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Love the Cow..my students will know the cow..

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David AndrewsLove the Cow..my students will know the cow..
by on Aug 16, 2011 at 1:22:13 pm

I teach a class and AE. This is the best research tool in the industry for getting them the information they need to have in this business. I wish I had this when I started back in the 80's... both for up to date creative research, technical advise and keeping up with the big guys.. Thanks for all sharing...


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David JohnsonRe: Love the Cow..my students will know the cow..
by on Aug 16, 2011 at 3:22:47 pm

David, I couldn't agree more that the COW is an invaluable resource that I wish I had when I first started out. At the same time, please ... I implore you ... please make clear to your students that professional forums like the COW are not a crutch or easy-button replacement for their own genuine effort. I suspect I'm not the only one who has been frequenting the COW for many years and who has, in recent years, noticed the exponential increase in both number and frequency of questions like "how do I shoot the scene in this film?" and "how do I do the effects in this film?". Sure those are fair questions in some cases, but when it's glaringly obvious that the person has never even broken the seal on an equipment/software manual and/or the question is followed by "my assignment is due tomorrow morning, please help!!", it gets really old after a few hundred of those.

Thanks for considering my thoughts on the subject and best of luck with your classes.


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Ronald LindeboomRe: Love the Cow..my students will know the cow..
by on Aug 18, 2011 at 12:09:15 pm

One of the things we have been engineering (which will soon be a part of the COW) is the ability to "auto-compartmentalize" the truly newbie posts from the more experienced and complex matters. This will allow us to have varying degrees of users on the same forum and while it is one community, newer users will earn their way up the ladder to gain access to the highest level users. The higher level users here will not see the newbie posts unless they elect to. Newer to intermediate users can assist the total newbie users, while the more experienced users can focus on the more complex issues.

While this solution may not appeal to the "T-Ball Contingent" here at the COW, there really does need to be a solution to the problem of those who come to the COW and want everyone else to do all their work for them.

It is something we have been kicking around for the last year or so and we believe that it will both simplify the COW, while making it far more useful to both newer and more experienced users.

All of us are newbies on something, and have been total newbies at times. We respect both levels of our audience and think that we have finally come up with a way to serve both in a way that allows both to function appropriately and get the answers they need -- whether those answers are complex or more basic.

Thank you both, Davids 1 & 2, for your kind words and feedback. We truly appreciate the time you took to give us your viewpoints.

Best regards,

Ronald Lindeboom
CEO, Creative COW LLC
Publisher, Creative COW Magazine

Creativity is a process wherein the student and the teacher are located in the same individual.

"Incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm."
- Woody Allen


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Tim ParsonsRe: Love the Cow..my students will know the cow..
by on Aug 18, 2011 at 7:11:40 pm

1st, I agree with the love of the COW. it is truly a wonderful resource! I also suggest VideoCopilot.net for the AE part of your class.

2nd, I must ask... how are the "newbies" actually hindering the experts? I mean, forgive my ignorance, for I only recently got off the automatic comment monitor list on COW. (I am new to the site, but not new to the industry.) But it seems like all an expert has to do is **ignore** the glaringly obvious newbies wanting an easy A. How does the newbie truly hinder the expert, as has been implied in this thread?

3rd, If, as you say, the newbies will be quarantined off until they earn the right to talk to the experts or unless the experts decide to stoop down to help them out, doesn't that defeat the entire purpose of the COW?. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the purpose of the COW to give everyone access to experts? For example, myself. Technically speaking, I would be classified as a newbie. But suppose I, as a young, hard-working professional, have a pressing question about patching a Betacam deck through an I/O when my strict expertise is in video editing and effects. That would require knowledge beyond my experience and years, but it could be easy for a COW expert. If I were quarantined as a newbie, I would be stuck. And that, for certain, defeats the purpose of the COW.

Again, I could be wrong, but the whole idea of quarantine (or compartmentalizing as you call it) is counterproductive and you risk frustrating all those newbies who are truly trying to accomplish something using the COW. I highly suggest a square-one re-think of ways to streamline the experts COW experience without alienating the rest of us.


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David JohnsonRe: Love the Cow..my students will know the cow..
by on Aug 18, 2011 at 11:55:06 pm

Ron, Thanks for considering all opinions and developing a plan to keep the COW relevant/useful. Now, I must warn you to put down your coffee cup before reading on ...

