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rbgarr
03-18-2011, 09:00 PM
From the April/May (number 130) issue of Professional Boatbuilder magazine. Worth reading if you get the magazine.

"Parting Shot
by Eric Sponberg A naval architect has reservations about the culture he found in Internet boat-design forums obsessed with finding easy answers and instant gratification."

dld
03-18-2011, 10:42 PM
Internet boat-design forums obsessed with finding instant answers and easy gratification."

maybe he meant to say this instead

john welsford
03-18-2011, 11:00 PM
maybe he meant to say this instead

They are a mixed blessing for sure, too many who are prepared to put forward opinions that have little basis in fact but which they present as being from an authoritative source. The problem being that many novices come hat in hand hoping to learn, but there is a good chance that some of the advice they take will not be in their best interests.

John Welsford

PeterSibley
03-18-2011, 11:33 PM
A bit like life in general ,a decent BS detector can be a life saver .

I have to admit to liking multiple source confirmation ... personal first , books second and the net thirdly .

gilberj
03-19-2011, 12:46 AM
I hung around the Boat Design Forum for a bit. Actually I still visit regularly but frankly many of the the NA's are often abusive and rude. Some of these are not actually NA's but actually Boat Designers, which is different There is a self assessed superiority which is very tiresome, and frankly boring. One might wonder if there are personal confidence issues lurking behind the bullying. A lot of other folk have equivalent credentials, but as soon as you put the word design in the mix, these guys think their word is holy......If you don't submit they gang up on you.....
I like the work of some of these people, but that abuse is really too much. I pretty much stopped posting, because so often there was a fight with some really unpleasant things being posted.
By the way JW, since you are here, I have alway really appreciated the care and respect you have used on these forums.

Roger Long
03-19-2011, 05:48 AM
Some of these are not actually NA's but actually Boat Designers, which is different.

I have seen some spectacular screw ups by degree holding Naval Architects during my career. Although I taught myself and learned on the job, I managed to get through a whole career (three months from getting in my boat and going off the grid, I guess I can say that now) without embarrassing myself.

Eric's comment applies equally to the whole Internet. As for experts, I've spent a lot of time during my career sitting in meetings listening to experts on one side of a table saying one thing and people with equal knowledge and experience on the other side saying something exactly opposite.

Peerie Maa
03-19-2011, 06:25 AM
I have seen some spectacular screw ups by degree holding Naval Architects during my career. Although I taught myself and learned on the job, I managed to get through a whole career (three months from getting in my boat and going off the grid, I guess I can say that now) without embarrassing myself.

Eric's comment applies equally to the whole Internet. As for experts, I've spent a lot of time during my career sitting in meetings listening to experts on one side of a table saying one thing and people with equal knowledge and experience on the other side saying something exactly opposite.

Thats it with experts. There is the old saying "Put six experts round a table, you'll get eight opinions".

My view is that a good professional will stay silent if they are unsure if the facts of an issue.

Tom Lathrop
03-19-2011, 08:16 AM
Internet forums are a mixed bag for certain but if you hang around long enough you develop a filter that can sort it out. Unfortunately too many beginners look at it as the first, and sometimes only, source of information. That and reliance on computer CAD without understanding are two main problems. Still, it is not really different from before when we always had the blind leading the blind.

Sailor
03-19-2011, 03:46 PM
The filter you're talking about is I believe a modicum of research, study and a handful of experience thrown in. Enough to make you dangerous as they say. Just know that you don't know it all and you can sort out what you need from the masses of info out there. And besides, mistakes happen right! :D

Hwyl
03-19-2011, 03:52 PM
Perhaps emperor Eric needs to check his wardrobe

Woxbox
03-19-2011, 03:56 PM
In the long run, I believe the conversation is good, and these forums allow people to join in conversation (with experts and idiots alike) that would never happen otherwise. In the old days, when all you could do was read books and magazines, success was never assured, either.

