Rewording the front page
September 26, 2014 04:50PM
Let's face it, we have now two RepRap communities. One of them considers RepRap mostly to be running a shop. Here we at least try to advance technology vendor-independent, document our findings, running a community open to everybody. Headings from the current front page:

Quote

RepRap takes the form of a free desktop 3D printer

RepRap companies don't even try to make free stuff. They sell kits.

Quote

RepRap is about making self-replicating machines

Actually, most kits introduce more and more industrial technology.

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Reprap.org is a community project

Pretty much everybody who opened a shop left reprap.org and started to see wiki and this forum as sort of a marketing and customer care tool. Answers are typically limited to "click here, buy that"-types.


I drafted a new front page: [reprap.org]

Actually I see a lot of people being interested in not only clicking the "print" button, but also in understanding how this stuff works. Interested in advancing the technology not by try-and-error, but in a somewhat scientific fashion. Interested in learning and educating. Interested in documenting and discussing findings, independent on wether these findings increase revenue or not.

Admittedly, compared to those thousands of kit buyers, these people are only a few. Still I think reprap.org should head in such a direction. Actually, I think that's the only way reprap.org can survive. Being a complementary and redundant customer support tool makes no sense, being sort of an open source academy does.


P.S.: upper half of the new page is mostly unchanged. These goals are IMHO still valid for those without commercial interests. Bottom half is new.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/26/2014 04:52PM by Traumflug.


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Re: Rewording the front page
September 27, 2014 01:05PM
I think you are correct that there are two communities now. Maybe they can be called the "RepRap Research Community" and the "RepRap Commercial Community". There is of course some overlap, and there are people who make very valuable contributions who are also members of both communities.

In my opinion, the people who are the least helpful (other than the regular spammers, trolls, and crazies) are the types who simply add a link to their company website on ten different wiki pages, without ever making meaningful contributions. But even these people are annoying at worst, and I am not sure if they are causing serious damage to the wiki.

Markus, I know you have strong feelings about the research/commercial split. I agree with your assessment, but I am not sure that the front page is the best place to publish this opinion. What purpose is it supposed to serve? Is it to encourage research activity? Is it to discourage commercial activity?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/27/2014 01:06PM by MattMoses.
Re: Rewording the front page
September 28, 2014 03:17AM
Quote
MattMoses
In my opinion, the people who are the least helpful (other than the regular spammers, trolls, and crazies) are the types who simply add a link to their company website on ten different wiki pages, without ever making meaningful contributions. But even these people are annoying at worst, and I am not sure if they are causing serious damage to the wiki.

Markus, I know you have strong feelings about the research/commercial split. I agree with your assessment, but I am not sure that the front page is the best place to publish this opinion. What purpose is it supposed to serve? Is it to encourage research activity? Is it to discourage commercial activity?

some of these people who have registered just so they can stick advertising links i think are doing doing damage not only with the way links get placed but also in the lower quality product **some** of them sell
one of the reasons i see that the wiki has become a bit of a commercial link hub is due to the permissions on some of the individual pages, once upon a time you have to send an email or make the request in the discussion section for the relevant page if you wanted to be added as a supplier/shop, now it's obviously not the case but i don't think it would hurt to go back to that arrangement for certain pages and maybe filter out some of the ones who have no interest outside of making money.


the front page i think is really the centre of it all and as it is needs a bit of an overhaul i think there's probably a lot more than what Marcus has in mind that we need to do to it to make the wiki more usable plus some additional restructure of some of the pages behind it, i have some notes on this that i'll dig up and post it




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Re: Rewording the front page
September 28, 2014 08:59AM
Quote
MattMoses
In my opinion, the people who are the least helpful (...) are the types who simply add a link to their company website on ten different wiki pages, without ever making meaningful contributions. But even these people are annoying at worst, and I am not sure if they are causing serious damage to the wiki.

