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Old 13th Feb 2024, 1:27 pm   #61
Richardgr
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Default Re: Is it just me?

I deleted a previous post which might have come across the wrong way. I am very grateful for this resource, and full of admiration for the patience and contributions of other members.

But I do feel that we could do better to nurture new members. Sometimes there is the whiff of the cigar smoke and green leather of a members club. I remember getting a similar feeling when I had an interview for the BBC, back in the 90s.

My suggestions have been coming from the angle of how we are perceived to a newcomer, who knows they are interested in their vintage equipment, but cannot fathom the inner workings; who has to be advised of the dangers and bear traps in a way that does not dispel the enthusiasm, or reflect badly on this site.

It is not easy! Maybe unsolvable. Clunkiness of the site, which is no problem for Generation X, is going to be a factor for a generation who have not cultivated the skills of non-verbal communication. Maybe the biggest deal is that most people no longer have laptops. I really struggle to use this site with my mobile phone.
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Old 13th Feb 2024, 1:37 pm   #62
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Default Re: Is it just me?

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Originally Posted by Radio Wrangler View Post
A button would be so impersonal.

[...]

When thanking someone, it's a very personal thing. How could a heaving great rich fortune 500 company, founded by two remarkable people who treated the whole firm as family, get it so wrong?

A word of thanks in a later post makes effort seem worthwhile. Some feedback on how it went is wonderful. We don't need no button, we've already got real thanks and appreciation when it's meant.
Thank you for recognising thanks and likes are not the same, and for pointing out with an excellent motivation that even a thanks button would still be a very bad idea. That's at least one possible suggestion for the forums I take care of, that I can scratch off the wishlist.

On topic, I do think it's in human nature to sometimes ask repetitive questions or be lazy and the best way out is either not to answer if you don't feel like it or link to a solution if you don't feel like writing one out. I too can sometimes get the feeling that help isn't appreciated very much (the Toshiba bricking issue comes to mind) but will usually point out possible solutions anyway if I find the problem interesting or think I can add something of use.
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Old 13th Feb 2024, 1:43 pm   #63
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I deleted a previous post which might have come across the wrong way. I am very grateful for this resource, and full of admiration for the patience and contributions of other members.

But I do feel that we could do better to nurture new members. Sometimes there is the whiff of the cigar smoke and green leather of a members club. I remember getting a similar feeling when I had an interview for the BBC, back in the 90s.

My suggestions have been coming from the angle of how we are perceived to a newcomer, who knows they are interested in their vintage equipment, but cannot fathom the inner workings; who has to be advised of the dangers and bear traps in a way that does not dispel the enthusiasm, or reflect badly on this site.

It is not easy! Maybe unsolvable. Clunkiness of the site, which is no problem for Generation X, is going to be a factor for a generation who have not cultivated the skills of non-verbal communication. Maybe the biggest deal is that most people no longer have laptops. I really struggle to use this site with my mobile phone.
I do agree that sometimes regulars will make newcomers feel unwelcome in the way you describe, though I think this forum is one of the better ones in this regard.

Contrary to Facebook which is unusable as far as archived knowledge goes, a forum continues to be a growing source of information that can be searched from the internet. Google effectively killed off usenet by first appropriating it and then shutting down their interface, but archives still remain. Reddit will sooner or later go under as well, and I don't know how well that's archived.
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Old 13th Feb 2024, 1:57 pm   #64
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I really struggle to use this site with my mobile phone.

I agree, and wouldn't even try. I find trying to "type" on a mobile screen nearly as awkward as trying to write with my left hand (I'm right-handed).
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Old 13th Feb 2024, 2:10 pm   #65
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Something I have often found is that trying to explain a problem to someone else helps to focus the mind towards a solution without any further input from outside - which mirrors what UB says in the first sentence above.
This is indeed true; in the past I have started typing a post, detailing what I've done in investigating a problem and what it has revealed, but then suddenly thought "But that particular voltage/current reading doesn't make sense!" and realised that my measurements have already told me what the problem is so no need to ask in-forum for further help.

Also, the "if you understand something you will be able to explain it to others" test is a great way to see if your understanding is correct or whether you are guilty of making some false assumptions.

It's a bit like the debating technique we were taught at school, where we chose which side to argue for according to our personal perspective and preference but were then told we had to argue from the *other* side's perspective!
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Old 13th Feb 2024, 2:13 pm   #66
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Originally Posted by Richardgr View Post
But I do feel that we could do better to nurture new members. Sometimes there is the whiff of the cigar smoke and green leather of a members club. I remember getting a similar feeling when I had an interview for the BBC, back in the 90s.