W Grabow
03-19-2011, 05:33 PM
I have followed such exchanges on boat design forums and have seen what I consider to be the helpful, the questionable, and the personal comments. That is what you get when people get together to trade opinions. Nothing exceptional to me. I have enjoyed Eric's comments; you do see amateurs seeking quick answers.. I have seen an expert go after a lesser credentialed poster with harsh criticism, but figured that most readers know when the criticism is warranted and when the comments just lower others' opinions of the poster. As has been said, some independent research and experience is helpful as a BS detector.

stewart711
03-19-2011, 08:17 PM
Whats his issue? Not getting enough work because of the forums. Easy answers and instant gratification? Insane. Look at the quality of work you guys do. It's only as dangerous as the reader is stupid. Sounds like congress needs to pass bill to ban forums. Rank it in importance with the child drowning on the spackle bucket warning or banning smoking in pool halls.

Peter Malcolm Jardine
03-19-2011, 08:55 PM
Without reading the entire article, I can't comment on the author's individual stake in all this. I would say that the internet is a double edged sword. On one hand, we have instant access to a very wide range of information on almost any subject there is. The problem is that the internet has no vetting system, so there is no way of knowing what is good information and what isn't. When someone publishes a paper in a journal, or a book that expands our knowledge of a subject, that opinion becomes available for a real critique by the appropriate peer group. The internet has a huge range of information that is absolutely worthless, and yet it is touted as reliable, simply because no recognized peer refutes the post. Evidence of that problem arises here all the time. Sadly, it also drives away reputable people from internet forums because they don't want to argue with the idiots.

I like to think I have the cognitive skills to recognize good from bad, but that suggests that I might have a foundation in whatever knowledge I am seeking. Sometimes that isn't the case.

In the end, there are a lot of people who don't do anything particularly well, and they're proud of it.

S B
03-19-2011, 09:42 PM
If you leave the word "boat" out of it, for a moment, any design is a solution to a particular set of problems. Those schooled, solve new problems with old solutions and have to defend their knowledge base. The untrained,on the other hand,have the freedom to explore any option, and the "possibility" exists for a creative solution. I don't trust anyone you can smell the library dust off of.|:)

gilberj
03-20-2011, 12:42 AM
The abuse and rudeness is seldom if ever really warranted. I do not think anyone is bothered by a negative comment. "I think bla-bla which is contrary to your statement, and think it for the following reasons",......you can have a frank discussion without being abusive. "you are an idiot and know nothing of what you speak, and should shut up....."
These people diminish themselves.....If we put up with that behavior it becomes normal. I am not interested.

peter radclyffe
03-20-2011, 12:52 AM
ive been designing boats for 40 years but i never had much of an outlet to present them before this forum and boatdesign, it has changed my life, and ive designed 10 boats last year largely because i dont have much work and i can present them on the net

Wooden Boat Fittings
03-20-2011, 06:37 AM
A) Good on you Peter, and go for it.

B) I'm with Gil on the "up-you-I'm-God" attitude of some boat designers (at least one of them here,) but also with his view about John Welsford who's a fish from an entirely different kettle....

Mike

Ian McColgin
03-20-2011, 07:26 AM
SB is right [#15], those unshackled by training can improve the scheel keel of a thirty footer by making a 3 foot wide 2000# end plate and having the keel width at attachment to the hull a svelt 3".

Duane Brown
03-20-2011, 07:54 AM
I, personally, am very thankful that design forums exist. I have hung around here for over a decade and have enjoyed almost every minute. I am also thankful that smart, educated, intelligent designers also choose to contribute here. The way I filter out what is BS is to only act on the advice of people who have never had anybody disagree with, or prove wrong, any advice they have put forward, and usually I can confirm what they have said with my meager library . Like Peter said above, multiple source confirmation is the ticket for me too. However, I will always at least consider most of the rest. Some people will have flashes of brilliance at times and I think they shouuld be given due consideration. Generally speaking though, if it's something I have not heard here, from the people I personally respect, I usually ignore it.
I need this place because, really, I am not that good at this boatbuilding thing but I do enjoy it greatly. I would never presume to advise anyone though. I would never try to design a boat on my own.
As far as the attitudes of some designers and people who aren't designers but do think they are, well, what I see is that the people who aren't but think they are, are usually the most rude and the ones who actually are and do know what they are doing are just down right mean sometimes to people who are less, lets say, educated in the ways of building boats, of which I am one. Here a while back when all of the talk about the bilge was going on ( I personally think the bilge should not be here ) a guy wrote me a pm about his views on it and I wrote back and somehow got into how some of the people here are what I termed "elitist" and were very rude to people who were less knowledgable than themselves and that I thought that that was not the way the woodenboat forum should be. Well, he has not responded to any further pm's from me, not even about non-bilge related matters. I think he got mad. I told him though that I did not consider him to be turned that way and that I always thought that he was always polite and helpful to newcomers and people who needed help, even when they had a repetitive question, as newbs sometimes do.
Many of you who have posted to this thread are among those who's opinions I hold in high regard and are those who I am greatful are here because you are the ones who generally seem to know what you are talking about and above all are usually very helpful, aren't rude or have a big head. Hope you are always here.

