Archive through January 20, 2003

hrant's picture

Having had the privilege of closely observing and analyzing the frenzied behavior of anonyrats, I predict a certain pattern of behavior: once the specimen becomes generally ostracized because of its rabid, irrational statements, it will quickly proceed to making seemingly rational statements (albeit rational only on a most simplistic, assumptive level), and manipulatively baiting people into resuming dialog. If you're tempted to defend yourself and your views, the specimen will quickly revert to gnawing mode. The specimen will do this until it is bored - there's nothing else to stop it. Furthermore, the specimen does this because anonymity causes the whole process to be an exercise in relieving frustration, as opposed to publicly working towards improvement (not even of the self). The more one humors the specimen through this cyclic process, the more frustration it relieves, so if you feel a humanitarian urge to help a psychologically unfit stranger, please do spend the time.

But what if one wants it to stop? There is no magic bullet, so to speak, but ignoring the vermin often works wonderfully, with no active effort required, just some self-discipline.

hhp

johnbutler's picture

John, not afraid of anything, not here anyway. I could write a name, but would it mean anything unless you knew that name? If you knew the name that would just reinforce any prejudice you may have.

I'd like to believe there are plenty of people I know yet don't hold any prejudices about. But suit yourself, I guess.

matha_standun's picture

> ignoring the vermin often works wonderfully, with no active effort required, just some > self-discipline.

Self-discipline at 3.30 in the morning? Got any good jokes?

M.

John Hudson's picture

Re. servicing members (sounds ruder than it is):

In recent years, ATypI provided members with reasonably regular newsletters and a journal. Attendees of the Rome conference also received a complimentary copy of Language Culture Type (just one of many books that the association has published over the years). Our anonymous friend is correct to entail that such things entail some fixed and non-recoverable cost per member. He is incorrect to think that I am seriously hopeful of doubling the membership: I used the figures as an example of the economy of scale. I could easily have inverted the example and said that servicing half our membership would not be much cheaper than servicing the current total. Consider the newsletter or the journal for example: the only fixed cost is mailing, the production cost per unit goes down the more copies one produces.

Now, as members have doubtless noted, it has been some time since any of us received a newsletter in the mail, and the last issue of journal was not printed but only available online via the member's section of the website. The simple fact is that ATypI cannot currently afford to service members with such printed material. It is an ineffiecient waste of scarce resources to print and mail a newsletter to all the members, when the news it contains is delivered in a more timely fashion via the Internet. Realising this, a small group of people within ATypI -- among whom Mark Barratt deserves most thanks -- put a huge effort into the new website. Members are only just beginning to realise and take advantage of the news and announcement sections of the website, and I have great hopes for it.

Of course, there are bound to be some members who do not have regular Internet access, and I would like to have options for them to benefit from their membership, but given the limited resources priority must be given to the majority who can and do access the website. We are, if all goes well, at the beginning of a process of renewal, and it is going to take a while to get the association to where it should be, to where it can benefit all members equally and make serious contributions to the type industry as a whole.

John Hudson's picture

Erratum:

Our anonymous friend is correct to *entail* that such things entail some fixed and non-recoverable cost per member.

should read

Our anonymous friend is correct to *suggest* that such things entail some fixed and non-recoverable cost per member.

hrant's picture

> ATypI provided members with reasonably regular
> newsletters and a journal. Attendees of the
> Rome conference also received a complimentary
> copy of Language Culture Type

The newsletter costs are relatively low (even if physically snailmailed), and non-members eventually get online access to them anyway. The journal costs are not low, but it's been a while (I've received a single one since I joined in '99), plus you're saying it's going to become PDF only? Could you confirm this?

As for the LCT book, you only got it if you paid a few hundred dollars for the conference! Nothing to do with membership. In fact, ATypI members at the conference who didn't pay for entry didn't get the book (not counting the post-AGM grabbing frenzy) - unless you happened to be a Bukvaraz winner (also unrelated to membership).