My suggestions have been coming from the angle of how we are perceived to a newcomer, who knows they are interested in their vintage equipment, but cannot fathom the inner workings; who has to be advised of the dangers and bear traps in a way that does not dispel the enthusiasm, or reflect badly on this site.
I do agree with this. There are some fantastic, helpful people on this site and a great wealth of knowledge, but I have been very disappointed by some of the posts directed at new and clearly inexperienced members in recent months. One thread in particular took quite an aggressive tone and strayed into territory that had nothing to do with the poster's question. I did actually send him a private message after the thread closed to offer my help but I think he'd been frightened off by then!

Yes, we obviously need to make the point clearly if they're doing something dangerous but the number of times this turns into "leave it alone, you clearly don't know what you're doing" (with a lovely undertone of "you're an idiot") or "you're not answering my questions, so I'm not going to help any further" has come as a bit of a surprise recently, especially as one or two of these posts above have come from well-established members who I would have thought would be rather more tolerant and considerate.

As a friend recently told me when he was getting wound up over something that someone inexperienced was not understanding, his wife said to him "Not everyone knows what you do - be nice". I think this is advice well worth heeding - we all had to start learning somewhere.
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Old 13th Feb 2024, 2:25 pm   #67
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Default Re: Is it just me?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richardgr View Post
But I do feel that we could do better to nurture new members. Sometimes there is the whiff of the cigar smoke and green leather of a members club. I remember getting a similar feeling when I had an interview for the BBC, back in the 90s.

My suggestions have been coming from the angle of how we are perceived to a newcomer, who knows they are interested in their vintage equipment, but cannot fathom the inner workings; who has to be advised of the dangers and bear traps in a way that does not dispel the enthusiasm, or reflect badly on this site.
I do agree with this. There are some fantastic, helpful people on this site and a great wealth of knowledge, but I have been very disappointed by some of the posts directed at new and clearly inexperienced members in recent months. One thread in particular took quite an aggressive tone and strayed into territory that had nothing to do with the poster's question. I did actually send him a private message after the thread closed to offer my help but I think he'd been frightened off by then!

Yes, we obviously need to make the point clearly if they're doing something dangerous but the number of times this turns into "leave it alone, you clearly don't know what you're doing" (with a lovely undertone of "you're an idiot") or "you're not answering my questions, so I'm not going to help any further" has come as a bit of a surprise recently, especially as one or two of these posts above have come from well-established members who I would have thought would be rather more tolerant and considerate.

As a friend recently told me when he was getting wound up over something that someone inexperienced was not understanding, his wife said to him "Not everyone knows what you do - be nice". I think this is advice well worth heeding - we all had to start learning somewhere.
Hmm. I take your point but aren't you confusing a lack of knowledge with a rude or even bad attitude? Because sometimes frankly, that's the case. Members offer well meaning, experience based, 'expert' advice, the OP takes no notice of this 'first step to solving your problem' post and keeps coming back with other questions as if an easier 'quick fix' ought to be offered. It takes all sorts and sometimes there really are people who just can't be helped because they don't allow you to help them.
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Old 13th Feb 2024, 2:57 pm   #68
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We come across a very wide spectrum of people. It's too easy to put people into pigeon holes and to then treat the pigeon holes impersonally. The principle of first dehumanising someone and then you can be nasty to them runs throughout human history. But people are living, breathing, thinking entities and have feelings.

Treating people decently and doing the best you can for them works well.... most of the time.

We do come across a small proportion of people for whom this doesn't work. We have a few recent cases of someone coming here to ask about fixing a problem with some set and getting advice, which they have ignored and gone and done something which was strongly recommended that they not do. It could be seen as infuriating, but with the best will in the world, it's very, very frustrating.

With anyone new (of whatever age) it's difficult to assess their level of experience, so that help/advice/guidance/mentoring etc can be tailored to suit. Without this there is the risk that someone with a fair bit of knowledge may think they've entered the early learning centre. And beginners just wave a hand above their head and say 'whoosh!'

You only get one shot at making a first impression.

People's first posts about something not working right are inevitably too terse. They don't know what information is needed to make any progress. It's a dance with both sides adjusting their view of the other until effective communication starts.

We have some people who treat the whole thing as a points scoring contest, others who think it's a game to drag discussions off at a tangent, some people who do it naturally, without any intent. We've got some members who are suffering age-related decline and we have to be supportive and helpful.

