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MMD > Archives > October 1999 > 1999.10.02 > 04Prev  Next

Frequently Asked Questions & Free Advice
By John A. Tuttle

Hi All,  Well, I opened what seems to be a thought provoking topic.

 [990926 MMDigest, Frequently Asked Questions]

It might interest some of you to know that the initial sentence of
my posting was removed by the editors.  It read: "This posting is
guaranteed to make you think!  It might even upset you."

And the title (subject) was changed from "Educating the Masses"
to "Frequently Asked Questions".

 [ Editor's note:
 [ Since the subject line is the only method of indexing articles
 [ in the MMD Archives, Ye Editor (that's me) writes the subject line.
 [ Alert MMD authors also discover that I occasionally rewrite material
 [ which is redundant or conveys no useful information or is simply
 [ "too wordy".  MMDigest is not a newspaper with fanciful headlines;
 [ it is primarily a technical journal serving an international
 [ special-interest forum.
 [ I'm not picking on you exclusively, John; I'm just doing the same
 [ job as the "Letters to the Editor" re-write person at the newspaper.
 [ -- Robbie

For the record, here's an example of what I referred to in my posting
as 'laziness'.  [ This is a letter sent to John at his business. ]

> I just purchased a Bush & Lane Cecilian Player Piano and have decided
> to rebuild the 5 or so actuators that either don't work (2) or are
> sluggish.  I would like to find someone who supplies kits of gaskets,
> bellows, valves etc. for this project.  Thought perhaps you might
> have some advice on who to contact.  Thanks in advance for any help
> you can give me.

My reply:

> Hi,  For a listing of Player Technicians in your area, see:
> For parts and pubs, contact Player Piano Co. at 1-316-263-3241
> and ask for their free catalog.  For reference books, visit my
> web page at:
> Musically,
> John A. Tuttle

In my reply, I first pointed the visitor to the listing of player
technicians who have paid for a listing at Player-Care.  I owe each
technician that much for paying $10.00 per year for the listing.
I gave the writer the name and telephone number of Player Piano Co.,
and all I get for recommending them is the knowledge that I am helping
that business prosper.  Lastly, I pointed him to my web page on
Reference Books, which can be purchased on-line from Barnes & Noble.
I get a small percentage of every sale as a Affiliate Dealer for B & N.

BUT, had the visitor spent just one minute to look through the site
contents listing on the front page of my site, he would have found
the information without my help.  This is the type of laziness I was
referring to in my posting.

SOMEDAY, I hope to be able to answer the visitor in this manner:

 "Player-Care sells on-line reference materials for virtually
  every make of player mechanism.  These materials are also available
  in paper form and can likewise be purchased on-line.  We also
  have a large on-line catalog of player piano rebuilding supplies.
  For a listing of Player Piano Technicians, please visit: "

The only difference between what I'm already doing and what I plan
to do is that I will profit from the sale of these items instead
of the companies that already sell them.  If that seems unethical,
greedy or steps on anyone's toes, you don't know how a retail
business works.  All information has a price tag, whether real
or abstract, whether paid in person or by someone else.

It might also interest some to know that there is a site related
to pianos and player pianos that already charges a fee to answer
the simple question: "How old is my piano?".  The fee is $3.00.
So, the trend has already started.  My thoughts concerning paying
for information are nothing new.

Furthermore, those in the MMD with a heart and/or conscience have
paid something to receive the Digest; either in monetary form, by
contributing information or, in some cases, both.  Those people
understand the real value of information.

In closing, I have no immediate plans to change the way I conduct
business at Player-Care, and I never intimated that the MMD should
change it's policies.  I was merely pointing out the provable fact
that lots of people are lazy.  And when you're not a lazy person,
it can get under your skin a bit.  Search features like the ones
at Player-Care and the MMD were installed at our expense, an ex-
pense we were happy to pay.  I just wish more people would actually
use them before typing that letter.  Got any ideas?


John A. Tuttle

 [ I'm sympathetic, John.  Jody and I directly answer similar requests
 [ sent to MMD when we know a good answer, and sometimes we forward it
 [ to a helpful MMDer, but otherwise all we can do is publish the note
 [ in MMD.  'Twould be nice to have an auxiliary "MMD Research Staff".
 [ -- Robbie

(Message sent Sat 2 Oct 1999, 15:30:55 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Advice, Asked, Free, Frequently, Questions

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