Since the solution "may not appeal to the 'T-Ball Contingent" here at the COW", perhaps my attorney can be of assistance with that matter? I think you already know him. ;~)

Tim, Since I'm the one who added the moderation issue to David Andrew's simple comment thread (for which I apologize, David), I feel obligated to reply to your comments. Your sarcasm clearly shows that you took offense to the idea of moderating the forums, which I think is unfortunate because it implies that you consider yourself to be the type of poster I referred to.

The fact of the matter is that the COW (and any other forum worth its salt) already moderates. Perhaps the best example is the answer to your first question - "how are the "newbies" actually hindering the experts?" First, remember those are your words, not mine. It seems the answer is the same reason the most popular forums now have "Basics" forums and other related features ... because it started to get to the point where any "expert" or "newbie" who posted a real question (not on page one of a manual or answered literally thousands of times in the same forum) had a very hard time getting a single reply because their posts were immediately buried beneath dozens of threads asking the same basic questions over an over. It seems if that were allowed to continue unchecked, the COW would not have survived and thrived the way it has since no one would bother wading through pages upon pages of posts useless to 90% of users.

As far as your second question - "isn't the purpose of the COW to give everyone access to experts?", I would say yes and no. 'No' in that the purpose actually seems to give everyone access to others who can answer their questions, not necessarily "experts" (again, a distinction you made, not I). If you were to consider the solution Ron described before attacking, you would see that is exactly what it aims to accomplish. Similarly, if you were to consider the issue I mentioned, you would see that "a pressing question about patching a Betacam deck through an I/O", is not at all the kind of question/situation referred to. It seems very unlikely that the planned moderation would prevent a reasonable question like that from getting answered ... regardless of whether you would consider the person who answered it a "newbie" or an "expert".

It seems the bottom line is that, if anyone immediately assumes that the COW staff's goal is to alienate anyone, rather than to keep the COW relevant and useful to all, perhaps he/she is just not familiar enough with the COWmmunity to make such a pre-judgment.


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David AndrewsRe: Love the Cow..my students will know the cow..
by on Aug 19, 2011 at 1:17:33 pm

This is what makes the cow great. People being honest about the industry and thier needs. The Cow offers this and better than anyone. This is a finally tuned Cow. and I mean resource. I like the fact that they have basic verses advanced. I only teach one class and the rest of the time I manage and produce, Direct, edit, composite, shoot, well do everything. From technical to creative the Cow has put together an invaluable resource with many of the best in the industry. The Cow is about knowledge, current and concise. For those who are making money they can read about an industry that is far different then the standard business model. Employers do not even know what to call us anymore. I am a producer.director and many things and I really do not like being called a Video Guy. The only thing that seperatss the professional in this business is the quality of work. U tube has been a blessing and a disaster..but I tell newbies this.. people who just do poor quality work and throw junk up on Utube makes the professional look even better. The secret is to always be professional and light it right. Learn compositing since the "UTUBES" out there will not be doing that and make your work stand out in that way. The more UTUBY video out there the better you look as long as you are lighting it professionally, editing with taste, provide the highest quality finished work you can. The cow is like walking into a room of people who you could sit an talk to all day long..because you share something remarkable. I want my students to understand the industry they are getting into from a real world viewpoint.. which is far different than a classroom. If I can provide them access to reality...the cow represents the real industry with no sugar coating with real problems and challenges..you cannot get that from any book...and to anyone offering to provide valuable advice to them..they are the future...and some are pretty darn good...



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Tim ParsonsRe: Love the Cow..my students will know the cow..
by on Aug 19, 2011 at 2:14:11 pm

@ David J, thanks for your response! looking back, i suppose i sounded like a jerk, and i didn't mean to. But i appreciate your calm response to my knee-jerk post.

I will admit that no I am not totally familiar with the COW as others are. I only recently discovered it but at least know its potential practical uses.

I see the logic of what you say about relevant questions being buried by the "easy-A" crowd. And of course I didn't mean that every question needs answered by an expert, but instead i meant that I think that every question at least **could** have access to an expert. :) I realize some questions can be answered by someone with just a little more experience than I.

