New & improved site

When I was in Boston doing some filming with Seth for this new Orchid
site. I noticed he was always at his desk configuring & installing his
ideas. On every new format there will be some ‘burps’ along the way, not
too mention a few insurmountable hurdles!!!
In every new venture we might run into an IT situation. So let Seth know
of any & understand things might & do happen…and above all be patient. If
anyone gets into a huff, please be kind to him & his staff. Just let him
know…I also encountered a problem in ‘signing in’. I just sat back and
let it get sorted out…Gerry Lewy!

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Thank you @Gerald_Lewy for the kind words and for all you’ve contributed to this site over the years.

Hi Leah
No problem, just doing what is right…:>) Are my multiple (55) video’s
somewhere I can access them? I posted on Youtube the video Hanuman made
with me. It has now has been seen by…(only)… 4,808 viewers

Gerry Lewy

Hi Gerry. We’ve got all your articles and videos collected here:

Some day we’ll improve that page to separate out the articles and the videos more clearly.

Hi Anyone,
I’m not writing to (esteemed) Mr. Lewy or to Seth or anyone in particular except maybe Leah, the administrator and the people who run the site.
I’m just wondering how such a great learning and communication forum could “degenerate” into such an impossible format so instantly. (Well, that’s a rhetorical statement. I know “how”.)
Why is it called “New & improved” ? New, yes. Hardly improved, though.
I’m open to change. Everything changes.
This is radical change that makes it nearly impossible, so far, to do what most of us are accustomed to doing, which is:
-Receive an email from Orchid and open it
-Peruse the Topics
-Read everything in order, or read selectively, what we choose
-Read replies
-Reply, if desired
I don’t know about others, but I can’t seem to do this now.
I don’t need all the statistics that are displayed, nor do I need “Suggested Topics,” all of which date years back (not a problem) but have nothing to do with the current question–really nothing.
The fonts are too light, shaded out almost though active, and some are much too large.
If you, the authors of this new elephant, could provide a flow chart for its use, a picture of the entire beast, that might help.
I’d also love to find out some of the motives and reasons for how it’s set up, aside from modernity and conformity. (New is not necessarily better.)
I should note that I haven’t yet tried to use the general Ganoksin site, which I occasionally have done over the years, researching something. I apprehensively wonder what will happen with that.
As for a fee–IF I can continue to use the Orchid forum (and greater Ganoksin site)–as I have for years, I’d be willing to pay a little bit. However, I’d like to have an accounting of all the funding, and what it’s used for.
Right now, that’s a pretty big if.
P.S. I don’t know what others are writing about the “new” forum because I can’t find the postings on that topic.

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Should be moved to Facebook. Would work better. - David Geller

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Folks, this relaunch will take some time to streamline the system. Be patient please. Suggestions are helpful, but be mindful that this new system is in its infancy. I’m rather liking the new system. It’s an adjustment but I’m learning.

Karen Christians
Western Avenue Studios, #506
121 Western Ave
Lowell, MA 01851


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Hi @BarbH - a few comments below.

Most of what you are accustomed to doing is enabled by the current format, but if you are looking for a Discourse-based online forum built for 2016 and beyond to function the same way as a 1997-era mailing list, it won’t. Perhaps @leah-ganoksin-admin can take a peak at your settings and give you hand - I am sure we can get you squared away. The system is designed to be easy to use.

We will continue to tweak the settings until we find what works for the majority of users. Feedback is important to help us with that process.

If you can explain exactly what it is that you can’t do, we can tell you more specifically whether the software is the problem / limiting factor :slight_smile: If there is something you can do but don’t know how to do, we can tell you that too, and we can post up how to do it in case others are having the same problem. This is constructive and helps us a lot. To be clear though, our goal is not to re-create the old Orchid mailing list, it is to create from the old Orchid mailing list a new dynamic forum for the next generation of jewelers. If there are things you are looking to do, we can likely help you accomplish them or give you a workaround.

The Suggested Topics don’t work well for you because you don’t log in. If you don’t log in and use the forum, and instead you reply by email, the system has no data on what you read, how long you spend reading it, what you browse, etc. So it just gives you random suggestions - it has no data that would help it to do otherwise. It knows nothing about your habits. The more you use the system and log in to it (from your phone or on your computer), the more it knows about what you like to read. You are welcome to reply by email and use the system that way, but don’t expect the pieces of the system designed for logged-in users to add meaningful value to you as they will not.

