relax, don't do it...

  • 23
  • Idea
  • Updated 4 years ago
  • Planned
  • (Edited)
The 2 recent threads on this forum
(6500 power output, and the power button issue) have left a dark uncomfortable cloud over the forums value to the wider user-base. There are over 3000 members on this forum, yet only a small handful feel able (willing) to contribute to topics. We should all being asking why that is?

A small number of people are really helpful and expect nothing in return. However, some project an intolerant and authoritarian (often protectionist) position, as though some kind of self-appointed experts and gate keepers for FRS.

Their input is often not helpful and carries no authority. Yet by jumping to defend FRS (even on topics where no real defence is necessary) they tend to do more harm than good. This will make people unwilling to ask for help on problems and/or suggest ideas, leading to frustration and a feeling of being put down or simply discounted by them, and therefore by inference by FRS as well (which is not the case).

This “attitude” within the forum feeds resentment at the other end of the scale too., where people are venting their spleen in anger and frustration about relatively minor technical issues. They create brand-new forum accounts (e.g. Sam Johnson 0 posts, 0 likes) to gain some attention. Why?, I assume they probably feel the need to make a big noise in order to get heard about a small but highly frustrating issue, yet at the same time fear being shot down for suggesting something may in fact be wrong or could be improved [gasp].

Both of the extreme ends of this vocal spectrum are unhelpful. It’s my belief that the vast majority of Flex users (the other 2,900 in the middle-ground) are suffering, and overall the FRS brand and the products future [our radios] would suffer in consequence. These middle-ground people have genuine input, concerns, problems, ideas, product expectations, wish-lists etc. yet they don’t want to fight against the constant flack and ego-massaging of the vocal and opinionated minority in order to be heard.

We all want the same thing in the end - the best radio we can get. Personally I want to read all the daft ideas, and the problems, no matter how crazy they sound. I can do that without someone strangling the topic at birth, simply because it doesn’t match their personal ideology for the product. We need to encourage radical unbridled “out of the box” thinking and thus gain a radically better product from it.

Flex Is a consumer product being sold in to a consumer market - to amateurs, not professionals. It isn’t some high-end scientific work of art that is destined to sit in a glass cabinet and be goggled at in awe. We want it to do stuff, great stuff, stuff that we can all use and enjoy, and be very proud of the results we get from it.

I fear that we might be unwittingly working towards a utopia (for some) that the F6k is only right for the minority of (sophisticated) users and uber-geeks. This would create an elitist market position and dissuade the majority of the market from wanting one. In time that will undermine the products’ future. Flex has to be mass market product, it must sell lots and lots of hardware and even more software. There is little new to come from the SDR hardware arena for a good while yet, software is the money spinner and that has to be feature rich and enticing FRS needs to be appealing to almost all hams (no matter how experienced they are). To do anything else would be a self-defeating prophecy.

Guys, instead of picking fault with the above, why not have a moment of quiet reflection.

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Steven G1XOW

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Posted 4 years ago

  • 23
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Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

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Official Response

I genuinely appreciate your concern, which I also share.  We at FlexRadio are caught in a major dilemma.  We want to have an open forum but the downside of all social media is that it is very easy to cause hurt feelings either intentionally or unintentionally.  There are also those who live to stir things up or just like to be king of the hill.  There are those who have too much time on their hands or are lonely for attention.  There are those who simply take up too much bandwidth.  Some defend FlexRadio too much and some want to cause us harm and thus harm the entire community.  There are even some I can call by name who have for some reason dedicated the rest of their life to our demise.  This happens in all types of social media - not just ham radio.  However, it makes this job a lot less fun and a lot more challenging.

I tried for a several weeks recently to read all the posts in this forum and found that I was getting almost no work done.  It was eating up my weekends as well and could spoil my time with family when rants come up.  I recently told Tim that I have to back away and that he needs to let me know when there is a thread that needs an official response.  I spent a lot of time on here this weekend to the not unreasonable displeasure of my wife.  It is not fair for Tim to have to read the Community all weekend even though he is the moderator.  I see some people challenging us because we don't instantly give an official response over a weekend or maybe the challenge got lost in the overall low SNR.  It is almost an impossible task with the volume of posts to read and respond to everything of import.  That would almost take a full time dedicated person now.

We have already scheduled a meeting to discuss how we manage the Community to make it a more enjoyable and productive forum.  I expect that we will make some adjustments.  We want to make it open but there are appropriate limits.  I think the Golden Mean and the Golden Rule both apply to all who wish to use this Community.

Golden Mean:
In philosophy, especially that of Aristotle, the golden mean is the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency. For example, in the Aristotelian view, courage is a virtue, but if taken to excess would manifest as recklessness, and, in deficiency, cowardice.
Golden Rule:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  (Matt. 7:12)
Two simple rules that would change all of humanity if we truly all lived by them.  I try and often fail.

The bottom line is that our products and people are not perfect.  We care and we try hard every day to learn, grow, and to provide better products and services.  We want everyone to receive pleasure from using our products.  It is discouraging when we fail but we just pick ourselves up and keep going.

I sincerely ask that each of you reading this Community commit to living the Golden Mean and the Golden Rule when posting here.  

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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Official Response
Thank you for your feedback and we will take all of it under consideration as we discuss changes to how we moderate and manage the community moving forward.  

When the community was started, we wanted to provide a "safe place" where users and interested parties of FlexRadio products could engage with one another and with FlexRadio.  We purposely chose to loosely define community etiquette under the assumption that even if we had differences of opinions, everyone could express them in a mature and civil manner without resorting to snide comments and overly passive aggressive behavior.  

Over the years we have had to expand community usage "rules" (I really dislike that term) to cover some obvious areas that we wanted to avoid for the good of the community.  It appears that our social experiment where operating under the assumption what everyone would treat one another with respect and stricter rules of moderation were not needed is simply not working well and change is required.  

Ham radio is a hobby.  It is supposed to provide personal enjoyment and a break from the grind of the real world.  But the recent behavior expressed here, even after I posted a topic asking one another to be mindful of the community etiquette did little to help the situation. This concerns me and FlexRadio a lot.  So much where it is becoming obvious that some form of community moderation or "timeout" may be needed to stem the tide of ill will towards one another. This action is not what FlexRadio had envisioned or promoted for the community.  And I personally do not want to have to evaluate in detail every post, every day to determine if someone's behavior or comments have risen to the level of a transgression and initiate some level of corrective action as there are better productive uses of my time.

I have read through all the posts here and a wide range of views and opinions have been adequately expressed.  I think at this juncture, closing this post and allowing for a little cooling off time is warranted.  Thank you.