Supervisors: what is their exact job?

They are sometimes seen as the "Policemen of IVAO", some members are afraid of them, some dislike them, for good or bad reasons. But supervisors are useful and, most of the time, misunderstood. Focus on this particular but very demanding role.


When you say the word "supervisor" on IVAO, it never leaves people indifferent. This is probably more due to the fact supervisors have additional privileges and can sanction members than for a justified "fear", since most members will spend years on the network without ever dealing with a supervisor for anything.

There are a few things that most members don't know or don't understand about supervisors and what their "job" is about. Exactly like with the police, people often remember about the repressive part of their tasks and forget about all the other important aspects like prevention, assistance...

In this post, let's try to explain better what a supervisor does.

What is a supervisor, and who becomes supervisor?

A supervisor is someone who, after a strict process, receives the trust of the Executive Council to represent it on the network and make sure it remains a friendly place. In order to become a supervisor, you must be a staff member (either in a division or at HQ level), have a long experience on the network with rather high ratings and more than anything, have a totally clean past on the network. Probity and reliability are two magic words for a good supervisor.

Supervisors are linked to the Executive but not to a division. Unlike some people believe, while working as a supervisor, the member totally disregards which division he is part of. He acts exactly the same way for a matter involving his division than any matter with another division. He considers as equals members from his division and from others.

 

 

Supervisors are hunting on the network to find the next victim

No, supervisors are not hidden in the woods and waiting for you to make the slightest mistake. Supervisors are passionate about aviation, like you. They like flying and controlling. So if they have some spare time, they will spend it flying or controlling, not turning the Webeye map in all directions to find the guy who fell asleep while flying!

As said before, a supervisor is also a staff member and his staff position probably requires a certain daily work, which he would probably do while connected as an observer with his staff callsign. So most of the time when you see a supervisor connected as a staff member, he is not watching you, he is simply working on his staff duties.

Almost every time a supervisor reacts, he has been called by a member. It is very unusual for a supervisor to take the initiative.

 

Sometimes I see several supervisors online. And when I send a wallop message, those lazy guys never care!

While you see a few supervisors online, it doesn't mean that they are currently online standing in front of their screen and waiting for the next wallop to come. As we said, he can be flying on final approach (which makes it quite hard to focus on something else obviously), or controlling in a busy airport, or doing some staff work that requires full concentration, or is even dealing with a previous wallop request.

If you get no reaction, it's likely that supervisors are very busy with more urgent matters. If really no supervisor is available, and since a very big part of the requests are not really urgent, you can always collect all necessary evidence and submit a complaint afterwards to the Executive.

 

Yes but I even sent a supervisor private messages on IVAO and Facebook messages, but he keeps on ignoring me!

When you send a wallop, all supervisors online receive a notification. Believe us, most wallops are taken in just less than 10 seconds. It's not common to wait more than 30 seconds before it is taken into consideration. But if a supervisor doesn't take the wallop, it's not because he is lazy, or because he doesn't like your name, or anything like that. If he can't handle your request, he can simply NOT handle it, even if you send a post letter or a pigeon. Sending a private message will probably have no effect, apart from the fact it may start looking like spam. Same as sending 3 or 4 wallops for the same thing. Useless and unpleasant. Then comes the "Facebook" issue. If you have to request a supervisor, it's the .wallop command and nothing else. If you have to contact a precise supervisor for any reason, every supervisor has an IVAO e-mail address. To make it simple, you just need to send to firstname.lastname@ivao.aero. But it's obvious that aside from our "IVAO life" we have a private life and we don't always want to mix everything together. That's why most supervisors want to keep their personal Facebook account clean of IVAO matters. Facebook is a social network meant to communicate with your friends, so as long as the supervisor is not a close friend, nothing justifies sending private messages there. Moreover they will be ignored as it's not a legal way of communicating for such matters (only e-mail or IVAC/IVAP chat can be used for that purpose).

 

 

Oh dear, it takes 2 minutes to disconnect someone from the network, are you kidding me?

Disconnecting a member doesn't take 2 minutes. It takes about 5 seconds, with a very simple text command. But that's if you consider supervisors like we spoke about at the beginning of the post. You know, the guy who is waiting for a problem to arise and is so happy to react against a member. But in the real world of IVAO, it doesn't happen that way.

