway closure or a taxiway closure. But what's unacceptable for me is when a training staff or an ARTCC as a whole drops the training standard to the bare minimum to accommodate this. I was doing a visiting controller checkout for DFW local last week, and was shocked to find out that the controller (an S2) stumbled his way through several takeoff clearances, had two runway incursions, and even after I discussed the concept of the D10 departure gates for 10-15 minutes, still cleared people to their destinations not on a DP or through a gate. This is unacceptable at a tower level, and in my opinion, it's unacceptable at a GND/DEL level.

To Matthew's point, I would never suggest running off young guys. I was probably around 13-15 when I first joined VATSIM and had my first lesson. But I remember that right out of the gate, I had an understanding that things needed to be done the right way or I wouldn't get my certification. If we lower the standards across the board, we can't be surprised when everything falls apart. Simply passing off a student because he tried his best is unacceptable. Dhruv and Ryan and Kyle are hitting the nail on the head here.

That is shocking to me as well.  Did you report this to ZFW Management in order for them to report to the VC's home ARTCC Management and perhaps copy the home ARTCC's ATD?  This is the type of communication we need in order to ensure consistency and quality throughout the Division.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Nolan Danziger on November 10, 2018, 01:11:11 pm
Yes this was reported to our ATM/DATM. I wasn't comfortable going over their heads so that was as far as I took it.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Rick Rump on November 10, 2018, 01:32:29 pm
Nolan,
I was not made aware of this and am unsure if Brandon is. Can you please email both of us where the controller was not compliant with grp, their name, and CID please. The TAs should be informed and letting us know, along with their counterpart at the controllers home facility.
Thanks!
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Toby Rice on November 10, 2018, 06:03:10 pm
Dhruv, Ryan, Kyle, and Noah have great points! For me and a lot of people, the fun of VATSIM comes from the realistic experience and steep learning curve. I thoroughly enjoy being well informed with the 7110.65 and helping my students do the same and be "great" virtual controllers. It's all about the "buzz" of being able to do it "right," just like the real professionals do!
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Matthew Kosmoski on November 10, 2018, 06:11:49 pm
Simply passing off a student because he tried his best is unacceptable.

I'm pretty sure nobody (especially me, since I know it's directed at me) is advocating participation trophies. As was said before, there's a spectrum.  There is something between participation trophies and ultra-realism.

If ratings that are unearned are being issued, that's an entirely different matter that needs to be addressed... but fumbling a clearance or two on an OTS, with test nerves in full swing, shouldn't be a reason to fail somebody.  The standard needs to allow for imperfection that doesn't detract from the quality of service offered.  Remember, there are things you can imperfectly execute that won't impact the pilots or your fellow controllers in the slightest.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Rick Rump on November 10, 2018, 06:59:04 pm
Right now we are looking at 90% of clearances using prescribed phraseology as being satisfactory. Instructors can pass with slightly less if the student did not get the 90% because they flipped something around if they messed up the first two but the next 9 were correct.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Matthew Kosmoski on November 10, 2018, 09:27:15 pm
Right now we are looking at 90% of clearances using prescribed phraseology as being satisfactory. Instructors can pass with slightly less if the student did not get the 90% because they flipped something around if they messed up the first two but the next 9 were correct.

Depends how many they give, I really suppose.  If I get the feeling they know what they're doing and it's just nerves, I'll give as much latitude as is appropriate, but it's generally easy to tell the difference between nervous and disqualified.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Kyle Ekas on November 11, 2018, 05:09:17 am
Oh boy! I'm late to the party!

Instead of 2 cents I'll give my 5 bucks instead, because I'm not cheap!  8)

Thank you Derek for spurring on this discussion. I think it is one that really needs to be had.

