Sometimes words can be like a breeze of fresh air.

Bart

Well-Known Member
Gentlemen,

spending time on forums, that focus entirely on the finer points of a specific field - our very own Coticule.be is no exception -, at times makes me anxious. It's as if my head sits in a pipe, and I can only see the other end. "Tunnel vision", I believe that is called, and it has always given me a case of mental claustrophobia, as I have a strong natural desire for perspective.

Today, I read one of Beberlin's latest blog entries on his website. Reading Robin's words was like a breath of fresh air.:)

For those who think they can use it:
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Enjoy,

Bart.
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
A breath of fresh air indeed dear Bart
is the truth not a liberating thing at times :thumbup:

Best regards
Ralfson (Dr)
 

Matt

Well-Known Member
Ingenious piece of writing.

Since discussion forums usually have no karma system installed
Brilliant! :w00t: :thumbup:

Now, many of these things have baking my noodles for quite a long time. I think it soon will be the time to discuss my idea with you, Bart. :)

regards,
Matt
 

Paul

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the link. I wander by The "Temple of Hate" :-/ on occasion, and always find something of interest. This is no exception :thumbup:
 
G

Guest

Look, Ma, a recursion!

So now we're discussing an anti-forum blog entry in a forum. How lovely. :w00t:

Let me elaborate a bit on my motivation for writing this article ("concocting" would be a more fitting description, because I was on a high speed train to Düsseldorf, going 250km/h while writing it on a BlackBerry). When I started learning how to shave with a straight razor, I was 38. I had 10 years' domain experience as a strategic security management consultant, working for a PMC. Which means I was used to heavy research, fast reading, and basically getting stuff done on my own. Straight razors, however, posed a significant challenge. Yes, Chris Moss' article was there, and so were some of J*el's "look, my razors are blinkier than thine" pieces. But it was all mix and match, scattered, and generally contradictory and confusing. So I put together a quick feature matrix of the shaving forums then in existence, and ended up on the Straight Razor Place. SRP is still, in my opinion, the leading international resource in this area, and I generally like the way it is moderated (shut up, Bart!).

After some very heavy reading, I suggested that a knowledgebase be implemented and
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was founded. It really did not take that much work:
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. As you can see, a small number of dedicated people (incidentally, none of them Honemeisters, Restoration Gods, or Sales Monsters) put more than 90% together in a very short time. It has gathered widespread acceptance, although it is still far from perfect.

How was it done? We went through the forum, took the salient bits from sometimes endless, mind numbingly convoluted, self contradictory, and biased threads, purified them, and made them readable (another pet peeve of mine: I wanted to enforce Wikipedia's style guide, but apparently, straight shavers are not the right target group for scientific prose).

Why was it done? My personal goal was to empower people. The original sin of forums is that you have to ask questions, and rely on non-verifiable data provided by people you don't know, and whose agenda are not always apparent. The Wiki was an attempt at providing peer reviewed information. Personally, I would love to have it moved to a "neutral" domain like straightshavingknowledgebasewithaccurateinformationprovidedbypeoplewithaclue.org, but that was not to be under the given circumstances. I think Paul could chime in an tell a sob story about B&B miserable attempts at mimicking SRP's Wiki. And quite honestly, I was dead serious when I offered the guys at B&B our code for the SRP Straight Razor Database (again something that should be neutral, not part of a forum) for them to use it for DEs.

Was it successful? Yes and no. It provides beginners with some very good information (like the shopping list I wrote for it... ;)). Where it fails, in my opinion, are the more intricate parts of shaving. As we all know, different forums take different approaches to honing, to take an example. German forums do things that would get you immediately banned from SRP or B&B. German forums also die laughing watching US forums push $$$ sets of hones, used in endless progressions, to achieve edges that are simply over the top. I will not even go into the realm of so called restorations (Abalone is to scales what anal fisting is to romantic relationships if you want my honest opinion).

Is every such attempt doomed? I think not. I do, however, believe, that forums and knowledge bases do not mix as long as the focus is on forums. Let's face it: straight shaving is not rocket science. Neither is honing. Can't get decent lather? Better have your brain checked. It is being made complicated by either people who are - pardon my French - stupid themselves, or who have a commercial agenda. Or both. You will find this pattern in every forum with more than a few members. Add 2k members to this site, and it will be faced with the same problems. Stupid people and greedy people are the downfall of every social community focussing on a subject matter that requires research and objective observation. It really is that simple.

Where was I? I forget. But I need to shower and shave. With Smythe's totally fantastic 7/8 Flic "Prima". Do I have RAD? No. Do I like beautiful things that work? Yes!

Thank you for reading,
Robin
 

Matt

Well-Known Member
Now that's a bold attitude. :) I myself was a total newbie a year and a half ago so it's all very familiar. Me likes! :thumbup:

Matt
 

Paul

Well-Known Member
straightshavingknowledgebasewithaccurateinformationprovidedbypeoplewithaclue.org

Better hurry and register that domain before someone beats you to it :lol:
 

JimR

Well-Known Member
Ordnung!
Wir brauchen ORDNUNG! ;)

I also believe that the bane of fora is members. Whether through laziness, stupidity, or whatever reason, there always seem to be people who POST but do not READ. And so they post 1.) the same damned thing that has been posted, over and over. and/or 2.) Questions that have been answered a hundred times or 3.) Questions that THEY SHOULD ALREADY KNOW THE ANSWER TO (for example, "Should I boil my soap?" BOIL HIS SOAP!).

