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Any possibility we might be overreacting a bit before we have even begun to see the effects and results of the new order? Are there historical precedence or experiences that go to the direct heart of this matter than can be shared as examples of the horrors we might face? If not then we might all lighten up a little bit and see what shakes out and then make pronouncements and decisisons. I say this because I also made a statement regarding one aspect of the issue and it turns out I was wrong and all was well.


"If you fly a flag of hate you are no kin to me"

Ry Cooder

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There's something deeper going on here. Almost a violation. Sure, without Chris this site wouldn't exist, but it shouldn't be forgotten that forum members built up the real value of this site. And to exclude these same members from certain forum discussions because they haven't subscribed just seems strange. The subscribers say that these restricted forum areas really are quite banal. OK, so why have them restricted?

 

In any event, if goldsdad's post isn't a wakeup call, I don't know what is. But Chris, it's your site. You decide which products to review and you decide who get's to see what around here. But this won't feel like the same place I started posting some three ago now. Shame.

 

Mani.

 

As the saying goes, you can't please everyone all the time. Plus, trying to please everybody actually pleases nobody. You're entitled to your opinion that this is "Almost a violation." But, I couldn't disagree more.


Founder of Audiophile Style

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Well put Mani, this is not at all about money.

 

With respect, what else could the dissent be about except money?

 

If every feature were implemented without any monetary cost, just for instance, at a cost of requiring you to use your real name and email address, would that be any different? If so, how?

 

I'm not trying to argue, but I really am at a loss to understand your point of view on this. Nothing has changed in the slightest bit for someone who chooses not to subscribe. Additional features are available for a subscriber, but nothing that I can see at least, that would serve to exclude anyone, except perhaps vendors. I would like to see a subscriber area for vendors to be honest.

 

Really, the only difference is that to sell something, you need to be a subscriber. That makes sense, as nobody wants to send money to an anonymous person. Not only would selling a single item on Audiogon cost you as much as a month's subscription, it would cost you even more should you sell the item.

 

The other benefits - like tons of discounts, ad free browsing, etc. Those are not "excluding" other people either, except someone who cannot afford $5 per month or $49/year.

 

-Paul


Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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I think it essential at the CA Forum for its membership to express their POV (points-of-view), preferences, protests/objections etc., if only to vent, advocate, propose changes and innovations, question policies, the whole gamut, which I believe has been tolerated since I joined CA last year. Clearly there are strong opinions that express little or no tolerance for the changes made or provide any insight into what potential exists to improve the CA Forum.

 

The climate for discussion seems to be turning a wee-bit sharper/dramatic/reactive with characterizations like violation (almost), banal etc. that sound like all or nothing thinking. I am not protesting protesting. I think it more valuable when the perspectives and the symmetry and spectrum of behaviors create a common ground for exploring what the positive potential is for this courageous remodeling.

 

While I never argue with perception, I am somewhat taken by strong responses where the symmetry is decidedly against the changes implemented in status quo at CA. And without an open discussion to stir the pot the meal is already determined by some to be better returned to the kitchen.

 

How about venturing into that common ground we all share, ie., how about chunking up to the values we all hold dear? And discussing perceived negatives and also imagining the positives that accompany those specific changes. There have obviously been strong reactions which contemplate undesirable outcomes as if that course is destined. Or that doing this really means that. Or I see the negative and that's final. Actually, that's about as human in nature as it gets. We're all humans-in-training.

 

I would propose a time-out followed by thoughtful reflection. I have use this quotation before. I'll repeat it again: To “see both sides” of a problem is the surest way to prevent its complete solution. Because there are always more than two sides.--Idres Shah, REFLECTIONS

 

There are other forums out there in Forum land that model the changes CA has made. How have those forums have been affected?

I also wonder what would stop someone from investing $1.25 (I know it's not the money) a week for a month and experience what has changed to either accept, reject or propose adjustments. One can always opt out.