ILikeRust
03-20-2011, 09:29 AM
Thats it with experts. There is the old saying "Put six experts round a table, you'll get eight opinions".

Just remember, an ex-spurt is just a former drip under pressure.

peter radclyffe
03-20-2011, 09:57 AM
Duane, thank you for posting, i have been sneered at for most of my life by yotties and designers for being a shipwright,
i have met some pleasant yotties and designers but i cannot understand why so many of them are arrogant snobs
but if you or anyone else wants to design a boat i think you should,
most people who have been around boats for long enough have an idea of their ideal boat, length, beam, draught, type of hull and rig,
how they would fit the deck and interior

bla bla

Tomcat
03-20-2011, 12:17 PM
At a certain level he is almost certain to be correct. Of course there is an abundance of nonsense. Technical people of the right sort get put out when one error comes across their desk, let alone a few hundred per page.

"They are a mixed blessing for sure, too many who are prepared to put forward opinions that have little basis in fact but which they present as being from an authoritative source."

Unfortunately that describes quite a few well known boat designers of the lifetime of knowing what works school also. In some rather prominent cases. There has been a convergence of the coming to market of new design technology that some older designers have been slow to adopt: with, the emergence of new boat design regs in places like the EC; and some other stuff. It has been a bit like Toto pulling back the curtain. There must be designers working for larger companies, with actual engineering budgets, etc... Who work in different way and may be legitimately concerned about the back of the envelope (best case) scene.

Bill Huson
03-20-2011, 06:40 PM
There may be truth in the man's statement, but I feel it is a narrow view. I read books on boat building, and prowl the internet which contains lots of info outside of forums. What a forum offers is opinions - lots of opinions, and experience which many are willing to share.

My building space available limits me to under 18' boats, and in that size I prefer the status quo, which is wide open freedom to totally mess up with a crappy design or build. One of last frontiers available for those of us who are borderline mad. So your creation doesn't work as planned - hey, bet you had fun building it. My darling daughter expressed a fear that she might break the Cat I built her, and I said, "It's wood, we can fix it, or burn it and build a better one."

Wooden Boat Fittings
03-20-2011, 07:56 PM
The designer of this vessel was not a naval architect. He wouldn't even describe himself as a boat designer, just a simple boatwright. It's hard for me to imagine anything in its class more beautiful and at the same time more functional--


http://www.woodenboatfittings.com.au/public/al-berthed-s.jpg
But I confess to being biased.

Mike

Lew Barrett
03-20-2011, 08:28 PM
On the whole I think the exchanges here are on a very useful plane, and while there may be frequent disagreement in respect to "what is best" chaff doesn't stand for long.

As a corollary of that, I have learned more here by being wrong than by being right all the time. I think punk answers don't stand for long. When the forum is working at it's very best, one might even expect a quiet nudge in the form of a PM from a better informed member. I think the comment may be true, but doesn't grant enough intelligence to most readers. People are able to figure out the better advice as a rule, I think and that makes places like this very useful indeed.

snow(Alan H)
03-20-2011, 08:36 PM
Agree completely Lew - the NZ CYA forum is bloody useless as a resource / help source, I have gathered so many useful tips & sage advice on the WBF. You just have to put the bull_ _it goggles on at times.

Cheers Alan

gilberj
03-20-2011, 08:58 PM
I'd like to clarify something in my earlier post about abusive posts. This problem is seldom found in the Woodenboat Forum. I found it kind of general fair on the Boat Design Forum. I wonder what is the difference in the demographic, or did otherwise discerning people somehow become defensive when the whole forum was dedicated to something this close and personal.
I have a number of good friends who are Naval Architects, and a few others who are Boat Designers. The rudeness is not a character flaw shared by the whole profession.

