Update on the New LAP Forum

Chas. A. Strelinger & Co 1897

We’re making progress on the Lost Art Press forum.

Chris found us a platform, called Muut. It is cutting-edge and looks pretty slick. Muut also has some invisible features that appealed to us, such as its infinite archiving of posts (nothing can be edited or deleted, except by me, after you post it), and its broader safeguards towards user integrity.

John worked like a bear last week to get the platform fully embedded into the site. Thanks to his efforts, you will be able to post to the forum simply by logging in with your existing LAP store credentials. The forum is already embedded in the product page for each book. And eventually links to the most relevant discussions will also be integrated into our blog posts.

We have tentatively scheduled the forum’s full beta release for Monday, Sept. 14. On that date, Chris, John and I will respond real-time to all questions LAP.  Kind of like a Reddit-style AMA discussion within the new forum itself. More details to come.

Why do you still have to wait a few more weeks? Well, even though everything has gone smoothly so far, I am not quite ready to jump full-in. There are some technical kinks I’m still working out, some more CSS to embed, and some things I don’t like about Muut that their coders are helping me with. (For example, I’m obsessively organized, but Muut is designed to be automatically indexed and automatically categorized – my worst nightmare!)

I also anticipate some unforeseen glitches. In other words, I know there are knots hidden underneath the face grain. Will you help start planing it for me? You can use a limited preview of the forum here. For the preview, I have disabled all of the categories and sub-categories save the channels on “Workbenches” and “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest.” If you check it out now you can get in early on the conversations. Send me your impressions.

Finally, use of the forum (and of the LAP site more broadly) will henceforth be governed by a set of rules. (Cue the tomato-throwing.) Most of you already follow these previously unspoken guidelines. But the demise of past woodworking forums spurred us to put these in print. And I will enforce them vigorously. (I already deleted three posts on the blog in the past day – did you notice, you otherwise-nice people making jokes about the blind and deaf? Oh, and I deleted one of Chris’s comments, too. Sorry Chris – rules are rules.)

The following is our draft of the new Terms of Service for participating in the Lost Art Press community:

Welcome to the digital home of Lost Art Press (LAP). We strive to treat you as a guest in our house. We ask that you behave accordingly. Therefore, your use of the LAP web site is contingent upon the following Terms of Service:

  1. Use of the forum is governed solely by the owners of LAP. The forum moderator(s) will delete any post that violates the  following rules. Repeat violations will result in the deletion and deactivation of your LAP account.  
  2. This is a woodworking forum. Only woodworking will be discussed.
  1. No political, religious or social commentary of any sort. This restriction includes users’ quotations, signature lines and avatars. If it’s not woodworking, don’t post it.
  1. No sexist, racist or hateful language.
  1. No bullying, harassment or intimidation. LAP welcomes woodworkers of all skill levels. If you don’t have anything helpful to say, don’t say anything.
  1. No solicitation, advertising, self-promotion or spamming. Links to external websites are permitted only if they are directly relevant to a discussion.
  1. No profanity.
  1. No anonymous posts. To ensure integrity, users must login to their Lost Art Press account in order to post to the forum. If you do not already have a LAP account, you can create one here for free. We will not share your name or personal information with any third parties. Fake or duplicate LAP accounts will be deleted.
  1. When in doubt, see Rule No. 1.

– Brian Clites, your forum moderator and author of TheWoodProf.com

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32 Responses to Update on the New LAP Forum

  1. pogo930 says:

    (Therefore, your use of the LAP web site is “continent” upon the following Terms of Service:) Would that be the opposite of incontinent? I thought bathroom humor wouldn’t be allowed. 😉

  2. osteon618 says:

    No ability to edit a post after submitting? Are you kidding me? Does LAP print a book without editing the rough draft? It is imperative for participants to edit misspellings, typos and poor grammar. See above.

    I appreciate your noble goals but the above description sounds sterile, boring and oppressive. I will have more fun and engagement reading Flexner’s “Understanding Wood Finishing” on the toilet. If you were to apply these guidelines to LAP’s blog there wouldn’t be much to read and even fewer readers.

    I imagine you will delete this comment.

    It’s too bad. Really.

    • Brian says:

      Its my job to keep it sterile. And you, my friend, just adeptly interwove feedback, humor, sarcasm, potty talk and biting self-critique without even coming close to violating our TOS.

      As for the no-editing function inherent in Muut, its the future. I’d rather live in a world of typos than one where mean or ignorant people can pretend they didn’t just say something rude.

    • Brian says:

      Also, I’ve enabled the “undo” function in Muut, so all users should be able to rescind or edit their posts for the first few minutes after submitting.

