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The SOTA database


#1

From time to time allegations surface, both on the Reflector and elsewhere, that the SOTA database is being “manipulated”, followed by demands that the MT “do something”. Certain contributors claim to have “evidence” but seem reluctant to make direct accusations. However, the same people are quite keen to accuse the MT of somehow being complicit in the alleged malpractices. The time has come to make a statement!

First of all, please note the disclaimer in the header of the database page that states “SOTA is not inherently a competitive activity, it’s about individual aspirations and working towards a goal at your own pace. However, it can be fun to see how your progress compares with that of others, hence we publish our Honour Roll on the internet.”

The prime intention of the database is to provide an easy method for each participant to keep track of their individual scores, and its secondary function is to allow easy submission and cross-checking of claims for the various SOTA awards. Because each participant may have different aspirations, there is no inherent obligation to enter each and every SOTA contact, especially for chasers. Some users may only enter QSO data for a particular band or mode, or from a self-selected starting date, whilst others routinely add everything, even the zero-point QSOs. Such behaviour is entirely at the discretion of the user, and entirely within both the rules and spirit of SOTA. It is also worth noting that the claimant’s database record is scrutinised whenever an award claim is made, and any discrepancies will be referred back for clarification/correction.

Having taken the above into consideration, it is clear that the database is still full of erroneous data. There can be many reasons for this, and it is a natural result of allowing humans to access the database! Elsewhere in amateur radio, contests are regularly used to examine operating and logging skills. Even the most adept participants regularly lose points by mishearing or mislogging the essential data. How much more likely are such errors when paper-logging on a cold, wet and windy summit? Add to those difficulties the inevitable clumsy fingers when updating the SOTA database, and it is no surprise that much of the data is flawed.

Some participants regularly attempt to “clean” their personal record by checking for obvious, and not-so-obvious, mistakes – things like entering GW3BVE or G3VQ0 instead of GW4BVE or G3VQO. A useful way of tidying is to view your chaser record and note which entries do not have the confirming * symbol. There can be many reasons for this, but, where the claimed QSO is with a frequent activator, a check (now possible since the database became fully visible) of the corresponding activator log may reveal the problem – not-in-log, wrong date, wrong time, wrong band, wrong summit, wrong callsign logged, etc. Many of these can then be corrected, or referred to the activator for possible correction where appropriate. There will also be cases where, despite a belief that a valid QSO took place at the time, it is clear that your callsign was just not logged by the activator for whatever reason. Such pseudo-QSOs can be deleted.

Once again, it must be stressed that such errors are not attempts at “manipulation” of the database, and there is no loss-of-face involved in tidying up. If everybody took the above steps the database would become a much more reliable source of statistics.

Having made the MT position clear on the limitations of the database, hopefully many questions have now been answered. However, if anybody has clear evidence of cheating (i.e. breaches of SOTA rules), they are requested to make the facts known to the MT, in strict confidence, together with any supporting documentation. Clear, proven, breaches of SOTA rules could ultimately result in exclusion from all SOTA-related activities (Reflector, database, etc). Please note that anonymous accusations or “nudge, nudge, wink, wink” comments on the Reflector are not welcome.

Les, G3VQO obo SOTA Management Team


#2

In reply to G3VQO:

From time to time allegations surface, both on the Reflector and
elsewhere, that the SOTA database is being “manipulated”, followed by
demands that the MT “do something”. Certain contributors claim to have
“evidence” but seem reluctant to make direct accusations. However, the
same people are quite keen to accuse the MT of somehow being complicit
in the alleged malpractices. The time has come to make a statement!
Les, G3VQO obo SOTA Management Team

Just to put you all in the picture, I’m sure you know anyway, that Les refers to me, Mike GW0DSP.

I am not the bad guy here, I just brought a matter to MT attention, who as usual took no action.
I most certainly did not DEMAND that MT took action, I now ask you to show me and my peers where that is stated please!!

