Old Ganoksin

Oh, I am going to so get beat up here, I understand fully how we got here. But I am not sure I like it. This ain’t Facebook. I love to help new people, but this was never a new people thing. Not to be offensive to new people who pay money to be here. It’s free to well, some of us. I’d pay a significant amount for it to be the old Orchid. Certain old members just never chime in anymore (looking at you Jo). I dunno … the world changes. I miss the old Orchid and would pony up to support it. Guess that train has left the station and I am an ass. They continue to lurk … never chime in. Its just not the same.


Hi Brent,

one great thing about Orchid is that the voices and advice of the past live on for the benefit of all users, in the tremendous archive of knowledge that is Ganoksin/ Orchid…

I too sometimes miss some of the masters that commented in the past…but i also realize that many questions have already been asked and answered,…and so i feel the presence of all the contributors, old and new, every time i visit this forum, sometimes to seek help…sometimes to offer help…sometimes to share things that may be of interest to the community…

(i am not on facebook, so i wasn’t sure what was meant by that…)

i can tell that the archives are visited and of use. especially when i see new comments pop up, to posts that were made years ago…or when links i posted months or years ago continue to get clicks…

i am a solitary jeweler, and so i really enjoy this community!



I miss the old days too! Ganoksin/Orchid got started in mid-90’s, when the internet, forums and chat rooms were still very new. Like everything that lasts for decades, Ganoksin/Orchid has gone through multiple phases and evolutions. One of the things that I miss are Ganoksin meet-ups. I remember in the early days at the Tucson Gem and Mineral show, Ganoksin would sometimes rent out a restaurant or a conference room so members could actually meet each other.

People drift in and out when things last so long. I’ve reached out to some of the old members to try and woo them back. The folks that I’ve talked to feel like it was time for them to move on so they did. Nothing wrong with that. Like Julie said, we’re lucky to have their knowledge with in the archives. But this group is like a favorite bar or community center, folks are alway welcomed back.

Nothing wrong with missing the old days! I do too!!



I think that one reason that some of us might not be as active as we have been in the past is because the same questions keep getting asked, usually by new members. When this happens, if I have an answer, I will usually suggest that they do a search to see what comes up. Then, if they have more specific questions, we can try to answer them. An example is the many times people have asked about using an O2 concentrator. There is enough in this topic for someone to aggregate all the replies and technical information, have it peer reviewed and then make it available as a separate document to which people can be referred. A similar suggestion came up some time ago but it didn’t get any traction. I will sometimes do this search process myself and find my replies to previous questions and just repost them as a reply to the current question. This is, in part, because typing is a real pain for me and I would rather be working in my shop. It is also because I want to make sure that my reply still reflects my current thinking and, if not, make any changes needed. I have always been a teacher and enjoy being one. My replies are often longer and more in depth than the current question might require. This is because I know that there are others with the same question and possibly not as far along in their knowledge as the person asking the question. The comment about ganoksin sometimes being like FB is, occasionally to me, accurate. Some of our individual replies are more like conversations. If I want to hold a conversation with someone. I will message them and keep the conversation off of the public view of ganoksin…Rob


I follow what is posted. I agree with Rob, the questions get asked over and over by new people. Many I’ve found come to ask questions with no formal training. We are their teachers. I tend not to answer because there are many good teachers in real life that a class with them would answer far more than we could. Simple things about soldering that should be observed first hand. Not to say we can’t help, it is hard just through the written words. Visuals and observation work best. Our passion is not easily learned. I takes lots of practice, and trial and error.

I also came from an era where we may not have liked being critiqued, but we understood it was done for us to learn. Many newbies come here asking for critiques. When they get feed back that is not saying it is outstanding and perfect, they get very upset and rage at us. We don’t see them again. Putting our work out for the public to buy, is also a critique of our work. Some have come to ask why no one is buying their work. Same result with upset egos. instead of raging, it should be taken as a learning opportunity. There is a wealth of experience and knowledge here.

My suggestions or new people is to hang in there and learn. Do the initial research of the archives. Ask the question after that search. Develop a thick skin. We are all different with different likes and dislikes.

For the old timers, observe but don’t answer if you are tired of the same continual types of posts. Much more is posted that enlightens even us old farts. Cad programs, and 3D printing, laser anything, makes my aged brain hurt. What I’ve seen, I could fabricate a piece faster than cad and 3D could. Lasers I’ll dive into after 3 more surgeries. Even the ancient can learn new things.

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I’m a new member and I use the search function frequently. I don’t think it’s as easy as it could be though. I think having the ability to “TAG” posts/replies with certain topics would greatly help people find the relevant information. So many times in the older threads there will be 20-30 replies but only 1-4 have actual information.

Many are conversations or chit chat or even arguments. Which is also great, no criticism. But for pure information extraction it is inefficient considering the tools that are available these days.

It would also be trivial to have an AI trained on the old data be a possible point of contact instead of the old search technology. Times are changing. Maybe not for the better.

For me, this forum is the most friendly place I’ve found on the internet. Even if my questions are deemed stupid or remedial, folks are generally kind and thoughtful in their replies and that’s rare online these days. I really appreciate that.


This is a reply to the thread, not to any specific individual.

Having never used Facebook I have no idea how Orchid compares.

