Hello from Tenerife,
I've been reading this thread with interest whilst on my travels as I had started a similar thread in the staff area shortly before. Obviously what has been said in the staff area will not be repeated here.
I thought I'd just post my personal
thoughts on some of the things posted.
A question was asked as to why a specific item was chosen, a response was given, that's hardly defending the top 10. I'm not surprised that there have been so few posts this year as the forum membership had already started their own top moments of 2016 threads. I however agree that the article is being published late, that was caused by a variety of reasons but that's something for internal discussion. I do however believe the top 10 should remain as chosen by the staff team and not the membership. If the membership wanted a separate set of awards they could vote on then this could be looked at.
I strongly disagree with any insinuation that UKAR articles should have a controversial element, that is Daily Mail gutter press style. It may have made certain articles "interesting" in the past but it should not be what UKAR is about and, if UKAR went down that route I would leave in a heartbeat as would many others suspect.
Lack of Content
I agree, this year has been a lean one. Why? It costs money to attend Airshows and we are all volunteers. If an airshow doesn't attract a staffer, it either means the ticket cost is high or, there is nothing interesting attending/the show is advance ticket only and attendance rests on the weather or, there is a bigger/better show that day or, there is something fundamentally wrong with the venue (eg. Duxford). We do not ask for special access at UK Airshows, we believe asking for press access (certain other websites quite literally beg for this - one poor bedroom website even obtained a RIAT press pass last year) gives an obliation that restricts the ability to criticise where necessary. It can also be that thanks to the weather.etc there may not be enough content, we don't write articles for articles sake - this happened more than once in 2016.
Future Content - Features
UKAR's remit has to expand in order for it to remain relevant in the coming years as the airshow industry is in apparent decline. I disagree that military exercises should be off limits to our articles, if the author/staff think people would be interested in reading the piece then the feature report should be written. That said any report should have an angle, I agree multiple repeated red flag articles saying "this was there and that was there" do no-one any good. I have a couple of ideas for feature reports in my head at the moment that I'm putting to staff on my return, those that think exercises shouldn't be covered will not be happy with them as these go a whole new direction, that's if they happen of course!
This is somewhere that I am very reluctant to expand, and I know that brings me into conflict with fellow staffers. My personal opinion is that Facebook has been the great social leveller and that this has not been for the good. Where here we can easily control content, posters.etc, I have to be honest and say Facebook groups are predominantly (not all) occupied by idiots and people too lazy to go out and find information for themselves. They require far more moderation and monitoring than a forum and I honestly don't think we have the resource to do this.
Direct Posting of Images
The amount of bandwidth, physical space and cost required to do this is prohibitive.
Use of non-staff photos
This already happens, we just do it in private. We won't put out a call for images, we pick whose images we want. Part of a good article is excellent photography and the images we use that aren't staff need to be up to scratch. Some staffers are on the team for their writing ability, others for their photographic, others perform other tasks (Ie forum moderation). Not everyone has a good ability at everything.
Always welcome, it's how I started contributing to UKAR, I approached the staff team offering articles from a visit to the USA and they agreed. 12 months later I was offered a place on the team. I must clarify however that you must already have content online/available for us to review - both written and photographic. There is a standard to maintain and a "this happened and that happened" style article won't be accepted. We will also review the reason why you want to write an article for us. Not naming anyone but we were approached in the recent past by someone wanting to write an article on the Hawk T1 leaving service... Upon researching we found out the T1 was not leaving service for a few years and the individual involved had declared on social media they would try anything and everything in order to "blag" a back seat ride in a Hawk that year! Needless to say that offer was refused. That we will not support. End of the day, the worst we will say is no. Indeed, talking point was set up specifically for members to contribute content to the site and forums but after one article, no-one took us up on it!
Number of Forum Posts
There is only so much we can do about this, it is down to you as members to make threads and to comment on them. I do believe there are certain members that discourage replies either because they are easily offended, looking for any excuse to attack certain individuals or, are bullies. I think some posting attitudes do need to change from long term members in all honesty.
Hell no, there's already sites out there piggy backing off ours and GAR's success with similar names, UKAR is a well known brand in the airshow industry, it's also one of the oldest review websites.
That's my personal view on some things being discussed, it's not the UKAR official view in many instances but end of the day I'm also a member of the forum too in addition to being a staffer