New Loaner Participation Expectations

Discussion in 'Loaner Programs' started by Vansen, Nov 4, 2018.

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  1. Vansen

    Vansen Gear Master (retiring)

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    2018/ 11/ 04 12:00 PT EDIT: Based on discussion in this thread, some modifications to these expectations have been made.

    Since taking over the logistics of managing loaners, we've held about 30 to 40 loaners, many with more than one piece of gear. This gear gets to see a lot of our members and I'm usually pretty lenient on who I let in our loaners. From this, we should have far more impressions and discussions on loaners. And I'm as guilty as the rest of us when it comes to this. Going forward, I'm setting new expectations on loaners:

    1. You must participate in discussion on all loaner gear you receive. This doesn’t mean a full set of impressions or reviews, but you must be actively engaged in talking about the product.
    2. If you get a piece of gear that's in your "wheelhouse", you must post at least basic impressions on the product.
    3. DO NOT MAKE ANY MODIFICATIONS TO ANY LOANER UNIT!!! The unit is not yours to keep. Do your best to ensure that the unit's condition is the same from when you received it to when you sent it out.

    As an example, if someone like @shotgunshane or myself receives an IEM or DAP, I expect to see a set of impressions.
    That's it. I'll send out reminders to you if I see participation waning. Members with chronic issues may receive a three to six month time out from loaners.
     
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    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2019
  2. Azimuth

    Azimuth FKA rtaylor76, Friend

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    This reminds me...I wrote up a review of Sundara and never posted.

    Thanks for the reminder.
     
  3. HitmanFluffy

    HitmanFluffy Hoping to see real genitals someday!

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    This is silly, the bar is being set pitifully low. When you get a loaner, you're getting to try a several hundred to a few thousand dollar item for the cost of shipping! A 100% participation rate consisting of a simple paragraph isn't too much to expect for the privilege. The fact that you're having to threaten people to post something at all is absurd.
     
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  4. brencho

    brencho Friend

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    Agree. Esp for limited loaners where being on the list entails someone else not being on the list, posting impressions should be a standard required part of being on the loaner. It also helps the site not suck by providing actual content for people to have actual conversations about. Regardless the length of loaner or how many people on it, participation in discussion should be 100% or else don't participate in the loaner and find other ways of demoing or just read the ongoing discussion on the site to form a guesstimate.

    Edit: requiring participation may also help fight a bias of only posting impressions if you have positive impressions. This leads to a bias due to a perceived lack of negative or meh lackluster impressions.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
  5. Vansen

    Vansen Gear Master (retiring)

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    @HitmanFluffy and @brencho, I certainly agree with the points you make and would love to see near 100% participation, but am not setting that expectation right now for two reasons.

    First, I've spent a significant portion of my career improving the performance of manufacturing facilities and distribution centers that support billions of dollars of revenue per year. Additionally, I've spent the last three years transforming underperforming IT programs. Any new expectation has to be reasonable and achievable. We can then raise the bar over time. 50% is much better than we are seeing right now. Sure, I could set the expectation at 100% and then exclude those that don't meet that objective, but that's not how I roll.

    Also, 50% is an ambiguous number. I'm not going to be measuring member metrics of members in a sheet or anything. It's a loose framework for me to work off of in spirit. My second rule in here means that I can expect near 100% participation in some situations.

    Second, I believe that loaner gear should be used to calibrate your ears with the community as well as a program to learn about new gear. Unless you live in NYC or SoCal, it can be difficult to get exposure to gear and learn. From this, some people are not comfortable posting about certain types of gear until they get more exposure to it (e.g. you’re not going to see me stumping about pre-amps).

    I’ve shared these opinions elsewhere here, mainly stemming from more professional experiences that I have, this time relating to professional sensory evaluation. Here’s a quote of mine from another thread:

    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/focal-clear.5412/page-24#post-225789

     
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  6. brencho

    brencho Friend

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    That's fine man, and I wasn't calling your resume into question. Posting impressions doesn't have to be done with an air of authority, as it is also interesting what someone without a ton of experience with varied gear thinks of something and how that differs from those that do have more experience. Either way, I'm not advocating a system.of keeping tabs on people, just establishing a rough norm tbat one should participate in discussions of loaners that one participates in.
     
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  7. Vansen

    Vansen Gear Master (retiring)

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    I didn't take it as calling my decisions to question at all. I think transparency is important, and it certainly helps if people understand the thought process behind a decision, especially since I agree with comments that you and @HitmanFluffy make.
     
  8. brencho

    brencho Friend

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    It's more transparent to set a general norm that people participate in discussions of loaners, rather than set an ambiguous and arbitrary 50% mark which has no oversight, imo. Norms are powerful motivators of behavior and even if people don't participate 100% of the time, the expectation that they do so will generate more discussion than a soft and ambiguous target.
     
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  9. brencho

    brencho Friend

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    images.jpeg
     
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  10. HitmanFluffy

    HitmanFluffy Hoping to see real genitals someday!

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    If posting one paragraph about a piece of gear after hours of free time spent listening to it doesn't fall under the domain of "reasonable and achievable" we have far more serious problems than community norms.
     
