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7 hours ago, Ross Carlson said:

I have a question for those of you who are against this policy change, and I ask out of genuine curiosity. Would you feel the same way if VATSIM allowed users to choose a "handle" (something like "SkyGeek1423") as is common in online multiplayer gaming?

Absolutely I would and for the same reason: I like knowing with whom I am speaking!

The real names policy is one of the things which has always distinguished VATSIM as a more grown up place than many of these anonymous online gaming places. 

19 hours ago, Samuel Rey said:

Surely this is a good compromise... some people want privacy, and I think it's very reasonable to let them connect with their CID or partial name only. I mean, why force people off the network for just wanting some privacy?

Because it should be, and always has been, a basic requirement of the network that you are honest about who you are and don't hide behind a 'handle' or some Orwellian number. The benefit to the community by far outweighs an individual's misplaced desire to hide themselves. What are these people trying to hide? Why are they so terrified of revealing their names? I can only assume that they must be on the run or something. 

The 'privacy' argument is in any event entirely misplaced because as Callum says there are a vast number of VATSIM staff and quasi-staff around the world who have access to link your name and CID, as do I suspect many external organisations using SSO, so anybody who really had a reason to hide would be pretty stupid to be connecting to VATSIM anyway.

What it does mean is that someone can log in as "1458382" and cause havoc and noone can properly identify them or remember who they were because after all who would reasonably be expected to recall or quickly note down a random 8 digit number?

Some of my closest friends in real life today are people that I have met through the network. There is zero chance that I would have recognised the same 8 digit numbers turning up in my airspace or as a controller over a period of time, or indeed that any sort of conversation might have struck up. And what of training? "Hello 1583736, welcome to your ATC training?" Nonsense and I'm glad I won't have to deal with that.

If all VATSIM is is a purely transactional service for pilots to get a service from controllers and that's the end of it then sure, I guess, it's not important to know who anybody is. But I think it's terribly sad that the BoG seems to believe that's all it's about. As I say: the BoG have ripped the heart out of the community aspect of VATSIM with this decision. Simple. End of story. The fact that not many people have thus far chosen to take it up is totally immaterial. It's the principle. If in a few years time the proportion is much higher will the same answer be trotted out?

I fear somewhat for a society scared to use names. What are we going to end up with, a situation where instead of names everybody just gets a government-issued number at birth and uses that in place of a name throughout their lives?

Maybe Orwell was on to something.

Edited by Simon Kelsey
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4 hours ago, Simon Kelsey said:

the BoG have ripped the heart out of the community aspect of VATSIM with this decision.

This policy has been in place for over a year and, to be honest, I haven’t stopped feeling like this is still as much of a community as it has always been. I still get to know new people just as I did 3 years ago. I know this has been like this in those places where I’m usually at. Is it really this big of an issue in other places?

Edited by Nestor Perez
Néstor Pérez
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11 hours ago, Simon Kelsey said:

The real names policy is one of the things which has always distinguished VATSIM as a more grown up place than many of these anonymous online gaming places. 

Because it should be, and always has been, a basic requirement of the network that you are honest about who you are and don't hide behind a 'handle' or some Orwellian number. The benefit to the community by far outweighs an individual's misplaced desire to hide themselves. What are these people trying to hide? Why are they so terrified of revealing their names? I can only assume that they must be on the run or something. 

The 'privacy' argument is in any event entirely misplaced because as Callum says there are a vast number of VATSIM staff and quasi-staff around the world who have access to link your name and CID, as do I suspect many external organisations using SSO, so anybody who really had a reason to hide would be pretty stupid to be connecting to VATSIM anyway.

(Just to begin, for the record, I connect as Samuel Rey, so I do use my full name after all)

Look. I'm a minor, I think it's reasonable to not want to publish my full name every time I fly. Or even part of my name. Somebody could get my Facebook, or Instagram account, look at newspaper articles mentioning me.. I don't use facebook a whole lot, so in my case this wouldn't bother me, but why shouldn't somebody have the option of anonymity? Do you need to know the real life name of somebody to issue an IFR clearance? You say that it removes the community aspect of VATSIM, but the people who want anonymity wouldn't participate in the community anyway. And it's one thing to give VATSIM staff the access to my personal info, it's another thing to publish that info prominently while I'm flying.

