• Op-Ed: What Happened to the Flight Sim Community?

    Op-Ed: What Happened to the Flight Sim Community?

    What Happened to the Flight Sim Community?

    By MrYorkiesWorld

    Introduction

    Hello there everyone, my name is MrYorkiesWorld, and today's article is actually going to be one that I've been meaning to write for a very long time. It has a special place in my heart purely because of my connection with the flight sim community, and the YouTube community in general which I've seen develop in many different ways over the last decade.

    The flight sim community has always been a very close one. We have always gone above and beyond to support one another and have always worked together to make the platform our own.

    One thing I have admired is the longevity of our style of content. We teach people to fly virtual planes, which goes a lot further than simulation - it also helps people train for the real world if they wish to do so. Endless amounts of people out there turn to flight simulation to learn the basics of how to fly an aircraft, and although a computer can only teach you so much, the platform we have is one of the best available.

    In this article, I'm going to talk about my own experiences and opinions of where we are today in the world of flight simulation, and also how we got here, and how we need to weed out an ever-growing problem that seems to have emerged quite recently following the announcement, and subsequent release of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.

    For those of you who are easily offended, please turn away - I intend to be very honest and brutal throughout!

    Who Are You to Be Having an Opinion?

    When it comes to YouTube, I've been around for almost 11 years making actual content. I first started creating YouTube videos back in 2010 on a different, and unrelated subject to flight simulation, and so I've seen all of the changes, big and small, that YouTube has faced in the last decade. This includes the legendary "star rating" system which was superseded by the thumbs up and down system a number of years ago, plus many other changes that have occurred on the platform.

    Having reached an audience numbered in the thousands (including subscribers), I know what it's like to be part of the YouTube community.

    In March 2014 I began making flight simulation videos on YouTube, which is where the MrYorkiesWorld channel was born. However, my history in actually using flight simulators and contributing to the flight-sim community dates back to around 2006 when I first started using the platform. I'd often speak to the community, advise people and also ask my own flight-sim related support questions. This was a passion and a pastime that would continue to grow until this day.

    Over the years, I have successfully helped thousands of people in the YouTube community, either by troubleshooting simulator related problems, or general computer issues. I've learned the basics of flying complex aircraft inside of the sim and even contributed one or two of my own creations to the community as well. I have watched in awe as creators such as Chewwy94 and Matt Davies created content which allowed me to learn more and more about the flight simulation platforms that we all know and love today.

    I am probably one of only a few flight simulation enthusiasts in the community who creates content the way that I do. In other words...I ignore a lot of the usual flight rules, and just have fun. I find that my style of content (one that throws away the rule book and simply focusses on getting from A to B whilst checking out the awesome in-sim surroundings) works really well for me, and it's something I've been passionate about for a long time.

    Something's Wrong in the Community

    Over the years I have watched how people react when new simulators or add-ons are released, but I have never seen anything like how it is today. It seems as if there is something in the air within the flight sim community (no pun intended) - some kind of turbulence that has caused quite a few of us all to become very agitated, angry and down-right aggressive towards each other as of late.

    The amount of comments that I've read from people asking genuine questions related to the new simulator, and then being met with insults and hate comments from the community is simply ridiculous!

    One example of the hate I'm talking about was when I recently created a video on my channel showing off a new livery pack created by a user in the community. I was immediately attacked by numerous users for apparently "failing" to mention the creator in my video when clearly a link was put in the description along with all the necessary information linking the liveries to them.

    What annoyed me the most was that anyone with half a brain cell would simply click the link and then immediately be presented with all the information needed; either this or simply read the video description! However, according to some of the comments I received, I was expected to essentially run an ad campaign for them in my video. It seems people are too lazy to read video descriptions these days.

    The community has also become very greedy - desperate for fame and to have their opinions forced upon others, and God help you if you try to voice your own opinion on any of it, or try to fight back - although it is unfortunately the same in the real world - nobody can say or do anything these days for fear of upsetting someone. I like to refer to these people as "snowflakes".

