Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Burnout on the Mineral and Gem Lists


#1

Hi Folks,

Some months ago, the “Lapidary Digest” list folded. Just about a week
ago, the “Faceter’s Digest” list followed. And, now, today, we learn
that the “rocks-and-fossils” list is also soon to join them.

This is regrettable. There is a lack in my life without the
cameraderie and the informed and practical gem that was so
abundant on “Lapidary Digest” and “Faceter’s Digest”.

The news that “rocks-and-fossils” is about to close or change to a
new list comes by strange co-incidence in the middle of a debate I’ve
been having with my good friend Carol Bova, who knows a thing or two
about burnout herself from having published the "Eclectic Lapidary"
online magazine. Perhaps you, list members, can help decide that
debate.

I’m arguing that running a good, informative, well managed list comes
almost with burnout built in. The better the list is, the better the
input from members, the more informative the posts are, the more
subscribers who will join. Yet as more and more subscribers join, that
inevitably means more and more demands upon the list manager’s time,
so that in time, (and the better the list, the quicker it will happen)
what began as a hobby turns into the equivalent of a job. And curbing
spam and dousing flame wars can be quite a demanding job.

To this point, Carol and I agree. But where we differ is that I
believe that the solution is a list which charges a subscription fee.
It doesn’t have to be a big fee, just enough to assure the list
manager a reasonably fair compensation for all that time and work. Say
10 dollars a year. I’m a member of one list (technical writers) where
a paid subscription model was debated, last year, when list traffic
threatened to overwhelm the capacities of both the manager of the list
and the server which carried it. In that case, it was decided to go
with a daily bulletin of paid advertising rather than a subscription
fee. But we gem and mineral folks do it more for love, while technical
writing is more of a salaried profession, hence paid ads for books,
conferences, and jobs can carry the cost of the technical writing
list, which might not be the case for us gem and mineral
afficionadoes.

To cut the long story short, my feeling is that there would be enough
demand for a gem-cutting and lapidary list on the
small-subscription-fee model that it could work. Carol, for her part,
is inclined to be dubious, but is, she says, willing to be persuaded.

What do YOU think? I know that the demise of “Lapidary Digest and
"Faceter’s Digest” has opened up a gap that I certainly would be
prepared to pay a subscription to fill. But would anyone else? What
say you, fellow listers?

Cheers,
Hans Durstling
Moncton, Canada


#2

Hans and All,

I was really sorry to see the Lapidary Digest fold. Our local Gem
and Mineral Society is heavy into lapidary and it gave me lots of
fodder for the group. I was not aware the Faceters Digest had
’folded’ as well but now that you mention it…there have been no
postings lately. I thought it was ‘technical’ problems!

I endorse all you say and would vote that some form of embursement
would be in order if it meant the difference between having or not
having these avenues. Of course, I’m not sure the financial lure is
the ultimate answer. After all, the people running them probably have
full time jobs ‘on the side’ and do the digests as a hobby or for the
love of the subject. Money would not help ‘burn out’ in such
cases…but it might help!

In case some might not have noticed, the Lapidary Journal jewelry
forum also folded last month and it has been replaced by another at
jewelryarts@egroups.com, but I have not found the format to be
friendly and will probably drop it.

Fortunately, the best of the best continues to function…thanks to
Hanuman and the dedication of the folks at Ganoksin. What would we do
without it?

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry!


#3

All, There isn’t any doubt about the fact that we should all reconcile
ourselves to the reality that the operation of an E-magazine is
costly, especially in terms of human effort and involvement. I would
like to suggest that there be a subscription cost which is affordable
for all involved and that there be two levels…a very low cost to
neophytes and amateurs and a much more substantial cost to those of
us who benefit from having access to commercial exposure. In a very
real sense, we have a situation here which is comparable to Public
Broadcasting, only in our case there are no corporate or governmental
subsidies. There are some cheapskates out there who would not
financially support Orchid and, as a result, there would be some
attrition of subscribers. To some extent, this could be overcome with
a modest promotional budget, direct advertising revenues and any
number of other minor sources of promotion and subsidy. Moreover, it
is perfectly reasonable to assume that a one month free subscription
to new members could be very effective. Furthermore, there could be a
more appealing format which encompasses articles on cutting edge
technology, surveys of overseas operations,new gemstone finds,
personality portraits, and legislative developments affecting the
industry…much as you might find in a conventional magazine.
Probably the biggest challenge would be that of balancing unbiased
editorial content as opposed to skewing content to meet the
promotional dictates of the “big boys” ( gee, golly ! where did I get
that idea ?) Accordingly, it might be practical to limit the size of
any commercial content to that which could be afforded by small
operators so that there might be a level playing field and no one
entity could dictate editorial content. Utopian ? Probably so, but
that’s no excuse not to try ! Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA. (Tyson
Wells I-30)


#4

An important point on the Lapidary Digest is that the archives are
still up and available. I send folks there regularly; this is an
immense resource still!

