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Answering the question asked

I have not been following Orchid for quite some time due to time
constraints and have missed it. Since I am not a maker but the
business person I usually am following Orchid as I am interested in
some of the discussions but usually have little to add regarding
jewelry making questions. But a recent discussion caught my

I saw a post on the PMC topic and ended up reading all the related
posts and something struck me that I have seen so many times in the
past: people end up not answering the question but posing new
avenues of discussion that are only slightly related to the original
topic/questions. Debbie had questions related to working with
precious metal clay and costs. and the discussion veered into
whether or not it is a valid method, good jewelry vs. bad jewelry,

Questions or a topic may bring up thoughts related but not pertinent
and often those are the discussions that can become unpleasant. I
would like to strongly recommend that when responding that you
double-check to make sure you are answering the question(s)/topic.
If not, then start a new topic; I’ve seen that done many times in
the past (subject: Was xyz now abc) In reading all 90+ posts it was
interesting to see how it went up and down between answering her
questions and offering resources, comparing costs and then whether
precious metal clay is a valid technique/whether good jewelry can be
made with it, etc. The first two (answering her question/offering
resources and comparing costs) were related to Debbie’s topic. I
think the third set should have been started as a new topic. It is
also the third type of topic that gets a little too personal
sometimes, IMHO.

Terry Binnion

Good advice Terry. I will have to try to take that to heart. It will
take some effort as I do find my mind tends to automatically default
to tangents, as my long suffering wife can attest.

In weak support of my personality flaw, don’t you think that
sometimes those wandering conversations lead to interesting places?
Yet I do agree that we should always attempt to answer the posted
question first and my Mother would say that it costs us nothing to
treat others with politeness.


I’m afraid that topic drift happens in any environment, starting
with the cavemen. Fact of life.

I do think that it’s the nature of a conversation to evolve and for a
tangent to become a new subject.

Tangents are what turns a lecture into a conversation. Take the
conversation too far off topic and others may not continue
communicating, but often the tangent is a natural progression, and
adds something of value.

I agree with Andrew, and most everything Mark said. I’m also
grateful to see the issue addressed in a great, and helpful, manner.
I’ve been on too many boards who’s members took differences of
opinion personally, and then set about to air grievances and insults
towards each other.

A good thing to remember: We can’t hear your “voice” or read your
body language when you write to us. 90% of our communication as human
beings is silent, but visible - so much a part of us that we could
feasibly communicate through body language alone, that’s how
important it is when interpreting someone’s choice of words and

It’s one thing to get hot headed and fired up about a conversation,
but a whole other animal to intentionally–or not–hurt someone
through word choice, and sadly both happen when you put more than one
person together under an umbrella. The “umbrella” in this case being
the dazzlingly diverse field of jewelry making where there’s always
more than one way to skin a cat, and no one way is always right for

One can observe the context in which something’s written to gain a
picture of the overall tone, some personal writing styles are better
at expressing a “voice” so to speak, but almost all communication can
be misread. Most especially when we put our hearts into our topics,
which is common when talking about one’s profession, hobby, craft or

Civilly yours,
(And Cheers!)