 

So far my limited experience has been only positive. I am feeling a bit brotherly toward Chris for sticking his neck out there and taking the heat. But that's understandable and he can handle himself. I still maintain curiosity about how these changes will pan out. And I see it as a positive move for many reasons which I have expressed in another thread in the subscriber's section of the Forum. Not being cute here. Just did a little mind reading and whether I got the spirit of it right or not remains to be confirmed by those members who read it and choose to comment or not.

 

It's a little lonely in the Subscriber's Forum. As we can have the best of both worlds which a minimum of experiences that drove many former members away from CA as has been discussed in the past, I hope others who are over the decision to subscribe or not take a month to sort it out. I do not for a moment begrudge anyone from believing otherwise about what is in their best interest. Merely inviting those members to take their skepticism with them for a month and dip a toe or two in the waters to put some more life into the changes implemented.

 

Wishing everyone good fortune,

Richard

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RS, I can only speak for myself - my view on this has nothing to do with money. I'm only really concerned with the subscription-only forum (a slippery slope IMO) and that horrid 'Subscriber' badge (implying that only subscribers are part of the club); the discounts, buying/selling and ad-free browsing sound fine... for those who are interested.

 

Mani.

 

Chris, I tend to agree that the "Subscriber" badge, which I'm quite certain you mean as something to show pride in and contribution to the site, can also have this unintended consequence of being perceived as a show of difference in status. For that reason I'd ask that you allow subscribers to have the option of not showing the badge beneath their avatars (unless that option already exists).


One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> eero Pro router -> EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> USPCB -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Hey Peter- poking my nose in just a tad. The ad-free browsing makes an absolutely amazing difference. I did not expect that at all, and in fact, I was at a bit of a loss to explain it, but it truly makes an amazing difference for me.

 

 

Paul

Paul can you explain what the amazing difference is? ...This is a sincere question.

Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Paul can you explain what the amazing difference is? ...This is a sincere question.

 

I think Richard had a similar experience, and he is much more eloquent than I at describing it. Perhaps he would not mind stepping in and giving his point of view.

 

But, as best as I can put it into words, it is far more enjoyable not only because it is much faster, but because I no longer have to devote time or attention to filtering out the ads, even when they are just in my peripheral vision. I can concentrate on and enjoy the content. The site is not only much faster, but "calmer." If any of that makes any sense, which I rather doubt. :)

 

The point is, I can read a page long posting almost as easily now as if it were in hardcopy print. Something I could not do with ads. And this effect was totally unexpected to me.

 

Yours,

-Paul


Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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With respect, what else could the dissent be about except money?

To me it's a change of philosophy... Now I know not everyone is expected to pay to use the site, but no longer do I feel I (when replying to someone's question) am contributing to a community; to me it now feels I am an unpaid contributor to a commercial venture. Okay maybe this was always true, but by adding "subscriber only forums" the feeling (to me) has changed...

 

As far as I'm aware this is the only site on audio / hifi which has implemented a similar policy; but maybe as was commented when The Times erected its pay wall, this is the future of the Internet - I hope not!

 

Eloise


Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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PS the subscriber "tag" is doubly bad as it *may* be seen by some people (new members) as an entitlement... Along the lines of "I'm a subscriber yet this other post got a reply/solution and yet my post has had no responses". Hope that doesn't happen but there is a danger. And then Chris' "if you're unhappy with the respose you get I'll refund your subscription" comment is no longer a fun jibe/joke.

 

Have you really thought this through??


Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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To me it's a change of philosophy... Now I know not everyone is expected to pay to use the site, but no longer do I feel I (when replying to someone's question) am contributing to a community; to me it now feels I am an unpaid contributor to a commercial venture. Okay maybe this was always true, but by adding "subscriber only forums" the feeling (to me) has changed...

 

As far as I'm aware this is the only site on audio / hifi which has implemented a similar policy; but maybe as was commented when The Times erected its pay wall, this is the future of the Internet - I hope not!

 

Eloise

 

Well put, and you truly have contributed Eloise. IMO, people such as yourself built this site as much as anyone.


Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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And then Chris' "if you're unhappy with the respose you get I'll refund your subscription" comment is no longer a fun jibe/joke.

 

Have you really thought this through??

