MIMF retrospective and future

MIMF birthday topics, rememberances, etc.

MIMF retrospective and future

Postby Charlie Schultz » Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:56 am

The internet is a far cry from what it was 10-15 years ago what with you-tube, google, etc. In a way, there's a lot more "competition" for us- we're no longer the only kid on the block.

So what sets us apart? IMO:
1. We cover a wide range of musical instruments. Clearly guitars generate the most traffic though.
2. We offer as much, if not more, expertise than other forums.
3. Civility

So, we're looking for suggestions for ways to improve our site and/or services. For example,
  • tutorials (I've received a couple requests for specific tutorials)
  • more contests?

What would you like to see?
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Re: MIMF retrospective and future

Postby Bryan Bear » Thu Feb 23, 2017 2:12 pm

One thing that we offer that some other internet options don’t is self-moderated expertise. You touched on that in #2 but it really goes beyond that when compared to youtube and other non-message board corners of the internet. I have gotten a lot of good stuff from youtube but have also seen a lot of bad advice/practice or questionable information. A beginner doesn’t have a frame of reference to tease out the stuff that should be ignored. Here, we have a lot of great information and discussion about what is presented so a new user isn’t getting “info” in a vacuum.

It would be nice to find a way to spark more conversation here to attract new members and pull old members back into more active posting. I’m not sure how to do that exactly. I don’t have any great ideas but that won’t stop me from throwing out some not so great/poorly formed ideas <G>:

- More activity in the tutorial section. This responsibility rests on the members. Sometimes it feels silly or even self-serving to post a tutorial of your method because you may assume that everyone already knows it or has a different method for said task. But, there are tons of ways to do things and often seeing someone else’s will spark your imagination. Really helpful discussions can come out of even the most mundane tasks. Also, someone googling a task may just find this place. Video tutorials can be great too. Start a discussion in the tutorial section and link to your video. If your video lists MIMF.com all the better.

- Contests – These are always fun but it takes a lot of work to get one going that will appeal to enough people to enter. I’d like to see more of those though if we can get the participation. What if there was a tutorial contest? Shop made tool/jig contest?


- Anything to build the sense of community. In the past there was more of a feeling of a bunch of friends talking about instruments. I can’t exactly describe it but the feeling is less so now. What if we had a featured member of the month? Something to help us get to know each other. Charlie could assign a person (or we could nominate) to fill out a get to know me form and maybe even write some small blurbs you want us all to know. Throw in some pictures or whatever. Who knows what other passions we might share?

- Virtual workshop tours. I’m not sure how this would play out exactly but I love seeing how other people chose to lay out their workspace and to see who has the 2,000 sqft shop and who gets by with a chisel and some clamps in the linen closet. How does your layout work?


- Online classes. I never did one of these back when we did them. To be honest, I don’t really know how they worked. But that might be a good thing to spark some participation.
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Re: MIMF retrospective and future

Postby Bryan Bear » Thu Mar 30, 2017 11:24 am

I'm surprised this didn't get more posts. perhaps people didn't see it so I'll shamelessly bump it up again. . .
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Re: MIMF retrospective and future

Postby Bob Orr » Thu Mar 30, 2017 1:51 pm

Well Charlie, what sets you apart? Quite simple really without this forum and all the help and advice I have received here I would never have started building guitars! Now 3 ukes and two guitars later I am still a daily visitor.

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Re: MIMF retrospective and future

Postby Gordon Bellerose » Thu Mar 30, 2017 5:33 pm

My opinion, for what it's worth, is that this is one of the best forums I have been on.
I have found answers to every question I have ever posted. Answers that make sense, not just the opinion of a guy who has a video camera and a Ytube account.
Don't get me wrong, there is a ton of good material there too, but there is no one there to help filter it.
That's what I get here. Guys and gals who have actually done something, or are in the middle of doing something, or are looking for answers at the same time.

I find the moderators friendly and very experienced. Every once in a while someone may post something that seems a bit angry, but tone is something that does not translate on the web.

I really like the idea of featuring someone's work and a bit of personal information. However much they would like to share anyway.
For me, it would be a great honor to share pictures of my work and tell people a bit about myself.
I need your help. I can't possibly make all the mistakes myself!
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Re: MIMF retrospective and future

Postby Jim McConkey » Thu Mar 30, 2017 5:50 pm

Online classes. I never did one of these back when we did them. To be honest, I don’t really know how they worked. But that might be a good thing to spark some participation.


