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Feature for supervisors to control the obvious trolls


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Hello,

 

I know this is a sensitive topic and I don't really want to get too much involved into VATSIM politics with new pilots and trolling as the line between the two is ahrd to measure. However over the years I have seen increase on the amount of new clueless pilots just causing m[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ive havoc in busy airspaces such as heathrow. It's very obvious these pilots mess up the flow of the controller by cutting other people off on frequency and not knowing at all what to do. Then there is also the obvious trolls.

 

The problem right now I see is that while vatsim supervisors are usually extremely fast to respond it takes time from them to sort the issue, and while sorting the issue the pilot causing problems can keep causing problems. Sometimes I have seen it takes 15 minutes for obvious troll to be kicked. That's 15 long minutes of complete havoc on frequency.

 

I understand supervisors have to check even the obvious trolls to make sure they are obvious trolls before kicking them. To have a chat with a pilot they need to keep the pilot connected on the network because it's hard to have any chat with pilot not on the network.

 

Here is my idea. Make a feature for supervisors to isolate a pilot that has been walloped for causing problems for the time he is causing problems. Isolating the pilot would mean that other pilots/controllers would not see this pilot and also he could not transmit on frequency during this time. Now the pilot would not cause any further problems but the supervisor just bought himself more time to check the situation and make sure everything needed before making his decision on keeping the pilot on network or kicking him out.

 

I don't know exactly how this could be done. Does it need to be done on client level or can it be done on supervisor tools. But I am sure that with some co-operation between pilot/controller tool developers, BoG and supervisors this can be done.

 

How does this sound to others? I think this could solve a lot of problems and also give better protection to genuine pilots so that they are not kicked off immediately without any possibility to explain. It would also ensure much better experience for pilots flying in area with the possible problem. And supervisors have less pressure to kick the pilot off the network quickly as they can sort the issue isolated from the network.

 

Best regards,

Jouka Ahponen

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Supervisors are trained to quickly [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ess situations and have the discretionary authority to take swift action if it is clear that a member is disrupting the enjoyment of other members. The solution you propose would require large changes to the VATSIM FSD server.

Colin Schoen

VATSIM Senior Network Supervisor

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I understand that supervisors are trained to [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ess situations quickly. However I cannot see any downside on isolating the pilot on the network wile [Mod - Happy Thoughts]essing the situation. As I said, sometimes the line is not clear if pilot is just trolling or is just a newbie trying to learn but coming out as a troll without filing flightplan, interrupting everyone on frequency and not listening to ATC. There has been few of these incidents in UK for example I have noticed while flying to Heathrow. It has taken 10 minutes for the pilot being kicked with the pilot arguing over the frequency with the controller while supervisor apparently monitored it. I am not a supervisor, therefore I am not the right person to say if the methods they use are good and efficient as I have no numbers or experience myself from that side. I can only say what I see everyday myself flying and controlling on the network and every minute in these cases the pilot being able to interrupt with others makes tens of people trying to keep the experience nice by behaving and following the rules and "code"

 

I understand that new pilots needs to learn and given chances. Therefore in my opinion this would be the best solution so the supervisor can explain and direct the new pilot to not interrupt others and let him know what he has to do without him causing and problems to anyone else on the network while this is being done. I don't want to restrict new pilots. I think new users are the backbone of the network and they need to be helped as much as possible. As far as I know supervisors are there to help these pilots to get started and aid them should any problems arise. While this is happening it's good to isolate the problem from the network until everything needed is talked through. That way the controller and other pilots can forget that pilot at that moment completely (if he is blocking taxiway or frequency for example).

 

This also gives protection for the new users who genuinely want to learn but come out as trolls sometimes.

 

I know it needs changes in the structure of vatsim. But if there is no changes does it ever take this network forward? WE could argue, why change something working. But I know many vatsim pilots agree that it's not working right now even though the supervisors try to do their best. I have huge respect to supervisors and what they do. They keep this network organised for us so it's mostly manageable. But any of these cases with new pilots / trolls we can sort and get the best result by banning trolls and aiding the new pilots is good in my opinion. I know that extry exam idea won't get consensus over the network and also would restrict new pilots possibly joining the network. This is just my idea how to try fix this issue many vatsim users find being an issue without restricting anyone's use of the network extensively by blocking them behind and entry exam or anything like that.

