John Ram

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since Dec 30, 2012
Gaia, Portugal
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Recent posts by John Ram

You could have your dvd's captioned to a couple of languages, like spanish, french, russian, chinese... that would secure your most ambitious goals
7 years ago
Thanks for the history lesson Paul

It seems quite sane to me to keep them apart. A forum is a tree like structure where people debate any given subject thread by thread and a wiki is a mesh like structure where any given object can be linked to any other without any clear order of succession.

I had a debate recently at another forum because of this issue, some people where trying to use the forum like a wiki/reference, and that was a bit problematic for a couple of reasons. But in the end we recognized that a wiki would be an optimal companion for the forum, but for the time being we were not gonna provide for one.

So when i started lurking around here with some frequency, i noted that you had a working wiki as a companion to your forum, and that was cool and i got the impression that you ran a very organized and tight ship.

So if you do get that running again, maybe i'll trust you enough to sort some stuff into the wiki
What are the terms of use of the material on the wiki?

I can't find any. Have you considered some creative commons license or anything else?

Though this question may seem biased, in fact i had taken a look at the wiki and saw that many contents on the forum could be refined and ported there with some work, to the benefith of the masses.

Can you clear this up to see where we can go from here? Do you have a plan for any of this?
I'm not mr frey, but have you read the considerations about geodesic domes by the author of domebook? It's pretty self explanatory... check it out: http://www.shelterpub.com/_shelter/smart_but_not_wise.html

in a nutshell:

The other day a friend asked what we were working on. “Well, this thing called Refried Domes, about why domes don’t work…etc.

“Aren’t domes passé?” she asked.

No, I said, there’s apparently a whole new generation of people out there now asking questions again. And then it occurred to me that although we did publish most of the information herein 10-15 years ago, it was never assembled as a whole.

Here then are the results of an experimental voyage. The bitter and the sweet. The great idea (!) and the concrete reality. The ideological principle and the physical follow through . . . Mamas, don’t let your mathematicians grow up to become builders . . .

— Lloyd Kahn
October, 1989




and do take a look at the other articles at the very bottom:

http://www.shelterpub.com/_shelter/domebuilder's_blues.html
http://www.shelterpub.com/_shelter/domes_rectangles.html

Do read this stuff, though lenghtly, it's worth it!
7 years ago
very interesting, i wonder if actual cheese sorum is also a direct replacement for that brewed stuff...
7 years ago
so your grace, indeed, LOL!

paul wheaton wrote:The players:

I am comprehending the posts of:

Tyler Ludens
Robert Ray
Fred Morgan
Renate Haeckler
Julia Winter
Phil Hawkins
Judith Browning
Kari Gunnlaugsson
Rick LaJambe
Dayna Williams

I am confused by stuff by:

Matt Smith
Rion Mather
John Ram
laura sharpe
Robert Meyer

I have attempted to contemplate the positions offered by these latter five people, and have found their arguments to be less than persuasive. And I am even worried that some of the arguments presented are in strong violation of my personal ethics. While not saying it directly, I am concerned that they hint toward theft or slavery.

I would very much like to hear reassurance that these five people do not advocate stealing somebody else's material. This would include the use of any material in a way that is contrary to the wishes of the person that created that material.



I'm sorry Paul, but i did told you it was a pointless debate and that each of us would stand on our own ground. Are you feeling aggravated? Maybe.

I'm not trying to change your way of doing things, haven't even tried to shame you in any way. But if you do feel shamed by anything someone said, if those voices disturb you in any way, then maybe you might be on to something there. Maybe you would like to offer things for free, but have made one of those compromises and that is disturbing you. Maybe you are just annoyed by the dissonance of other peoples choices... or maybe because some people won't be persuaded by your logic.

Those are a lot of maybe's, but for sure you asked for opinions, and i gave mine, not to 'convert' you to mine, but to let you know of how i see things. It may be confusing at first for someone that is in fact trying to refute my view, but in time i think you will understand me. But even if you don't, that just means that we are in fact different in many ways and i can live with that, can't you? And again i state that this discussion was not about you.

Now that we are clear, as a sidenote, i'm going to inform you that in my country it is legal to download music and videos from the internet for personal use, it has been ruled so by the MP in courts last year. I think big media are trying to circumvent that, but as usual, all legal matters take forever... and people still buy despite all of those freely attainable material can be downloaded from the web at no cost.
As for slavery, it was abolished even before your country was forked from the british empire.
In all of EU we can't patent ideas, just tangible things, not even software.

This sidenote sentences are just facts, not my personal ethics or views, just to get you up to speed on my context here.

