Re: The demise of rec.kites? was: Come in rec.kites (Gaffer RIP)

Subject Re: The demise of rec.kites? was: Come in rec.kites (Gaffer RIP)
From (Andy Wardley)
Date Fri, 17 Apr 1998 13:30:13 GMT
Newsgroups rec.kites
Me wrote:
> It's a non-trivial task (becoming more difficult by the day) to wade
> through all the crap to find the sweetcorn.

David Lindgren <> wrote:
> Yuk!

Hehe, I thought you'd like that :-)

> I am going to make a generalisation here.  Most of the kite fliers I
> have met in my short time as a kite flyer really do enjoy sharing
> whatever they can.  The internet holds an enormous wealth of kiting
> information (providing you look hard enough for the sweetcorn).

It's true it does. My previous post concentrated very much on the negative sides of the Internet, partly because you're doing such a good job expounding the positive sides.

> [The] newbie kiter can add very little new information to what is already
> available until he has digested as much information as he can from the
> internet.

Experience is relative. We all have a "duty" to help newbie kiters and newbie netters just as those "elders" helped us (we hope) when we were newbies. But it's not a clear-cut line. Someone who has been flying for 3 months has got advice and tips they can offer to someone who has been flying for 3 days. They are "experienced" as far as the newbie goes. There's nothing wrong with having very basic questions alongside the tricky ones - this forum is one for every level of kiting - but that's not the problem. It's the chat, the jokes, the one-liners and the off-topic posts that are the problem. But they're also the thing that gives rec.kites its character. We don't want to be a boring dinner party where music and laughter are forbidden, but nor do we want to be a wild rave where you can't even hear yourself think.

> Personally, I am /longing/ to be able to contribute to the advancement
> of kiteing.  I just do not know enough yet to be able to offer any
> really useful information to the 'elders'.

Everyone can contribute to the advancement of kiting. It's not the 'elders' who need to be offered information, it's the 'youngers'. Help the people who need the most help. As far as they're concerned you're already an 'elder'.

> Good Thing?  I know that personally, the internet has been central to
> my love of kite flying.

Mine too.

> Had the discussion been too far over my head when I first looked in, I
> wouldn't have stayed and I am sure kite flying for me would only be a
> quick fly on the odd Sunday afternoon if I felt like it.

True, but had the conversation been '101 uses for Mr Nasty's left leg' or 'Beattie is a Fascist' or 'Wardley Smells of Goat's Cheese' then you probably would have had the same response. I also suspect that a conversation clearly way above your head would have prompted you to lift your head a bit higher, rather than bury it in the sand. As light hearted and enjoyable as some of the "silly" threads are, they're not really going to draw you further into kiting are they?

> if you are anything like me, you will get much more enjoyment from the
> thing if you know that other people are getting some pleasure from
> using the thing.

Yep. It's that "Piece of Art" thing again.

> Whatever happens, people are going to rip off your bridle (tell you
> what, I'll buy you a beer if I use it on my BoT :-) ).  The only way
> for you to stop this is to keep it to yourself and don't let anyone
> know about it.

There is another way. Give it away. Free. Gratis. No charge. No Limitation.

They can't be ripping me off when they can have it for free :-)

> If this is what you want to do, then it is entirely your right to do
> so (and I promise I won't tell anyone about it <g>), but as I
> said above, if I have (partially) assessed your mentality correctly,
> this is not how you will get maximum enjoyment from it.

Yep, you're right. I want people to benefit from it, just as I've benefitted from the ideas and effort of countless fliers and designers who have gone before me. And hopefully those who come after me will be inspired by these good deeds and go on to do something similar.

Only this way can we further kite flying.

> An awful lot of respect.  (Cue all the crap followup witties: Who's
> Andy Wardley?, etc - thanks, but no thanks, we've heard it all before)

> You will put it on your web site (I expect) for everyone to see in
> glorious technicolour and you will then go and post a message telling
> everyone to go look at your page (and if you don't post it, then I
> will).

> Yes, I've resigned myself to the fact that I probably will...
> If you *truly* don't want to, then don't.

No actually, I do. For all the reasons you state... I was just being difficult.

> You could always turn that page of your web site into a 'pay for
> membership' page where each person would need to pay you a tenner by
> credit card or something before they were allowed to connect...
> But I'll bet that you think that would be rather anal.

That would be really anal. And besides, no-one would pay. People will quite happily go and spend $15 on a video to help them fly, but they wouldn't pay $5 for a bridle design to improve their kite when they can copy it off their friend's.

Why do people expect something for nothing?

<aside> The only piece of shareware I've ever written (everything else that I've released since then has been free) was called "MultiGIF". It's a GIF animation tool. I stopped counting after the download page had reached 100,000 hits (which probably reflected about 10,000 actual downloads) and for all those people using the tool, only 3 have ever paid the $25 registration fee. One of those was a friend of mine. </aside>

I don't mind giving things away for free, but I hate the fact that people have come to expect it. I've receieved angry emails from people who are pissed off that I'm making them wait to find out about the Active Bridle (I've also received many polite emails, as well). I'm expected to drop everything I'm doing and make all my information available to them, for free, of course, and I'm expected to do this all out of the goodness of my heart.

I like to think my heart is fairly goodly on the goodness scale, but it gets really trying sometimes to keep smiling.

> I would urge the 'old-timers' to stay with r.k, even if it were just
> in the background, responding only to the threads that had relevant
> titles and deleting all the others.

Unfortunately, there are times in everyones' lives when other things take priority and it's very difficult to justify even half an hour a day scanning through rec.kites to see if there are any questions worth answering. And if you're just scanning for half an hour each day then you're really not going to be getting much out of it yourself? So it becomes even more difficult to justify...

> I would also urge everybody to consider whether an article will
> contribute positively to kiting before posting it so that we have a
> little bit less of the rubbish.

What he said. In Spades!

Having a high-content low-noise newsgroup wouldn't have stopped people like Andrew leaving rec.kites and it wouldn't have changed the fact about him having a new job and all the other things that are going on. Chances are he still would have left. But if rec.kites had been the wildly valuable resource that it used to be instead of a fairly useful resource which is "kinda fun", then I bet there would be more incentive for these people to come back when they realise what they're missing.

> [character-assessments-'R'-us (sorry Andy :-/ )]

Incidentally, Dave sent me an email just to make sure that I wasn't interpretting this lively and interesting discussion as a flame war (which I wasn't). If people spent just a fraction of a second thinking more like this then we'd see an improvement for sure.

Which, on that final note, is where I'll finish.


Andy Wardley  <>     Signature regenerating.  Please remain seated.
      <>     For a good time: