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NIN
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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.



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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: 9

« 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.
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Live2Learn
Seasoned Member

Posts: 466

« 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? 
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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.
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Eclipse
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« 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.
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Live2Learn
Seasoned Member

Posts: 466

« 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?
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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.
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BuckeyeDEJ
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,069
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« 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.
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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
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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...
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Jim Mathews, Maj., CAP
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NIN
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« 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.

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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
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« 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..)

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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: 853

« 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.
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MS - MO - AP - MP
FW
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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. 
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Brad
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« 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.
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Brad Lee
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Gunsotsu
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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?
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Slim
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Posts: 553

« 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.
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Slim
dwb
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Posts: 1,314

« 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)_/¯
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Cliff_Chambliss
Seasoned Member

Posts: 395

« 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.
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Alaric
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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
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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.
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Greg Putnam
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« Reply #20 on: September 20, 2017, 09:53:17 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

I join the discussion, and while my user name doesn't say specifically who I am, my signature block does.  I'm not speaking for the organization unless I say I am (which, here, is tremendously infrequently).  When I was hired into my current position, my participation in CAP-Talk was actually mentioned as a positive factor, as in "People have seen what you have to say and they like it."

There is some degree of responsibility when your name is associated with your words. 

As I previously mentioned Reddit, the discussions there can get pretty freewheeling specifically because a massive percentage of people are anon and don't want to get doxxed for what they post. This is probably why the moderation scheme in the better subreddits is pretty heavy. For example: I've had several comments in one of the more "technical" subreddits modded down due to "low effort posting." Consequently, when I make a comment in one of those subreddits now, I work a little harder to make sure my comment or post actually contributes to the discussion at hand and doesn't drag the discussion off topic.  How is that bad?  The mods aren't staunching off legitimate discussion (even that which might be outside the "mainstream"), but they are helping separate the wheat from the chaff in terms of keeping the dialog "on point" and "high quality."  I know when I go into that subreddit, I'm going to read informative and smart discussions about the actual topic at hand, not "No, shut up, you're wrong" or "you're an idiot, read the FAQ" or 400 cat videos.

 Thats a VERY fine line to walk. VERY fine. And it works, most of the time.



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Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
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NIN
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« Reply #21 on: September 20, 2017, 09:59:30 AM »

I am loathe to post this here, but it is relevant to the discussion, and this theory has more or less been taken as gospel:

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Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
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Eclipse
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« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2017, 11:35:26 AM »

The thought struck me this morning that CAPtalk, seemingly, has followed nearly the same arc as many CAP members, even in the
actual time it took to get there, and is now surprised at the result.

Members get little guidance or training, work to do the best that they can in a vacuum, and a small number of those with the time, interest, and inititive
wind up taking the lead, either by design or from a practical perspective. Those members may well assume an inappropriate sense of
"ownership" because of the amount of time and effort expended, which is never discouraged, and even occasionally praised by the leadership.

They are generally left to their own devices, occasionally becoming shiny enough for someone to say "take it easy", or "don't do that again",
but on the mean, because things are working, there is no direction or plan provided.  Commanders like the positive attention they are getting
from the work of the few, and chalk up mistakes to their failure to provide a map.

Occasionally a member pushes things too far, and are disciplined, but because of the mean, their being disciplined, or even terminated,
is noticed more because of the fact that someone actually took action, vs. their actual transgression.

New members, many of whom don't realize the time and effort it takes to reach a level of proficiency and involvement, get frustrated because
they don't have a "full voice" the first day, either because they can't put in the time, or actually aren't all that interested, but really
just want a cool hat, and/or realize griping about being put-upon is easier then rolling up their sleeves and doing the work to get there.

Then one day "someone", decides the ship is way too far off the intended course, despite there being no course charted or communicated,
and then next thing you know, people with 10 years in are simply "gone".

Then the emails start about "retention".

“Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster... for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
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HGjunkie
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,616

« Reply #23 on: September 20, 2017, 01:06:55 PM »

I stopped reading CAPTalk a long time ago mostly because of the echo chamber effect (with the same group of people posting in every single thread, it seems like), and like I've seen for years now the general disdain for Cadets with questions. I don't gain anything from this website, nor do most people even respect the discourse that happens here (ungodly amounts of uniform drama is too much even for me). The top 50-ish posting members, with few exceptions, have been on this website for around 10 years now. The post numbers fall off dramatically after about the top 100. There is very little new perspective in these forums, the same tired arguments and discussions, and it's showing.
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TheSkyHornet
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Posts: 881

« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2017, 02:40:08 PM »

Doesn't every form of social media, though, have that same timeline (albeit different lengths for that timeline)?

It starts off as a small group, progresses to grow into a mass of members, and gets flooded with both a lot of good and a lot of bad (including misinformation, "stupid" questions/topics that could be answered easily through self-study/research, "stupid" questions/topics that really don't belong, not to mention the flood of members of the board who aren't even affiliated with the organization for which the board was intended...and let's not forget the insults and personal attacks).

What's good about this board, though, is that, unlike a lot of other boards, those top-tier lifers don't always hide in the shadows; you guys/gals do bother to contribute---whether keeping us, the masses, informed about what's going on at the top and what we can expect, providing reasoning for certain decisions, or just acknowledging that you hear some of the gripes (and the commendations) to take back to your "offices" for review.

