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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 11-16-2013, 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Exsmokey View Post
If the direction in 6.1.3 was followed I wouldn't have started this thread. As an employee of mine used to say, "there is many a slip twixt cup and lip."

A few examples:

Vandenberg Air Force Base (VBG) Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference

Under "Airfield Operations," what does "ATIS" mean?

EDIT: The standard abbreviations listed in the handbook section 6.4.2 are helpful. I didn't know the list existed or the handbook either. Someone mentioned the handbook here and I had to Google it to find it. Such a list should be clearly and easily accessible when the database is accessed. I looked at the database for it and didn't find anything. Such a list should not be buried in a PDF document one has to Google to find.
ATIS is a standard aeronautical abbreviation for Automatic Terminal Information Service.

Automatic Terminal Information Service - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 11-16-2013, 12:55 AM
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ATIS is a standard aeronautical abbreviation for Automatic Terminal Information Service.

Automatic Terminal Information Service - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I should not have to Google every term that is abbreviated. I should not have to be knowledgeable in the fields of sewage treatment plants, airports or whatever. The description column has sufficient space to spell out all the abbreviations. It is hard and time consuming to write a file without having to look up every unexplained abbreviation. Much of the time the abbreviation search results provide no explanation or requires wading through a number of hits in an attempt to find an answer. The database is an element of the information business and my two decade plus experience in that business is such that I see some significant problems in the database's presentation of information.
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Last edited by Exsmokey; 11-16-2013 at 1:00 AM.. Reason: additional info
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Old 11-16-2013, 1:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Exsmokey View Post
I should not have to Google every term that is abbreviated. I should not have to be knowledgeable in the fields of sewage treatment plants, airports or whatever. The description column has sufficient space to spell out all the abbreviations. It is hard and time consuming to write a file without having to look up every unexplained abbreviation. Much of the time the abbreviation search results provide no explanation or requires wading through a number of hits in an attempt to find an answer. The database is an element of the information business and my two decade plus experience in that business is such that I see some significant problems in the database's presentation of information.
I'm not even sure why i'm adding to this thread but whatever. Just because you may be ignorant about certain things that may otherwise be common knowledge to 98% of the population doesn't mean that it should be required to dumb down everything for a few people. What you're asking the admins to do is analogous to defining what a red light is on a billboard at every intersection in all the languages on earth. If you don't know then use some critical thinking and observation or expand your knowledge utilizing the all-mighty google botnet.
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Old 11-16-2013, 1:14 AM
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I agree that you shouldn't have to search for every term that's abbreviated, but the issue is just where do you draw the line. I really don't want them to waste the time to define every term or abbreviation (e.g. "Chicago PD [Police Department] Dispatch [Person that directs which calls officers go to and where]" or "JFK Tower [Control tower that directs and controls the aircraft arriving, landing, or moving on airport property]".

My opinion is that there should be a common place where folks can easily find the common abbreviations, such as ATIS or SWAT, that are in common use around the associated industry but not take up the database space to spell it out on every entry that may use it. While it may take a small bit of work when folks start out, they'll learn quickly the various terms that are in use in the areas of the scanning hobby that they're interested in. We shouldn't "dumb down" [no offence is intended here, but simply using a common term that nearly all will understand] the pages, making them much larger than necessary just so a few that are just learning the hobby don't actually have to learn it.
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Old 11-16-2013, 4:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Chauffeur6 View Post




This thread has been beaten to death and effectively (and mercifully) ended a month ago. I understand you haven't posted much in that time, but the fact is that this topic has run its course. At a certain point you have to respect the fact that the people in charge of the website and database have made their decisions, and you move on.
Obviously the OP is not open to accept that he could be wrong or that l most of us don't care much one way or the other. On the odd time that an unfamiliar term appears, we look it up! Not a big deal. I consider additional postings in this thread SPAM [if you do not know the expansion of that abbreviation, sorry].
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Old 11-16-2013, 9:28 AM
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Originally Posted by n5ims View Post
I agree that you shouldn't have to search for every term that's abbreviated, but the issue is just where do you draw the line. I really don't want them to waste the time to define every term or abbreviation (e.g. "Chicago PD [Police Department] Dispatch [Person that directs which calls officers go to and where]" or "JFK Tower [Control tower that directs and controls the aircraft arriving, landing, or moving on airport property]".
You forgot to define "JFK."

As exsmokey pointed out, and in basic contradiction of his own main premise IMO, many abbreviations are local. The locals know what they mean. Why does someone in California need to know the exact meaning of every acronym used by the police in, say, Utica, New York?

As for generic terminology in common use, I agree with various posters above who argue against "dumbing down" the database. Everything does not need to be spelled out.

