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Leo_Wolfe

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« on: December 19, 2009, 04:06:59 pm »
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« Last Edit: March 11, 2010, 12:32:02 am by Leo_Wolfe »

Gazongola

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Re: The Official AGIE Discussion Thread
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2009, 12:58:36 am »
Whats AGIE?

JingleJoe

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Re: The Official AGIE Discussion Thread
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2009, 01:08:32 am »
Whats AGIE?
Yeah we don't all read the blog you know? ;)

Input! Input!
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Gazongola

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Re: The Official AGIE Discussion Thread
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2009, 01:56:05 am »
Whats AGIE?
Yeah we don't all read the blog you know? ;)

Input! Input!

Yah, tis true. I much prefer the community.

Gazongola

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Re: The Official AGIE Discussion Thread
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2009, 01:58:15 am »
Ooh, this sounds fun. But only if you have room for a visual visionary. I may not be an engineer or a huge inventor, but I am good at asthetics. I could also be persuaded to have a go at building... Also I do herbal alchemy.

alfa1

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Re: The Official AGIE Discussion Thread
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2009, 06:29:45 am »
Submit your ideas and suggestion for the AGIE here.


After reading the blog entry... let me get this straight.
You wish to get together a group of people who are mathematically and mechanically minded in the pursuit of creating devices and inventions from a period now long gone but which we’re all here to enjoy, admire and relive. A rebellion against the torrent of cheap, mass produced capitalist junk that rolls out of the worlds factories to end up in the garbage day after day.

And you wish to have meetings on occasion, and assist each other with ideas etc...

Isnt this what we have here on brassgoggles already?
I think you'd be better off just posting a message in the geographical forum.


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Re: The Official AGIE Discussion Thread
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2009, 06:47:55 am »
Submit your ideas and suggestion for the AGIE here.


After reading the blog entry... let me get this straight.
You wish to get together a group of people who are mathematically and mechanically minded in the pursuit of creating devices and inventions from a period now long gone but which we’re all here to enjoy, admire and relive. A rebellion against the torrent of cheap, mass produced capitalist junk that rolls out of the worlds factories to end up in the garbage day after day.

And you wish to have meetings on occasion, and assist each other with ideas etc...

Isnt this what we have here on brassgoggles already?
I think you'd be better off just posting a message in the geographical forum.



Yes, but I do believe the actual intent is closer to a the idea of a craftsman's guild rather than a simple discussion group or forum for ideas. I believe that they are looking toward (and correct me if I am wrong) things with functional as well as aesthetic value, from the historical period which most-inspires steampunk itself. In that regard, it would be *slightly* different than this forum.

Gazongola

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Re: The Official AGIE Discussion Thread
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2009, 11:52:09 pm »
Ooh, this sounds fun. But only if you have room for a visual visionary. I may not be an engineer or a huge inventor, but I am good at asthetics. I could also be persuaded to have a go at building... Also I do herbal alchemy.

This is certainly a skill you could bring to the community although I don't think there would be room for herbal alchemy  ;D

This is exactly what I mean by somebody with engineering experience realising your designs and you doing the same in return by designing the aesthetics of their inventions.

Sounds goos to me. And I am sure I can utilise my heral alchemy to make many blends of tea!!! Muhahahaha...

Mr Peter Harrow, Esq

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Re: The Official AGIE Discussion Thread
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2009, 12:33:35 am »
I would refer you sir to the Victorian Steampunk Society, it is already the first port of call for television production companies etc (we undertook the Exhibition at the MCM Expo in London earlier this year).

Major Tinker, Chair of the VSS runs a television production company specializing in historical re-enactment, making props for museums and was responsible for The Asylum. He is therefore admirably qualified and experienced for this role. What are your credentials sir?