For me, personally, this is like a classroom. I already know a lot of what I see. I have my own questions. I see and hear things I never thought of, and I can take those back to my unit as "try this" or "don't ever do this" efforts. And there's a lot I channel out and skip over.

The best PDO classes are the ones that have always taken the course textbook content, reviewed methodology, and then talked about its practical application from a variety of different experiences and mindsets. That's where innovation is sparked (or shot down). This is like those to me, but on my own time, at my leisure, and can go on for as long as people are willing to contribute, unlimited to a clock telling us to go home.

Personally, I like CAP Talk. I had my first judgments early on. Some stayed true, some were redirected. I've had those classes where someone mentions CAP Talk and you hear someone go "Oh, no, don't." I had someone ask in my first PDO class if I was in the room (and if he's reading this, he knows who he is). I didn't want to respond at first because I had heard those "Stay off of CAP Talk" comments. Frankly, I've come to learn that I could care less of your opinions.

But really, why is CAP Talk different from the other social media boards, like I stated? I don't really think it is. It's like the Reddit of CAP, or RallyPoint, or various military community forums, or those Facebook pages that post the memes where half the people are the Dependapotamuses. It has its ups and downs, but some of the information here is invaluable. As Eclipse said, it's hard to get it for many people back home.

More often than not, it seems most of the people on here are the ones who have some vested interest in CAP, or at least did at one time.

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PA Guy
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Posts: 709

« Reply #25 on: September 21, 2017, 02:14:24 AM »

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PA Guy
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Posts: 709

« Reply #26 on: September 21, 2017, 02:26:46 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)_/¯

 :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: Yes

Poster since 2005.
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JoeTomasone
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Posts: 1,659

« Reply #27 on: September 21, 2017, 10:12:57 AM »

I started a Facebook group called "Civil Air Patrol Discussion Group" specifically to foster an environment where anyone could discuss things - even the same old things - without condemnation, being judged, or told to "go look it up in the regs, newbie".    Largely, it's succeeded without the need to ban anyone - and only occasionally having to step in and moderate anything - because there are pretty stringent rules.   To use an earlier analogy, very little herding of the strays has been required because the lines are clearly defined and rarely approached, much less crossed.

I agree with many of the posters here - more moderation is needed, especially to restrict junk posts and replies that derail threads.   CAP Talk has the potential to be an invaluable resource, but sometimes it gets very hard to see the wheat through all the chaff.   That's why I don't participate as much as I used to either.
 
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Live2Learn
Seasoned Member

Posts: 466

« Reply #28 on: September 21, 2017, 10:40:55 AM »

This is an interesting thread.  I'm cruious why some commenters state that they [paraphrased] 'see no value' in this board, yet it appears that the same individuals choose not to participate in discussions, nor to contribute topics for discussion.  To a large extent this medium is really a product created by participation.  Absent investment, a.k.a. as THOUGHTFUL posts we get what we get.  Moderation may be helpful to put a lid on ad hominims and other destructive trolling, but moderation does not create content.  Frankly, I see no large problem with frequent posters who offer thoughtful, interesting, and enlightening material.  I expec many 'lurkers' receive some value from the material they read, otherwise why invest the time?   FWIW, I believe frequent posters who contribute substance to community learning are valuuable.  IMHO more of that behavior should be encouraged.  Unfortunately, lurkers who consume, criticize in their safe spaces, and dis the forum off line with snarky comments will always be part of society, whether in social media or in-person social circles.  I suggest that the PTB listen to their concerns, weight the complaints in proportion to content and demonstrated past contributions to other forum conversations.





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Eclipse
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« Reply #29 on: September 21, 2017, 10:49:57 AM »

What does it say about CAP-Talk when, in the midst of a discussion about what it should be, including
avoiding arguments and staying off the tired roads, that literally the next three active threads were:

Whether cadet Airmen should wear service coats, with a veiled comment it was dumb to do so.

Re-opening the NCO debate, again.

A thread drift with an argument about whether a HAA should be secret squirrel or not.

Perhaps there should be a sticky with a code of conduct which includes prohibiting discussion about the 5 or so
very dead and tired subjects until and only if NHQ makes an announcement of an actual change to that respective issue.
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dwb
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,314

« Reply #30 on: September 21, 2017, 10:55:15 AM »

What does it say about CAP-Talk when, in the midst of a discussion about what it should be, including
avoiding arguments and staying off the tired roads, that literally the next three active threads were:

Whether cadet Airmen should wear service coats, with a veiled comment it was dumb to do so.

Re-opening the NCO debate, again.

A thread drift with an argument about whether a HAA should be secret squirrel or not.

Perhaps there should be a sticky with a code of conduct which includes prohibiting discussion about the 5 or so
very dead and tired subjects until and only if NHQ makes an announcement of an actual change to that respective issue.

Right, so here again you're illustrating my point.

It's not a "very dead and tired subject" if you're new to CAP, or new to the subject, or new to CAP Talk. It's tired to you because you've been here for 12 years and you've posted nearly 28,000 times.

