GlobalTuners:Changes

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Tim @ 2009-12-01 17:48

Regarding why site operators and their radio systems may be coming-and-leaving the GT site. I would be happier if the site was more sensitive to the site operators' needs, it's the site ops that very much make the site what it is, after all.

  1. It is difficult to understand, why the site's management (sorry, but this includes Ivo) will find time to answer plain users' support tickets sent via the GT support system, but will not answer for weeks just as old support tickets via the GT support system sent by site operators, or tickets that had been assigned to Ivo (e.g. re. London nodes). People can obviously feel ignored, it's been mentioned in a recent support ticket, e.g re. London nodes and not only.
  2. It would be encouraging to see the key site figures (especially decision makers as Ivo) to be involved in this thread, rather than just some few of us who cannot form site-policies and cannot hence make any difference.
  3. Site operators, for the site's benefit, leave antennas connected to expensive equipment, either when they are at work or when they are asleep, 24/7. Any, e.g. electric discharge, could zap multiple expensive radios, computers, if not more. We know of radios that have already been fried, and never came back to GT.
    • It would be helpful to understand why the site (management) takes no position regarding either the expenses issues, or rare d-x country or red-hot nodes leaving the site, or the risks we are taking on a daily basis. Would this encourage anyone to set up a new node (e.g. Oxford), if one knows they are left on their own in the cold, when it comes to footing all the bills? Why pay if mostly noone else pays, or is even given the option to be reliably supported by the very site itself?

Being upfront and straightforward, I would love to see the site one day,

  1. Being more mindful to its site operators so that they feel valued at least by the site if not by its thousands of users. Nearly no-one from our "18154" member base -apart from Admin Bjorn- responded to Hong-Kong's return, as if it had made no difference? See: www.globaltuners.com/forum/thread.php?tid=483
  2. Giving some financial support option to the site ops IF they may need it, either as site-advert revenues, or a time-charge-system to use specific radios who choose this option or equipment donation to African, Asian developing countries, (always as an available option), or any idea that our Forum will generate some more reliable income than the optional PayPal Donate button, which as we know, is statistically is ignored. I can't see any problems for anyone if we had a MIXED system of free and properly (not just optional Donate PayPal) financially supported nodes. People could pick and choose, freely, usually what we pay is what we get, sadly..
  3. Seeing the site actively chase site operators back to the site (and sharing this info with the Forum) especially when it comes to very sought after areas such as Afghanistan, or Metropolitan areas! We need a leaver's inteveriew, not only welcoming people to the site, but also showing that we care, parting as friends who are likely to one day return and bring more fellows along.
  4. I have reservations about the "Top List" statistic.. Yes, it may create "competition", among site operators to improve etc etc..but it also has flaws:
    • It doesn't really log reliably, when you see people appearing to be logged on the radio (even in the Status sometimes) and the very users saying in support tickets they have logged out hours ago.
    • Who would be really encouraged to leave their radio on the GT site if it's at around bottom of the "Top-List"? ? It can be pretty demoralizing and we know that it has sadly led people to remove their radios from the site, they've said it in the Forum and/or the News..
    • Instead I would much rather see synergy, not competition among us and instead of being "ranked" in some "Top List" we could have a counter per node for the eyes only of the site-op and/or Admins to monitor site traffic, a much more discreet and less embarrassing system. This would also encourage users to explore the "small fry"rather than the "big guns".


Ivo @ 2009-12-01 23:35

  • I will currently consider us four (Ivo, Tim, Steve, Sven) the 'core team' because you are all very active and are probably the people I know best around here. Not to imply that any other admin is less important, but I think we need to get responsabilities right before we can really change anything.
  • It's clear that none of us can take all the work that comes with GlobalTuners all alone. We need a strong team with good internal communications. A long time ago, when GlobalTuners just took off, there were a few teams with clear responsabilities; even though not everbody was active, it sort of worked.
  • Many of the team members have become less active, tasks are not clear anymore and because of the lack of decent internal communications and any possibility to make notes about users and receivers. To be honest, I do not even know many site operators and have to look in 10 places to find out what has been going on in the past with their node.

What I think that has to be done (at least, and to start):

  1. Clear up responsabilities, perhaps by (re)forming a few teams, with only really active people
  2. Improve internal communications through the use of team-specific mailing lists, a system to add internal comments to users and receivers
  3. Improve internal relations, perhaps by allowing site operators and admins to write something about theirselves, add a picture, and promote the IRC crew chat (!)
  4. Make clear to the users where they can direct their questions about specific subjects (team mailing lists? some more advanced ticket-system? a combination of both?)
  5. Share knowledge (software, issues, etc) with the team, perhaps using some sort of wiki style documentation (allow to quickly write a howto or document stuff so other admins can easily find that information)
  6. Look for new people among the site operators and active users who want to activily participate
  7. I also think we need to clean up the admin team

Only then, I think, we can manage these 18k users and 60+ receivers and allow the site to grow once again. Right now we simply do not have sufficient people and time, at least it is not properly used.

Re. #4: the top list was never invented to create competition. It has existed in the DXTuners times and was actually requested by some users and siteops I think. Some of them seem to live for the statistics, even though they don't mean much. Maybe it should be removed. At leatst I would love to see a 'Receiver of the week' - bring some extra attention to one specific (less popular or just new) receiver by promoting it on the front page. This should include some more detailed information about the location, but more important, what can be received. And it takes time to write this...

At the moment I don't feel much for paid receivers; they will likely be less popular and certainly introduce a lot more administrative work, and as some users suggest - paying users will EXPECT us to always deliver the service 'they pay for'. But we can certainly discuss this. Perhaps we could collect donations and advertisement income to cover some costs (how do we determine who needs the money?) and get some sponsoring for receivers on interesting locations.

