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VKurtB's Blog

21 Jan 2019

Why Can't Anybody Run a Useful Coin Discussion Board?

Collecting Tips | VKurtB

I simply don't get it. Maybe I'm of the wrong generation, or something. But why can't anybody run a coin discussion board that's worth spending time on? CoinTalk is a complete train wreck with excessively heavy-handed moderation, and it's run by egomaniacs. Disagree with them too much on ANYTHING, and they'll make up a violation to ban you. Their rules are really only one. "The site managers are above error." I know; been there, done that. Plus, the zeitgeist on CoinTalk.com has always been OPENLY HOSTILE TO THE ANA! And the site MANAGERS AND OWNERSHIP ARE THE RINGLEADERS of that zeitgeist. The NGC discussion board is moribund, and the PCGS is merely a rah-rah site for them, and little else. And is it just me, or does EVERYTHING that touches PCGS reek of a "superiority complex"?

There's NOTHING out there, folks! Nothing. It's why I go to ANA shows and my several local coin clubs - to talk to intelligent folks who aren't heck-bent to dominate the place with THEIR PARTICULAR viewpoint. If anyone knows of a forum that truly values and honors open discussion, please tell me about it. It's NOT CoinTalk, and no third party grading service runs one. Owning a website has become about "controlling the discussion". Surely that's not why we built the World Wide Web, to enable tyrants. Is it? It's time to put on the "big boy long pants" and not fear a heated disagreement between forum members. Out of disagreement comes learning. Out of "groupthink" comes tyranny and dare I say it, fascism - The New Fascism of the World Wide Web. Online numismatics should be collectively ashamed of itself, but it's not self-aware enough to see how misguided it is.

Oh, by the way, ANA's forums are pretty moribund, too. I've spoken with the web mavens at the ANA. The online focus annoys almost as many advanced collectors as it appeals to newer younger ones. One of the main experts on Matte Proof Lincoln Cents, a Class winner several times (Class 1 - U.S. coins) is so turned off by this very website, he's considering backing away from the ANA completely. And c'mon! Unless you're registering for a seminar or an Early Bird badge, the online registration for the 2019 National Money Show in Pittsburgh in March DOESN'T EVEN WORK! A website needs CONSTANT ATTENTION. It's not the sort of thing you can throw Capital Budget dollars at and forget it. Has anyone even HAD a James Reinders sighting lately?

The ANA has gone astray with this website, and it hurts my heart... deeply. Navigation of this site is difficult and counter-intuitive. Yes, we need to reach out to new collectors, but at the expense of EVERYTHING the more advanced collector cares/cared about? That can't be right, can it? We need to concentrate on the basics. KEEP the exhibiting rules online 365 days out of the year, not just part-time. By the way, KEEP THE EXHIBITING!!!  [One particular candidate for ANA President, take heed! ... Colonel.]

I am all about turning the beginning collector into the intermediate collector, the gal or guy who might spend $400-$500 at an ANA show bourse, total. We are losing the opportunity to make intermediate collectors, and it is they who have always been the backbone of this hobby. Not the coin flippers, not the dealer community (I know, blasphemous, right?), not the roll searchers and "errors which are not" finders with their USB microscopes, and not EVEN the Laura Sperbers of the hobby with their clients with seven-figure dollar (or eight) wantlists. No, ignore the intermediate collector, the coin club member, and coin show client, and all you'll have left is a bunch of crooked eBay sellers and buyers in a constant dance to rip off one another. Okay, maybe you'll still have the Heritage and Stacks Bowers clients too. Good luck as we die off, as we all must.

Can somebody provide me some positive sense we're not FORCING this hobby down the commode? I haven't lost my eyesight yet, but I'm not seeing that right now.

Oh, and PLEASE don't get me started on YouTube, if CoinTalk is a train wreck, and it is, numismatically YouTube is a nuclear accident uncontrolled.

All that said, I'm pretty sure that an honest dispassionate look at this website would involve the words "a swing and a miss". Well, at least the bat isn't still on the shoulder, and there's another pitch coming.

Comments

CoinCave

Level 2

VKurtB I would say you have quite a few fans at CoinTalk. And a few detractors. I was looking for exhibiting rules and I found your blog. Where can I find those rules? Back to the search feature.

VKurtB

Level 4

Thank you lots. Just in case you haven't found it yet, here is the link to the Exhibiting Rules for Rosemont 2019: https://www.money.org/uploads/2019%20CHI%20Exhibit%20Rules.pdf See ANA? This site is LACKING, people! James? Scott? Even ANA staff? Is anybody out there? Anybody AT ALL?!?!?