Les, because you have signed the above as, Les, G3VQO obo SOTA Management Team, I’ll presume it to be official and from MT. It’s very confusing to know who MT are, especially to newcomers who didn’t read Tom M1EYP’s post of 09:10 29th July 2007 stating that you would be MT as from 1st August 2007 and that Richard would be standing down. The reason for confusion being that the website still shows Richard as MT and no mention of you.
That’s the second time I have brought it to attention in the 3 months since the changes were declared by Tom.

On the main issue here, I did my best to keep the matter off the Reflector and out of the public eye. I emailed MT with the facts concerning the database manipulation and received a reply which basically said they weren’t interested and that no action would be taken, no surprises there then.

I make it clear that NO break of the rules took place, but it was way out of line regarding “within the Spirit of Sota”.

I DO have ALL of the evidence surrounding this matter, but will not comment further at the moment. Because of the MT post above, I will amass all of the evidence to one folder and seek advice before further comment.

I will also ask MT here, officially, what is the OFFICIAL protocol for banning a participant from SOTA? and or posting on the Reflector? ie instant ban, so many written warnings? Please advise.

Mike GW0DSP


#3

In reply to GW0DSP:

I have no intention of getting into a prolonged, tedious, and ultimately pointless debate with you Mike, but I will make this one response on my own behalf (i.e. not an official MT statement).

Just to put you all in the picture, I’m sure you know anyway, that Les
refers to me, Mike GW0DSP.

You were not being specifically targetted as the issue has been aired by others in varying ways over recent months. It was entirely your choice to “out yourself”.

I am not the bad guy here, I just brought a matter to MT attention,
who as usual took no action.
I most certainly did not DEMAND that MT took action, I now ask you to
show me and my peers where that is stated please!!

Reflector post by GW0DSP on 29th October 2007 at 17:01

Participants can do what they want, break the rules, manipulate the
database, whatever, and MT do didley squat. MT won’t get involved for
their own good reasons.

Reflector post by GW0DSP on 29th October 2007 at 18:25 (same thread)

Sota is safe in MT hands Roger, that’s not in doubt, I just wish
they would intervene more when serious issues are raised and take
some action.

Les, because you have signed the above as, Les, G3VQO obo SOTA
Management Team, I’ll presume it to be official and from MT.

Correct!!

It’s very confusing to know who MT are, especially to newcomers who
didn’t read Tom M1EYP’s post of 09:10 29th July 2007 stating that
you would be MT as from 1st August 2007 and that Richard would be
standing down.

Nobody else has mentioned being confused, and we seem to be functioning OK.

On the main issue here, I did my best to keep the matter off the
Reflector and out of the public eye.

An interesting analysis - see the quotes above!

I emailed MT with the facts concerning the database manipulation and
received a reply which basically said they weren’t interested and that
no action would be taken, no surprises there then.

Please read the MT statement again. It explains why.

I make it clear that NO break of the rules took place, but it was way
out of line regarding “within the Spirit of Sota”.

You are entitled to your view regarding what is and is not “within the Spirit of Sota”, but the MT (and others) are not obliged to share your view.

I DO have ALL of the evidence surrounding this matter, but will not
comment further at the moment. Because of the MT post above, I will
amass all of the evidence to one folder and seek advice before further
comment.

We will await your submission.

I will also ask MT here, officially, what is the OFFICIAL protocol for
banning a participant from SOTA? and or posting on the Reflector? ie
instant ban, so many written warnings? Please advise.

I sincerely hope we never have to exercise this ultimate sanction. I also believe that it would be counter-productive to define a strict protocol for what is, at present, merely a hypothetical situation. You can be sure that any action will be considered, measured and appropriate.

Les, G3VQO


#4

In reply to G3VQO:

In reply to GW0DSP:

I have no intention of getting into a prolonged, tedious, and
ultimately pointless debate with you Mike, but I will make this one
response on my own behalf (i.e. not an official MT statement).

Me neither, as it would be pointless, because no action would be taken (i.e. not an official MT statement).
That said above, you still felt it neccessary to come back at me though with a full page of personal opinions, do you expect me to sit back and not reply to it? You knew you would draw a response from me Les.

You were not being specifically targetted as the issue has been aired
by others in varying ways over recent months. It was entirely your
choice to “out yourself”.

