First, a reminder of some history. Why did we start Latitude? A few reasons, from the January Latitude:
Latitude was created to replace the old ‘Message from Aaron,’ improving its attractiveness while adding a fun new product to the organization. The Virtual Airline of the Month has also been transformed into the ‘VA Spotlight.’ Hopefully this will be something that pilots can enjoy and use to learn more about the airline industry and about SimAirline.net.
And reiterated in the November Latitude:
Our first goal was to create a new and enjoyable medium for communicating the issues facing SimAirline.net. Beyond that, we wanted to encourage a deeper understanding and discussion of some long-term issues facing our airlines and the industry in general.
Several times I have asked for feedback on what to offer in Latitude, the issues raised in it, and your help to continue Latitude:
January Viewpoint: "We have not yet finalized what Latitude will offer, so the content you see here will undoubtedly be evolving over the next few months. Please let me know what you’d like to see in Latitude..."
February Viewpoint: "The response so far to the first issue has been outstanding, and it’s very exciting to see such positive feedback so far." This feedback was positive reaction to what we had created, but very little thoughts on what else pilots wanted to see.
Ever since the first issue of Latitude, I asked in The Tail Section: "Content submissions for The Tail Section are encouraged and should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
By April, it was apparent that Latitude required a major time commitment, so additional writers beyond just me would be needed. While Ali, Nick, and Mark have been kind enough to lend their time and talents to writing several articles for us, unfortunately no one else has. In an effort to increase discussion about Latitude and new contributors, the May Viewpoint included: "New this month to Latitude is the Mailbag, where you can share your thoughts on Latitude articles or issues with the rest of the SimAirline.net community. I hope you enjoy this new addition and take full advantage of it. As always, I strongly encourage you to let me know what new articles and features you’d like to see in both SimAirline.net and Latitude in particular. I hope you’ll consider participating in the production of the magazine, or on our management team as well."
The original Mailbag included three past letters from pilots, reproduced publicly so they could be replied to. It did not continue into the next month due to lack of received mail. Therefore, the July Viewpoint contained the following news: "Latitude is not meant to be just for pilots to read, but also to discuss and learn from. To that end, the Message Boards have a new section devoted to discussion of Latitude articles. I hope you take the time to visit it and share your thoughts and opinions there."
Continuing the theme, this section hasn't really worked, despite the efforts of some like Dennis. So, I tried again in September: "As a new extension for The Tail Section, I thought it would be fun to have a monthly trivia contest about SimAirline.net. Three questions will be found on the last page of each Latitude, with one fleet question, one flights question, and one miscellaneous question. One answer can be submitted per person through a special topic in the Latitude Discussion section on the Message Boards, with the winners to be announced in the following month’s issue. I hope you enjoy this new feature, and I’m always interested in hearing your ideas for more."
Now on to what's been said in this topic. The biggest and most difficult purpose of Latitude is to provide something for pilots to learn more about the airline industry, which is much more than just the flying aspect. My background is mostly in airline strategy and history, and most of Latitude reflects that.
As demonstrated above, I have tried repeatedly to raise the profile of Latitude in the organization to something larger and something that draws discussion. However this clearly hasn't happened, making writing articles (as indicated in our letter to you) disappointing and feeling like a waste of time.
The most vocal feedback I'm receiving here seems to indicate that we should move to things more specific towards the flying end or towards less airline-specific issues. My question is, why? There are many excellent resources in the flightsim community that focus on this, while there are very few that focus on airline issues.
After reading all these replies, what's probably the most disappointing is that opinions and offers for help are only coming out now, after eleven issues, rather than after two or three. I honestly don't understand why; I repeatedly asked for these since the beginning, and what's being suggested is a major change in direction. Not receiving these opinions until now does indeed make the first eleven issues feel like wasted time and effort that could have been better spent elsewhere.
Please continue to provide your feedback, but understand that for those that have made Latitude possible so far, there's a sour taste in our mouth.