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Site Expansion & the future of TU (Poll)

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Poll: TU - Member supported or not? (1 member(s) have cast votes)

TU - Member supported or not?

  1. Yes, I would help support the expansion & future of TU (38 votes [50.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 50.00%

  2. No thanks (38 votes [50.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 50.00%


#61 Spike-A-Pike


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Posted 30 June 2008 - 09:12 PM

This is a difficult debate and I’m afraid that there will be nobody that is going to come out of this 100% happy; some may get their feelings hurt, and still others will feel betrayed… One thing is certain, nothing stays the same forever.

When I first dropped into TU, I was amazed at the volume of information that was here to absorb and knowledgeable folks to discuss both some simple and complex matters in lure construction. I still think that this site continues to feed my need of new ideas and processes at least once a day – I crave the communication with like minded individuals. The number of international members that we continue to gain is incredible! I have noticed that there are 2 primary types of active members:

  • The ones that go through all the new posts and contribute with questions, answers, or intelligent dialog of the subject matter.
  • The ones that tend to stay in just one main focused forum that is their primary comfort zone and they are respected masters of authority in those domains. Both types actively contribute and support the membership.

Some of the proposed changes are very exciting. I am a hobby builder and have always enjoyed making streamers and spinners – there is nothing like catching quality fish on my own creations, except watching someone else catching a quality fish on one of my creations – it’s a real rush. I enjoy passing information to those that will follow behind in my foot steps so they can experience the thrill of catching fish on one of their creations and mentoring them along. I have seen an active, informal mentoring program that takes place in all the established forums… It will take a while in the new forums for that to happen, but it should happen.

I know that there are a lot of guys that are very supportive of TU, I met some of them at the TU Meet a few months ago. It was amazing to see the distances several folks were willing to travel to attend; I’m talking thousands of miles. I was also just a bit disappointed in the lack of participation for those less than a few hours drive to attend. The energy of the group was incredible; my wife and I both felt we had made some great new friendships. That feeling still occurs a couple times a week as I view their posts or have an insight of the experience they possess.

So, I’m really torn. I know Jerry has a vision for future of Tackleunderground.com. As a group, we asked for TU caps, shirts, and other site sponsored gear. Jerry and Missi (aka: Mrs.Redg8r) met that request; Missi learned how to silk screen T-shirts and found a good source for our TU ball caps. To be very honest, I wear that cap every time I leave the house. When I’m around other fishermen, “What’s that Tackleunderground.com about?” is a common question. The start of the TU Gear part of the site was a new beginning. I watch as it continues to expand and meet member needs. The cost to invest in an inventory isn’t cheap and I worry that it will go away without active member support.

One of the goals Jerry has mentioned is building a collective of TU lure builders large enough that we can go to major tackle component suppliers and get discounted pricing on common use items. I don’t feel it is right to expect TU (aka: Jerry and Missi) to fund that type of project out of pocket – so, the seed money has to come from some place. I’m sure that our membership dues will be used to get that initiative started.

A few TU members have actively tried to give something towards the mentoring and teaching of all the “newbie’s” in the form of the Member Submitted Tutorials (MSTs). As the TU Tutorial Manager, I marveled at these timeless classics that were given selflessly by the members. The server crash months ago caused most of the pictures to be lost from those libraries. I don’t know how many hours Jerry invested into finding as many of those missing photos as possible, I remember the number of hours I spent putting back together with the surviving text narratives into formatted document and, from there, converting them into portable document format (pdf) files. As I started going through some of those files, I realized how committed Jerry is to TU, he’s authored several MSTs and some pretty high standards are maintained in all of them. After repeated complaints about the missing photos (mostly by newbie’s - sorry if the truth hurts), the incomplete tutorials were pulled even though the supporting text was still a useful accest. IMHO

The MSTs, the Galleries, and even the photo intense threads in the various forum, not to mention the threads going all the way back into 2003, are all stored some place. After the server crash and all the losses from the experience, in finding a replacement hosting service reliability and reputation were amongst the top priorities – those cost money. I have never seen a message saying, “The storage space in all full and all maxed out – post somewhere else.” I have seen threads to certain forums warning about the number and size of the photos being posted as a preemptive effort to prevent disruptions and loss of files. In many companies, IT folks are constantly warning users that the servers are almost full; those companies normally have to buy more storage and sometimes, entirely new networks. Jerry has always worked in the background to keep that from happening to TU.

I won’t try to tell others what to do; but I would like to point out a few comparisons to ponder…
Monthly = $5.99 USD / Semi Annual: $29.95 USD = 1 month FREE / Annual: $53.91 = 3 Months FREE

  • The cost of a single pack of cigarettes is about $5.00 a pack and those, over time they could kill you and if you’re a 2 pack a day smoker like I used to be, that is about $300.00 a month give or take $50.00 either way.
  • The price of a gallon of gas is around $4.20 a gallon and a fill up is about $75.00 (minimum) a tank. To go fishing to my favorite local fishing hole (about 120 miles one way) and tow the boat both way is going to cost that plus the price of gas and oil for the boat… If I get rained out and stay home, I’ve almost paid for 2 years membership.
  • The average non-matinee movie ticket now costs about $10.00. Popcorn costs about $6.00, and a drink, about $4.00. Thus, the average expense at a theater is about $20.00. For a family of four, that’s approximately $80.00 for two hours of entertainment.
The term being used to describe these costs is “Membership Dues” because we are a sort of club. We have received a heck of a deal on a very elite membership. Do you like to golf? I do and so did my father, he was a member at Sawgrass. Check what his membership dues were at http://tpc.com/sawgrass/membership/index.html… And it truly was one hell of a coarse 12 years ago.

I have been struggling for for the better part of two days to write this, to reach a tone that wouldn't offend or be too over the top. It wasn't easy and it still falls short of all the things I would like express about my feeling towards this site. Come what may, I'm glad we had a chance to share view points. Other sites would have just notified you that the change was implemented and please pay XXX to find out why. Freedom just isn't free.

Edited by Spike-A-Pike, 30 June 2008 - 09:36 PM.