Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
November 18, 2017, 05:35:24 PM
Home Help Login Register
News:

CAP Talk  |  General Discussion  |  The Lobby  |  Topic: What CAP-Talk Was, And What Its Become
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Pages: [1] 2 3 4  All Print
Author Topic: What CAP-Talk Was, And What Its Become  (Read 5412 times)
NIN
VIP

Posts: 4,663
Unit: of issue

« on: September 19, 2017, 04:54:40 PM »

While in San Antonio at the National Conference, a number of times (enough that I noticed and started sort of keeping track) people mentioned CAPTalk in the same breath as some of the, uh, other sites that have their gaze fixed on CAP.

I mentioned this to Pylon recently, and we got to talking about it.

The original intent of CAPTalk was to provide a national-level venue for CAP members, cadets and seniors, to learn from each other. A place for members to have discussions where everyone could learn professionally from one another, share resources, best practices, ideas, comment on others' ideas, etc. A professional discussion community. A real resource.

I should know: I'm one of the "early adopters" here and most of the mods/admins here came from the CadetStuff forums (where we were highly CP focused only).  We actively suggested CAPTalk for "CAP-specific" discussions of ES, aerospace, and other non-CP focused things.

But to listen to people say things like "yeah, don't bother going to CAPTalk. Its a bunch of malcontents who just want to argue and complain" or "If you post there, some guy from Illinois will just shout you down" (seriously, someone said that..) forced me to evaluate what CAPTalk has become, prompting my discussion with Mike.   

I'm pretty sure that what CAPTalk has become today is pretty far from the "commander's intent" that Mike & Jerry had in mind circa 2005.

I mention this because I'm not sure everybody here wants to be painted with the same broad brush of "malcontentedness" (no, thats not a word!). I know for certain I don't want to participate in a place thats lumped into the same category as "those other sites."   I'd like to think that those people have some kind of an axe to grind, and that people here don't, but maybe I'm wrong.

So the question is: if thats the perception, what are we going to do about it as the people who make the community what it is?  Like living in that town that "has that reputation," are we interested in making it better, or worse?

Going forward, if CAP-Talk wants to remain relevant, I think a couple things have to happen:

- The moderation scheme needs to (over time) evolve into one that encourages discussion among people who are, you know, there to actually talk about CAP, but just absolutely crushes the "CAP sucks and I just want to vent my spleen about it to anybody who will listen to my screed" crowd.  (Some of these people are still members, and I swear I'm thinking to myself "If you hate CAP that much, why the hell are you still here?") The vitrol needs to be moderated, because its poisoning the well.

- The forum might benefit from the ability to "gild" comments and/or commenters.  Newbies will see immediately who the smart people you should be paying attention to are, and who the rabble rousers are, and what kind of discussion tone is well regarded and what kind is not preferred.  Then the "cream rises to the top," and to not mix my metaphors too much, "a rising tide lifts all boats" as it pertains to the quality and level of discourse.

Thats just a couple thoughts, but honestly gang, the vector along which CAPTalk is currently flying is going to be unsustainable for it to be considered any sort of a "resource" for CAP members.



Logged
Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2017 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
TX CAP Mom
Recruit

Posts: 8

« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2017, 05:13:15 PM »

I agree with you as a complete newbie to CAP. I am still trying to navigate the waters with my son. CAP is not really a parent-friendly organization, and I'm actually fine with that. He doesn't need mommy holding his hand at meetings. But there are questions and details to be attended to that I am unable to find appropriate answers to. I have come here to see if I can find answers and found threads where someone may have asked. Often the comments are a grouchy "Google is your friend" or "Search 39-1!!" which for a newbie is completely overwhelming. In our squadron, most of the seniors don't have much interaction with the cadets it seems, and it can be difficult for a new parent to even know who to ask, but perhaps that's unique to us. I saw CAPtalk as a welcome resource for discussions about CAP.

