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Other than Brewing => The Pub => Topic started by: theDarkSide on August 05, 2010, 12:35:33 PM

Title: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: theDarkSide on August 05, 2010, 12:35:33 PM
Hope this is allowed here, but WOW...what a response the email from Gary got about removing techtalk.  Some of the posts in yesterdays email were entertaining and some annoying ( like the constant plugging of hbd.org ).

I understand the issues some people have with losing this, but since the forum started I barely skimmed the topics on tech talk since I could get an almost immediate answer from the forum.  I also like the back and forth conversation in case something wasn't clear and I didn't have to wait another day to find out the answer.

And I don't agree with the posts about making the forum available to paying members only.  I would guess that any serious homebrewer on the forum would sign up for a membership when they realize what the AHA has to offer.  I would hate to turn away someone who is looking to get into homebrewing because they'd have to pay up front to get the information they need.  This is what makes the Brewing Network and Basic Brewing Radio/Video such great resources.  They provide their content for free but you can support them if you feel the information warrants it. ( Corporal in the BN Army ).  Just like I support the AHA with my membership.

Just my take on it...opinions may very of course.

Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: majorvices on August 05, 2010, 12:51:56 PM
I never could follow TechTalk so I never tried. It is an annoying format for me. That said, I may have to go check out that thread. Sounds entertaining.  ;)

As far as making the forum available to paying members only, I doubt that's going to happen and agree it would be a bad move.  Perhaps a better route would be for those who are paying members have a tag line that says "AHA Supporter" or something.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on August 05, 2010, 02:48:28 PM
As far as making the forum available to paying members only, I doubt that's going to happen and agree it would be a bad move.  Perhaps a better route would be for those who are paying members have a tag line that says "AHA Supporter" or something.

+1

If anything, this forum will help recruit homebrewers to the AHA that TechTalk could never reach.

Also agreed that the format was annoying.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: denny on August 05, 2010, 03:50:46 PM
The AHA forum will never be restricted to AHA members only if I have anything to say about it.  There are plans to open "value added" sections of the main website to members only, but the purpose of the forum is to freely exchange information for the benefit of all homebrewers.   I really can't understand a lot of the gripes about using the forum.  There's at least as much good info posted here everyday as there is in TechTalk.  I hope the people who are complaining actually try the forum so they can see for themselves.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: narvin on August 05, 2010, 05:01:15 PM
The people complaining would probably prefer to be reading brewing news via UseNet over a 1200 baud modem connection to their local BBS.  Some people can't deal with change...
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: denny on August 05, 2010, 05:20:43 PM
It would be great if you guys would post to TechTalk, telling people why you like the forum and how to get the most out if it.  Just try not to say "Get over it!".  ;)
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: Slowbrew on August 05, 2010, 05:45:03 PM
I've been reading the reactions to this news in the email and I haven't posted a response to TT for simple reason that my response always sounds like "grow up and get over it".   :o

I think most of the people who are getting upset are having trouble seeing something new as a good thing.  I've been building, supporting and fixing computers and related equipment (professionally) for longer that the internet has existed and Tech Talk has always seemed very pre-Web to me.  Easy to understand but slow and not very interactive.  As a friend of mine always said "it's a good thing I'm not a doctor, because I have no patience".  8^)

As for a members only forum?  Forget it.  Forums are by definition, public.  If everyone complaining about TT coming to an end joined the forum and started beer related discussions they would not have to complain about "The Pub" getting screen time.

IMHO - YMMV

Paul
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: BrewArk on August 05, 2010, 08:54:59 PM
I immediately adopted the forum when I learned of it back in November.

I can also see the side of the TT advocates.  The point that it is limited to brewing tech questions is a good one.  There are a lot of things here on the forum that I consider "puffery" and don't read/respond to.

I definitely spend more time on the forum than I spend or used to spend on TechTalk.  The question for me is "Is that good or bad?"
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: jeffy on August 06, 2010, 01:45:57 AM
If you think about it, the forum is nice only for people who sit in front of a computer all day, but what about the rest of us?  When we log on to the AHA Forum and want to see what we missed over the past several hours, we need to wade through a lot of +1 on your mortgage and way to go majorvices and never get to the denny level before we find a recent topic of interest.  Or even if we do find majorvices new brewery interesting it feels like we're on the outide looking in.  Like we are not worthy because we don't have 500 posts.
It's not welcoming.  It's not easy.  It's harder to use, no matter how old I am.  It doesn't fit my lifestyle (not that there's anything wrong with that).  It's just that I can't stay connected all day.
The people complaining would probably prefer to be reading brewing news via UseNet over a 1200 baud modem connection to their local BBS.  Some people can't deal with change...
I think I can deal with change if it's a change for the good.
I never could follow TechTalk so I never tried. It is an annoying format for me.
Why?  Because it only comes once a day?  Because posters actually have to write a thoughtful post instead of adding a comment?  I understand the immediacy of the Forum, but for some of us a polite email format is easier.
I hope I don't get ostricized for this post.  I just want to understand.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: narvin on August 06, 2010, 02:05:00 AM
If you think about it, the forum is nice only for people who sit in front of a computer all day, but what about the rest of us?  When we log on to the AHA Forum and want to see what we missed over the past several hours, we need to wade through a lot of +1 on your mortgage and way to go majorvices and never get to the denny level before we find a recent topic of interest.

So there's too much information?  You can pick and choose specific sections to read if you want to avoid the pub chatter.  And why does it need to be recent? You don't have to follow it linearly -- there's a great search feature that will let you find whatever information you need.  I find the questions and information on Tech Talk to be more repetitive because of the straight Q&A format.

To be blunt, if Tech Talk were popular enough to be worth keeping, you'd probably think it was too long and cluttered to read as well.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: majorvices on August 06, 2010, 02:20:23 AM
Why?  Because it only comes once a day?  Because posters actually have to write a thoughtful post instead of adding a comment?  I understand the immediacy of the Forum, but for some of us a polite email format is easier.
I hope I don't get ostricized for this post.  I just want to understand.

Well - sure. Once a day? I don't have time to sit down and read techtalk for an hour every morning. I;d rather come in and get bits and bobs of information. And there is no order at all. Just random posts and responses. I'm sure once you get used to it you enjoy reading it. But it looks JUST LIKE the Government text boards my dad used to use back in 1986. I'm surprised it has lastes as long as it has. Its disjoined, confusing and rambling. I'm sure there is a lot of good information in there but you really have to read the whole thing to find it. The forum is 1000Xs better at disseminating information. And, quite frankly, the people who are complaining the most over there haven't even bothered giving this format a try. One guys said "he looked at it but didn't like it."  ::)  Kudos, to you sir, for being one of the few.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: chaz on August 06, 2010, 09:20:17 AM
What's funny about watching the many people complain is when I joined the AHA in 2006 and got my first TechTalk I thought to myself, "What is this, 1995? It's like I've been transported back in time where people still use Eudora and read newsgroups. Why in the world don't they have a forum?"

Out of boredom at work I read through all the complaints. I understand many of the complaints, especially the whole e-mail being forced on them, but many arguments don't even make sense to me so I'm not sure they even understand what a forum is, how it operates... and some are even outright saying they'll never go despite never even giving it a chance! Talk about a stick in the mud.

35 guests and 11 members? We're paying for 35 freeloaders?!?!?
...no, that just means 35 people are browsing but aren't signed in. Generally I'm one of those "freeloader" guests but I pay my annual membership dues.

Someone compared TT to a bookstore and the forum like Amazon.com - At a bookstore you browse looking for a book and might see another book on the shelf you're interested in but at Amazon you'll find the book you're looking for when you do a search for it but probably not much else unless it's part of the algorithm.

I really don't see how the forum is any different than TT in this regard... You browse through a list of forum topics (books) and you just might see another thread (book) you're interested in just like that shelf at the bookstore...

Or the person who decided he would test how good the forum is by asking about Black IPA water chemistry. He complained the question was not answered beyond someone just said they run their water through a filter. This I think has to do with lack of familiarity with message boards. They made a post on page 4 of a Black IPA thread that hadn't been responded to in several days and the main topic of the thread was about what kind of grain you add to make it black...

If you were on TT and were the 50th person in a row to reply to a topic about Black IPA but brought up water chem in your reply would you really expect much of a response? Obviously you're going to get better and more direct responses if you make a new topic about it, instead of being #50th person to reply to a thread that's not about water chemistry.

I honestly haven't really seen much there that I haven't gathered from forums like many they seem to claim (but never visit) and many of the replies don't really seem all that much better or are from more advanced/expert opinions any more than most forums.



I could go on and on... I'm actually kind of surprised at how many are willing to not renew membership because of TT. Then again, when I signed up it wasn't so much about me or any of the perks as it was about supporting an organization that looks out for my homebrewing interests, legalizing it in every state, and was educating/sharing the hobby with others.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: dzlater on August 06, 2010, 11:27:12 AM
I am personally very happy with the forum.
I have the RSS feed on my iGoogle homepage, so I can see what's new.
When I log into the forum (which I probably do way to often) I just hit <new posts>
there are usually only two or three pages at the most, it only takes me a few minutes to get through them.
Some of the complaints I can agree with the "+1", and "what he said" or " I don't know" responses do get a bit annoying
but I it seems to me that those kind of replies are really minimal on the this forum.
And looking at TT it seems alot of questions get the same answers multiple times also.
A lot of the people who posted on TT are upset because they can't read the forum at work or
on their phones. Couldn't they just subscribe to a category and receive email notifications?
What I would do is set up a Google or Yahoo group called AHA TT , and let the TT diehards use that.
As long as the users and mods keep things under control I think the forum will work out fine.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: denny on August 06, 2010, 03:12:12 PM
If you think about it, the forum is nice only for people who sit in front of a computer all day, but what about the rest of us?  When we log on to the AHA Forum and want to see what we missed over the past several hours, we need to wade through a lot of +1 on your mortgage and way to go majorvices and never get to the denny level before we find a recent topic of interest.  Or even if we do find majorvices new brewery interesting it feels like we're on the outide looking in.  Like we are not worthy because we don't have 500 posts.
It's not welcoming.  It's not easy.  It's harder to use, no matter how old I am.  It doesn't fit my lifestyle (not that there's anything wrong with that).  It's just that I can't stay connected all day.
The people complaining would probably prefer to be reading brewing news via UseNet over a 1200 baud modem connection to their local BBS.  Some people can't deal with change...
I think I can deal with change if it's a change for the good.
I never could follow TechTalk so I never tried. It is an annoying format for me.
Why?  Because it only comes once a day?  Because posters actually have to write a thoughtful post instead of adding a comment?  I understand the immediacy of the Forum, but for some of us a polite email format is easier.
I hope I don't get ostricized for this post.  I just want to understand.

Ostracized?  That's really counter to what we're trying to do here.  As a matter of fact, let me be the first to welcome you and say that we all look forward to your contributions!