The damage I see is that the wiki is totally overwhelmed with shop links. Look for example at the NEMA17 page. A very brief introduction into what the term means, then a long long list of individual motors which entries serve nothing than to place a shop link. Zero information about how to get an idea of how much torque these motors deliver in practice (which is a lot less than these typically claimed 45 - 55 Ncm), no information about motor length and its relation to torque, nothing about required drivers, max. RPM, power supply voltage and such stuff.

Imagine a person interested in designing a printer, doing some research. Maybe he finds the appropriate documentation elsewhere, but how would he get the idea to improve the wiki page with this, if he sees almost nothing than shop links there?

Similar for "printer models"; in an effort to not heat the debate I keep this out for now.

Quote
MattMoses
I know you have strong feelings about the research/commercial split. I agree with your assessment, but I am not sure that the front page is the best place to publish this opinion. What purpose is it supposed to serve?

IMHO it's very usual to put statements about what a site wants to be on the front page. Also to point to related communities. I have nothing against commercial activities, in fact I do such stuff myself. But RepRap has to decide wether it wants to be a kit selling community, a kit builder community or a community which puts emphasis on enhancing the technology for everybody. Similar to schools and universities. They get in touch with commercial activities, but stay independent.


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Re: Rewording the front page
September 29, 2014 12:01AM
Quote
Traumflug
But RepRap has to decide
Who says RepRap has to decide? One of the defining characteristics of the RepRap movement is its inability to make decisions about anything. smiling smiley

Joking aside, however, you guys make fair points. It seems like there are vague rules in place about when it is OK to put a link to a shop on the wiki, but it still is not clear to me what is OK and what is not OK. The only "rules" I can find are here: How to get included into the RepRap Buyers' Guide.

Would it solve the problem if these rules were made very clear somewhere on the wiki, and then we could just enforce those ruels? Then any time someone puts a link to their shop where it should not be, editors could just move the link to a page that is just for listing vendors (and it seems the RepRap Buyer's Guide already serves this purpose)? Another way to say this is that we would only allow links to shops on a very few select pages.

On some pages we want to have links, right? I am thinking of Printing Material Suppliers. What about a page like Hot End Comparison? Should that allow links or not? What about on someone's user page?

On a related note, I recently joined a mailing list about making Gingery machine tools. This is their policy on commercial activity:
Quote
Gingery machines mailing list Rule 3
Offering items for sale on this list is not permitted. Period.
Interesting comparison! smiling smiley
VDX
Re: Rewording the front page
September 29, 2014 01:39AM
... the greatest problem is the signature to place comercial links - actually you can't switch your signature relative to specific forums, what would solve most of this ... and I didn't see such a feature in other forums or communities confused smiley

Defining rules would make it easier for us to handle excessive advertisement ... but most new users don't read this rules, even if they are placed sticky in prominent places eye rolling smiley


Viktor
--------
Aufruf zum Projekt "Müll-freie Meere" - [reprap.org] -- Deutsche Facebook-Gruppe - [www.facebook.com]

Call for the project "garbage-free seas" - [reprap.org]
Re: Rewording the front page
September 29, 2014 02:02AM
Quote
MattMoses
Quote
Traumflug
But RepRap has to decide
Who says RepRap has to decide? One of the defining characteristics of the RepRap movement is its inability to make decisions about anything. smiling smiley

Joking aside, however, you guys make fair points. It seems like there are vague rules in place about when it is OK to put a link to a shop on the wiki, but it still is not clear to me what is OK and what is not OK. The only "rules" I can find are here: How to get included into the RepRap Buyers' Guide.

Would it solve the problem if these rules were made very clear somewhere on the wiki, and then we could just enforce those ruels? Then any time someone puts a link to their shop where it should not be, editors could just move the link to a page that is just for listing vendors (and it seems the RepRap Buyer's Guide already serves this purpose)? Another way to say this is that we would only allow links to shops on a very few select pages.

On some pages we want to have links, right? I am thinking of Printing Material Suppliers. What about a page like Hot End Comparison? Should that allow links or not? What about on someone's user page?