 

Hi Eloise - You're correct my response to those unhappy with CA will have to be adjusted :~)

 

And yes, I've thought this through more times than I care to admit :~)


Founder of Audiophile Style

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All,

 

The 'Dealer Feedback' and Sales-only stuff make sense to me to be behind the CA pay-wall. But, I think that the inclusion of the 'Off Topic', and 'About the CA forums' sub-forums to the subscriber only category is a mistake. They are of value, and are needed by the entire community !

 

What I would think would be the best category to put behind the CA pay-wall are the articles and reviews that Chris C. writes. That is some true value-added content, and distinct from the user generated content of the open forums (which seems unfair to charge for IMHO). So what do you think about that Chris ?

 

I probably won't be subscribing, but not due to any philosophical reasons, but because I'm a poor pensioner, and have to watch my money closely. Cell phones, cable TV and other kinds of subscriptions can be quite expensive when you look at them on a yearly basis.

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All,

 

The 'Dealer Feedback' and Sales-only stuff make sense to me to be behind the CA pay-wall. But, I think that the inclusion of the 'Off Topic', and 'About the CA forums' sub-forums to the subscriber only category is a mistake. They are of value, and are needed by the entire community !

 

What I would think would be the best category to put behind the CA pay-wall are the articles and reviews that Chris C. writes. That is some true value-added content, and distinct from the user generated content of the open forums (which seems unfair to charge for IMHO). So what do you think about that Chris ?

 

I probably won't be subscribing, but not due to any philosophical reasons, but because I'm a poor pensioner, and have to watch my money closely. Cell phones, cable TV and other kinds of subscriptions can be quite expensive when you look at them on a yearly basis.

 

 

Hi Dave - Thanks for the feedback. I understand your position but it's not the route I want to go. I will never put core content, either my articles or main forum, behind a pay wall. The user generated content behind the pay wall is stuff that I look at as side content. Plus, it's 100% optional. Off topic stuff is just that off topic and not core computer audio business. I don't think anyone would find the off topic stuff in a Google search and have it help their computer audio endeavor. The area to discuss where people purchase equipment is something I thought of that may be of interest to people but I am too hesitant to put it in the open. It's a sticky subject with a ton of hidden agendas. Who knows, if that one goes well maybe it deserves to be in the main forum. I take await and see approach. The forum for CA comments, questions, etc... is there as an area as another place to express thoughts or whatever about the site. Less than 1% of CA readers actually post. Having some place where the 99% of non-posters can leave a comment with far less scrutiny may be a nice thing. Again, it's a wait and see thing.

 

 

A couple other items I havent' discussed are user requests for a subscription program and how the subscription program may help everyone.

 

I know some people won't believe this but I've received a number of requests from CA users to start a subscription program. People wanted a way to give back to the site. Some of these people are actually in the industry and make a living from the free information on CA while other people are like most of the CA community, here for enjoyment of our wonderful hobby.

 

 

Money from the subscription program will help hire new writers, one has already agreed to come on board, in addition to more objective component measurements that supplement the subjective reviews. As an example to ship the AirPort Express units for testing actually cost twice as much as purchasing new units. Thus, I purchased the new express and sent it directly to the testing facility from Amazon. I said please keep the unit as I don't want to pay for additional shipping. When talking about DACs that are larger, heavier, and require a large amount of insurance the shipping cost can be very big.

 

One much larger goal of mine is to have enough subscribers that CA can go without paid advertisers and be totally user supported. That would be nice for everyone and make CA more like a consumer reports site, but open to the public. This is a lofty goal. There is only one Consumer Reports and there's a reason of that. It's very hard to do.

 

 

I'm in this for the long haul. It's a marathon not a sprint.


Founder of Audiophile Style

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Chris, how could I pay through my credit card? I have no PayPal account.


Dalton

______________________________________________________________________

 

"Si vous avez compris, vous avez sûrement tort." (Lacan)

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Chris, how could I pay through my credit card? I have no PayPal account.

 

Hi Alkan - Currently a PayPay account is required. You can use a credit card once you have a PayPal account. Enabling direct credit card payments increases the level of complexity for quite a few things and increases costs. I'm really trying to avoid it.