Competition is always welcome, do you intend to run AGIE as a company or as an unincorporated association? Do you intend to run a Makers Convention? Contraptors are generally too geographically dispersed for what you may have in mind, you are asking for a subset (makers) of steampunks who are really a fringe movement, ableit a vital one, you are going therefore to require some sort of residential event rather than the type of social meet up which is becoming popular. Having run steampunk making workshops at SF Conventions, you are limited by what you can do with available tools and materials, is the intent to buy such and hold them in common for the AGIE members? I personally have been out of pocket in doing this, but its my hobby and the enjoyment I get out of it is compensation enough.

This all requires consideration and thought, you need to look to what is already being offered, and consider whether there is unmet demand for what you believe you have to offer steampunk.

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Mr Peter Harrow, Esq

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Re: The Official AGIE Discussion Thread
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2009, 02:13:18 am »
Mr Wolfe there is no intent at snobbery or disdain towards you, but you should have researched what was already out there before making your declaration, find out what organisations already exist in the real world, just to make sure you are not re-inventing the wheel. 

As regards bona fides, it is a reasonable question to ask, there are people on this forum who are professional prop and model makers, artists, physicists, engineers and mechanics, as well as people who have track records in running events and organisations and relevant qualifications in those areas. You would have to deal with both groups to do what you are seeking to do, and convince them it is worthwhile for them to invest their time and energy in your enterprise.

You should also note that many of the people you are seeking to represent are professionals working in this field, and have professional representatives already, or already more than adequately represent themselves, and will continue to do so, because it isn't their hobby, its their livelihood. This leaves the non-professionals of varying levels of proficiency, including a large number people you dismiss as nerf gun painters. If you are seeking to represent the genuine gentleman amateur inventor/maker, the first step in becoming such is to paint your Nerf Gun, modify what already exists, succeed at it, and then increase the scope of your ambitions gaining skills and experience. This is why I do workshops, there are plenty of people who don't even think of painting the Nerf Gun or don't know where to start, however they can rapidly advance to something truly original,or just have fun painting up the Nerf Gun if that is all they want. 







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Re: The Official AGIE Discussion Thread
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2009, 04:49:55 am »
Like the first page of a book. You have caught my interest. Now I want to know more.

What, in more defined words, is this guild's purpose? As yet it sounds very vague, And very open, is this on purpose? Or am I missing something?

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Re: The Official AGIE Discussion Thread
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2009, 12:43:55 pm »
Thanks, but I don't need my creativity to be subject to the politics and agendas of a guild. Steampunk is an intensely personal outlet which relies on the feedback of a community of like-minded souls, which we have here at Brassgoggles. Best of luck in your venture, but it sounds way too structured to interest me. Anyhow, I'm nowhere near Cambridge (Cambridge Mass. perhaps)

markf

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Re: The Official AGIE Discussion Thread
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2009, 02:40:52 pm »
Thanks, but I don't need my creativity to be subject to the politics and agendas of a guild. Steampunk is an intensely personal outlet which relies on the feedback of a community of like-minded souls, which we have here at Brassgoggles. Best of luck in your venture, but it sounds way too structured to interest me. Anyhow, I'm nowhere near Cambridge (Cambridge Mass. perhaps)
Precisely - I always prefer more creativity with less bureaucracy. markf
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Re: The Official AGIE Discussion Thread
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2009, 03:58:27 pm »
My two penn'orth:

The impression I got from your early post on Brass Goggles was that AGIE was going to be essentially a society dedicated to sharing what we do individually now: making things.  This is why I referenced hack spaces in my earlier email to you- I envisioned an arrangement whereby you could swap your electrical knowledge for someone else's metalworking skills and thereby allow you both to create more elaborate pieces. 

What it sounds like you are trying to do is assemble a "brand" of articles made by the members, where successful makes could be sold under the AGIE brand, with the aim of building a reputation and producing more ambitious projects, perhaps even on a more solid commercial basis (eg. as film/TV props).  I totally understand Peter Harrow's concern there- my tiny oblique brushes with the world of TV tells me I think that sort of job is best left to the big players.