First off, I think Meg's point about some of these issues being described are definitely a behavioral/cultural problem within the ARTCCs, is very true. Culture is such a huge part of any environment where there is groups of people coalescing around something, and that is often overlooked. I think it is also true to say that, when you are a leader, YOU set the tone of conversation wherever you are leading. People are looking to you for what is appropriate in a given scenario. That is part of being a leader. The other side of that coin is listening to all points of view from your controllers. Dhruv is absolutely right when he says, "You can't run a volunteer organization as a dictatorship." Although, I'm quite certain he is alluding to something different than what I am alluding to, the point stands. Inclusion is crucial for an "all-volunteer (anything)".

To Tony's point, (and I can also speak from my 8 years of experience on this network) some ARTCCs are not as welcoming to division staff as others. I know that some ARTCCs wish to have a more "distant" relationship with division staff which they feel allows them more autonomy. I don't believe that more autonomy is actually achieved but, whatever floats their boat I suppose.

I have always advocated for cohesiveness, open communication, and reasonable compromise wherever possible. I think if I were to start rehashing the "realism vs video game" argument for the 1000x time in my post, that would not serve much purpose. I will simply say as I always have that, like most things in life, balance is truly essential.

There is a lot being referenced in this thread that I completely know nothing about, and thus will not be making any "left field" speculations about. I WILL however speak to what I personally have experienced from this division staff, which goes back to when USA1 was our ATD in the Southern Region. I think it is safe to say that the previous USA1 was quite a popular guy with many people, including myself. During his time he accomplished a lot, and was well received in his accomplishments by many. There is ups and downs in any task at hand, things do not always work out how we plan. Rarely do they ever, in fact. I will say plainly that, I think throwing around words like "dictator" and "regime" are truly not an accurate representation of who I know Mark to be as a human being. Not the person that I have spoken with on multiple occasions anyways. I think if someone were to throw those words around, they better have some serious evidence of malfeasance behind them. Otherwise, that would be a somewhat malicious and damaging thing to do to someone's character/reputation. If little or no information is known, all you can do is say, "I don't know, I need to find out more." Otherwise it leads to speculation, assumption, and finger pointing. ALL without knowing the true facts of the matter. I agree with Dylan when he essentially says the division is in place for a reason, let the division function as it should. Oversight is critical, but if we make a habit of second guessing more than our fair share of decisions that division makes, we risk discouraging division staff from taking ANY action whatsoever when it is TRULY needed, for fear that it will be perceived as another "dictatorial" action. Let the division do division things, you worry about doing ARTCC things.

The people who take up division level positions do not have to have this adversarial relationship with ARTCCs. I think some ARTCCs might say that an adversarial relationship with them is healthy or beneficial to them in some way. Based on my experience, I can't say that I agree. You can choose to look at certain issues as, "the higher ups are coming down on me, and they are doing this thing that is totally wrong!" OR you can choose to look at certain issues as, "I really don't agree with this, but I am going to continue advocating for my position, and make sure my voice is heard." IF your point is correct, eventually they will see the reasoning behind your logic. It doesn't have to be so confrontational between the division and the ARTCCs as it often has been in the past (in my experience).

Regarding ARTCC to ARTCC relations, we can all agree that working effectively with our neighbors is super key no matter where you are. We cannot pick up our ARTCC borders like a set of jeans we are stepping into, and move it into the middle of the ocean when communications break down or disagreements occur. I do however believe that it is somewhat "par for the course" that ARTCCs are going to have a competitive or "gang" nature to them. That is just human nature, really. Since our division is so large and diverse, it makes it a lot easier for that part of our nature to manifest into little "fiefdoms", if you will. The solution to this of course is to realize that, we may not all have the same goals in mind for the "ideal VATUSA", but we all agree, making this division the best of the best is an idea worth fighting for still. So do that, in any ways that you know how to do it. Passive aggressiveness and sarcasm is toxic to effective communication, and only serves to alienate participants of the conversation. Don't do that.

I have always said that working together wherever possible is super important. There IS going to be lots of things we disagree on. The places where we do agree? That's common ground! Play to those strengths FIRST, and THEN hash out why we disagree, or if we even really DO disagree, OR if it is just a misunderstanding of language used, or even concepts that others have not even considered/explored. Like what others have said, think of viable solutions to problems in this division.

