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Discussion in 'Project Of The Month' started by NickG, Dec 3, 2009.
I like the old saying,IF IT AINT BROKE DONT FIX IT,and it sure aint broke.
I'm on vacation...trying to keep up with my reading on the forum...but this is an important topic...and somebody made the mistake of mentioning my name ;D
Some (rambling) thoughts...but don't look for any answers...
It seems more often than not, that when people join this forum, they first comment on how the members treat each other. The helpfulness, the interest in others' work, the concerns, etc., we can all continue adding to this sentence and fill a page.
Much of this is reflected in the nominations and responses in the POM threads. That is, there are many many reasons why a person is nominated or voted for. I believe this is why the thread was changed from Engine of the Month to Project of the Month.
Obviously, this forum is about the people...not the projects.
Yes, I was flabbergasted that my project was nominated. But it's a good example of the above. It wasn't just MY engine. It wasn't just MY project. It was a group of people helping me AND OTHERS learn, develop, and accomplish.
On the face of it, I think many of the suggestions for improving the process are good and certainly well-intentioned. But I'm a firm believer that everything carries a cost. If you make something more restrictive, you'll exclude something you wanted. If you make it too flexible, you'll include things you don't think belong.
In short, you won't satisfy everyone.
For example, I initially liked the idea of 'newbie vs experienced' but I recognize two immediate problems with it. For one, there are times when there are insufficient projects. I don't think anyone wants to nominate a project just to fill a quota. Unfair to everyone especially the 'owner(s)'. Secondly, this kind of thing requires people to have a common definition. I consider myself a newbie (and I am) but there are members out there who seem intent to call me something more (and I am). It's all relative.
The name change itself actually poses a problem. Engine of the Month implies a project is not required. Project of the Month implies an engine is not required? When are either considered done?
Maybe all we need are guidelines. (Don't we have that already?) And we should consider something else that this forum is all about....pics. We want pics (and videos if possible) and we want to see things being built as they are being built. (Don't we?)
It just seems that a project should be a series of steps coming to a conclusion. We shouldn't nominate based solely on a conclusion.
Maybe the real problem is the picture of the winner in the top right. We all talk about how all the nominees are winners. Maybe leave it at that. Maybe have the picture rotate through the nominees? Like I said...no answers here. Whatever is done, someone is going to feel slighted.
Maybe leave it alone. If we believe in what was said about this forum, then a number of guidelines have already been suggested in this thread.
Sorry. Like I said, I'm on vacation and I'm in terrible/wonderful shape this morning...IF you know what I mean. ;D
What said in spades!
I agree, it's not broke so it'll be fine left alone.
I think this thread has cleared a few things up though. We now know there isn't a problem with voting for ones self if that person feels they deserve it, and so nobody should question it either.
We also know that if you want to nominate, you need to watch out for the 'nominations needed' thread and get in quick as it's the first 3 that get selected.
well i think you all are starting to get political about this . me i dont care who is what. i just want to learn how to make nice things in metal. I am a newbie if yall is going to start fussing about this "N" that well then i thing you should rethink why your here END............ and thats my story and im sticken to it
I read this forum almost every day because it is so friendly,informative and NON COMPETITIVE(I have had enough damaging competition in my younger years).PLEASE leave this wonderful forum AS IT IS.
I think I can see a consensus beginning to come together here. I was a little afraid this thread could become potentially explosive, but then, as I've watched it progress, I realized, once again, why I hang out here. Good ideas expressed in a civil adult manner, even when not everyone is in complete agreement. All this and without personal attacks or nomex underoos required. My compliments to all.
I agree.... if it isn't broken it needn't be fixed. However, as a small peek behind the scenes, you've all given the admin team and mods some fresh cud to chew. As I write this, the team has already been discussing the concerns you've expressed. That doesn't necessarily mean anything changes, but it does mean we're definitely listening to the input and considering how it might be possible to improve. After all.... we like to hang out here too....(grin)
Zee... please accept my apologies if my publicly singling you out as an example was out of line. I simply couldn't come up with a better one to share at that moment.
Bottom line it appears on the following items we are in "gentleman's" agreement?
#1 The project has to have been built by the owner
#2 Preferably, the build should have been shared on the board during its progression to completion
#3 Bad form to submit your own project, although voting for it during the poll is optional and left to personal conscience
#4 Early bird gets the worm during submissions period
#5 engines selected as POM are ineligible for future nomination.
A potential #6......but very much open to discussion or critique....
Projects not selected in past polls can be resubmitted for repeat consideration. (after all... it's still a worthy project)
I'm not trying to dictate anything, but I am trying to get a clear feel for what we've distilled from the discussion we've just had here. Basically an unwritten set of understandings upheld among honorable men/women?
I'm a newbie, and currently I'm perfectly content to be doing projects that have absolutely NO place in the EOM/POM categories.
I'm still in love with the helpful encouragement dealed out around here, by everyone, of every level.
Leave well enough alone is what I'd say should my opinion be sought on the subject.
well this has turned into alot bigger deal than i thought and i believe we may be getting dangerously close to the old proverbial "mountain out of a mole hill"
i like the guidlines cledge has suggested but would like to add a few of my own.