But as I understand it, it seems that if this compartmentalizing is carried to its logical end, a newcomer to the COW like me could only ask questions up to but not exceeding the intermediate level. how does one "earn" access to the experts?

I actually also understand the need for the moderation I have already received, since any public forum cannot allow just any language or content be posted uninhibited. But as I understand Ron's comments, there will be a **new** moderation criteria based on experience that could potentially limit the COWs usefulness to the newcomers, like myself.

I suppose my question boils down to wanting to know more about this new moderation criteria that will soon be a part of the COW.

Thanks for your indulgence of my COW ignorance. :)


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David JohnsonRe: Love the Cow..my students will know the cow..
by on Aug 20, 2011 at 1:15:21 pm

Tim,

No, you didn't sound like a jerk (and I hope I didn't) ... you sounded bothered because you genuinely believed a useful resource was being taken away and for no good reason. My point was that you need not have that concern since it's premature to conclude that something is being taken away, which makes whether it's happening for good reason moot. Even so, it's also my opinion that there are in fact good reasons for change.

I've watched the COW change and grow for a decade while other good forums died off because they didn't adapt to the changing times. The media business has changed drastically in that time ... it use to be almost exclusively seasoned pros since the costs and complexity of the tools were significant barriers to entry. Now, so-called "newbies" are a large portion of the industry. So, it makes sense for the COW to look for ways to serve that segment of the industry and still remain useful to the old(er) dogs, which is how I interpreted the preliminary description of the planned change.

[Tim Parsons] "every question at least **could** have access to an expert"

I really don't see that changing and think you're other questions are also answered in Ron's statement that "The higher level users here will not see the newbie posts unless they elect to." I think many will elect to since very many come here for the sole reason of helping out the "newbies" who will shape the future of the industry ... because they understand that they'll be affected too and want to do their part to make sure it's done right. ;~)

In short, perhaps be patient and have faith ... in other words, there's good reason the COW is the longest standing and most widely used forum of its kind ... they know what they're doing.


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Ronald LindeboomRe: Love the Cow..my students will know the cow..
by on Aug 20, 2011 at 5:20:58 pm

David Johnson, you are awesome. ;)

Your 3rd paragraph is EXACTLY what some people are missing in this conversation. People will be able to set their personal way of viewing the site. They can elect to not see newbie stuff or they can see it, it's their call.

Why people should think that every advanced user should be automatically forced to deal with issues of a simple nature, is beyond me.

Many will elect to assist with newbie questions. Many will not.

But the real point that is a KEY to making this workable, is that some miss the point that there are 1.7 million people that regularly come to this site every month. If every upper-intermediate-to-advanced user were to opt out of the process, HALF of the site will still see every newbie question.

The questions will get answered.

Why some people think that they must be answered by the most advanced users is beyond me. The answer is important, not who answers.

We DO know what we are doing (thank you for noting that, David) and we have spent years crafting the mechanisms that will pull this all off fluidly, simply, respecting various levels of users, and allowing for questions to be answered quickly.

It is important for ALL levels of users to be respected.

We have absolutely nothing but respect for nearly all of our users (oh, there's a few whose abuse of the spirit of the site makes it hard to always guarantee that everyone's questions will be met with respect).

Maybe I need to set a rule in the site to flag me whenever someone says RTFM or whenever the word manual is used. That way, I can see how people are treating others.

We do NOT want to chase off newer users, but we DO want them to understand that this was born out of 16 years of building online communities for media professionals and if we are going to succeed in the days to come, we cannot water this site down with everyone thinking that their questions MUST be answered by the highest person available or they haven't got the "real" answer.

If the people in the middle can assist the ones just starting out, that makes sense to me. If the ones at the top are fine-tuning the people whose expertise is growing and who need to be guided to the next level -- that too makes sense to me.

But having people think that everyone should automatically "walk into the corporation's boardroom and ask the board where the soda machine is," is not very realistic or workable in the real world.

Part of what we are teaching newer users here is that this is a business and if they are going to succeed in business, there are protocols and conventions that must be respected if one is going to build a career.

That too is a cornerstone of the COW and it is why we launched a business and marketing forum early on, and why we built Creative COW Magazine.

There is far more to this industry than technical questions getting answered and if we are going to remain relevant, we too need to address many things or we will find ourselves outside the very industry we have supported for many years now.

