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Messages - Derek Hood

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General Discussion / Re: We don't talk enough...
« on: December 07, 2018, 10:16:29 pm »
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?

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General Discussion / Re: We don't talk enough...
« on: November 08, 2018, 10:06:29 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.

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

Derek

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General Discussion / Re: We don't talk enough...
« on: November 08, 2018, 12:17:59 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

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Really looking forward to meeting everyone.  Hotel, Expo and Travel is all booked.  Just look for the goofy guy with all the tattoo's on his legs lol.

Derek

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General Discussion / Integrity of the Network
« on: November 10, 2010, 09:37:48 am »
Quote from: Graeme Florance
Bob

lot of accusations there but no facts or subsistence to back up any of your allegations.  ZAU was and is just fine !!!!

Matt

It was personal attacks such as the one above that got you fired.  Don't be bitter get over it and enjoy your staff position at ZMP.  Is there any events going on up there anytime soon?

Yes we do actually.  Ira +1 spot on to the T!

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General Discussion / Integrity of the Network
« on: November 09, 2010, 06:52:51 pm »
Okay Gary, to right the ship back on track, what is the bottom line here?  I think we can all agree that with all the hard work that us, the network as whole, put into this day in and day out with the free time we have outside our normal lives, feels like it is going down the drain upon deaf ears.  We don't do this as a "game" I think we can ALL also agree on that.  If it were a game I would just sit on atc_sim and control AI traffic.  We do it for the realism factor and the human intetaction amongst friends, pilots, strangers alike.  But like I stated in my first post, when we log on and get people that A.  Have NO clue whats going on B. Act like you dont exist C.  Could care less about all the hard work behind the scenes, how do you think we feel (hopefully yourself included) when the BoG or VATSIM in general could really care less if this turns into a "GAME".  I know I didnt spend all the countless hours on sweatbox and live training sessions to just have that all go away.  

I mean what happened to the days that CoC was follwed for pilots that were away from there computer too long or unresponsive?  I know that I HAVE been kicked for it, even suspended because of it.  Now Im lucky when I control (usually at 11-2AM PST) to get a response from 2-3 pilots becuase the rest are asleep.  My point is the realism factor is not there anymore with small things like this and pilots not having even a fraction of an idea of whats going on.

Sorry for my rant that is all over the place.  Its like anything in life, you put hard work and effort into for no compesation besides the gratitude of knowing that you provided the best / most accurate experience and you feel like you are getting dumped to the wayside.  Its very frustrating and sad too see a thing that I have been a part of slowly wither away.  I wont be here to see it burn down in flames.

Derek

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General Discussion / Integrity of the Network
« on: November 09, 2010, 11:27:56 am »
Bob,

I know this is off topic, but Dhruv and Logan and all the staff at our facility do an amazing job keeping the SOP's and Sector Files/Maps up to date and they work their a$$ off doing it.  Spending their own time and effort after they teach / work all day to make this the most interactive experience possible.  Thank you for someone actually realizing it!

Derek
ZMP

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General Discussion / Integrity of the Network
« on: November 08, 2010, 01:39:03 pm »
Quote from: Kyle Ramsey
Nice to know how private messages are handled by you, sir.

Since we're here, I'll elaborate.  The quote, as I mentioned above, wasn't deleted by me, wasn't hidden by me, etc.  It was from another forum.  By this I mean those who will take their realism to the point of violating other members' rights to enjoyment of this network.  We still have staff members who claim to hold this position, for them the words stand.  This is really a pretty small group overall.

Most of the rest of you are trying to do the right thing for VATUSA in general.  You aren't being ignored.  Don't do anything that prevents you from helping solve the problem.  If you quit, someone else will get to do that.

My time on the network is somewhat limited by personal situation and I'd love to fly more than I get to; I am a pilot, real and virtual, not really a controller - my S3 is from the time when they gave them out with much less rigor than today and was to facilitate TWR for my VSOA at KMOB.  But I give back by getting on VRC to help out Sups by taking a newbie pilot and spending the time with them so the Sup can go help elsewhere and to be available to anyone who wants to talk, to complain, to offer suggestions, or just be friendly.  I am in no way suggesting my time on the network is more valuable than anyone else's, and the controllers who plug in are the point of the spear and what all of us are focused on supporting.

What you have nothing to hide like you just stated correct?  I will do with MY private messages as I wish, thanks for questioning me.

Derek

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General Discussion / Integrity of the Network
« on: November 08, 2010, 01:11:43 pm »
"The quote is taken from another forum. There is nothing here in VATSIM that scares me, ever, nor should there be."

Thanks Kyle I appreciate the message....We will see you on the scopes, oh wait that won't happen.  Im not surprised that nothing scares you on here, you have to be active on the network for that to happen.

Derek

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General Discussion / Integrity of the Network
« on: November 08, 2010, 10:05:46 am »
Quote from: Bruce W. Clingan
Wow Bob - I missed that quote from Kyle that is pretty telling.


