I think it’s fantastic that every day sees more members joining LumberJocks. This community is made up of likeminded individuals, wanting to share their woodworking knowledge and learn from the experience of others.
So what makes a LumberJock?
Last May, Mark DeCou posted a blog entitled, “You know you’re a LumberJock, if/when…... That thread continues to run to this day and at Mark’s instigation, solicits some very humorous responses.
But I would like to look at another aspect of this question with reference to our growing membership. Obi recently noted that we now have four hundred members. ( At the time of posting this blog, there are 406 members.) But have you looked at this more closely? The greater majority of our members are ‘lurkers’. I define a lurker as being a member who joins, but never or rarely posts. I assume that these members visit LumberJocks, read the posts and the comments, but move on without contributing. Since this blog/forum site does not provide “whose on line” information, there is no way for a member to know if these ‘lurkers’ ever return after joining. Only 123, or 31% of the membership have made more than two posts. And only 96 others have made one or two posts. This means that 219 members have posted – the rest are inactive.
Now don’t get me wrong, people can choose to be active, semi-active or inactive – it’s up to them. There is, no doubt, some benefit from vicarious membership. One can sit back, read and learn and/or enjoy the friendly banter of active members. But the real value in membership is to share. There would be no learning if there was no sharing and there would be no vicarious experience to enjoy if there was no participation.
Some of the inactive members might argue that they have insufficient woodworking experience to contribute. In my opinion, this is nonsense. A unique characteristic of the LumberJock experience is the way in which wanabies, newbies, apprentices, hobbyists, weekend warriors, recreational woodworkers, professional woodworkers, wood artists and any other nomenclature you can think of that describes a person interested in working with wood, share together. And they do so in a spirit of friendship, respect and dignity with a strong underpinning of community. So from where I sit, ones level of woodworking experience should not be an issue.
I want to encourage those of you who visit, read, and leave to become active members. In fact, I would like to propose that membership should be defined by activity. We might call this ‘participating membership’. Joining gives you the privilege of participating; participating maintains your membership. It would work like this. Unless a member posts a minimum of once per month, their membership lapses to ‘inactive’. An inactive member would be identified by an asterisk next to their name. Of course, this could easily be removed by positing.
So, you know you are a LumberJock Participating Member when you contribute by posting. There you have it – simple!
-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://www.dpb-photos.com/