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Trade Only Forum Poll , the second try

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Marc Lizer, Oct 19, 2002.


Should there be a passworded section for Trade Only

  1. Yay

  2. Nay

    0 vote(s)
  1. Marc Lizer

    Marc Lizer SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    The only way you can vote is if you also post a post about why you have that stance.

    Let's not argue with eachother. Just say what you feel.

    Also say about your past experience with the TOF, and with passworded fourums on other sites (do they work or not).

    It has merit and it has detractions.

    Speak your thoughts. . . . .
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  2. Framing Goddess

    Framing Goddess SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    It'd be nice to have a forum that our customers couldn't check out.
  3. MarkG1

    MarkG1 MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Some of the bashing that goes on here on The Grumble should not be on a public forum. But it's not all about bashing. This forum, IMHO, is for the good of all the framers that have found there way to it. Like myself.

    A little debate, or constructive criticism is ok. But for this public forum, we should at least try to get along. If I call you on the phone for advice and you start bashing me for the way I do things, the conversation will not last long. I feel that we need to at least try to understand each other’s point of view and try to learn from one another. Whether it is from what we do right or wrong.

    I hate to read, but since I started with the grumble, I have forced myself to like it. Heck, I even need glasses now.

    What was the question again?
  4. Marc Lizer

    Marc Lizer SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Just to interject for a moment:

    On the previous incarnartion of a TOF.

    It was only real names, so you had to re-register. Now you had two screen-names. For instance MerpMom the "merps" screen name and password, and the "Cathy S" screen-name and password. Only the Cathy one was able to acces the TOF. And if she forgot to log out when she came back to the grumble she'd accidentally post under Cathy and not Merps.

    For instance, we all know who emibub is: The new grumble software allows you to change the appearance of your screen name, so she would not need to re-register, but change the screen name or add stuff to her bio.
    Does she need to do this if we really know who it is?

    Disclosure has it's merits. But for most who would like to disclose they are afraid of customers seeing it is them, and hence the desire for a passworded area.

    If you use psuedonym and it is open (as it is now)you say whatever and customers don't know who you are.

    I think some have the fear that customers are reading the site. In that case shouldn't the argument be that the whole site, aside from say Warped be passworded?

    But keep this in mind. The Grumble grows due to it's accesability.

    An additional comment/question: I have never had a customer say they have seen my name here. Has anyone had this happen? (see other poll)
  5. B. Newman

    B. Newman SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Here it is again. (Marc, I'm sure everyone is tired of reading this by now.)

    This is what I said about it originally:

    "....if it was not just more work for framer, I would agree with you totally. I know for the Vendor forum, they have to e-mail info about themselves and send business cards to framer so he can "open" it to them. I would love to have a business issues forum like that, unless like I said, it is just more work for framer. That would certainly prevent customers and "explorers" from accessing private info, as well as stop the annonymous postings. We wouldn't have to know who they are, but Bill would, and that would be good enough for me."

    I don't really participate in another password protected forum unless you count HH. Well, I guess you could count the Decor forum, but not much is happening there. The reason for that, in my opinion, is that you can't "save" your login and password, and it's a pain to type that in every time.

    If I am who I say I am, and do what I say I do, I don't have a problem with anyone knowing it. (Warts and all! Meaning, if I say something stupid, or put my foot in my mouth, then it's my foot and everyone knows it, but I still stand behind what I say and what I do.)

  6. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    An isolated area sounds like a lot of extra work, even with just a password. People will constantly be emailing to get the pw, and someone will have to make a judgement call. Passwords can also be leaked out.

    To keep our discussions out of the search engines, framer can set up a ROBOTS.TXT file that tells the search engines to ignore the content. (non index of discussions) He probably already has this in place, because i've never found any of our threads on the search engines.... (I check them daily to keep a pulse on site rankings) Maybe thegrumble.com should have some CONSUMER LINKS at the opening page, in case someone stumbles on us by accident. Perhaps links to referral sites, FramerSelect consumer faq, PPFA, etc; so they can get useful information.(?)

    I don't think a private area is necessary and doubt very much that customers CARE to read our message boards. There's a variety of personalities, and the discussions are generally helpful and friendly with some humor thrown in. The people are fantastic and helpful to their peers, even with opposing views.