There are a couple of things, though, that I don't understand about the complaints about moving from TT to the forum, and if you could help explain them to me I'd be most grateful.  As you mentioned, you and others say you have to wade through posts to find what something if value.  For the life of me, I can't see how this is different than TT, except that usually the volume of posts on TT is so low that there's less to go through.  My experience with TT is that only about 10% of the posts were anything I was interested in, so I can't see how much difference there really is.  And what I do like about the forum in that regard is the categorization makes it easy to see what's there and ignore what I'm not interested in.  If you feel that the posts here aren't thoughtful or polite, may I suggest you haven't looked around enough?  And sure there are "+1" posts because a forum is more like a conversation than a lecture....is that really such a drawback, though?  Is it really that different than a post to TT that in essence says "I too have found that my problem is like Dave described".?

As to feeling like you're not "worthy" because you're new, I think that's just a normal social interaction thing.  We're all homebrewers here, we all have something in common...jump right in, ask your questions, make your contributions.  That's how you get to know people.  And again, to me it's really no different than TT.  For years, I hesitated to post on TT because I was afraid of looking like a fool in front of all the posters there whose names were iconic.  But ya know what?  Once I did, I found that they're friendly, normal people who loved talking about homebrewing just like I did. 

jeffy, I hope I'm not coming across as challenging your points...believe me, I take all the criticisms very seriously and want to help do whatever I can to make any new forum users feel at home and enhance their experience.  And I realize that there are some irreconcilable issues.  One person on TT mentioned being on a 1200 baud dialup for instance.  Yeah, for him the forum experience is going to be difficult and unfulfilling unfortunately.  But even he could subscribe to the RSS fed and have some level of participation.

I hope you give the forum a chance and give yourself a chance to become familiar with the format and the people who post here.  I hope you'll find, as I did, that this is a treasure trove of brewing info and expertise, and that the people who post here are the people you'd love to sit down and have a beer with.  And I hope you'll keep coming back and asking and answering questions.  It's you and the other users who give value to this forum.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: theDarkSide on August 06, 2010, 03:17:31 PM
Some highlights from today's TT:

I have neither the desire nor the time to troll through the Forum every day and will likely resubscribe to the HBD in the hopes of keeping current with more serious brewers.

Guess what guys...we're not serious brewers since we use new technology.  I guess this makes someone like Drew a total goof ball then.

The "bluesman," "richardt," "denny," "majorvices," "capozzoli" and "euge" seem to make up the vast majority of the posters. I have to wonder - do they have a life? While they all seem very capable and knowledgeable, I look forward to hearing from other well-respected folks like Steve Piatz, David Houseman, Ed Westemeier, John Blichmann and many others like them who frequently post on the TT
Well guys...do you?  So the people he lists are ALWAYS posting on TT, but apparently they have a life.  ( Don't get me wrong, I've gained tons of info from their posts ).

Obviously the number of people happy with it outweigh the people who are excited about moving to forums
So there's been about 100-150 posts about saving TT, but how many members are there?  I think the people excited about the forum are using the forum and don't have to post about how excited they are ( except when it first started up ).  At the writing of this post, there are 6350 registered accounts on the forum.

While the BN forum has it's place, I'm not interested in ***hats and drunks of the week. The AHA forum isn't a whole lot better.
Are you kidding?  The mods here definately have control of the forum.  I have to constantly remind myself which forum I'm on so I can post accordingly.

too am very unhappy of the end of the tech talk for another junk forum
Zinger!!

And Denny's post says it all.

We should setup a poll to see who prefers TT over the forum, but since it will only be in the forum, it will be dismissed as biased.

This will probably fuel the fire a bit but some of the shots in TT against the forum users I feel were uncalled for ( i.e. more serious brewers? ).
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: Dan on August 06, 2010, 03:24:29 PM
Ostracized?  That's really counter to what we're trying to do here.  As a matter of fact, let me be the first to welcome you and say that we all look forward to your contributions!

Yet further up in this discussion thread narvin posts a rather scathing message about the individuals who would rather read the email. Yes, I am one of them but for the simple fact that I was always able to read TT on my BlackBerry when I had down time during the day. Contrary to what narvin would believe, I have moved past 1200 baud into something a little faster.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: bluesman on August 06, 2010, 03:31:14 PM
If you think about it, the forum is nice only for people who sit in front of a computer all day, but what about the rest of us?  When we log on to the AHA Forum and want to see what we missed over the past several hours, we need to wade through a lot of +1 on your mortgage and way to go majorvices and never get to the denny level before we find a recent topic of interest.  Or even if we do find majorvices new brewery interesting it feels like we're on the outide looking in.  Like we are not worthy because we don't have 500 posts.
It's not welcoming.  It's not easy.  It's harder to use, no matter how old I am.  It doesn't fit my lifestyle (not that there's anything wrong with that).  It's just that I can't stay connected all day.
The people complaining would probably prefer to be reading brewing news via UseNet over a 1200 baud modem connection to their local BBS.  Some people can't deal with change...
I think I can deal with change if it's a change for the good.
I never could follow TechTalk so I never tried. It is an annoying format for me.
Why?  Because it only comes once a day?  Because posters actually have to write a thoughtful post instead of adding a comment?  I understand the immediacy of the Forum, but for some of us a polite email format is easier.
I hope I don't get ostricized for this post.  I just want to understand.


I find that in the great wide world of homebrewing there's many ways to get your fix(i.e. LHBC, magazines, forums , TT, ETC...).  I use all of the aforementioned.  Yes...I am a beer geek, a sponge for brewing info. and knowledge.  I have found the AHA forum to be a dynamic entity in that as Denny has mentioned it's more like a conversation than a lecture, but it can be utilized as a question and answer session as well.  There are many contributors here that don't and/or can't sit in front of their computer all day but make contributions, troubleshoot and share ideas on an intermittent basis.  I think if given a chance you'll find this an excellent resource for your homebrewing needs.  I hope you will.  If not...I understand.

Hope to see you around.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: majorvices on August 06, 2010, 03:33:03 PM
First off, Dan. welcome to the forum!  :) I read all the posts over at Tech Talk and there has been a LOT of slamming the new AHA forum. Surely you can handle a little slamming back, right?

Seriously - everyone should just give it a TRY. 1 or two posts complaining about it is not going to cut. Try and USE the forum and then see what you thing. Way, way too many snap judgemnets going on here and way too many opinions based on projections than actual fact.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: denny on August 06, 2010, 03:39:50 PM
I think that one of the TT points that bothered me the most is that the users of the forum aren't "serious brewers" because the TT user(s) doesn't recognize their names.  To me, this says that the TT users needs to get out more and realize there are more serious brewers out there than they might have imagined.  Just because those of us who post here prefer a different format is no reflection on the quality of advice and discussion that goes on here.  Anybody who can dismiss Kai, for instance, as not a "serious brewer" obviously isn't familiar with his work.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: a10t2 on August 06, 2010, 03:59:48 PM
Yes, I am one of them but for the simple fact that I was always able to read TT on my BlackBerry when I had down time during the day.

Several people have already mentioned the RSS feed, which I'm sure your Blackberry can handle. For that matter, there are many services that will email the RSS updates to you daily. Except for formatting (and length, since there's so much more activity on the forum) that would basically be identical to TT.

The "bluesman," "richardt," "denny," "majorvices," "capozzoli" and "euge" seem to make up the vast majority of the posters. I have to wonder - do they have a life?

I'm kind of hurt now. Surely any list of forum members with no life should include me?!
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: Matt B on August 06, 2010, 04:42:37 PM

Several people have already mentioned the RSS feed, which I'm sure your Blackberry can handle. For that matter, there are many services that will email the RSS updates to you daily. Except for formatting (and length, since there's so much more activity on the forum) that would basically be identical to TT.

I'm kind of hurt now. Surely any list of forum members with no life should include me?!

I was about to bring up the fact that there's an RSS feed. While the TT format is nice for some individuals who don't have much bandwidth and do have an hour at some point in the day to go through the whole thing, I think this is a small percentage of people who prefer this. And honestly, having an RSS feed is pretty similar if you want to go through it all (yes, you need more bandwidth, and yeah you can have an RSS aggregator email it to you.) Me, personally, I don't have a block of time to go through all of a TT email usually, so they build up. And in order to get all I want out of it, I have to read it all in one go, otherwise I've lost my place in where I was reading. Using google reader, whenever I have a couple minutes throughout the day, I pull up the forums, scan what's been posted, anything I'm interested in I'll pull up and read, and mark read what I've scanned. You can't do this with a big digest mail format.

Yes, there are more people who are newer to home brewing on the forums than on TT. Yes it's far more chatty. Yes there's a lot of off topic discussions (which I actually don't agree with, but since I have to spend so little time marking them as read, I get over it.) But you can search so much easier. You get far more interactivity. You get far more answers. And you get just as many 'serious' brewers as you do on TT. And it's easier. Hell, I never even really figured out how to post to TT. As for the 'annoying n00b' factor, I'm sorry guys, get over it. We were all n00bs at some point. And the new home brewers we get here are FAR less annoying than the people I've dealt with in the past in the tech industry, and far less dogmatic and unaware of their lack of knowledge. People on the forums actually have the desire to learn and people who respond usually don't lambaste the original poster.

And I don't think it's quite fair to rag on individuals who are active on the forums and claiming they have no lives. Whether they do or not (and I'm sure they do, they brew beer, therefor they have friends who like to drink their beer), they're willing and active contributors who want to help people out, new home brewers and more experienced home brewers alike. And honestly, when you're able to spend a few moments here and there reading, it only takes a few moments to respond and write a post. I would write this response to TT if I knew how and thought that many of the individuals there would actually receive it with an open mind.

I'm perfectly okay with TT going away for no other reason than the cost to the AHA to run one vs the other. I'd rather have my dues going somewhere a little more worth while than TT.


RSS feed link:

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?action=.xml;sa=recent;limit=255;type=rss2

Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: bluesman on August 06, 2010, 05:02:08 PM
Everyone from the newbie to the some of the most seasoned brewers come here to extract and exchange information for the betterment of themselves AND for the enhancement of our homebrewing community. 

There is positive interaction and exchange occurring here every day and every hour.  There hasn't been a day that has gone by without seeing a newbie brewer thanking everyone for all of their help in resolving their issues.  From the stuck fermentation to the lack of bottle carbonation to the aging of their Belgian beer.  This is the go to place for your homebrewing questions and answers.  I think one will find here on the AHA FORUM that they will be welcome AND they will also find the answers to the questions at hand.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: dhacker on August 06, 2010, 05:14:56 PM
I would agree with that. A person can come in here as much or as little as they want . . spend hours or minutes and pretty much get what they came for. It is a BIG community and new people always show up. There is only one other forum I frequent which is where it all started for me, and I kinda consider it my "Home" forum  ;), but this one has action constantly!

Very little uncovered territory here . .   
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: Dan on August 06, 2010, 06:06:48 PM
Yes, I am one of them but for the simple fact that I was always able to read TT on my BlackBerry when I had down time during the day.

Several people have already mentioned the RSS feed, which I'm sure your Blackberry can handle. For that matter, there are many services that will email the RSS updates to you daily. Except for formatting (and length, since there's so much more activity on the forum) that would basically be identical to TT.

Yeah, I've been looking at this forum all morning and trying to make it work for me and I'd say that it's a nice first attempt but lacks in a number of areas.

1. The RSS feed is a tacked on, lame function that doesn't really add any value. I've only figured out how to see the last 5 posts with a very limited snippet of the post in the body of the article. The most useful RSS feed on a discussion site that I've found is slashdot. From the feed there, you can pass in your credentials and the feed is customized to include topics specific to you, the number of items you'd like to see, etc.

2. I'm not a fan of having yet another username and password. This forum should use OAuth, Facebook Connect or equivalent protocol so I can use one login to access multiple sites.

3. I still don't know why a mail icon with my email address is displayed on my screen even though I said to hide the email account. I found another thread on this topic and it appears that this is a bug/poor UI design because it really is private but just not to me.

Since we're all paying to support this service, when do we get to see any of our suggestions incorporated back into the forum site?
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: chaz on August 06, 2010, 06:12:06 PM
I don't know how hard it would be to implement, but some message boards I go to also have a low bandwidth, mostly text-only version in addition optimized for mobile users and people still stuck on dial-up... might be worth looking into.

Example: http://m.slickdeals.net/forums/
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: denny on August 06, 2010, 06:15:37 PM
Since we're all paying to support this service, when do we get to see any of our suggestions incorporated back into the forum site?

Since I'm an admin here and the head of the GC web subcommittee, I'll first thank you for your thoughts.  I'll make sure to get them to the AHA staff who deal with the forum and let you know the answers as soon as I get them.  Keep in mind that you just made the suggestions and it won't happen instantly!
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: jkeeler on August 06, 2010, 06:49:17 PM
As the a member and Vice-Chair of the Governing Committee, I'll be 100% honest in stating that I advocated for the end of Tech Talk, and transition to the forum.  Here is a reply I sent to the Tech Talk email, and AHA members at large:


The decision to end Tech Talk was one that was in the works prior to my appointment on the Governing Committee.  However, I have endorsed the move, and I think this decision has strong majority support from the Governing Committee and the AHA.

That said, we fully understand that Tech Talk has been a valuable, and well-used resource by those AHA members taking advantage of it's function.  By no means does the AHA think that the Forum ALONE should decide the fate of Tech Talk.
Also, while reading through the responses so far, it strikes me how universal the tone of protest is.  Many, not all, but many seem to be speaking from a very personal and emotional stand-point.  Several have protested, but respected the AHA's reasoning, which I feel is a legitimate and appropriate response.

To this observation, I think three factors need to be reiterated, and I would encourage all AHA members to pause and give consideration to the wants of the few vs. the needs of the many.


1. Tech Talk costs a disproportionate amount of capital, and more importantly time vs. the forum.  The forum has more participation, strikes a more egalitarian form of dissemination, and has the ability to evolve with user interaction and new technology.  Tech Talk is a media avenue that is being phased out in most areas of retail, marketing, social interaction, and online communication.  In other words, if not ended now, it would surely end within the coming years as more robust forms of online media are developed and users become more educated.  There is a smaller but active participant group with Tech Talk now, but trends in internet marketing and communication point to this audience being in fast decline, and altogether becoming a drastically marginalized demographic.  In business parlance: When does an asset become a liability, and when does an entity assess the risk and loss in it's efforts related to said asset/liability?  The AHA would be remiss to not make proactive decisions in regards to use of member funds, and serving a growing majority vs.a diminishing minority.    I know, this sounds heartless and corporate, but these are the pains of growth.  And to ignore good business practice in place of allowing our hearts to guide us would surely be a mistake.  The heart must inform the mind, but the mind must make logical decisions. Sometimes, they are inexorably at conflict...such is life.

2. Secondary to this is the member usage, it is estimated that only about 2,500 people actually open the email vs. the over 15,000 (closer to 19,000 now) that are being sent out.  At best (based on 15,000), this is 17% success/use rate.  It should also be noted that not all 2500 that open the email respond, and/or even read it. This, by most estimations with email campaigns, is marginally successful.  Also, we have seen explosive membership growth in the last year, and the overwhelming majority of these new members do not use Tech Talk.  Therefore, the 17% will quickly diminish if the current membership trending holds true.  The 2,500 will become a further minority due to a growing majority.  This said, this minority segment is important, vital, and has all the same rights to consideration and support as the majority.  So the question becomes:  Does the AHA continue to spend a disproportionate amount of time and capital to serve this segment?  Or, do we make efforts to replace their needs with something comparable and strike a better balance with the majority, knowing full well that there will be backlash and protest?  We have chosen the latter, and I think it is a sound decision.  Change is usually not welcomed, but it is the byproduct of growth and progression.  If one wants a better service/advocacy,  one must expect and accept a reasonable amount of change.

3. The Forum is a robust and quality resource which serves almost exactly the same function of Tech Talk.  I use this forum myself, and find it to be one of the better online resources for Homebrewing currently available on the internet.  At Northern Brewer, we have had a forum for many years, and it has been enormously successful.  Never have we considered an email format such as Tech Talk, because of the labor vs. gains, minority audience, and most importantly the fact that there are more robust and effective avenues such as forums, social media avenues, and especially video.  Likewise, the AHA must start thinking and working toward developing new, better means of serving it's members.  Better discounts, increased resources through the website, increased efforts to protect homebrewers' rights and interests on State and Federal levels, providing more events and avenues for homebrewers to connect and create communities, and exploring new media that can better serve the homebrewing community at large and AHA members.

Reformatting TechTalk with labor usage, or the structure of the content would only solve one of the factors which is time/capital.  And, this effect would be finite as the minority user demographic shrinks, the capital/labor equation eventually does not "add up" once again.  We'd be right back where we are now.

This is the tipping point for me.  We, as a culture need to start thinking more proactively, rather then reactionary.  If we do not re-align our way of thinking about how to manage this community, hobby, industry, and culture we will surely see an end to "Golden Age" of homebrewing we are currently in.  Historical data would suggest that the higher the numbers climb, the larger the valley will be. If we do not take an analytical, and sometimes brutally honest look at what we are doing, we shall not be able to create sustainable models to stabilize our current prosperity. It is the AHA's responsibility to be the guardians of Homebrewing's health and direction.  Taking on that responsibility means making tough decisions, and not always being able to please everyone.  Those disappointed, aggravated, and those who would take their protest in the form of obstaining from renewing their memberships have EVERY RIGHT to feel the way they feel.  We can only ask to consider the criteria which has been given, and join us in making this transition.  This should not be perceived as a line in the sand, but rather an opportunity to asses where the AHA has been, and where it shall go in serving all of it's members in the most democratically feasible way.

cheers

Jake Keeler
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: majorvices on August 06, 2010, 06:53:22 PM
I just thought I would mention that, A) I am a serious brewer and B) I have no life. I am opening a brewery for crying out loud so the answer is obvious for both questions.  :P

I would also like to point out that people who feel the need to cry like my granny did when she found out they were changing the format of TV Guide probably have pretty sorry lives as well.  ::)  ;D Just kidding. Keep yer britches on now.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: bonjour on August 06, 2010, 06:54:03 PM
Yes, I am one of them but for the simple fact that I was always able to read TT on my BlackBerry when I had down time during the day.

Several people have already mentioned the RSS feed, which I'm sure your Blackberry can handle. For that matter, there are many services that will email the RSS updates to you daily. Except for formatting (and length, since there's so much more activity on the forum) that would basically be identical to TT.

Yeah, I've been looking at this forum all morning and trying to make it work for me and I'd say that it's a nice first attempt but lacks in a number of areas.

1. The RSS feed is a tacked on, lame function that doesn't really add any value. I've only figured out how to see the last 5 posts with a very limited snippet of the post in the body of the article. The most useful RSS feed on a discussion site that I've found is slashdot. From the feed there, you can pass in your credentials and the feed is customized to include topics specific to you, the number of items you'd like to see, etc.

2. I'm not a fan of having yet another username and password. This forum should use OAuth, Facebook Connect or equivalent protocol so I can use one login to access multiple sites.

3. I still don't know why a mail icon with my email address is displayed on my screen even though I said to hide the email account. I found another thread on this topic and it appears that this is a bug/poor UI design because it really is private but just not to me.

Since we're all paying to support this service, when do we get to see any of our suggestions incorporated back into the forum site?
on Item 3,  I just tested it,  it shows to you, and only you and admins (they have access to everything)

on item 1, different RSS readers have different features, as you have noted.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: theDarkSide on August 06, 2010, 07:00:49 PM
Nicely said Jake.

You may want to change the line in point 1 that says:

and when does an entity asses the risk and loss in it's efforts

I think you mean assess.  I wouldn't want it to be misconstrued.  :D

Congrats on Vice Chair in your 1st year.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: captain_sousie on August 06, 2010, 07:14:14 PM
As to the question about viewing/posting from a BlackBerry, I just sent this post from my blackberry. I can only view a limited text-only site which is irritating when I want to see the pictures someone posts but that is easy to fix by just looking it up when I get home.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: tankdeer on August 06, 2010, 07:31:46 PM
My TechTalk has been broken since I changed my email address. And frankly, I haven't missed it. It was always more of a nuisance than an asset. Just something else taking up space in my inbox, with the same tired old questions of, can I rack my beer after 3 days, is it infected, can I pitch at 80, etc. Sure, those show up here and on every forum, but they're easier to weed out, and frankly somebody coming here to ask one of those questions has a lot better chance of finding an answer here, and without having to wait a full day for a response.

As a serious brewer with no life, I welcome putting that old dog to sleep.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: SwashBuckling Drunk on August 06, 2010, 07:45:30 PM
What is TechTalk and why are you blabbering on about it on my favorite brewing forum?
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: jkeeler on August 06, 2010, 07:54:03 PM
thanks Darkside!

 ;D
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: MrNate on August 06, 2010, 07:55:30 PM
The "bluesman," "richardt," "denny," "majorvices," "capozzoli" and "euge" seem to make up the vast majority of the posters. I have to wonder - do they have a life?

I'm kind of hurt now. Surely any list of forum members with no life should include me?!

Seriously! I mean, I know I've been slacking off at slacking off lately, but I should've at least been in the running! Well, at least on the old NB BrewHaHa anyway.

Should I know what Tech Talk is? Is that the old email list or something?
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: denny on August 06, 2010, 08:40:35 PM
Please keep in mind that just because someone's opinion may differ from yours doesn't necessarily make it less valid.  We're talking about opinions, not facts, and I look forward to having TT naysayers join us here so we can help to change that opinion.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: theDarkSide on August 06, 2010, 08:41:01 PM
OMG...another record breaking TT today.  I especially love the people who say "I won't ever use a forum that allows non-dues paying members to contribute".