S B
03-20-2011, 09:12 PM
The problem, in arrogance among pros, is that they have the tendency to defend their decisions with "who the f--- are you to challenge me",instead of defending the individual action. It is a universal problem, evident in all trades,and not likely to resolve itself,in the near future.

john welsford
03-20-2011, 11:26 PM
Thank you for the compliment.
John Welsford


I hung around the Boat Design Forum for a bit. Actually I still visit regularly but frankly many of the the NA's are often abusive and rude. Some of these are not actually NA's but actually Boat Designers, which is different There is a self assessed superiority which is very tiresome, and frankly boring. One might wonder if there are personal confidence issues lurking behind the bullying. A lot of other folk have equivalent credentials, but as soon as you put the word design in the mix, these guys think their word is holy......If you don't submit they gang up on you.....
I like the work of some of these people, but that abuse is really too much. I pretty much stopped posting, because so often there was a fight with some really unpleasant things being posted.
By the way JW, since you are here, I have alway really appreciated the care and respect you have used on these forums.

PeterSibley
03-21-2011, 12:22 AM
Duane, thank you for posting, i have been sneered at for most of my life by yotties and designers for being a shipwright,
i have met some pleasant yotties and designers but i cannot understand why so many of them are arrogant snobs
but if you or anyone else wants to design a boat i think you should,
most people who have been around boats for long enough have an idea of their ideal boat, length, beam, draught, type of hull and rig,
how they would fit the deck and interior

bla bla

Good Grief ....why would they do that ? Someone who actually knows how to fix their toys !! I'll bet fishermen don't sneer...they're too interested in talking you into a cheap repair .:D

mmd
03-23-2011, 07:17 AM
Well, ain't this a minefield of a topic!! Yes, some NA's are arrogant, just as some boaters & boatbuilders are woefully ignorant. Both sides have no shortage of stubbornness. But to focus on one reason why most of these design threads go awry, why-oh-why must people of both stripes feel obligated to denigrate the aesthetics of a design that doesn't suit their notions of what constitutes a beautiful boat? If the design is seaworthy, safe, and the apple of the owner or designer's eye, it is a fine design whether it is a Bolger Plybox or a radical superyacht. It is perfectly acceptable - even encouraged - to discus the form, function and engineering of a vessel design in civil discourse, but why do some folks feel the need to denigrate what they don't like or don't understand?

And a shot before I crawl back under my rock - Naval Architects are no more needed to design boats such as that pretty rowboat pictured in the post above by Wooden Boat Fittings than seat-of-the-pants engineering is what is needed in designing a radar and communications mast on an ocean-going ship. (Here comes the NA arrogance...) If you don't understand why, then you do not know enough about the subtleties of both to venture an opinion. Ask questions, read, learn of course, but keep your scathing opinions to yourself until you understand the subject as well as the designer does.

And to leave you with something to let you know that I (hopefully) don't take myself too seriously, my favourite comment about my profession:

"Why do you have to study architecture to know about belly buttons?"

Keep on talkin' about boats, but keep your words soft and sweet, 'cause you never know when you are going to have to eat them...


Michael

ILikeRust
03-23-2011, 07:33 AM
The abuse and rudeness is seldom if ever really warranted. I do not think anyone is bothered by a negative comment. "I think bla-bla which is contrary to your statement, and think it for the following reasons",......you can have a frank discussion without being abusive. "you are an idiot and know nothing of what you speak, and should shut up....."
These people diminish themselves.....If we put up with that behavior it becomes normal. I am not interested.

Too late... it seems, much to my dismay, that it has indeed become normal. Rare is the person these days who is constitutionally able to engage in an honest, respectful but geniune and deep disagreement. The internet certainly is no help in that regard. It's easy to be a flaming a$%hoo(e when you're completely anonymous.

McMike
03-23-2011, 07:36 AM
My view is that a good professional will stay silent if they are unsure if the facts of an issue.