Founder of Audiophile Style

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As the saying goes, you can't please everyone all the time.

 

Hear hear. There's pro's / con's to everything but I can't see what a lot of the fuss is about.

 

Elitism evolving from non-core 'CA' forums? Hardly. Paying to be able to Buy & Sell - that's normal. The badge; why worry about that! Contributing to a great site is worth it let alone all the discounts.

 

I still feel that members with a long-standing, high quality, & high # of postings should free as they are the backbone of this site - anyway - I've paid because getting most things mostly right will work!

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There's something deeper going on here. Almost a violation.

Mani.

 

I agree with this, sort of. Mani says "almost a violation." That's a vague term, but it carries a certain feeling, and I have that feeling too, sort of. Vague, but right somehow. Maybe it has to do with different cultures.

 

By the way, I don't think that Chris C. is intending this feeling and my guess is that Mani doesn't think that either (I don't know Mani at all, so it's just a guess). But all I can say is that ever since this subscriber's thing I've had a slight negative feeling in the pit of my stomach about CA.

 

And Paul, it has nothing to do with money, although for me every cent matters in a very real sense these days. I've imagined myself as a subscriber and the negative feeling doesn't go away. It's the separation of posters, the in club and the out club so to speak, good ol' boys, the elites. I don't want to have to be some way to be "in", and then if I'm "in" I don't like that there are those that are out.

 

I would, for instance, if I decide to become a subscriber so I can use the Sell option, post non CA stuff in the General forum. I want everybody's thoughts and input, not just a select group of "in" folks.

 

-Chris

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Chris, I tend to agree that the "Subscriber" badge, which I'm quite certain you mean as something to show pride in and contribution to the site, can also have this unintended consequence of being perceived as a show of difference in status. For that reason I'd ask that you allow subscribers to have the option of not showing the badge beneath their avatars (unless that option already exists).

 

I'm one of the lurkers who don't post, simply because I have no useful knowledge to contribute--but I'll take a stab at this topic. Instead of removing the subscriber badge directly, perhaps the option to remove could be offered as a paid "upgrade," so the the "advertisement" effect (if that is the original intention) could retained, and if one really wanted to support the site (and since "money isn't the issue"), one could pay a little extra to have the badge removed. This way the difference in status is no longer obvious since everyone who doesn't have the badge could potentially be a "super elite" subscriber, and there is thus no automatic indication of hierarchy.

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I plan on subscribing when I get a PayPal up and working. But seriously Chris, can't I just drive the money over to you? You can't be that far from me... :D

 

I still can't drive according to the Drs though. Are you near a Bus Line?

 

haha, kidding...


No electron left behind...

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Paul can you explain what the amazing difference is? ...This is a sincere question.

 

I think Richard had a similar experience, and he is much more eloquent than I at describing it. Perhaps he would not mind stepping in and giving his point of view.

 

But, as best as I can put it into words, it is far more enjoyable not only because it is much faster, but because I no longer have to devote time or attention to filtering out the ads, even when they are just in my peripheral vision. I can concentrate on and enjoy the content. The site is not only much faster, but "calmer." If any of that makes any sense, which I rather doubt. :)

 

The point is, I can read a page long posting almost as easily now as if it were in hardcopy print. Something I could not do with ads. And this effect was totally unexpected to me.

 

Yours,

-Paul

 

firedog, I believe your question is sincere; and I also believe that describing the experience even eloquently (Paul is too modest) which Paul succeeded in doing in a casual but accurate manner is not the same as visiting CA personally with no advertising. We're not in Kansas Toto!

 

If you've walked through Times Square which can appear as a mass of neon lights hawking anything up on the billboards, with news of the day banner streaming visually etc., you can have one experience or if you walking down along the Seine and there are no outdoor hawking signs, flashing lights, streaming banners, flash clap-trap, just a quiet, beautiful scene and the only thing flowing are the thoughts in your head (or not) and the River Seine. Well for Paul (was I close Paul?) and for me, without the advertising (which I just mentally omitted in the past), CA threads are that quiet walk along the Seine, the page is large and open and inviting, the noise is "off" save the comments in the posts and my focus is not pulled away from the posts (but often the posts do that by themselves).