I understand WillRockwell's concern as well, though I wouldn't put it quite as he did- if that is your primary aim I wish you well with it but I wouldn't submit my creations to branding, nor would I be happy voting on the creations of others, especially in fields I know nothing about (electrickery and wood/metalwork doesn't qualify me to judge fashion creations, nor the other way around).  There are two primary reasons for this.  Firstly, steampunk seems to be about the removal of labels, not giving them, and we have seen commercial attempts at steampunk fail precisely because it's about individual taste.  Secondly, as soon as your creations become part of a brand they become less associated with being your own work.  Imagine if Jake Von Slatt, Jake Hildebrandt, Datamancer and all the others amalgamated their work and subjected it to an approval process and you will see what I mean.

My other concern is that you are trying to build a brand with very little foundations to actually build it on.  Your vision is inspiring, but I think it's perhaps unlikely to get bums on seats if the stated aim from the start is to commercially exploit people's work.  I don't like using the word "exploit" because it has the wrong connotations, but you see what I mean- using the works of individual members in a commercial context to create a reputation for the guild.

All that said, I still support getting the guild going and finding out what people want to get out of it, because you don't know until you find out, and indeed because my anticipated purpose (collaborative making things) could still happen even if it's not the guild's primary focus, but rather using the guild as a network.

With that out of the way, my final thought would be that all bureaucracy should probably be kept to the bare minimum required to keep the group functioning.  The talk of votes, accreditation and so on puts me in mind of the fictional group of idealistic colonists who spent three days arguing about forms of government before being eaten by bears.  Let's sort out the basics (like who is going to meet whom, where, when, and why) before getting bogged down in governance.
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markf

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Re: The Official AGIE Discussion Thread
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2009, 08:47:52 pm »
@markf Is your comment a personal statement or is it directed at the guild? Just so I know out of interest : )
Yes.  markf

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Re: The Official AGIE Discussion Thread
« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2009, 10:10:32 pm »
From where I sit, it seems that this is a wonderful idea.  Perhaps I am wrong and Mr. Wolfe is Satan here to bind our creativity with the chains of order and profit motives.  Perhaps Steampunk has become Blake's 'Satanic Mills'.  But I doubt it.
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Re: The Official AGIE Discussion Thread
« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2009, 01:28:27 am »
Mr. Wolfe, am I correct in assuming that your "guild" is more along the line of what (in the US anyways) is known as a Co-operative... I.e. The local Farmer's Co-op members own their own land, tools, implements and whatever crops they grow, but they pool their resources when a member of the group has an emergency/big project that he/she can't do on his/her own... I.e. Barn raising.

Sounds like a good idea!  The Amish and Mennonites have been operating along similar lines around here for the past 300+ years and seem to be doing just fine...
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Waterbug

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Re: The Official AGIE Discussion Thread
« Reply #17 on: December 23, 2009, 05:54:23 am »
Mr Wolfe,

I have been unable to find out if AGIE is the name or an acronym so I cannot comment on the name as asked in the first post. I am still curious.

I think I understand your goals and desire. Ambitious. I have also tried to start a steampunk guild with the same goals a couple of times in different on line forums with nearly zero interest. I was not so bold as to layout my entire agenda and thus only had the sound of crickets to hear. To you and I it may seem perfectly natural for this community to support a steampunk guild but clearly a guild is an entirely different direction.

I believe the steampunk aesthetic could be important in a more ubiquitous way but I don't think that direction holds much interest for this community.

You speak of doing high quality works along the lines of watch and clock making, mainstream I assume. Hear, hear! Perhaps you could co-opt an older name, like Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. I count myself a current member and you are welcome to take it for yourself. Or perhaps Post Raphaelite Brotherhood.