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  11. BenjaminBore

    BenjaminBore Friend

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    I bust my fucking balls through chronic medical bullshit to contribute impressions whenever I have the opportunity, and I’ve never even been on a loaner.

    You fuckers need to pull your god damn socks up, because you’re abusing a privilege others sacrifice their personal time to maintain, and you can’t even be bothered to share so much as a cunting paragraph.

    Exercising that privilege, especially given the demise of IF, is what allows SBAF to be one of if not the last line of checks and balances in an industry full to gills in bullshit and lies.

    Extenuating circumstances notwithstanding if you don’t contribute something back you do not deserve to have the status of Friend, because when it came down to it what kind of friend were you really?


    @Vansen there’s clearly wisdom in your reply, but this is a fairly simple transaction. Even in regards to people calibrating to SBAF, SBAF also needs to calibrate to them, and they should use it as an opportunity to practise describing audio under the stewardhip of others. Out of curiosity how do you enforce 50% in your line of work without it being arbitrary, and everyone just assuming/hoping they’ll be in the other 50%?


    EDIT: Please excuse the level of anger and profanity used above. I generally try to be calm, considered, and constructive even if direct and blunt. But this one really got my goat and I feel it needed to be said in an unfettered manor.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
  12. Vansen

    Vansen Gear Master (retiring)

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    If the community doesn’t like the idea of 50% discussion participation, we can change the requirements to something more like this:

    1. You must participate in discussion on all loaner gear you receive. This doesn’t mean a full set of impressions or reviews, but you must be actively engaged in talking about the product.
    2. If you get a piece of gear that's in your "wheelhouse", you must post at least basic impressions on the product.
     
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  13. brencho

    brencho Friend

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    Yeah sounds good. I think establishing a norm that you participate in discussions via a review, some impressions, and interaction with other participants is required imo. What happens otherwise is the site depends on only a few people to generate content and discussion, with the rest of people just speculating about things they haven't heard, fave anime characters, shipping dates, and the direction of wood grain on a Japanese headphone. If we want to stimulate discussion and a sense of actual community involvement then this kind of norm should be expected/required or GTFO
     
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  14. Vansen

    Vansen Gear Master (retiring)

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    Sounds good. I just want to make sure we continue to foster a culture of quality over quantity with these changes, too. I’ll update the top post.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
  15. brencho

    brencho Friend

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    Yeah agreed, of course. The site is mostly quantity over quality these days. Could name over a dozen ppl here but you know who you are.
     
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  16. Azimuth

    Azimuth FKA rtaylor76, Friend

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    Agreed, participation is key.

    You should also have a link in the first loaner post that has a link to the discussion.

    I know some post impressions in thr loaner forum. This way, we all don't have to search for the official discussion thread about product X.
     
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  17. Vansen

    Vansen Gear Master (retiring)

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    That’s a good idea, @rtaylor76. I’ll update the current loaners later today, too. If a place doesn’t exist for discussion about a product, I’ll create a new thread for it.
     
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  18. Jinxy245

    Jinxy245 Vegan Puss

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    I whole heatedly agree something should be required. People can be timid, since we have a culture of (mostly good natured) ball busting, so maybe might be afraid of getting it 'wrong', but shit they're just impressions. If I post something that someone doesn't agree with, I might actually learn something. Even if that something is we have different preferences, or maybe I'm using a descriptor in a way other people don't understand. In the end it's really not so hard.
     
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  19. Ringingears

    Ringingears Honorary BFF

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    It would be very helpful if people would also mention what gear they are using. Synergy is an important part of gear evaluation. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of not including up stream gear in my posts.

    As to posting loaner impressions, sometimes if you are at the end of the loaner most everything has been said. But a short blurb even if it’s just “my impressions are pretty much the same as @whoever” would still add to the conversation.

    If you aren’t willing to at least post a short impression, don’t ask to be on the loaner program. That said if I spaced out and didn’t leave an impression my apologies. Let’s all commit to doing better in the future.
     
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  20. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I agree with @HitmanFluffy and @Ringingears. One paragraph isn't difficult. The reason this isn't difficult is that one can elect NOT TO BE ON THE LOANER in the first place. Loaners are a privilege of Friend or Contributor status, not a right.

    I bust my ass getting impressions and measurements out to you guys ASAP with a real more than full time job and a family. @julie assists me with shipping and second opinions. This is work for me, a burden, but a joyful one. Surely a paragraph of one sentence or two cannot be that difficult.

    I'd say a 95% response rate would be appropriate, to take into account that shit happens (lost job, got sick, needed to study for bar exam, etc.).

    To enforce this, perhaps each loaner should include sheet with the following:
    1. Checkbox reminder to write at least one paragraph of impressions.
    2. Checkbox reminder to write associated gear and sundry accessories used during audition.
    3. Name and ship date to next person.
    4. Warnings of not using USPS if possible, to always use signature required, and insurance requirements.
    I hate to say this, but I feel the loaner has been "abused". I expected more from people. I'm not on every loaner myself and I am frustrated that I cannot find any information on some pieces of gear that have gone out on the loaner program.

    People get the government that they deserve. If I have to monitor and demote people, I will.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
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