I always stand by my remarks, they are true.

I most certainly did not DEMAND that MT took action, I now ask
you to
show me and my peers where that is stated please!!

Reflector post by GW0DSP on 29th October 2007 at 17:01

Participants can do what they want, break the rules,
manipulate the database, whatever, and MT do didley squat. MT won’t get
involved for their own good reasons.

Reflector post by GW0DSP on 29th October 2007 at 18:25 (same thread)
Sota is safe in MT hands Roger, that’s not in doubt, I just
wish they would intervene more when serious issues are raised and
take some action.

I ask you or anybody reading your examples above to point out any DEMAND in the above. They/you can’t, because there is none. They are true statements not demands Les.

Les, because you have signed the above as, Les, G3VQO obo SOTA
Management Team, I’ll presume it to be official and from MT.

Correct!!

Great, that’s at least one point clear.

It’s very confusing to know who MT are, especially to newcomers
who didn’t read Tom M1EYP’s post of 09:10 29th July 2007 stating that
you would be MT as from 1st August 2007 and that Richard would be
standing down.

Nobody else has mentioned being confused, and we seem to be
functioning OK.

What a disappointing response from a MT member!! So, nobody else has complained so it’s fine and dandy, that’s an amazing attitude to show to prospective new SOTA participants after someone brought to your attention the true fact that the website Home page is 3 months out of date!! The homepage is where first impressions are made Les and I thought I was being helpful to bring the fact to MT attention!!

On the main issue here, I did my best to keep the matter off the
Reflector and out of the public eye.

An interesting analysis - see the quotes above!

It is an interesting analysis isn’t it? The quotes above were only posted after the date when I emailed MT in the hope of keeping it off the Reflector.

I emailed MT with the facts concerning the database manipulation and
received a reply which basically said they weren’t interested and that
no action would be taken, no surprises there then.

Please read the MT statement again. It explains why.

Please clarify which statement you refer to.

I make it clear that NO break of the rules took place, but it was way
out of line regarding “within the Spirit of Sota”.

You are entitled to your view regarding what is and is not
"within the Spirit of Sota", but the MT (and others) are not
obliged to share your view.

Exactly!! That’s why we have to put these matters to MT to get their official interpretation of what is “In the Spirit”

I DO have ALL of the evidence surrounding this matter, but will not
comment further at the moment. Because of the MT post above, I will
amass all of the evidence to one folder and seek advice before further
comment.

We will await your submission.

Where would you prefer it to be published, on the Reflector for all to see, or in a private email? Strange that you or MT shud ask me for the evidence when you have had it once already, maybe you weren’t privvy to it Les.

I will also ask MT here, officially, what is the OFFICIAL
protocol for
banning a participant from SOTA? and or posting on the Reflector?
ie
instant ban, so many written warnings? Please advise.

I sincerely hope we never have to exercise this ultimate sanction. I
also believe that it would be counter-productive to define a strict
protocol for what is, at present, merely a hypothetical situation. You
can be sure that any action will be considered, measured and
appropriate.

Les, G3VQO

As always, no definite definition, just a figure it out for yourself reply!!

Mike


#5

In reply to GW0DSP:

The
reason for confusion being that the website still shows Richard as MT
and no mention of you.
That’s the second time I have brought it to attention in the 3 months
since the changes were declared by Tom.

This is my fault. I had hoped to have done some work on the website by now.
I’ll get it sorted ASAP.

I’m sorry you seem to have such a poor view of the MT Mike. We do care and try to think deeply about things and do what we believe is correct.

73, Jon


#6

In reply to GM4ZFZ:

In reply to GW0DSP:

This is my fault. I had hoped to have done some work on the website by
now.
I’ll get it sorted ASAP.

Hi Jon

Now I feel bad. Please don’t take the quote about the Website personally. I know how busy you are Jon, yet you still do an absolutely fantastic job of the website and it is appreciated by all of us, I guarantee you that. You have also been an invaluable help to me with the News thread. Thank you very much Jon for your valued help and your dedicated hard work.

