On the dstar_digital Yahoo group, someone asked about how to deal with complaints about certain hams ragchewing on a particular system at all hours of the day and night. The specific example was about a d-star “reflector” but the concept applies to many types of ham radio operating. It seems that other users on the system are looking for more technical discussions, not long-winded chats.
Nate WY0X posted an interesting response, which I found to be thought provoking. I edited it slightly and posted it here with Nate’s permission:
First you have to ask yourself… are the complainers participating or just listening?
They have the “power” to change the topic of conversation by simply keying up their mics and speaking. Want a tech topic? Bring one up.
In running a repeater club for a number of years now, and also IRLP Reflectors… I’ve given up on trying to make everyone happy all of the time. In fact, I’ve found it’s more healthy to put the control of what they’re listening to into their hands, and letting them run with it.
The reason I ask is this… in my “tenure” as an IRLP Reflector operator, we have had on and off similar “complaints” from some node owners, for some Reflector channels.
The reality, when we looked into it was, that the nodes connected wanted “better content” (to use an Internet website term), but didn’t do anything to PROVIDE that content. Similar to a lot of things in Amateur Radio these days… people wanted others to provide something “interesting” for them to listen to! It all led back to “entitlement” attitudes. (“I should be able to always listen to interesting, technical content! But I don’t have to provide any!”)
Hahahaha… quite funny, really. Or sad, depending on if you get worked up over such things.
I figure, it’s ham radio… don’t like what you hear… apply Riley’s last Dayton speech in 2007 and “spin the big knob” on the rig.
So… what we found was that they were unhappy with LISTENING to the people actually USING the Reflector channel, but were just “whiners in their recliners” when it came to actually providing the so-called “more technical discussions” they seemingly wanted to hear.
The best e-mail was the guy who said he “Wasn’t technical himself, but wanted to listen to more technical discussions.” I about fell out of the chair laughing at that one! Being in a leadership role, I couldn’t really send back what I was REALLY thinking… “Yeah, good luck on that one, buddy!”
In the case of IRLP, the solution was simple. Everyone has the commands to turn it off… so we told ‘em if they were bored with the conversation, to switch it off, go to another Reflector, or sit in silence… the rest of us would also do as we pleased.
So back to the “content” issue at hand… we have had both EchoLink and IRLP Reflectors “dedicated” to technical discussions on and off for years now, and no significant technical discussions ever take place on those. There’s no great “all tech, all the time” Ham Radio frequency or virtual channel on any linking mode that I know of.
So… in reality…
Your users are simply saying they want to “change the channel” or “spin the VFO” because they’re tired of the people who *do* talk.
Nothing wrong with that, but it won’t lead to any more “technical discussions” to define a place for those to happen… it takes participants and active people to make that happen.
As a repeater club President, I’ve stopped taking complaints about content. They always want ME to do something about what someone ELSE is saying/doing, when they have a mic of their own and won’t speak up.
That’s passive-aggressive behavior at it’s finest, and I no longer play. Unless people are breaking club rules, like making sexual innuendos on a regular basis, bad-mouthing all of ham radio, things like that… we get involved at that point, of course.
I feel for you if your users are complaining. But the only thing that “fixes” it long-term really is them participating. If they don’t, they’ll never hear conversations they want to hear. Tell ‘em as soon as they fire up the PTT and talk… the topic changes!