I think he got scared and deleted it.  Either way its very "Chairman Mao" in my eyes.  What happened to the REALISM this network is suppose to emulate?

Flame Suit on!

Derek

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General Discussion / Integrity of the Network
« on: November 05, 2010, 10:57:45 am »
Quote from: Andrew Doubleday
Not sure how "huge" the line is in respect to the entire network, but there are a significant number of experienced members concerned for sure... I'll be the first to agree.

As a controller who's put in an average of 80-100 hours a month (Albeit some leaves here and there due to real life, while being active, this is roughly my average.) with somewhere around 3,500 total hours behind the scopes, I've witnessed the downhill slide since I began controlling in 2005, especially within the past two years the most. The "fun" level for those of us who see the network as being far more capable than it is headed is truly becoming depressing. I'm beginning to slow down already and looking for alternatives, to be quite frank.

Referencing the Major airport off-peak certification thread (found here in the VATSIM forum: http://forums.vatsim.net/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=52546) that's been fairly popular recently, this is enough for me to realize things aren't heading in a positive directing for someone like me anymore. I prefer a more realistic atmosphere, more standardized procedures, a well-trained and maintained roster of controllers in a facility with a realistic approach towards controlling and, to top it off, pilots that appreciate that level of service offered and, in turn, are of high quality themselves - that's enjoyment of the network for me. I know there are others out there as well - I wish they would speak up more rather than biting their tongue (whether this is out of concern for their staff positions or what - I'm not certain).

A quote David Klain posted from the founders has me particularly concerned:



Sure, maybe this was fun while it started - but the network has grown to allow for so much more in terms of advancements in technology and with the allowance of facilities to become more realistic and standardized. Now it seems we just want to retract all of this and retreat back to how things were 10 years ago? It's difficult to digest sometimes for someone like me... It's like taking 10 steps backwards - who in their right mind who's reached a level of knowledge, experience, and entertainment from high quality here would want to see this happen? Allow me to explain my thoughts on this further...

What I'm seeing is a large disconnect between a good portion of the founders and the current status of the network, referencing the above comment. It seems to me like an old boys club that is disappointed because the network evolved beyond their capabilities and they don't want it because it's either too difficult or complex for them now, regardless of the fact that many others have probably enjoyed a lot of the advancements a number of facilities have made over the years to improve quality.

I think Keith Smith said it right in this thread as well... When has anyone actually seen a founder work a _busy_ sky themselves recently (and if so, how regularly do they actually do it)??? I don't think I've ever seen a founder go through my facility's training program, let alone any others I've been a part of or involved with, and see how truly amazing that can be if you actually put some effort into it... I'm sure this goes for many other facilities as well. It's few and far between that you see that. It seems to me decisions to remove supposed excessive restrictions on membership and simplify things is being based on the excuse that "since other members appear to be struggling, it must be true, even though we've never really tried to see it for ourselves". When do the experienced and regular members who have actually seen good things come from these advancements the network has made get to be heard about these changes? Again, I'm not saying that every facility has done it right, but I'd like to think most have done alright. In my opinion, it's already too easy to become a controller on VATSIM as is in a majority of VATUSA facilities.

Sure, maybe their are numbers to show people aren't enjoying how long it takes to become certified in certain areas or pilots don't want deal with testing or other things, but it truly has taken a noticeable toll on overall quality, in my honest opinion. To me, it's feeling more and more like people simply don't want to put the effort in anymore, they just want instant gratification from this. Maybe this is what the founders want now. It definitely appears that way more and more though. Adding to this point, events are something we all look forward to on VATSIM. You need a well trained, organized, and prepared roster to handle them effectively and, on top of this, quality piloting. This is something that every member should _want_ to work for. If you take away the drive by making things easier for everyone, this disappears and becomes all the more frustrating for those of us who have put the effort in. I can speak from experience in having witnessed this problem as of late as well.

Ever since the Founders letter to the community, I knew we were in for changes that probably were not going to impress the experienced and dedicated here... Maybe some of them have been beneficial to some extent, but again, I'm speaking as someone who's seen and experienced a lot here over the years - and it really has gone downhill. Pilot quality really took a steep descent upon opening up memberships to free email service providers. It amazes me how flawed the relatively new "join VATSIM" page is in failing to mention anything at all about actually being prepared prior to logging on... There are so many newer members on this network now than I've ever seen before, it's outweighing those members with experience, which is in turn creating frustration amongst us and contributing towards the realism divide (referencing exactly what Derek has posted above, I've seen it so much more frequency now days than ever).

For the record, I think it's a terrible idea to remove the off peak certifications all together - it's another prime example of the disconnect between network management and understanding of things going on at the local level. A quick fix solution that maybe fixes a few bad apples, but screws facilities that have actually made it work. You're impeding some of the better advancements some facilities have made on this network by doing away with this.