Also just touching on some other things in this thread regarding improvement of communication. Everyone's schedule is different, everyone's lives and responsibilities are ephemeral and now more than ever, people are on the go. We all understand this. I think where the communications really start to break down and the frustration starts to set in, is when NO communication is reciprocated for extended periods of time. If I reach out to someone in a staff position, I don't expect to hear from them within 24hrs, but I DO expect to hear from them within 7 days. That seems quite reasonable in my view. I think some of the questioning of ATDs in this thread really stems from some of that communication break down.

To the ATDs now and in the future: Your consistent presence and active communication within your regions' ARTCCs is strongly encouraged, welcomed (at least from me), and vital to the success of your region. It's YOUR region, and the ARTCCs within are your children. Treat them with care, and monitor their status frequently. Talk to the ARTCC staff AND controllers in your region when you come into their VoIP server. Ask them how you can serve them better. I have always felt in my 8 years on the network that ATDs lacked visibility with the ARTCCs they serve. I think doing those things can only serve to help your regional outcomes, and VATUSA as a whole in the long run.

I do feel strongly that even though our organizational structure is very "top-down" in nature, at the ARTCC level there should be the ability for regular controllers to give regular feedback about their ARTCC staff. The goal here is NOT to micro-manage, but to provide ATDs with status indicators so that when an issue builds on itself over several months, it doesn't end up blind-siding them out of the blue. ARTCC staff needs to be held accountable, and ATD communication with just ARTCC staff is not enough. If the preferred method is a "facility advisory board" of long standing ARTCC members, or a "community organizer" so be it, but I feel strongly that something has to change on that front. Controllers should have the right to communicate to VATUSA who they want their leader to be, and their voices heard. There should never be a case where half of an ARTCC feels ostracized and excluded from the rest of the group, whether that be new member or old members, that should never be happening.

No, you cannot please everybody, that is not possible. BUT, most people are reasonable, if you throw them a bone they'll probably chew on it, even if it's a smaller bone then you threw the day before.

My new novel is finally finished!  :D

Thanks for the discussion.

-K
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Austin Wilkins on November 11, 2018, 10:12:14 am
When it comes down to it, lets just all remember we do this for FUN and are volunteering OUR TIME to this organization and hobby. I have been very critical of VATUSA in the past and lost sight of why I am here at that time. I have expressed my apologies to them and moved on. I think some of the postees here need to do the same. We are here for fun because we enjoy the hobby. Instead of negative complaining, be the change. Lead the way. Mark has a good vision, but it will not work if we are not putting forth our effort as well. Let's just have fun!
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Mark Hubbert on November 11, 2018, 12:12:43 pm
Quote
When it comes down to it, lets just all remember we do this for FUN and are volunteering OUR TIME to this organization and hobby
 
 Key Word FUN !!!!!  WoooHoooo

Quote
The beauty is that we have the ability to make our personal experience as realistic as we want provided we choose to exceed the required minimum.
I agree.  Set a basic standard that everybody has to do to participate and when you feel you are ready or want to pursue more do it.  This idea should also lend its hand to motivation.  Peer pressure can be a good thing.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Nickolas Christopher on November 11, 2018, 01:17:17 pm
I think Vento and Dhruv hit some good points.

To echo, I think what is lacking is relationship building between VATUSA and ARTCCs. I can’t remember the last time someone from VATUSA contacted me to see what’s going on and to ask what they can do to help.

The forums aren’t the best place for discussion. So many threads devolve into flame wars and negativity. And, text loses most of the nuances of effective communication.

Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Shane VanHoven on November 12, 2018, 03:27:42 pm
By the way, if people want absolute realism, I hear there's some federal agency that'll pay you for absolute realism.  Can anybody confirm?