Again, thank you David for the vote of confidence. It is appreciated and Bessie says you get three glasses of chocolate milk for saying it.

Best regards,

Ronald Lindeboom
CEO, Creative COW LLC
Publisher, Creative COW Magazine

Creativity is a process wherein the student and the teacher are located in the same individual.

"Incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm."
- Woody Allen


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David JohnsonRe: Love the Cow..my students will know the cow..
by on Nov 23, 2011 at 3:14:18 am

Hey Ron, This is waaaay overdue, but thank you very much for the kind words as well. Sorry I disappeared just after posting in one of the more interesting threads I've participated in a while. I won't bore you with the long, boring story so suffice to say it was unavoidable and, more importantly, I've now found my way back to the pasture.

By the way, I hope you got my attorney reference in that post ... and, if you did, that you weren't drinking something at the time. ;~) Cheers!


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Tim ParsonsRe: Love the Cow..my students will know the cow..
by on Aug 22, 2011 at 1:27:21 pm

I agree with Ron: David J., you are awesome! Reading your response helped me better understand the motives and potential outcomes... You are right. I need to wait to see that they won't alienate users *before* i feel alienated.

"walk into the corporation's boardroom and ask the board where the soda machine is" HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! ..... 'nuf said... point very well made... hahaha.... **wipes tear of laughter from eye**

Now that THAT's all cleared up...

Yes indeed! I love the COW and if I were to ever teach, I would definitely suggest it and VC to my students as a wonderful resource!

And don't worry, David J. I would make sure they don't use it as a crutch. I will be able to tell. ;)


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Mike CohenRe: Love the Cow..my students will know the cow..
by on Oct 13, 2011 at 4:34:19 am

Every internet forum site has a culture

The culture at the COW, in my opinion is:

1. Old timers are happy to help anyone who asks a logical question, and who accepts the answer or provides more details if requested. I will happily choose to view newbie questions, because I have been a newbie with about 12 different editing systems in my career and I know how these folks are feeling. Though I won't necessarily answer questions for which a simple search of the site would reveal the answers. In fact very often when you google a problem your top results take you to the COW anyway.

2. The nature of some questions from newbies and sometimes from middle-timers who have perhaps just been burned or who have had too many 5 hour energy servings or who have just broken been kicked off their friend's sofa can be frustrating to deal with. For example:

Original post:
Hi. I'm trying to convince a client that I should charge him $1 million for the raw footage. I'm within my rights because the client is XYZ Corp and they are loaded.
Thanks
Joe Baloney

Response 1:
Joe. Are you kidding? What's your contract say?

Joe:
What's a contract?

Response 2:
OMG.

Joe:
Dude, like just answer my question already. Why won't you help me out here, I've been nothing but nice.

Response 3:
Joe. I very nicely told you that you should have a contract if you are going to dispute something with a client. How was that offensive?

Joe:
I hate this site.


3. Newbies who break the norms of forum etiquette. For example:

Original post:
Hi. Can someone take a look at my reel?

time passes

Email in my in-box:
Hi. I enjoy your blogs. Can you look at my real?
Thanks
Ernie Bertram

My reply:
Ernie
Thanks for the compliment. Please post this on the COW.
Mike


See what I mean? We like newbies and I think the word newbie is a bit derogatory. (911 what's your emergency? Your mum's not breathing? Hmm, this is pretty easy to solve, just google it newbie. Please call back if you have something more advanced like a black widow bite or a lacerated spleen...ok not really the same thing (I'm in the 5-hour energy category at the moment)

But some newbie questions are either too easy to merit their own thread because they have been asked before, or the OP questions the responses or is looking for some kind of confirmation that they are a good person. I would suggest a psychologist.

Should we triage users automatically? Not sure. I'm sure that will get some criticism when it drops but we'll see. It will tidy up the popular forums (keeping the "what cheap camera should I buy for my brother's bar-mitzvah" questions out of the Premiere Pro forum for example).

I too wish there was a forum like these when I was a lad. I luckily had a tv studio engineer to hang out with and learn technical jargon, but it would have been helpful to have a message board for the Chyron VP1, Microtime DVE and that newfangled format known as S-VHS!

Long live the COW.

Mike Cohen


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