I have been building a steampunk home from how the plumbing system is designed on up. Clearly it can't all be brass and gears. No one would want to live in such a place. So I've been trying to distill the steampunk aesthetic into why it is so appealing to me. I attach trim with brass screws. It has that hint of steampunk most steampunks might dismiss but hits that steampunk aesthetic for me. And it is obvious how the trim can be removed to make painting easier which is a theme from the DIY/maker off shoot of cosplay steampunk. I've stopped telling people it is steampunk, it just confuses them and maybe it isn't even steampunk. But they like it, a lot. First and foremost they like quality work. They like detail. And they like a bit of play like a bookcase that is a hidden door, but it can't just be a few shelves screwed to a door that will hold no weight. But it can't be ostentatious either.

So once again I am left to search for a term that defines this steampunk inspired design. Seems it is to steampunk what Arts and Crafts was to Victorian. Arts and Crafts Punk? Heavens NO!

It is a shame you couldn't have cast your net a bit wider as I would have been very interested in joining such a group or guild. I get that it would not preclude my own interests and might even help. I can understand your desire to meet in person and you are indeed fortunate to live in such a community that would contain enough like mined people to form a quorum on this topic. Here in Phoenix, with 3 million people, I have not yet found such persons.

I will send you my email address in the hopes that one day your guild is formed and accepting members world wide.

Good luck.

« Last Edit: December 23, 2009, 05:57:41 am by Waterbug »
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Waterbug

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Re: The Official AGIE Discussion Thread
« Reply #18 on: December 23, 2009, 06:00:45 pm »
Leo,

Good points.

Once I discovered the second blog post and the name Aquitarian Guild of Inventors & Engineers I better understood your plan. I like the name well enough but dislike acronyms immensely. Perhaps when the survey is done a discussion about the name would be more useful?

I totally missed the downside of using "Brotherhood".

What I mean about this community and your guild heading in different directions is that a guild has rules and structure. A guild at its core is a business arrangement for the benefit of members at the expense of those not in the guild. These are not just opposite of punk, it is the very thing punk would oppose. This community is into fun and role playing and a serious guild such as proposed would be a different kind of "fun" and be business like. This community bans discussion on politics and a guild comes very close to political. There are certainly all kinds of people in this community and I am making generalizations, but that is what I mean by different directions.

Unless of course I have entirely missed the point and AGIE is in fact fantasy role playing in which case I would be completely embarrassed and withdraw all comments.

WillRockwell

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Re: The Official AGIE Discussion Thread
« Reply #19 on: December 23, 2009, 10:03:15 pm »
Methinks the gentleman shows presumption in placing himself at the center of a movement he does not comprehend.

Waterbug

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Re: The Official AGIE Discussion Thread
« Reply #20 on: December 24, 2009, 05:04:36 am »
Leo,

I appreciate frank discussion and sharing of opinion.

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"An association of persons of the same trade or pursuits, formed to protect mutual interests and maintain standards."

I assume you already know this but I'll put it to text... At lease in the old days guilds were completely about business. They are the basis for modern corporations. From the points you outlined it sure sounds like a good old fashion guild to me.

Protection of mutual interests... I don't see how that could be any clearer. It does not consider the interests of others. There are those inside and those outside. Sure, anyone can join, as long as they follow the rules. That excludes people. Sorry, no nice way around it. I have no problem with that, very common. I belong to many groups that exclude others. Just the way humans work.

For a definition of steampunk in the context of this forum the FAQ is clear.

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Steampunk is a genre of fiction set somewhere in the 1800’s during the Victorian Era.

I feel I should respect that definition while here. Not the definition I use elsewhere but I'm coming to think maybe there should be just one definition and I should use another term to describe my lifestyle.

I am only at the fringe of Brass Goggles' definition of steampunk. I like steampunk fiction but not to the point of emulating characters. I don't build ray guns and goggles but like to see them and learn how they were created, marvel at the creations and integrate aspects into my own life and art.  I probably wouldn't even be considered steampunk by many here. Matters not. As far as I can tell so far in my research this community had the term first. I'm not going to tell them to change the FAQ.

