I am Curious

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Blog entry by SST posted 05-14-2009 04:50 PM 1729 reads 0 times favorited 41 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been here for about 2 1/2 years, and in that time I’ve seen the huge increase in members and continue to marvel at the interest in this site. like many of you, I’ve referred others to the site because I’m excited about it.

But as it has grown, I’ve begun to wonder if all growth is good growth. (I want to be very careful, here, so as not to come across as critical of the site in any way, because I don’t mean it that way, I’m really just wondering about it)

Here’s what got me thinking about this. I used to be able to watch the projects and various comments as they were posted with some regularity, but as the membership has grown, just because of the sheer numbers, I don’t have time to keep up. Obviously, I have some things that I have an interest in, and some things that I can pass on, and finding my way through all the things here seems to take more time than I have to spend.

For example: since I’m kind of a Shopsmith nut, I feel kind of a connection for other “smithys” on the site, as we may have the same issues with our tools (don’t even go there). Or, there are pen turners, or bowl turners or pros (those who actually make a living doing that which we love) & there are newbies wanting to learn the basics, and serious guys who can teach those basics and so much more.

What I’m wondering about is, would it be helpful, or useful, or beneficial (or whatever, pick your favorite adjective) to have not just forums, but maybe subgroups or perhaps call them workshops, like ” the bowl turners workshop”, or “the Professors workshop” for the guys who can teach us all a thing or two, or the “hand tool workshop” for those who live in the land of hand cut dovetails, or even the”Shopsmith shop” (you know I had to throw that in.)

Would something like this make it easier for those with specific interests to gravitate to those areas, under the big Lumberjocks umbrella as we get more and more members?

I think (and LJ’s has done this) that as a site grows, it needs to continue to adapt to that growth this is simply a “toss out” question to all as to whether something like this would add to our experience here, or detract from it? -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

41 comments so far

View Miket's profile


308 posts in 3770 days

#1 posted 05-14-2009 04:54 PM

The “watch” and buddy features can do most of what you are looking for.

-- It's better to have people think you're stupid rather than open your mouth and remove all doubt.

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3646 days

#2 posted 05-14-2009 04:56 PM

yup growth means change – doesnt have to be drastic, but like anywhere else, it’s a part of progress. it really boils down to Martin I think. you’ll see suggestions for improvements from time to time, and ideas that can be implemented to this site. but It’s Martin that has to actually make that happen. what you call for – is a good idea, but I believe requires a major overhaul to the sites infrastructure.

change is good. especially when it’s done properly and in stages.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3646 days

#3 posted 05-14-2009 04:59 PM

Miket – the watch and buddy can only take you so far – with posts that are already posted, meaning you have to personally read them and click them – which means – you’ve already read the OP… buddies is great, but what if someone new came along that you haven’t had a chance to add?

I think the idea of this OP was the ability to keep track of new posts/content that is subject centric without having to manually chase after buddies/people and posts. but rather automate it which is what computers are for.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Miket's profile


308 posts in 3770 days

#4 posted 05-14-2009 05:01 PM

PurpLev – That’s why I said “most”

-- It's better to have people think you're stupid rather than open your mouth and remove all doubt.

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3937 days

#5 posted 05-14-2009 05:18 PM

I actually prefer the current set up with all the projects and post one place, so to speak. If I had been in any way guided to a more specialized section I might not have seen much of what’s available and would not have given a thought to trying different things. My vision has broadened more in my 18 moths here than in the 3 years prior only because I was presented with so many different things.

-- Working at Woodworking

View gator9t9's profile


331 posts in 3702 days

#6 posted 05-14-2009 05:20 PM

Hey Tom I think you raise some great points …..I would love to see “SUB-GROUPS ” of many woodworking categories ….
I think change is great if we all embrace it and accept it ….

And by forming some “SUB-GROUPS”...we are becoming pro active and controlling our changes …

thanks Tom …

This one will be interesting to see the comments …pro and con ….lol

-- Mike in Bonney Lake " If you are real real real good your whole life, You 'll be buried in a curly maple coffin when you die."

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3575 days

#7 posted 05-14-2009 05:37 PM

I’m a newbe in comparison but compared to other sites LJ has them beat hands down

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View 's profile

593 posts in 3970 days

#8 posted 05-14-2009 05:49 PM

I agree with Shopsmithtom.

(Un)Fortunately the rate of growth of LJ means that even using the RSS feature to scan all titles as I do, it’s getting to a level quite tiresome that requires a certain commitment in time. I’d rather have discrete feeds for each forum so I could chose wich ones to avoid. I.e. I have no interest whatsoever in the Coffee Lounge and this is, alas, one of the biggest and fastest in growth nowadays.

Also, if Martin would give us the much long and often requested feature of blocking individuals from appearing in our tailored feeds, this would not only largely reduce the amount of posts received, but also alleviate a good deal of the tensions that lately seem to be creeping on us at an alarming rate.