I am happy to see that this may get addressed so that CAPtalk is a friendly, knowledgeable and informative place to discuss all things CAP, especially for the young cadets who join. They deserve some positivity.
Logged
Live2Learn
Seasoned Member

Posts: 465

« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2017, 06:00:21 PM »

Maybe, just maybe, malcontents and grumblers serve a positive function by daring to point out warts that would otherwise be ignored.  We do, I believe, have an element of the GOB/GOG problem in CAP.  (GOB="Good 'ol Boy; GOG="Good ol' Girl).  I've certainly observed it in both subtle and less so ways in various situations.  It's human nature so we might as well accept it and move along.  After a bit most persons who participate on this or other forums begin to figure out which nom d plume is associated with substance, and which is not.  So, how is that substantively different from life outside of this virtual reality we call "CapTalk"?  IMHO, "moderation" is best performed with moderation and an eye toward maintaining civility.  It's not a great leap to wield the power of a 'moderator' to become merely a censor when unvarnished opinions are disappeared because they don't fit a perceived framework.  For example, the recent vanishing of an entire thread on the tragic CAP glider fiasco that resulted in three deaths and a substantial court award of damages. 

Would the PTB ('Powers That Be") wish to have some topical areas retained as 'guided discussions' while others are a bit more 'wild west'?  I wonder which would produce the most lively and interesting conversations? 
Logged
GrantHenninger
Recruit

Posts: 5

« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2017, 06:34:57 PM »

Would the PTB ('Powers That Be") wish to have some topical areas retained as 'guided discussions' while others are a bit more 'wild west'?  I wonder which would produce the most lively and interesting conversations?
The goal is not "lively and interesting conversations," the goal is to be a helpful resource to CAP members (and as TX CAP Mom points out, the parents of our cadets.) There is still room to provide constructive feedback and to find ways to improve CAP, but there is a difference between being simply grumbling about CAP and being solutions oriented to our problems.
Logged
Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award
***
Posts: 27,981

« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2017, 07:12:59 PM »

I've made the suggestion on a number of occasions that the forum be fully moderated,
including deleting individual messages instead of nuking / locking threads, that's never been popular.

Many have suggested the forum be fully authenticated and only open to members, that's always shot
down as "unworkable".

I've suggested that there be "ask and answer" only threads with no room for discussion - nope.

We also have people here who have blatantly violated the TOS and that's been ignored as well.

One non-trivial issue is that in regards to CAP regs and policies, there is rarely "one answer", either
because of wing differences, regulatory conflicts and incongruousness, or simply areas where it's a flavor
choice vs. a "hard-fast" (How many improper practices, bad ideas, and violations of regs, policies, and safety
have come from this board?)

I'm verbose, but I don't think I'm disrespectful, and in fact I try very hard to leave personalities
out of the discussions, and do my best to support my positions with facts, regs, or personal experience.

People these days want an echo chamber and an "agreement box".  If encountering a verbose disagreement is
considered to be "shouting down", well the world will be an exciting place at some point for you.

If the mods want to change the timbre here, so be it, your playground, but other then the occasional drive-by,
a heated but honest disagreement, or the occasional actual insult towards a real person rarely are people "disrespectful" here.
Logged

"Effort" does not equal "results".
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2017 by eclipse. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.

Live2Learn
Seasoned Member

Posts: 465

« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2017, 07:16:56 PM »

Would the PTB ('Powers That Be") wish to have some topical areas retained as 'guided discussions' while others are a bit more 'wild west'?  I wonder which would produce the most lively and interesting conversations?
The goal is not "lively and interesting conversations," the goal is to be a helpful resource to CAP members (and as TX CAP Mom points out, the parents of our cadets.) There is still room to provide constructive feedback and to find ways to improve CAP, but there is a difference between being simply grumbling about CAP and being solutions oriented to our problems.

Maybe ONE of the goals is to be helpful to TX CAP Mom.  Is that the sole purpose of CAPTalk? Should CAPTalk have some structured areas where conversations can be less than "lively and interesting"... ?? while others dig for more?   We should keep in mind that heavy handed "moderation" tends to produce the party line and little else.  FWIW, it's my observation that  boring is unlikely to attract, nor retain much interest or insightful participation.  Where would you propose justifiable critiques of CAP  (i.e. pointing out and exploring solutions to  'warts') be discussed?
Logged
Shawn Stanford
Newbie

Posts: 1

« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2017, 09:12:54 PM »

The original intent of CAPTalk was to provide a national-level venue for CAP members, cadets and seniors, to learn from each other. A place for members to have discussions where everyone could learn professionally from one another, share resources, best practices, ideas, comment on others' ideas, etc. A professional discussion community. A real resource.
In the Before Time in the days of the original email version of CAP Talk, ca. late 90s, one of the reasons we launched CS Forums was to provide a place where Cadets could ask silly questions without Seniors stomping them for simply being ignorant. It mostly worked, thanks to the efforts of people like you, UK, Haase, etc.