    Too many people are creating "Discord" servers and hosting their files on other strange and potentially unsafe or unstable web sites that are difficult to navigate around. That's why I make it simple - my web site in particular has the name of the files that people need, such as config files, settings, spreadsheets etc... along with a "Download" button next to them. There are none of these silly servers or hoops to go through, as all they do is make it more challenging for the community to contribute, which leads to the frustration and bad attitudes I'm talking about. When you want to find something, you want it to be right there in front of you, ready to download and install in seconds.

    Posting a question in a forum asking for help is a huge challenge these days. Users have to submit things in a certain template or in a certain format - gone are the days of simply answering a question that you clearly took the time to read. Nowadays, people seem to take the time to read a question, only to tell the author to change the way they asked it slightly so that it looks a certain way, instead of just giving them the answer they should have in the first place.

    My favourite scenario is when people tell you to use a search engine - they have clearly taken the time to click on the question you've asked, only to write an unhelpful instruction to search elsewhere. Why didn't they just answer the question? Many people find it tedious to fish through endless realms of search results. Gone are the days of providing a simple answer to a simple question.

    I've had numerous people, close friends of mine in the flight sim community, actually mention to me how the toxic and complicated atmosphere in our community is making them less interested in flight simulation as a hobby. It makes them not want to post any content or ask any questions for fear of offending people, or simply being rejected and ridiculed by the community overall.

    Where It All Went Wrong

    It's difficult to say where things went wrong, but personally the blame (to a degree) is due to how the world is at present. Everyone is frustrated due to the impact of Coronavirus, and many people have been forced to work (staring at the same four walls hour on end), and I think it's starting to take its toll.

    Things seemed to get out of hand around the time Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 was announced, and subsequently got even worse after it was released. People immediately started slating Microsoft and Asobo for tiny things such as scenery glitches, missing buildings, problems with aircraft etc... but failed to see the bigger picture.

    In my opinion, many people simply weren't able to see the fact that we had an amazing new platform to explore and enjoy - one which was far more feature-rich and advanced than what we had ever seen before (especially out of the box).

    Yes, there were omissions, but that meant the community could create additional content (much like the X-Plane community with the Gateway). On top of this, third-party developers have also jumped onboard and started supporting the new sim, but many people are still far too impatient to actually wait for the results. This is where and how I think it all went wrong - people are just too impatient and too stressed out at the minute, but that is simply no excuse for some of the behaviour we see.

    There are many individuals who are simply unable to look past the imperfections, and are unable to see that the small "issues" that are currently present in the new sim are all to be expected, all predicted, and are perfectly normal.

    This is a new platform - new platforms have these sorts of issues, but for some reason the community has lost their ability to see past this - they assume that Microsoft and Asobo should have released a problem-free, perfect sim right from the start. They don't understand the basic concept that the true test of any simulator lies in the art of giving it to the community and using them for feedback (surely the ultimate resource).

    In many simulators such as FSX for example, we had an abundance of issues that only really started to get under control after the second major patch was released...and still to this day, there are still issues with it.

    With the X-Plane community, they have a sim which is evolving all the time, one which is in a constant change of flux, but do you hear them moaning and groaning? No! If you look at X-Plane.Org, you'll see that they all work together to create something special...a community.

    If you consider the fact that Flight Simulator 2020 is massively more detailed and complex than FSX, you can sort of realise why so many more bugs and issues have been discovered. The more content and features there are, the more chance there will be issues - this is the same on any simulator, any game and to a degree...any sort of software regardless of what it might be.

    The Brighter Side of Things

    There's always a brighter side to these sorts of stories, and I'm happy to say that despite this minority of people trying to essentially ruin it for us all, there is still a really good community there for flight simmers. Plenty of users just like myself are still hovering around somewhere on the internet, especially on long-established web sites such as FlightSim.Com, and continue to contribute in a good, positive and respectful way.

    There are still people out there who will answer questions with a real answer and not pass it to somewhere else, and plenty of people value and respect each other enough not to demand to be in the spotlight every time someone uses your product or creation in their videos.