Let's take a simple example: you are connected as EBBU_W_CTR and you are sending a wallop message as a pilot, OOABC, fails to contact you while crossing your airspace. Of course you sent 2 or 3 force acts with some delay in-between (there again, spam is not a good idea) and you waited 5 minutes just in case the member would just be on the phone or at the toilet. A supervisor sees your message, he will then contact you and the reported member. As rule 2.1.8 states, except in very busy airspace or in some conditions where no delay would be possible, there is a 20 minutes tolerance and supervisors always take that into account. While waiting that delay, they are not crossing their arms. They will obviously check members' profiles, see if there is already recent history of such facts, if the member is a newbie or not (which might explain he didn't understand or can't use properly IVAP). Once the delay is over, the supervisor will disconnect the member. Afterwards he also has to decide whether it will be considered as a simple disconnection or a sandbagging occurrence. This depends on several conditions, and all supervisors always take all the time to carefully consider what to do.

Once they make up their mind, they have to file a whole report of their action. They also have to collect any evidence for future reference. This can take very long minutes. And we're even not telling about members who, afterwards, send rude messages complaining because they pretend to have a good reason to have ignored all messages.

So no, any supervisor action takes much time, as we check all the possible things in order to take the most appropriate decision. One thing is important to remember: members always get the benefit of the doubt!

That means that we will never take any action against someone without being 100% sure it is appropriate.

 

But when I send .wallop PLEASE HELP MEEEEEE, they can understand I'm in distress and need immediate assistance, no?

If your house is burning, the only thing we can advise you to do is escape. Supervisors are sometimes good psychologists, but not necessarily good firemen. And remotely on a computer, they won't be able to save your life. If the problem is related to IVAO, let's be honest, apart from an aircraft blocking a runway, there aren't a lot of problems that really require action within the 10 seconds.

But the biggest problem here is probably rather the way your wallop message is written. We can guess that a member sending a wallop asks for help, no need to say. Here is a list of "fancy" wallops we sometimes receive, just to make it clearer:

  • - the pragmatic one: [WALLOP] wallop (really?)
  • - the Captain Obvious one: [WALLOP] request a supervisor (ah, I thought you wanted to order a pizza...)
  • - the stressed one: [WALLOP] PLEASE HELP MEEEE!!!!!! (perhaps call 112 first...)
  • - the lazy one: [WALLOP] OOABC (nice callsign, but what???)
  • - the regional one: [WALLOP] lorem ipsum dolor sit amet (yes, some members still consider supervisors speak 90 languages)
  • - the boring one: [WALLOP] it's the 4th time in 2 minutes that I send a wallop and nobody answers!!! (with copy/paste you could even send 50 reports in the same amount of time, but this is a secret, keep it for you ;-))
  • - the excessive one: [WALLOP] Hello dear supervisors, I have a problem here with a member who is not complying with my instructions. Here is how it all began. I called him (....................................) so I decided to (..................................) the time you take writing your novel, the member has probably landed and disconnected for a while

Maybe this shows you what we face most of the time.

 

So what would be a good wallop? Well, let's say state in a very concise way what the problem is, the callsign of the reported member and, in case of an unresponsive aircraft, the time of your first call (e.g. [WALLOP] OOABC east of Brussels crossing EBBU airspace without contact, first force act 1020z). In this case, a supervisor will be able in only a few seconds to "take" the wallop, send you a message, get the pilot's VID and useful info, send the pilot a first message and check for the 20 minutes rule.

 

Ok a supervisor finally "took" my wallop, but he didn't suspend the unresponsive pilot! Why?

Once again, a supervisor is not there to suspend people. This is an extreme measure that we take if we consider the member deliberately behaves badly and might keep on behaving that way if we don't take action. But this doesn't mean the supervisor is doing nothing! If it's a newbie, for example, we would contact him and give him precious tips, links to the documentation, notify his training department... If the member probably fell asleep and never had any issue in 2000 hours, we can also be quite open-minded as it's rather a mistake than a deliberate infraction.

In fact, out of 10 wallops, only maybe 1 or 2 end up with a sanction. Most of the time, we are able to solve problems in a gentle and corteous way. And that's where the spirit of IVAO is: solving problems must be the first priority, as it's the only way to make everyone enjoy the network in a peaceful and respectful environment.

Thanks to this long post, we hope you understand better what supervisors do :-)