Jim Small
Small Wonders


#5

i agree that i would also be willing to make some reimbursement for
the privilege of participating in orchid.

i also agree that money may not help the burnout problem of the
people who support the list.

but a membership fee could help defray isp or hardware costs.

jean adkins


#6

I agree with Hans, it’s sad to see both these lapidary lists
dissapear. I do not however belive in paid subscription for mailing
lists. At least not in this field. The spirit of the net from the very
beginning has been a way to share info for free. I think that idea is
very much responsible for the amazing size and impact the internet has
of today.

The paid advertising model is by far the most common among mailing
lists on the net. There’s probably a good reason for that. I don’t
find targeted advertising in a mailing list that hard to cope with.
Once in a while you even find something useful.

And lets face it, it’s awfully hard to find someone who wants to work
fulltime AND pay for server costs, just for the fun of it. Not just
for a while. Week after week. Month after month. Year …

I think we are all very greatful to the persons who work so hard with
their lists and I do think they need some financial compensation
besides everybodys gratitude. So if anyone starts a new lapidary list
with paid ads I’ll sign up straight away.

Rudolf


#7

If it aint broke don’t fix it! Orchid is great the way it is,
subscriptions (especially a two tiered set) would harm the forum
rather than make it better. What I like and appreciate about the
forum is the truly communal feeling that comes from the respectful,
open sharing of ideas, and opinions. If the job gets too
much for those monitoring the content, then, and only then, would I
suggest that the screening of postings be eliminated. Those of us who
are serious and greatful for the forum (and I suspect from reading 4
years worth of archives that most of us are) will police ourselves,
those who abuse the site can simply be brought to the attention of
the web manager and they can be banned from further postings. This is
the structure that is in place at an academic chat group called the
"Academic Metal Crafts discussion" — for those interested see
http://listserv.temple.edu/archives/acmet-l.html. You submit a
request for membership, once it is granted you may participate, but
only so long as you do not become abusive. Participation in this
group is a privilege, as I would suggest is participation in the
Orchid Forum. Frankly, I feel very privileged. Many thanks to all who
make this group such a pleasure.

B Goodman Van. BC


#8

Absolutely Right ! and here is the link to that site -
(Hale2@mindspring.com)

Mr. Hale Sweeney deserves a great deal of credit for making this
resource available. I was a list member and miss the new mailings
from this newsgroup.

ROBB Retired Old Baby Boomer


#9

Hi Gang,

For those of you interested in faceting & bemoaning the demise of the
Faceter’s Digest, there’s another list devoted to faceting. It’s a
moderated list with lots of activity & many world class faceters
subscribe & contribute.

Here’s the subscription info:

You can automatically subscribe or unsubscribe to the Faceters List
via the list bot at: http://www.amfed.org/faceters/listbot_submit.shtml
or emailing your request to: faceters@amfed.org<<

Dave


#10

All, Has anyone out there got any proof that the Lapidary Digest has
actually fallen by the wayside? I have been a subscriber and I
remember that the host had been through many personal problems which
had caused him to interrupt service on other occaisions. Furthermore,
I recall that in his last posting he indicated that he was going to
take an extended leave of absence to attend a class of some sort.
Could be that rumours of its demise have been greatly exaggerated. (
Sic ! ) Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA. ( I-30, Tyson Wells
Early Show )


#11

Hi Folks,

To correct a misapprehension, I was in no way suggesting that the
orchid list change anything whatever. It is just plain excellent,
first-class, exactly as it is right now. I fully agree that orchid
needs no fixing.

But other things, I think, do. By way of background, my original
"burnout" post grew from email discussions I’d been having with Carol
Bova, of the “Eclectic Lapidary” online magazine, in which we both
lamented the recent demise of Hale Sweeny’s “Lapidary Digest” and the
"Faceter’s Digest." The former was targeted mainly to cab cutters and
inlayers, the latter, obviously, to faceters. Both were wonderful
resources for stone-cutters; both are gone.

My feeling was that with these two lists gone, there was a need for a
good solid substantial gem-cutter’s forum, probably encompassing
cabochon cutting, faceting, inlay, and gem carving, and that to
sustain such a list would likely take so much time from the list
manager’s other activities as to justify a small subscription fee to
make this possible. Indeed, I was, somewhat discretely, trying to talk
Carol into into taking on just this burden. (As an aside let me say
that I can think of few people who have a better combination of
gem-dedication, knowledge, and personality for the task).

Anyway, Carol; was inclined to wonder whether a subscription model
would be accepted. So I thought, “well, why not ask,” and posted my
original burnout message asking what people thought of the
subscription approach. The thoughtfulness of the replies from gem
enthusiasts and cutters, both on and off list, has been totally
gratifying, and in a rough and ready tally, the numbers are about two
to one that yes, a small subscription fee probably would work. Whether
this will help convince Carol to make the leap remains to be seen;
she’s safely out of email range right now at the Barstow California
show.

So that’s the background. I miss my fix of gem-cutting
advice, and friendly fellowship. Have no fear - it wouldn’t occur to
me to suggest changing anything about orchid.