And I don't agree with upping everyone's dues by $1 to cover the cost Gary quoted.  With their limited staff, I'd rather see the people who have to moderate TT assist with important issues like the Oregon law that shut down homebrew competitions, or getting homebrewing legal in the rest of the states.

As others have stated, I am reading the forum posts in an RSS feed ( RSS Popper through my Outlook ) and then only open the items that I'm interested in.  

Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: marty on August 06, 2010, 09:03:00 PM
And I don't agree with upping everyone's dues by $1 to cover the cost Gary quoted.  With their limited staff, I'd rather see the people who have to moderate TT assist with important issues like the Oregon law that shut down homebrew competitions, or getting homebrewing legal in the rest of the states.

I use the forum and TechTalk, they serve different purposes. By the number in the 'transition' announcement 2500 members read TechTalk, but it's going away.


Would people be so cavalier if the AHA responded to the Oregon competition law or homebrewing's legal status in Alabama with "As there are only 20,000 AHA members it's obvious that there are less than 2500 members in either Oregon or Alabama, so it's not worth our time and money to devote resources to those causes".


I'm sure the governing committee put a lot of time into the TechTalk transition. I'm not sure that they recognized that it is still a valuable resource, used daily by 2500 members (by the AHAs own numbers), and that many of these members do not see the Forum as an equivalent. Many of them have noted they are unable to access alcohol related websites at work and as such cannot use the forum at all.

Those saying the TechTalkphiles need to "get over it" need to realize they are members of the association, and their voice is valid. They're not technophobes, they're not elitists, they are paying members of the organization who are having a valuable resource taken away, and they aren't happy about it.

How would those of us who enter the National Homebrew Competition feel if it was dropped because only 1600 homebrewers entered it (and they're not even all AHA members).

What if the Governing Committee was dropped because only 899 AHA members voted for it. A record setting number I might add.

What if the National Conference was dropped because only 1300 attended.


Those items are only used by a small percentage of the AHA membership, a smaller percentage by those who are using TechTalk. Despite the "dwindling numbers" being used to justify dropping TechTalk.



Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: majorvices on August 06, 2010, 09:04:06 PM
The only other thing I will say about this debate, (except possibly something else at a later date to make fun of it) is: I understand people becoming attached to something and then being disappointed when it appears to be going away. It is a shame to me that so many people that could becomes a valuable part of a community would slough off the opportunity because of a case of sour grapes. It is obvious to me that TechTalk is long in the tooth. Most of the criticisms directed at this forum are simply not validated and show that people are willingly refusing to give it a shot.

I sincerely welcome those who give it a try. Those who decide against joining - it is a shame we won't get to know you. I have actually befriended and even met in person so many people across the country (and locally) from this and other forums that it absolutely amazes me. I have also had the opportunity to exchange some truly amazing beer. This forum is truly a very powerful learning and sharing tool.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: MrNate on August 06, 2010, 09:12:14 PM
The thing I don't get is why they don't just put a Tech Talk subforum here, lock it down to all but AHA members, and create a dedicated RSS feed?

Or to get even more low-tech, a Yahoo group?

Wouldn't that solve cost-of-maintenance issues and present a format comparable to the current mailing list?
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: dbeechum on August 06, 2010, 09:21:10 PM
The big thing you'll lose with that (or other email approaches) is the actual editing hours spent assembling the email in TT's very organized presentation form.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: nathanw on August 06, 2010, 10:31:07 PM
I'm not thrilled with the demise of TechTalk, but TechTalk was always (technically) second-rate in comparison with HBD. My main peeve was a non-standard digest format, which my mailer couldn't break apart into individual messages, as you could with HBD and other RFC1153-compliant digests. The search function was also poor, in comparison to just putting the archives out there and letting Google at them.  My hope is that this move revitalizes HBD, which suffered an exodus a couple of years ago - it had a long outage just as TechTalk was getting rolling.

As for the forum... sure, there's an RSS feed, but it doesn't seem to be full text. That makes it a serious pain to read anything just via RSS. There's also a style issue; the forum lends itself to relatively quick back-and-forth, which requires reading in a particular sequence, and the RSS feed of everything doesn't give you that.

It's also "one more thing". I'm plugged in to email and RSS feeds, with occasional views of facebook and twitter, and given the choice between adding another thing to check and not looking, not looking is going to win.

Finally, I think the slowness of a daily digest has valuable properties. Notably, it's near-impossible to get the head of steam necessary for a flame war, which regular email lists and forums can run out of control before anyone can get a read on it.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: denny on August 06, 2010, 11:01:18 PM
Thanks for your thoughtful comments, nathan.  I don't know if you (or some of the other posters on TT) noticed, but this forum is pretty well moderated.  Political, racial, or religious comments aren't allowed.  Our membership knows and respects that, but in the rare cases it's been necessary, our moderator team has done a great job of keeping things under control.  I hope you'll stick around long enough to give the forum a good try.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: rabid_dingo on August 06, 2010, 11:07:15 PM
Finally, I think the slowness of a daily digest has valuable properties. Notably, it's near-impossible to get the head of steam necessary for a flame war, which regular email lists and forums can run out of control before anyone can get a read on it.

I think one of the major plusses to this forum is that the the moderators sat down from day one and said, "No riff raff!" No joke! There are rules
and they are enforced, regularly. The moderators do a damn fine job keeping everyone in line and on topic. I moved here from a different forum
when this one opened and was optimistic about the change.  I get TT but I'll admit to being on that does not open the email.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: marty on August 06, 2010, 11:15:11 PM
That said, we fully understand that Tech Talk has been a valuable, and well-used resource by those AHA members taking advantage of it's function.  

And still is a valuable resource to those 2500 members reading it every day

Quote
1. Tech Talk costs a disproportionate amount of capital, and more importantly time vs. the forum.

Jake, the 2500 members reading TechTalk do not view the forum as an equivalent. And it's not because they don't know better.
They like having a condensed, organized beer/brewing only digest delivered by email.

Quote
 The forum has more participation,

TechTalk has more participation than many features provided by the AHA. Should all resources used by a minority of members lose their support?

Quote
strikes a more egalitarian form of dissemination,
How is the forum more egalitarian? Any member can post to the forum or TechTalk.

Quote
and has the ability to evolve with user interaction and new technology.
Yes, as does TechTalk as demonstrated by those using their phone to read and reply. It's an email digest, we're not talking about chiseling runes onto a rock.

Quote
 Tech Talk is a media avenue that is being phased out in most areas of retail, marketing, social interaction, and online communication.  In other words, if not ended now, it would surely end within the coming years as more robust forms of online media are developed and users become more educated.  

Please tell this to those people at ConstantContact so I can stop getting all their messages in my inbox

Quote
There is a smaller but active participant group with Tech Talk now, but trends in internet marketing and communication point to this audience being in fast decline, and altogether becoming a drastically marginalized demographic.  In business parlance: When does an asset become a liability, and when does an entity assess the risk and loss in it's efforts related to said asset/liability?  The AHA would be remiss to not make proactive decisions in regards to use of member funds, and serving a growing majority vs.a diminishing minority.    I know, this sounds heartless and corporate, but these are the pains of growth.  And to ignore good business practice in place of allowing our hearts to guide us would surely be a mistake.  The heart must inform the mind, but the mind must make logical decisions. Sometimes, they are inexorably at conflict...such is life.

When is this point reached? When 2500 members of a 20,000 member association are using the resource? The costs involved in TechTalk could be lowered, as many people have pointed out in TechTalk responses. But even still, at this 15K figure, TechTalk is easily covered by the dues paid by the 2500 readers.

Where is this line drawn? At what point does a group of members no longer matter?

Quote
2. Secondary to this is the member usage, it is estimated that only about 2,500 people actually open the email vs. the over 15,000 (closer to 19,000 now) that are being sent out.  At best (based on 15,000), this is 17% success/use rate.  It should also be noted that not all 2500 that open the email respond, and/or even read it. This, by most estimations with email campaigns, is marginally successful.  Also, we have seen explosive membership growth in the last year, and the overwhelming majority of these new members do not use Tech Talk.  Therefore, the 17% will quickly diminish if the current membership trending holds true.  The 2,500 will become a further minority due to a growing majority.  This said, this minority segment is important, vital, and has all the same rights to consideration and support as the majority.  So the question becomes:  Does the AHA continue to spend a disproportionate amount of time and capital to serve this segment?  Or, do we make efforts to replace their needs with something comparable and strike a better balance with the majority, knowing full well that there will be backlash and protest?  We have chosen the latter, and I think it is a sound decision.  Change is usually not welcomed, but it is the byproduct of growth and progression.  If one wants a better service/advocacy,  one must expect and accept a reasonable amount of change.

TechTalk is used by a far larger percentage of the membership base than many other services/features. Should we cut everything used by less than a majority of members? The 'only 2500 members use it' line of reasoning does not work as long as the AHA devotes resources to features used by less than 2500.

Quote
3. The Forum is a robust and quality resource which serves almost exactly the same function of Tech Talk.  I use this forum myself, and find it to be one of the better online resources for Homebrewing currently available on the internet.

The Forum also serves almost exactly the same function as Zymurgy. Articles could be posted including pictures, and links to multi-media presentations that a magazine simply can't do.
Should we get rid of Zymurgy?  After all $35 out of every yearly membership goes to the magazine - talk about disproportionate amount of time and capital (masthead, Zymurgy Vol. 33 #4 'memberships are $38, $44 international and include a $35 subscription to Zymurgy)

Quote
 At Northern Brewer, we have had a forum for many years, and it has been enormously successful.  Never have we considered an email format such as Tech Talk, because of the labor vs. gains, minority audience, and most importantly the fact that there are more robust and effective avenues such as forums, social media avenues, and especially video.  

I love Northern Brewer, a wonderful retailer providing great service to the Homebrew community. If 2500 Northern Brewer customers were asking for a daily email would one be sent?

Quote
Likewise, the AHA must start thinking and working toward developing new, better means of serving it's members.  Better discounts, increased resources through the website, increased efforts to protect homebrewers' rights and interests on State and Federal levels, providing more events and avenues for homebrewers to connect and create communities, and exploring new media that can better serve the homebrewing community at large and AHA members.

Seriously, that sounds great. Should we assume that if any of those benefits would cost 75 cents per year per member that the AHA will not pursue them? We are after all dropping a valued resource who's cost is 15,000 divided by 20,000 members, to make room for these efforts.

Quote
Reformatting TechTalk with labor usage, or the structure of the content would only solve one of the factors which is time/capital.  And, this effect would be finite as the minority user demographic shrinks, the capital/labor equation eventually does not "add up" once again.  We'd be right back where we are now.

The capital/labor equation doesn't add up when fighting for homebrew legalization either. Should we not fight in those remaining states because it would only serve a minority of members?

