New Category for the Community - "OT Topics of Interest"

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I am not interested in starting a flame war, but in offering a solution to the frustration some have expressed about certain topics of discussion on the Community Board.

Perhaps we need a "Category" where users can post topics that they feel are "related" to their Flex experience, but others may not feel are directly related, or closely enough related to be voiced on this board.  Persons can flag their thread as part of the "other topics" thread, which will have a slightly relaxed subject restriction.  BUT individuals have the ability to subscribe or unsubscribe to that category in the same way that we currently are able to subscribe to "6000 Series" "Maestro" "PowerSDR" "Third Party software & Hardware" and other categories.
Categories that are not subscribed do not automatically get sent to people's email accounts, so there would be no cluttering for those who don't want to see it.
(BTW, even now, if a topic sneaks through and you don't want to receive any more emails from that particular thread, you can simply "unfollow" it on the top right of the thread's initial page.   Some people may not know this.)

1) The title for this board is "Community."  That implies to me a group of people who are attracted and connected to one another because of their common interest.  But "Community" also signifies that it is primarily focused upon relationships - helpful relationships, not merely technology.  This is not a purely technical board, but is an "experiential" board.  Which means that occasionally people who have met at the Flex watering hole may have other topics they wish to discuss because they have found a group of likeminded, trusted individuals among the flex community.

2) We do, however, need to have a way for those who do not wish to be bothered by topics they consider "off topic" constantly finding their way to their email inboxes.  (Yes, i know that it is a simple matter merely to hit "delete" for a topic that is unwanted.  The "spin the dial" argument is valid, yet when the "offensive" message is sent, unfiltered, by the community board, it can be seen as more obtrusive.)  

3) Yet, rather than constantly having repeated arguments about the appropriateness of every questionable topic thread, it seems more helpful to agree to have a category that allows posts of marginal connection for the Flex "purists" but that others in the community may find interesting or valuable.  Allowing such a category will allow those who are uninterested to filter them out.  (Of course, this is totally up to the people who run the Flex Community.)

4) This would eliminate "censorship wars" and allows free, or at least moderated expression, while reducing the inconvenience to others who want a more structured topic matter.

I know that some will say "Just let them go somewhere else, like, eHam, or a thousand Yahoo or Google groups."  Yes, this is an option, but I, for one, don't wish to check into a myriad of different groups in order to discuss every different aspect of the hobby/service.  For one, I don't have that kind of time.  For another, THIS is the group with which I have the most affinity.  THESE people, for good or ill, are the ones whose opinions I have come to value, not only related to FLEX/SDR issues, but in a number of other areas - some closely related, others not so closely related, and others purely for the sake of the occasional verbal sparring.

Yes, this community occasionally has a tiff or two, usually in my opinion between people who generally like each other, but have personality styles or hormone levels that occasionally lead to "watering hole friction."  But it is far more congenial than most boards I have visited in the past. Our moderators, or other elmers, step in as required and remind us all to play nicely with the other children, and they will occasionally close threads when they get too far afield or excessively combative. 

I can honestly say that I regard everyone in the group as a positive influence to the community. (even those who get a little crusty at times.)  There is great wisdom here.  We seem to be able to back off and make peace and get back on topic, even after disagreement.  
Isn't this the nature of a good "community?"

Forcing tighter regulations that limit discussion, which would require greater involvement by the moderators or "thought police," whether official of self-appointed, or which would require people to worry unnecessarily whether or not someone else on the board might not think the topic is "closely enough related" to Flex Radio would all serve to squelch what might be otherwise helpful or interesting discussion.  

Yes, we sometimes could use a little more self-control in our conversation, our demeanor, and in our selection of topics.  But having a separate Category that can become a landing place for topics which may be of interest, but perhaps off-topic, would allow discussion to continue, but not inconvenience others who might like to filter the discussion a little more closely.

While I have no interest in seeing this board degenerate into the cesspool that other boards have become, I am searching for a solution that offers a bit more "grace" and tolerance around the edges so that we won't have constant debates about the content of our debates.

In search of community in the community, 

Ken - NM9P
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Posted 2 years ago

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Bill -VA3WTB

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In my view, the only person that should comment on content is Tim. And I get the feeling Tim tries to let the board go as it does without his control. We have seen Tim step in and shut people or post down but I'm sure he does not like too.
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Dan -- KC4GO

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As in normal life I have learned to just turn off and ignore those/things that I dislike or find offensive. I read most all the messages unless I see the topic is of no interest  or has gone off topic. I agree with Bill that is  Tim is the moderator his call only.  A wise man once told me" If 2 people in business always agree on is unnecessary."  I figure out this applied to a lot of things, marriage being one of them. 
This community is kind of the same thing we may not always agree, but we should keep it civil. 