You don't actually have to participate in every single conversation. Let people discuss what is interesting to them, and you can discuss what is interesting to you.
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TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 881

« Reply #31 on: September 21, 2017, 11:02:17 AM »

Not to mention that those who have been around for 12 years continue to have some opinion on it and seemingly continue to respond.

If it's such a dead topic, why contribute?
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award
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Posts: 27,995

« Reply #32 on: September 21, 2017, 11:04:12 AM »

It's not a "very dead and tired subject" if you're new to CAP, or new to the subject, or new to CAP Talk.

Then spend the time reading what has been discussed, not first-posting with the same question or proposition that
is already indicated 15 times in the same 20-page thread.

Perhaps threads could be closed once a question is answered like many of the tech forums - that negates the
derailing while still providing a KB for new members.
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TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 881

« Reply #33 on: September 21, 2017, 11:13:22 AM »

It's not a "very dead and tired subject" if you're new to CAP, or new to the subject, or new to CAP Talk.

Then spend the time reading what has been discussed, not first-posting with the same question or proposition that
is already indicated 15 times in the same 20-page thread.

Perhaps threads could be closed once a question is answered like many of the tech forums - that negates the
derailing while still providing a KB for new members.

Closing an old thread, yes, I agree. Don't reignite a thread from 6 months ago.

I see no harm in someone asking for an updated answer though to something that was asked 5 years back. Times change. Regulations change. And perspectives and opinions change.

I personally research the board before any new topic I create. But in today's modern era, most people want instant answers rather than looking it up first.
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etodd
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 853

« Reply #34 on: September 21, 2017, 11:43:26 AM »

I started a Facebook group called "Civil Air Patrol Discussion Group" specifically to foster an environment where anyone could discuss things - even the same old things - without condemnation, being judged, or told to "go look it up in the regs, newbie". 

I follow it and participate some. The big advantage there is that its not anonymous. Makes folks think before they post.
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MS - MO - AP - MP
Live2Learn
Seasoned Member

Posts: 466

« Reply #35 on: September 21, 2017, 11:57:40 AM »

It's not a "very dead and tired subject" if you're new to CAP, or new to the subject, or new to CAP Talk.

Then spend the time reading what has been discussed, not first-posting with the same question or proposition that
is already indicated 15 times in the same 20-page thread.

Perhaps threads could be closed once a question is answered like many of the tech forums - that negates the
derailing while still providing a KB for new members.

I have a different view of threads on a "dead and tired subject".  If I've not read them 'til now they might be very interesting.  Resurrecting them by posting anew may be very relevant, both on technical subjects and non-technical topics.  Personally, I learn from reviewing comments offered while the topic was first discussed.  For those to whom the topic is "old and tired", why do you choose to review the material 'yet again'?  If it's old and tired to you, move on.  We ought not deprive persons for whom the information is novel the opportunity to view it and comment on it, even if we've already expressed our (of course, highly valued) opinion.  I recall an earlier post on this thread, for example, that referred to a Cadet Mom from Texas.  Let her, or the cadet's Dad, uncle, cousin, or whomever draw some benefit from the past discussion.  Another recent thread discussed recruiting, retention, etc.  That thread's underlying message was about the cycle of people through CAP.  IMHO, we should grant the newcomers the opportunity to engage by commenting on older threads.  That freshens them up and bridges the historical context to the present.  Here, and elsewhere I've noticed we may see persons who, rightly or wrongly, believe that "been there, done that" [BTDT] settles a question for all time.  Sometimes I confess I'm guilty of that view myself.  Maybe 'BTDT" isn't really a valid point, since times change.  Technology changes, and people change.  BTDT is highly contextual.  It's surprisingly how often taking another look from a different place in time will yield a different answer.
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SarDragon
Global Moderator

Posts: 10,061
Unit: NAVAIRPAC

« Reply #36 on: September 21, 2017, 11:32:23 PM »

As one of the evil, draconian moderators, I have, in the past several weeks, received requests to reopen a couple of threads. I have done so, with the proviso that there be new content, worthy of the effort. The requestors have, for the most part, accomplished that.

The offer remains open. I, or another mod, will review the request, gather additional info as needed, and approve or deny. The easiest method is to simply report the post you want revived, and it will go to all the mods for action. Make a case for your request in the comments, and we'll give it a look.
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Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
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Alaric
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Posts: 750

« Reply #37 on: September 22, 2017, 08:30:30 AM »

One of my issues with the locking of threads is that the moderators seem to be inconsistent.  There are plenty of ask and answer threads that they let go on an on long after the original question was answered in the second post, others they lock down almost immediately.  Consistency is important, both in the enforcement of rules and what is and is not acceptable behavior.
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Live2Learn
Seasoned Member

Posts: 466

« Reply #38 on: September 22, 2017, 01:34:58 PM »

...I have, in the past several weeks, received requests to reopen a couple of threads. I have done so, with the proviso that there be new content, worthy of the effort. The requestors have, for the most part, accomplished that.

The offer remains open. ... Make a case for your request in the comments, and we'll give it a look.