Take a screenshot of this please. It looks fine on all of my machines.

You can still use the Ganoksin website completely for free, even though we have spent considerable resources (and continue to do so) to upgrade it. Much of the cost to serve, organize, and maintain that free content is subsidized by our amazing advertisers like @RioGrande, @StullerInc and others. It used to be subsidized by Google ads, but because I wanted to eliminate that “noise” to make the website more usable and useful, we no longer have that revenue stream. I will note that for all those years of value you’ve derived, you’ve never been asked to pay anything. Your consumption has been subsidized by the generosity of jewelry companies and the incredible efforts of folks like @Hanuman. Regretfully, that paradigm does not allow for future growth, and I want to expand on what @Hanuman built - hence asking for a small membership fee. I am certain you are a person of integrity, and therefore recognize that it costs time and money to maintain and improve these resources. Membership fees from users and advertising dollars are the fuel that will keep Ganoksin growing and improving. :smile:

I agree completely with BarbH. It was so easy before to sit casually with a cup of coffee and do exactly as she described to see all the posts on that day’s Orchid, and reply if we wanted to. She has described it perfectly, and I’m rather surprised that you asked her what it was she couldn’t do, as she had laid out exactly what she couldn’t do in her post. I too, don’t have a problem with new: the problem is when the “new” becomes far less intuitive to use and is putting me right off even bothering with Orchid. A great shame. I really don’t want (nor do I have the time) to fiddle about with logging in and searching about on a web site to find all the fascinating things that my fellow jewellery makers have to say. What on earth was wrong with the previous system of having it all in an email that was direct to open and read? Sorry to complain, and I know you’re trying to improve things, but in my view, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it … And it sure didn’t seem to be broke to me …

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@smilingfox Thanks for your note. What @BarbH described was the old mailing list format, which we have not replicated. This is why I noted above the following in my reply

Some of the things you and she used to do you can still do now. You can receive an email of the newest posts just like you describe (having coffee in hand is optional of course), and you can click through to respond to them. Once you’ve done so, you can get an email notification when someone responds to the thread. If you insist, you can respond right there via email. You can adjust your communication settings to control what you wish to be notified about via email, to the extent we are able to notify you. If we need to tweak the settings, we can - based on both the feedback the community provides, and the data we receive about how people are actually using the forum.

The key point I tried to make, though, is that the platform we chose (called Discourse) was not chosen with the intention to replace all the functionality of the old Orchid e-mailing list. We chose to turn the old Orchid mailing list into a web-based forum. A web-based forum is not an email list-serve. It will function somewhat like one, if you force it to, but it’s not the best experience since that is not how it is designed. So if you are looking for the best Orchid experience, you will have to modify the way you are accustomed to interacting with Orchid. If you do that for some reasonable period of time, I am confident you will see why it was a wise choice. If you want things to work precisely as they worked before, they will not. They will work better, especially as we improve the system and the settings (a break in period, watching users interact with it, will allow us to do so).

With all due respect, the actual usage numbers suggested otherwise. Prior to me taking over, Orchid participation was in dramatic decline, for multiple years. The decline was accelerating. Less threads, less questions, fewer participating jewelers, even fewer email opens, etc etc. Another 5 years, and Orchid would have been no longer. In my mind, a valuable resource like this that is contracting dramatically over numerous years despite adding a great deal of value to an important group of professionals is, by definition, broken.

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I just want to chime in here as a relatively new user that I love the new format! I’m thrilled that the discussion is now accessible from the online based forum. I upgraded my free Legacy membership to the discounted Gold level to support all the work you’ve done and will do.

When I first joined, I mainly took advantage of the search feature on the website since the email digest seemed bulky and hard to navigate. I am so appreciative of the knowledge that all of the users have contributed over the years and I hope that this site continues to grow and thrive. While change is often uncomfortable, I think the new format will lead to more users joining and participating in the long run.

Thank you!


I wonder if the people having a problem are receiving posts in the digest
format. I receive individual emails for each post (or thread), and see the
full post that is made, not just the first bit. I don’t mind receiving
multiple emails each day - I just delete the topics I’m not interested in,
and read the rest. I’m also am thrilled that the new format sends pics in
the emails, so we don’t have to go to the site to see them. It’s easier for
me to respond via email, but if that goes away, I don’t mind clicking
through to the site to reply.