 

Not being cute here, but firedog, for a month's fee, you can experience first hand what Paul and I are experiencing that we find very positive and which Chris has made certain that he seeks to eventually remove all advertising, which to me has a high value not only because (it can be) of visual clutter but the suggestion that certain advertisers that we comment on have a presence. And I would prefer that presence not be at the CA Forum unless the product is being reviewed or commented on.

 

That's my experience, which I am volunteering as you did not ask, but Paul and I arrived at the same destination taking separate walks along the River Seine and had a similar experience. Hope you join us for any number of reasons.

 

Best,

Richard

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(was I close Paul?)

 

Spot on from my point of view Richard, and very well said. Thank you.

 

I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that CA following more of a Consumer Reports or even a "public radio" model is going to be a very good thing indeed. Despite the misgivings of several people here whose opinions I do respect. In fact, since a few of those people are concerned with S/N ratio, I would say no ads on pages, is a direct answer to that concern. The S/N ratio increases significantly for me with the ads gone.

 

I am considering asking Chris to setup a "scholarship" fund of some kind, where we could perhaps send in a few dollars that are then used to offer a free one month "trial subscription" to some folks, who could then experience this for themselves.

 

And perhaps to fund a membership for folks who really are in enough of a financial bind to not be able to afford even these very modest fees.

 

Honestly, this feels a lot like the "Public Supported Radio" model to me, where people join or subscribe to enjoy the same content they enjoy for free, but support their local station anyway. IMO, TINAR, YMMV, etc.

 

-Paul


Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Paul can you explain what the amazing difference is? ...This is a sincere question.

 

I think Richard had a similar experience, and he is much more eloquent than I at describing it. Perhaps he would not mind stepping in and giving his point of view.

 

But, as best as I can put it into words, it is far more enjoyable not only because it is much faster, but because I no longer have to devote time or attention to filtering out the ads, even when they are just in my peripheral vision. I can concentrate on and enjoy the content. The site is not only much faster, but "calmer." If any of that makes any sense, which I rather doubt. :)

 

The point is, I can read a page long posting almost as easily now as if it were in hardcopy print. Something I could not do with ads. And this effect was totally unexpected to me.

 

Yours,

-Paul

 

Spot on from my point of view Richard, and very well said. Thank you.

 

I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that CA following more of a Consumer Reports or even a "public radio" model is going to be a very good thing indeed. Despite the misgivings of several people here whose opinions I do respect. In fact, since a few of those people are concerned with S/N ratio, I would say no ads on pages, is a direct answer to that concern. The S/N ratio increases significantly for me with the ads gone.

 

I am considering asking Chris to setup a "scholarship" fund of some kind, where we could perhaps send in a few dollars that are then used to offer a free one month "trial subscription" to some folks, who could then experience this for themselves.

 

And perhaps to fund a membership for folks who really are in enough of a financial bind to not be able to afford even these very modest fees.

 

Honestly, this feels a lot like the "Public Supported Radio" model to me, where people join or subscribe to enjoy the same content they enjoy for free, but support their local station anyway. IMO, TINAR, YMMV, etc.

 

-Paul

 

I think Paul's analogy is apt! I am a subscriber to Consumer Reports and it makes a big difference that no advertising appears which might create a conflict of interest. Is that too simplistic?

 

My wife's a psychologist and a few decades ago when Psychology Today which was never a leader in disseminating psychology matters much beyond a certain popular level (my opinion) refused to discontinue ads for cigarettes and published articles about smoking, I was extremely put out. I am using an extreme example but the idea of it is apt. If you accept advertisements from the same manufacturer that your review...It doesn't feel good even if boundaries are maintained.

 

And the S/N, as Paul points out, is vastly improved in my experience.

 

As the fee for month to month or yearly is so reasonable (if you amortize those fees), I am more excited about contributing to a scholarship for those who have the passion for the hobby but do not have the means to set up a modest system, i.e., at a community, neighborhood, school for students to enjoy and learn about. I'll leave it sketchy for the moment. I am in favor of contributing to fund something.

 

Best,

Richard

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