(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.
I just read this self-serving bunch of garage. I am getting sick of this whole forum with these intolerably long-winded self serving dialogues that serve no purpose. I am off this forum as of now...I can't take this crap any longer.
I was going to write the same thing at some point. Thanks for doing this. A great example of the 80/20 rule.
73 Marty W8AKS
But as said above by Steve, taking time to reflect before a knee jerk comment is best, not really in those words...I wish I had a couple times.
I think most of us have used software that over time got so bloated with features that we discontinued using it. Let's not let that happen to Flex.
Steve I’m employed by a major Japanese consumer electronics company, in an engineering position. Product quality is always my top concern. In addition to monitoring social media feedback, I rely on end user feedback, especially when it’s negative. While I think I understand what you are saying, FRS is clearly demonstrating that same initiative. I believe, that any negative situation is an opportunity for that company to transform a potentially confrontational situation into a long term supportive relation with that customer. For me, such situations go hand in hand with one of the primary Japanese business philosophies, “Kaizen” – a continual improvement of its products. While FRS may not call it Kaizen, they are non the less practicing it!
Those who participate in these discussions also need to recognize that despite any amount of product testing, it is impossible to simulate each and every nuance of how each customer will use their product. Compared to the other “top 3” amateur radio companies, FRS is extremely proactive, especially with it comes to quality issues – the recent RF Power Fold Back is a great example. For those who report such issues, FRS’s responses are both fast and private, as any responsible company will not go public with quality issues until it can be determined that the matter is genuinely due to a manufacturing issue. In comparison, the “big 3” tend to be more reactive, often taking a considerable amount of time to take any corrective actions, and usually waiting until many people are complaining.
And finally, we all need to consider that running a public forum like this is a double edged sword – while you can get some very valuable info, you also provide the vehicle for individuals to embellish a problem and make it sound far worse than it actually is. In each case we all need to allow FRS to study all the facts and take the corrective actions before any one person’s opinion transforms itself into someone’s conclusion.
I always hesitate to jump in with "me too" praise, or, in response to an alleged equipment problem, "it's working OK here." I just don't want to add to the noise floor.
But I feel compelled to say that, as an owner of three Flex radios spanning a few years, and now landing on my best radio yet (6500), I have never had one bit of trouble with Flex radios. All upgrades went smoothly, all hardware worked as promised, and this was for radios in daily service in all kinds of modes and antennas. When you think about it, this is a remarkable statement for such a cutting edge piece of technology. Flex should be justifiably proud of their products and accomplishments.
As is the "problem" with so many other issues in life, the silent majority of Flex users are happily making QSOs, and investigating the deep features of their radios. If a power button pops off (I've had this happen on a $250,000 video production console), they'll either pop the button back on, or (quietly) ask Flex about it. Thankfully, we've all become pretty good at analyzing the "customer reviews" and comments here in the Flex Community, on eHam, as well as on Amazon and other online vendors. It's amazingly simple to detect the wise guys, ignorant guys, and those guys who just don't "get it." Anyone who doesn't purchase an item because of one outlier complaint, in the midst of hundreds of glowing reviews, deserves his fate.
I'm sure there's a psychology major somewhere working on a master's thesis about this phenomenon and the small-minded "flames" that some folks seem prone to on social media. Thanks for caring.
Those fan-boys that think Flex needs defending and try to dismiss any problem someone reports offer not one single thing to this forum. Posting problems as well as praise will help Flex make these products even better. But I myself, and several other users I know will not post here often because the fan-boys will go for your throat.
I see no benefit in this forum unless its a way for all of us to work together and help each other and make people feel comfortable about asking questions or discussing problems.
I love my Flex radio but the reality is no radio is perfect and problems are going to arise if being hardware/software or cockpit errors. All of the above need to be handles with courtesy to encourage participation.
Also how many possible Flex customers come to this community to fin out what flex is all about? What do they think about the rude behavior they see. Had I come here before I purchased a Flex I most likely would have been turned off by these people who propose to speak on behalf of the Flex Company and would have never owned one of these fine radios.
I also believe that the Maestro is an attempt to remove some of that acumen. However as a person who does a lot of computer support at the individual level, even that can be an issue. This isn't trying to be rude, but a simple fact. I'm convinced that any of these folk who have issues can teach me a thing or two. But like it or not,
However, is there no psychological alowance when someone calls a radio that has performed flawlessly for me "a piece of crap"? If we were to take the liberty of a more extreme example, a person who calls a beloved family member by some nasty pejorative will likely get an unpleasant response from other members of the family. As one person here told me once, when I wondered if there was a possibility of separating the Maestro posts from the others, that I should just keep quiet. I do a lot more.
As in all matters here on earth, like tends to be responded to with like. I try to inject a little humor by offering to take the offended's radio off their hands for the price of postage, but haven't had that offer taken up yet. It's a real offer by the way.
But here is the thing. It's called "The tragedy of the commons" A person venting about the radio being "crap" is atteched to the group with the same gravitas as the Elmer who posts helpful answers for many people that have issues. And as the Tragedy of the commons and UseNet show, the helpful end up losing that battle.
I guess I would ask the question of how would you respond to someone who posts a message like that? I try to use a little humor, and point out th obvious, such as a radio under warranty deserves a help ticket. But I'll be drowned out.
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.
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.
I ran a high profile Amateur Radio packet BBS (bulletin board system) from 1985-1995 (pre-Internet), and was heavily involved in posting replies and comments to various messagesthat passed through my system, much as is done on this community. I eventually found myself making comments that, after hitting the send key, I regretted. It was easy to get pulled into the practice of "flaming" other posters that was uncalled for, which would have been avoided had I given my reasons for replying more thought and time. There, it was easy to trample upon others, not really knowing them, or knowing the nuances of their thoughts or statements in their original posts.
Social media can be a great tool, but we all need to realize the limitations of the medium. Trying to really communicate in a text or tweet of less than a dozen dozen characters leaves much to be desired. Even with the luxury of more available words on this community (and other posting mediums), we all tend to not get the full message across - both ways.
Realizing the limitations of social media in truly being able to communicate, we all need to do a better job of conveying our ideas and feelings in words, while thinking long and hard about making that next comment!
Greg - N8GD
I also find it offensive that someone comes on with a ton of bricks attitude with a less than complete understanding of the issue or is simply promoting an agenda. When those persons are then vigorously pushed back upon they sometimes complain about authoritative and autocratic responses. The same golden rule should apply to questioners as it does to answerers.
Social media discussions like any other group goes through what is called a group process. The group acts as its own governor on any one poster and opinion will tend to moderate as the discussion ensues and often light is glimpsed. When one is in the middle of it it seems like all testosterone and fire bombs but actually NO BLOOD IS SHED, not one drop! I was a physician in the Navy and I've seen my share of bloodshed and what goes on in this group doesn't represent a minute of what a couple of Marines experience when letting off some steam on a Saturday night.
Often if you can put the vindictive aside, and consider in retrospect, a very deep and clear understanding of a problem emerges. This is precisely what I see occurring if you read through the recent "power" discussion. As the issues were revealed I saw many light bulbs go on. I also saw the group come back together as apologies were made and references to the meaning of "uninformed" became the topic. Finally K3TIM put up a picture of 2-tone distortion as measured on his freakin flex's panadapter! If that isn't light I don't know what is. So when discussing "what to do" do not be afraid to allow the group to process. It's a very powerful means to build group loyalty and brand loyalty. What I would like to see in this kind of discussion is a means to inject a little moderation (like some ALC) without totally squelching discussion.
Finally I don't give a rip how Kenwood does it.
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.
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