We do not want to lose ANY members,

We do not want to lose any potential members.

We have to strive to encourage everyone. As a hobby, it'll all be gone in a generation, two at most, if we don't welcome and help younger people. So scaring them off, driving them away or just simply discouraging them is something to avoid.

Unfortunately, one size does not fit all, and it takes a few overs of conversational postings to assess how best to treat someone.

Many first contacts from someone with a problem are based on folklore they have heard
"I need to change all the capacitors"
"It'll be the sound valve"

Some people have picked up preconceived ideas of what must be done and they can be absolutely resistant to being advised otherwise. They've come here purely for confirmation of what they already think. This can be very frustrating.

So, we do our best.

Sometimes, for a few people, the best is never good enough.

On the whole, this forum is remarkably trouble-free. Occasionally I remember the goings on in the amateur radio fora and usenets, the letters columns of Radcom and PW. There were people trying to rip each other's throats out.

I'm enjoying this calm oasis.

But we must continually strive to do better.

David
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Old 13th Feb 2024, 3:39 pm   #69
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Yes, many are simply not able or willing to do a Google search.
Agree, i needed a schematic to repair a Roberts dab radio, in typical fashion i couldn't find the service data anywhere but,, on an obscure forum i found the reason for why the radio was stuck in stby, simple surface mount logic chip failure, complete strip down to locate and change but that's another story.
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Old 13th Feb 2024, 4:28 pm   #70
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From one who, in the words of a friend, normally sits in the peanut gallery without contributing much, am I alone in enjoying the threads where the newbies ignore any or all advice for whatever reason. I find it delightfully entertaining, sometimes hundreds of posts and no progress.

You can almost hear the clenching and grinding of teeth by the membership.

It's like the conversational version of herding cats!

I take my hat off to the members here. Experienced engineers, technicians, and hobbyists alike, with almost limitless tolerance.
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Old 13th Feb 2024, 4:45 pm   #71
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Default Re: Is it just me?

I am surprised this is still an on going thread, it has been off topic and not shut down when other threads have!

If prospective joiners read this then they would probably just move on.

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Old 13th Feb 2024, 5:42 pm   #72
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I am surprised this is still an on going thread, it has been off topic...
So, bringing back on-topic, no I don't think it's just you.

David's post #68 is, as usual for RW, just about bang on. But I was intrigued by the observation that this Forum is generally trouble free, in comparison with other forums ('Letters' page of magazines being one) where people are trying to rip each others' throats out - does anyone remember Wireless World, and the cattiness among designers? Or the discussion of relativity and the Ivor Catt's 'Catt Anomaly,' which ran for 10 years until correspondence was closed?

I guess the immediacy of the Internet has its good points and its bad points... for a monthly magazine, there's a couple of weeks 'window' to reply, phrase it, sleep on it, tweak it, and then send it... here, it's easy to miss the boat by delaying!

There's been many times I have replied to a thread, sent it, read earlier replies, realised I've not acknowledged someone who has already given a better reply, or else got hold of the wrong end of the stick - and had to edit or even delete my post. The 'Edit' window is very useful.

One point that's come across is that people on here are generally well-meaning. The other is, not to attribute to malice something that can be explained by ignorance and stupidity - it's a good maxim. There isn't much of either on here, and it's thanks to the Mods who keep a tight ship. But, occasional reminders of Forum etiquette are helpful - and I'll bet that's why this thread has been allowed to run!
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Old 13th Feb 2024, 6:07 pm   #73
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If prospective joiners read this then they would probably just move on.

Adrian
Reasonable people wanting help wouldn't or shouldn't be put off. But then there are those who ask for help and assistance who blatantly ignore it, perhaps for laughs, or to start arguments on occasions:

The ones I find funny are like when a new poster is given the advice not to turn a piece of equipment on until a few basic checks are done:

In the next post they say "well, I switched it on and it works fine so no need to do those checks", or similar..

The other one that's regularly seen is, "it works fine but I wanted to restore it so I've changed all the capacitors but now it doesn't work."

That's not inexperience it's arrogance.

Yes it's difficult to gauge people's level of expertise but it's a two way relationship, and what amounts to collective professional advice freely given should be acknowledged.

Personally I've been very grateful for the forum and the advice contained within, but do have a chuckle at the antics of people who think that even though they're incapable of wiring a plug, they think they can repair complex electronics.
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Old 13th Feb 2024, 7:10 pm   #74
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Default Re: Is it just me?

Now that members have got it off their chests and with G Castle's fine summing up its time to close.

Cheers

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