Quote
This is the tipping point for me.  We, as a culture need to start thinking more proactively, rather then reactionary.  If we do not re-align our way of thinking about how to manage this community, hobby, industry, and culture we will surely see an end to "Golden Age" of homebrewing we are currently in.  Historical data would suggest that the higher the numbers climb, the larger the valley will be. If we do not take an analytical, and sometimes brutally honest look at what we are doing, we shall not be able to create sustainable models to stabilize our current prosperity.

Proactive and reactionary reside in the eye of the beholder. The TechTalkphiles see the 'voluntary redundancy' of TechTalk as a reactionary move taken to promote the forum.

And I'd say that when a movement falls from a peak, it's often because it loses track of what it was originally built to do. Such as cutting off a knowledge disseminating resource used by it's members, when one of the main goals of that organization is disseminating knowledge.

Quote
It is the AHA's responsibility to be the guardians of Homebrewing's health and direction.  Taking on that responsibility means making tough decisions, and not always being able to please everyone.  Those disappointed, aggravated, and those who would take their protest in the form of obstaining from renewing their memberships have EVERY RIGHT to feel the way they feel.  We can only ask to consider the criteria which has been given, and join us in making this transition.  This should not be perceived as a line in the sand, but rather an opportunity to asses where the AHA has been, and where it shall go in serving all of it's members in the most democratically feasible way.

cheers

Jake Keeler

Thanks Jake, I don't doubt the work that went into this decision by you and the others. I know you are trying to do what is best, and I hope the clear message being sent out by those that want TechTalk to stay is considered.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: ullarsskald1989 on August 07, 2010, 01:02:34 PM
Good morning all;

Here's the comment I sent to TechTalk, which I'll see tomorrow ;-)

I've been "on" the Net since the days of acoustic modems and text-only exchanges...currently maintain websites, blogs, a forum, several e-lists and social networking pages, I also subscribe to several forums, only 3 of which I frequent.  I spend about 25 hours a week online, so my time for any one of these is limited.

I much prefer the Tech Talk style of digest for special interest information and am willing to put up with the fact that not everyone is as willing as I to frequently use the search function before
posting a question.  Also, email is the only web thing I check everyday.

I have gone to the AHA Forum, and it is no better or worse than the others already available, so I will be visiting there as infrequently as I do the others.

There is a cultural organization to which I belong that scrapped their forum, due to disuse by the membership.

There is another to which I belong that has a forum that sees some traffic, but nowhere near that which the email list generates.

There is a third where the forum format is very successful and no email list exists.

Similar interest groups with differing demographics...

My wife and I are both AHA members.  We both read the TT digest everyday.  My wife has never been to the AHA forum, though she knows of its existence, no interest in that format...this AHA decision essentially "disenfranchises" her and other members of similar mind.

Take Care - Steven Robinson - Catamount Grange Brewroom and Wordsmithy

PS: I understand the cost-benefit analysis from a strictly business point of view.  However, the AHA is a hobbyist organization, which does some business.  It is not a business, which deals with some hobbyists.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: narvin on August 07, 2010, 02:24:16 PM
Ostracized?  That's really counter to what we're trying to do here.  As a matter of fact, let me be the first to welcome you and say that we all look forward to your contributions!

Yet further up in this discussion thread narvin posts a rather scathing message about the individuals who would rather read the email. Yes, I am one of them but for the simple fact that I was always able to read TT on my BlackBerry when I had down time during the day. Contrary to what narvin would believe, I have moved past 1200 baud into something a little faster.

And conversely, it's kindergarten over here, where only people who play on the Internet all day can make sense of the chatter.  And the information is no good.  Have I summed up the arguments against the forum accurately?

I understand that people are used to the email format, but anyone who actually took the time to look at the forum would know that the level and depth of the information presented here is as good as in Tech Talk (better, and less repetitive, in my opinion).  I keep hearing the quote of 2500 readers per day, but the day that the transition was announced, techtalk had only 2 new brewing topics and 4 replies.  I would not consider that a veritable font of brewing information...
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: kgs on August 07, 2010, 02:59:12 PM
I think that one of the TT points that bothered me the most is that the users of the forum aren't "serious brewers" because the TT user(s) doesn't recognize their names.  ...

If the purpose of keeping the Forum open to everyone is to be welcoming, then can we have a conversation about what it means to be welcoming, and keep the door open for some constructive criticism about how Forum is designed?

I prefer the Forum slightly over TechTalk--I won't list all the pros and cons at this moment--but as a newcomer to Forum and as a relatively new homebrewer I found the nicknames and anonymity a bit challenging. I think I had to put together bits from an outside podcast to realize who Kai is.

I am not new to social networking... I'm considered fairly cutting-edge in my field, for whatever that's worth. Also, if this helps my street cred, I twice lost a battle to move a very large (9,000-plus) 18-year-old discussion list I co-mod to a forum format. (Finally gave up; it's now a kind of old-geezer whine board, and I say that as a greying lady.) For AHA to continue to attract new members, it must appeal to their expectations, and especially to younger members, a daily email digest must seem antediluvian.

But if we listen to what the TT supporters are saying, we might hear some ways to make Forum better all around. Otherwise we're being just as anti-change as the protesters appear to be. Paying a little attention to complaints can lead to vast improvement to the user experience and can also win over more members to the change.

Take the mobility issue: while a once-a-day digest appears to be old-fashioned, when I'm on the road for more than a day, it's the Forum that is inaccessible; I can at least (sort of) read TT on my smartphone, which is what I have in my hand all day wherever I am. That's a legit complaint. Most forum software has not caught up with changes in how people consume information. (Now when my iPad arrives next week, I won't care so much... :) but that puts me in a very small sliver of the population in terms of how I will be accessing info.)

The mobility issue has a related problem that the Forum is a website and there are people who cannot access alcohol-related websites at work. TT is a welcome break from them. This may be a tiny percentage of the members, but it's one more user-experience issue that the Forum introduces, and when something becomes completely inaccessible to a small percentage of members, I guarantee you will be hearing from 100% of them.

Then there is the whole angle of how members are ranked on Forum. I seriously thought at first that "Full Member" meant dues-paying AHA member, not someone who had posted at least 100 times. Then I realized that on the AHA Forum, my membership means exactly nothing and is entirely disincentivized. I don't get a badge or a star or whatever.

Does that sound trivial? Not in the world of game and social-network design. Those of you on other social networks will understand what I'm saying when I say that I have rearranged my personal schedule to take back a FourSquare mayorship (however crazy that may seem). We are humans, and we therefore respond to rational incentives.

Now, it is probably true that with the Forum software there is no easy way to tie membership into registration except by (I'm assuming) providing an option to check a "yes" next to "are you an AHA member" and let people self-report, then tying that to something that optionally appears on the public profile. But I think it's a mistake from a recruitment & retention angle not to use the Forum to build some incentive to join AHA. TechTalk is a benefit of membership. Beyond the warm-fuzzies of belonging, knowing that my dues help support changes to state laws, and an annual conference that sounds great but I usually can't get to, what is the incentive to join AHA? If the conversation is no longer the incentive, what really is?

You can brush off the value of incentives if you've been brewing two decades and have a shelf of medals and ribbons, because you have internalized incentives; but think about AHA as an organization that has to continuously recruit and retain members who are seeking reasons to join AHA or renew membership. For that, I have two thoughts on incentives. 1.  Posting to Forum more than X times is a benefit of membership. Let everyone read the forum (btw have we ensured posts to the Forum are globally discoverable, so a Google or Bing search for "rubber stopper in carboy" retrieves Forum posts?)... let anyone post a few times... then adopt the Flickr model and let "Premium" be associated with AHA dues. 2. Let Premium be associated with a cool little badge on my profile that appears whenever I post.

It could also be I'm not thinking out of the box and there are incentives that could be unrelated to Forum... but Forum is certainly very visible.

Whatever... they're just ideas... RDWHAHB. I appreciate AHA and the Forum and look forward to bottling my latest not-quite-right beers today!

Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: denny on August 07, 2010, 03:09:54 PM
Thanks for your ideas, and that goes for everyone else, too.  I can address a couple right off the bat...we're hard at work to improve smartphone access to and use of the forum.  Drew and Fred are checking out various alternatives.  And having some way to identify AHA members is something that's been discussed since day one and is still on the priority list.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: MrNate on August 07, 2010, 07:03:10 PM
The big thing you'll lose with that (or other email approaches) is the actual editing hours spent assembling the email in TT's very organized presentation form.

Well, at the risk of sounding presumptuous then, why not address the manpower issue with volunteer editors? Clearly there is a significant number of people who find the format useful. Would enough of those people be willing to volunteer the labor needed to maintain the format? That seems like a true test of usefulness to me.

Rather than raising dues, I mean. Those that truly find Tech Talk useful could, in theory, step up and save it.

Or (and granted I'm not familiar with the format) is there any possibility of automating at least a significant percentage of the formatting with a text parser?
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: MrNate on August 07, 2010, 07:09:15 PM
Thanks for your ideas, and that goes for everyone else, too.  I can address a couple right off the bat...we're hard at work to improve smartphone access to and use of the forum.  Drew and Fred are checking out various alternatives.  And having some way to identify AHA members is something that's been discussed since day one and is still on the priority list.

Denny, let me know if you guys want any help sorting that out. Don't know how much use I could be, but I'm available if you want me.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: dbeechum on August 07, 2010, 07:23:16 PM
We're looking at a number of different things right now and still having discussions. (Can't say we don't listen!)

As for the members thing, it's completely in the works but depends on some upgrades to the backend technology the org is using. If you've ever worked with grassroots organizations, you know the word I'm going to say and it will strike fear in your heart - Access. :)
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: MrNate on August 07, 2010, 08:13:45 PM
Not as terrifying as the phrase "herding cats," but I completely understand. Just thought I'd throw it out there.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: lucybear999 on August 07, 2010, 09:25:49 PM
As a user of both TT and the forum, I can see both sides. I really think that wherever the decision was made in the AHA to stop TT, the level of immediate visceral reaction rose well above what you guys expected. Hopefully, for the future, when it's something that has a daily send of 2500 people, you will approach it differently.

This shouldn't end up as a debate over 'cool' (pull) vs. 'geezer' (push) technology. Push technology is all around you, TV, newspapers, breaking news e-mails, etc and radio  ;D is push technology. Many of the TT users cannot access the forum (from work), as their company policies block access to any alcohol related sites. I've seen postings that represent that it takes approximately an hour to wade thru the TT topics....well simply put, that is just absurd, an hour....jeez.

Once the announcement was made, the figure $15,000 per year cost was quoted by GG. Since that time, posters that either run similar services, or are familiar with how they work, have directly challenged that figure, and suggested they be contacted to help AHA, with appropriate cost levels for this type of service. Makes one think AHA was using a little puffery, to sell the decision.

I agree that a forum is a much livelier, interactive place over something like TT, but let's not confuse that, with immediacy of response. A quick scan of the forum today, shows only a couple of messages that requested an immediate response.