I appreciate Moderator openness to revisiting some conversations.  Sometimes a 'lock down' seems the only option for containing thread drift.  Other times??? maybe direct action to 'assist' errant posters to mind their manners.   I speculate that "several requests to reopen" may very well be the tip of the iceberg.  Unless it's a big deal I wonder if most of us would just let it ride rather than adding to the thread.  While that might allow BTDT to be less obvious, we may then have multiple threads that cover similar/same ground and create less accessibility to "new" aka 'old' information.  To me that's a strong argument for allowing threads to wax, wane, and drop from lack of interest rather than from a Moderator keystroke.

Here's an example:  On another well modulated forum I ran across a very interesting (to me)  thread on VG's.  That forum's policy is to leave 'em open unless there is blatant disregard for the forum guidelines for decorum, and even then only if chastising the perps (to include deleting posts) proves ineffective.  I noticed the VG discussion of that 3-4  year old dormant thread had  lots of "love 'em"  and a few "don't do nothin' for my plane..." comments, but no conversation of how VG induced stall speed reductions affect handling for crosswind TO/Landing, nor in accelerated stall situations.  The thread came back to life following my query and now (along with more "love 'em" and "don't do nothin' ") comments, it's  enriched with discussions of wing types, the affects of VG's and rigging, and  some other interesting discussion.  How that, and other resurrected threads perform suggest to me that (1)  the 'tired old thread' is new stuff to many; and (2) the 'new' crowd, unencumbered by BTDT, offer a little more insight to the crosswind question that was not previously addressed.  An added bonus is the discussion of the VG induced reduced stall speed implications for  Va and Vtp (for the Members who aren't pilots Va = maneuvering speed, Vtp = turbulence penetration airspeed), etc. 
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Spam
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 949
Unit: GA-001

« Reply #39 on: September 22, 2017, 02:08:27 PM »

It's not a "very dead and tired subject" if you're new to CAP, or new to the subject, or new to CAP Talk.

Then spend the time reading what has been discussed, not first-posting with the same question or proposition that
is already indicated 15 times in the same 20-page thread.

Perhaps threads could be closed once a question is answered like many of the tech forums - that negates the
derailing while still providing a KB for new members.

Interesting points.

My supposition is that newer users are following the path of least resistance. Its harder to go to a pretty sterile one liner search window and then wade through pages of debates and off topics and uniform deviations and counter-insults, looking for the answer, vice just asking. Can't blame them for that, especially younger users with short attention spans.

"Perhaps" the search window icon could be more prominent, and the linked search window could include some text to help new users with the taxonomy of their searches. At present, its just an open one liner.

Short attention spans/impatience/unwillingness to look things up vs. grouchy old folks who've seen it "all" and jump on them, leading to poor forum retention... story of our CAP lives, in a nutshell.

V/r
Spam


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RiverAux
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« Reply #40 on: September 22, 2017, 03:41:42 PM »

As one of the historically (but now, not so much) frequent posters I suppose that I'm apt to get a little defensive when people complain about folks like me who have (or used to) comment so much.

We can't help it if the vast majority of CAPTalk users don't post very often.  Its like CAP itself -- 20% of the people do 80% of the work. 

And if you haven't noticed, us frequent users are the ones that start most of the threads.

Don't want half the posts coming from the same people?  Post something yourself and reduce the percentage that comes from us. 
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Nick
Seasoned Member

Posts: 473
Unit: SWR-TX-001

« Reply #41 on: September 23, 2017, 09:51:21 PM »

I take a great issue with the response to regulation-related questions being “go look it up”, “ask your chain of command”, or otherwise shooting down the question.

In nearly the same amount of time it takes someone to say “go ask your chain of command”, you can very easily point the person in the right direction to the reg, perhaps give a little context based on your experience, add a cautionary flag that “this or that may vary depending on your wing, unit, etc” and then guide the member to follow up with their chain of command for additional information.

As a commander, I want my members (particularly the cadets who are learning how to do this in school) to have done some research before coming and asking me to explain the rules to them. If they come armed with some knowledge, I will spend all day helping frame that knowledge for them. Their experience on CAPTalk should be part of the research, and being told “not here kid, go find it somewhere else” is not the right way to mentor these members.


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Nicholas McLarty, Lt Col, CAP
Texas Wing Staff Guy
National Cadet Team Guy
Luis R. Ramos
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 2,523

« Reply #42 on: September 24, 2017, 08:24:02 AM »

Quote
If they come armed with some knowledge... Their experience on CAPTalk should be part of the research, and being told “not here kid, go find it somewhere else” is not the right way to mentor these members.


If you provide the answer, how are they going to develop skills needed to "come armed with some knowledge?"

My experience as a library teacher is that the majority of young adults will not want to read or open documents. Among the questions I got was "I want a summary of the Cliffs Notes." For those of you that do not know what Cliffs Notes are, it is a summary of great works. So that student was asking for a summary of a summary!
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AlphaSigOU
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Posts: 2,151
Unit: PCR-NV-069

The Kwaj Drafter!
« Reply #43 on: September 24, 2017, 09:30:44 AM »

My experience as a library teacher is that the majority of young adults will not want to read or open documents. Among the questions I got was "I want a summary of the Cliffs Notes." For those of you that do not know what Cliffs Notes are, it is a summary of great works. So that student was asking for a summary of a summary!
It's pathetic what these kids today have become... unable and/or unwilling to crack open a book because they demand instant gratification.