I'm glad AGIE is not fantasy, but I had to ask. I am interested in an organization based in reality. I understand why AGIE would have rules, I'm 100% for the concept. But steampunk? Not by this community's definition as far as I can tell. However I haven't read every post and don't visit all sections.

As to "punk", I've not seen anyone dispute Jeter coining the term steampunk as a variant of cyberpunk rather than say punk rock. Again, a fiction genre, not really a lifestyle or movement at least as defined here. I have looked long and hard for people living a steampunk lifestyle to learn if it might improve my life but I have found few. It is difficult not meeting face to face to tell on-line who leads a steampunk lifestyle and who is role playing. Some role playing is extremely convincing and line between role playing and lifestyle is fine.

Of course there are people and forums that do define steampunk as a lifestyle and movement and there is overlap.  Some people here do indeed live a steampunk lifestyle, also not defined, but here Brass Goggles: The lighter side of Steampunk kind of says it all.

I am unclear where AGIE would fit in the steampunk spectrum. Surely not anywhere near the fiction, fan end. Doesn't seem to be in the lifestyle range. Seems closest to the steampunk maker/DIY area, but that is squarely an individual based ethos.  Seems to me AGIE would be organized steampunk maker/DIY. I'd expect blow back from steampunk maker/DIY people. I don't think such a guild would threaten current steampunk maker/DIY people in the long run. Short term it would pretty insulting I should think. Current artists stand on their own merit and nothing can threaten that. But like you say, who knows what AGIE is or will be.

One thing AGIE might consider is expanding the concept to include more than inventing and engineering. Most of the direction I get is from writers, artists, prop makers, costume makers, and patrons. Very little from other makers as we are kind of all on the same page already. I look to people who might be a page or two ahead. For example, I'd like to see steampunk art critics organize and share ideas. There are a few and their work is stellar. They already seem to know each other but they're hard to find so mabe AGIE could just do what it could to foster and promote such work, in AGIE's self interest of course. Maybe we'd get another John Ruskin.

Kitten Brigadier

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Re: The Official AGIE Discussion Thread
« Reply #21 on: December 24, 2009, 07:30:11 pm »
Just a little reminder to keep things friendly, folks. Debates are welcomed, but flame wars are not, if you have nothing constructive to say, please move along.
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Re: The Official AGIE Discussion Thread
« Reply #22 on: December 26, 2009, 06:20:19 am »
Kitten,

I'm also unclear to what you are referring. Perhaps a private message to whoever you are referring about whatever you are referring would be helpful? It would be appreciated by me if I am your target. I endeavour not to dwell on trying to read between lines as it serves no purpose.

Leo,

Guild or society. My preference would be to call it whatever it actually turns out to be.

Quote
AGIE isn't exclusively a Steampunk community but does fit into that mould nicely in many but not all aspects
I also think there is a lot of overlap with the lifestyle and maker steampunks and AGIE. And to be clear, I say "steampunk lifestyle" only because there is no other term defined that I am aware of and could use. I assume many fans of steampunk ficition would call their lifestyle a steampunk lifestyle. And people who make props and costumes are certainly accomplished makers, but I use the term "steampunk maker" for people making funtional everyday items only because I cannot think of another. I do wish there were more precise terms available. When steampunk can mean anything to anyone it is really hard to a express an idea. I appreciate Brass Goggles making very clear their position.

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...remain a minority but a minority we try to respect.
While it is impossible to tell for certain I would be extremely surprised if any aspect of current steampunk would ever become a minority to AGIE and I assume I misunderstood the comment. Are you talking about future AGIE, that there would be a minority within the group? I think it far more likely AGIE would have to gain the respect of steampunk to have any meaning in this community.

Quote
...art and fashion tends to be intensely personal whereas mechanics and engineering are not as much.
Maybe you could explain more the mechanical aspect. Do you have any types of projects in mind that you could share in general as an example? Any boundaries you could start to form? For example, I'd assume weaving would be outside the intended scope of AGIE? Would wood working as a part of the mechanical be a fringe, core or? Mechanical makes me think of metal. Like a clock maker may only make the workings while another craftsman makes the face and case.