On a related note, I recently joined a mailing list about making Gingery machine tools. This is their policy on commercial activity:
Quote
Gingery machines mailing list Rule 3
Offering items for sale on this list is not permitted. Period.
Interesting comparison! smiling smiley


the hotend comparison page was started more out of convenience for the irc #reprap room the content in the factoids from the bot "kthx"about hotends outgrew the capacity however this page will eventually be purged of external links and link the the relevant wiki pages for the relevant hotends , it's a temporary band aid solution for the irc guys

it wouldn't really solve the problem as the situation we have currently isn't very maintainable in fact i'd use the word impossible , quite a few of these pages have been really abused quite a bit on the commercial front, for example some of the links to ebay searches have been manipulated to be very biased towards certain ebay sellers for printed parts, other companies have inserted links is places they simply don't belong even for stuff they don't even sell.

one problem which has cropped up is that what happens when a company goes belly up? , they certainly don't go around removing the link they've placed in the wiki, eg trinitylabs which has been gone for a few months now i'm still finding links to as well as other companies like botmill which haven't actually been into anything reprap related for quite a long time now.

by consolidating the supplier information we can solve quite a few problems very easily, the users only have to visit a small number of pages to find a supplier for what they want , the suppliers get an easier job of making themselves known on the wiki and we as admins have a much easier time maintaining the wiki , we have already made progress with this in the buyers guide http://www.reprap.org/wiki/RepRap_Buyers%27_Guide

to extend that down the track what would be good is to instead of linking directly to a suppliers webshop, each webshop at some point could be required to have their own wiki page where not only can they list their entire catalog if they wanted to (instead of all over the wiki) but also an embedded section for feedback and review on the company which will to a point give companies a bit of incentive to take care of their customers a little better,

ultimately we'll end up with a easier to navigate wiki with more technical information as opposed to dozens of link Lister type of wiki pages, as also a much fairer degree of exposure across everyone on the buyers guide as it will no longer be a case of now many links you can stick in the wrong places




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Re: Rewording the front page
September 29, 2014 06:45AM
Yesterday, @thejollygrimreaper and me had a little wiki-hackatron which resulted in these mentioned changes to the Buyers' Guide and de-commercialised stepper motor pages:

[www.reprap.org]
[www.reprap.org]
[www.reprap.org]
[www.reprap.org]
[www.reprap.org]

The idea is, there isn't much point in providing shop links. Instead, these pages should tell a user what to search for and how to do a good choice. Ideally even knowledge about how to choose a better item (e.g. a formula to translate motor size and inductance to motor torque or similar). And then let him use his favourite search engine (eBay, Alibaba, Google, whatever). Best implementation is currently on the NEMA 17 page: a description of what makes a "NEMA 17", some data points on which properties make it a motor suitable for standard RepRap applications.

The web comes with many good search engines, so there's not much point in duplicating these efforts. One doesn't even have to link to them, because they're well known.

I think this is the right solution for all stuff not being particularly RepRap, like rods, motors, bolts, etc.

RepRap-specific stuff likely requires different handling. I see four different types:

1. Designs open sourced and maintained, e.g. [reprap.org] or [reprap.org] .

2. Designs open sourced, but not maintained, e.g. [reprap.org] or [reprap.org] or [reprap.org] .

3. Designs only partially open sourced and/or sources hidden (not uploaded to or linked into the wiki), e.g. [reprap.org]

4. RepRap specific, but closed source designs, e.g. [reprap.org]

Link placement set a side for a moment, #1 is the ideal, of course.

No. #2 tends to require help from the wiki admin. Not sure on how to handle it, though. For example, StepStick and Sanguinololu show many improvements, but nobody takes the time to make a new version on a new wiki page. The result is a bit a mess.

No. #3 and #4 should IMHO be handled like non-RepRap-specific stuff (motors, bolts). What is the advantage of a RepRap-like design over a Makerbot if you can't build a copy without re-engineering anyways? Not to mention the infringement of the licence intention.

Back to link placement, I think #1 and #2 deserve a section with suppliers on the wiki page of the design. For #2, one has to keep an eye on deviations, which should be documented. Without documentation, a deviation is a non-RepRap part, see #3.

