Observations #2: Even the Bad is Good

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Blog entry by Russel posted 12-04-2007 11:37 PM 1362 reads 0 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Big Fish Small Pond Part 2 of Observations series Part 3: A Real Challenge »

I cannot say enough good about LumberJocks, and apparently, I’m not alone. I periodically like to see who’s online and go wandering through their projects and blogs (is MsDebbie ever offline?).

In my travels, I have read numerous entries about the value of LumberJocks. The testimonials to it’s unique ability to combine professional and amateur seem never ending. The enumeration of benefits received and friendships found goes on and on.

Oddly enough, I seem to be missing all the negative stuff. There are comments about disagreements and mentions of topics that caused discomfort, but I have yet to find them. There was some intensity about whether or not donors should be recognized, but that was pretty mild and subsided rather quickly.

The only real negative I found was a complaint that there was too much praise on the site. That struck me as terribly fascinating in that the biggest complaint I could find was that people here were just too darn nice. The mind boggles.

So, this is just an observation, but I feel compelled to ask, “Is there any dirt?” What’s the skinny on all this niceness? How is it that over 2000 people from all walks of life, with varying skill levels from all around the globe get along so well?

Are you people hiding something from me?

-- Working at Woodworking

31 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4423 days

#1 posted 12-04-2007 11:51 PM

We all are closet bad-guys and gals. But no one likes a loudmouth, snob, bore, so in order to be loved, we leave the closet door closed while we are on the computer.

Besides that who wants to be working on a power woodworking machine when they are mad. That is not the place to unwind.

It the place to cool out, chill out, pass out and not pout. Except USCJeff who has insomnia at 2:00 Am and decides on a “sit out” on a foam brush filled with “Not so green stripper” so he can strip before going back into the house.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View RobS's profile


1334 posts in 4329 days

#2 posted 12-04-2007 11:53 PM

Ha! Obviously you haven’t ventured over to our evil sister site “LumberJerks”! No, Just kidding.. I don’t see much negativity here either. Good observation, Russell.

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 4196 days

#3 posted 12-05-2007 12:13 AM


I started off my Lumberjocks experience (almost a year ago, actually…) with a bang with this blog entry on Constructive Criticism.

Personally, a part of me actually agrees with the comment that the amount of praise is a little excessive, but not really for the same reason. I just think it is highly disproportionate to the amount of helpful feedback people get on their projects.

I honestly don’t want to rehash the “Constructive Criticism” topic all over again. Having an art degree, and having gone through peer review sessions every week in every applied art class, it is something I’m used to receiving. Most people don’t have that experience, so I don’t expect them to be used to it.

And the whole discussion started getting silly with some people wanting to indicate whether or not they wanted constructive criticism by putting something on their project entry to indicate thus… It just got more and more diluted to the point that I didn’t care anymore.

So I post a few projects here and there, but mostly I do it for fun and not with the intent of receiving much feedback I can learn from.

It doesn’t really bother me, though; it’s just the way this site is. I’ve learned to approach my own works with a critical view enough so that I’m really my own worst critic, anyway.

That said, I was pleased to take note of Karson offering some comments about Charlie’s diamond-top box in a recent project entry.

-- Ethan,

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 4115 days

#4 posted 12-05-2007 12:44 AM

When we keep topics wood related (well, except for festool and sawstop anyway ;-) this site and the people on it are the best.

I just really dislike anything that gets political, religious, etc. There are so many differences out there about so many of our individual beliefs and tastes. Woodworking seems to be the glue that holds us all together through all of these other disagreements, which is why I love woodworking, and this site.

I would think it unfortunate (especially in an election year) if people start bringing those sorts of things on LJ’s. I, for one, sure hope politics stays off of here this coming year. Just my opinion.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4183 days

#5 posted 12-05-2007 12:44 AM

(this was posted 54 minutes ago—see?? I’m not ALWAYS on here!!)

I think one factor in the “niceness” of the site is the characteristics of individuals who have a hobby/business with a craft that uses their hands, their hearts, and their minds…. woodworkers (and I’m sure gardeners as well, as we will discover with the new site) “care”, they know how to be patient and to out-think a problem.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4337 days

#6 posted 12-05-2007 12:46 AM

Dirt!!! That is what GardenTenders is all about! If you want dirt check them out.