The experiences I've had with great projects is where artists and engineers were on the same team and the artists really lead the design and the engineer's job was to make the vision real. These are consumer type products. A waste treatment plant probably wouldn't really require artists, although it couldn't hurt. Consumer products driven by engineers, not so good. Apple and Microsoft come to mind. Would the focus of AGIE not be on consumer type products?


On a side note, after better than a year, I've decide to stop referring to myself as a steampunk. I have done this before, but this time it seems to be sticking. The thought process of composing these posts, and other research, has lead me to believe that steampunk can really only mean one thing. I can appreciate everyone saying it can mean whatever anyone wants it to mean but that gives me nothing. I cannot discuss a topic that can not be defined. So for me, I accept the Brass Goggle definition. Makes my life simpler. I still like steampunk fiction, the aesthetic and do feel new and great things can be derived from steampunk. I'll still live the steampunk lifestyle, as defined by some, just as I did long before I heard "steampunk". But I don't want to add to confusion in my world and refer what I do as steampunk. Besides, everytime I research any steampunk topic, or follow an aesthetic I am interested in I always end running into John Ruskin, and that is almost un-steampunk. So I will follow that path for awhile. I'll still frequent the steampunk forums of course and hope to be a part of AGIE, but not as a steampunk.

AGIE reminds me of John Ruskin and that circle. Even though AGIE has yet to be defined, it being considered reminds me of what people like Ruskin may have gone through in their time. Of course there were hundreds of such groups in that period that went nowhere, so I am not comparing AGIE to Ruskin's accomplishments. But thinking about what the future might be, maybe trying to move in a direction, very heady.

Leo, your focus and energy into AGIE is refreshing. I'm quite impressed, regardless of whatever I end up thinking of whatever AGIE turns out to be.

Waterbug

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Re: The Official AGIE Discussion Thread
« Reply #23 on: December 27, 2009, 06:41:38 pm »
Leo,

Quote
They've kind of gone on the defensive for some reason.
I know you've said many times AGIE shouldn't be a threat to anyone. I certainly know that is your expressed intention. But from my perspective, when you mention things like raising standards, using the AGIE logo as some kind of certification, and helping people patent items, I see it as something I can use to my advantage in the market place. And from my understanding so far that is one accepted use of AGIE. The person next to me selling the hot glued on plastic gears with metallic paint is not going to be too happy about that.

Building a group around fantasy is pretty harmless. People can be interested or not, no big deal. But if anyone even hints, intended or not, that such a group would take money out of someone's pocket, real or imagined, or power out of someone's ego, then that person needs to be prepared for confrontation whether logical or completely illogical.

I want to build useful objects using long lasting materials and I would use any means I could to justify my higher costs to customers. Without customers I really can't continue building and creating at the level I would like. Perhaps that's some kind of evil empire just out for a "quick" buck, but that is the world in which I live. If there are any rich patrons out there who would like to support my work so that I could give give away my labor then please contact me as soon as possible. Until then, I'll have to sell my work.

I continue however to not understand how AGIE could be completely harmless to all living creatures in all ways. That's a pretty tough trick to pull off. But, I require no further explanation on the subject unless you feel the need. I think I understand where you are coming from. I once had a similar view of the world.

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mechanics
Moving parts. Got it. Thanks.

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...consumer type products...
Consumer product and making a quick buck are not the same things. There are many consumers products that are given away, such as the thousands of open source type software applications. Also, I can't say I ever remember getting "quick" bucks on any consumer product I've sold. Always seemed like a lot of work and risk.

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...labels...
I don't mind placing labels on myself. They come off easy enough. Just like an engineering project I like to have at least a basic plan of where I'm going and how to proceed next. Labels also reduce explanations. I find them useful.