Oh we have a follow button perhaps we should have a not-follow button so it will no longer send us email on a selected topic. 
I could say that we could also opt out of some individuals. Goes back to my first line "ignore"

Many thanks Pastor Ken...
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Thanks, Bill & Dan...
I would like to see more people understand how to use the "Unfollow" button.  That is the simplest way to eliminate continued email posts from unwanted threads.

What many may not understand is that once you comment on a thread, you are automatically set to "follow" it and will get email updates every time someone else comments or "likes" the thread or your comment.  This may also be true if you merely click to read a thread.  So if a person clicks on a thread and finds the contents uninteresting, uninspiring, or offensive, then simply "un-following" the thread makes it go away from your inbox.   (Unless one is OCD or a control freak and the fact that the thread still EXISTS sticks in their craw, so they keep coming back to be offended again and again. I can't help that, only shake my head.)  

Having a separate Category, however would assist in at least flagging "Off Topic" threads and make them easy for those who wish to ignore them.

RE: ignoring certain people....I have found that even those who occasionally get under my skin often have surprisingly helpful insights if I am willing to overlook their peccadillos.  But that is MY personality style, developed as a middle kid of 5 which required me to become a peacemaker/moderator.  (Perhaps that is why I became a pastor?    ha!)  

Growing up in my home/birth order, I learned to enjoy a good debate, even energetic or heated ones, as long as it doesn't get personal/abusive.  I get the feeling that many of the persons with whom I have debated here, or have witnessed debating each other are folks I wouldn't mind buying a beer...or probably a coke, given my the next hamfest.  I always try to keep several things in mind when the debate gets energetic on a forum....1) a keyboard is an excellent tool to use to be misunderstood by someone because it doesn't portray body language, facial expressions, or tone of voice.  2) A computer screen is a perfect tool to misunderstand someone else...for the same reasons.  3) Many people get carried away behind a keyboard because the relative anonymity emboldens expressions that would often be tempered in person.


Ken - NM9P
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Pandora's box? ;-)

Ken, I appreciate the time and though you have placed into this post.  I'll try to answer this as succinctly as possible, because I probably could write a 1000 words on this topic.  

The primary objective and goal of the Community is for customer engagement between you and FlexRadio.  It provides a  core benefit to the customer by providing a method to directly interact with FlexRadio Systems regarding our products in a transparent way, since we do not moderate based on content viewpoint.  The topics intended for the Community should be primarily FlexRadio specific and to a lesser degree other subjects of interest to ham radio as a hobby.

As Bill indicated, we try and allow for some leeway in this regard because you never know when a really good nugget of info can precipitate out of an OT type discussion.  And Bill is correct that I do not like having to police the group and for the most part, this is a very well behaved and civil group of which I greatly appreciate. 

I understand and appreciate your need to want to provide a layer of content filtering by which you can remove OT type topics from your .  Since we do not own the community software, we are at the mercy of Sprinklr. Using a category would work since you can subscribe to categories, but it would require the poster to properly categorize their OT posts and full compliance could be achieved without some moderator intervention. 

However, I am game for trying it out an "OT" type category to see how it works.  I'll probably get to this later this week.
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After the S-SDR 1.6 release...  

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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Thanks, Tim.  
To be sure, I would subscribe myself, because I enjoy the interaction.  
My concern is for others who don't enjoy it and find it frustrating.  Hopefuly this might help make for peace...

The shortfall, as you mentioned, is that using a Category requires the poster to self-identify the topic category and NOT also check the SmartSDR, Flex-6500, or other categories, which would send updates to everyone who was subscribed to those categories.  But at least it might serve as a reminder of the purpose of the Community forum as you have stated, and with which I wholeheartedly agree.

Thanks for all your effort.  
(and it can certainly wait until after 1.6!  ha ha.)

Ken - NM9P
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Robbie - KI4TTZ

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Thanks Tim, I think the OT idea is great.

I'll definitely read the posts there, I know others aren't interested in off topic posts, but I find many of them interesting.
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Rick Hadley - W0FG

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My very simple solution is just not to 'follow' any threads. Thus, I get no emails unless someone has 'liked' or commented on something I've posted, and those go to one of my two 'non-essential' webmail accounts. I just check in here several times a day, make a quick scan of all of the threads and decide whether any pique my interest enough to read them.  
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Walt - KZ1F

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Yep, pretty much what I do as well Rick. As I recall there is a global switch to not follow any thread, thus avoiding the 'spam'.
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Burt Fisher

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When I use "unfollow" it takes days to work, if it ever does. This is over multiple computers in different locations.
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Walt - KZ1F

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But you only have a single account on getsatisfaction.
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Burt Fisher

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Please explain further