Livening up the forums ?

Come on in for general chat and POLITE banter between LAA members

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Livening up the forums ?

Post by MikeGodsell » Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:01 pm

There are two very active aviation websites used in the UK: “PPrUNe” and “FLYER”.
Both cover the aviation scene in depth with GA being the main focus for Flyer.
In my experience aviators tend to be extrovert types with sometimes quite strong opinions on many controversial non flying subjects: E.g. Politics, gender, religion, immigration, etc, etc.
Again in my experience no one posts anything other than aviation related stuff on the various aviation forums, and that is how is ought to be.
However both Flyer and PPrUNe have non aviation sections where pilots can let off steam about controversial topics. “Jet Blast” on PPrUNe is certainly not the place to go if you are faint hearted … within reason almost anything goes and serious amounts of hot air get released. I have huge admiration for the mods on that site, they consistently get the balance right to maintain order without destroying the debate.
“Non Aviation Stuff” on FLYER is rather different in that it has definite ‘no go zones’ reflecting the left leaning views of the owner. Two resident lawyers and a heavyweight mod ensure that any posts that do not fit the party line are promptly removed. Fair enough, it’s their train set and they can set the rules. Within certain boundaries however it is still possible to let off quite a bit of hot air here as well.
So where am I going in this message? Well shoot me down in flames if you like, but it seems to me that a similar non aviation section to discuss controversial topics might be appropriate here on the LAA forum. Not the same as the two above but more on the lines of the ‘House of Lords’ as compared to the rowdy ‘Commons’. Use of real names tends to make posters think before posting, and avoid personal insults and innuendoes. Polite interchange with reasoned rebuttal can actually change opinions, where loud mouthed rants and insults simply harden opinion.
Anyway it’s just a suggestion to liven up a rather underused forum, and I will go away and hide if the general opinion is it’s rubbish. :oops:

John Hefford
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Post by John Hefford » Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:19 pm

I'm trying to look at this from two viewpoints. Flyer is a GA magazine, and PPRuNe is an aircrew and engineer's forum. The LAA is a regulating body for PtF aircraft, and a lobbyist on behalf of aviation. Thus, the LAA are more politically active than Flyer and PPRuNe; so it should seem logical and good common sense for a non-aviation section to be included in the LAA forums to allow the LAA to discover what the political leanings and opinions of members are.

However, could a journalist seize upon what is written on the LAA forums and consider that as the opinion of the whole LAA rather than the opinion of one individual within the association? The LAA would need to write a disclaimer for the forums to clarify that the LAA isn't responsible for content on the forums, and that opinions expressed are the opinions of the individuals only; and it should be possible for a lively discussion to take place on the forums if the LAA isn't scared of giving a voice to those who don't advocate the party line.

I would like to see a general section, where members can debate political issues. Personally, I find the Commons debates much more fun, but it depends on whether participants will have a thick-enough skin for politics.

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Post by Jonathan Holland » Fri Apr 06, 2012 6:40 pm

The LAA forum will never be as lively as the Flyer or PPRuNe forums, and neither should it be expected to be. Is that such a bad thing?

Flyer is a privately owned magazine that is one of the few GA fraternity's great success stories since the 1990's (along with Andair, Harry Mendelsohn, Vans etc etc). As a privately owned business its main thrust is to provide industry-specific media, of which the forum is another string to its bow. Therefore, its members tend to have a lively debate about all things GA, as well as all things non-GA.

The LAA on the other hand is not a privately owned establishment and profit from top notch and up to date media is not its goal. It should not be expected to have a forum that is in any way comparable to Flyer's and it is unfair to criticise it for being the style that it is. My guess is that LAA forum members come here for information exchange on all things directly related to the LAA, whether that be engineering advice, events discussions or knowledge transfer about flying different types.

For the reasons I have explained above, I fully support the LAA forum and don't feel it should become more of a 'general GA chat' venue.

I have been positive above, as I always am about the LAA.

However, as for the rather dictatorial moderation that goes on here.... It's sometimes unbelievable and it really really does need addressing if this forum is to retain any members at all..... As for Rod1's departure.....all over a name!!!! :roll:

Maybe the forum should be suspended until a route forward is decided for it?Until then, and as it stands, it's become rather the poor relation of what is a superb establishment that is definitely going from strength to strength.

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Alan Kilbride
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Post by Alan Kilbride » Fri Apr 06, 2012 7:18 pm

Why even think about suspending the forum? The rules are there for all to see and to change if enough support is there.

As for Rod1 departing the forum over his nom de plume. There There.

There are some very precious people on these forums and really do need to get a life.

I hope the subject of anonymity is brought up at the next council meeting and even if we have to wait until the AGM at Sywell the matter can be resolved democratically.