I’m sorry you seem to have such a poor view of the MT Mike. We do care
and try to think deeply about things and do what we believe is
correct.

I don’t actually have a poor view of the MT. I know that the MT do care and think deeply about things.

I think the problems are caused when individuals quote things off their own back and we are not sure whether it is a personal opinion or an official MT view. If for the sake of debate I ask MT a question, then I expect the courtesy of a MT reply and not that of an MT members’ personal opinion on an issue. I have a suspiscion that was the case when I originally put my point across.
There is an easy answer to this.
How about if the 6 MT members adopted the IDs of MT1 to MT6 just when posting on the Reflector “officially” on behalf of MT?
For example, you could sign out as GM4ZFZ and sign in as MT1 and so forth for the other members, that way we would know if we are dealing with Jon or MT, simple really.

Again Jon thanks for your sterling work

vy 73 Mike

P.S. I will be in Fort William in January and would be delighted if you would join me in a pint or a dram.


#7

In reply to GW0DSP:

How about if the 6 MT members adopted the IDs of MT1 to MT6 just when posting on the Reflector “officially” on behalf of MT?

That means change, MT don’t do change very well… :wink:


#8

In reply to 2E0KPO:
“Ground control to MT1” (tnx D Bowie)


#9

In reply to 2E0KPO:

That means change, MT don’t do change very well… :wink:

Well, the Management Page is now changed.

In reply to GW0DSP:

Please don’t take the quote about the Website personally.

What a bizarre comment!

Of course I’m going to take it personally. I am a person, in charge of the website and a part of the MT!

Just as I am going to take other criticisms of the MT and members of the MT personally. We try and take constructive criticism seriously and turn the other cheek and ignore the best we can when it gets somewhat abusive and personal.

The other members of the MT are also ‘persons’ who work hard on behalf of those who enjoy SOTA. I know them, interact with them continually and hold each one in the highest regard.

Thankfully when we get some snide comments here we also get in response many private messages of encouragement and support from SOTA activists in the UK and right across the world. With many expressing exasperation with some of the messages posted on the reflector.

73, Jon


#10

In reply to GM4ZFZ:
Very well said Jon.
73 Cris
GM4FAM


#11

In reply to GM4ZFZ:

In reply to 2E0KPO:
In reply to GW0DSP:

Please don’t take the quote about the Website personally.

What a bizarre comment!

Of course I’m going to take it personally. I am a person, in charge of
the website and a part of the MT!

73, Jon

Jon, I’m so sorry that you have taken it personally and I apologise to you profusely for any offence caused to you personally, it was not intended.

73 Mike


#12

In reply to GM4FAM:

In reply to GM4ZFZ:
Very well said Jon.
73 Cris
GM4FAM

Wow!! Cris you never fail to amaze.

I was trying to keep your name out of this but seeing as you have had the hard faced cheek to post such a comment I think it’s best to put everyone in the picture of what started this off in the first place!!! and just who exactly was responsible for my remarks being made.
You are certainly not going to make me a scape goat and to look like the bad boy because of your actions.


#13

In reply to 2E0HJD:

Does that mean when Les appends “obo the management team” or something similar you are not sure that it is official in some way and could be confused with being Les’ own opinion and not the management teams?

Andy
MM0FMF


#14

In reply to 2E0HJD:

Firstly, I have removed the attempts to bump this thread. If no-one is contributing to this thread is probably because no-one has anything more to say. Just putting a few characters in to bump it is not acceptable.

Secondly, in reply to Mick. An ‘official’ announcement will be signed ‘obo Management Team’ or similar. Any such post will have been (and has been in the past) formulated and agreed by the management team.

73, Jon.


#15

Ok Jon let me explain my position on this ! I have suggested the MT
create a user for replying to questions on the reflector that require
an official MT response !!

Thanks for the suggestion Mick.

i cant see any great problem there, as
previously stated any member of the MT could log on and reply to any
questions that require them to do so ,the reply is then
de-personalised and should not be seen to reflect the personal views
of which ever member of the MT replies.
This avoids any confusion! for instance Jon your reply is confusing to
me!