12 hours ago, Simon Kelsey said:

What it does mean is that someone can log in as "1458382" and cause havoc and noone can properly identify them or remember who they were because after all who would reasonably be expected to recall or quickly note down a random 8 digit number?

I don't see that as an issue. When you .wallop someone you usually refer to the callsign, not the real name (which might have duplicates).

12 hours ago, Simon Kelsey said:

If all VATSIM is is a purely transactional service for pilots to get a service from controllers and that's the end of it then sure, I guess, it's not important to know who anybody is. But I think it's terribly sad that the BoG seems to believe that's all it's about. As I say: the BoG have ripped the heart out of the community aspect of VATSIM with this decision. Simple. End of story. The fact that not many people have thus far chosen to take it up is totally immaterial. It's the principle. If in a few years time the proportion is much higher will the same answer be trotted out?

Well, some (most) users see VATSIM as exactly that. A place to get realistic ATC. And they should be able to get it without giving out their personal info. And yes, I do consider your name to be personal info. Also, I think the BoG have done exactly the opposite, especially since last year. For example, ever since the AFV launch, traffic numbers are much higher, as well as new controllers, etc. That's how you grow a community. Not by forcing everybody to give out their real name but instead making VATSIM accessible for more people. 

12 hours ago, Simon Kelsey said:

I fear somewhat for a society scared to use names. What are we going to end up with, a situation where instead of names everybody just gets a government-issued number at birth and uses that in place of a name throughout their lives?

Maybe Orwell was on to something.

This is nonsense. Allowing people to connect relatively anonymously (like it is standard in most online games) doesn't have anything to do with that.

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I'm afraid it's a loosing battle Simon.  It is a shame that so many pixels are being extinguished in defense of poor manners.  It is  pity that even 2% of our membership are not confident in themselves.

But there you have it.  The modern world.  Every bit at righteously right as we were a decade or two ago.

Edited by Richard Quigley

Quig, C3, P1, VATPAC, CZQM (inact), CZQX (ret).

4200+ hrs of "Chaos, Panic & Disorder in your virtual skies!"

 

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With such a small number of pilots taking advantage of the rule, is it really worth all of this stress? They can still join ARTCCs, Virtual Airlines, and all the other tight-knit communities where they will use their real name. Some people are very careful with their online presence, which I totally understand.

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Ryan Austin

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Gents,

I understand this is a hot topic for you and you are disappointed that the rule exists. However I have not seen a loss in the community aspect in the year this rule has been in effect. Even as of this posting  only 27 users out of 934 have opted for CID only. That's only 2.8% of all connected users.

I've done this math at random intervals over the past year and not once have I seen CID only users hitting 5% or greater of all connected users. We're calling doom and death to our community over the smallest of percentages that are not comfortable or willing to put their name out on a public network. I promise that our community will continue on even if a very small number of our users do not wish to put their name out there.

The BoG has allowed for this option so that these users could participate in our network, but our recommendation and hope is that users do not use the CID only option as we too believe in the sense of community that comes from names. I would like to think that this recommendation has been taken to heart as CID only is and I expect will remain the least used out of all the name options allowed. 

The opinion of the dissenters has been acknowledged, but for the time being, CID only will remain an option, albeit the one we hope an overwhelming majority of or users choose not to use. However there is no use in continuing to argue this topic.

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Unless otherwise stated, opinions are my own and not representative of the official opinion of the VATSIM Board of Governors

 

 

 

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On 4/19/2020 at 10:15 AM, Simon Kelsey said:

Because it should be, and always has been, a basic requirement of the network that you are honest about who you are and don't hide behind a 'handle' or some Orwellian number. The benefit to the community by far outweighs an individual's misplaced desire to hide themselves. What are these people trying to hide? Why are they so terrified of revealing their names? I can only assume that they must be on the run or something. 