And they ask me why I drink??!?!? :) ;) :D
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Lt Col Charles E. (Chuck) Corway, CAP
Gill Robb Wilson Award (#2901 - 2011)
Amelia Earhart Award (#1257 - 1982) - C/Major (retired)
Billy Mitchell Award (#2375 - 1981)
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Nick
Seasoned Member

Posts: 473
Unit: SWR-TX-001

« Reply #44 on: September 24, 2017, 09:43:58 AM »

I never said provide the answer. They come to CAPTalk and ask about a particular whatever, we should at least set them in the right direction to help them find the answer instead of just the default answer of shutting them down. Then when they come to their chain of command with the question, that person should ask them what have they found so far and work through reaching a conclusion.

Yes, kids these days (boy I never believed I would hear myself say that) want immediate, short answers. This is the generation of instant gratification. But the real world doesn’t work that way, and it is our responsibility to prepare these cadets for the real world even if it goes against what they are accustomed to.


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Nicholas McLarty, Lt Col, CAP
Texas Wing Staff Guy
National Cadet Team Guy
JoeTomasone
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,659

« Reply #45 on: September 24, 2017, 11:03:02 AM »


As a commander, I want my members (particularly the cadets who are learning how to do this in school) to have done some research before coming and asking me to explain the rules to them. If they come armed with some knowledge, I will spend all day helping frame that knowledge for them. Their experience on CAPTalk should be part of the research, and being told “not here kid, go find it somewhere else” is not the right way to mentor these members.

 :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
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NIN
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« Reply #46 on: September 24, 2017, 11:59:54 AM »

Agree with Nick on this.

In my "other job," I instruct in a particular unforgiving aviation evironment that doesn't lend itself well to neglect or ignorance.  And it doesn't lend itself particularly well to short, "low information" answers to things. The environment is complex, ever changing, and the answer that way well save your life in Situation A and Situation B might actually kill you in Situation C, even though at first glance Situation C is just the same as Situation A & B.  In other words, it rewards the fully-informed and trained individual, versus the "surface diver."  And it particularly doesn't lend itself well to internet-based training or instruction. You can get a *little*  in terms of background and rationale from the Internet (YouTube, in particular, although more often as an example of what NOT to do) but nothing beats in person instruction and actual on-the-ground practice followed by perfoming in the air.

As such, for the last 20+ years thru Internet-based forums, participants in online discussions have been quick to point out "If you're a student, your instructor is your best source of information, no some random guy on the internet" and "Don't got into your instructor saying 'well, the internet says...' because you'll get laughed at." 

That said, you can learn a lot of the background behind the environment, why equipment and training is the way it is, etc, via the internet. The "book learning" and "classroom specific" aspects lend themselves *somewhat* to individualized reading or discussion on the internet, but every environment, situation, instructor, equipment, pilot, etc are different, so what might be true of how things are done in Place A (discovered via the Interwebz) ain't always exactly the case in Place B, where the differences of equipment or environment might conspire to actually kill you if you did what they do in Place A, even though Place A and Place B conform to the nationally mandated guidance on the subject.

This has a lot of parallels in CAP.  Newbie reads the regs or other online guidance (knowledgebase, pamphlets) and then comes to CAP-Talk and says "Hey, I have a question about XYZ" because what he read in the guidance he found doesn't match the ground truth where he is.  Then he's told "READ THE REGS!"   Maybe half the reason he's here is because he DID read the regs and the regs, being somewhat abstract and ineloquent, just didn't explain to him what was going on and he needed additional, concrete examples of what that means.

Its still OK for people to say "OK, your chain of command is really the final word on this, but..." and explain how the practicl application of whatever his question is might collide with what the reg says. It happens. Every day.

Or maybe they didn't read the reg cuz they're so new to the organization that they don't even know there is a reg on that subject yet.  Imagine 2 month SM Timmy walked into your office wearing ABUs and a beret he picked up at clothing sales cuz it looked cool (don't laugh.. we had a Captain years ago do *exactly* this, not understanding that just because you can buy it at clothing sales doesn't mean you can just wear it.. He learned, quickly...). Do you shout "Get out of here and read 39-1. NOW!" No. Thats not leadership. Thats not mentorship. Thats not how it works.

"Hey, uh, Tim, take that nasty chef's hat looking thing off your noggin' and sit down for a second.. lets talk. You have an ABU cap? Good.  Uh, so about this beret you bought..."  and 39-1 comes out and a discussion ensues about headgear and authorization and uniformity and Timmy walks out of your office more informed and knowledgable than when he walked in.

And that should really be the goal here.

C/Amn Timmy comes along and goes "Can I buy all the ribbons in the Vanguard catalog now? Cuz I know I'm gonna get them!"  the response should be along the lines of "Tim, hey, first don't waste your money like that. Not evenbody has every ribbon, not even the National Commander.  You'll get the ribbons you're authorized on your journey thru CAP. Now, you should probably talk to your element leader or flight sergeant about these kinds of things, but CAPM 39-3 is really the place where you can learn more about ribbons and medals and awards.."

You might create the worlds biggest barracks lawyer doing that, but at least you didn't send the kid away questioning why he even joined in the first place.