Here? Not so much.

Some of you seriously need your shot-groups tightened if you want this dump to stay relevant. For instance, in a recent thread some bright-eyed kid wrote in to ask how to fill out an awards form. He was told - in no uncertain terms - "you shouldn't be doing that", which was not only tone-deaf and dickish, but wrong.

I'll ask any question, no matter what kind of crap I'll get from some pedantic know-it-all, because I'm that kind of jerk. However, I'm not a 15 year-old Cadet.

Mike: Seriously: I say we fly away and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
Logged
"Where in my job description is the word 'nice'?"
BuckeyeDEJ
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,069
Unit: GLR-001

« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2017, 09:50:07 PM »

What I'd say is that this could be a good resource if it's allowed to be and fostered as such. Maybe there needs to be some additional policing and hand-holding. I don't think I'd take Shawn's nuclear option. At least not yet.
Logged


CAP since 1984: Lt Col; former C/Lt Col; MO, MRO, MS, IO; former sq CC/CD/PA; group and wing PA, natl cmte mbr, nat'l staff member, at region level now
REAL LIFE: Working journalist in SPG, DTW (News), SRQ, PIT (Trib), 2D1, WVI, W22; editor, desk chief, designer, photog, columnist, reporter, graphics guy, visual editor, but not all at once. Now in marketing.
ProdigalJim
Seasoned Member

Posts: 498
Unit: MER-VA-082

Aviation Week
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2017, 10:10:51 PM »

It's hard, in many ways. People have a fundamental need to be heard. It's the animating principle of this vast uncontrolled experiment called "social media," and overall I think free and open discussion brings benefits to everyone.

I think Brother Nin is correct to observe that CAP Talk -- as we like to say about CAP itself -- is what we make of it. If we don't like the dog-piling, the snarkiness, or any of the other observed behaviors, let's just all refrain. Try to catch ourselves before we click "Post."

I also believe fervently in the value of airing "warts and all" critiques. But there's a difference between a critique and a screed. I think we should all aspire to offering observations about warts, and then proposing cures for said warts. As a commander (and as a boss) I much prefer people who come to me and say, "Here's how what we're doing is going sideways. You have these three options to fix it. Based on my expertise and experience, I recommend Option Two." That's much better than "Jonny's a jackass, and you should do something about him."

I think we also should constrain our observations to warts on programs and processes, rather than people. We ought to try to presume good or innocent motives and not just assume that some process or procedure was instituted out of malice or disregard. Critique the problem and not the person.

I, for one, am taking the pledge here tonight to try to do better...
Logged
Jim Mathews, Maj., CAP
Commander, VAWG Group 3
My Mitchell Has Four Digits...
NIN
VIP

Posts: 4,663
Unit: of issue

« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2017, 10:11:46 PM »

Maybe ONE of the goals is to be helpful to TX CAP Mom.  Is that the sole purpose of CAPTalk? Should CAPTalk have some structured areas where conversations can be less than "lively and interesting"... ?? while others dig for more?   We should keep in mind that heavy handed "moderation" tends to produce the party line and little else.  FWIW, it's my observation that  boring is unlikely to attract, nor retain much interest or insightful participation.  Where would you propose justifiable critiques of CAP  (i.e. pointing out and exploring solutions to  'warts') be discussed?

OK, first, I suggested *more* moderation, not heavy-handed moderation.

There is a difference.

I've moderated online forums for nigh unto 16 or 18 years. Moderation, done correctly, is like a cowboy herding a stray back toward the pack. Done poorly, its riding out and shooting the stray in the head.  It requires a light touch, not a Mk61 shape.

CadetStuff had a different moderation scheme. Accidentally, we wound up (for a long time, but unfortunately, not the entire time) guiding people "back to the path of righteousness," so to speak, moreso than outright bannination or clamping down on discussion.

I'm a member of several other online forums, Reddit being one. The moderation scheme is uneven as heck there between subreddits, but in places where the mods are "no nonsense," the level of discourse is higher. People know they have to participate in a certain way. They're expected to put forth quality posts and behave.  Whats wrong with that?  Don't we expect the people who come to our squadron meetings to put forth some effort and behave, too?