    It makes me happy to know what underneath this thin blanket of dust, there is still a good community there. The majority of us still help each other out without expecting things in return, and we go out of our way to support each other no matter how "silly" the question might seem to some.

    Slowly but surely, we will bring back our community, and what a beautiful time to do it when we've just been blessed with a simulator as amazing and revolutionary as Microsoft Flight Simulator.

    The Future of the Community

    The future of our community very much relies on people actually coming together and sharing their own ideas and experiences of flight simulation. By doing this, we will become stronger, bigger and most importantly of all...better. This in turn benefits everyone...which is surely what we all want.

    Despite what I've said about the negatives, I really do believe that we can come together and repair ourselves. Think about it...we all share the same passion...the same desire to jump into an aircraft and explore the virtual world on offer (no matter what simulator it is).

    If we can just remember that behind every sentence typed, there is a real living person, then I think we're off to a good start!

    We will once again...be as strong as we used to be!

    MrYorkiesWorld
    Youtube Channel


    68 Comments
    1. tirith63's Avatar
      tirith63 -
      Excellent post, and thanks for ending on a positive note. I've noticed the same issues over the last couple of years in many forums and communities across many subjects, not just Flight Simulator. When I see one of these unhelpful responses, I try to provide a helpful answer in a friendly way, which gives the original poster something useful, and shows that this is a better way to behave towards each other. I know there are still plenty of great people out there - those people, as well as those who just want an honest, helpful answer, are still very much appreciated.

      And thanks for speaking out in a helpful and respectful way, free from rancor and blame. (Nice video work, too; I've seen a bunch of them )
    1. mmanner's Avatar
      mmanner -
      Hear Hear!!!
    1. stretch's Avatar
      stretch -
      Good read and very spot on. I've been thinking the same things for some time now. Better days ahead!
      Cheers
    1. DavidN16's Avatar
      DavidN16 -
      At your YouTube site, you just need to review the negative comments and delete them and also block the visitors who are corrupting the flight sim community. The more successful your YT site becomes, the more you will surely be attacked.
    1. markhoare's Avatar
      markhoare -
      Well said Mr Yorkies World. While many folk may be getting a bit grumpy over the pandemic restrictions there are still lot's of friendly and positive people on the forums. Example:- I came across a great post on the Microsoft FS2020 forum the other day with a link to a new plugin from Logitech making their switch panel/multipanel and radios compatible with the new sim. The poster even provided a link. Result. Five minutes later my Saitek radio stack that I have been using for years with FS9 and FSX now works with FS2020 too.

      And thank you for the tip in one of your videos to use an Xbox controller for the drone cam mode. I bought one on Amazon for £16 quid. It has transformed the drone cam experience and also the external camera which can now be scrolled slowly like in previous versions of MSFS. I have subscribed to your channel and also hail from South Yorkshire. Sheffield in fact but have been living in London for many years now.