I think these are words to live by, I'm still practicing.:o

ILikeRust
03-23-2011, 07:36 AM
If you leave the word "boat" out of it, for a moment, any design is a solution to a particular set of problems. Those schooled, solve new problems with old solutions and have to defend their knowledge base. The untrained,on the other hand,have the freedom to explore any option, and the "possibility" exists for a creative solution. I don't trust anyone you can smell the library dust off of.|:)

OTOH, the schooled benefit from learning the amassed knowledge of many who have gone before them and who have taken the time to preserve and convey that knowledge to others. Perhaps the most important knowledge passed along is what does NOT work - and why it doesn't. Yes, experience is a great teacher - provided you're still alive after the experience to have learned from it. The "creative" newbie revelling in the "freedom to explore any option" might, , in many cases, do well to learn from the mistakes and accumulated knowledge of others.

There were legitimate reasons for the old guild/apprentice/journeyman/master system.

erster
03-23-2011, 07:57 AM
Where is my really big grin and laughing obsessively creature when I need it, not because of what has been said here but what this topic brings to mind of what was discussed a few years back on this very forum.

A non wallpaper injuneer ;) the supposed next step down from being "an expert" in the field of boats a "SHIPWRIGHT" was telling the folks here that if a person did not belong to a union specifically dedicated to proving ones credentials in boats, they were not to be let into a yard that they worked in or oversaw the daily operations either.

Arrogance comes in many forms indeed. Frankly over time and as I age out of my turn around the sun, nothing surprises me. Each day is a challenge to figure out what works best for an individual, which will probably not be the way that someone else would do the same job either.

If you got to time fret and worry about what other folks think about your approach or even how someone is not doing something right, then you probably are wasting your time that day too. Attempting to be the last man standing on an internet forum will probably not change anyone's point of view either.

Michael D. Storey
03-23-2011, 08:02 AM
They are a mixed blessing for sure, too many who are prepared to put forward opinions that have little basis in fact but which they present as being from an authoritative source. The problem being that many novices come hat in hand hoping to learn, but there is a good chance that some of the advice they take will not be in their best interests.

John Welsford

Now that you mention it, I can not (not to say that it has never happened) remember reading here a note beginning with 'I guess you could try....' And this so everso goes for political and historical comments. I do not find fault with opinion and creative guesses, but when they are handed down as stone tablets, their value diminishes.

peterchech
03-23-2011, 10:21 AM
I'd like to clarify something in my earlier post about abusive posts. This problem is seldom found in the Woodenboat Forum. I found it kind of general fair on the Boat Design Forum. I wonder what is the difference in the demographic, or did otherwise discerning people somehow become defensive when the whole forum was dedicated to something this close and personal.

AMEN

I rarely if ever go onto boatdesign.net, because of all the nasty people there. This forum is very nice, though I suspect it may have to do with the average age of its members :-)

As far as the importance of these forums, without them I would not be building anything. For sure, no doubt about it. Books are great, but they are limited in their use and interpretation. The forum, with its question and answer format, is priceless for people like me who don't know anyone who builds boats. Then there are the more "radical" designs that don't even have books written about them (or didn't until recently). The fuselage method of SOF construction, for example. And before Gary Dierking's 2007 book, the concept of outrigger canoes had no significant exposure in the western world (besides Hawaii and to an extent coastal california) other than through the internet. These are both great, experimental ideas that only can flourish because of forums like these.

One of my favorite quotes:

‘‘Do you know, my son, with what little understanding the world is ruled?" Pope Julius III

Hwyl
03-23-2011, 12:07 PM
This thread at least drew out MMD

Michael D. Storey
03-23-2011, 03:56 PM
I have looked at enough ships and boats, and many times more pix, from Currier & Ives prints to images scratched into glass overlooking the Bosphorus, to be sure that to my eye, ugly, hideous, poorly engineered, miserably constructed, Works of the Divine, floating pieces of furniture, water-bourne perfection, whatev, are not the sole property of the 21st century. Suggest that anyone who criticizes another persons work for the sake of making noise should find something better to do.

David Cockey
03-23-2011, 04:30 PM
How many of the people who posted here on this topic actually read Eric Sponberg's article in Professional Boat Builder?