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Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
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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.
Mitchell 1969
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 689
Unit: PCR-CA-051

« Reply #47 on: September 24, 2017, 12:03:21 PM »

Quote
If they come armed with some knowledge... Their experience on CAPTalk should be part of the research, and being told “not here kid, go find it somewhere else” is not the right way to mentor these members.


If you provide the answer, how are they going to develop skills needed to "come armed with some knowledge?"

My experience as a library teacher is that the majority of young adults will not want to read or open documents. Among the questions I got was "I want a summary of the Cliffs Notes." For those of you that do not know what Cliffs Notes are, it is a summary of great works. So that student was asking for a summary of a summary!

It isn’t the answer that has to be, or even should be, provided. Just something more than “Look it up, kid.”

Even the library staff wouldn’t say that to anybody. They’d say something like “Biographies, third floor” or “Fiction, over there - those books are in order of author’s last name.”

So what’s wrong with people here saying something like “You’ll find that in CAPM 39-1. It’s online?”


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_________________
Bernard J. Wilson, Major, CAP

Mitchell 1969; Earhart 1971; Eaker 1973. Cadet Flying Encampment, License, 1970. IACE New Zealand 1971; IACE Korea 1973.

CAP has been bery, bery good to me.
Cicero
Forum Regular

Posts: 105

« Reply #48 on: September 24, 2017, 01:35:28 PM »

I am new here. Posted just a few times. Probably will not post much again. Too negative, too ego driven and I am getting (unofficial) blowback from others for posting here at all. Mild so far, but a clear "warning" that this site has become "toxic".

FWIW I do believe a better TOS and a more proactive moderation could benefit all.


### 30 ###
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SamFranklin
Forum Regular

Posts: 190

« Reply #49 on: September 24, 2017, 02:47:16 PM »

I am an inactive but long-time CAP member and a lurker who agrees that CAP-Talk has become toxic. The good news is that in the mid-90s, as an email reflector CAP-Talk was even more toxic than it is now, so I have some optimism that the regulars here can turn things around. I don’t claim to be a social media expert, but I suggest these six principles could be helpful:


1.  Welcome newcomers.  But, saying, “Hi, welcome” is insufficient. Being welcoming means making them feel as if they can contribute to conversations without being put-down, and being able to ask dumb questions.   

2.  When engaging others in threads, ask first to understand, and don’t get into evaluating someone’s point of view right away.  If this principle is present, we'll see people admit to having changed their minds from time to time. Right now, that almost never happens.

3.  With odd questions and perspectives, follow the principle of charity. That is, read the question / odd idea in the most charitable light possible and engage from there.   

4.  Frequent visitors, limit your posts. Even if they’re great posts, when a handful of voices dominate a forum, they discourage newcomers and alternative viewpoints.   

5.  Police your own. When someone, especially a long-time participant, falls short of the ideals above, call them on it.

6.  If you're the site owner, you're partly responsible for whatever good or ill comes from the site, so beef-up the moderation if you don't find #1 through 5 matching your ideals.




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etodd
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 853

« Reply #50 on: September 24, 2017, 03:36:30 PM »

"Toxic?"

I haven't seen anything I would describe that way. But I enjoy debate. I enjoy trying to see issues from all sides and evaluating them.

At a CAP seminar type event one time, I asked a question about why something was done that way, and the reply to me was ... "Those decisions are above your grade level."   Now THAT was toxic and didn't go well. He finally gave me a 20 second answer that was perfect, all I needed to know, and should have been given at the start. Never tell a 61 year old business owner that anything is above his grade level. Never demean anyone that way. I'm not a minion/sheep. ;)

Here in the forum, I see it as a place where I can ask those tough questions that I would not want to ask in a Squadron meeting that would get it quickly sidetracked or at a time with Cadets present.

IOW ... I hope this place never just becomes a bunch of CAP cheerleaders, with no place where I can still ask ... why?
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MS - MO - AP - MP
CyBorgII
Member

Posts: 56
Unit: USCG AUX

« Reply #51 on: September 24, 2017, 05:01:26 PM »

...or at least did at one time.

 :-X :(
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Whaddaya mean I ain't kind?  I'm just not YOUR kind!

Ex-CAP Captain, now CG Auxiliary, but still feel a great deal of affection for the many good people in CAP.
JayT
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,322

« Reply #52 on: September 27, 2017, 11:46:22 AM »

What exactly was the last straw for Cadetstuff?
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"Eagerness and thrill seeking in others' misery is psychologically corrosive, and is also rampant in EMS. It's a natural danger of the job. It will be something to keep under control, something to fight against."
NIN
VIP

Posts: 4,664
Unit: of issue

« Reply #53 on: September 27, 2017, 11:56:16 AM »

What exactly was the last straw for Cadetstuff?

Airspeed, altitude, ideas.. and the folks who ran it all grew up and ran out of time.
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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.
Shieldel
Member

Posts: 85
Unit: PCR-NV-802

« Reply #54 on: September 27, 2017, 06:34:02 PM »

I'll chime in here.

Right out of the gates I'll say I'm always afraid or nervous or scared or sometimes a mix of all three to post here. The big names in this board (you all know who I'm talking about) kind of have the run of the place. And if you don't like it you'll be dogpiled. I got into an argument a few months back with Eclipse that led to SARDragon sending me a PM. Now yes what I said was totally out of line but it's people like Eclipse (the big names) that I'm talking about. You will be outcasted if they have an issue with anything you say. I feel this board has truly become toxic and has strayed far from the intended purpose. Ergo why I said right out of the gates I said I'm nervous to post here, it's just toxic and I find an all not too friendly environment.