If all VATSIM is is a purely transactional service for pilots to get a service from controllers and that's the end of it then sure, I guess, it's not important to know who anybody is. But I think it's terribly sad that the BoG seems to believe that's all it's about. As I say: the BoG have ripped the heart out of the community aspect of VATSIM with this decision. Simple. End of story. The fact that not many people have thus far chosen to take it up is totally immaterial. It's the principle. If in a few years time the proportion is much higher will the same answer be trotted out?

A few points on this thread but particularly Simon on some of your thoughts.

First of all it’s important to note that the discussion around this proposed change started as we prepared as an organisation to become compliant with GDPR. The most important component here by far for this particular topic is that VATSIM’s data servers spew out the details you enter in the “name” field and this is visible to literally anyone, and is transmitted across all manner of external online viewing tools. Whether they should do that or not is immaterial, that’s what they did at the time and that’s what they still do because of the element of choice being introduced for the user. I can say with absolute confidence that, as President, had we not introduced the element of choice re login name, I would have had to mandate that the names are entirely removed from the data server feeds to assure myself that VATSIM is compliant with GDPR. Wouldn’t that be great for the community (not!)?

I’m surprised that so many people think that it’s our right to form a judgement on what level of privacy others would like to have online, and there are all sorts of different reasons why they might have a higher comfort threshold than you or I. Many employers don’t allow it; some people may have been in abusive relationships in the past or moved to get away from someone; some might be in school or have parents who don’t want them to be parading their full identity across VATSIM every day. Some people are very well known streamers who are literally hounded on VATSIM if they log in with their full name because it makes them that much more identifiable. Some people just don’t want their full name spewed out for thousands of non-VATSIM members to see.

Last October I went to Cosford to represent VATSIM and no less than 5 people approached me to say that now that this element of choice had been introduced, they felt comfortable returning to the network. 3 of those people had either signed up to VATSIM but not used it, or never signed up, because of the real name restrictions, and all were because of the profession they worked in - all had restrictions on how their real identity could be used online. They were all hesitant to sign up with a fake name because they were well known “simmers” in the community and didn’t want to cause confusion, and because we require people use their real names. By allowing them to log on with either their first name only or their CID, those people now feel comfortable that, whilst VATSIM do hold details of their real name, this isn’t transmitted across the FSD server for anyone else on VATSIM to see in real time when they are online, or indeed through the data servers to the various feeds that use them.

The suggestion that the rationale behind this change is invalid because “lots of people have access to CERT and other systems” is frankly ludicrous. There is a huge difference between a small subset of volunteers having access to your personal information in a tightly controlled system and literally the entire internet being able to go on map.vatsim.net, SimAware, VATSPy, vataware or any of the other dozens of tools and link your full real name to your entire flying activity. Sorry, but that’s a massive difference in terms of levels of privacy.

So I’m sorry, but I passionately believe that the benefit to each VATSIM user of being empowered to make a choice of full name vs first name only vs CID far outweighs the very minor inconvenience to others who may think they’re not getting the level of “community” they expect from the 2% or so of people who make a decision on wanting a different level of privacy to you or I.

Simon - perhaps next time you see someone signed in with their CID only you could PM them and seek their views (assuming they’re willing to share with you) on why they’ve chosen to do it. Perhaps it would help you to see the other side of the coin on this.

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Posted (edited)

I am neither for nor against the change. I know it benefits folks for various reasons and some have a real safety-related legitimate need to do so. For me, the only downside is the aforementioned lack of "getting to know a pilot." I can remember names easily, but numbers not-so-much. 

On occasion, I have remembered that "John Q Pilot" was a particularly skillful pilot and that "Sam Q. Doe" was the new guy that I helped understand how to copy a clearance three days prior. In some situations, that has helped me provide better service for Sam and John. John may get more complicated instructions, while Sam gets simpler and slower instructions. 

As Ernesto Martinez pointed out, most are using their names anyway. And, I can recognize some by consistently used call signs. I don't mean to imply this is any kind of major roadblock or impediment, but just wanted to highlight one use case where it is helpful.

Interestingly, the proposal by Ross Carlson above to use a unique memorable handle (such as Florida Pilot 1234), would also help in this regard.

Edited by Jason Cochran
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