Wait what? That sounds like a blast! Sign me up!
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Chris Hadden on November 12, 2018, 04:47:14 pm
      Getting back on the original topic of communication & transparency, I would like to see some sort of plan, or consistent updates that each of the division staff have. Everyone in this division should have the ability to access this and get a picture of the image that you as division staff are creating. This could be something like a document that is prepared quarterly or monthly to show the progress you guys are making. Mani provided me a document after my first post on here of his plans and improvements for the NE region and it is truly something I think every staff member in the division should be doing. Its not just the fact that you need to be transparent and communicate with us. But we have to hold you accountable too. Mark, Tony, Brandon, the whole crew should be holding us accountable if we aren't doing what we are supposed to or we are inactive. And you should expect the same from us. It is a two way street, All the ARTCC staff and controllers here in the division are here for you, and we expect you to be there for us.

     One thing positive thing that I like is the idea of, is the new training master classes. And really am looking forward to see a good turnout and result from it. This is one great step in connecting people from all across the division, working/learning together using real world knowledge and resources. Nice job Brandon and Rick.

     In terms of inter-facility communication, I wish that every ARTCC would talk with each other regularly and engage one another in their everyday duties. Go in the other facility's TS/Discord when you are controlling and hang out. Coordinate and create a bond between each facility is continually being strengthened, not broken. I believe the best thing would be to SHARE RESOURCES. Not lock them up behind a website login. Get together, MEET, TALK to one another. Take the benefits of one facility and implement a similar or better thing into the other. Most importantly, be willing to HELP! Of course people will be against this, but doing this very practice will make US and the division stronger. Who cares if your facility gives away something that makes them different than everyone else, after all, we are all in the same division, and same region, same network and "the same team". And as previously mentioned a few times now, this is supposed to be FUN, and enjoyable hobby for the all of us. Its not fun when a few of the members who are involved in this discussion want to bicker back and forth to be "politically correct". And create problems rather than fix them. It's not fun when no-one wants to collaborate, talk to each other, and most importantly have fun.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Prithvisagar Shivaraman on December 07, 2018, 08:51:21 am
I agree Chris. Especially with the inter-ARTCC communication, I think the division would be a much better place if SOPs, LOAs, Sector Files, etc was public, at least to division members. I also would like to see guys from other ARTCCs just to be able to poke their head into other ARTCCs and have a nice chat once in a while. It feels like we are all cooped up in our own ARTCCs and often forget that this is a community. Same with training standards. If we made more homologous training standards and material, it would prevent the constant (ZXX is a cert factory, ZXX is way too difficult, etc.) I hope that some day this becomes a reality and I'm able to simply go into another ARTCCs pubs and figure out who I need to handoff to. Or better yet, just ask them in their teamspeak! Just my $0.02
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Matthew Kosmoski on December 07, 2018, 01:28:17 pm
I agree Chris. Especially with the inter-ARTCC communication, I think the division would be a much better place if SOPs, LOAs, Sector Files, etc was public, at least to division members. I also would like to see guys from other ARTCCs just to be able to poke their head into other ARTCCs and have a nice chat once in a while. It feels like we are all cooped up in our own ARTCCs and often forget that this is a community. Same with training standards. If we made more homologous training standards and material, it would prevent the constant (ZXX is a cert factory, ZXX is way too difficult, etc.) I hope that some day this becomes a reality and I'm able to simply go into another ARTCCs pubs and figure out who I need to handoff to. Or better yet, just ask them in their teamspeak! Just my $0.02

The simple socialization may solve the [MOD - This is a family forum] talking, too.  Look down here... I had neighbors that accused me of being a cert factory -- and now that we all spend time together, that's an accusation of a bygone era.

Nowadays, the only folks who talk smack about ZHU are folks we never hear from or see around...  And they're always welcome to drop by.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Shane VanHoven on December 07, 2018, 03:05:18 pm
I had neighbors that accused me of being a cert factory -- and now that we all spend time together, that's an accusation of a bygone era.

