I have been giving the subscription idea some thought, too, and I'm sure
that Jody and Robbie know that many if not most readers are casual and
do not comprise the "hard-core" aficionado player enthusiast group.
Then there is that summer vacation thing, during which time many in all
categories will be absent. People are added, while others drop out, and
there is always a flux of interest, even among the core group.
I find myself looking for certain things, too. I'm not interested in
everything, and in long letters, it's difficult to find without taking
30 minutes to read it anyway. I would really appreciate a designation
for these letters if this turned to subscription. For example, historic
comments get an (H) beside them in the index. That would include where
names of pianos came from, who made what, etc. Discussion of specific
contemporary products would have a (P), A question or inquiry might be
designated (Q), Replies to inquiries (R), and technical comments (T).
Now when we look through the list, we don't spend an hour having to
read through stuff to take care of business.
Another feature might be a page separated into sections, rather than
a serial list of letters that is difficult to page down through, only
to somehow miss the letter you were looking for, so now you page up. We
seem to have 4 major sections, anyway. Why not divide the letter into
those sections, use the writer's heading with a (H) or a (Q) or whatever
after the title, and then you have 1/4th the material to page through
that you usually have? Set the sections apart widely enough that a
fast page-down will always find the section without passing it over.
Later on, these letters could be classified the same way on the web
page, and searches could be made without having to download questions
when you need answers.
The purpose of this suggestion is to utilize the MMD better and make it
more useful, hence justify its cost to potential subscribers. If a reader
has to work as hard getting information as the editors did to provide it
(in his mind, that is) then the value goes down.
I also think we should be reminded that many very interesting ideas,
new rolls, new machinery, etc. have been created as a direct result
of this forum. As far as usefulness is concerned, it is far more
powerful than either AMICA or MBSI because it is a daily meeting of
minds solving common problems and asking information. It is also the
most powerful pipeline to new friends that there is! Talk about a deal!
I don't think I've ever asked a question that I haven't gotten an answer
to. Sometimes privately, sometimes on the page. If I'm looking for
something, I may not post it here, but I will always post it to someone
I know who receives MMD.
One other thing is the rise in interest in player pianos! It's picked
up around here, and John Tuttle said the same thing. I attribute it to
Jody and Robbie. We also have brand new rolls, thanks to George Bogatko
primarily, and others who are able to sell them as a result of this page!
And they are phenomenal rolls. Some of the best ever cut! I think we can
indirectly thank this forum, all by itself. We have also read articles
that we would NEVER read in AMICA or MBSI, and we have scooped those
magazines time and again. We have examined articles in past bulletins
of the clubs and are now more able to evaluate the real worth of what
we were taking for granted with new information that we didn't perhaps
know before. This is the only forum I know of that we can read
contributions from experts in all facets of life, applied to musical
automata, and disagreements are managed politely.
I hope that if money is a problem for anyone, that they consider how
much fun and new interests every week they have had here, how many people
they have met, how many off-line letters they have sent back and forth,
versus other traditional outlays they may feel obligated to, but aren't
getting much back for their money and effort. This is a well- managed
page, it obviously takes a lot of time, and to me, it is worth a little
financial help if that's what Jody needs. I think he deserves it. Folks
who have a grateful streak will chip in because they know what work it
is and appreciate it. The rest will just keep taking, and advantage
themselves of the ones who provide it for them. That's always been the
way life is. I just hope that Jody will keep us appraised about what he
needs to keep the MMD coming, and to get it out to more and more people.
Frankly, I think a subscription is a good idea. So if donations don't
work, I hope it won't be abandoned. There is always a way to do it.