Is anyone else confused by this???

I am an MT member. Therefore I represent the MT. Hopefully I will do so well. I am not perfect. Perhaps there is a danger I may well say something that perhaps other members of the MT may not fully agree with. If this happens and it causes any confusion or concern, then we can seek to rectify or clarify things in any specific instance.

However, when we, as a team discuss, formulate and approve a specific announcement, then we will sign ‘obo Management Team’ or similar. In this instance, then what is being expressed is from the MT corporately, not just from the individual who posts it.

This is the way it currently works Mick and we don’t at this time see a need to change it. Thanks however for your suggestion and I’m sorry you felt ignored.

However, perhaps it is worth saying the following:

  1. Please don’t assume the MT reads every post on the reflector. I know I don’t. Please email the team indivually, or as a group if you want to contact the MT. Likewise, if you have concerns about any inappropriate posts, please contact us directly.

  2. Often it will take a number of days before the MT can get to adequately raise and discuss a particular matter. I am often on work trip that means I can be unresponsive for up to a week at a time.

  3. In the case of a suggestion like this where the idea did not seem to receive any significant community support, please don’t be surprised or offended if sometimes we just ‘leave it be’.

Lastly, my personal view is that I hate the idea of de-personalising anything. The idea of announcements coming in a completely de-personalised form seems almost scary and somewhat ominous. It would also seem to set the MT ‘apart’ in a way that seems unhealthy to me.

73, Jon


#16

In reply to GM4ZFZ:

It would also seem to set the MT ‘apart’ in a way that seems unhealthy to > me.

73, Jon

That seems to be the case already.

73 Mike GW0DSP


#17

In reply to GW0DSP:

It would also seem to set the MT ‘apart’ in a way that seems
unhealthy to > me.

73, Jon

That seems to be the case already.

Really, I’m surprised? I never felt that way before joining the MT. I always found the members then very approachable.

I’m sorry you feel that way Mike. What do you suggest? How could we we become less ‘apart’ and ‘unhealthy’?

Does anyone else feel this way?

73, Jon


#18

In reply to GM4ZFZ:

Hi Jon, I have tried to give this reply a lot of thought so that it doesn’t come out all wrong, because early on in the thread, you were offended. That upset me and it was deeply regretted, all you have ever done is help me. NO offence is ever meant to ANY person or individual, I speak my mind openly but would never set out to offend. Please bear that in mind when I reply.

I feel that there IS a communication problem between MT and SOTA participants. I can guarantee you that there are a lot of participants who feel this is the case and that MT often reply to us with a terse, school-master to child manner.

It’s very frustrating to put a concern to MT and receive a “That’s final” type of response. I received an official MT response through Tom to my particular issue re Database manipulation, I felt that although MT had obviously considered the problem and replied to me, that there was no attempt made to question the other party? I feel that if other participants knew the full facts, then they would have agreed wholeheartedly with my sentiments over that issue, but it was just shut out with the MT answer, end of. It doesn’t really matter any more, I know the truth.

Any MT of any organisation will always be between a rock and a hard place, you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

Until other participants speak up, be it for or against, it will appear to look like all is well and there’s not a lot anyone can do about the situation under those circumstances apart from leave things as they are.

Jon, please note that the above is not intended as critisism of MT, but merely my own opinion based on what I see on the Reflector.

Yours respectfully

Mike GW0DSP


#19

In reply to 2E0HJD:

Posted by: “Tom Read” tommyread@ m1eyp
Sat Nov 17, 2007 3:54 am (PST)

I am one of those unable to access SW2 today, but I am able to follow the alerts and the live spots on the old URL - http://sotawatch.sota.org.uk

Can’t see the reflector postings on there, but maybe that’s a good thing :wink:

Tom M1EYP

Comments like the last line here from a MT member don’t really help things. I know Tom probably just meant it as a joke, but as MT maybe he should really refrain from such provocative remarks.

73 Mike


#20

In reply to GW0DSP:

I know Tom probably just meant it as a joke

He did, that’s why he put a winking smiley at the end of the statement.

Andy
MM0FMF