However, I do agree with exsmokey on one thing: The Description field should be descriptive, not a repeat of the alpha tag. I think that one adjustment alone would probably address most of his concerns.
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Old 11-16-2013, 10:24 AM
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I'm not even sure why i'm adding to this thread but whatever. Just because you may be ignorant about certain things that may otherwise be common knowledge to 98% of the population doesn't mean that it should be required to dumb down everything for a few people.
I doubt very much that the definition of ATIS is known by 98% of the general population. Keep in mind that the general population is our potential client base. I would say that probably very few people who bought a scanner to listen to their police department, and decide to branch out and start listening to aero or rail frequencies are already knowledgeable with the ins-and-outs of how airports, air traffic control and railroads work. I don't think there's any harm in having a series of wiki pages with definitions to common acronyms or even having some of them spelled out from time to time.

As for acronyms or abbreviations that have local context only, let's also not forget that there are people in the local area who are not already familiar with the ins and outs of the local radio systems or public safety agencies, not to mention people travelling out outside of the area.
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Old 11-16-2013, 4:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhal94 View Post
I'm not even sure why i'm adding to this thread but whatever. Just because you may be ignorant about certain things that may otherwise be common knowledge to 98% of the population doesn't mean that it should be required to dumb down everything for a few people. What you're asking the admins to do is analogous to defining what a red light is on a billboard at every intersection in all the languages on earth. If you don't know then use some critical thinking and observation or expand your knowledge utilizing the all-mighty google botnet.
Ad hominem.

It is obvious there are some very common abbreviations such as PD, tac and SWAT and a Google search of them will result in a million hits with the first hit providing an answer. Bringing up the simple, widely known abbreviations misses the point. Let's consider the type of term that illustrates the point I've raised: "STDNDS." Doing a Google search of this term results in entirely useless information. Moving down the list similar results are found for the term "Polasur."

The database administrators handbook 6.1.3 states "Abbreviations should never be used without first being defined." The same is taught in writing courses from high school to every level of college. It is obvious when reading scientific literature. Looking at the database it appears this direction is widely disregarded.
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Last edited by Exsmokey; 11-16-2013 at 6:16 PM.. Reason: clarity
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Old 11-16-2013, 10:05 PM
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You forgot to define "JFK."

As exsmokey pointed out, and in basic contradiction of his own main premise IMO, many abbreviations are local. The locals know what they mean. Why does someone in California need to know the exact meaning of every acronym used by the police in, say, Utica, New York?
If I write a file for upstate New York when visiting I would like to have the benefit of local member's knowledge. If they have knowledge of what a frequency/talkgroup is used for, but use an abbreviation that is only understood by residents of Utica and don't find it via a Google search, then I can't utilize their knowledge.

If I'm using a Home Patrol type radio and note an abbreviation in the tag, I should be able to look up what the abbreviation on the RR database that explains it in the description.

Sometimes the assumption is made that everyone understands what you, yourself, understand. That assumption is nearly always incorrect when speaking to people outside your profession or local area.

One field in my profession and one of many hats I wore is called "interpretation." This field of which I speak is not the one that involves, for example, translating English to French. Here is one definition of it: "Environmental interpretation relates to the various methods and skills that natural resource professionals use to communicate an educational, environmental, scientific, or practical message to their audience." Think of ranger hikes and campfire talks, visitor center and roadside displays and published material such as brochures, maps, guidebooks etc. I was involved in all of this two weeks into my first summer with the U.S. Forest Service. I patrolled most of my career as well as worked the front counter in heavily used visitor centers. I answered a few thousand questions on the phone. I understand how to develop programs, written materials and spoken responses to frequent questions involving complex issues. One of the talks I presented on a few occasions was titled "What did John Muir mean when he stated ' "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." Interpretation does not just involve education, but presents it in a way to inspire people to want to ask further questions and delve more into the subject, which in this case is ecology. I wrote responses to "congressional inquires," where a member of the Congress writes about an issue on behalf of a constituent and needs answers. I wrote press releases and was a Incident Information Officer on a few conflagrations, most in southern California where the pressure to put out information is high. Sometimes I would speak to a group of 1st and 2nd grade students one day and then address a group of doctoral geology students the next. I wrote one sided single sheet handouts that solved issues of not only significantly reducing the number of frequently asked questions, but solved problems in the field (as in on the ground) as well. As I supervised the management of frontcountry recreation (as opposed to backcountry or wilderness areas where vehicles cannot go) and saw problems that well thought out, information techniques could address. I then observed first hand what effect those efforts had on the situation, often times going back to the drawing board until we came up with a product that was more effective. I answered more than a few thousand questions out on the ground as my last ten years involved an average of 3,000 field contacts per year. I reviewed and sometimes rewrote sections of manuscripts being prepared for book publishing. I wrote one voluminous paper for the approval of the second level (Regional Forester) of the Forest Service justifying an action that was controversial and scientifically complex. The research, data gathering and writing had to be on the level of at least a master's thesis. I was given performance awards for my interpretation/public information efforts and was once nominated by the public information/interpretive team on one National Forest I worked on for my performance relative to a widely publicized. controversial and over hyped issue. Widely enough that it involved an interview with the BBC. The field of public information, especially when natural resources, science and public land is complex and not readily or easily understood. I enjoyed it more than any other aspect of my job and feel priveleged to have been paid to do it. I would bet that there is not a large group of RR members with similar qualifications and experience. I only list my qualifications to say that I'm very knowledgable about how to convey information to both wide and specific audiences. I am not some malcontent pointing out an unimportant, esoteric problem. Rather I am someone with the qualifications and experience to see some needed improvements.