> He is incorrect to think that I am seriously
> hopeful of doubling the membership

If we make the membership fee local-economy-aware, then it would certainly double much more quickly than if it stays too expensive for most of the world!

hhp

John Hudson's picture

Hrant writes: The journal costs are not low, but it's been a while (I've received a single one since I joined in '99), plus you're saying it's going to become PDF only? Could you confirm this?

The last issue of the journal, containing papers from the '98 conference in Lyon, is only available in web format (not PDF) on the member's section of the website. Currently, no one is working on another issue. Any revival of the journal in the near future would have to be as an online-only format.

John Hudson's picture

Don't want to really reduce this down to atomic level, but you actually wrote (John Hudson):

>If you can service 500 members, you can
>probably service a thousand at not much more cost.

This sounds like a proposal to me to double the mmbership.


I wrote that in the middle of a discussion of economy of scale, as an example of the reduction of per member costs relative to increasing numbers of members. Everyone else seems to have understood this, and I've already explained to you once that it was not a proposal to double membership, any more than the same example citing a hypothetical 1500 members would be a proposal to triple membership. The amount of money one needs to spend on each member dimishes the more members one has: precise numbers are not important to understanding this basic concept, and I only picked 500 and one thousand as a simple example. At least, I thought it was simple. Perhaps I should have been more vague: if you have a big number of members, it will not cost much more per individual member if you have an even larger number. Understand the point now?

I don't think for a minute that discounting fees for South Americans is going to double membership. I think some interesting and worthwhile people would join the association, who might not otherwise, and we would be helping our colleagues who are less fortunate than ourselves. If this can, in fact, be done without reducing overall revenues, it would be churlish not to.

jfp's picture

bonjour, its the morning here,

About local, I remembered to have organized 2 local events here, ask my usual printer to print two posters to announce them and paid post myself to send invitation. The first was a success, the second not at all, because of some strikes same day, hum... no chance.

About doing something, yeah, no problem. Take over my job of country delegate, or at least participate, by listing all over the year all local events, books, so on, connected with type in France.

More idea of publications welcome, I have some local pages, that they will be happy to accept others.

http://www.typofonderie.com/atypi

matha_standun's picture

Good morning, Jean Fran

Ramiro Espinoza's picture

>>If ATypI membership were pegged at $40 US for countries with a GNI per capita similar to yours', would you join ATypI?

John: I believe $30 or $35 would be fairer. But everybody here would celebrate a $40 fee.

-------------------------------------

One thing that I find very difficult of understand is why some ATypI members are more interested in the financial balances than in the possibility of new contribution and experiences from others countries.

In the words of some contributors this debate is not only about rich and poor countries, it's about rich and poor designers.
So, why ATypI doesn't consider all we live in a unfair world and there are many good and talented designers that can't pay the annual ATypI fees?

It's obvious that our arguments are not frecuent and this debate is a novelty for many persons. But we strongly consider that a global organization must take in consideration that not all designer are economically successful and this situation frecuently is not related with his capabilities.

(Designers don't talk about his economic problems very frecuently. For many reasons they were educated to take part of the privileged part of society. It's funny but in Latin America many designer pretend to be successful artists being real blue collar workers...).

When Mr. Porchez talks about the poor designers in the first world, I think two things:

- Even the poor designers in Europe and EEUU have more oportunities and support than our "rich" designers (And I remember you that heres there are not such "rich" designers).
The person who talks about "richs" designers in Argentina is crazy or doesn't know this part of the world in any way.

- And talking about poor designer living in the first world. Why ATypI doesn't have a fee politics for these persons?

Now in Argentina there are a strong interest in type desgin. There are several causes for that, but at least 4 groups ("Tipitos-Argentinos", "Sud Tipos", "SantoTipo", "Letras Latinas", etc) are involved in font developing and learning to do it without almost any support, in difficult conditions and only based in his enthusiasm. There are similar experiences in Chile, Brasil, M

hrant's picture

> what's the actual state of the discussion in the ATypI mailing list?