  3. sablebadger says:

    Not sure about rule number eight… I can see Chris having some issues with that. 😉

  4. Matt Merges says:

    Kudos, and I wholeheartedly support the heavy moderation. It seems to be the only thing that can keep an Internet forum from devolving into a giant ball of hate and wasted time.

  5. So what your telling me is my name won’t be Oscarbait Concubine? I’m disappointed Brian…. Very disappointed…

  6. ctregan says:

    Can we post Pictures on this new fotum?

  7. hgordon4 says:

    Uh, re. rule No. 3… Doesn’t “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” have a fair amount of social commentary in it? Commentary I agree with and found quite refreshing as a matter of fact.
    The political / religious part of the rule I get – no place for it in a woodworking forum. But it seems to me that the whole issue of a return to craftsmanship, hand tools, knowledge of the past, anti-consumerism, anti- mass-produced garbage, etc. is one big ongoing social commentary.
    Or is it that just we all (or virtually all) agree with this social perspective?
    Maybe this is one of those “You’ll know it when you see it” things… ;>)

    • Brian says:

      And you could consider Chris’s dividers (or my beehive) avatar to be religious symbols. I will try to clarify the language in The TOS. As a professor, I certainly appreciate that all speech acts are political and anything interesting is inherently social. What we’re asking users to avoid is punditry, bigotry, evangelization, proselytizing, and cultural warmongering. (Keeping in mind that that list comprises many different things– some of which might not only be permissible but also admirable in other settings.)

  8. hgordon4 says:

    I think item 10 in the TOS was a ban on neologisms…
    Unless created by Chris, Brian or John, of course. Some animals are more equal than others.
    ;>)

  9. Jeff Faulk says:

    Social commentary could have a place as related to woodwork in the form of explaining causes and effects. Why public taste for one form of furniture changed for another, how industrial production methods changed furniture manufacture and the side effects of same, the social impetuses that drove movements such as Arts and Crafts, and so forth. Not so much the whole ‘lol capitalism sux’ but a little more ‘this is why arts and crafts came out versus victorian baroque’. Am I correct in thinking that such a commentary might be appropriate?

    TL:DR version: Commentary specifically relevant to woodworking, that tends to be historical in nature rather than politically or socially argumentative, is OK?

  10. raney says:

    SO does this mean that I have to change my LAP login to CodPiece McPackinfluffy in addition to a legal name change? Or will the internet do that automatically for me?

    In all seriousness, I almost wish you’d just said “we’ll be deleting anything we disagree with in tone or content. Here are the guidelines, but we get the final arbitration in all cases, and reserve the right to make no logical sense in those decisions.”

    Personally, my house is a benevolent dictatorship. You start in with racism, sexism, homophobia, or discussion of the merits of polka, and you gots to go. Furthermore, starting into how misunderstood “Duran Duran” was, overuse of euphemism, or any attempt to tell me anything at all about my aura and you’re out on your butt.
    JMO.

    • Brian says:

      You know, Raney, I might just steal that second paragraph for the revised TOS!

      • raney says:

        It’s been my experience that the people who will regularly violate the TOS will almost certainly not agree with the definitions of the TOS either, and will probably argue the finer points like they were in a Grisham novel. In the end, it’s always going to be the moderator/owner’s opinion anyway, and whether it makes sense or not is pretty immaterial.

        But can I PLEASE make a fake login? Cause I really doubt Fr. John is going to log in anyway, so someone ought to use his name.

    • Niels Cosman says:

      Settle down there Mr. Codpiece, your aura is looking pretty brown. You’ve got a lot of solar energy bound up in mula-banda. I recommend three rounds of deep four part breathing accompanied by “Ordinary World”.
      ps. I was never a big fan of TOS beyond the first season, It’s all about TNG.

  11. Great idea! just tried to log in – but looks like there’s an issue.

    • Brian says:

      Thanks for letting us know Michael. I can see that your post on Hickory eventually came through. Appreciate your patience and perseverence as we work out the kinks!

  12. beshriver says:

    Anything written here will surely get me banned…I have no comment…and I do so under protest.

  13. Mike says:

    Seems like a sensible set of rules. The only woodworking forum to which I belong follows a similar set of principles and it is the reason I participate. I do edit a fair share of my posts, I just can’t stand typos and, since I often type on an iphone, typos happen. Allowing someone a few seconds to edit makes sense, I am sure you will need to make some adjustments as time passes on.

    It is always interesting to me when people post political and religious points of view and don’t even realize it. Some people are so insulated that they confuse their opinion with fact and assume the rest of the world agrees.

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