Sven @ 2009-12-02 9:40

  • Re: responsabilities: Maybe anyone of us should tell what he can do best in this vast project. I also think these responsibilities should be propagated on the website so anyone can see. Also, a list of spoken languages by those guys could be helpful. As we all know we got a bunch of people who can't even speak engrish. I don't see a problem if a ticket is managed in french (although ANYONE out there knows I don't speak that language ;)). Of course, english is preferred and the best choice to get the best support as more people understand.
  • Re: share knowledge: Very good idea, Ivo!
  • Re: toplist: The "Receiver of the Week" is a cool idea, it could also motivate site-ops to improve their nodes. Re the top list and a ranking..hrm. It's clear there are differences between several nodes. NW CT is one of the amazing ones, same as Albany. I was thinking of a different kind of ranking, but this idea has to be developed further. As of now, how's that: have an receiver assessment based on points, similar to how spamassassin works (and weight watchers, too ;)). I.e., an IC765 beats a PCR1k, hence gets more points. Other facts to include are the location, antennas, availability, etc (what else? Contributions welcome.)
  • Re: paid receivers: I'm sure we'd lose a huge bunch of users if we switch to a paid service and I fully understand your position, Ivo. On the other hand, equipment costs money, not too less in some cases. BUT..if we pay people to have their receivers at GT, how can we make sure they keep their radios running for the public?

A good way of raising funds is in fact Adsense. I've made several experiments with during the last 18 months and I'm now able to tell what positions on a site (and what ad format) work best. GT is already using Adsense, but I'm sure there are ways to improve it.

Ivo @ 2009-12-03

Some other comments from the forum thread that started all this:

  • oldtimer indicates that he had to shut a receiver down because of excessive charges from his ISP (did he use relaying?)
  • Rick_DX indicates that he would be interested in making a donation if that would have saved a few receivers - but he didn't know
  • Rick_DX indicates that he is only interested in a very few receivers
  • Backstreets suggests to take al ook at www.chipin.com for payments/donations, because of their countdown function, it uses paypal btw
  • Tim suggests: that two categories of radios are established: pay-to-use and free-to-use? Or maybe setup a Global Tuners support fund? Or perhaps Internet / Google ads played per radio-node could generate some contribution for the site (node) operators ?
  • ku4a suggests that site operators could be allowed (optionally) to charge a fee, he also indicates that it would obligate the operators to keep the receivers online
  • Too much text to handle in the forum... getting a headache...
  • Luc suggests to allow operators to explain why they leave to better understand the situation
  • Luc: Maybe one of the team could try to contact every node operator to peacefully ask why they left the network, or make an online survey they can fill so we can better understand the situation. Maybe we could have a tread explaining the reason each node left when operator agre to tell it publicly.
    • Ivo: One problem here is that we don't even know they have left (at least, I don't)...
  • ku4a: Vitesse, that is a very good point. I think Ivo has canvassed the offline node owners before, but it might be time to do it again. It would be interesting to see what the reasons are. Then, perhaps there is something that could be done to fix the problem.
    • Ivo: No, I haven't, at least not after they moved from DxTuners to GT. They are all on the siteop.users mailing list, but don't respons for some reason. Such e-mails have been sent to this list.
  • SDSpike suggests to ask operators why they want to JOIN
  • SDSpike: I believe alot of node owners don't know what to expect when they set one up. And when they find out that their node is not used as much as they thought or it's used for recieving things THEY don't think is worthy of listening to they leave. Say air traffic when they aren't in into air traffic.
  • SDSpike: They're those people who have no idea what a mode is) don't get it, you won't get their useage. ( If that's what your aiming for)
    • Ivo: I want a few instructive movies on youtube - just step by step guides starting with the very basics (sign up..?) and eventually explaining the most advanced features.
  • SDSpike: Try to be different and offer something others don't have to listen to. This is where your local content comes in. Police,fire,BC radio,ham radio,whatever. You may have to search it out. YOu'll learn something new.
    • Ivo: We need some kind of stimulation. Personal e-mail and chat sessions and clear explanations of what we expect and how to acomplish that... and assistance.
  • SDSpike: About the bandguide. Create at least a basic one. get those of use who'd like to listen to what's in your area someplace to start.
  • PaulD: I do not believe in the top list to be honest, as you say it is not reliable, and I also thinks it does not encorage to leave receivers online. If anything probably discorage.
  • PaulD: I do not like forums that much, but will try and get to the support tickets if no-one else has beaten me to it!!! Obviously work is priority! (I think).
  • PaulD: I think the full problem is the old faithful Communication Skills. It would be nice whenever possible to keep us and fellow users informed about their receivers.
  • PaulD: Do we know who is actually "Admin" and or "Site Ops" and who does what? Because I sure don't!!! Just a thought
    • Ivo: we should reduce the number of 'admins'. IMO an Admin is someone who is required for the site to function and is active at least on a daily basis. Just a few people, so they are easy to find and everyone knows them. All other 'administrative' tasks should be moved to separate roles (Moderator/Site operator).
    • Ivo: Somehow we (I at least) should get to know the site operators better
  • Tim: Again, I am not speaking on behalf of anyone else, and don't have evidence if £/$ is the reason behind other site operators' decisions to come-and-go, but I certainly understand that no-one can realistically expect in perpetuum something-for-nothing.
  • Tim: Good point this URL, Tom, makes one feel like winning these Afghanistan, Malaysia etc dx rare nodes back, what a joy this would be!
    • Ivo: Many of these nodes have unfortunately never been online. Somehow they did not finish the installation procedure and at least many of them need to be contacted afterwards to set things up - lots of work, which only a few people have any experience with.
  • Ivo: I see many users registering and 'sharing their receiver' on one single day. Many of them don't ever come back... Not even to listen.