Martin has always been pretty responsive and fast to apply changes and improvements and he deserves to be credited for all the hard work. Lately though, the size of the site has exploded so much that is inevitable that things take a longer time to fix and changes need to be very well checked for scalability before implementation.

Still, after over 15 years of intense internet usage of all kinds, I can’t think of a better bang for my buck than this site.

View SST's profile


790 posts in 4193 days

#9 posted 05-14-2009 06:30 PM

Russel, I’m not suggesting that we change any of what we already have. The broad based approach suits many LJ’s. I’m only wondering if adding an extra way of getting us to specific areas of interest would enhance things. -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View Frankie Talarico Jr.'s profile

Frankie Talarico Jr.

353 posts in 3354 days

#10 posted 05-14-2009 07:01 PM

It could help some folks out and hurt others. I think you should still have to go through the homepage to see the up and comings. This site is a social greatness, and I wouldn’t want that to get ruined by sub dividing us. I believe the site is good just like it is, and if you want categories you should have an option in “My Lumberjocks” Please don’t take the feel from the website.

Martin is doing an excellent job maintaining the madness. He’s creating a social monster that hopefully is benefiting him. My hat, and saw, is off to you Martin for doing such a great job.

Controversy always sparks interest for some odd reason. I think the weasels that are creating it are looking for attention, and finding it. Let’s keep LJ’s a fun place that doesn’t become segragated.

-- Live by what you believe, not what they want you to believe.

View Patrick Jaromin's profile

Patrick Jaromin

405 posts in 3830 days

#11 posted 05-14-2009 07:02 PM

Since Martin already uses “tags” it might be as simple as having a personalized home page that “emphasizes” or “filters in/out” posts/projects by tag.

For example, if you select “turning” as one of your “favorite tags,” then blog posts tagged with “turning” might bubble up to the top on your home page. This would certainly take some doing as the homepage, beside the user’s name, isn’t currently (at least obviously) personalized in any way.

Maybe instead of personalizing the home page, it could be a separate ”suggested articles/blogs/projects” page or even just a new filter on the “pulse” page.

I woudn’t at all be surprised if Martin’s already had thoughts along these lines.

-- Patrick, Chicago, IL

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 3989 days

#12 posted 05-14-2009 07:17 PM

I’ve talked to Martin a few times about this and I ‘think’ he’s developing a groups system similar to flickr. So a group gets created say modern design, and people can subscribe to the group and add any project they see that fits the bill to it, you could then be notified that a project has been added to one of your groups. I think that would go a long way to solving this. Not sure how far along he is with it though.

The groups idea could also help Martin sell more ads because an advertiser could target a specific group.

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View Will Mego's profile

Will Mego

307 posts in 3710 days

#13 posted 05-14-2009 07:23 PM

personally, I just LOVE LOVE LOVE to see the front page sliding gallery increased to something way past 15. I use the front page to slide over the 15 most recent projects and blogs, etc…however with the explosion of people, and the unfortunate people who post everything they’ve ever done immediately upon joining, I can’t see everything in the past day or two without several more clicks. So all I’ll personally love to see is at least the option of increasing that 15 to something higher. Perhaps I already can and didn’t know it. Feel free to call me an idiot then….as long as you also point out how I can change it.

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

View SST's profile


790 posts in 4193 days

#14 posted 05-14-2009 07:25 PM

I’m NOT suggesting that anything about the homepage or site, for that matter, be changed. I’m just wondering if ADDING an additional option might be a good thing. No one would need to be sub divided if they don’t want to. I’m just thinking that in addition to being a part of this site, some folks might want to ALSO be part of a “focus” group where woodworkers with similar likes & interests can congregate. For me, it would just make it easier to hone in on those parts of woodworking that I like the most, without having to go into the broader areas if I don’t want to.

I sure wouldn’t want to give up the rest of it because there are times that I drift into other areas, sometimes to learn & sometimes just to browse.

I thought I made it clear that I like what we have, and I was just interested in feedback on change that enhances that. -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View Jayjaylove's profile


25 posts in 3616 days

#15 posted 05-14-2009 07:46 PM

A newbie here too, to woodworking and this site, and think your idea is a valid one. I do, however, like the current set-up as a way for me to see all the different things that are possible with woodworking. I don’t think I would have ever discovered some of the things people have done if it wasn’t for this site how it currently is. Old ways give ground slowly. I agree that it would be nice to edit the feeds to your liking, so you don’t have to see the stuff you’re not even remotely interested in, say, if you are an experienced craftsman and don’t want to [waste] time looking at the thousands and thousands of things that might possibly grab your interest or get your thoughts moving in a new direction, but me, [wasting] my time looking at this stuff is often inspiration.

My writing teachers always said, “Good artists copy; great artists steal.” Oh, college!

-- crafty ladies love wood too!

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