There is no discussion about this on the ATypI list, except a simple link to this discussion that was posted there. I think there's no disucssion because people might be afraid of a cataclysm - I know my list-reading resources are at their limit. I can't even find the time to jump back into the best type discussion list out there:
http://type-design.p90.net/lists/type-design/

--

Until a day or two ago there was a discussion about whether to close the list archives or re-open them, and it seems we are winning that one - but it's too early to tell.

hhp

hrant's picture

> The last issue of the journal, containing papers from the '98 conference in Lyon,
> is only available in web format (not PDF) on the member's section of the website.

The site shows 3 articles, but implies there are more?
I've been assuming eventually a full printed one would come out.

I personally don't mind not getting a printed one if it means saving ATypI much-needed money, but of course it does reduce the value of membership... as well as the cost of servicing members, eh?

BTW, is it not in PDF to reduce the chances of redistribution (thus adding value to membership)? But aren't there free HTML-to-PDF converters out there? And wouldn't redistribution act as positive exposure, probably increasing conference attendance, for example?

> Currently, no one is working on another issue.

:-(
What about asking for help, on the ATypI list, and privately as well?

hhp

matha_standun's picture

> One thing that I find very difficult of understand is why some ATypI members are more
> interested in the financial balances than in the possibility of new contribution and
> experiences from others countries.

I find this fairly shocking myself, Ramiro, but then a lot of people cant understand why I sometimes work for free by trying to organise meetings, writing documents etc.

I'm not about to change my vision of things and I don't think they are either. In the past, I've tried to convince people to come to meetings that would have been very good for them but they wanted to be paid and didn't show. If I live another 100 years I still won't understand their attitude and they, for their part, think I'm absolutely crazy and totally naive.

What can we do? Compromise? I'm not so sure that it's possible.

I'll end with an anecdote I heard recently. Apparently, a few years back, Boris Yeltsin wanted to be paid for appearing in one of his own publicity campaigns. The PR people were all standing around in the snow in Red Square trying to explain to him by phone that he was actually paying them. In the end he refused to turn up and the PR crew went home.

I reckon shooting yourself in the foot will be an Olympic sport soon enough.

Matha.


John Hudson's picture

Ramiro writes: BTW, what's the actual state of the discussion in the ATypI mailing list?

There has not been active discussion of this issue, but Jean-Fran

hrant's picture

Cool.
I'm glad I elected you. :-)

hhp

jfp's picture

>I can't even find the time to jump back into the best type discussion list out there:
http://type-design.p90.net/lists/type-design/

the best? really? My view is different, perhaps, I spend too much time into financial balance as some seems to point whithout knowing nothing of my life. ;-)

Anyway, Typophile forums, Typographi.ca, and ATypI list are far better in all aspects.


I just want to inform that Matha and me are in contact now, and we already starting sharing some ideas to built a better country delegate website for France (in french) with more news and so on.

jfp's picture

Latin Americans, perhaps they need to contact first their local Country delegate to see how they can built together something locally. The ATypI website say:

ATypI Country Delegates produce an annual report on the state of type and typography in their country and facilitate communication and action with other ATypI members (*). They are currently:

Argentina Ruben Fontana
Brazil Claudio Rocha Franco
Mexico Felix Beltran

(*) I think, their role is not restricted to members only, locally. So, if they share information to give to ATypI members worldwide, they also have the function to do the reverse, bring locally ATypI Worldwide informations. This last way, is necessary open to non-members, to attrack them one day.

If a group of 10 or more, rather than 2 or 3 guys here actually, built something locally with the approval of the country delegate, share info and so on, make a proposal to a lower fee for the complete group, its another possibility to find an good answer.

I have a strange idea, but considering the urgent need, why not: What about if this group, share a same free email account, to read and post on the web, the ATypI list?

Its better to think about new ideas ourself rather than complain to others who is always more easy. no?

Last, but lot least, I thing that the language is a ALSO a strong problem to attrack more members than the just economical side. Its also another reason why their is more fluent English members than everything else.

Ramiro Espinoza's picture

Dear John: Thanks for your efforts.

