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  • An observation and suggestion

    I feel like I talk about my job a bunch on this site. For me it's hard not to, as my job encompasses almost every moment of my life. I'm "buried in the trenches" as it were, living in a group home for teens. My life just about 24/7 is trying to help kids coming from bad situations learn skills to give them a fighting chance of spending their adult years outside of a prison. I don't talk about my job for praise or any sort of accolades; believe me, it's nothing glorious and some days I wonder if I'm making any difference. But still, at least during this segment of my life, it's as much a part of who I am as my family or my Studebaker.

    As part of what we do, our kids are involved in school activities. Being that our home is a girls' home, our kids do stuff like softball or cheerleading. I'm not a huge sports fan, and so when we go to athletic activities I spend most of the time monitoring my kids, making sure they don't do anything too out of line. It's funny to watch the cheerleaders, because as the title implies, they're nearly always cheery. Always smiling, watching the game, ready to cheer for the touchdown or lift the crowd's spirits when we're losing. I am a pretty cheery person, and I don't think I can manage to pull off the amount of enthusiasm they can for a fraction of the time they do.

    The reason I bring this up is because I feel like as a club and/or forum, we ought to be cheerleaders for our marque. The only problem is that more and more recently, I've noticed something else. It seems that instead of cheering on others, some of us are choosing to nitpick people to death. Instead of working together, I see people taking pot shots at each other. Instead of letting bygones be bygones, I'm seeing flare-ups over feuds that are so old I doubt anyone on either side actually even cares about whatever the situation was that put them at odds with each other in the first place.

    To me, this is perhaps the most dangerous, most potentially devastating situation our forum and/or club could face. Let's go back to the cheerleaders for a moment. What if, instead of their perpetual cheeriness, they stood at the sidelines and muttered stuff like "That other team is too tough, I'd quit playing so hard and wait for an easier team to come by" or "You're probably going to fumble the ball if you try that play"? What if they sat in chairs at the sidelines and did little more than whine and moan about every mistake their own players were making, and would never let something drop? "Oh, you missed the shot in the first period? Then I guess it's okay if all the way at the end of the third we still hound you about it." They'd be useless at their jobs. They'd probably cost the team points, and demoralize the crowd. See where I'm going with this?

    I think the problem of declining numbers in our club has little to do with the number of older members. I think the bigger problem is that people generally don't gravitate towards those who always have something negative to say. I see this play out every day in my job. The bubbly, likable girl has 100 friends. The one who mopes about and doesn't like anyone and is upset that she even has to be here in the first place has none. It even plays out in the adult circles. There's one mechanic in our organization's garage who's a real pain in the rear, so much so that he'll come just short of yelling at you if the wiper blades are bent. When I drop my van off to be serviced, do you think I'm going to leave it with that guy, or the mechanic who's always friendly and wants to chit chat about my car if he's got a second?

    If we want this club and these cars to be around for the future, to outlive us, we need to be attractive to those folks who might only see us for a second. That passerby who had an uncle with a Golden Hawk and found us randomly Googling Studebaker. The guy who was looking for a beater on craigslist and found a homely little Lark he wants to fix up. The Mopar guy who's just starting to realize that Chrysler wasn't the only company out there with good ideas and an eye for styling. They all come here. When they do, what do they see? The large "virtual campfire" where everyone's welcome, or a bunch of cantankerous codgers using the Internet to make themselves look good at the cost of people who the have more in common with than 99% of people they'l pass on the street tomorrow?

    I want to be really clear. I don't think this is a "big" problem on our site. On the contrary, of many forums I have participated in, we're one of the most friendly out there, especially to new folks. But I bring it up anyway because if you address something while it's small, it's easier to deal with than if you were to let it grow to colossal proportions. My simple suggestion is that before you post that jab to the dumb kid you don't like, or fire back an angry response at someone who might not have meant to be hurtful with their words, ask yourself what good that's doing. Is it drawing in the random passerby, or scaring them off? Is it making our club as a whole look good, or bad? There's nothing wrong with disagreeing with people, or even posting stuff that can stir up debate. But how you go about participating in those disagreements or debates has a much larger impact than I think some of us realize.

    We need to be cheerleaders for the marque. When a young kid wants to take on a huge project, sure, give him warnings about the burden he's taking, but also throw him all the support we can. When there's someone we had a huge falling out with 6 years ago over a minor misunderstanding, and he posts in a thread we created, we should put the past in our past and not automatically blast them to smithereens with our words. This is a fun hobby, and our conversations should reflect that. If we keep using our words to bring others down, it's not only causing division here, but driving away the people who could make sure your cars are loved and cared for after you're six feet under.