Ehhhhh not so sure about that.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Matthew Kosmoski on December 07, 2018, 04:17:26 pm
I had neighbors that accused me of being a cert factory -- and now that we all spend time together, that's an accusation of a bygone era.

Ehhhhh not so sure about that.

<16:17:20> "Matthew Kosmoski": !lastseen *vanhoven*
<16:17:20> "ZHUBot": No clients found in the database!
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Shane VanHoven on December 07, 2018, 04:50:26 pm
I had neighbors that accused me of being a cert factory -- and now that we all spend time together, that's an accusation of a bygone era.

Ehhhhh not so sure about that.

<16:17:20> "Matthew Kosmoski": !lastseen *vanhoven*
<16:17:20> "ZHUBot": No clients found in the database!

Sorry, I don't speak gibberish.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Dhruv Kalra on December 07, 2018, 04:52:26 pm
I don’t need to spend time in a facility’s TeamSpeak/Discord to take the pulse of its training program. I can get that by flying through or participating in an event, and by perceiving the overall attitude.

We’re teaching a continuing education seminar on sequencing and spacing tomorrow in an attempt to help share best practices and techniques. Guess how many ZHU participants we have?

It’s easy to sit and whine about resources not being shared, but when those of us that have the real-world experience who want to give back and improve the product on the network get snubbed for offering constructive methods for improvement, it kind of kills the motivation for us to do it.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Matthew Kosmoski on December 07, 2018, 04:55:41 pm
I had neighbors that accused me of being a cert factory -- and now that we all spend time together, that's an accusation of a bygone era.

Ehhhhh not so sure about that.

<16:17:20> "Matthew Kosmoski": !lastseen *vanhoven*
<16:17:20> "ZHUBot": No clients found in the database!

Sorry, I don't speak gibberish.

You've never been in our Teamspeak (at least in the past year, which is how old the client database is), so you're demonstrating exactly what I'm talking about.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Matthew Kosmoski on December 07, 2018, 04:56:19 pm
I don’t need to spend time in a facility’s Discord to take the pulse of its training program. I can get that by flying through or participating in an event, and by perceiving the overall attitude.

We’re teaching a continuing education seminar on sequencing and spacing tomorrow in an attempt to help share best practices and techniques. Guess how many ZHU participants we have?

It’s easy to sit and whine about resources not being shared, but when those of us that have the real-world experience who want to give back and improve the product on the network get snubbed for offering constructive methods for improvement, it kind of kills the motivation for us to do it.

My guys generally know about the class, but it doesn't mean that they necessarily have availability.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Shane VanHoven on December 07, 2018, 05:18:38 pm
I had neighbors that accused me of being a cert factory -- and now that we all spend time together, that's an accusation of a bygone era.

Ehhhhh not so sure about that.

<16:17:20> "Matthew Kosmoski": !lastseen *vanhoven*
<16:17:20> "ZHUBot": No clients found in the database!

Sorry, I don't speak gibberish.

You've never been in our Teamspeak (at least in the past year, which is how old the client database is), so you're demonstrating exactly what I'm talking about.

I don't understand how my attendance in your teamspeak has anything to do with how easy it is for someone to checkout at ZHU.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Ryan Barnes on December 07, 2018, 06:27:30 pm
One reason I believe the ZHU community didn't bother with the whole class thing was simply they didn't care that much to attend it. The community at ZHU is very relaxed, most controllers put in their hour a month wait for the website to reset the time. That being said most of them don't need the extra training. We also understand it's a hobby about a multiplayer "video game." I think of the training part being the level up. And once you reach C1, you have finished the game for lack of better term. Now the way I think of the 1 hour requirement is like the occasional return to play it for the fun aspect. Most C1's at ZHU have reached the max level and don't desire to be better or learn extra stuff.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Matthew Kosmoski on December 07, 2018, 07:06:33 pm
I don't understand how my attendance in your teamspeak has anything to do with how easy it is for someone to checkout at ZHU.