1. 4-6 nomenees/ month to try to get more apples-apples and give broader cross-section of nomenees
2. with more nomenees there would be room to name a runner-up giving both the steam and i/c boys a chance at recognition in the same month
3. mabey we keep the non-winning nomenees for a couple months in case there arent enough suitable projects in the current month
in conclusion id like to say that i dont live my life to try to win POM but i really enjoy this forum and voting every month to give one of y'all i bit of recognition for a fine job. i dont know if i threw the match on the kindlin or if it was going to lite anyway but this has turned into quite a discussion. im sure that our fearless leaders will find a suitable solution.
This has certainly been an interesting thread with lots of good ideas and opinions expressed in a positive way. One or two points stand out more clearly for me and yet have nothing to do rules/regulations/procedures. The EOM or POM (more recently) was begun as and should be primarily an inspirational tool and NOT a competition. That is not to say that there shouldn't be a top vote getter, though I hesitate to use the term "winner" and would prefer something like 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. But the fact remains that each month, a new picture emerges on the banner, the old one is removed and the cycle is repeated. I had suggested a few months back and suggest again here, that there be a gallery added to the site which for each month, would show a single picture of each nominated project and a link back to the main build thread which describes it's construction. This would provide a central place were ALL of us could easily come to for inspiration, ideas for potential new builds, a more lasting recognition for the nominated projects (not just the top vote getter), and an easy way to seek out additional information on any particular project that may be of interest to the reader without having to search back through the archives. If storage place becomes a problem then perhaps it could be limited to the last 12 or 18 months. Hopefully this would require minimal additional effort on the part of the admins as well.
The process isn't broken as has been pointed out already, but I can't help but feel that it may have edged over that fine line between inspiration and competition on occasion. I still believe that the above suggestion would help in that regard, as well as providing an even more useful resource for newcomers and experienced members alike.
Just my 2 cents.
I don't have a problem with people nominating themselves if they want-- sometimes you do a lot of work and nobody seems to notice or remember. After all, most contests (Sherline Challenge, say), you have to enter yourself.
Somewhere I heard the HMEM forum was becoming 'elitist' (I don't get that, but that's what I heard), and maybe that has something to do with the POTM usually being some super-nice work that a novice may feel is out of reach. I like the gallery-of-past-projects idea and also posting the top 3 or whatever nominee's pictures (smaller or whatever) as well at the top. IIRC the show-flyer we did a while back had both complex projects and simple ones on it.
The only other 'rule' I'd suggest is the first-run-video has to be posted and filmed approximately during the month in question.
I think an Steam Engine that is to be nominated should be show in a Steam Video fully working , and not just photos or an engine running on compressed air , all good steam engineers know that running a Steam engine on compressed air is completely diffrent than running on Steam , i also think there should be a separate section for scratch built engines as they are far more complex to make , as you start from nothing , compaired to a casting kit .... Just thought i would put my three pence in.
That doesn't take anything away from engines that run on compressed air, a lot of the engines on here are designed / intended to run on compressed air. Not everyone has the capability, facilities or desire to make a boiler, that is a project in itself, as Rich's two boilers showed. A 'steam' engine doesn't have to be run on steam to be worth recognising.
I've never built an engine from castings yet, I tend to design them myself and make from stock for simplicity. Having studied other peoples work, machining from castings has it's own complications that can actually make things more difficult - you have no datums to work from and you have to work within the limitations of the casting which means there is a lot more to consider in my opinion.
I don't think there needs to be different categories, people just need to try their best to take everything into account.
If an engine is called a Steam Engine Then it is intended to run on steam , we all know that anything will run on compressed air as its cold and there is lots of it , and running on steam makes the engine hot and changes all the characteristics of the metals as you know . Working with castings in my opinion is to easy , All casting kits come with drawings and information , its just a matter of maching the castings , simples ...... But that's my thought anyway , and there is no way i would vote on a ornament that looks like a steam engine , for all i know it might be made of wood ..... :..... and i know that has been done .
Lets not get into dictating how others conduct their builds. If the engine doesn't meet your personal criteria, then don't nominate it and don't vote for it. Simple as that. I do build steam engines and yes.... I run them on air more often that steam. If I need to prove my builds to anyone, it's me.... and me only. If that makes them second class in someones eyes, I think I can handle it.
Again.... POM is not meant to be a monthly contest, but a way to say "good job" to a builder who went the distance and completed a nice project. Any more or less renders it a very shallow exercise. No one is required to participate and no one is going to put up with restrictions on their freedom to build as they please. HMEM welcomes all builders of all skill levels with any sort of shop equipment and that is why most of us hang out here. Let's try to keep it that way.
Well said Steve, while this discussion has been interesting and some constructive ideas have come forward, the simple truth is 'IF IT AIN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT'
That does indeed seem to be the prevailing consensus. "It ain't really really broke, broke"
This crew has given us some things to mull over and perhaps some of the ideas will lead to tweaks and/or fine tuning down the road. All of that probably depends on technical and labor considerations. Only time will tell.
I've watched this thread closely, just in case it achieved critical mass and became contentious. It has run longer than expected and remained among the most peaceful of its type I've encountered on any forum.
Each of you is to be commended for your interest, concerns and opinions. Even more important is the thought each of you put into your posts and responses. If it changes nothing, we've at least learned that we hold basically similar ethics and philosophies concerning how we want to honor our own. That, in my book, makes this quite a beneficial discussion.
I used to be a mod on an RC plane board with >25K members. A thread like this would have denigrated into a giant poop flinging match RealQuickLike[tm].
I like it here.
Enough of this BS time to vote on December's Project.
I agree, there are 3 candidates Gail in NM Lobo Pup, MB open column and Jack B's horizontal. What are we waiting for?
Separate names with a comma.