      The future of our hobby is bright with MSFS2020, Prepar3D, Xplane, DSC Word, FSX and FS9.(Yes I still use it. Brilliant sim in my humble opinion). We just have to remember to be nice to each other on the forums. My own experience has always been very positive with lot's of help available. Happy flying to you all whatever your sim of choice. Have FUN guys and gals.
    1. wblackret's Avatar
      wblackret -
      Great article! It’s apparently like that about everything anymore. People being attacked verbally, physically and emotionally. The need to disagree, dispute things that need not be disputed, you say it’s green, they insist it’s yellow and demand you agree with them. Read a forum, watch the news, etc. it’s the state of the world!
    1. 757flyer's Avatar
      757flyer -
      MrYorkiesWorld,
      Thank you for your overview of our Flightsim World and the overview of our increased temperature in the Real World. I really enjoy your videos and I for one definitely respect all who create scenery, utilities, aircraft, and traffic files for this wonderful hobby. MSFS will continue to grow and by next year at this time, my hope is we will be overwhelmed by all the choices of aircraft, scenery, and airline traffic choices. Please continue the work you do and I hope we all will learn to temper our minds and just help this platform take shape where all of us will continue to enjoy this wonderful hobby.
    1. tlabadie's Avatar
      tlabadie -
      Nice article. I agree with tirith63, not just Flight Simulator, it's everywhere, even in the work environment. It's been a good while that i have not gone to forums for answers. With the new MSFS 2020 with no manual, it's not easy. Why my download installed on ............... drive. From day 1, liveries and sceneries started to pop up, what do i do ..............
      So i search the internet or YouTube for answers.
    1. gt401964's Avatar
      gt401964 -
      Mate, You have hit the nail on the head. It's not just flightsim but a lot of other things too. This whinging and bitching about everything these days is due to todays PC correct, braindead, moron, snowflake dopey society.
      I'm disgusted how the world has become nowadays.
    1. siteacq123's Avatar
      siteacq123 -
      Great post, thank you for saying what needed to be said Mr Yorkies World. Some of us in the flight sim community have been at this hobby longer than many of these snowflakes have been alive. Let's not let them ruin at least this small piece of our lives. Looking forward to seeing what the next ten years brings to this great new sim.
    1. stusue's Avatar
      stusue -
      I find forums in general are very angry and negative these days. The whole anonymity thing makes it easy for people to behave and say things in a way they never would face to face. Social media also reinforces singular beliefs and opinions. I watch one YouTube video on a German airplane and next thing I know I'm getting suggestions from YouTube for Nazi Germany. I kid u not ! We have to remember how lucky we are to be in the computer age and have such a beautiful hobby as flight simulator. I for one think the people here for the most part are wonderful and dedicated and really do a great job at providing useful information. Also a huge hats off to Microsoft and Asobo for giving us the new sim.
    1. zswobbie1's Avatar
      zswobbie1 -
      Probably the best post I've read, for many years..
      The late great developer, Garry Smith, of Ford Tri-Motor Project fame, & creator of many hundreds of textures, always said that simming is all about Fun, Facts & Fiction... True words indeed!

      I've found that our hobby has become 2 sided.. the THEM's & the US's.
      We, the non-complex aircraft flyers (I refuse to call them study quality planes, but you PMDG'ers know who I'm talking about), tend to regard us Them's as lessor flyers/hobbyists, because we do not conform, or fly by the numbers, or sail, or drive around, or fly a spaceship or do not have the best hardware, or do not have VR but still enjoy the older sims --FS9 ROCKS!!

      It's all about immersion, not realism - it's a game, for goodness sake, & when we see real pilots 'bumping' in their seats, anticipating touchdown, using freeware scenery & aircraft, using FS2004, practicing a letdown into Luton after applying for a job with DHL to fly there, & getting the job, we realise it's not the fancy aircraft, scenery, latest sim, expensive PC et al that's so important....

      It's the attitude & immersion that we have for our hobby!

      This new sim? Hats off & thanking Microsoft & Asobo for giving us the new sim? They did not 'give'it to us, we bought & paid for the thing. It's not altrusic of them either, it's a technology demonstrator & a money generator for Microsoft, as all their products are, NOT a vehicle to make & placate a niche market! It's a pure business decision of theirs.
    1. CRJ_simpilot's Avatar
      CRJ_simpilot -
      I've noticed this for a very, very, very long time. I don't think covid has anything to do with it, though it could exacerbate the situation. I've been on many computer help forums for the last 14 years and over time I've seen my fair share of "Google it" or bitterness and ridicule. Now for me personally I think this is the young generation, the millennial generation. I feel like a good majority of this generation feels entitled and what not and was handed a trophy for everything. In fact, the forum software now used a lot called Xenforo in replace of vBulletin has trophies, likes and other stupid nonsensical stuff. I loath Xenforo and the aforementioned Discord. I love my Team Speak, use the Team Speak App, and VPN to my own Team Speak server at home with the OpenVPN App via my phone with the a VPN inside my Asus Merlin flashed router where from there I can hear my police scanner monitoring tower of my local GA airport and other things around town. Can't do that with the overlay obnoxious coded Discord. Maybe, but I don't care to know. It's overly complex and unnecessary. Besides, my gaming buddies all use Team Speak.