Vince Brennan
03-23-2011, 04:31 PM
Where is my really big grin and laughing obsessively creature when I need it?

http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-laughing025.gif (http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys.php)


There y'go, bub.

pipefitter
03-24-2011, 11:42 AM
I've watched many designs take off where the designer credited themselves as the inventor and instantly recognized the hull form, at least the working part, along with it's proportions, of it as being decades old, under several different brand names, with only the aesthetic, or adaptation to modern materials being somewhat creditable. I have worked with glass power boats since I was a boy and have seen many new companies claim to be on the cutting edge of things that had already been done many times over. I can think of three 'top' names in the industry now, who's shining star is a complete copy of an existing (the working part anyway) hull, splashed directly from such with perhaps just a higher degree of fit and finish, an altered sheer line and a double price tag.

So outside of all out pedigreed racing machines, where 10ths of a second matter, what has really been ground breaking design wise, to where the differences are humanly detectable without having a direct and thorough side-by-side comparison, at least by the time it reaches the end user or the biased opinion of such?

Rational Root
03-24-2011, 12:16 PM
Thats it with experts. There is the old saying "Put six experts round a table, you'll get eight opinions".

My view is that a good professional will stay silent if they are unsure if the facts of an issue.

A _really_ good professional might point out the good questions...... but only if he trusts the audience.

One of the greatest things that we have in this world is the freedom to say "I don't know". It has huge power. Too many people in power are desperate to present an all knowing fašade, and too many people want that. Knowing that there is a question to answer is often half the battle.

peterchech
03-24-2011, 12:29 PM
I've watched many designs take off where the designer credited themselves as the inventor and instantly recognized the hull form, at least the working part, along with it's proportions, of it as being decades old, under several different brand names, with only the aesthetic, or adaptation to modern materials being somewhat creditable.

As got pointed out to me in a pm, there is nothing new under the sun...

Crazer
03-24-2011, 04:22 PM
There's a lot I could say about this, but I'll confine my opinions to the issue of the NAs on the Boatdesign.net forum. I think the issue there is often that you have people like me, trying to find a good solution from people who will only give you a perfect solution. I think there is a failure of understanding between the two groups on that forum, which is why it can be an unpleasant place. I'm not looking for perfection, but for those NAs anything less is worthless at best.

John E Hardiman
03-24-2011, 04:53 PM
The problem that I have found on most forums is that often the people who ask the questions a) don't know the proper question to ask which leads to a belief that they aren't getting their question answered, and b) think that there is a single answer to any question and that answer is not connected to other considerations, and c) are unwilling to grasp the concept that a boat is nothing but a bunch of opinions and compromises held together with faith in and of the builder, designer, and engineer.

As I often have to say: " there is never a 'best' anything...hull, material, design, etc...there are only solutions that better meet the design and engineering requirements".

gilberj
03-24-2011, 07:55 PM
It is true that often people do not really ask the right question and often they come with preconcieved notions that may or may not relate to the problem at hand. I spend a lot of time with clients redefining their questions, before answering.
The rudeness and abuse is still not ok. When someone comes to me with smoked up ideas that are not part of the known universe, I still try to treat him/her with respect as I try to get them to understand what I can do or cannot do. Generally I am successfull at both, but occasionally they leave less than completely satisfied. I'd loose business if I started calling them idiots and told them to shut up. The relative annonimity of a forum is still no excuse for the verbal abuse I have seen there.

ewsponberg
03-25-2011, 12:59 PM
Wow! I am glad that my article has generated a lot of discussion. It is interesting, however, that this thread seems to revolve around arrogance and know-it-alls, when in fact I never addressed that at all in the article. The purpose of the piece was to point out that many people (and I do not necessarily mean most people) seem to be in search of only the simple answers, the magic formulas, and the golden rules of thumb to solve their design and construction problems. In reality, most solutions are usually more complicated than that. The watchwords were at the end: "only a little knowledge can be dangerous."

I think one of the best lines up above was from Peerie Maa, #7, who said, "...a good professional will stay silent if they are unsure of [sic] the facts of an issue." AMEN. I practice that a lot.

It is also worthwhile to note that in the first paragraph of my article, I stated that I like helping people with design and construction issues insofar as it is in my power on the internet to do so. I also stated that I learn a lot from others on the forums, and my contributions do generate inquiries that lead to paying work. I have also been known to voice my own mea culpas when it is pointed out that I am in error. We all make mistakes; that is why they put erasers on pencils. In general, everyone, all of us, benefit from the forums, and I would never suggest that they are otherwise.