For #3 and #4 we IMHO need no links other than in the Buyers' Guide. Maybe a wiki page describing these products, but without links. There's no point in encouraging people to use such stuff, but it can serve as an example for learning.


Generation 7 Electronics Teacup Firmware RepRap DIY
     
Re: Rewording the front page
September 29, 2014 08:13PM
Re: "RepRap takes the form of a free desktop 3D printer"

Perhaps this needs to be expanded just a bit to properly define what we mean by free. The link to the Wikipedia Free Software page is most likely either confusing or misleading, as it doesn't apply to hardware and while it covers the "free" part in detail, being a link, no one probably bothers to follow it, or the level of detail on the page is way more than people will want to absorb (ie: Classic tl;dr).

The main thing here (IMO) is that the base design is available for free. Basically that there are no restrictions on you getting the design, inspecting it, and with the aid of other tools (eg: possibly another 3D printer, common tools, etc) making it from scratch yourself. There are also very few restrictions on you taking the design and changing/modifying it to improve it.

IMO that is what should be saying, which the base text does not. This will avoid confusion and should help people understand exactly what the RepRap project is all about.

Perhaps "RepRap takes the form of a free and open design for a desktop 3D printer" ?

Maybe wrap the "free and open design" text in a link to [en.wikipedia.org]

PS: This makes more sense than the Free software link, as we're actually listed on Wikipedia's list of Open Source Hardware Projects: [en.wikipedia.org]

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/29/2014 08:29PM by Cefiar.
Re: Rewording the front page
September 29, 2014 11:49PM
Quote
Cefiar
Re: "RepRap takes the form of a free desktop 3D printer"

Perhaps this needs to be expanded just a bit to properly define what we mean by free.

I think it should just say "RepRap takes the form of a desktop 3D printer". In fact, when I compiled and edited the technical Q&A I intentionally omitted the word "free". No one has ever been able to agree on what it means.

We could try to use this defintion from the Open Source Hardware Association:

Quote
Open Source Hardware Statement of Principles 1.0
Open source hardware is hardware whose design is made publicly available so that anyone can study, modify, distribute, make, and sell the design or hardware based on that design.

Sounds easy enough, right? But a lot of developers here do not like this definition. People will not ever agree on what it means for a hardware design to be "free" or "open". In my opinion, having those words in the definition of what a RepRap is is simply a distraction. Instead we should have a BIG BOLD link to where the design files are. People can download the files and do what they want with them. As the old saying goes, Possession is nine-tenths of the law.
Re: Rewording the front page
September 30, 2014 12:00AM
Quote
Traumflug
I think this is the right solution for all stuff not being particularly RepRap, like rods, motors, bolts, etc.

RepRap-specific stuff likely requires different handling. I see four different types...

OK... So at least we now have a written list of rules. They seem kind of complicated and hard to follow, but this is an improvement.

I don't really have strong feelings about the links, so I'm perfectly happy if we enforce Traumflug's rules as-is. But in order for this to be successful, the rules need to be clearly stated and published on the wiki. I foresee well-meaning but confused wiki editors trying to decide whether a certain page should be scrubbed of links or not, trying to decide where they should put the scrubbed links (if anywhere). I also foresee annoyed vendors complaining and causing trouble because they think their links are being unfairly moved or deleted. If all of these confused people can be pointed to a clear document that states the rules un-ambiguously then we can avoid some of these problems.
Re: Rewording the front page
September 30, 2014 09:16AM
Quote
MattMoses
Quote
Open Source Hardware Statement of Principles 1.0
Open source hardware is hardware whose design is made publicly available so that anyone can study, modify, distribute, make, and sell the design or hardware based on that design.

Sounds easy enough, right? But a lot of developers here do not like this definition.

I think the only disagreement here is about the "and sell" and perhaps the "distribute". In all debates I followed so far, people agree there should be sources sufficient to make a copy. That's not the case for quite a number of designs currently praised as "open source" in the wiki. Sometimes the BOM is incomplete, sometimes STLs are way to coarse to print them in a usable fashion. Sometimes there's simply nothing which could be called "source".


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