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Blog entry by a1Jim posted 08-28-2011 06:20 PM 13225 reads 0 times favorited 49 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi friends
I have been a member of Ljs for some time now and I have noticed that many of the same questions keep popping up due to lots of new members and or existing members stumbling across the same problems that have been addressed in the past post. I’m more than willing to give my input on questions asked more than once but it seems that all the conflicting opinions
can be more than confusing to the person asking the questions. When someone ask a question they don’t know who to believe or where the person posting is coming from other than looking at that person.s home page to see what kind of experience the person answering has. Some times I see people answering questions that have no information on there home page and judging by their answer are reviewing tools or techniques based on theory rather than experience. Of course we can do a search on LJs or on line for answers but it seems many folks choose not to. I have noticed on line there are a number of survey web sites that can be plugged in to a post (at least that’s what they say) . If we could include them in a post and have a an area for the selection (as an example best table saw), plus an area that shows how many years the person answering has been wood working and perhaps if they are a pro or a hobbiest that would very helpful and more informative to the person asking the question and the rest of the folks reading the post . This might be something that is beyond the programmers ability to do for Lj’s even though it seems I’ve seen something similar on another woodworking site. What’s your thoughts?


49 comments so far

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 3557 days

#1 posted 08-28-2011 06:26 PM

Sounds like a good idea Jim, at least in theory!

Part of what keeps a site going (in my opinion) is new people who add info to a query who may not have been around when the question was asked a year or two before. Make sense?

New opinions are always worth looking at, but I understand that some find it easier to ask than do a search. And I have been guilty of that as well.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 4555 days

#2 posted 08-28-2011 06:42 PM

You may have something there Jim.

View a1Jim's profile


117944 posts in 4208 days

#3 posted 08-28-2011 06:45 PM


Perhaps your right that asking the same questions on a regular basis sometimes 3 or 4 times a month may be better for the site . But I still wonder if the people asking the questions are getting a clear answer based on experience. If there are 4 post on who makes the best table and there are 4 different groups of individuals answering those post are they more informed or more confused ? I don’t really know the answer to that myself .


View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4728 days

#4 posted 08-28-2011 07:37 PM

This is why I suggested a site wiki (or knowledgebase) that we could use to document the knowledge of the community. We could use it to organize and display information about woodworking.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View a1Jim's profile


117944 posts in 4208 days

#5 posted 08-28-2011 07:52 PM

Sounds good Wayne even though I don’t know how that would work.


View Napoleon's profile


788 posts in 3440 days

#6 posted 08-28-2011 08:02 PM

You are so right Jim. Learning from books is theori and is not the same as have done things for years,or just have tryed it a couple of times. You made a good point there:)

-- Boatbuilder&blacksmith

View Manitario's profile


2805 posts in 3514 days

#7 posted 08-28-2011 08:23 PM

Jim, you have a very good point about repetitive questions.Wayne, I think that that is a great idea. In the year and a bit that I’ve been on this site, I’ve noticed a substantial decline in the amount of response and feedback to different questions posted. Many of the LJ’s that I associate with “experience” based on their responses and projects don’t post answers to stuff that I’ve seen them answer in the past. This is completely understandable. Once you’ve answered for the 8th time about how to finish cherry, I’m sure it gets a bit tiring.
I think part of the reason for questions being posted again and again is that the search function on the site works very poorly, ie. like most other search engines you get a vast variety of responses to searches which you are left having to wade through to find an answer. A site wiki would be an awesome way to organize and catagorize the vast amount of experience and knowledge that many LJ’s bring. Or, rather than a “tag” system for posts have a more strict, but diverse set of catagories that posts can be filed under, eg. a category for hand tools, with a sub category for restoration, that is then broken down into eg. planes, handsaws etc. Of course some stuff with always be changing, eg. recommendations for tool purchase etc. as new models come out. As well, human nature being what it is, there will always be those who would rather post a forum topic rather than do a quick search for something that has already been beat to death on LJ’s, eg. 110 vs 220V.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6830 posts in 3825 days

#8 posted 08-28-2011 08:29 PM

Jim, you have a very valid point in what you are saying, but let me carry it a bit further…..I think these people that jump up and join a woodworking forum should “do their homework” before doing so. What I mean by that is they should read ww books, magazines, watch ww videos, and gain knowledge of the craft before they join. It stands to reason that some already have some tools and some knowledge of them. And we all want to learn….I did….you did… But…before I joined LJs, I’d been doing ww for almost 20 years. I was completely self-taught on the use of my machines and tools. I had noone to show me anything, except the books, magazines, videos, and, manuals for each tool to learn how they operated and what they could do. When I found LJs, completely by accident, and decided to join, I had some experience under my belt. The old addage “You gotta learn to crawl before you can walk” still applies today. The same questions asked, the same answers given, just a different bunch every so often, and the cycle begins all over again. Everybody wants it yesterday…..