      Now if I haven't "offended" anyone yet, I will now. Your sentence there about the description in the YouTube video where people thought you should advertise the link in the video its self just confirms what my opinion has been for a long time. And that is there's a vast majority of people out there with low IQ or common sense. Not exactly sure which. In one example, I go out of my way typing at least four paragraphs telling the OP this and that about their computer issue only to be ignored what I had just said. Or worse, ask the very same question in another topic/thread that I just got done answering. I find my self unsubscribing from the topic/thread now-a-days when I see stupid. It's like that old adage: you can lead a horse to water, you can't make him (her, it, what ever the hell floats your little boat) drink!

      I guess now that I'm going on 40 this October and have approached the top of the hill, I truly see the world as it is now a days from my wise old man's perch. LOL!

      PS: I actually proof read this in an effort to make it look like I actually have a command of the English language even though my grammar isn't that of a popular Russian author or something... Not often you see that these days I'll tell you.

      John 15:18
    1. neilfb's Avatar
      neilfb -
      Totally agree, the X Plane community is totally different and I feel kind of guilty in a way leaving like I did. But let's face ti 2020 is far superior out of the box, goodness knows where we will be in 12 months. The children we have on the sites at the moment will either grow up or leave!
    1. aquafx's Avatar
      aquafx -
      I look forward to more YT content MrYW. Hope this crazy world hasn't got you down too much.
      I'm one of the early avsim and flightsim members so I have seen it all when it comes to fs community interactions. It has become quite opinionated and hostile at times. However, I have learned in my senior years to except the way it is, not to let it get me down, take 1 day at a time and not sweat the stuff I have no control over.

      Ignore all the negative noise and rejoice in our flightsims exciting future and all the wonderful content creators of YT and Twitch. This pastime has never been so good. IMHO :-)
    1. cgsimpson's Avatar
      cgsimpson -
      Well written thank you
      Graeme
      Bendigo
      Australia
    1. RaysAviation's Avatar
      RaysAviation -
      Absolutely a good read and I agree 100%.

      I have been a member of the community since the late 1990’es and written multiple reviews which has been published on a variety of websites and media over the years. However I often experienced negative feedback which for me is useless, and also often quite harsh and provocative comments resulting in my commitment and excitement of contributing to the community decreased rapidly. Today I only make a few reviews a year because I simply don’t have the energy for all the potential negative feedback, especially when spending about 30-40 hours on testing a piece of software and writing the review – what I have learned is that no matter what I write, someone will always have a different opinion and even though that I several times have stated that the review is my opinion of the aircraft/scenery/hardware or whatever, some people tend to just attack one if they do not share the same opinion, this instead of accepting that not all people share their exact same opinion.

      I also remember the helpful community which we all took part of, but I also see that it’s still here. I think that it’s just a few who ruins it for the majority.

      Happy Flying 🙃
    1. RTod's Avatar
      RTod -
      Excellent article! This is exactly why I dropped out of all the Facebook Flight Sim Pages. I now have two forums I go to. The rest are simply an exercise in what degree they can be rude. Amazing how many times your told "Read the Manual", only to have to tell the rude responder, IT ISNT IN THE MANUAL! THATS WHY I ASKED THE QUESTION! Maybe they should read the manual! I started Flight Sim in the monochrome days. Its never been this difficult and that's not the depth of the planes, by difficult I mean the people of the community. Yes, I do hope it changes.
    1. Blair007's Avatar
      Blair007 -
      Agree completely. My thoughts is Microsoft always goes too gamey.. Now they made version for X-Box, so we will continue to be flooded with immaturity. Sad but true. I do enjoy the x-plane.org forums for that reason. Always helpful people there and not there to try to insult or put you down.
    1. Jean-Philippe Pierard's Avatar
      Jean-Philippe Pierard -
      I agree 2000% !
      Frome FS-Creation, member since this forum start !
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