    In closing, it the hobby isn't fun for you, you need to head for the door and leave me the keys to your cars. I'll make sure they're well cared for
    '63 Lark Custom, 259 v8, auto, child seat

    "Your friendly neighborhood Studebaker evangelist"

  • #2
    A potent observation, Jim.

    We've been around long enough that we react and interact as well-worn friends and/or siblings. We can scrap and/or piss and moan and, within a few minutes, all is forgiven and we continue to enjoy shared passions. Airing our occasional petulant responses is not only childish and reactionary, it offends and deters the visiting public, who may otherwise be the future our hobby requires.

    The old adage, "If you can't say something nice,..."

    If something offends you on Facebook, respond on Facebook. If something offends you on the SDC Forum, either keep it to yourself or send a PM to your offender. This venue is for clean laundry and rusty Studebakers.
    "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

    Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
    Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
    sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"

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    • #3
      I was on another forum once where we often likened it to a saloon from an old spaghetti western, where in one scene everyone's getting along, and at the next moment everyone gets up and starts punching everyone else, and then a few scenes later we're all back to being friends again, laughing at the bar. I've found this is true for many forums

      Truly, there's nothin' wrong with the friendly "sibling bickering" now and then, but my point is that it can, and in a couple instances has, ratcheted up to where folks who are new here might not realize that it's "just how so-and-so is".
      '63 Lark Custom, 259 v8, auto, child seat

      "Your friendly neighborhood Studebaker evangelist"

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      • #4
        Also, the job's been really tough the last few days, and I'm pretty worn out. When I'm worn out, the idealist inside of me takes advantage and escapes long enough to make impassioned pleas that are really impossible to expect. I'll get some rest and beat him back into submission
        '63 Lark Custom, 259 v8, auto, child seat

        "Your friendly neighborhood Studebaker evangelist"

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        • #5
          I dunno, but every contact I've had personally with members of the SDC (mostly limited to my local chapter) has been a positive one--I find this forum (at times) to be more negative than any in person experience, but that's simply the nature of the beast.

          This said, I feel comfortable surrounded by the crotchety.
          Dave Nevin
          Corvallis, OR
          1953 Champion Deluxe Coupe
          Stud-e-venture blog

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          • #6
            Well put Jim . I can be a victim of my own temper sometimes. There some things where you just have to defend yourself, have to defend your reputation. Then there are other times where if you just let it roll off your shoulders and carry on, you'll be the better man, and the offending comment will be forgotten and buried by positive ones, I a lot of the time will respond even though I know this to be true.
            Since I decided to take on this project I've received a lot of rather nasty and all around insulting comments, I managed to ignore most of them, but still sometimes I can't help myself. I read one just a little bit ago and yes said something back, now I'm sure I'll get another response and we'll both embarrass our selfs, but after reading this I won't participate with that little spat anymore, instead I'll let it get forgotten like it should been in the first place.
            I have received far far more friendly comments then insulting ones, and those are the ones I hope people will se when they come here for the first time.
            The best way to avoid a stupid argument on the web is to just not participate anymore than you have to, that rarely works in real life but up here it's pretty easy.

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            • #7
              You have the psychological barrier on the internet, basically anonymity that you don't of course have in real life. I've learned to treat forums like this as if I were actually speaking to the person, in person. I sometimes get wild, but I try to keep it in mind.
              www.spannerbird.com
              Coral/Beige 1953 Studebaker Commander Starlight.

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              • #8
                Good observations. I was particularly taken with this comment:
                "Instead of letting bygones be bygones, I'm seeing flare-ups over feuds that are so old I doubt anyone on either side actually even cares about whatever the situation was that put them at odds with each other in the first place."

                For some reason, several members/posters use this forum to bring up past problems, as if they just happened or are related to the current topic of discussion. Since some of these problems happened a decade or more ago, not every current member knows of them, so these comments trigger a new flood of questions. Others join in and a "new" crisis seems to have been swept under the rug by those evildoers turning the dials behind the curtain. At some point, an old-timer (occasionally me) tries to explain what happened and point out that the facts, as well as they were known, were discussed in TW and/or an annual membership meeting xx years ago. Mistakes -- yes; disaster -- maybe; coverup -- not really; clumisness in addressing a problem -- yes; a new problem -- no.