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3961 days

#7 posted 12-05-2007 12:50 AM

Well, MsDebbie it’s nice to know that I can sneak one by you once in a while.

LOL Dennis … while I’m here, the wife is over with the ‘Tenders digging up the dirt.

-- Working at Woodworking

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3985 days

#8 posted 12-05-2007 01:30 AM

“Be careful of the words you speak, keep ‘em soft and sweet. Ya never know from day to day which ones ya’ll hav’ta eat.”

I think most of us are cognizant of where a small criticism will help and where it will harm. If I felt that I should really critique Ethan’s work I would do it in a private message, if he requested it. I don’t come here to listen to controversial conversation. I come here to have fun and relax(genuine chopper).

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3918 days

#9 posted 12-05-2007 02:17 AM

I think it comes down to the fact that we have all lost our pencils at one time or another, have had no idea what we are doing, have this great idea and no where to put it, no one right there to say “look what I did” who would care——- we need other LJs!

I also think that we all recognize that I may say something one way and have been thinking in a slightly different way than it came out in the typewritten word. I had no intention of being harsh or mean, I’m just not as good at putting into writing what I’m thinking. A lot of us are like that. If we all recognize that and realize that then we can all play well together. There is also the point that you can’t put inflection into a typewritten page and you can’t see my body language over the net and you have to take that into account when you read someone’s post. I type for a living and when I transcribe a tape I can’t transcribe the inflections of my bosses voice – if I could I’d make a lot more money!

I’m glad LJs is here. Of all the sites on the net that I’ve been to this is by far the best as far as people and posts. Not a lot of rules which ruins some forums. I think Martin has done a bang up job!

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4122 days

#10 posted 12-05-2007 03:00 AM

I found this to be an interesting blog as I have thought about this situation myself. I had to take a read on Ethan’s blog.

I am not ”The Authority” although I think that I am good at what I do (sounds conceited but not). I am at my level because others were generous with information as well as constructive and corrective criticism. I am my own worst critic so I was never offended. I am a business so I have to be relatively harsh with myself to make progress.

There is quite a variety of skill level and talent at LJ and I really enjoy that. I gave some “constructive criticism” one time and I felt horrible about it. Since then I have made comments in private and it seems to be well received, just as it was intended. I also have been asked in private for a hard critique and I will oblige. But in general my comments are not hard critique and are pretty positive.

Am I lying when I comment on projects? No, I can see the skill level that individuals are at and I see them making progress. I am not going to crush an individual’s pride in what they have done. They are very aware of the shortcomings in their projects as I am in mine. Anyone can be a critical ass.

I can see that the LJ members are encouraged and challenged by the community to be more creative and improve craftsmanship. I am sure that I may encourage some, challenge others, and put a few off. That is unavoidable, but I am considerate of others in my remarks.

How do I critique? Really I have to set aside personal taste, for instance I don’t like the Rococo style. But I can tell if it is well executed and well balanced. Balance, proportion, and execution or craftsmanship are the things that I look at for a hard critique.

I have had a desire to share, teach, and encourage. LJ has provided a great venue for me to do this. It’s amazing to me how much I have learned and the balance of perspective that it has given me. I felt like this is the direction I needed to go for personal growth. I am thankful for the people here.

For all the harsh, dog-eat-dog, and fraudulent behavior on the internet I am impressed with the behavior of the LJ members.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View dalec's profile


612 posts in 3911 days

#11 posted 12-05-2007 03:04 AM

I agree with Chip. The reason LJ is such a great site is that everyone stays on topic which is woodworking. We don’t stray into things better discussed elsewhere. I always fine everyone to be helpful, thoughtful, caring and dedicated to making each of us better woodworkers.


View Calgirl's profile


188 posts in 3918 days

#12 posted 12-05-2007 03:07 AM

Ah, come on! Let’s face it Lumberjocks….we’re just wonderful, caring chips off the old log, who love the wood and nature. Some of us are creative, some just slog along, but all Lumberjocks have pith that is rich in compassion and sharing.

-- Forget the health food, I need all the preservatives I can get !

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4122 days

#13 posted 12-05-2007 03:18 AM

Got Pith?

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3985 days

#14 posted 12-05-2007 04:12 AM

Todd, are you trying to make a pithy comment?

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4122 days

#15 posted 12-05-2007 04:17 AM

What of it? Are you trying to pith me off?

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

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