If Orchid were just a transactional place to find information it would just be an encyclopedia, like a Wikipedia for jewelers. There’s nothing specifically wrong with that, but until you want to look something up, who cares about it? If all that matters is answers there is https://www.perplexity.ai/ which likely was trained on Ganoksin / Orchid content, so an Orchid without its members.

Elon Musk is said to have caused a lot of damage to the former Twitter by thinking he bought a platform, but Twitter really was the millions of users, not the platform. Along with useful help when needed and many, many “Oh, I didn’t know that’s” from reading all the posts, what I really value with Ganoksin / Orchid are the members.

It is sad that many members some of us remember from the past are gone. I invite lurkers to get over any shyness and become active members we can get to know, so this doesn’t turn into only a transactional source of info just as well replaced by an AI bot.

Neil A


I found it fun using perplexity.ai but all the answers I got lacked depth and accuracy. For example, I asked how to water gild a picture frame, a subject I have a great deal of experience in. The answer although maybe 90% correct had errors of omission which would make life really difficult for anyone trying to follow it.

I also asked for responses to Google’s recent sacking of their entire US Python development and maintenance team. The answers were pleasingly bland, and therefore, from my standpoint, essentially useless. Pretty nearly by definition, I would only be interested in the human response.

Another example, I googled for reviews of an HP computer and was directed to a site that gave five pages of bland ineptitude. It took me about thirty seconds to realise it was ai generated, and had no relevent accurate personal knowledge of the computer I was interested in.

In all of these cases, the controlling ‘intelligence’ if I might use that word, didn’t have a personal direct understanding of people, so couldn’t know when omissions were unfortunate / uncomfortable / downright dangerous, or when commissions might be necessary / interesting / world-shaking.

I suppose if the bland leading the bland helps to quell some of the ceaseless barrage of digital noise on the planet, then there is at least that to say for it.

My first post to Ganoksin was in April 2005. I always tried to restrict myself to advice about subjects I’d actually been involved with and (often) suffered over. When ai upgrades to a level when it can also make the same claim, then I’ll be interested.

Okay, rant over, sorry it’s a bit of a swerve away from the main theme of this post.


Well Aggie … gotta love you. I feel like an ass for even posting the comment. I’m just old. I tried to figure out when I joined Orchid … profiles only date back to when it changed. But a search finds posts in the 90s. But you are still here. Others who have been here forever are still here. Things change and I totally understand the pain and necessity for the change (thanks Jeff). I just miss the old days. I miss my 1976 mustang too. And that buff body I had that somehow morphed into this blob of an old man. The archives rock. Our cheese got moved. The old gankosin was supported by kindness and a lot of hard work. I am THANKFUL old farts were grandfathered in. It’s not Facebook …but you know we all started somewhere. Those that pay keep the site alive. That is just the reality of this. I really don’t mind basic questions, really I don’t. I just miss the deep questions we used to ponder not being particularly concerned about skill levels … does that make sense? It was a wavelength, it was a collection of people and a community of people who were advanced and on the same page. Things change. Newcomers welcome!!! We all start somewhere. Maybe search the archives first. Lots of good stuff and very technical stuff there … because that is what were were in the day. Hell, I miss Leonid Surpin. Kinda cantankerous and opinionated … classically trained and knew what the he was doing for the most part. Did I mention opinionated? Old farts die … I just don’t know what Orchid is gonna be (is it still called that) when … the expertise it gone. Then it’s Facebook.

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I have many interests. As a result, I look at a lot of websites and interactive discussion boards. Ganoksin is by far the most useful for me. It is very friendly and you don’t, for the most part, have to worry about being made a fool of just because you have asked a question to which others might think that you should know the answer. It is a place where you can ask an honest question with the expectation that someone will give an honest answer. Others may have a different answer and a respectful discussion occurs. In the end, we have all grown in our knowledge of what we do. Because Ganoksin has been around for a long time, there is a wealth of information in the archives and various reference document and, if you pay to join, you have access to various videos to help you learn. These are all skills that we teach kids in school these days. They really don’t use many textbooks anymore. As a teacher I try to encourage new people to not only ask a question and expect and answer, but to also use the skills that they have been taught in school and look for the answers themselves. If this process creates more specific questions, then look further or ask a question. Because I am 75, I learned much of what I know, other than what my father taught me early on, in isolation by experience (screwing up). I would love to have had a resource like Ganoksin forty years ago. In the spring I take a vacation from my shop to prepare our many gardens and get outside to ride my bike and maybe fish. This vacation has taken a new turn this year as it appears that we are running a hospice for our two elderly cats who spend their lives eating, throwing up and fighting. They then forget any of this and do it all over again. They won’t go out to pee or poop so I have a large mortar box for a litter box that has to be cleaned every other day. One of these cats spends its free time quietly moving to the next spot where one of us is about to place our foot. I think that their real purpose in life has come to try and kill us in some way. I need to get back into my shop to replenish the shelves at the store and get ready for a late summer show. If you don’t hear from me for a while, it is possible that I have finally succumbed to the cat’s sinister plot, but more likely I am in my shop, out in a garden, riding my bike or possibly fishing…Rob


That’s pretty cool. I would love to hear from some of those Old Masters too. I actually have utilized this a lot from their old post that have helped me quite a bit. I absolutely love this site and the people on it. I worked in music for 25 years and nobody helped anybody with anything and being in this genre of work has been a complete change in my view of people because everyone has been so awesome and helpful.