/rant
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
Should I boil My Soap? and how many times should I piss on my strop whilst dancing naked with twins to the sound of abba's "money money money"?
besides that I now feel like a fake as I only have a couple dozen razors in my rotation, and have since stopped aspiring to achieving any status as a Honemiester because I dont belong to the sort of secret society that either has funny handshakes or wears funny hoods...err I meant hats!
Please please disregard that last part if you find it offensive in anyway, I meant it only in jest of course.

Best wishes and keep smiling :p
Ralfy
 
G

Guest

JimR said:
Ordnung!
Wir brauchen ORDNUNG! ;)
Not necessarily. Broadly speaking, when social communities moved from mailing lists to USENET groups, minimal standards of courtesy went down the drain, straight into the sewer (also known as forums). The only way to ensure consistently high quality is to moderate forums tightly, and ban everyone who refuses to fit in. There are other means of policy enforcement that also work (like a one month period in which new joiners may read but not post).

This will not give you a big forum, but who said forums ought to be big? I much prefer the company of 200 people who know what they are doing, and are able to articulate themselves, than 20k lusers.
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
BeBerlin said:
This will not give you a big forum, but who said forums ought to be big? I much prefer the company of 200 people who know what they are doing, and are able to articulate themselves, than 20k lusers.
Indeed. Who needs a big forum? As we've already established, [big forum] = [big sales platform] and/or [big stage for big egos]. Not necessarily in that order of importance.

So far, I think we steered clear of all that reasonably well. I think a danger zone is entered when the goal of the forum becomes: the forum itself. Navelstaarderij, Nabelschau, Navel-gazing, aka self-absorption. A clear and present danger, that must be kept under surveillance.
That, and a frequent reality checks. That's why I'm glad to have a researcher's section where we can actually try if a claims makes any real-life sense.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 

danjared

Well-Known Member
JimR said:
Ordnung!
Wir brauchen ORDNUNG! ;)

I also believe that the bane of fora is members. Whether through laziness, stupidity, or whatever reason, there always seem to be people who POST but do not READ. And so they post 1.) the same damned thing that has been posted, over and over. and/or 2.) Questions that have been answered a hundred times or 3.) Questions that THEY SHOULD ALREADY KNOW THE ANSWER TO (for example, "Should I boil my soap?" BOIL HIS SOAP!).

/rant
Hey guys, I just came to the conversation. Can you rehash everything for me?


:lol: :lol: :lol:
 

JimR

Well-Known Member
RobertSkinner said:
So, should the soap be boiled or not? I dont get it.
Of COURSE! Boil all of your soap, together. Throw your brush in there too, while you're at it. And all your hones and razors. It will align the polarities and bring about shaves like you've never had!
 

sparq

Active Member
That is a quite well written piece Robin. You could have elaborated a bit more on the cults, narcissistic traits and unquestioning worship of senior prophets as that is my favorite part to observe (SRP, B&B, everyday life). Plus the ole good "we do this for your own good - to protect you from yourself". :love:

Now how do I access the researcher's section here? :lol:
 
G

Guest

Thanks. I just wrote another article that might fit your bill.

My main gripe is not the cult part, but the commercialisation of my hobby. Which is why I like this site. Almost no sales. What really puts me off is professional (as in 'I sell this stuff for money', not 'I am extremely good at this') 'restorers' posting their 'look, Ma, USD 5 off eBay, some metal polish, recycled bowling ball or driftwood - ready to go for USD 180' crap across five or more forums.

Thing is, if you have a cult following, no-one will stop you from doing that. It is a simple trade-off for the site owner: more pictures bring more members. More members bring more ad revenue, and new people wanting to place ads. It is a vicious circle, and one that is detrimental to the spirit of this hobby.

Add to that funny recruitment camps like certain Steward or Mentor programmes, and you have a sure-fire way of spreading sales driven misinformation. Bit of a shame, really, because the mentoring idea is excellent.

Regards,
Robin
 

rayman

Well-Known Member
Robin,


I can understand your wanting to eliminate the cults or ‘good ol boy’ groups, but please explain more about the commercialism. I find that quite interesting. Those artisans who can deliver well made products to the market should be able to do so, and make a profit as well. There are also only a hand full of honemeisters in the world with solid reputations, and you probably know them by name or can count them on one or two hands. That amount will most likely not change soon either.

So let’s say that the folks who scrounge around and find razors and clean them up and sell them stop. Then we stop people from replacing scales, or making leather strops,and no more restorations and what have you, at least if there is a profit involved. Oh, and no more used or NOS stones to be sold either.

Now that we have eliminated all or most of the secondary suppliers, what would you do to bring new people into this hobby or encourage them to stay in it?

Ray
 
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