Kepi

Level 6

Many interesting points made here. I really enjoyed the blog and reading all of my fellow collectors comments. Lots to think about. Thank you for an informative blog post.

Jonas's Coins

Level 5

One of the best blogs Ive seen in a while. One of the other features on this website that doesn't work is ask the curators. Also, I wish they would do more to promote the blog.

VKurtB

Level 4

Within a few days of originally posting this blog entry, the Pittsburgh National Money Show registration module WAS repaired. Kudos to ... somebody; I have no idea who.

World_Coin_Nut

Level 5

I agree that the website needs work. I am not a techy guy but I remember struggling with navigation when I first was here. In addition, they could do more to draw people to the site. I also go to Cointalk and have had none of the problems that you describe. I have witnessed it but it seems like it all happens on the US coin side and I don't spend much time there.

"SUN"

Level 6

I some what disappointed with how the ANA website is run and used. There could be very much more. Wish, The Numismatist would highlight it more.

Longstrider

Level 6

Thanks for your thoughts. They bear discussing. it is VERY nice to see that you volunteer. So many complain here and do nothing to change. Some of us can't physically volunteer, but we do what we can. I would like to thank all the people that are working hard to keep what we do have and improve what we can. How about some new people running for board of governors?

VKurtB

Level 4

The process of running for ANA BoG is excessively cumbersome and is "rigged" to empower regular dealers on the show circuit, so that's what we get, ad nauseam. Needing 25 written nominations within an impossibly short interval? Come on. Who can do that except dealers who see each other several times a month? No, the structure behind ANA elections IS THE PROBLEM, as is the ridiculous idea that EVERY Board of Governors member needs be a quasi-fulltime fund raiser. If I had THAT skill, I'd already be in Congress! The ANA is a wonderful organization with a small number of critical Shakespearian tragic flaws. It is insular among dealers in its leadership, and it is wasteful of its precious resources, human as well as its endowment.

CoinLady

Level 6

Many thanks for 1 of the most meaningful blogs I've read here. You bring up valid points. You are right abt the ANA site. I find some big organizations (FUN, CSNS) do not get involved much on social media, & let's face it, most if not all young ppl are on it. FUN was on Twitter a few yrs ago. CSNS posted 1 tweet per week, how many followers were gained or lost.

VKurtB

Level 4

I have become utterly convinced that the ANA's "social media" component of this website is a crashing failure, and it needs to be rethought from the ground up. Gameification was "hot" when it was designed, but all it creates, with these points and standings and such, is "faux engagement". It's almost embarrassing at this point.

Mike

Level 7

I would say most of the people who leave are the kids. I recommend a packet be sent out with all the information they will need. No. That's not right. The kids sign on and just stare at the screen. Don't know what to do. That's wrong. I help as many as I can and they have worked out. Collectors can't be bothered with them. Well who helped them? I know they just didn't sign on and become active. They have no idea what this site is about. Another problem how do you manage a site that has fifteen thousand people. That's impossible. I don't believe there are that many members most are gone. People are following dead wood. Some haven't written blogs in five years and threads and these kids follow them. Why that's easy they can't tell who has done what whose active or not. If we keep losing the kids and newcomers there will be no site. Tell them. Send them instructions. I started to do it by myself my first week I complained I said you have someone following two thousand people how is that possible when only one hundred show up under any category. I love the ANA but I joined at a later age so with a little help it worked out. I was lucky. I try to keep in touch with my friends as much as I can. That helps alot. And when I say friends I mean friends. Yes many problems but they have been here 128 years. They have made recent improvements. People don't click on anything on that yellow bar if they did they would see what they have to offer. All good points guys. Anything to help get more active members I'm an old timer and were running out more active members we need a better organisation. Mike.

