Where have all the flowers gone, and why?

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Forum topic by KnickKnack posted 07-22-2012 01:42 PM 1390 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View KnickKnack's profile


1090 posts in 3594 days

07-22-2012 01:42 PM

Yesterday I started my research ahead of building another stool.
As is my custom, I started by doing a tag search on LJ and looking at the many stools that have been posted here – some excellent work and some great ideas for my own project.
However, I was shocked by the number of people who’d posted great work and hadn’t been on site for a long time. I’m not talking about people who’d “just built a shelf” (no offence intended to shelf-builders), or had posted only a single project, I’m talking about people who obviously are, or were, seriously into woodworking.

Try it – look at the last 2 pages of projects tagged stool

David – 11 projects – last post 512 days ago
Don – 56 projects – last post 69 days ago, before that 219 days ago
Kaleo – 23 projects – last post 913 days ago
schroeder – 59 projects – last post 36 days ago, before that 87, and before that 202 days ago
bryano – 25 projects – last post 521 days ago
Proclamator – 5 projects – last post 603 days ago
mjpierson – 16 projects – last post 443 days ago
Thos. Angle – 54 projects – last post 110 days ago
edgar – 3 projects – last post 1788 days ago
Bob Babcock – 14 projects – last post 1271 days ago
MattD – 7 projects – last post 582 days ago
Tony – 37 projects – last post 74 days ago, before that 184 days ago
leonmcd – 9 projects – last post 221 days ago

The last 2 pages have 25 projects.
Listed above are 13 people.
That’s over half of those people that are, broadly speaking, no longer here. They may, of course, be “lurking”, but in any event they have gone silent.

On page 17, 11 of the 15 jocks are “no longer with us”, and it goes on.

Elsewhere on site, at least a couple of discussions are underway as to whether “non-shop talk” is driving people away. I cannot, obviously, tell you why these people are no longer active – for all I know they have all died (although that seems somewhat unlikely) – but I can lament the fact so many talented people are no longer part of this community.
And I cannot help but wonder why?

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

6 replies so far

View Kookaburra's profile


748 posts in 2252 days

#1 posted 07-22-2012 02:28 PM

It is a very natural effect for a website that requires more attention than simply a glance at a blog or a comment posted in a forum. LJ takes a lot of time to keep up with. People come and post a few, or many, things. Then something in life gets in the way – a new home or job, medical issues, a new girlfriend, other interests, whatever.

A few weeks away is all that is expected, but then it becomes harder and harder to consider getting back into the swing. Maybe the first serious sit-down catch-up session leaves them feeling disconnected or nothing that day happens to inspire them and the flame to hang around dims further. “Oh, nothing really new here. I am going to go check out for awhile.”

This is the natural cycle of things – happens with a gym membership, a video game or new tool. Excitement peaks early – and a lot of people drop off or fade away after the initial rush.

This is why websites (or gyms or restaurants or . . .) have to constantly refresh the active member pools by attracting new viewers.

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View KnickKnack's profile


1090 posts in 3594 days

#2 posted 07-22-2012 03:09 PM

Sage thoughts there, as always, Kay.
And it brings up other questions, towit (which my dictionary says is “Archaic”, I didn’t think I was that old!), “how can they be got back?”, and/or “when they return after a time away for all those good reasons, how can the place be made appealing enough for them to stay?”

This is why websites (or gyms or restaurants or . . .) have to constantly refresh the active member pools by attracting new viewers.
I remember back in the 90s, when the internet was fairly new (I know, it wasn’t, but for the masses it was), the focus was very much on how you kept your members, your clients, your customers. It seems to be something of a sign of the times that the focus is almost exclusively on attracting new people, rather than keeping the old.
I had a fight recently with Barclaycard (amongst many others, but this is a symptomatic example) – new customers got great deals but me, who’d had my card for over 30 years, simply couldn’t get those deals. I threatened to trash my card since, it seemed to me, they ought to be rewarding me for my loyalty. Their response was, to paraphrase, “tough” (you have to imagine an indian accent) – the card went in the trash. When I phone for any form of support or information on anything I already have, I always go through the call system to “new customers” since that section seems to have more people, quicker response times, often longer opening hours, and usually better service – once a company has my money, and I have their product, their interest level in me dwindles.
I vividly remember a job interview where, during the role-playing section, we, the group, had to chose between servicing an existing customer and therefore failing to win a new one, or slipping a promised delivery to an existing customer in order to deliver to, and therefore win, a new customer. I was the only one voting to keep the existing client happy – “my word is my bond” – I was not offered the job.

I believe this to be “wrong-thinking”.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

View derosa's profile


1577 posts in 2864 days

#3 posted 07-22-2012 03:51 PM

Some of that is just the nature of the internet. The idea of simply moving on as things change. Part of it is also that people find an outlet for a hobby and the hobby dies away. Part is that the personality of the site changes over time and people leave since they don’t like it. I have a site I’ve avoided going to for the last 1.5 years because it was too addicting and I wasted too much time there; this site would be like that for me if it wasn’t for looking through the projects and then running out to see if I could do something similar.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 3014 days

#4 posted 07-22-2012 03:54 PM

It really is just the natural course of things. I disappeared from LJs for about a year when I just wasn’t doing woodworking actively and thus, the website was just not as interesting to me. Conversely, when I spend more time here I find I am spending less time on some of the other focus-interest forums I am a member of. I run an unrelated forum and find the same.

When I came back I found that a bunch of changes had been made here.. Some I liked.. some I did not.. it took a while to get the hang of it again. My members say the same thing when they come back after I did some epic change. Some like it, some do not.

While keeping customers is a key trait in a business, a specialised interest forum just can’t expect to keep people around forever. They will come and go and there’s really nothing you can do about it. Especially in a world with dozens of woodworking forums and other resources.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3026 days

#5 posted 07-22-2012 10:06 PM

Although I have never posted anything notable, I have mostly been doing stuff lately in metal that is not appropriate to the site.

I think one of the hardest thing about posting projects is that unless you have an outlet to get projects out the door, you get to a saturation point. How many projects can you fit into your house? I make things for myself and immediate family. If I enjoy making tables, how many tables can I fit into my house? Same for any other furniture. I think that is why so many people get into making things like pens and cutting boards. Little things that make nice gifts.

My next big woodworking project will most likely be to make some worktables and storage in my garage to house my metal working equipment. Would I post it? Most likely not. It will be just made from regular construction grade materials with a coat of paint slapped on it. Unlikely to be on the front of next month’s fine woodworking.

As to the off topic stuff driving people away? I imagine it is very few. Most visitors to the site probably are unaware of the drama. The only reason I see any is that I mainly read the site through RSS feeds and see everything posted (although not all the responses). The most egregious posts are pulled pretty quickly. Yeah, they leave some kooky stuff up but if they didn’t give a little latitude, it probably would be worse. Some feathers get ruffled but if they come down too hard, they have to spend weeks fighting the real offenders out. Last time it did lose some people due to the battle cleaning things out. Some people are just not cut out for the anonymity of the internet. That’s why I post with my real name. It makes me think before I respond.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2832 days

#6 posted 07-22-2012 10:33 PM

It may be a number of different reasons for “not” being here every now n then. For myself, 1st it’s a toothbrush & a facewash, then a beard combing, then coffee, then, I fire up the puter and besides the news on my homepage, next is my email/s. Then here on LJ’s. A lot of times, I’ll jump on here and go thru the numerous pages of everyones projects. But, I have the extra time to do that. It’s probably why it takes me so long to make something,,,,,,, lol

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

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