There's something Gary Millsaps had to say that I liked as well, specifically the area in which controllers try to experience that natural "high" from working a busy sector and knowing they can keep it under control. I think the last time I've actually experienced that "high" is well over a year ago at this point. Again, there is such an incredibly high volume of new people on the network, it outweighs the experienced more than ever before... It's rarely an effective learning environment. Getting a "good session" in is so few and far between these days (for me anyhow). Trying to work with 10 new pilots at a time is a difficult, if not nearly impossible task to accomplish (this isn't an exaggeration either). I surely try to be respectful and help out, I'd like to think my feedback at ZLA shows that for the most part as well, but it's truly not fun when you're experiencing this day in and day out now... I'm at the point where I'm impressed if one guy obtains and reports ATIS when checking in with me, complies with instructions timely, maintains a high situational awareness in a busy sky, and actually appreciates and attempts to work with a knowledgeable controller when he/she finds one...

Obviously we all did start somewhere. The real concern I'm experiencing is relevant to the foundational flaws in the network and how we're appearing to go about handling them. Starting with whoever decided it would be a smart idea to require controlling training, yet nothing at all of pilots, is just absurd... It's fundamentally flawed in every aspect. Additionally, with the advancements facilities have made to improve procedures, training and other aspects that make this enjoyable for people who actually prefer a "simulation" rather than just another "game", we have created members (like myself) that desire a more realistic and organized environment - that is what is "fun" for us. I'm not saying I (or others) don't understand and respect the fact that we were all once new and needed help at one point or another, just that this should be able to occur in moderation with the experienced able to grandfather down at an appropriate rate of attrition with the new members, rather than the blind leading the blind as it appears more and more now days (no disrespect meant to those actual blind members here). This type of professional environment seems to be rapidly fading now, especially within VATUSA (again, I'm speaking from first hand observation of this). When comments are posted regarding the lack of controller or pilot quality now, many are easy to criticize those experienced members complaints for being too realistic, etc... It's unfair in my opinion. There does seem to be valid concern that quality is suffering here, it just seems to be ignored by many. You need the quality-concerned members to stick around to help improve the rest. To the founders, you've allowed the network to produce higher quality members from the get-go. Do you honestly want to kick them to the curb in favor of quantity over quality now? I just don't get how this will help improve anything other than making this more and more like the MSN Game Zone... Do you honestly want that as well?

There may be one area I can agree with the founders on - excessive bureaucracy here. Again, in my opinion, its been allowed to get to this point though. The flaws in the foundation of the network have fostered the differences across the realism spectrum we now face and the political crap is all a result of this in some form or fashion.

In the end, who am I to speak though I guess... I'm just a controller here now. I just hope my opinions are not overlooked (as I'm not the only one with it). Obviously this is the founders network to do as they please with. As stated in the comment, it's their airspace - we just borrow it. They can do as they please in the end...

I'd just ask network management (founders, BoG, etc) that before making decisions/implementing policy that negatively impact certain facilities and members, that you take some time to listen to those who have experienced the good that has come from the development of the network over the years and try a little harder to allow for flexibility in those areas when enacting policy. You will only continue to drive off those experienced members frustrated by what is an apparent lack of understanding otherwise. Put a little time and effort in by either controlling (try actually going through training programs that are complaining about your lack of understanding to their needs, listen to those facility's concerns directly) or flying regularly in certain areas (spending time on the front lines of the network again) to see this what's happening first-hand rather than sitting high up in your ivory tower saying things like, "It's not right, it's too hard for us, we need to go back to how it was before," when you're hardly actively involved at the facility level anymore. Because, with all due respect, it appears to someone like me that you're approaching things in a very close-minded manner right now - I'm sure others feel the same way. Break down the political barriers by becoming involved again at the basic level. Show the community that you're making an active effort to understand each side of the spectrum before implementing change. Please take this constructively...



Sincere Regards from a concerned member,


Very well put AJ.  I think its responses like this that need to be view by all founders and BoG alike.

Derek

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General Discussion / Integrity of the Network
« on: November 04, 2010, 05:12:40 pm »
Quote from: Tyler Goeggel
You're not the only one, Derek.

Oh I know Tyler, I know there is a huge line behind me.  But I was just very frustrated today.

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General Discussion / Integrity of the Network
« on: November 04, 2010, 02:11:30 pm »
As I sit here and work a position on the network its funny to see how bad it has gotten over the past few years alone.  People logging on and taxiing to and from or taking off / landing as they please without calling you.  Then you query them and all you get is "Oh sorry, I didn't know you were on" or "Oh sorry I don't know whats going on this is my first time"  I mean I understand that we all started out on this at one time or another, but read the guidelines or they need to be enforced a little better IMHO.  The network is slowly going down the drain and the fun is really starting to go with it as well with sub-par pilots connecting to the network.

Sorry for the rant, but I know im not the only one who feels this way.

Derek Hood
ZMP/ZLA Controller

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