The Success of the Salon Device
Dear folks -
Steve mentions in his initial essay that the current owners of Turkotek wanted discussions that moved somewhat beyond those that seemed the mode of the unmoderated rug discussion boards.
We also wanted to respect the questions of newcomers to the the rug world without having to have our conversations continually preoccupied with such questions as "I just bought an 8 X 10 Indo-Bidjar for $2500. Did I pay too much? etc."
Jerry Silverman, of our owner/managment group, suggested that we adopt the "salon" format. Some of us objected a bit at the time, indicating that it seemed a bit pretentious, especially because its name was presented in French.
But the salon device has been very effective indeed, in my opinion, in providing a focus for each discussion that both discourages posts that are entirely tangential and in providing the host with a basis for politely guiding the discussion somewhat.
So I think it not inappropriate at this point to cheer about this effective device. Vive le Jerry! Vive le salon!
R. John Howe
I thought Jerry's suggestion of adopting the 19th century salon format was perfect, not only because it provided a focus and gave the host an opportunity to guide the discussion, but for its behavioral implications. In the 19th century salon, the participants were guests in someone's home. This provided the rules we put in place. For all practical purposes, they are exactly those that I'd use for guests in my home (as would most other people:
1. You can't come in without telling me your name, and you can't come in wearing a mask.
2. You can disagree with anyone, but name calling isn't a form of civilized discourse, and I won't permit it in my home.
3. You can't use my home as a venue to promote or conduct a business - this not a Tupperware party.
4. You can't disrupt the grownups with irrelevant interruptions or tantrums.
The Salon concept feels like a magazine article with interactive "Letters to the Editor" added throughout the next few weeks. It is very satisfying to be able to say something to the author of the article, receive feedback, research details and especially, post photos.
It is almost as satisfying as yelling at the other drivers on the freeway or
talking to your TV set while the game is on.
Speaking of photos, can we see your $2,500 Indo-Bijar?
Dear Mr. Price,
did I read in a thread with your sig. the name of a commercial company which sells a product ????????
You must have meant a "plastic food container party"
I for one enjoy the salon format although would be happier with additional people with expertise in the areas which interest me. I try to tempt those that I meet, like I did with the chap from Bremen who commented of the South American textile.
please note that I have attempted to make use of the site's smilie option.
All the best for the next 5 years
Hi Pat -
Someone must have told you, because there was at one early point an 8 X 10 Indo-Bidjar (the "d" is now agreed among the authorities) on our living room floor. It was traded long ago.
The question of whether we had paid too much did not arise because we had comparative shopped and knew that the price we paid was not excessive.
R. John Howe
Thank you for the kind words about the origination of the "salon" concept.
All in all, it seems to be working about as well as could have been hoped.
Certain goals have been achieved.
1) For five years topics have been proposed and discussed on a regular basis. Few publications last this long. Fewer still those that are Internet-based.
2) The discussions have remained civil, good-humored, and well-intentioned. In the Internet world of anonymous, vicious, ad hominem postings on discussion boards this is unheard of. Turkotek's salon format demands that participants behave themselves: first, by signing in under their own names, and second, by active monitoring of the discussions. It is not unlike what an attentive host might do in his own home. (Proof of this success is the squeals of outrage from those whose disruptive tantrums have gotten them banned from participation.)
3) A broad range of subjects has been raised - as is appropriate to a field of study as broad as oriental rugs where anthropology, ethnography, history, sociology, and even chemistry merge (and sometimes clash) with art, design, aesthetics, and taste.
4) Learning has taken place. How much? For how many? Who can say? But one need merely review the archives to see the depth of the discussions, the vigor of the interaction, and the thoughtfulness of the contributors. Obviously, the site offers more to some than others. That is to be expected. But one would need to be suffering from a ego-inflated, narcissistic personality to believe that nothing of value takes place here.
5) The show-and-tell forum has proven itself as a place that could exist nowhere else but here on the Internet. Many illuminating and freewheeling discussions have spun out of a single piece.
6) Forum software was found that makes posting easy, nearly intuitive. Add to that the help available from the editors and newcomers and old hands alike can post images and text with the speed necessary to keep the discussion moving.
7) Immediacy. Since not everyone can attend every event, many miss out. Until Turkotek this meant waiting for a magazine to do a review - months afterward if at all. Frequently, events have been chronicled here mere hours after they took place. Textile Museum show-and-tells have been reviewed. Rug conference exhibitions have been shown.
Other goals have not been achieved - yet.
1) Even though the so-called "rug world" is relatively small - certainly fewer than 10,000, maybe even 5,000, worldwide - wider participation would be desirable. Not all ruggies use the Internet. Many are too busy to contribute. Some are more private by nature. Others are not comfortable writing their thoughts for public scrutiny. Some believe their contributions unworthy of the site. Others believe the site unworthy of their contributions. Whatever the reasons, Turkotek will remain available for them if and when they want to participate.
2) We still struggle with the limitations of the medium. Different monitors render color differently. Discussions of dyes and color generally are constrained by a lack of a common, reliable reference.
One thing is certain, Turkotek is what you make of it.
As one of the owner/managers I invite your continued participation.