When you have people who say "ask your local chain" as their default answer it gets pretty annoying. I signed onto this board as a cadet. I wasn't even asking for answers I asked for which reg can I find my answer and I still got the "default answer". It's really gotten annoying. Now as a flight officer I fear people think I'm hotheaded (especially after the argument a few months ago I mentioned above) I personally try to chill out here but I find myself having issues fitting in (it's the outcast issue I mention above) so I just find myself not posting.

That's my experience,
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Flight Officer Michael D. Scheidle
Jack Schofield Cadet Squadron
ES Officer
ES Training Officer
FEMA Corps Class 23 Alumni - FEMA-4277-DR-LA Deployment to Baton Rouge FEMA JFO August - October 2016
SarDragon
Global Moderator

Posts: 10,061
Unit: NAVAIRPAC

« Reply #55 on: September 27, 2017, 09:13:56 PM »

People get the "chain of command" response because that should be the primary source of information for all members. If someone comes on here and asks questions without having consulted that primary source, then you are doing them and yourself a disservice.
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Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret
TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 881

« Reply #56 on: September 28, 2017, 09:34:48 AM »

People get the "chain of command" response because that should be the primary source of information for all members. If someone comes on here and asks questions without having consulted that primary source, then you are doing them and yourself a disservice.

Not to mention the possibility that someone's chain of command may have given them an answer they didn't like, so they came here to get convinced that they're still right

Or to the converse, the chain of command was clueless and didn't help them find the answer
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Live2Learn
Seasoned Member

Posts: 466

« Reply #57 on: September 28, 2017, 10:59:38 AM »




...

Or to the converse, the chain of command was clueless and didn't help them find the answer

In which case a little push back (with courtesy, respect, and NO defensiveness) may be very helpful.
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stillamarine
400,000th Post Author
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 802
Unit: SER-AL-134

« Reply #58 on: September 28, 2017, 11:13:51 AM »




...

Or to the converse, the chain of command was clueless and didn't help them find the answer

In which case a little push back (with courtesy, respect, and NO defensiveness) may be very helpful.

The problem is most of the time that courtesy and respect isn't there.
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Tim Gardiner, 1st LT, CAP

USMC AD 1996-2001
USMCR    2001-2005  Admiral, Great State of Nebraska Navy  MS, MO, UDF
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CyBorgII
Member

Posts: 56
Unit: USCG AUX

« Reply #59 on: September 28, 2017, 12:01:35 PM »

Right out of the gates I'll say I'm always afraid or nervous or scared or sometimes a mix of all three to post here. The big names in this board (you all know who I'm talking about) kind of have the run of the place. And if you don't like it you'll be dogpiled.  Now yes what I said was totally out of line but it's people like Eclipse (the big names) that I'm talking about. You will be outcasted if they have an issue with anything you say.

 :-X

I got into an argument a few months back with Eclipse that led to SARDragon sending me a PM.

I have got a couple of PM's too but have endeavoured to explain myself to the good Moderator in logical, reasoned (I think) replies and he has not banned/restricted me.

I suppose that one day I will get banned, just because former members of CAP who are critical of some of the more shady ways that CAP operates (though they still have respect for the organisation and hope that one day it can change, not for me - I know I'm a discommended Klingon in the eyes of CAP - but maybe for those who come after me) are not well-received here.  If it happens, it happens...I don't take it personally (it's just a bloody internet forum!).
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Whaddaya mean I ain't kind?  I'm just not YOUR kind!

Ex-CAP Captain, now CG Auxiliary, but still feel a great deal of affection for the many good people in CAP.
GrantHenninger
Recruit

Posts: 5

« Reply #60 on: September 28, 2017, 05:16:24 PM »

People get the "chain of command" response because that should be the primary source of information for all members. If someone comes on here and asks questions without having consulted that primary source, then you are doing them and yourself a disservice.
You and I both know that the chain of command isn't always a useful place to find help or information. It really doesn't matter if you're C/Amn Snuffy asking your Flight Sergeant, or a Squadron Commander asking you Group Commander. There are many times when I've had to find information outside of my chain of command because they didn't know the answer and were unhelpful in getting the answer to my questions.

A very simple change from the typical response would be to reframe it as a question and start a dialog. Instead of "Go ask your chain of command," simply change it to, "Have you asked your chain of command?" or "Where have you looked for answers to your question before asking it here?" But honestly, it's just as easy and probably teaches the member more if you say something more along the lines of, "You can answer your question by asking your chain of command, or by looking in CAPR XYZ, CAPP ABC, or the knowledgebase."
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EMT-83
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,819

« Reply #61 on: September 28, 2017, 07:47:20 PM »

You'll find that answers are more forthcoming if it's made clear that the person asking the question isn't simply being lazy.

"I checked 39-1, but it's still not clear" or "My PDO doesn't know, so I'm asking here" will probably open the floodgates.