The point is that you have no exposure to the process, nor any knowledge of the people involved, so it's assumption, rumor, and knitting-circle conversation.

This is one of the largest cultural problems we have in VATUSA.

The more we talk, the less of a problem this becomes.  Vento is right in his point that we don't talk enough, and you're demonstrating one of the larger issues.

Edit:  In order to make this slightly more constructive and productive, as I said before, our doors are open for any Q&A.
 If you'd like to understand our process more, I'd love to help you out.  If that particular method doesn't sound good to you, you can also email me, or contact me via any other suitable method.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Dhruv Kalra on December 07, 2018, 07:19:31 pm
One reason I believe the ZHU community didn't bother with the whole class thing was simply they didn't care that much to attend it. The community at ZHU is very relaxed, most controllers put in their hour a month wait for the website to reset the time. That being said most of them don't need the extra training. We also understand it's a hobby about a multiplayer "video game." I think of the training part being the level up. And once you reach C1, you have finished the game for lack of better term. Now the way I think of the 1 hour requirement is like the occasional return to play it for the fun aspect. Most C1's at ZHU have reached the max level and don't desire to be better or learn extra stuff.

I’m glad you’re secure in your mediocrity. Some of us still care to improve past the bare minimum.

Also, being “relaxed” and being proficient aren’t mutually exclusive.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Shane VanHoven on December 07, 2018, 07:23:44 pm
Most C1's at ZHU have reached the max level.

Then how come the last time I flew into a ZHU event I was forgotten about on the downwind and flew all the way to new orleans before anyone decided to try to get ahold of me?
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Matthew Kosmoski on December 07, 2018, 07:27:05 pm
I’m glad you’re secure in your mediocrity. Some of us still care to improve past the bare minimum.

Please do not speak to my guys like that; It's disrespectful.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Dhruv Kalra on December 07, 2018, 07:31:06 pm
Please do not speak to my guys like that; It's disrespectful.

No less disrespectful than complaining that we don’t share resources and then turning your nose up when someone offers to volunteer their time to help you get better.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Matthew Kosmoski on December 07, 2018, 07:34:46 pm
No less disrespectful than complaining that we don’t share resources and then turning your nose up when someone offers to volunteer their time to help you get better.

Who has turned their nose up, exactly, and how?  I can't make folks sign up.  This comes second to any real world obligations, and we should all respect that.  It doesn't make anybody less valuable to the VATUSA team, though, and to insinuate otherwise is a gross misrepresentation.  I'm glad y'all got the sign-up numbers you did.  The optional advanced training is a great concept and I hope it continues.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Dhruv Kalra on December 07, 2018, 07:40:01 pm
Who has turned their nose up, exactly, and how?

A member of your staff says “Most C1s at ZHU have reached the max level and don’t desire to be better or learn extra stuff.” How much more black and white evidence do you require? If you want to talk about culture, tell me that’s not a stark indication of a culture. The real world always comes first. I say that to every single member of my facility at least a handful of times during their time with us. The attitude presented above, however, speaks to a lack of drive to show up vs. an inability to do so.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Ryan Geckler on December 07, 2018, 07:40:30 pm
Who has turned their nose up, exactly, and how? 


One reason I believe the ZHU community didn't bother with the whole class thing was simply they didn't care that much to attend it.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Ira Robinson on December 07, 2018, 07:52:23 pm
Okay folks, I understand how a discussion that addresses the difference between the "as real as" and the "it's only a hobby" and "it's only a game" people might be beneficial to the topic at hand, but nobody here needs to hear me suggest that we may have strayed a bit. So why don't we get this back on topic if you please. 


Thank you.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Dhruv Kalra on December 07, 2018, 11:54:01 pm
I think the division would be a much better place if SOPs, LOAs, Sector Files, etc was public, at least to division members.