Dear J. F. Porchez: I will talk with Rub

Ramiro Espinoza's picture

Open ATypI campaign:

http://www.geocities.com/sinserif/open_atypi.htm

(Translation coming soon...)

matha_standun's picture


>Open ATypI campaign:

>http://www.geocities.com/sinserif/open_atypi.htm

Now this is getting interesting!
Good for you Ramiro

M.

hrant's picture

> .... are far better in all aspects.

Not to digress, but for almost a month now there's been a superb discussion about optical scaling and the merits/demerits of interpolation/extrapolation on the TD list, a complex issue of central importance, especially in light of the situation with MM. The "two sides" have been dueling intelligently and giving enlightening insights all around, and the protagonists involve people from all facets of type design, from Apple employees to Letterpress printers. I know why you left, but I think more perserverance and a better strategy could pay off for you; it's never too late to come back, and the list would be an even better place if you did.

In comparison, the reaction to your wonderful question on the ATypI list concerning newspaper typography has been nothing short of pitiful, considering the extant potential.

Trying to bring this back around:
If we can get at least some of the experts on the ATypI list to share just a trickle of what they know, and actually reply to direct questions in some shape or form, you can be sure we would increase membership, since you need to be a member to ask something (as opposed to just listening to other people's questions).

hhp

jfp's picture

Sorry Hrant, but the last discussion on tyd list on interpolation is nothing more thanTroop and his speculation / accusation based on no experience at all on theses subjects.

The level is very low there because of such guys and poor biased knowledge. Saddly how it is for the the world of type.

hrant's picture

> http://www.geocities.com/sinserif/open_atypi.htm

There ya go...

After you do the English, try to have translations in other languages, especially those of countries in the same situation of yours. Use Typophile, Typo-L, TD and Typographica to find helpers.

hhp

Bald Condensed's picture

Sorry, Joseph, didn't realize that. I'll take better care next time. I really didn't expect some of the posters would get so hyped up and would start to get personal and stuff. It got quite ugly in some places. Is it so difficult to have a civilized discussion about a touchy subject on a message board?

Didn't want to cause any trouble, man...

anonymous's picture

Matha:
>> no one seems to volunteer...

>If there's no local structure, this would be
> difficult. Something to fix, maybe.

I think so, but...


>Do you have an example or two of country
>delegates who do take the initiative?
>Might give us a few ideas.

I believe Jean-Francois has arranged a few events in France. Obviously John Hudson has taken on a good deal of work this year in Vancouver (as do those who orgaise the conference every year).

But on the whole there doesn't seem to be a lot of local activity - certainly never heard of any in my locale. I think this is the wrong wa to go about spreading the influence of ssuch an org, but mey be the powers that be se local events as diluting the annual conference?

>I don't think ATypI is elitist but
>like any other longstanding institution
>it doesn't hurt to introspect a bit.

This forum could hardly be used for that org to be introspective, could it - since this forum is not and ATypI venue.

The venue for this I would suppose exists in the members area of the ATypI site? Or at the AGM. Or by guerilla tactics.

>Any chance of a first name?

Thomas.

anonymous's picture

John, prejudice just means preconceived, this can be positive or negative - depending on the genie conjured up when invoking a name.

anonymous's picture

This study of yours Hrant, does it involve long periods sitting in front of a mirror?

anonymous's picture

Don't want to really reduce this down to atomic level, but you actually wrote (John Hudson):

>If you can service 500 members, you can
>probably service a thousand at not much more cost.

This sounds like a proposal to me to double the mmbership. I would suggest that halving the annual fee to those in S America would not result in 500 extra members.

You've mentioned the comparative incomes in several countries - such a comparison suggests to me not only do people have less money to pay on org fees, but also that clients have less money to spend on professional fees to the people you are trying to "service".

Additionally, given that the org HQ is in Europe, servicing members in those countries, South America, is actually going to cost more than those in Europe.

However, I do agree with you that the future of such an org is online - bcause of the relatively low cost of distribution. Although this of course again impacts ngatively on countries with lower incomes.

I don't really see away around this apart from localized support networks.

Joe Pemberton's picture

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