Anyway, I use this and a group of other homebrew boards (B3, NB, etc) so the closing of TT won't have a great effect on my usage. I do hope whether at CP/GG level, or governing committee level, that you get the message that making unilateral decisions, behind closed doors, without prior larger member input will result in the firestorm you've seen over at TT. As it turns out, this was a major type decision that should have been handled differently.

Thanks again, to the AHA and our elected officers. You deliver on a daily basis and either do it voluntarily, or for the love of home brewing...
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: kgs on August 08, 2010, 11:56:32 AM

Once the announcement was made, the figure $15,000 per year cost was quoted by GG. Since that time, posters that either run similar services, or are familiar with how they work, have directly challenged that figure, and suggested they be contacted to help AHA, with appropriate cost levels for this type of service. Makes one think AHA was using a little puffery, to sell the decision.


My hunch is that cost refers to the staff time to view, vet, and post messages; a co-mod and I did that for several years (unpaid :) ) before the list in question went to a format that is largely self-policed. We spent about 5-10 hours each on the list every week. Move TT to a cheapo web host and set it up on Mailman with volunteer moderators to keep an eye on things, and it wouldn't cost anywhere near $15k... $200 would be more like it.

One concern would be that conversation within AHA would be "forked" between the TT crowd and the Forum crowd. My comment above about what the list I co-mod turned into refers to the fact that newer members of the profession pretty much don't use the list--they use other social media. And it's not that the newer members *need* immediacy; they just *expect* it.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: k4df4l on August 08, 2010, 12:51:05 PM
One of the reasons I joined the AHA was to support the organization that champions homebrewing and fights to make it legal and accessible to all.  My membership and participation is not just to benefit myself but hopefully to aid the homebrewing community as a whole, members and non-members.

Creating exclusive forum areas for members or taking other actions that legitimately make non-members feel like second class citizens are suggestions that I can not support.


On the subject of TT, I almost though I was transported back in time when that first email arrived ;)



Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: tschmidlin on August 08, 2010, 05:09:09 PM
I'm new to this forum, but not to forums in general.  I've enjoyed techtalk, but it's ok with me if it disappears.  One problem with techtalk from my perspective, is that it is never there when I want it to be, and stale by the time I get to it.  I don't usually learn that much from it, but I like answering questions.  But when it arrives I don't have time to read through it.  When I have time to read it, it either hasn't arrived yet or I figure Houseman's answered that question already.  On the forum I know I'm not wasting my time because I can tell who hasn't had questions answered yet rather than on TT where you often see 5 replies that say more or less the same thing.  Plus it's a lot easier to go through old topics and pick up bits of information.

There definitely seems like there's a way to keep TT around for a lot less money than the AHA is spending on it, and I'll probably subscribe to any alternate solution the AHA may come up with.  But I consider my move to the forum to be permanent.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: denny on August 08, 2010, 05:30:09 PM
Great to have you here, Tom!
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: gabetoth on August 09, 2010, 03:53:28 AM
I've followed the forum since it started, but I'm more a fan of TechTalk, one of those long-in-the-tooth geezers (actually, FYI, a 28-year-old tech-friendly journalist). I'm not here to explain or defend that preference. I'll miss TT, but I understand the reasons behind the shift.

Frankly, though, I'm pretty turned off to the idea of being part of this community after reading the responses from forum members towards those prefering TT. I don't agree with the TechTalkers who have been bashing the forum, and likewise I don't need to deal with you guys on the forum who have responded in kind.

Thanks guys; way to make this a welcoming, open place. Meanwhile, plenty of HBD users are on TT saying, "Come on in, the water's fine." Maybe you could take a lesson from that, rather than trying to belittle us dinosaurs.

Thank you, honestly, for the civility from those of you (Denny, Drew and many others) who have shown it. It's a shame a vocal minority has to frame this as an "us vs. them" issue.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: tschmidlin on August 09, 2010, 06:14:43 AM
Thanks Denny, somehow I'm not surprised that you are prolific here!
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: dbeechum on August 09, 2010, 06:26:46 AM
Gabe,

I think much of the defensiveness and snarls that we're seeing on both sides are just the end result of people's innate territorialness and protecting the reputation of their enclave.

In truth, I think the communities are really the same as long as there's a respectful approach.

Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: bluesman on August 09, 2010, 01:57:54 PM
I've followed the forum since it started, but I'm more a fan of TechTalk, one of those long-in-the-tooth geezers (actually, FYI, a 28-year-old tech-friendly journalist). I'm not here to explain or defend that preference. I'll miss TT, but I understand the reasons behind the shift.

Frankly, though, I'm pretty turned off to the idea of being part of this community after reading the responses from forum members towards those prefering TT. I don't agree with the TechTalkers who have been bashing the forum, and likewise I don't need to deal with you guys on the forum who have responded in kind.

Thanks guys; way to make this a welcoming, open place. Meanwhile, plenty of HBD users are on TT saying, "Come on in, the water's fine." Maybe you could take a lesson from that, rather than trying to belittle us dinosaurs.

Thank you, honestly, for the civility from those of you (Denny, Drew and many others) who have shown it. It's a shame a vocal minority has to frame this as an "us vs. them" issue.

Sorry to hear that you feel this way.  I hope you will have a change of heart.  If you do, I believe you will find that this is a great place to live and learn.  There are many great brewers here that love to interact and exchange brewing knowledge and information as you will find if you change your mind.  Good Luck!

Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: majorvices on August 09, 2010, 02:11:08 PM
I've followed the forum since it started, but I'm more a fan of TechTalk, one of those long-in-the-tooth geezers (actually, FYI, a 28-year-old tech-friendly journalist). I'm not here to explain or defend that preference. I'll miss TT, but I understand the reasons behind the shift.

Frankly, though, I'm pretty turned off to the idea of being part of this community after reading the responses from forum members towards those prefering TT. I don't agree with the TechTalkers who have been bashing the forum, and likewise I don't need to deal with you guys on the forum who have responded in kind.

Thanks guys; way to make this a welcoming, open place. Meanwhile, plenty of HBD users are on TT saying, "Come on in, the water's fine." Maybe you could take a lesson from that, rather than trying to belittle us dinosaurs.

Thank you, honestly, for the civility from those of you (Denny, Drew and many others) who have shown it. It's a shame a vocal minority has to frame this as an "us vs. them" issue.

I am also sorry you feel this way and hope that you would see that only a small minority of posts were even slightly antagonistic. I personally hope anything I said didn't offend anyone, I was just trying to lighten the mood a little. Wasn't trying to insult anyone so I apologize if anything I said came off unwelcoming. I certainly would like to welcome everyone to the forum, especially the TechTalkers, dinosaurs they may be.  :D ;) Seriously, I'm just kidding.

But, if I may beat my old drum again, I notice that too many of you that say you "follow the forum" don't participate. I am simply saying that you should use it before you make pronouncements on its usefulness.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: theDarkSide on August 09, 2010, 02:31:33 PM
Maybe you could head over to the "Howdy Everyone" thread in The Pub and introduce yourself.  Let us know about your brewing, what styles you like, and yourself in general.  You'd be surprised how welcoming it can be.

I don't think I said anything antagonistic when I started this thread.  I was mostly just posting my surprise at the response of TT going away.  I then posted a few examples of some of the talk over there against the forum users, but don't think I shot back. Although I was a little shocked about some of the comments from our brewing brothers and sisters.

From day one back in November, I've always felt like I've belonged, even when some of my humor and comments have been slightly inappropriate.  ( Which the mods are very efficient at controlling :) )
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: denny on August 09, 2010, 03:55:59 PM
Thank you, honestly, for the civility from those of you (Denny, Drew and many others) who have shown it. It's a shame a vocal minority has to frame this as an "us vs. them" issue.

Please keep in mind that it's a minority.  We've got a great group here.  Please hang around long enough to find out for yourself!
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: fredek on August 10, 2010, 03:25:23 PM
"The people complaining would probably prefer to be reading brewing news via UseNet over a 1200 baud modem connection to their local BBS.  Some people can't deal with change..."

This is one of the reasons I will miss TechTalk; no trash-talk flaming going on, just simple, straightforward beer-and-brewing questions and answers. As to waiting a day (or, gadzooks, a weekend) for a reply, well, with age comes patience.

I realize that everything changes and acceptance is part of adaptation, but at least I was regularly helped on TechTalk and never insulted.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: blatz on August 10, 2010, 03:31:46 PM
fredek - welcome to the forum.  I can assure you from being part of this board since week 1, that the quote you referenced is an abberation and not the norm.  if you look through the threads, you'll see that this forum is by and large 'flame free' and the folks here are very knowledgeable and helpful, including the poster of that comment.  There are plenty of forums out there that are only for the thick skinned, but this one is fairly laid back and well moderated.

And not to defend, but I think that comment was in response to a 'flame comment' made on the TT about the members of the forum  ;) .  

Glad to see you on the board, and lets just move on from all this sixth grade stuff and get back to making good beer!

Cheers!
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: denny on August 10, 2010, 03:36:46 PM
Glad to see you on the board, and lets just move on from all this sixth grade stuff and get back to making good beer!

Cheers!

I'll drink to that!  (http://www.brews-bros.com/public/style_emoticons/default/cheers.gif)
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: narvin on August 10, 2010, 04:04:05 PM
I apologize... my intent was never to insult, and that was posted here before this actually became a two-way discussion with tech talkers.  Take it as a gentle ribbing  :)

It was also directed at a small but vocal minority of the Tech Talk posters who seemed genuinely negative about using a forum without even trying it.  There are valid reasons why the email list works for some people, and I agree that there are things that can be done to make the forum work better.

As the posters above said, welcome!
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: theDarkSide on August 11, 2010, 12:35:01 AM
Ok..I just can't help myself.  Another couple points brought up in the TT email:

How do you account for the off-list email responses that occur to some posts? (Did we shoot ourselves in the foot with this one by not posting all responses to the list?)

Yes...and this is where the forum is better.  If people have been responding via email directly to the poster, the rest of the membership does not have access to that knowledge. 

You go, Louise Fugier!  Certainly your suggestion of POLLING to resolve an apparent problem is the one rational place to start

So if the membership of the AHA votes in this poll and the majority are for dismantling TT, will everyone go quietly?

I do wish the AHA would discontinue the forum and give me back my Tech Talk

You think there is a backlash now, imagine what it would be if they attempted this.

Okay, I'll stop now.  At least for tonight.   ;)

Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: majorvices on August 11, 2010, 01:23:33 AM
Unfortunately very few of the TechTalkers are reading this and most of the ones who have responded to this thread have been one and out. That's a shame. I'm sure we would all find we have much more in common than differences.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: tschmidlin on August 11, 2010, 02:44:06 AM
It's a shame that more people from techtalk don't want to embrace the forum.  It's their loss AND our loss.
Title: Tech Talk
Post by: Crispy275 on August 11, 2010, 01:39:43 PM
Over the years I have enjoyed TechTalk at varying levels of participation. When busy, whole weeks would go by without me doing much more than glancing at the topics, and then deleting it. Other times, I would fully engage in reading them, and on rare occasions, responding to specific areas where I felt I had a good knowledge base to do so. I have always felt that TT was a good product, and it wasn't by accident, but by considered and careful efforts of Ryan and the previous moderators.