                I have often wondered what provokes such retroactive (and unproductive) muck-raking. We all have our own personal idiosyncracies (just ask my wife), and I guess some people just like stirring things up (like the spaghetti western saloon scenes mentioned by JimC above) -- just punch someone at random in the nose, and a fight will break out. Or maybe they're just mad at someone who was on the board 20 years ago, and still wants to exact his revenge. But this mud-slinging does give the Forum an undeserved reputation for bitchiness, and could very well be discouraging potential new members whose first exposure to SDC is this board.
                Skip Lackie

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                • #9
                  I talk about my job sometimes too. My job and only job .....the one that feeds my puppy....is working on Studebakers. Not a hobby. The tone of the forum is very unwelcoming at times.
                  There are many ways to tackle a project. Many times people ask for advice on a project, and they are lambasted for trying to do it a certain way. Others say do it this way as I have done it this way for years and have the experience, and of course it is right. Then someone else will say you're full of beans, I have done it this way for years......and I'm right! Both ways could achieve the same result.....or neither! I say neither....for this reason, each individual does things to their own capabilities and financial abilities. This seems to be lost on most forum posters. These people say"I have the voice of experience, and I'm saving them the heartache of making the same mistakes everyone else makes. I say let them make mistakes. Part of the fun is in the doing, learning and correcting of your own mistakes. Those are my fondest memories in the hobby. That and meeting the great people in person. You can't get a sense of a persons' sensibilities and humor (or lack thereof) through the keyboard and computer screen.
                  When I post sometimes it's showing what's going on in my shop. In hopes of people get some value in seeing work to keep Studes on the road. Perhaps it's a bit of advertising too to keep my dog in kibble. I realize it opens myself up to critique from people with nothing better to do. I don't take it to heart as sometimes you consider the source, and other times the critique is a learning experience helping me improve my services.
                  I get discouraged when the negative Nellys take over, and sometimes want to quit all together. I often question my own judgement in working on cars hardly anyone wants, and even fewer are willing to pay for. It's not what you would call a lavish lifestyle....perhaps I should get rid of the dog? Maybe I should go away , keep my advice to myself, and let you take over........


                  NOT A CHANCE!!!!!!!!!!
                  Last edited by bezhawk; 06-14-2013, 09:21 AM.
                  Bez Auto Alchemy
                  573-318-8948
                  http://bezautoalchemy.com


                  "Don't believe every internet quote" Abe Lincoln

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                  • #10
                    2 Bits,4Bits, 6Bits,aDollar...If you love Studebakers,stand up and HOLLER!
                    Neil Thornton

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                    • #11
                      I love my Lark, I love this Club, this Forum, and all y'all!! Just like in the real world, not everyone gets along all the time, but I think we're more civil here than not.

                      My only suggestions would be (and one I practice myself) is that we all think for a moment whether or not what we'd be as comfortable saying to someone's face the things we are comfortable writing down. And then, what the other fellow's face would look like if you did "Measure twice, cut once" applies to conversations as well as wood and steel.

                      Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" | http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

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                      • #12
                        You's a poet and don't knoweit. I love Studebakers but do not like all of their owners. cheers jimmijim
                        Originally posted by rockinhawk View Post
                        2 Bits,4Bits, 6Bits,aDollar...If you love Studebakers,stand up and HOLLER!
                        sigpicAnything worth doing deserves your best shot. Do it right the first time. When you're done you will know it. { I'm just the guy who thinks he knows everything, my buddy is the guy who knows everything.} cheers jimmijim*****SDC***** member

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                        • #13
                          I get that Jim, I guess my point is that I deal with people I "don't like" nearly every day, and I can still manage to be civil with them. If I weren't, I wouldn't have a job to give me observations to write about.
                          '63 Lark Custom, 259 v8, auto, child seat

                          "Your friendly neighborhood Studebaker evangelist"

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                          • #14
                            So, to sum up the above comments........If only one or two people would quit 'Stirring The Pot' occasionally, this forum would be a quieter, almost serene place.........kind of like a GRAVE!!!!!!
                            Like the old timers always said: "If the heat's too hot......Get out of the kitchen!"

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                            • #15
                              Not only that, but I blame a lot of it on unemployment.
                              www.spannerbird.com
                              Coral/Beige 1953 Studebaker Commander Starlight.

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