    Being a newbie, i've found this extremely valuable. Someone considering the trade who is researching might otherwise be left out. I feel it should be inclusive, not exclusive.

    clink clink (my two cents hit the jar) ;)

    PS: The Grumble really has the industry's attention, and it is religiously followed by many that can't post. Just about every vendor that we've dealt with has brought it up, has seen our posts, and mentioned that they have a "gag order", per their employer, not to post.
  7. Emibub

    Emibub PFG, Picture Framing God

    Okay, since my name got dragged into this, somebody please tell me what the heck difference it makes what screen name I use. I am happy to provide a business card or bio to gain access to a TOF forum. As long as I can prove I am a member of that trade who cares if I am Emibub or Kathy Wymore?

    I agree that people would share more info on a trade forum if they knew who they were talking to. I don't like all the flaming that seems to go on. But that beind said I think everybody is entitled to their opinion and I process anything I read with that in mind. I don't feel the need to attack. There is a big difference between disagreeing and having a discussion and attacking.

    Honestly when I logged on to the Grumble for the first time I used Emibub because that is what I use anytime I log on anywhere else. I had no idea I was planning to stay. It certainly wasn't to be covert, I have always signed my posts with my name. I don't necessarily want to always use my last name, for some reason it feels wierd to do that on a public forum, but I will if I have to.
  8. fttom

    fttom MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    This is why I logged on with FTTOM. I honestly didn't realize that any of you were using real names until I'd been on here a while. I didn't lurk before I registered. Anything that anyone wants to find out about me, all they have to do is ask, however, I really do think that we will have more open discussions without customers lurking, or being able to comment on what we say. I really have learned to love the free give and take of honest opinions and knowledge found here. I also post on art affairs forums, and there are a couple of people there who feel like they have to attack and be hostile, if you do not agree with them. I have not found that here. That has been a real treat to me. Also, I think that I've told you all this before, we've lived in so many places, so often that I haven't had many opportunities to exchange ideas and information or even gripes with other framers. This is a real treat for me. I would hate to lose that now that I've found it.

  9. The King

    The King SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I have very little concern that my customers are reading The Grumble. Never-the-less, I make it a point not to complain about customers. Sometimes I forget.

    There is so much more to "knowing" a Grumbler than knowing a name. People will be as open as they are comfortable being. Some are just cautious. Some are malicious. Some are more open than we'd really like. :eek:

    I'm happy I've gotten to know some Grumblers on an open forum. Two of you stopped by my shop today. That was nice and it would have been pretty hard if we chose to hide our identities and locations. But I don't feel an urgent need for a trade-only forum. Who would we lock out? Denny, who's a part-time framer that's interested in learning more? Rebecca, who's not a framer at all, but one of the most valuable resources we have? Audrey, who was a framer and would like to be again some day? Curly, who has his own good reasons for being private?

    Good discussion, but I voted "nay."
  10. Less

    Less SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Being anonymous has its advantages. Most people do not say what is on their mind in mixed company. I like to be able to express my thoughts about a business without having to be concerned whether they do not like what I have to say, and chose not to do business with me. I like to be able to share design ideas, prices, and be honest about my practices and mistakes so that others can learn from them.

    I think we should try it as a test, but how you manage who gets in and who does not, will be a task. Part of the reason the vendor forum is so light is due to the fact that they feel they cannot speak their minds for many of the same reasons we do, including divulging private information to competitors. I don’t see a problem with sharing pricing in the open, because the public will also see how difficult the business can be, and how much is involved.

    This new forum will excluded those who need it the most. The Newbie’s, Wannabie’s, and I’m sure some home-based framers without legitimate businesses.

    In general, I don’t think that many Grumblers who don’t have an interest in this business will stick around too long, before they get bored. If you stick around here long enough, it’s not too difficult to figure out who has our industries best interests in mind and those who have nothing better to do.

    If anyone really has an interest in who I am, all you have to do is email me, tell me who you are, and what your interests are, as several Grumblers have already done. I will be all too happy to give you my name, business name, phone number, website, and what ever else you want to know. Just please respect if I choose to remain anonymous.