Wholeheartedly agree. Care to lead by example and follow this practice at ZNY?
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Derek Hood on December 08, 2018, 12:16:29 am
How does one expect to get better if they don’t show up?  Yes this is not “real world” but the practice still helps with proficiency.  So a controller signs on for the required hour, has no idea of updated LOA’s, procedures etc...and that’s ok?  What’s the point of controlling if your aren’t trying to emulate the real thing?
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Andrew Doubleday on December 08, 2018, 01:20:43 am
Who has turned their nose up, exactly, and how? 


One reason I believe the ZHU community didn't bother with the whole class thing was simply they didn't care that much to attend it.

Case in point.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Dominic Nguyen on December 08, 2018, 01:40:01 am
Excuse after excuse, defense after defense Kosmoski; even one of your staff that "turned their nose up" had to to sniff out what you're preaching and what the reality of it was. This thread was about transparency and learning from eachother, yet here you are waving your little process wand. Little did you know that the proficiency of the controllers through events and other online appearances during a day to day basis is the by product of said "process." The first step into fixing anything is acknowledging and owning up to it.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Matthew Kosmoski on December 08, 2018, 02:39:00 am
Excuse after excuse, defense after defense Kosmoski; even one of your staff that "turned their nose up" had to to sniff out what you're preaching and what the reality of it was. This thread was about transparency and learning from eachother, yet here you are waving your little process wand. Little did you know that the proficiency of the controllers through events and other online appearances during a day to day basis is the by product of said "process." The first step into fixing anything is acknowledging and owning up to it.

If you'll read what I actually wrote, you'll see where I keep offering transparency and conversation, yet nobody here has taken me up on the offer.  Anybody that has actually spoken to me knows that I'm open to discussion, and I'm a strong proponent of Live events due to the interactions and relationships that form and strengthen as a result of the very themes on which this thread was built.  Despite my offers, I've been on Teamspeak all night with only our regular guests, nor have I received any emails, PMs, or any other kind of communications from anybody responding here.

The only thing resulting from any of this is attacks on my facility and roster, and continued attempts to belittle and degrade people personally.  This is absolutely abhorrent and unacceptable from the staff and former staff members.

Ira was spot on, yet this seems to be about the only time that a post of his is ignored outright.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Odin Morris on December 08, 2018, 06:33:41 am
I didn't want to get involved with this debate, but I will.

It's extremely unfair to sit here and slam Kosmoski for trying to better his facility in the way he believes it best. I can personally vouch that Houston has improved under Kosmoski. He came in and he made it a place to hang out, whereas other ARTCC's have a desolate TeamSpeak / Discord. People want to show up in Houston now that it's fun. Controlling numbers may not be the highest from ZHU, but take a look at events such as Fort-Houston Live. Fort-Houston Live has almost every major certified person on the ZHU roster controlling, which is extremely hard to achieve. So props to ZHU-ZFW for that. The same people on here who continuously go after Kosmo have done nothing to be the bigger person in this situation. They want to sit on here and complain, complain, complain. If you want something to change, you have to be willing to change also, it's called a compromise.

Now on the topic of transparency and openness.

In the division, I generally see ARTCC controllers around most, followed by ARTCC staff, followed by anyone from another ARTCC, followed by VATUSA staff. Barrett is by far the most outreaching VATUSA staff member. I haven't seen one VATUSA staff member who will go into a TeamSpeak and sit there for hours on end and just talk with the controllers. Others also come to this same conclusion. This lack of controllers seeing VATUSA staff makes people "nervous" around them when they do come. They feel like the staff are people to be scared of, and they are not. I am guilty of this, and I want to change that. Whenever I see VATUSA staff hanging out in a TS or Discord I try to go have a chat with them and get to know them a little. I've always been one to push for higher activity levels, and this should definitely start with the ARTCC. Activity should also include the VATUSA staff, but if we never see them, we don't know if they're even here.