In another forum I'm a part of, their moderation scheme is pretty solidly "no fooling around" as well. Topic drift is minimal, transgressions are dealt with, and newbies don't get crushed for saying "Hello" or asking a question.  And its a considerably more technical forum dealing with more moving parts than CAP, so "dumb questions" get asked a lot by new folks.  Nature of the beast.

Logged
Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2017 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
NIN
VIP

Posts: 4,663
Unit: of issue

« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2017, 10:14:41 PM »

I, for one, am taking the pledge here tonight to try to do better...

Me too. Although, I'd like to think I've always tried to be that way (you can see, I'm a bit of a wiseacre too..)

Logged
Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2017 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
etodd
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 847

« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2017, 10:50:47 PM »

Only been in CAP a couple years, but I've enjoyed the very unofficial forum here as it is. I can gripe, I can praise, I can get my head handed to me on a platter when I deserve it.

Sure, the forum could be moderated to the point that its all a field of beautiful daisies we can walk through all blissful and happy. LOL  But who wants that.

Forums like this can be a place where some folks can 'vent' after a meeting and say what they really think, without hurting someone's feelings. Another member here can then help them see the other side and smooth it out hopefully before the offended person goes ballistic at a meeting.  ;D

Iron sharpens iron.

Questions and answers? As some mentioned ... even specific CAP Regs get interpreted differntly in each Wing and then even at the Squadron level. Broad generalizations and directions seem to work here. But often times it does wind up being "ask your squadron", because thats the reality.

Quote
- The forum might benefit from the ability to "gild" comments and/or commenters.  Newbies will see immediately who the smart people you should be paying attention to are .....

Yes .... but will reek of a 'good old boy club'.

I see the forum as an 'after hours club'.  The meeting adjourned, and a few folks say 'lets stop for a couple of drinks on the way home. Or coffee'.  The discussions there are what we see here. Off the record discussions between folks who have loosened their starched collars and taken off the ribbons, and talk realities of what goes on.
Logged
MS - MO - AP - MP
FW
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 2,138

« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2017, 11:08:13 PM »

"Back in the day", CAP-Talk was the unofficial "grapevine" for CAP.  We had our trolls back then, but most threads were based on the same themes as now. I've noticed no real difference in the quality of the discussions over the last 10 or so years.  I do see a lot of the same old same old though.  One thing I am sure of.  Our leadership does read CAP-Talk.  It was an effective tool for change, and still may be.  Better moderation may be a key to future success, however I think if members realize this forum's limitations, we'd all be better off. 
Logged
Brad
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 776
Unit: MER-SC-020

« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2017, 12:06:06 AM »

I've been here for a good bit, since I first joined CAP back in October 2007 according to records. (Wow, 10 years already, jeez...) I agree with the good Col Ninness in regards to forum moderation, I've moderated and administered several forums over the years, currently administer 3 actually, and it is indeed a fine line, but it works when used right. I haven't used SMF too much to speak with any authority on it, but having a good permission set and forums and user permissions that are conductive to that goes a long way to ensuring that day-to-day operations are as routine as they can be.
Logged
Brad Lee
Maj, CAP
Assistant Director of Communications
SCWG
K4RMN
Gunsotsu
Recruit

Posts: 29

« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2017, 01:24:46 AM »

I'll admit, proudly, to being one of those "you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy" crowd. Because, as I've always said, CAPTalk IS NOT an official part of CAP. And anything you gleam from there should be taken with a grain of salt.

That's the ultimate take away, nothing here is in any way officially connected to CAP. So why should it matter?
Logged
Slim
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 552

« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2017, 05:43:25 AM »

I'll admit, proudly, to being one of those "you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy" crowd. Because, as I've always said, CAPTalk IS NOT an official part of CAP. And anything you gleam from there should be taken with a grain of salt.

That's the ultimate take away, nothing here is in any way officially connected to CAP. So why should it matter?

Thanks for being part of the problem.

In years past, NHQ used to read this and other CAP fora as a way of getting a feel for some of what goes on in the field.  They may have released a new draft regulation, then followed the fora to see what was being said, and what may have been wrong with that new reg.  I've seen new draft regs or policies come out, be discussed at length here and other places, and I've seen changes made to those drafts that were things that were discussed here, sometimes word for word. 