I took several of our courses way back when. The instructor would send out plans and a list of materials and tools well in advance of the course so students had time to acquire them. Some courses had the students make their own specialized tools, like a D-spoon bit for recorder making or a mold for making violins. Courses would generally run a couple months, with the construction steps clearly outlined and spaced to complete an instrument allowing for odd work schedules. Each week the instructor would post details and pictures of that week's task or task, and the students were expected to accomplish these before the next week. Everyone usually kept up in the beginning, but life sometimes got in the way by the end for some people, and not everyone finished. There was a lot of discussion along the way about materials, specific problems the students encountered, sources of specialized tools, and alternative building methods. The instructors were uniformly excellent and everyone learned a lot, regardless of whether they actually finished or not. Some of the class results can still be found in our Library, and you have probably seen some of the Inlay Course results in various MIMF auctions.
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Re: MIMF retrospective and future

Postby Beate Ritzert » Thu Mar 30, 2017 6:49 pm

What i enjoy most here is the high and professional level of the discussions. But in the past i was a bit unsure if my recent projects were a bit too much below the level of this forum, especially the builds. Maybe some question: to which degree do You want to see "picture-book-like" build threads here?

Gordon Bellerose wrote:...
For me, it would be a great honor to share pictures of my work and tell people a bit about myself.


... and that's what i as one of the kitchen table builders here would love to se as well, especially from the professionals. I find that inspiring, encouraging to find new, own ideas and defining measures for my own work.

And that's what i would like to see: more professionals sharing their knowledge, young professionals as well as others. Rising the level of the discussion well above what most of the amateurs can give. My impression is that the activity of the really experienced people has reduced in the past few years. Maybe it would be helpful to learn why and to possibly bring them back.

Maybe a bit more of internalisation - i know there is a language barrier, and i did not succeed in bringing some of the young professionals from the German speaking communities also to this place.
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Re: MIMF retrospective and future

Postby Steve Sawyer » Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:50 pm

I'm pretty new around here, so excuse the opinion, but I've always considered forums to be really good resources, but there are a few key elements that makes them successful.

  • Requiring folks to use REAL NAMES. Maybe this is just a pet peeve of mine, but I really dislike forums that encourage anonymity by allowing folks to pick some stoopid "handle". I would recommend taking this a step further, and requiring a geographic location.
  • Forums work best when there is a community. People who are welcoming, helpful, not cliquish. It encourages those who get help to eventually have to "give back" by sharing what they have learned (you can't really do much for the experts that have helped you climb the learning curve - you have to pay it forward). A community develops when people aren't hesitant to participate, and when there is content of value that keeps bringing people back.

That said, I have been really pleased with the folks who hang out here. I couldn't ask for more, really.
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Re: MIMF retrospective and future

Postby Dave Weir » Sun Apr 02, 2017 12:08 am

I really only participate here and The Gear Page. Very different vibe over there. I find it entertaining but there is a lot "you must be deaf if you can't tell the difference in tone between Indian and Brazilian Rosewood." Seems like people here are more interested in sharing and learning. One thing I do like that they do is a long running "What's on your workbench?" thread. I like it because you can do a single post that really doesn't need a reply and you can watch what others are up to. The other thing is I don't have to resize pictures to post them. It usually takes a few tries to get photos the right size to post here.
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Re: MIMF retrospective and future

Postby Jim McConkey » Sat Apr 08, 2017 8:43 pm

A number of times recently I have logged on to find myself the only registered member, but joined by 30+ guests. I would like to hear from the members - what prompted you to register after lurking, and what might we do to entice more of these guests into joining and becoming active? There is obviously a huge disconnect between interest and participation.
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Re: MIMF retrospective and future

Postby Beate Ritzert » Sun Apr 09, 2017 5:02 am

Mhmm, many of these "guests" are possibly search engine robots. Or people sent here by a search engine result but not really interested.
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Re: MIMF retrospective and future

Postby Bryan Bear » Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:37 am

To Jim's point, I lurk other places because I am curious about a craft or topic but not actually doing the activity. I lurked here before I started make g stuff and for a good long while after because I didn't feel like I had anything to add due to my inexperience. Now, there is a lot of competition on the web and people are using the web differently. People seem to be bouncing around looking for quick information and less likely to join a community.

IMHO I think we should have (at least) two separate goals:

1) Bring back our older experienced posters who have a ton of knowledge and history here. I'm really not sure how to do that but first I guess we would need to know why they are posting less.