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John Dean
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Post by John Dean » Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:16 pm

However, as for the rather dictatorial moderation that goes on here.... It's sometimes unbelievable
I find it very difficult to reconcile statements such as this with what I actually do as Moderator.

In recent months the only moderation I have had to do is with regard to the use of real names. The need for the use of real names was a requirement decided by the EC (now Board) and it falls to me to see that the rule is followed. Most people who post without their full name are newcomers to the forums who don't realise that it is a requirement and a polite PM to them has them making the appropriate alteration to their profile. I am quite relaxed how members comply with the rule, whether they change their user name or have a signature or even just sign each post with their name is fine by me.

Only after more than one reminder and where it is obvious that the member has no intention of using their real name do I begin to get heavy and this has happened only once in very many months.

If anyone feels the requirement is wrong then Brian Hope, in a recent post, showed the correct way to proceed to have the subject revisited.

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Post by Bill Scott » Sat Apr 07, 2012 5:38 pm

Here goes, my tuppence worth;
1. Dead forums don't need a great deal of moderation ;-)
2. Flyer forum proves that anonymity can work as I socialise with one of the mods from there and have an understandinmg of how effective they are. There is lots of banter, but decorum reigns.
3. I have a rans S6 microlight and if I want to discuss issues regarding this type, my first port of call is the Rans section on the BMAA forum. that strikes me as being a sad reflection.
4. Whilst many among us in the LAA may not care about how active the forum may be, it could be a very good recruitment tool. Non members are welcomed on the BMAA forum and ask questions that leads to them being drawn into a 'community' and taking up the hobby.

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Post by J.C. » Sat Apr 07, 2012 5:43 pm

I think its sad that there are many more posts on the flyer forum asking for help on LAA matters than there are on here.

Given that most of these are from people looking to buy permit aircraft and thus become LAA members , it proves that the LAA are not reaching their audience.

There are one or two very active people on there directing the posters to the LAA. Rod 1 is one such person. I am another.

I hardly ever post on here nowadays because frankly it is dead.
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Post by linspuk » Sat Apr 07, 2012 7:06 pm

As far as I'm concerned this is a non-issue. I post on Flyer forums about general flying and non-aviation stuff. I post on here more rarely simply because I regard this as the correct place for more technical discussions about actual homebuilding topics. I wouldn't bother posting about non-technical subjects on the LAA forums. But that is just my view
Lindsay Pennell

Ian Melville
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Post by Ian Melville » Sat Apr 07, 2012 7:36 pm

John Hefford wrote:
I would like to see a general section, where members can debate political issues.
And give it a catchy name like 'Hangar Chat' :)

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Chris Martyr
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Post by Chris Martyr » Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:27 pm

I really can't see where J.C.'s coming from in that last post of his.

Why are people going to Flyer Forum to ask for advice on LAA matters ?
You can't tell me that blokes who are computer-savvy enough to trawl around pilot chatrooms don't have the wherewithal to find their way to LAA's extremely professional website, which these days is packed full of everything you need to know about building ,buying or operating a PtF type aircraft .
"It proves the LAA aren't reaching their audience" ? Mate,,if anyone in the aviation world in this day and age , where there are more Light Sport Aircraft around than you can shake a stick at , hasn't actually noticed that most of these aircraft are overseen by an organisation called The Light Aircraft Association , then they're probably not really suitable candidates to be flying aeroplanes in the first place.
I guess it's fortunate that we have these gallant white knights of the ether who go galloping around cyber-world , scooping up these lost sheep, whilst at the same time managing to give a stern wag of the finger to the LAA for neglecting their duty .
Yes I've noticed that LAA bashing is quite popular on other forums, with remarks about it being an 'Exclusive Gentleman's Club' and other such tosh. LAA membership is the best value for money that there is for aircraft owners , it's no secret , it's there for all to see !
You don't go to a hardware store to buy a pound of sprouts do you !
And if you are daft enough to do that , then do you go blaming others ?

Tom Sheppard
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Post by Tom Sheppard » Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:32 pm

I agree with Chris Martyr. This forum has a function. It is for those who operate, construct, fly or have an interest in aircraft supported by the LAA.
It isn't for debating politics, general squabbling, swapping the finer points of knitting patterns or fishing.
Nor should it be.
There isn't much traffic here because there is little need for it but if an enquiry is made, it is usually quickly responded to by somebody with something constructive and useful to say. This makes it a resource too precious to dilute with banal chitchat even on days when those ruffians at B&Q have run out of sprouts. :wink:

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Post by J.C. » Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:24 am

Ok, I know for a fact that I have persuaded loads of people to join the LAA as a direct result of posting on Flyer forums.

Some of them have gone on to buy permit aircraft and I have even done surveys and permit renewals for them.

But what do I know, 30 years a member of the LAA , ex exec member, strut co-ordinator, inspector ...

Over to you new boys then .. I'll just shut up .
John Cook

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