..and if you multiply his no. of posts by the words per post, he's set a mark that will never be equalled. Insightful and entertaining, they're a pleasure to read.
Congratulations, Grey. I hope your SF is just as good, I'm gonna read some soon.
All right, here's my view of where we are and where I'd like to go:
Any idiot can sit on a mountaintop and try to answer questions for those who drop by. The problem is that you end up answering the same questions over and over. Sure, you can do it, but it gets boring, and frankly the whole hermit-guru lifestyle never appealed to me. If nothing else, caves in mountain tops rarely have electricity, which makes running a decent stereo a bit difficult.
I'd like to try to put into place a framework where people can learn things pertaining to audio. Think of it as a very large-scale FAQ; the University of Audio, if you will. With luck we can have a few visiting professors now and then. Nelson Pass drops by sometimes. Perhaps a few others could be persuaded to do so. It certainly would be nice to have one of the better speaker manufacturers visit, wouldn't it? But part of that will depend on you. If Stephen Hawking came to town, you wouldn't bog the poor man down with questions about simple arithmetic, would you? I hope not. It would be more appropriate to use your time with him asking about black holes and dark matter. If, by chance, someone who makes a living at this does show up, please be polite so they'll come back. Don't ask silly, trivial questions. Think before you speak.
It's not as though we're swimming in good, reliable information and can afford the luxury of offending (...or boring...) folks who might have something to offer.
The books out there are few and generally pathetic. There are resources scattered here and there on the web, but they're of uneven quality. I can count on my fingers the sites that I could recommend without saying "...but..." followed by a disclaimer or two.
This is ridiculous.
I'm not sure what format would work best for this, but I'd like to get some things written down that would take care of the fundamentals, so that the time in the 'research labs' scattered here and there across the planet could be more productive. We wouldn't have to stop to answer the phone every five minutes--we could keep right on trying to figure out some of the more subtle points of audio. We've got some people here who actually give a damn about audio and have the ability to do interesting things. Let's let 'em work.
Ideally, the whole thing would run itself. Someone could surf in, take the the amplifier class, and sail off into the sunset with some knowledge about the whichness of the whyfors of how an amplifier is designed. Or a speaker. Or a preamp.
Or how to listen...something overlooked by every single book and web site I've seen. Learning to hear is without question the single most fundamental skill required in listening to music. Yet no one addresses the issue. A rather glaring oversight, wouldn't you say? Sadly, I think it says something about the priorities of those who wrote the books and the websites. Given time, perhaps we can get to that, too.
The 1000 post thing?
That just happened because I talk too much...
I think you have a good idea there, but we have to be careful. I, myself love the personal feel of this board and I wouldn't want to lose that. On the other hand, a lot of people would sooner ask a question than run a search for the answer (I know I'm guilty of e-mailing you a question and I didn't want to offend). I also run searches all the time. Perhaps a separate section for searches with a large banner on the main page to incite people to use the search engine. I'm just afraid it wouldn't be the same if we didn't interact anymore.
As can be seen from my posts I'm new to this site, but have already learned much from reading posts and doing searches. I agree with Skippy that the basic "feel" to the site should be retained, but at the same time it would be nice to be able to get answers to the basic questions perhaps along the lines of FAQs. Much of this information is scattered here and there in various posts, but it isn't always easy to find. I can imagine a process where "basic" questions could be proposed and those with the knowledge and inclination could submit an answer( this could count as a post for those going for the numbers). A Primer would be nice also if the energy is there! Perhaps, it could be gathered from existing sources rather than having to reinvent the wheel.
BTW Grey - There is something to be said for mountain tops, and with through "modern technology" you can be there and have your Music too! But then I guess you dont have mountains in SC.
We need :
1)Some web space
2)A mster editor
4)Audio Jounalists (faq generators)
We would have to propose a stucture to this web Audio Faq, say sorted in to topics such as :
and so on, much like the forums.
then under these topics would be subs, such as (say under amps) :
Concepts :- solid state
concepts :- valve
sub catagory solid state
Then we will add pages and tell everyone in these forums that a new page has gone up, so that everyone can comment or admit changes that need to be made (nothings perfect the first time). After all that the master editor will decide whats relevent (or true!).
Then get some people (proposed audio jounalists) to start making some audio FAQs!
Skippy has a valid point in that part of the 'magic' of this site is in the personal contact.
It's killing me, guys. I remember back when this place started (meaning a little over a year ago--seems much longer than that). I watched it nearly from day one. I wanted to know that the 'signal to noise ratio,' i.e. the level of useful content to junk was going to be worthwhile. I waited (lurking, I believe, is the term) and waited, then stepped right smack into the middle of the biggest mess we've had in the infamous Opti-MOS thread. blmn will remember that one, I know, as he took the other side of the debate on whether specs were sufficient to describe the 'sound' of a piece of equipment.
Back then, I could go several days and catch up in a reasonable period of time. There were, I think, the ten newest threads on the front page and that was enough to be able to see several days worth of threads. Now, Jason's increased the window to show the last fifteen or twenty threads and you're lucky if that covers the last six hours.
I used to read every post on every thread. It's gotten to the point now where I rarely read anything in the Digital forum--not much I can contribute there. I haven't looked in on Vince's projector thread in I don't know how long--nothing against Vince, I just ain't got the time. At this point, I'm facing the choice of what to cut out next, 'cause something's got to give.
So I've been giving this some thought, trying to figure out a way to keep from getting bogged down in endless repetitions of "Can I substitute MOSFET x for y in Nelson's Z?" Oi! That stuff's a time-sucker. Gotta run over to the IRF site, look up the specs, glance at the SOA chart, run back here, write up a reply that (hopefully) doesn't come off as brusque or offensive in some way to some newbie who's scared to be asking the question in the first place, for fear of being thought stupid.