Cheers Hans Durstling Moncton, Canada


#12

Robert, you are a bit incorrect – what you have given out is Hale’s
personal address! the Lapidary Digest website is
www.lapidarydigest.com

And the address for submissions is lapidary@mindspring.com

We have high hopes that LapDigest will soon be up and running again.

Margaret
kadok@redrock.net


#13

Hi, I too missed the Lapidary Digest List so I started a new list to
try to cover the topics that were handled by that list. Since I work
for an ISP there is no cost for me to have the list other than time.
I consider that the gained from the list more than
compensates me for the time spent in list maintenance. Currently the
list is only about a month old and has 87 members. We are suffering
from a lack of posts to the list and need more membership. I am only
42 years old and plan to operate this list for a long time to come. I
am also fairly new to lapidary, jewelry and faceting so these list
are a great help to me personally. I have attempted to contact Hale
Sweeny about the new list so he could let all the members of the
Lapidary Digest know about it (in case the Lapidary Digest is gone
for good) but he has not replied so far. If anyone would like to
subscribe to the list just send an e-mail to
lapidary-request@caprock-spur.com with the word subscribe in the BODY
of the message. You can post to the list at the address
lapidary@caprock-spur.com .

Thurmond Moore III
Member of The Lubbock Gem and Mineral Society
owner-lapidary@caprock-spur.com


#14

Hans, Carol Bova is a personal friend and we chatted at Barstow. I
think you may have a reasonable idea here.

Carol has a full time job that effectively takes most of her day. She
is a dealer at several local shows and that takes up the rest of any
time she may have.

Carol is exquisitely qualified to run just such a list as you propose
to fill in for the major loss of Hale’s wonderful list, and Don Clark
and wife Sharan’s Faceting List. Carol is GIA qualified, and has an
excellent knowledge of stones as well as a love of them. She is
President of the Opal Society here and cuts her own.

She recently had a major computer failure and is now in the process
of trying to reconstruct one by one individual messages from a single
text file. Her son maintained her online 'zine.

The only way Carol could do this is by being able to leave her full
time employment, that would take a whole bunch of dedicated
subscribers. Hale and Sharan and Don Clark took some nasty flak
publicly posted. Hale for excluding gemstone faceting, Don for having
a commercial side.

We human beings have an entitlement feeling entrenched so deeply,
that when disappointed in response time or content, we howl like
Banshees, not at all caring who gets wounded in our quest for "OUR"
point of view, etc. This has been on free of fee sites, can you
imagine when we pay for a site? Much has to be worked on and out,
before any of this can come to pass.

I totally agree Carol would be perfect, she also needs to pay her new
home’s mortgage, eat, and have good medical coverage. None of this
comes cheap.

I am also hoping Hale does come back and continue his list, many of
us look forward to that happening.

Another well maintained list, Sharon Shea’s Rocks and Fossils has
also ended. The fallout volume from that has resulted in most likely
over 2K messages, some of which were not nice at all.

The best we all can be is flexible amidst change, tolerant of each
other and different ideas/opinions, and focus on positive suggestions
rather than blast one you disagree with.

Remember Orchid is unique, and there have been discussions on and off
about how to support it with more than words.

Teresa


#15

I agree that the demise of Hale Sweeney’s Lapidary Digest is a great
loss and very much needs to be replaced. However Almost everyone on
FacetersDigest now posts on AFMS’s Faceters List. If you sign up for
the Faceter’s list (Faceters@amfed.org) I think you will find the
Faceter’s Digest void is filled quite respectably. I am a member and
find it every bit as informative as FD. This is mainly because many
of the FD members post to the AFMS list. Anyway, there may be room
for one more Faceters forum but theer is a deffinate need for Lapidary
Digest to be resurrected.

BTY, I enjoyed Carols online magazine very much and must admit I have
not been there for many months. Is it still going? Last I looked it
seemed to stagnate. Hope you get back to it Carol.

K. Russo www.facetgems.com


#16

Hi, I too missed the Lapidary Digest List so I started a new list to
try to cover the topics that were handled by that list. Since I work
for an ISP there is no cost for me to have the list other than time. I
consider that the gained from the list more than
compensates me for the time spent in list maintenance. Currently the
list is only about a month old and has 87 members. We are suffering
from a lack of posts to the list and need more membership. I am only
42 years old and plan to operate this list for a long time to come. I
am also fairly new to lapidary, jewelry and faceting so these list are
a great help to me personally. I have attempted to contact Hale Sweeny
about the new list so he could let all the members of the Lapidary
Digest know about it (in case the Lapidary Digest is gone for good)
but he has not replied so far. If anyone would like to subscribe to
the list just send an e-mail to lapidary-request@caprock-spur.com with
the word subscribe in the BODY of the message. You can post to the
list at the address lapidary@caprock-spur.com .

Thurmond Moore III Member of The Lubbock Gem and Mineral Society
owner-lapidary@caprock-spur.com