In conclusion, don't slam someone unless you have worked to improve yourself on that topic, and VATUSA staff, please just try to pop into a TS / Discord every now and then to talk to some of the USA controllers.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Kyle Ekas on December 08, 2018, 07:47:49 am
It's extremely unfair to sit here and slam Kosmoski for trying to better his facility in the way he believes it best. I can personally vouch that Houston has improved under Kosmoski. He came in and he made it a place to hang out, whereas other ARTCC's have a desolate TeamSpeak / Discord. People want to show up in Houston now that it's fun. Controlling numbers may not be the highest from ZHU, but take a look at events such as Fort-Houston Live. Fort-Houston Live has almost every major certified person on the ZHU roster controlling, which is extremely hard to achieve. So props to ZHU-ZFW for that. The same people on here who continuously go after Kosmo have done nothing to be the bigger person in this situation. They want to sit on here and complain, complain, complain. If you want something to change, you have to be willing to change also, it's called a compromise.

Hear, hear!

-K
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Dhruv Kalra on December 08, 2018, 11:55:14 am
It's extremely unfair to sit here and slam Kosmoski for trying to better his facility in the way he believes it best. I can personally vouch that Houston has improved under Kosmoski. He came in and he made it a place to hang out, whereas other ARTCC's have a desolate TeamSpeak / Discord. People want to show up in Houston now that it's fun.

You can be fun without sacrificing a standard and a desire for improvement. Why is there a perception that it has to be one or the other? I can sit here and turn the argument around just the same and say that most of the people that complain that "ZMP is too difficult" have never spent time on my TeamSpeak, either.

Ask guys like Nolan or Jackson who have posted in this thread. They've both signed up as Visiting Controllers at my facility. Neither has had any roadblocks placed in front of them as far as checking out, but that doesn't mean that they didn't have things left to learn. We can all learn new things and get better every time we plug in. That was one of Derek's key messages in this thread.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Kyle Sanders on December 08, 2018, 12:04:17 pm

You can be fun without sacrificing a standard and a desire for improvement. Why is there a perception that it has to be one or the other? I can sit here and turn the argument around just the same and say that most of the people that complain that "ZMP is too difficult" have never spent time on my TeamSpeak, either.

Ask guys like Nolan or Jackson who have posted in this thread. They've both signed up as Visiting Controllers at my facility. Neither has had any roadblocks placed in front of them as far as checking out, but that doesn't mean that they didn't have things left to learn. We can all learn new things and get better every time we plug in. That was one of Derek's key messages in this thread.

^This wasn’t said loud enough.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Odin Morris on December 08, 2018, 12:14:38 pm
It's extremely unfair to sit here and slam Kosmoski for trying to better his facility in the way he believes it best. I can personally vouch that Houston has improved under Kosmoski. He came in and he made it a place to hang out, whereas other ARTCC's have a desolate TeamSpeak / Discord. People want to show up in Houston now that it's fun.

You can be fun without sacrificing a standard and a desire for improvement. Why is there a perception that it has to be one or the other? I can sit here and turn the argument around just the same and say that most of the people that complain that "ZMP is too difficult" have never spent time on my TeamSpeak, either.

Nobody said that you couldn't be fun and have a desire for improvement or have standards. ZHU has both. There are many controllers in ZHU who are always striving to better themselves. Don't take what you see on a forum as what is 100% correct, because most of the time it is not. Sure, there are ZHU controllers who don't think they need to improve because of many factors. But there are a large number of Houston guys who want to improve.
Title: Re: We don't talk enough...
Post by: Wesley Miles on December 08, 2018, 02:10:35 pm
Can anyone explain to me... in private message or email (where it's appropriate)... why ZHU is having to defend themselves in a public forum against fellow division staff members, in front of the general membership?  If anyone can offer me a solid reason for this, please email it to me (again, the appropriate place for said communication)... I'm just dying to hear a good explanation.

Until that point, I'd like to redirect the train back on track to the OP's original intent, and not as much on a slamming session against an ATM and his ARTCC.  I'd expect better from senior management, and frankly, I'm disappointed.