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I Forge Iron

A great way to get info on this site

Rich Hale

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One of the things that make this site such a great place to be is the constant flow of new folks that pass through or stay a while. And by the verly nature of beginning to learn about smithing in all areas, The very same questions come up frequently on the forums and in the chat room. Even though I am a wee bit further down the road from a beginner I enjoy reading answers from all of those willing to help. AS long as that continues lthe site will continue to grow.

However very often I notice that some of the questions have been answered so plain and understandable in past answers or stickies that it is simply the best thing I can think of to refer to those tips. There always seeems to be and likely will continue to be folks that seems to me to not wish to do a little clicking and reading. They would rather one of us just off the top of our head type a readers digest kind of answer that will make them an instant success.

This is likely just me but for instance someone asks about heat treating a blade or tool, The heat treat stickies are a great place to go. Much easier than me saying forge, heat, dip in a quenchant, temper and finish.. That is so shallow that it is almost worthless and even more so if ,,like a lot that we see,,The steel is not identified.
And again for me. When in either the forums or chat room someone does not want to take a role in the learning process I punch the button and Say 'Done It even gets worse when they ask a question that we need more info to help with and then do not reply to our questions. Or they simplly leave the room while I am typing.

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Rich: I know what you're trying to say,BUT, sometimes trying to find old info on this wonderful site is a nightmare!!!! Very often I get the equivalent of "you can't get there from here" response. Maybe try to be a bit more patient with someone who has tried to find something but can't ......

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240,000 posts is equivalent to 480 reams of paper, 48 cases of paper, or if you call it a case per drawer, that is 12 each 4 drawer file cabinets. Can you imagine walking into an office and seeing those 12 each 4 drawer file cabinets and without instructions, trying to work your way through the system? The site is divided into sub-sections, but this is much like looking at the label on the cabinet drawer, once you open that drawer you still have 10 reams of paper (on average for this example) to sort through.

Imagine your in the room full of file cabinets and have spent several hours (tonight) researching the system for answers to a specific problem when in comes a fellow and says "Give me the information on bla bla bla and be quick about it. I don't have time to look through all that stuff on my own, I am in a hurry"

Your answer would be __________?
And please choose your words carefully as this is a family forum (grin).

Now imagine the same fellow coming in and after spending some time trying to work his way through the system, he politely asks for your assistance. They explain what they are looking for, what they have found so far, and would you be so kind as to point them in the right direction in order to find a particular subject.

Your answer would be __________?

Finding the one sheet of paper you need can be a challenge. The search engine is useful, but if you ask for a general search (anvil) you get each time that word (anvil) appears on the site. If you ask for a more detailed search (anvil, peter wright, 105 pounds, by author Glenn, between January and March 2006) you get a more specific answer.

If a member was to visit the site (file room), post intelligent questions and comments, visit the chat room (it also helps to bring coffee and snacks), and in general participate with the site, they will be recognized as wanting to learn. When they show they have taken the information to the forge and have tried, like anywhere else, these are the folks that get assistance and encouragement.

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That right there is the key for me. All I ask is that the person who is asking the question be as motivated to find (and absorb) the answer as they expect me to be in supplying the answer.
I`m more than willing to share anything I know how to do but you have to meet me in the shop. I don`t do room service.

Another sore point for me, the easiest way to be ignored is to argue with someone who`s actually done it themselves and is trying to supply a helpful response.

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Sometimes it's easier to just answer the question.

I've seen the link thing work, saying there is a good topic here on what you are looking for, or may help you,
And I've seen people in many forums simply complain, in the questioners post, that a simple search would've found you the answer, in more words than the answer would have been.

It's easier I suppose, to point someone to a library, or a search method,... If you are the librarian, or comfortable with the searching forums thing, but then, why would there be a need for a chat forum.

If I can answer, I do, if a topic exists, with a better answer, I would point them towards it.
I wouldn't normally post, any contempt for someone's lack of research skills or laziness, unless in jest,

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If I can answer, I do, if a topic exists, with a better answer, I would point them towards it. I wouldn't normally post, any contempt for someone's lack of research skills or laziness, unless in jest,
None of us were born with the knowledge we have today, We learned. Whether it was to tie our own shoelaces, or drive a car, we learned that skill set.

Blacksmithing is just another skill set. In this case we learned to use a computer to get to the blacksmithing information. Research is just a skill set to get more information out of the computer. Telling someone where to find a link, or telling them how to use a search engine, is much different then throwing water on their fire. We want them to succeed, we want them to learn, we see their spark and want it to grow into a flame.

The chat room is a place where folks with like interests can gather, drink a cup of coffee, and relax. Sit a while, follow the conversation, and wait for an opening to join the conversation. When a question comes up, you can get answers and advice, but remember that the folks are gathered there to relax and take it easy, and may to point you to the answer in the forum. If you read that information and return to the chat with more questions, they know you are interested and will provide additional assistance. Just like life, what you get out of it depends on what you put into it.
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