I would also like to point out that The WoodenBoat Forums are an exception, in general. I find the depth of knowledge here quite deep and the authors very respectful. I actually have little to contribute on this forum because most of the posters know a hell of a lot more than I do. I help when I can, and I learn what I must.

Thanks for your discussion.

Eric

hokiefan
03-25-2011, 01:29 PM
Thats it with experts. There is the old saying "Put six experts round a table, you'll get eight opinions".

My view is that a good professional will stay silent if they are unsure if the facts of an issue.

I would alter that just a bit. A good professional will ask thoughtful questions until they are sure of the facts of an issue.

Cheers,

Bobby

Typhoon
04-02-2011, 06:31 AM
The problem with internet forums of all types is that I guess 50% of people ask a question which can easily be answered by doing some rudimentary searching, 45% want to be told what they are doing (or propose to do) incorrectly is right and 5% have genuine questions which need answering. Not that those figures really apply here, but in general it's pretty close.
What I find most disturbing about the evolution of internet forums in general is seeing people with no practical experience in a subject hang around a forum for several years, start regurgitating the same half truths and lies, vehemently defend their position (along with a few cronies) and all of a sudden this is the new truth. I've seen this first hand in several automotive and motorcycling forums.
The posters who have real knowledge rarely contribute for fear of being shot down incessantly.

Bob Cleek
04-02-2011, 02:13 PM
So right, Typhoon. So right. Over the years, I've watched the technical accuracy level of this forum go from excellent to "C-." It's good that more people are becoming interested in wooden boats, but it seems the balance has tipped and too often the blind are leading the blind.

floatingkiwi
04-04-2011, 06:08 PM
The problem with internet forums of all types is that I guess 50% of people ask a question which can easily be answered by doing some rudimentary searching, 45% want to be told what they are doing (or propose to do) incorrectly is right and 5% have genuine questions which need answering. Not that those figures really apply here, but in general it's pretty close.
What I find most disturbing about the evolution of internet forums in general is seeing people with no practical experience in a subject hang around a forum for several years, start regurgitating the same half truths and lies, vehemently defend their position (along with a few cronies) and all of a sudden this is the new truth. I've seen this first hand in several automotive and motorcycling forums.
The posters who have real knowledge rarely contribute for fear of being shot down incessantly.

These new truths you mention. What is wrong with them, as they are, after all, truth?
I find myself doing that. Repeating things I have learned here, but only after giving it considerable thought and/or research and cross examining the fact with other comments and then only if I honestly believe it right. And then it is, because I wrote it, only my opinion and I would expect everyone to treat it as such, as I treat their input. Or don't they? I find it hard to believe that anyone would take something they read here, regardless of source, and use it as fact. I have a lot of faith in humanity, and look for the good in people, but could not simply believe everything one person says, as like myself, they are affected by many things that can alter what is best in some situations. Many things indeed. Climate, sex, height, colour, strength,political viewpoint, who their next door neighbour is, their occupation, what they like or dislike for dinner, what they had for dinner. The differences between us are uncountable yet with the understanding of this, I reckon there is middle ground where we can settle on what is an appropriate and usable set of rules with which to build a boat. Through all the misunderstandings and lack of professional facts, there is a river of good clean help running through the minds and hearts to the fingertips of most folk here and I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone here, directly or otherwise responsible for making it possible for me to undertake a project such as the one I have, in a successful manner, with the faith it is done to the best one could expect one man to do given what is available to him, with nothing more than the internet watching over me. Thank you all very much. The power of communication is alive and well, here and now, on Earth.

Typhoon
04-04-2011, 08:10 PM
These new truths you mention. What is wrong with them, as they are, after all, truth?



Nothing wrong with repeating facts, but in a lot of cases they are incorrect, or the reasoning behind putting the "facts" forward is incorrect. So people don't get an understanding why something is as it is and therefore don't develop a broader picture of what they are doing, or are trying to do. Which is all very nice if you want an instant solution, but if you want to broaden your knowledge or learn how to think, it's pretty useless.
I have nothing at all with new ideas, I try to have some myself from time to time, but I do have problems with people regurgitating things they don't clearly understand, because someone, somewhere said it worked for them once, in a vaguely familiar circumstance.
Again, most all of what I have written above doesn't seem to apply to this particular forum, but it is very, very common in general and it does get a lot of neophytes into a lot of trouble.

