Improve Orchid content

I’m sorry if this bothers any of the other people monitoring this
news group but I need to make an observation.

Many times a person will post a question such as in the “superman
ring” thread and the resulting replies are not related to the
original question. Granted the copyright question was one of the
topics voiced but the gist of the email was asking for suggestions
on how to tackle the task of making a ring.

This has happened several times with other threads that get
completely off topic also.

My point here is to request that the subject lines mirror the topic
being spoken about. This would also make the archives much more
easily searched.

If I am looking for copyright help I surely will not try to search
the archives for superman.

That said…Thank you all for the you share & the things
I have learned from this site,


I'm sorry if this bothers any of the other people monitoring this
news group but I need to make an observation. .... 

Hello Mark,

You’ve brought up a good point but I’d like to offer a slightly
different take on the subject.

In a previous job part of my duties included the moderation and
management of a fairly active message board. I did it from the early
days of the board and in the 4 years of my involvement we enrolled
almost 6000 members who made about 150,000 posts. I mention this
because I think an active, well moderated message board is not unlike
our Orchid mailing list.

In my experience Orchid is exceptional in it’s quality of posts and
contributions. Yes, it’s true, the odd topic wanders off course now
and again but that’s just the nature of the beast IMHO. If you want
people to contribute you need to let them speak their mind, within
reason of course, and that sometimes means they stray from the
original topic. Sometimes that’s just a diversion but more often
than not --especially on Orchid-- it becomes another subject of
worthwhile discussion.

From what I’ve seen I feel compelled to point out that
over-moderation, or overly restricted discussions, can severely
damage the forward momentum of what is, after all, a community of
volunteers. Despite the best intentions the end result can be a
severe loss of participation and in that light the potential gains
may seem pretty pale in comparison. And yes, I am speaking from
personal experience here.

So what’s my point you may be asking yourself. Just this: certainly
it would be good for us to keep your suggestion in mind when we post
to Orchid but part of the reason Orchid thrives is that we don’t feel
hampered or restricted in process of making those posts. As
"volunteers" here that’s a pretty important thing. A little wandering
here and there is par for the course and a small inconvenience when
you look at the unique community and treasure of that
Orchid has become. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Trevor F.

I concur with Trevor, and here’s why. When I did my PhD research I
obtained two listings each week on published articles. One list was
on the direct topic and the other was much broader. In the end, it
was the second list that I found more meaningful because it opened
up my horizon. I was already reading the articles provided by the
first list.

And when I get tired of a thread, I just do a global delete.


Hi All. I so love reading all the great advice on this forum, but I
want to strongly recommend that posters break up their messages into
short paragraphs. Looking at a posting that is one dense foot-long
paragraph can be very difficult to read, and I often skip them
altogether. So please, chop your message up and leave some space
between paragraphs.

Allan Mason

So please, chop your message up and leave some space between

Hear, hear, Allan! And Noel, too. All of Orchid’s contributors have
interesting things to say, but not all of these things are presented
in a manner that is easily understood. A little extra attention to
punctuation, paragraphs, spell-checking, and clear phrasing will go
a long way toward making your ideas accessible to the entire Orchid
community, especially those members for whom English is a second

Many thanks,
Jessee Smith

Hello All:

I have for many years now had a occasional problem with writing and
reading emails. I find that it is hard to discern the emotion and
inflection of words and sentences in some cases. Listening to someone
tell you something, is so much easier than reading it. Making
another soul understand exactly what you mean has never been an easy
task for many and is, in my opinion, one of the greatest problems
that mankind faces. Having said that I am sure that many of us have
received replies to queries on this forum only to find that a few
have made us feel insulted or confused. You go back and re-read your
original post and wonder what the heck that dude was thinking. I am
guilty of this also as I don’t always phrase things very well and if
not for spell checker would misspell everything. I am a jeweler not a
English major.

Everyone is in a different state of mind at any given time. That and
not always having the time, is why I don’t always reply to posts
that I could reply to. This forum is about sharing what you know
with those who ask. Those who ask should not be made to feel stupid
by a response.

Michael R. Mathews, Sr.


On the subject of replying to an Orchid request, or any
other piece of writing one seldom knows just how much the recipient
knows of the subject, whatever it is. So one way of replying is to
’keep it simple’ But if you do this some people are inclined to
believe you are ‘writing down’ to them and offering an insult.

My opinion is that in order to put across the essence of one’s reply
is that it must be completely clear without any ‘skating’ over
potential difficulties, and written in such a way in that the
recipient shouldn’t have to write again to ask a further question
you didn’t bother to clarify completely. If this is ‘writing down’,
then so be it.

Clarity, brevity, simplicity are essential. Forget multi syllable
words to show how clever you are; just keep it simple. Any kind of
name calling (“stupid; idiot; moron; plain silly; daft” and so on)
are OUT. Names will return and haunt you; you can’t call them back,
and politeness oils the wheels of civilisation. Here endeth the

Cheers for now,
JohnB of Mapua, Nelson NZ