Ronday raises a good point and one I've thought quite a bit about myself.
The Collectors' Journals were originally conceived with a pretty straight forward purpose; to allow collectors a place to post their thoughts about and experiences with collecting in close proximity to their registry sets. The vision was that you might visit the home page of a user and be able to get a very personal sense of what they're collecting and why in a more general philosophical way than just commetns on coins and sets specifically. I hoped to find many journal entries on topics like:
1. Finding your holy grail coin
2. Discoveries at a garage sale that filled your set
3. Realizing something new about the series you collect
4. Ruminating about your changing understanding of grading as you gained collecting experience
5. Deciding how and why to focus your collecting
6. Describing what grades and looks of coins you collect and why
7. Old war stories about how you first got into collecting
8. What it feels like to complete a set
9. Thoughts you've had about passing your collection on to your family
10. Whatever else gives a personal diary kind of sense of your collecting
Our best example of the fulfillment of that vision right now is DM Merrill's home page:
They've done an excellent job of demonstrating what CJs are all about, sharing a qualitative look into collecting. That's why DM Merrill won the CJ award for 2005.
Of course, there are many other types of communications out there that collectors will be interested in - trading slabs, buying and selling, asking questions about CCG services, polling other collectors for their opinions on topics, etc.. However, we feel that we've provided tools for those other kinds of communications - like the chat boards, and contact forms on the site - that serve those purposes better.
SO, the dilema in these situations often comes down to the same issue. Communication follows the path of least resistance. People post things to these journals that go outside the original vision for it for two reasons:
1. It's easy to post them here
2. It's easy for other registry users to see them - perhaps users who don't read the chat boards
But many times I see entries in the CJs that I think might have gotten a more satisfying response either on the chat boards or in a direct conversation with CCG. Sometimes we see things like the promotion of web sites or dealers that on an inidividual basis aren't bad, but taken as a trend might convert the purpose of CJs from a true collectors' journal to just another "chat board" like the chat board we already have up. Do we want to see the CJ entries as a stream of promotion of various things from selling coins to great new ideas like trading slabs? Who knows, the answer might be a resounding YES...?
So as custodians of the site, we have to ask ourselves what serves the community best. Should we leave the use of these tools very free form and let evolution takes its course? The strength of that approach is that people may find unique and interesting ways to use the CJs that we might never have thought of or seen if we didn't treat things with a free and easy hand. Or should we make some attempt to organize things so that the CJs fulfill their original vision while we try to guide members into using tools like the chat boards for other their other purposes, perhaps in the process providing them a much better experience?
The answer to both of these questions is inevitably yes... to both. We try to walk the line of providing tools and organizing communication in a way that's beneficial but not restrictive. I'd welcome feedback on this topic to help us make the best choices.
Please feel free to use the "Contact Member" link on this page to send me a private message, or visit this thread on the chat boards for open discussion:
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