At the 2010 National Homebrewers Conference, we shared the direction that the AHA was considering with regards to TechTalk and the Forum. Two or three members expressed their displeasure, and we had essentially had one-on-one conversation while 100+ people listened and occassionally chimed in. In the end, the members concerned about this direction were split. A few said that they would try the forum; at least one was still upset and expressed his displeasure. Several members indicated that they were very happy with the new website's look, feel and utility, and concurred that TT's time had come.

In retrospect, there should have been more communications early on that this was being considered. The AHA GC and AHA staff have been discussing this for many months, and not every member of the AHA GC has been in favor. But, if memory serves me correctly, 13 of us (me included) were in favor of taking advantage of the Forum's features, while 2 suggested we try to maintain both.

We delayed any actions with regards to TT while Drew, Denny and Fred investigated features that could enhance the forum, an effort that continues today. Addressing mobile application readability is one such effort, enhanced RSS features is another. During our call last night the response to TT was the primary discussion item, and it had also generated several dozen emails amoung the AHA GC and staff during the last week.

Gary has taken the discussions seriously, and while he hasn't said as much, I suspect he is taken several of the comments very personally. To be accused of being elitist or anything other than impassioned about what he does for homebrewing has to cut him to the quick. To my knowledge, there isn't another soul that I have meet that so embodies what it means to support and build a vibrant, thriving homebrewing culture. In my mind, Gary is the best thing that has happened to the American homebrewing scene and to the AHA.

In the years I have been on the GC, Gary and I have spoken one on one probably a hundred times to bounce things off of each other, provide feedback I have received from my local homebrewing community on any number of topics, to identify, prioritize and establish agenda items for the GC to consider, discuss and vote on. He has been accessable, engaged and always has had homebreers interests as his number one priority. To those who have suggested that he has acted in a vacuum, without consideration of the members wants, I can just say that this has not been so.

With the virtual doubling of membership during the last five years, the AHA still remains essentially 3.5 people: Gary, Janis, Kate and half of Jill, with assistance from other BA staffers. Their workload has been increased significantly. The AHA is far more than just Zymurgy and TechTalk. It includes an increasing amount of time and effort in legislative affairs, protecting homebrewers rights, attempting to get shipping legalized and legalizing homebrewing where it is still technically illegal. Competitions, Big Brew, Mead Day, Teach a Friend to brew, these events contribute to community building and developing awareness. Setting up and communicating AHA rallies, developing and chasing down leads for participants in the Pub Discount program, soliciting authors for topics and articles, creating and soliciting content to make the website better, etc.

Gary and the GC members have heard the concerns voiced by the recent posts and private emails by several members. In yesterday's TechTalk he suggested that any member who could build a better mouse trap to contact him. Last night Drew volunteered to take this charge and will respond on TT today to solicit those volunteers who wish to make this a reality to contact him.

Drew will lay out the necessary parameters, and those who wish to step up and help can contact him directly. I can assure anyone who feels that their voice isn't being heard that this is not the case. The opportunity for those who feel that they can  help improve the AHA with their knowledge and experience is here and now, and I hope this enables those members who currently feel disenfranchised the opportunity to step up and help show us how this can be done.

Respectfully yours,
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: passlaku on August 11, 2010, 05:31:16 PM
Most of the people I met at the NHC would complain about how tech talk just took up space in their inbox.  Likewise, I never submitted questions to TT because I always felt like it was spammy, I hate sending out mass emails.  The forum, though it takes getting used to, is a nice compromise.  For it to thrive, I'd like to ask the governing committee to encourage their colleagues on the committee to start posting.  For instance, I am thrilled to see Gordon Strong participating and will read just about anything he posts but I'd like to hear from more of the "stars" in homebrew. It would be quite exciting to start seeing some of these guys start posting here.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: theDarkSide on August 11, 2010, 05:35:06 PM
For it to thrive, I'd like to ask the governing committee to encourage their colleagues on the committee to start posting.  For instance, I am thrilled to see Gordon Strong participating and will read just about anything he posts but I'd like to hear from more of the "stars" in homebrew. It would be quite exciting to start seeing some of these guys start posting here.

Charlie P even posted once.  Talk about a rock star.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: MrNate on August 11, 2010, 05:56:44 PM
"The people complaining would probably prefer to be reading brewing news via UseNet over a 1200 baud modem connection to their local BBS.  Some people can't deal with change..."

This is one of the reasons I will miss TechTalk; no trash-talk flaming going on, just simple, straightforward beer-and-brewing questions and answers. As to waiting a day (or, gadzooks, a weekend) for a reply, well, with age comes patience.

I realize that everything changes and acceptance is part of adaptation, but at least I was regularly helped on TechTalk and never insulted.

Not to defend insults (and they seemed to be flying both ways to me), but the thing I like most about homebrewing forums, and this one in particular, is that having an "off topic" section affords the opportunity to BS around with fellow homebrewers apart from the nuts-and-bolts of brewing. You'll rarely find me posting elsewhere, in fact.

There is simple, straightforward advice to be had here on this forum - but The Pub is not where you'd be likely to find it. Just a point for any TT aficionados who happen across this thread.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: denny on August 11, 2010, 06:34:49 PM
For it to thrive, I'd like to ask the governing committee to encourage their colleagues on the committee to start posting.  For instance, I am thrilled to see Gordon Strong participating and will read just about anything he posts but I'd like to hear from more of the "stars" in homebrew. It would be quite exciting to start seeing some of these guys start posting here.

I'm likewise extremely happy to see Gordon, Tom Schmidlin, and Susan Ruud starting to post here.  Hope I didn't leave anybody out!  All GC members have been encouraged to post, but that's a personal commitment that will depend on their time.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: tschmidlin on August 11, 2010, 07:07:36 PM
For it to thrive, I'd like to ask the governing committee to encourage their colleagues on the committee to start posting.  For instance, I am thrilled to see Gordon Strong participating and will read just about anything he posts but I'd like to hear from more of the "stars" in homebrew. It would be quite exciting to start seeing some of these guys start posting here.

I'm likewise extremely happy to see Gordon, Tom Schmidlin, and Susan Ruud starting to post here.  Hope I didn't leave anybody out!  All GC members have been encouraged to post, but that's a personal commitment that will depend on their time.
Thanks Denny, it's good to see you posting here too! :)  And Drew, and Kai, and Fred, and really a bunch of people I didn't know before but am getting to know through their posts.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: animaldoc on August 13, 2010, 03:31:33 AM
Frankly, though, I'm pretty turned off to the idea of being part of this community after reading the responses from forum members towards those prefering TT. I don't agree with the TechTalkers who have been bashing the forum, and likewise I don't need to deal with you guys on the forum who have responded in kind.

Thank you, honestly, for the civility from those of you (Denny, Drew and many others) who have shown it. It's a shame a vocal minority has to frame this as an "us vs. them" issue.

I've been reading through the posts on this thread tonight as a fan of TT who prefers that format to the forum from an expediency-for-my-limited-available-time homebrewer perspective.

This post struck me as very interesting.  I see two groups of people responding in reactionary fashion to protect their own turf.  TT readers insulted that their preferred form of communication was arbitrarily being taken away (I'm describing the perspective, not necessarily the facts) and the Forum users ridiculing the TT users as old timers with slow modems who would prefer a BBS format (an analogy I must admit I find quite humorous, having navigated "a maze of twisty little passages, all alike" via acoutstic modem on my father's company mainframe when I was a child).

Both sides reacting similarly.  Perhaps we have more in common than we thought <g>.

As gabetoth stated, I also would like to thank the Governing Committee and everyone else who has been thoughtful and  respectful in the discussion of this issue. 

One thing that has become very clear to me is that our GC is listening to the feelings and desires of it's membership.  Regardless of the final outcome it's good to know.

I personally don't think the Forum is bad .... I've used it (and others) and I think it is a valuable resource.  I feel the same way about TechTalk.  Both have pros and cons.  I just like one better than the other.  Is that a bad thing?  Clearly there are a significant number of people who find TechTalk to be a useful tool.  And they use it every day.  Just like the Forum users.

I'm embarassed by the "take my ball and go home" tone of some of the responses that were posted to TechTalk.  I almost didn't get involved in the discussion because of it.  Not the most mature way of handling things, but often the reaction of those who feel they have no other choice if they want to get someone's attention.
 
Both sides now have an opportunity to elevate the maturity level of the discussion -- both sides are being heard.

I'm pleased that alternatives are being sought to keep TechTalk alive.  Just because there is a Forum doesn't mean we don't need TechTalk and vice-versa.

-- Scott

Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: Joe Sr. on August 13, 2010, 04:21:43 PM
Unfortunately very few of the TechTalkers are reading this and most of the ones who have responded to this thread have been one and out. 

Perhaps this is simply reflective of different usage patterns by different groups.

If 2500 people are reading TT, there are certainly not 2500 people responding or posting questions.  Perhaps it's generally a more passive group (this is not a negative).  I would note - as an aside - that there are only 1400 or so views of this thread and a small core of active posters.

Same with the "one and out" as to usage patterns.  TT does not typically follow as a conversation (or debate) in the fashion that a forum does, so perhaps us TT users are more inclined to simply say our piece and move on, rather than engage in a back-and-forth.

Damn you, you're pulling me into the forum...
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: tschmidlin on August 13, 2010, 05:29:59 PM
Damn you, you're pulling me into the forum...
Resistance is futile . . .
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: majorvices on August 13, 2010, 05:54:48 PM

Damn you, you're pulling me into the forum...

Bwahahaha! I'm glad.  ;)
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: bluesman on August 13, 2010, 09:33:46 PM

Damn you, you're pulling me into the forum...

Bwahahaha! I'm glad.  ;)

Keith...you have a knack for doing such.   ;)
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: joelambic on August 14, 2010, 06:23:26 AM
I'll finally weigh in.  I like TT for a couple of reasons.  First, it is only open to AHA members and has been marketed as a perk of membership.  There has been talk of a members'-only section of the website but I don't think there is a plan to have one on the forum.  If the forum replaces TT and is open to all, how is this a perk for members?  Those AHA members who prefer the forum and see little value in TT don't have to subscribe to it.  Second, I like having something in my mailbox rather than having to go out to search the forum.  Official AHA communications could easily be posted to both.

I have been on the forum pretty much since it started.  I, however, have not always made an effort to check in regularly so when I do stop in after a long period have a huge amount of threads to sift through to catch up.  I do make use of the unread link rather than sifting through all sub-forums so this helps but a hiatus of even a couple of days results in several pages of topics to go through.  Top this off with the several other forums I like to check and this can take the better part of a day to process.