I've recruited people into my squadron from this site.  Several years ago, before things really started going downhill, a father who googled CAP stumbled across this site, and started asking questions.  Turns out that he and his his daughter lived about half a mile from where my unit met.  She ended up joining, had a successful career as a cadet, then went on to marry another cadet from the squadron the day after he graduated from the Air Force Academy. 

Imagine the picture that father might have of CAP if he did the same thing right now?  In an organization that is sometimes struggling for new members, imagine how many potential recruits could be coming here to get a feel of the organization, reading a few threads and walking away wanting nothing to do with us.  All because of a relatively low percentage of members who come here to use the cloak of anonymity to make the rest of the organization look bad.

Sure, CAP as a whole has problems.  So does Amazon, Google, Yahoo, Apple, IBM, your local McDonalds, and every other organization of any size.  But we don't need to be putting all of it out there for everyone to see. 

Also, FWIW, I do know of people who had the same thought about these unofficial fora who were not quite as anonymous as they thought, and found out that-officially connected or not-what they said and/or did here carried some real-world consequences back at the squadron.
Logged

Slim
dwb
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,313

« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2017, 07:07:49 AM »

I don't participate much here, for a variety of reasons. One big reason is the futility of the discussion.

Sort the user list by number of posts, and you'll see the problem. I can call out names, but I don't think I need to. This forum is absolutely dominated by the same 4-5 voices.

You few high-volume posters have ruined CAP Talk, because you post in every single thread, you're never wrong, and you never stop posting. This can't be a vibrant discussion with hundreds of people when the same 4-5 are shouting at the top of their lungs constantly. Somewhat frequent posters, casual posters, and lurkers all get sick of trying to contribute because they know they're going to face the unending flurry of replies from people who post 20+ times a day.

All this said, it's not that those 4-5 voices are bad people. I think this is what nearly every discussion board of this kind devolves in to. It's pretty much inevitable that you'll have a handful of long-time people who feel that they know best, the occasional drive-by conspiracy theorists, casuals and lurkers, etc.

I'm not convinced that the discussion board as a communication medium is even useful in 2017. If I owned the captalk.net domain, I would be tempted every single day to sinkhole it. Even with improvements to the software and moderation policies, I don't know that this place can be made into something radically different than what it is.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Logged
Cliff_Chambliss
Seasoned Member

Posts: 393

« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2017, 08:53:21 AM »

This is a very interesting conversation.  There is one thing I have noticed about CAPTALK (and several other aviation related forums).  Those forums which allow the use of an alias are, in general, less civil and less disciplined than those sites that require the use of a real name.  I wonder how much would clean up if all posters were required to own their comments and use their real name and location.
Logged
11th Armored Cavalry Regiment
2d Armored Cavalry Regiment
3d Infantry Division
504th BattleField Surveillance Brigade

ARMY:  Because even the Marines need heros.    
CAVALRY:  If it were easy it would be called infantry.
Alaric
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 750

« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2017, 08:55:49 AM »

This is a very interesting conversation.  There is one thing I have noticed about CAPTALK (and several other aviation related forums).  Those forums which allow the use of an alias are, in general, less civil and less disciplined than those sites that require the use of a real name.  I wonder how much would clean up if all posters were required to own their comments and use their real name and location.

I grant your point, but aliases also allow for people who hold official positions to join the discussion without seeming to speak for the organization
Logged
ironputts
Member

Posts: 78
Unit: PA-101

Lower Bucks Squadron PA101
« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2017, 09:24:17 AM »

Hello my fellow Cap Talkers! I have been in CAP since 1991 and a member of this forum since 2007. I have posted only 70+ times in those 10 years but was grateful for the opportunity to see what others wrote and I can respond. I believe discussion boards like this perform a function to interact with interested members on topics that are important to us. Some topics can run the spectrum between love and hate. That is the price for any open forum. If we lock it down then the perspective might change. My vote is to let it continue and our forum moderators have at times shut a topic down after that dead horse turns to an unsavory smell. I would just like to add it has been a privilege working with so many volunteers in an organization that shares the same goals as I do.
Logged
Greg Putnam
Lt Col, CAP
Pages: [1] 2 3 4  All Print 
CAP Talk  |  General Discussion  |  The Lobby  |  Topic: What CAP-Talk Was, And What Its Become
 


Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP SMF 2.0.13 | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.387 seconds with 20 queries.