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10889 posts in 4683 days

#9 posted 08-28-2011 08:39 PM

I know from experience that many times, I wouldn’t think of Searching to find out if there is more about the Subject…
... and many times, I’m not that all familiar with the Search function for the Forum and cannot get any results from it even if I did think of trying it.

Now, people that have been here for awhile and know how to manipulate the Search to get what you want, could do the Search to get some threads on the Subject and merely Post:

Howdy & Welcome to the Forum… I just did a Search for “xxxxxxxx xxxxx” and found the following Thread(s) that may help you:
... Link1
... Link 2
... etc.

It would give them an idea of how to use the Search and get instant gratification from the Links!

Next time, they might try the Search first…

Just a thought…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View a1Jim's profile


117944 posts in 4208 days

#10 posted 08-28-2011 08:52 PM

Rob sounds like some good Ideas. I wouldn’t have a clue how to do all that but the powers that be do,so maybe it’s a route they can take.

Rick I have the same back ground and the same amount of time in woodworking as you have being sell taught and learning the same way you did. I think as time passes people learn in different ways. When I got into wood working Norm’s “New Yankee Workshop” was a new TV show and I guess the folks that didn’t have Norm to learn from might have said to learn the way they did through books or mentors.
I agree it’s good to learn woodworking every way you can but for those who are just learning the web and Ljs has a lot of info we wish we could have gathered in one place instead of TV,books and trial and error back when we started learning the ropes.

Good approach Joe


View ellen35's profile


2746 posts in 4063 days

#11 posted 08-28-2011 08:56 PM

I know what you mean about the questions. Perhaps some of the people who have a question could use that Search feature. It is not difficult, Joe, and I often suggest it (maybe I’ve been here too long). It seems as though you can get a wealth of information and then ask a much more focused question.
I just find the Search invaluable… it is a treasure trove of information.
Just my .02

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View rance's profile


4271 posts in 3791 days

#12 posted 08-28-2011 08:59 PM

Repetitive questions etc. here are no different than in the magazines(that you have to pay for). Influx of new folks will always benefit from the same 90% of re-runs. The more experienced you get, the more a magazine(or website) becomes useful for inspiration rather than learning. Some sites address this with Stickeys, but you still have the possibility of misinformation. And a paid employee has to run it.

LJ is free to join and use. The information is almost entirely provided by AND managed by the unpaid users. It is kind of ironic, that the majority of what you get from LJ comes from the members. Could you imagine what Escalate would have to pay to get this many employees to do what we do for free? Yes, in turn, they provide us some online realestate for us to play on. A give and take situation.

I try to provide some answers, but as situations in my life change, my availability to LJ also changes. If I see that someone’s question is being corectly answered, then there is no reason for me to chime in too. Habits also affect my participation on LJ.

I have seen my own perception change throughout my almost two years here. Yes, the site has changed too. Sometimes it is difficult for me to discerne whether it is me or the site that has changed.

Misinformation – How is this any different than a conversation that happens in person. It all depends on who you ask. Good points have been brought up about qualifying an answer based on the experience of the giver of information. It is just as easy in person for two experienced woodworkers to disagree on a technique or tool.

As for getting the members to properly ‘categorize’ their posts, Rotsa Ruck. Look at this thread for instance. (I’m not dinging you Jim) This is no more of a blog than anything. It should be a Forum post. To force adhereance would either thwart participation or require payment.

Like many other hobbies, LJ is but one form of learning. Books, internet, videos, and other sources of information should be pursued. And no one before the other, all at the same time. :)

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View a1Jim's profile


117944 posts in 4208 days

#13 posted 08-29-2011 12:23 AM

Ellen I’m always glad to get your .02 and much much more. I’m glad to see you posting given the weather back east.

Rance your always have thoughtful points to make that shows a lots of good gray matter. The one point you make about misinformation . I think person to person versus on line differs somewhat because you have eye ball to eye ball contact and your not limited to a few short sentences on a post to size up the persons know how.


View rance's profile


4271 posts in 3791 days

#14 posted 08-29-2011 02:20 AM

Yep Jim, you are right. And I can’t hide behind the facade of ole Wile either. :D Good discussion here.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View S4S's profile


2118 posts in 3312 days

#15 posted 08-29-2011 02:31 AM

You make some very logical points . The pm method is good for asking for more detailed info on diff questions.
I have often heard LJs responding to questions by directing the questioner to a specific project or member with experience in a specific genre of woodworking ,and have often heard some feedback where the questioner thanks a fellow member for their assistance with a project . Sharing is what makes this site so special . Welcome back from your break , it’s good to hear from you .

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