It's Mokie

Level 6

You bring up some excellent points. The one thing I can't abide by, is a website that is not maintained or is not easy to navigate. The ANA site is reasonably well maintained for my purposes but is not easy to navigate and is not designed to draw in members for any kind of give and take (either on the Forums or via Blog). Since I rejoined ANA in November, I have tried to be active but find it frustrating that ( this is NO slam on the wonderful people I have met here) so few people are active on either the Blog or the Forum. Seems like maybe 30-40 people have popped up over the 3 months I have been here, with some of those people popping up one time, never to be seen again (at least during my admittedly short stint here). the rest of us soldier on, doing the best we can and sharing some wonderful things. If only we could get the crowds back. Some of it may be the natural inclination of collectors to hide their involvement for fear of robbery, etc.. Some of it may be because we do have an aging collector base that is not as involved with computers as millennials? Maybe some of it is that vicious cycle of lower involvement which breeds more lower involvement? Even my local club has only 13 or 14 regular attendees to our monthly meeting. My club has many problems, including an uninviting website, but that is a rant for another time and place. I also wonder if ANA truly attracts intermediate collectors. In the past, ANA membership was often promoted by your local coin shop, a place designed to attract the beginning and intermediate collector. But with the internet, local shops are fading away and most collectors, me included, by the majority of our coins online. I am going to volunteer at the National Money Show in March and the PAN conventions in May and October. I have wonderful conversations with fellow collectors at those venues. Maybe that is wear the heart of our hobby now lays.

VKurtB

Level 4

I can't possibly explain how much your last comment is correct. The show scene is where everything of importance is happening in this hobby. Yes, introverts who won't put themselves "out there" may not shine in the national show environment. Rhonda Scurek, the past Conventions Director, used to push me to interact with introverts at dinners and receptions to bring them out of their shells, and as someone who makes his living in the legislative staff arena, I was only too glad and able to do that. Where I live, there are so many high-quality coin auctions that I could never manage to get to them all if I did it as a full-time job. PAN is a magnificent organization with some of the finest leadership people in the field. Tom Uram is one of the finest folks there are in numismatics. And yes, I too am a PAN member. My favorite local club is Red Rose of Lancaster, PA, a club that frequently draws 75-100 members per twice-monthly meeting. Yes, the first one of each month is better attended, since it is 1st Monday. The second is 3rd Thursday and the crowd drops a little. The Harrisburg Coin Club is an up-and-comer that will soon be exploding on the scene again.

Mike

Level 7

That's great to know. I like the ANA I have been collecting twenty five years. It's good you do volunteering. Look I have had my problems there are more than six people. Like I said I have complaints but we can't change the world it will change. It has changed give it time. Mike.

The site has about 5-6 active members who actively respond and give information, and I have seen what you are talking about. The ANA's is probably the best out there, although going to coin shows and clubs seems to be the best option if you can. However, those who can not turn here. Hopefully They will read tis and something might change. It's hard to tell if people on these site like youtube predominantly are even collectors or people just trying to get a few dollars. Intermediate collectors seem to be the foundation of this hobby, and as the hobby is beginning to lose more and more members, they seem to be taking the hits from organizations.

VKurtB

Level 4

Thank you, sir. I think you "get it". While this site has a "quantity of participants" problem, by and large the quality remains, and that's good. However, there are sites out there, such as CoinTalk, where plenty of members ply their "stock in trade" of full and part time "vest pocket" dealing and those who are active primarily to hawk their coins and self-published books and deride the ANA as ineffective, corrupt, and worse. It's an ethical cesspool out there these days on the Web at large. What troubles me here is a lack of quantity.

Mike

Level 7

Well that's a lot you have there. I'm a regular collector. I read books on coins I like. I check a coin out before I buy it. I buy what I like and I do research and investigate the coin token of medal. I'm a lot older now and have slowed down. But I'm still learning sharing with others finding out about what they collect. I help any one I can get started and I have learned more from coins than high school and college. I don't like you tube there all self appointed expert on everything. Never been on coin talk. I have many friends here who have helped me including the ANA. I should say any organization has problems but I don't let them affect me. I give them time and change comes. It doesn't happen overnight but it has. I will end it very simply I like collecting. I don't like everything but I get enjoyment out of it. Thanks for airing your complaints. We all have some. But as long as I have a book and a coin this regular collector is very content. Thanks. Sharing is what it's about positive or negative. Take care and thanks Mike

VKurtB

Level 4

I do love the ANA. I am a National Volunteer for the ANA. I work for the Association at every National Money Show and World's Fair of Money, wherever it is sited, and I am both an award-winning exhibitor and a certified Exhibit judge, as is my 23-year-old son. I've been collecting for 56 years, and have attended ANA World's Fairs of Money since 1994. My complaints here are mostly repeating what I've heard from fellow collectors at coin club meetings. Many feel abandoned by the "new look ANA". It's a dangerous path the Association is on, and I'd like to see it avoid serious missteps.

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