Author Topic: The Demise of TechTalk  (Read 7642 times)

Offline Dan

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Re: The Demise of TechTalk
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2010, 08:24:29 AM »
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.

Offline bluesman

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Re: The Demise of TechTalk
« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2010, 08:31:14 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.


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.
Ron Price

Offline majorvices

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Re: The Demise of TechTalk
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2010, 08:33:03 AM »
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.
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Offline denny

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Re: The Demise of TechTalk
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2010, 08:39:50 AM »
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.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: The Demise of TechTalk
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2010, 08:59:48 AM »
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?!
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Offline Matt B

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Re: The Demise of TechTalk
« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2010, 09:42:37 AM »

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


Offline bluesman

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Re: The Demise of TechTalk
« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2010, 10:02:08 AM »
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.
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Offline dhacker

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Re: The Demise of TechTalk
« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2010, 10:14:56 AM »
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 . .   
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Offline Dan

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Re: The Demise of TechTalk
« Reply #23 on: August 06, 2010, 11:06:48 AM »
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?

Offline chaz

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Re: The Demise of TechTalk
« Reply #24 on: August 06, 2010, 11:12:06 AM »
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/

Offline denny

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Re: The Demise of TechTalk
« Reply #25 on: August 06, 2010, 11:15:37 AM »
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!
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Offline jkeeler

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Re: The Demise of TechTalk
« Reply #26 on: August 06, 2010, 11:49:17 AM »
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
« Last Edit: August 06, 2010, 12:53:30 PM by jkeeler »
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Offline majorvices

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Re: The Demise of TechTalk
« Reply #27 on: August 06, 2010, 11:53:22 AM »
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.
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Offline bonjour

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Re: The Demise of TechTalk
« Reply #28 on: August 06, 2010, 11:54:03 AM »
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.
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Offline theDarkSide

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Re: The Demise of TechTalk
« Reply #29 on: August 06, 2010, 12:00:49 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.
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