Karen Hemmerle


I don’t understand the comments about difficulty of the change. For me the change has been very minor from the posting of the past. Does it have anything to do with the computer and the network? I am on an apple and verizon.

Would it help to inquire from others the computer brand and the network? Would it help to ask if there is a third party facilitating such as using a system through the college from which one graduated?

Just trying to help. MA

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Thanks @Karen_Hemmerle! I am going to ask @leah-ganoksin-admin to investigate - perhaps you are right. I think we set up the folks who used to be on “digest” to get the new “digest” and the ones who used to get all the emails to get that. But I am not sure exactly what we did and don’t want to say something incorrectly. We will look into this :slight_smile:

And indeed, the way images, videos, links and other dynamic content is handled is completely different in the forum. Posts like this from Dar are what make a forum format so much richer than email - you can just watch those videos right in the post and respond to him right there - you can also search and see the replies and the associated content and images in case you need to reference a previous Q&A. The search really is amazing.

Hi @Atwater_Mary - It may be the digest vs. single email issue, we will look into that. It doesn’t have much to do with the computer, although if someone is on a truly old machine that could be part of it.

We will investigate and help anyone who requires help! :slight_smile:

I agree. I dislike the new format intensely, as an e-mail list, which is what I liked about Orchid, it doesn’t work. At all. As a website, the settings function doesn’t seem to work either. Leah responded to me, and told me how to find and work the settings. I set it to get the summary e-mail only. Yet I logged on to my computer this morning to drown in 56 Orchid e-mails. Not fun. Nor helpful. I’ll tell you why Orchid was declining - and it is to David Geller’s point - The Metalsmiths Coffeehouse and other groups on Facebook have largely replaced it, and done so in an easy to use fashion with nearly instantaneous responses. With Orchid I could post a question, but would have to wait 24-48 hours to get a response. So there I sat, stuck. With the Facebook groups I generally have at least one, and often several, suggestions on what I did wrong or how to correct an issue or tackle an issue within 15-30 minutes - far less down time. I’m on Facebook anyway, so popping over to a page I belong to is easy. Logging in to an entirely separate web site, and then trying to see if anyone is discussing anything I find interesting consumes more time than I have to spend at this point in my life.

I agree with those saying “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. The way the e-mails arrived wasn’t broken. It worked. It was manageable, easy to navigate, one could quickly see if there was a topic of interest being discussed. What wasn’t working was the time related disconnect. That is perhaps less of an issue now if one stays logged into the Ganoksin site. But that means yet another site to log into.

Do what you feel is best, but know that for some of us your best isn’t working. Especially when your settings don’t work :frowning:

It takes a day for the system to refresh your settings - you were already in queue by the mailer program.

They do work. I am not trying to be difficult here, but there is a difference between something not working the way you expect it to, and something “not working” at all.

And that is one reason why the mailing list didn’t work and saw declining engagement. You had to wait 24-48 hours not because people weren’t responding quickly, but rather because @Hanuman had to manually clean up and release each email to the entire list. So there was the time between when you posted and when someone(s) responded, and the time between then and when @hanuman released the emails. That was the cause of the delay. As you can see (if you login or stay logged in), people are replying very quickly. Some quicker than others of course.

This thread, for example, is 24 hours old and has 17 replies. All coming in real time and being posted in real time.

Facebook has you log in for the same reason we do - they can’t give you the best experience if you don’t log in. Considering you can click two buttons and remain logged in almost in perpetuity, that seems like a small price to pay to get a richer media experience. But that is not my decision to make. I’m just trying to build something great, you have to decide if you want to use it or not.

Hi all. If anyone in this thread is interested in getting daily digest emails from this forum, I wrote up instructions here:

Feel free to ask me any question about this here or at

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I have been a follower and poster with Orchid for nearly 20 years and have seen this forum flourish and decline. It was time for a make-over. I am well-pleased with this new program.

  1. Anyone can still access all the information for free.
  2. All of us former members can choose to be grandfathered in for free, allowing us the same posting privileges as before.

The new administrator has shown patience in answering the objections. Give it a chance. If it’s not for you, then move on.

Dale Pavatte
Diamonds For You
Decherd, Tennessee


I am logged in and don’t see a gear icon. I am using the Edge browser so that may be the problem. I will try the Chrome browser instead.