The abbreviations used in the RR database (STDNDS, Polasu, OCD, etc.) don't properly convey information to the wide audience this website has. I think we should and can do better. We should go further and not use abbreviations (of the type 6.1.3 means to address) even if explained. It is pretty easy to copy the information on the line of the original explanation and paste it into every line where the tab has an abbreviation. An example involves a large, metro police department who may have more than 100 talkgroups or frequencies. OCD, which can mean "Organized Crime Division," among others, may have a channel assigned exclusively to them on channel 18 of the department's radio system, but then have others in the 140-150 channel range. I may have to hunt and peck a while before finding it defined in the description of channel 18. "OCD" might have one definition in Chicago with another in Cleveland. Understanding a communications system, especially the large and complex systems, which may be only one of several contained in the banks of a program (program meaning a file for large memory capacity radios), requires as much simplification of effort as possible. I've written and maintain nearly 30 custom programs or files for my GRE PSR-500/600 scanners that cover four states (CA, NV, AZ and NM) and soon a fifth state, Texas where more than one file might be needed to cover routes from New Mexico to Dallas. I've written additional files for friends and friends of friends living in my town and nearby towns for a number of different scanner models. I don't have the time to devote to wading through contradictory Google hits in order to understand a system or decide whether to commit memory to infrequently used or uninteresting channels, such as those assigned to administrative functions like procurement, warehouses and personnel.

I could take the RR database to anyone working the field of interpretation, writing scientific papers (in fact I showed it to a nephew of mine who is a professor of marine biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara) or any public information officer and their response would be exactly what the RR database administrators handbook says in section 6.1.3.
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Last edited by Exsmokey; 11-16-2013 at 10:43 PM.. Reason: typo and clarity
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  #30 (permalink)  
Old 11-16-2013, 10:45 PM
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I am unsure of your previous occupation, were you by chance paid by the Word?
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Old 11-16-2013, 10:51 PM
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You really need to find a more succinct way of expressing yourself.
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Old 11-17-2013, 3:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exsmokey View Post
One field in my profession and one of many hats I wore is called "interpretation." This field of which I speak is not the one that involves, for example, translating English to French. Here is one definition of it: "Environmental interpretation relates to the various methods and skills that natural resource professionals use to communicate an educational, environmental, scientific, or practical message to their audience." Think of ranger hikes and campfire talks, visitor center and roadside displays and published material such as brochures, maps, guidebooks etc. I was involved in all of this two weeks into my first summer with the U.S. Forest Service. I patrolled most of my career as well as worked the front counter in heavily used visitor centers. I answered a few thousand questions on the phone. I understand how to develop programs, written materials and spoken responses to frequent questions involving complex issues. One of the talks I presented on a few occasions was titled "What did John Muir mean when he stated ' "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." Interpretation does not just involve education, but presents it in a way to inspire people to want to ask further questions and delve more into the subject, which in this case is ecology. I wrote responses to "congressional inquires," where a member of the Congress writes about an issue on behalf of a constituent and needs answers. I wrote press releases and was a Incident Information Officer on a few conflagrations, most in southern California where the pressure to put out information is high. Sometimes I would speak to a group of 1st and 2nd grade students one day and then address a group of doctoral geology students the next. I wrote one sided single sheet handouts that solved issues of not only significantly reducing the number of frequently asked questions, but solved problems in the field (as in on the ground) as well. As I supervised the management of frontcountry recreation (as opposed to backcountry or wilderness areas where vehicles cannot go) and saw problems that well thought out, information techniques could address. I then observed first hand what effect those efforts had on the situation, often times going back to the drawing board until we came up with a product that was more effective. I answered more than a few thousand questions out on the ground as my last ten years involved an average of 3,000 field contacts per year. I reviewed and sometimes rewrote sections of manuscripts being prepared for book publishing. I wrote one voluminous paper for the approval of the second level (Regional Forester) of the Forest Service justifying an action that was controversial and scientifically complex. The research, data gathering and writing had to be on the level of at least a master's thesis. I was given performance awards for my interpretation/public information efforts and was once nominated by the public information/interpretive team on one National Forest I worked on for my performance relative to a widely publicized. controversial and over hyped issue. Widely enough that it involved an interview with the BBC. The field of public information, especially when natural resources, science and public land is complex and not readily or easily understood. I enjoyed it more than any other aspect of my job and feel priveleged to have been paid to do it. I would bet that there is not a large group of RR members with similar qualifications and experience. I only list my qualifications to say that I'm very knowledgable about how to convey information to both wide and specific audiences. I am not some malcontent pointing out an unimportant, esoteric problem. Rather I am someone with the qualifications and experience to see some needed improvements.
633 word paragraphs are deprecated.
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Old 11-17-2013, 11:32 AM
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Thanks, the last three who posted are correct. I need to work on not writing such voluminous posts.
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