Mad Scientist
04-04-2011, 09:09 PM
SB is right [#15], those unshackled by training can improve the scheel keel of a thirty footer by making a 3 foot wide 2000# end plate and having the keel width at attachment to the hull a svelt 3".

When I read this, a little light came on - dug around and found Nic Compton's article about Bona Fide (built in 1899) in WoodenBoat #180.

About the keel: "Her 5,180-lb lead bulb keel is fitted to a galvanized steel plate forming the fin." Could the plate be 3" thick? The article doesn't say.

Tom

Lucky Luke
04-04-2011, 10:38 PM
Keep on talkin' about boats, but keep your words soft and sweet, 'cause you never know when you are going to have to eat them...


:D I love that one, Michael! :D

Peter Eikenberry
04-04-2011, 11:50 PM
I just read Eric's article and I think it was well thought out and well said. I think he was to the point and very close to the mark. I would agree with most of what the said. But that won't stop me from participating in forums on those topics I feel I can give some knowledgeable contribution to. Yes some of the questions are pretty absurd but I think most of the long time contributors know this and usually say something to that affect. On some forums some of the contributors can be rather rude, but I generally avoid those threads and stick to questions that require factual answers rather than theoretical. That's where the controversies lie. And yes sometimes I feel like giving rude answers to absurd questions, but I restrain myself.

Y Bar Ranch
04-05-2011, 09:58 AM
Famous koan about Marvin Minsky, professor at MIT. Surely similar moments occur on forums with a mix of experts and future experts. :)


In the days when Sussman was a novice, Minsky once came to him as he sat hacking at the PDP-6.
"What are you doing?" asked Minsky.
"I am training a randomly wired neural net to play Tic-tac-toe," Sussman replied.
"Why is the net wired randomly?", asked Minsky.
"I do not want it to have any preconceptions of how to play," Sussman said.
Minsky then shut his eyes.
"Why do you close your eyes?" Sussman asked his teacher.
"So that the room will be empty."
At that moment, Sussman was enlightened.

FlyingCloud
04-05-2011, 07:51 PM
I didn't find much value in the editorial, it was one man's (negative) opinion.

On one hand, why would a pro give away his knowledge if his livelihood is based on selling it? I can understand "giving away" enough to gain the confidence of a potential customer, but the forum is supposed to NOT be the place for "advertising".

My approach is to listen/read multiple sources for any particular issue. I've been reading this forum for many many years under a different name and I use it mainly as a rough "pointer" where to start looking.

I don't design boats, but I have a University Degree in design. The degree is also just a good foundation, a good discipline of how to approach a problem.
I've given design advice on this forum, and it was no skin off my nose if it was rejected, accepted, or otherwise... I'm assuming that people will do their homework.

In my view, the Naval Architect who gets riled up by forum users is spending too much of his valuable time online. He needs to be beating the woods for jobs, and cranking his tables and CAD.

PsiPhi
04-05-2011, 08:56 PM
Without the internet, and forums like this, I'd still be dreaming.

I built a boat.
As boats go, it's a pile of pooh.
But I built it.

Alan H
04-09-2011, 12:25 AM
It seems to me that if what you want is , oh... maybe bigger than twenty feet long, or so... and it has to really take some weather, then you need to deal with a naval architect with some training and experience. It's folly to try to build a 40 foot powerboat without knowing what you are doing. It's folly to try to build a race-winning sailboat without knowing what you are doing.

If you want a drop-dead gorgeous hand-crafted piece of furniture, then learn the skills or pay someone who has them already.

But if what you want is a 9 foot putter around rowboat, then go get some plywood. I mean, really...come on. The PDR is a box with plastic sails and it moves in a forward direction when the wind blows, it doesn't tip over too easily and people have fun with it. A boat doesn't have to be so gorgeous that you're afraid to put it in the water, to have fun with it. I'm all for expertise, but apply it as it makes sense.