2) attract new members and encourage people to take up instrument making. One way to do that is to, somehow, become more interactive. As it is now, it is just too easy to come here and read a bit then move on to the next Google hit. There is not much reason to engage.

Something I think would be great but probably take a lot of work to get going is to have an MIMF YouTube channel. Something members could contribute to and hopefully drive traffic to the forum. The channels with the most dynamic content seem to do the best. I'm not sure we have enough people here who are already set up/willing to make video content. Doing it well is a lot of work in itself.

We really need a good balance between both goals above. Too much number 1 and we risk getting too cliquish and eventually there won't be any questions to answer. Too much number 2 and the established members will get tired of answering the same questions and disputing the same I experienced advice.
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Re: MIMF retrospective and future

Postby Jim McConkey » Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:07 pm

@Beate, the most common search engines are actually "registered users" on PHPBB, the software we use to run the Forum. They are counted separate from the "guests," who are just lurking.

@Bryan, thanks for your insights! Most of the groups of live people I belong to face a similar dilemma, lots of people with enough interest to come out to a meeting, but no one wanting to take charge of actually doing anything. Getting anyone to volunteer to become an officer is nearly impossible, even if half the officers have few actual duties. Do you find the same pattern of only a few people being active on the other boards you lurk on, too?
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Re: MIMF retrospective and future

Postby Bryan Bear » Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:10 pm

It's hard to notice any patter of behavior when you are casually lurking. Usually I get the answer I am looking for before I get to know any of the players. After all, I'm not looking to take up whatever that forum is devoted to just looking to pick up a tidbit. It's a good thing too. I don't have time to take up blacksmithining, waterlilly cross breeding, vintage tool collecting, appliance repair, costume design, bow making or any of the other random things that I seek answers to.

We can't really trick curious people into taking up the hobby, but perhaps we can entice people who want to do it to have this place one of their preferred hang outs. How to do that is difficult.
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Re: MIMF retrospective and future

Postby Matthew Lau » Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:57 pm

Bryan Bear wrote:To Jim's point, I lurk other places because I am curious about a craft or topic but not actually doing the activity. I lurked here before I started make g stuff and for a good long while after because I didn't feel like I had anything to add due to my inexperience. Now, there is a lot of competition on the web and people are using the web differently. People seem to be bouncing around looking for quick information and less likely to join a community.

IMHO I think we should have (at least) two separate goals:

1) Bring back our older experienced posters who have a ton of knowledge and history here. I'm really not sure how to do that but first I guess we would need to know why they are posting less.

2) attract new members and encourage people to take up instrument making. One way to do that is to, somehow, become more interactive. As it is now, it is just too easy to come here and read a bit then move on to the next Google hit. There is not much reason to engage.

Something I think would be great but probably take a lot of work to get going is to have an MIMF YouTube channel. Something members could contribute to and hopefully drive traffic to the forum. The channels with the most dynamic content seem to do the best. I'm not sure we have enough people here who are already set up/willing to make video content. Doing it well is a lot of work in itself.

We really need a good balance between both goals above. Too much number 1 and we risk getting too cliquish and eventually there won't be any questions to answer. Too much number 2 and the established members will get tired of answering the same questions and disputing the same I experienced advice.



I'm late to this, but I have to agree with Bryan.

Some things about MIMF vs OLF, foroflamenco, delcamp, sawmillcreek:
-OLF- some good info. Lots of Martin/Taylor fanboys. Not a bad crowd, but can be immature sometimes (when I was there years ago). Lots of router-centric, CNC-centric stuff.
-foroflamenco- cliqueish. Very passionate. Lots of jokes I don't get. Sort of snarky and not all that helpful sometimes. But refreshing in it's own way--like chewing on a sliver of cypress. I think Steven Faulk is the only reason I ever go on there.
-del camp- more mature. Primarily hand builders. Very good talent, but a bit more "advanced" in a way. Civil. I see Al Carruth, Dough Ingram, and other notable guys there too. European feel.
-Sawmillcreek- very basic. Not very much good info aside from maybe two posters. Bleh! I like the neanderthal forum more.
-Maestronet-- great guys. Tends to be very violin focused. Not too much on non-bowed-stringed instruments.

-MIMF-- always civil, sorta goofy, some great posters come and go. Tends to be the most "down to earth" of the luthier forums that I frequent.

Personally, I think that life happens!

I'm usually too busy with my practice to have time to go on MIMF or build!
This has changed, now that I have a great dental assistant!

-Matt

ps. The Youtube channel would be brilliant!
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