    I voted yes and no way. If you choose to create this forum, then I feel it is imperative that our true identities be known, otherwise it will not be any different than the Grumble already is - just exclusive. It will be very interesting to see how it changes what we have to say between forums.
  11. Marc Lizer

    Marc Lizer SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    It's this one.
  12. jframe

    jframe <span style="color: red"><b><i>Charter Member</i><

    "This new forum will excluded those who need it the most. The Newbie’s, Wannabie’s,and I’m sure some home-based framers without legitimate businesses."

    Less, why would it exclude those folks? They would be considered trade as far as I'm concerned. Who are we to judge whether or not a home based business is legitimate?

    I would have a problem if I have to use my real name. When I signed on to the grumble I couldn't use my name, Jo Burns. It must have been taken, I know of 3 other framers by that name. So, I used jframe. If anyone knows that I can sign on as Jo Burns, I will do so. My signature shows my name. I wouldn't want to change my name unless I could keep my number of posts etc.

    It has been suggested that some people have a good reason for remaining anonymous. To me that is a vague, bogus answer. I can't think of a legitimate answer to that unless the person has something to be ashamed of or something to hide. I that case, why would we want them on a TOF?
  13. Leslie S.

    Leslie S. MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Uh, has anyone asked Framer what he thinks of this idea?

    I think most of my customers could care less about hunting me down on a framer's forum.

    I think alot of people don't share their prices, strategies, etc, because of their competitors, not their customers.

    However, I would be in favor of a trade only forum if people would be more open. The business end of this is where I need the most help, and this is usually the least traveled area. Hopefully, this would increase in a protected forum.
  14. D_Derbonne

    D_Derbonne PFG, Picture Framing God

    If we have a passworded forum everyone should use there real identity. Why are we hiding anyway?
  15. JPete

    JPete <span style="color: red"><b><i>Charter Member</i><

    I would say yes but only if there was a very good way for the moderator to gather the information easily. I don't really think that it is necessary. By now you should know someone you could e-mail to really grumble about prices etc.

    When I am searching for something on line when I come across forums I rarely click on those. I think the grumble has evolved to what it is because of it's openness and should be left as is.

    I mention I have an online forum to customers that I get information from regarding archival framing, etc.
  16. Framerguy

    Framerguy PFG, Picture Framing God

    I am not quite sure that I follow the logical progression of this thread.

    1. You want to have a passworded area in the Grumble for business talk and open discussion.

    2. You would like to have all Grumblers using this area to post with their real names and some information in their profile to "prove" that they are in the business.

    3. One of the reasons you want this protected area is to keep out those who shouldn't be reading all this open discussion or who may be customers of Grumblers.

    4. But, in the end, there are absolutely no controls over exactly who does enter the passworded area that would actually keep ANYBODY out of the area!

    Case in point, I am a customer of Ron Eggers and he doesn't care whether I read the Grumble or not. (so he says). [​IMG] All of a sudden a new forum shows up on the Grumble, "Restricted Business Topics", and you need a password to enter the area.

    First of all, y'all are doing exactly what our government is doing about going to war with Saddam and tracking down the Taliban!! You are broadcasting your every move to the entire world long before they are made and all one has to do is stay current as a lurker on the Grumble to figure out what has evolved! So I go into my profile and I change my name to "Joe Blow" and put in my profile that I am a "framer". What is to stop me from doing that? Then I apply for a password based on my profile that plainly states that my name is Joe Blow and that I am a framer. Bingo! I am into the restricted area and what has changed?

    If you want to restrict an area, you have to make it HARDER to gain entry into than other areas. About the only way that I can see to do that is exactly what Bill has done with the Vendors Only forum. Handle the transition and issuing of passwords offline with the presentation of qualifying credentials.

    Now, who is going to volunteer to handle THAT portion of the process? I doubt that Bill is going to want to do it nor should he have to. Those who are so in favor of having their own little private forum should take on the responsibility of having it set up and also the responsibility of making sure that those who are issued passwords to that restricted area are bonafide professionals in our trade.

    I am not necessarily against this concept but I really don't think that there was much thought given to the logistics of actually carrying out the setting up of a restricted area such as is discussed here. And besides, how many times do any of you really want to say anything about your customers that you don't want them to see? (even if they WERE lurking here!) And how many times do we bring up business subjects that involve information that should be treated as "Professional Confidential"? I seriously doubt that, given a passworded private forum, many of you would be willing to share intimate portions of your business with others anyway. How many of you would post your annual gross sales on this forum? How many of you would share a profit and loss statement with the rest of us? And what would be the point? Many times things are posted about businesses to brag or to show how well one business is doing over another. I don't get into those games and I don't think that they are healthy for any of us. Most times those "facts" and figures may be inflated and exaggerated to fit the instance.