I think both the forum and TT have a place within the AHA.  Comments on both sides that more or less make fun of the other are not productive.  Also, I see on the forum, several people trying to make "jokes".  These rarely come across as intended in an online format so tend to get misinterpreted.  Can't we all just accept this and stop the comments lauding or denigrating one or the other?  Let the individual choose what they want.

On a side note, my club has had a long-standing list server (not moderated or only in digest form).  We have started discussing whether or not to implement a forum and/or wiki to supplement the email list.  We however will likely not replace the email list.  Unlike TT, our list is hosted for free by a local entity and we don't have people spending time compiling and editing emails into a concise digest.  Regardless, the club organizers see each having their place rather than one having to replace the other.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on August 14, 2010, 10:57:57 PM
I like TT for a couple of reasons.  First, it is only open to AHA members and has been marketed as a perk of membership.  There has been talk of a members'-only section of the website but I don't think there is a plan to have one on the forum.  If the forum replaces TT and is open to all, how is this a perk for members?

I read both TT and I participate in AHA forum.
Not to sound negative but I do not consider TT as a perk of membership.
I would consider perk if I have all Zymurgy magazines available and searchable.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: ullarsskald1989 on August 15, 2010, 07:43:19 PM
Resistance is futile . . .

"Oh bother!" said the Borg, as they assimilated Pooh.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: theDarkSide on August 18, 2010, 11:58:06 AM
Post from 8/17/10 Tech Talk:

  Forums are great for people who don't have a life.
   :D

Brewer's Code Rule #1 - Don't be a D$$$...learn it, live it.

Oh wait, he probably has a life so he isn't reading this.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: majorvices on August 18, 2010, 12:10:56 PM
I have to admit, the whole "if you spend time on a forum you don't have a life" gets on my nerves. For instance. I have 2 boys - one's in Cub Scouts and one plays Football, both are straight "A" students, both play instruments. Both are well behaved and I spend a lot of time with them.

I also have 2 dogs that I walk 2Xs a day,  I live on 7 acres of mountain-wilderness land (with a wilderness the size of the smoky mountains behind my house), I don't have cable TV, don't watch any TV except for during football season, I run between 20 and 30 miles a week. I hike 2 or 3 times a week. Lift weights regularly. Read every day. I'm a frequent backpacker, going out between 2 and 5 nights at a time. And and I ride a motorcycle and do freelance work for a living. Oh, and have I ever mentioned I'm also a homebrewer???

And I have around 1200 posts on this forum (and more on others.) Gosh darn-it!! How much more of a life do I need??? :-\
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: joeysmokedporter on August 18, 2010, 12:21:59 PM
Major--

you're making me rethink my own life!

After seeing responses both here in the forum and on TT, I'm convinced that there will unfortunately be a small population of people who won't change their minds and will provide reasons like "people on the forum don't have a life"--whether valid or invalid--as a way to justify not changing.  However, I've also seen a number of responses (again here and on TT) indicating that there are a significant number of people that will give it a shot.

While I hope ultimately as many people move on with this as possible (given tools like RSS to help with keeping up, which I would add is really helpful to me personally), I'm guessing that at least a few will not, no matter what case is made.  Personally I'm more than willing to learn from and help other brewers regardless of the technology platform.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: bluesman on August 18, 2010, 12:28:44 PM
In regards to Post from 8/17/10 Tech Talk:

"Forums are great for people who don't have a life"


I find that statement to be blindly judgemental.  It's also considered stereotyping IMHO. 

However everyone is entitled to their own opinion. 

Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: majorvices on August 18, 2010, 12:50:03 PM
Major--

Don't worry Joey - your posts will increase eventually.  :P :D Seriously though, I'm sure you are right. There's simply going to be a group of people who are going to hold on to TT and not really give the forum a try. Thats a shame. What's really a shame is how this is being turned into "US" and "THEM" - it really should just be "US". Too bad for everyone I fear.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: Dan on August 18, 2010, 06:30:19 PM
I've been part of other online groups that have moved from one platform to another and each time you lose members along the way. It could be that some are still stuck on the old way, sometimes it's just the inability to visit the community due to an IT restriction or it's that people were inactive members and now that they have to make an effort to rejoin the group they won't.

Personally, the hardest part about using the forum is just not knowing who's who. Over the years, I've gotten accustom to people's names and their email addresses. Yet, the forum allows people to pick a name that they'd like displayed and most people are picking things other than their name or some what they used on TT. Yes, I'll eventually learn to equate majorvices, bluesman, theDarkSide, Thirsty_Monk, etc. with some meaning but for those just starting with the forum it can feel strange and uninviting.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: gordonstrong on August 18, 2010, 06:53:51 PM
Maybe it would be beneficial for AHA members (at least) to put their real names somewhere in their profile so it's either displayed on the left side or at the bottom of message.  I don't mind online handles and avatars and such. 

I notice some people have started doing this and it helps.  I like to know who I'm talking to in case I run into them in another venue, or in case someone follows up via normal email. 

Nothing that needs to be enforced, but perhaps a valuable community standard.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: tschmidlin on August 18, 2010, 07:01:10 PM
Good call Gordon.  Mine should be updated in my sig now, not that there are too many Schmidlin's on the forum.  Or in general.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: Me on August 18, 2010, 07:20:37 PM
There is also the option to give everyone a quick run-down of who you are under the Homebrewers Bio category. Just throwing that out there...
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: bluesman on August 18, 2010, 07:25:14 PM
Maybe it would be beneficial for AHA members (at least) to put their real names somewhere in their profile so it's either displayed on the left side or at the bottom of message.  I don't mind online handles and avatars and such. 

I notice some people have started doing this and it helps.  I like to know who I'm talking to in case I run into them in another venue, or in case someone follows up via normal email. 

Nothing that needs to be enforced, but perhaps a valuable community standard.

Especially if your name is Gordon Strong.   ;D

...but I definitely agree with this logic.  I also like to associate a persons real name with a username.
I think it can hold value.  
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: majorvices on August 18, 2010, 07:31:54 PM
My name has always been on every post I make. You have to exchange beer with me to get the last name, though.  ;)

Speaking of "winkies" and emoticons I have noticed that a lot of TTers feel uncomfortable about them (a few have mentioned "it ain;t their bag" and so forth), and I used to be the same way. I do realize that they kind seem like something a 7 year old girl would scribble in a note passed in English Lit., but I have also come to realize they do a very good job of communicating when you are being serious or not.  :)
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: tschmidlin on August 18, 2010, 07:34:19 PM
My name has always been on every post I make. You have to exchange beer with me to get the last name, though.  ;)
You mean your last name isn't Prosit? :)

Yes, I know what it means . . .
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: majorvices on August 18, 2010, 07:38:38 PM
Mein nachname ist nicht "prosit". ;)
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: hopfenundmalz on August 18, 2010, 08:03:46 PM
On my signature, AHA member has been added.

The comments on TT have been interesting.  I have found that I do not have a life.  I really thought it was called retirement!
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: bluesman on August 18, 2010, 08:08:30 PM
but I have also come to realize they do a very good job of communicating when you are being serious or not.  :)

I'll second that Keith. 

The emoticon is a means to communicate a certain tone to a statement. Without them we would be communicating with a handicap.  They are very useful when conveying a level of emotion to a message.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: rabid_dingo on August 18, 2010, 09:57:22 PM
Maybe it would be beneficial for AHA members (at least) to put their real names somewhere in their profile so it's either displayed on the left side or at the bottom of message.  I don't mind online handles and avatars and such.  

I notice some people have started doing this and it helps.  I like to know who I'm talking to in case I run into them in another venue, or in case someone follows up via normal email.  

Nothing that needs to be enforced, but perhaps a valuable community standard.

My name is in my signature below. It stems from a similar thread in the Northern Brewer forum regarding
anonymity. It seems that there are those that would not like to identify themselves for fears from the real
world versus the internet world. So..

Hello Tech Talker's My name is Ruben. Thanks for checking out "the Forum."

Edit: then I realize I never had it in this forum. So I added it !
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: majorvices on August 18, 2010, 11:07:51 PM
I think it is awesome that you are named after my favorite sandwich. ;)
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: rabid_dingo on August 18, 2010, 11:45:36 PM
Never had one. I have promised not to have one until my Brew Buddy, who is from the Bronx, takes me to New York to have one.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: majorvices on August 19, 2010, 12:06:57 AM
Damn good choice!! I grew up a couple hours outside of NYC and that's the place to find a good one!!
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: MrNate on August 19, 2010, 12:23:01 AM
My name is Nate and I'm a homebrewer.
(Hello, Nate)

I try to avoid emoticons because I like people to think I'm serious when I say dumb crap.

My last name is of little consequence, because I am not now nor ever hope to be anyone of import in the homebrewing community. It's not that hard to find, though, if you really want to stalk me. Be warned that if you do, you'd better have beer, Jeep parts, or a nice pair of X chromosomes.

I manage my branding online. On all forums I am MrNate, because it's been universally available thus far. Where I can, I use my logo as my avatar. If I go to beer events, I wear my logo T-shirt.

And howdy to all the new TT folks!
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: majorvices on August 19, 2010, 02:48:20 AM
My name is Nate and I'm a homebrewer. :)
(Hello, Nate) ;D

I try to avoid emoticons because I like people to think I'm serious when I say dumb crap. :D

My last name is of little consequence, >:( because I am not now nor ever hope to be anyone of import in the homebrewing community ::). It's not that hard to find, though, if you really want to stalk me :'(. Be warned that if you do, you'd better have beer, Jeep parts, or a nice pair of X chromosomes.  :-*

I manage my branding online. 8) On all forums I am MrNate, because it's been universally available thus far. :D Where I can, I use my logo as my avatar.  ;) If I go to beer events, I wear my logo T-shirt. 8)

And howdy to all the new TT folks! :D
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: MrNate on August 19, 2010, 05:05:56 AM
I see the lager is flowing tonight.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: bluesman on August 19, 2010, 10:18:47 AM
I see the lager is flowing tonight.

His name is Keith and he's a homebrewer.  ;)
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: majorvices on August 19, 2010, 12:00:48 PM
I see the lager is flowing tonight.

Good guess! Doppelbock as a matter of fact. I about out of everything else.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: MrNate on August 19, 2010, 09:41:08 PM
Well good on ya, then. I actually have a half decent lager on tap right now.

Come up to Jersey and grab a pint. No, on second thought, don't. It is a silly place.
Title: Re: The Demise of TechTalk
Post by: chumley on August 23, 2010, 10:53:09 PM
hahhahaaa....TechTalk is going away! This is the first I've heard of it.

I have always hated TechTalk....I've subscribed since 2004, and read maybe 5% of the issues. Most go into an e-mail folder where they never get read.

Those I have read, have been of very little value. Sometimes very poor information.

I used to read the HBD daily until TechTalk seemed to siphon away all of the HBD readers, except for 5-10 old hardocres.  Those whining about losing TechTalk, should migrate over there.