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...feeling you want to distance...
I'm moving away from learning about the fantasy aspect of steampunk since I never was in it as it turns out. Kind of hard to know whether one is a part of something until one understands what it is. Steampunk I found very hard to understand. But now I think I have a basic understanding. AGIE is real world and seems to be very much aligned with my current interests. For as long as that is true I will remain interested.

I look forward to hearing the survey results. Empirical data!
« Last Edit: December 27, 2009, 06:44:37 pm by Waterbug »

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Re: The Official AGIE Discussion Thread
« Reply #24 on: December 28, 2009, 02:03:31 am »
Hello Leo and the rest of the folks on this thread.

It was suggested I might want to take a look in here since I work rather hard at encouraging many of the things you espouse Leo - we offer opportunities for steampunk makers to get together, share ideas, collaborate on projects and offer goods and services for sale in the UK. We do this because there is a demand for it as you have recognised.  The main area we differ though is that we do not try to organise/structure or control in any way but this is just one possible model of many - The VSS exists to facilitate and promote rather than organise and structure so have no difficulty with other systems and structures, organisations or groupings should people choose to join or adopt them.

I think I have a grasp of where you are coming from and what you are trying to achieve and how some people have taken your posts. If I may I would like to offer a little bit of genuine and hopefully helpful advice which may ease some misunderstandings and misaprehensions.

It is virtually impossible to try and organise steampunks since it is such an eclectic and creative world it is almost impossible to achieve consensus.  What you are doing is the only really practical approach of offering something and seeing who is interested in joining you in your endeavour.  Don't worry about the folks who are critical but do listen to their criticisms. Assess their validity and act on them if you feel it is in the interests of your project otherwise thank them for the input but simply explain what you are doing but don't try to counter argue since this just causes entrenchment and demands people come back at you.  (I learnt this one the hard way here too ;D)

Try to be clear and explicit if you can. Don't talk about things and then say you don't want to give bits away since this just encourages people to think you have some ulterior motive or to doubt your veracity.  Of course you haven't but the way you couch it causes doubt. "Teasers" are great if you are selling something but if you are looking for collaboration in building something they just give your critics ammunition to criticise you.

Give people something concrete.  Take some time to build a website with some stated aims and objectives. Make it clear they are draft aims and objectives and subject to change but give a clear idea of where you are going.  Similarly be open with your identity etc.  If you are seen as a real person with a real name and a real background, skills and history this encourages trust. Even your profile picture (one of my favourite images by the way) suggests you are hiding something so does you no favours.  An air of mystery is always intriguing but too much mystery is often interpreted as deceitfulness.

Don't be discouraged but be realistic with your expectations. Don't expect to please everyone and don't try too hard to convince the detractors since that will just lead to more hassles. (I am sure you already know the former, I am not trying to be patronising or teach you to suck eggs as it were but you have tripped up a little with the latter even with your own best efforts not to in the content of your posts.  A tough break really and I sympathise.)

One reason people are reticent is that no-one really knows who you are.  You are new on the forum (at least your log on is new) and you don't seem to be very active in the UK steampunk "scene".  People get very defensive about something they are passionate about when a "newbie tries taking over". Steampunks are of course very passionate about steampunk.  You aren't looking to take over but there is enough "grey area" in what you are saying that people can create new scenarios in their own heads.  Take some time to contribute on other threads and let people gauge some of your attitudes and idea so they can begin to judge more clearly where you are coming from and where you want to take your project.

If we can help you to clear up any misunderstandings then don't hesitate to get in touch.  You may want to consider exhibiting at The Asylum where a large number of UK steampunks will be gathering and you can talk to people face to face which is always more productive.  You can always email me directly at majortinker@aol.com

Best of luck in your endeavours.

John (aka Tinker)

The Victorian Steampunk Society home page. http://thevss.yolasite.com
The Asylum Steampunk Convivial pages. http://steampunk.synthasite.com
BE SPLENDID!