    As for my personal information, many of you know it already and the rest of you can simply email me and I will be more than happy to supply you with any and all that you desire to know. I will even include a glossy 8X10 for an additional monetary contribution to the "Save the Framerguy" fund! :D

  17. B. Newman

    B. Newman SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Shoot, we're having a hard enough time getting framers to discuss general business. Who thinks they'll discuss detailed business?

    Now, what ya might want to do is start a private forum discussing framing injuries or how to (or not) use wire! Boy, that'll getting them coming out of the woodwork! [​IMG]

  18. The King

    The King SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I'd say you're getting warmer, Leslie. There are some topics I don't feel comfortable discussing with my peers.

    Not too many of you are my competitors. John Ranes, I guess, but we moved past that about 22 years ago. Most of you are my peers. It's hard enough for me to tell my peers that I sometimes use decorative mats, that I've hinged some prints with "artist's tape" or that I listen to Madonna's Ray of Light CD. I sure don't feel like discussing the holes in my business plan or the detailed specifics of my pricing strategy.

    And that's not likely to change on a TOF.
  19. Framing Goddess

    Framing Goddess SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I have actually had customers tell me that they have found (and read) the Grumble. I have some very computer-savvy customers, I guess.

    Now I want to go back and delete every post where I complained about a customer.
  20. Marc Lizer

    Marc Lizer SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    (turn humor mode on)

    Sounds like it might be a good idea for FramerSelect to take out an add banner somewhere around here.

    (end humor mode)
  21. North Framer

    North Framer CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    My two cents (again). I voted for:
    Private forum requiring password i.e. no-one that doesn't log on, gets on (guests, visitors - they can still see the rest of the Grumble). We can self-govern from there so its no great workload, or surely between us all come up with a simple solution.
    I believe more openess would result on business issues - I don't care if my competitors see this cause they can anyway, they are legitimate, as am I, and have every right to it.
    Business issues are for the trade only - gross margins, marketing strategies, profitability issues - none of anyone's customer base's business.
    If the Taliban or anyone else want to compete in framing, let them LOG in and identify themselves to go in the business issues postings. If you want to lurk, then be legit or you don't see. If you don't want to participate, then don't - its a free choice, as it always is. My concern is simply to trade open the 'business issues' to framer's only, not any reporter, school kid doing a project or customer ready to misinterpret our comments of why they think "custom framing is so expensive" and give them sensitive info, which I think some of us are willing to provide in greater detail to help each other out and improve our industry.
  22. jframe

    jframe <span style="color: red"><b><i>Charter Member</i><

    You could give access to a TOF by referral. Many regular Grumblers could get in immediately then begin referring others that we have commuicated with or have proof of their actual involvement in the industry.
  23. Leslie S.

    Leslie S. MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    It seems to me if customer looky-loos read very far, they would realize that the vast majority of us are not getting rich or anywhere near it...would you bother to go to a plumbers forum to find out the cost of pipe, or a decorators forum to get the mark-up of fabric? Probably not, unless you are contemplating going into that business (even on a limited basis, do it yourself included). What exactly do we have to hide? Aren't all retailers in a capitalist economy expected to try to make a profit? I just can't figure why ours as an industry is so low. As a "one of a kind luxury item" (read: not very high on the hierarchy of needs scale) shouldn't it be expected to be somewhat expensive? Does anybody go into a jewelry store and expect to get a ring custom made "cheap, cheap, cheap?" Why the difference in perception? Ooops, sorry, started to stray off topic a little....
    As for rude comments, the few I've made have been about people I doubt would recognize themselves as offenders anyway...nor do I care if they do!
  24. Less

    Less SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    (turn humor mode on)

    Sounds like it might be a good idea for FramerSelect to take out an add banner somewhere around here.

    (end humor mode)

    (turn humor mode on)

    What are you trying to say Marc? They would get more web traffic here than they get from their ads?

    (end humor mode)
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