I'm a firm believer in teaching someone to fish instead of just handing over the catch of the day. Long term, it will make them a better member. That's much better than instant gratification in my book.
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JAFO78
Seasoned Member

Posts: 388

« Reply #62 on: October 13, 2017, 12:41:48 AM »

I too have been posting and reading for a long time. I had a SM tell me you can't post that here, Someone will notice and no we have zero issues.
I have returned to CAPTalk just tonight. why?? Looking for answers that I can't find or tried of def ears, and not for the lack of trying.

At times I feel like standing on a desk at our local meeting or going higher up and scream "WE NEED HELP"
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JAFO
KG7YTS
Recruit

Posts: 11
Unit: SWR-AZ-229

« Reply #63 on: October 20, 2017, 08:56:39 PM »

Back in 2014, I did notice a lot of "yelling" by people, but as I am rejoining CAP, I came back to CAPTalk, and lo and behold it has changed for the better, the people here are so much more friendly now. There have been so many questions that I have had about rejoining and guess what, I asked and got an answer almost immediately... Thanks everybody who is so helpful on CAPTalk. A lot of squadrons I have visited, not my current one, label CAPTalk as people just complaining about no ABUs or OCP uniforms, but CAPTalk is awesome and I recommend anybody who has a question about CAP to come here.
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Commo
Recruit

Posts: 45
Unit: PCR-WA-002

« Reply #64 on: October 23, 2017, 08:14:22 PM »

People get the "chain of command" response because that should be the primary source of information for all members. If someone comes on here and asks questions without having consulted that primary source, then you are doing them and yourself a disservice.

I respectfully disagree with this statement: that no one should ask questions here without having already asked the squadron CO. 

IMPO, the primary source of information should be regs and standards (formalized), perhaps a squadron mentor (informal), or a forum to ask intelligent questions in the hope of receiving intelligent answers (also informal.)

My squadron CO is a busy man.  I'm new to CAP and may be blond, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist an aerospace officer to see that the adage of 80% of the work falls on 20% of the people holds true.  (Or 90% of the work on 10% of the people).  Either way, my squadron CO is a busy man, as are the other core seniors.  I can, and do, email them with questions when reading the regs is incomplete, contradictory, or both.  For those questions with incomplete/contradictory regs, this forum *should* be a great resource because that question has likely been asked before, but for the examples I'm thinking of, I did not ask the forum.  Why?  1) I didn't want to start a uniform topic that would likely become Yet Another Uniform Topic,  2) an answer of "go read 39-1", when I already have and it's unclear, or 3) an expected answer of "go ask your chain of command".

Don't get me wrong: I'm a firm believer in doing your own research first before asking a question.  Pointing someone towards a manual with a direction to their answer will provide more knowledge than just the answer.  It will also provide a more complete answer to a more complete question.  However, with the current state of CAP regs (outdated, incomplete, contradictory, or maybe best understood with an underlying GOB/GOG "Well, that's how CAP has always done it), it is darn difficult to find all the answers there.

I agree: sometimes the answer should be a gentle / firm / less so response of "Have you googled that?"  (Sometimes the answer is obvious... although sometimes google provides the answer only if you know the correct CAP terminology to use.  New seniors and cadet parents do not).

I also agree: sometimes the correct answer is a local procedure.  A forum response could be a correct answer to one wing but not to the poster (so wrong), or a correct answer to a question out of context (which is then wrong, too).

I disagree: some of the "ask your chain of command" responses to questions that seemed like poster had done homework but still had questions, and topic was not of a local procedure.

;tldr:  if all questions are to be asked only to local squadron, why have this forum?

Respectfully,

Commo



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SarDragon
Global Moderator

Posts: 10,061
Unit: NAVAIRPAC

« Reply #65 on: October 23, 2017, 09:49:04 PM »


;tldr:  if all questions are to be asked only to local squadron, why have this forum?


Great Q. I'll answer this one first, and then work through the rest.

We are here to exchange information, anything from local how-tos to national level stuff. This exchange can be via questions from our members, or a voluntary sharing of information of interest.


IMPO, the primary source of information should be regs and standards (formalized), perhaps a squadron mentor (informal), or a forum to ask intelligent questions in the hope of receiving intelligent answers (also informal.)

My squadron CO is a busy man.  I'm new to CAP and may be blond, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist an aerospace officer to see that the adage of 80% of the work falls on 20% of the people holds true.  (Or 90% of the work on 10% of the people).  Either way, my squadron CO is a busy man, as are the other core seniors. 


I agree wholeheartedly.

My reference to the chain of command involves everyone in that chain, not just the commander. Cadets should start with their lowest level "supervisor", and escalate upward as necessary. Seniors should start with the staff officer most closely related to the problem area. The commander is a last resort.

If any of these folks don't know an answer, it is incumbent upon them to aid in resolving the issue. Simply answering "I don't know" and ending the discussion, a response heard all too often, is poor leadership.

You'll find that answers are more forthcoming if it's made clear that the person asking the question isn't simply being lazy.

"I checked 39-1, but it's still not clear" or "My PDO doesn't know, so I'm asking here" will probably open the floodgates.

I'm a firm believer in teaching someone to fish instead of just handing over the catch of the day. Long term, it will make them a better member. That's much better than instant gratification in my book.

This pretty much says it all.
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Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret
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