So I hit upon this University of Audio metaphor, complete with 'textbooks' and possibly 'professors' who can palm the lighter stuff off on 'graduate students,' etc.
There's a related problem that Geoff and I have discussed a bit, to wit: Off-thread topics. His feeling is that things should be keep more strictly on-topic, if for no other reason than that it would enable you to glance at the thread title and make a decision as to whether to look in on it. I'm sympathetic to his feelings, but it's been my observation that some of the coolest stuff pops up as an aside. If things were tightly structured, people would never come up with the nifty little tidbits, as they probably wouldn't think it worth starting a thread to say, oh, by the way, I used to work at a transformer place. Instead, if they're in Solid State talking about bipolar transistors, they just throw it in as an aside, and if someone thinks it's important, they can pick up on it. I don't know what the answer to this one is, as even Geoff admitted that he'd picked up on an aside by a member and taken it in another direction. I hate to think what I've missed by skipping entire threads...yet, there's just no way I can read them all.
Confound it, the place went and got popular!
I guess it means that we're doing a good job at keeping reasonable in tone while dealing with questions. But, at what price?
There are a few hills up in the NW corner of the state, but I've got land up in the NC mountains near where I was born that I retreat to when I feel the need to talk to the owls. No electricity, though. Strictly rough camping. No caves, for that matter. But, man, is it beautiful up there!
Proposed changes to the stucture of the site will need to go to Jason. It's his site, and that's his baliwick. Incidentally, I don't recall that I've ever mentioned it out loud, but Jason made me a Moderator some time back. I've tried to keep low key about it, as I'd rather get in and get my hands dirty in the threads than act like some remote High-'n-Mighty critter. I'm no more (or less) of an *** than you probably already think of me. I haven't actually done anything with my Moderator status other than move a few threads, and step in once when there was a tussle starting in one of the threads. (Ironic, considering the Opti-MOS flap, but there it is. Life is full of contradictions.)
Anyway, my point is that I've got to take a look at my priorities, as I'm not making any money at this, but it's taking a huge amount of my time--to the tune of four to six hours (sometimes more) every day. I've got projects that I need to get to (Mini-Aleph, Aleph-X, OTL amp, servos for the subs, tube phono stage, and something so Top Secret, Eyes Only that I haven't even mentioned it yet for fear of starting a riot. And that's not counting the SOZ Variations and Active Crossovers threads, both of which need attention if they're to serve as 'textbooks.'). I'm sure the same is true for some of the other members, as well...
(I'd be remiss if I didn't thank Geoff for twice saving my ***--once on translating my Aleph PC board layouts into a usable format that would post nicely here, and again when he did the basic research on CAD programs. Both of those were invaluable.)
And, of course, my long-standing gripe (everybody together now): I'm not getting any stories written.
Suggestions are welcome, as it's crunch time, and I'm not quite sure what the best answer is.
Like Grey, I used to follow every thread but this has now become impossible. I have just been away from my pc for a little over an hour and there have been 16 new posts in that time. The oldest post on the front page is now 3 hours. What it will be like tomorrow after I have had a six hour break for some sleep I hate to think.
Something needs to be done before the more experienced members of the forum become disallusioned and stop providing replies, which is why I submitted the recent post regarding use of the search facilities. However, I do not think that the time and effort setting up a series of FAQ pages will be worth while.
Why? Because they will not be used a large number of people since it is far easier to post a query and then sit back and wait for an answer than it is to search for the information oneself. Excluding the Aleph etc queries which are a special case and perhaps justify an FAQ page, the answers to a lot of the basic questions that appear here can be easily found elsewhere on the web, for example by a visit to the ESP Audio Pages. But this takes a little more time and effort than than posting a query here. A typical example is a query answered by NP today (and he has much better things to do with his time) about the transformer secondary voltage required to give a 30V supply rail. We would be foolish to think that repeating the information readily available elsewhere on the web would reduce the number of posts containing basic questions.
What I believe is necessary is a set of ground rules that are clearly displayed and are presented to each new member at sign-up time. These ground rules would cover such aspects as searching the site (and/or the web) for an answer before posting a query, forum etiquette etc. It could be made clear that if a question is raised that could be answered by a simple search then other members may feel free to ignore the post.
Before this can be done though, the search facilities need to be improved. Jason recently reduced the minimum word length from 4 to 3 so that searches could be done on ZEN, SOZ etc. However, this is not sufficient and the minimum size needs to be reduced to 2, though I appreciate that this will create a much larger search data file. As an example, there was a recent post regarding the value and use of R1 and R8 in the Aleph 30 circuit. Nelson has previously answered this but his reply could not be found as it is not possible to search for 'aleph AND 30 AND r8' because the 30 and r8 are rejected as being to short.
I appreciate the amount of time Grey spends each day at this forum since I spend nearly as much most days answering email queries resulting from my website (which is one of the reasons why the number of my posts here is not as great as Grey's). It takes enough time if one immediately knows the answer, but considerably longer if some initial research is required. Though perhaps you could save some time, Grey, by providing shorter replies?
What we need to do is to educate the new members (and some of the existing ones) and to point out the possible repercussions if the ground rules (if they come into existence) are not complied with.
You are right, Grey does not need to visit the forum or to reply to any of the queries. But what would happen if all the longer serving and/or more experienced members took the same approach? There would be nobody left to answer 'silly' and 'stupid' questions.
The adjectives are yours. Personally, I don't believe any question is silly or stupid if the person asking it does not know and needs the answer. However, I do think that a lot of people can do more to help themselves rather than relying on others to provide the answers for them