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Supervisors are trained to quickly [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ess situations and have the discretionary authority to take swift action if it is clear that a member is disrupting the enjoyment of other members.

We don't need RVSM, 2000ft is fine.

We don't need multi function displays, round dials are fine.

We don't need computers, a flight engineer on board is fine.

Etc.

 

Arguing that something or someone is just fine the way they are, is not a valid argument against change IMO. If it's doable, and it provides supervisors with a more functional and less frustrating experience on duty, it should be looked into. Still, I have the uttmost respect for the second part of your post considering needed change to the system. But instead of dismissing it, perhaps it's possible to agree to look into (not guarantee) a possible inclusion in the near or distant future?

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instead of dismissing it, perhaps it's possible to agree to look into (not guarantee) a possible inclusion in the near or distant future?

 

I couldn't help but chuckle at this one. Isn't it ironic that we're complaining about how swift and decisive a supervisor's response was in a thread suggesting that supervisors do not take swift action?

 

The only times I've had obvious trolls not removed from the network swiftly is when there hasn't been a supervisor. This new suggestion wouldn't help.

 

If it were implemented and was the first step for supervisors to respond to a wallop, I can see trolls calling in false alarms at crucial times. Imagine you just made an 8 hour flight during Cross the Pond and are one turn away from final when someone wallops you for no reason. Sup puts you in limbo for 10 minutes while he investigates who you are, who the whistleblower is, and checks with (the very busy) ATC to see if he has any problems with you, etc etc. Then he rightly decides you are being trolled, and reinserts you back into the live network head to head with traffic approaching from the other direction.

 

Or better yet, wallop the approach controller during the peak of a fly in! Even if the sup only puts him in limbo for 15 seconds before figuring it out... good night!

 

And the cost of all this is a major rework of the backbone of our network, diverting scant volunteer resources away from other improvements.

 

Any system can be abused. Well-vetted and -trained supervisors are the worst form of policing the network, except for all the others.

Steven Perry

VATSIM Supervisor

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What I think would be potentially useful would be to allow supervisory functions to be carried out via the pilot clients rather than just the ATC clients.

 

At present, supervisors can only be "on duty" if they are logged in either in a purely supervisory capacity or as an active controller.

 

However, if supervisors were also able to log in as such via the pilot clients, this potentially improves the number of supervisors online at any given time. Whilst I accept there are certain situations which may be more easily dealt with in a controller client, the biggest thing this would do would be to give much more effective oversight over Unicom in uncontrolled areas -- a supervisor flying on the network and observing un-CoC like behaviour on Unicom would be in a position to take immediate action, rather than the current situation where another pilot on the frequency would have to bring it to the attention of a supervisor, provide screenshots etc etc etc. This would potentially also have the side-effect of improving behaviour on Unicom in general if people knew there could potentially be a Supervisor actively watching/reading messages rather than relying on someone to call them.

 

It would be a good opportunity at the same time to make the pilot ratings in general more visible (and thus more desirable) as well by providing a means for members to log in to the network with their rating!

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Simon,

 

Supervising with a pilot client simply would not be beneficial. Having a connection through a controller client is necessary to effectively perform the job of a Supervisor. In any event, Supervisors are given an exemption to CoC A8 when directly performing SUP duties, so they may perform SUP duties while flying.

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I see benefits on this - for sure. But I do also see the downsides of it. As Steven pointed out, there will more likely be situations where the system will not work. With such a tool, it might even cause a lot of frustrations from pilots or controllers, who is being "isolated" and then put back into the session, causing a even bigger mess.

 

To be honest, and my own personal opinion is - as pilots and controllers tend to stream their flights through various platforms. I often responds to wallops, where a pilot is streaming his flight and there is a troll trying to get his 30 seconds of fame. Maybe it is not the system we have, but the things that are being done?

New pilots will always be a topic, it has been discussed for a very long time. And I believe that 85% of time, where a new pilot is being told, how it works - he actually learns from it.

Morten Jelle

VATSIM Network Senior Supervisor
VATSIM Membership Manager, Asia/Pacific Region

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