Now bringing this down to your site, and your contents, you do as you see fit, i see no problem there and i haven't had the resolve to listen to your podcasts, but will get there eventually if they are free. And i'll tell you this: if you ask me to, i won't even listen to them at all, even if they are free.
All in all i'm sure you are passionate enough about what you do to measure the trends and cope with the results in a positive way.

But i do have a reasonable question for you about your site: what are the terms of the content placed by us(users) on the wiki?

I'm having this awkward feeling that this is just a bad time and place to place this question, but since you are centering the discussion on your site and contents, let's be thorough.
(just noticed that this thread exists under "tinkering with this site")

ps.: Started this reply hours ago, got around to finish it after making some cinnamon and butter cookies :p nice joke on the duke thing, lol.

paul wheaton wrote:

people who sell are clearly biased by their commercial position and to discuss this with them might be counterproductive in the sense that it may only aggravate them further...



About three months ago, I gave everything away for free. And now I have started to sell some stuff.

So I guess that discussing this issue with me might be counterproductive?

You are suggesting this while using my site for free.

At the same time, I give away more information about permaculture than all other permaculture people combined. But your statement suggests that discussion this topic with me would be counterproductive.

I think my voice should not be so casually dismissed in this discussion.



Sorry for my delay replying but i had to give some attention to my family.

I think you got it the wrong way Paul.

I am a moderator in a forum, as such i have had a fair share of pointless debates. That was where i was aiming.
I'm a believer in dialog as the base for any relationship, the more, the merrier. But when two people share their views of a problem they can surely do it without accepting the other's arguments, in some cases without listening to the other and more even when they are justifying their options(even to themselves).(not talking about you, will get back to that)
In my experience when people mix belief/conviction/hobby with money, it all goes sour. Sooner or later. Want a good example? Free software with mixed philosophy: one paid product and other version that is free...

That is why i don't mix them. That is why i create strong connections with people that share that insight. Somewhere along the way there is a compromise, a compromise between community/share and profit. That is why i keep a healthy distance from projects with people who do mix them, so that i don't accidentally get caught in the middle of one of those compromises.

Do i force anyone to do it like me? nop. And i do have some good friends that take that other path. And who knows, maybe some day i'll wake up in the morning and realise that to survive i will have to go down that road(hope not).

I do buy(isn't as usual as it used to be as life's a bit harder around here) good books, music and videos, but also when i look at a price tag and get the notion that i'm not being robbed. There are some obscene examples out there... Nevertheless i do buy them precisely to support the work that i enjoy.

As a sidenote, i have been working with several ONG's and other less formal institutions and communities for the past 20 years doing all kinds of pro bono stuff, from producing contents online, to teaching orfans and poor kids, from IT to electronics, math, physics, even done construction work, etc. For years i hosted the services for the local(nacional) Debian team in a dedicated server on my datacenter... for free.

About your site, i read richsoil.org a couple of times, great contents there, loved your articles, truly. Some of them where quite original and thorough(like the chickens one for instance). A great contribution to spreading permaculture. On the other hand i allways looked at permies.com as a community site, but looking deeper at the bottom i now see that i was probably wrong about that. Can guarantee you that i will be hanging around while you keep it free.

So you gave everything for free? kudos to you Paul, that's the spirit! Then you started to charge for some stuff? Well, i'm sure you had your motives... not gonna tap you in the back for that one though, lol.

So as you should have realised by now, it's not about your voice Paul, it's about the path that each one of us treaded and the place we wanna get to, through the way we picked. Each of us will hold his ground. So like i said... pointless discussion, just wasting energy... but really loved Matt's post because i think he went to the core of it:

Matt Smith wrote:The question at the bottom of this, as far as I can see, is a simple one: What is the point of permaculture?

If permaculture is a revolutionary system of reorganizing the interactions between man and nature in a way that benefits all, and has the potential to be a game-changer for the sustainability of human life and society, then let's treat it that way. We're not talking about hockey tickets or potatoes here, folks. This sh*t could literally change the world. Let's not degrade it into some cheap commodity and find a way to leverage it to make a few bucks, and in doing so insure that it is only capable of reaching .1% of the population. We can do that (and have) with just about everything else in our society, and the results speak for themselves.



And to me, it's pretty clear why knowledge should be freely shared and free and universal access to it granted and cherished by all and to all. Knowledge is enlightnment, it free's peoples minds and empowers them to change the face of the earth, we're not talking about potatoes and hockey tickets...

Matt Smith wrote:

paul wheaton wrote:Here is another thought that just popped into my head: for those people that want non-free things to be free - have you first consumed all of the free information that is available? At this moment, I have nearly 200 podcasts, 160 videos, a dozen articles, dozens of blog entries and thousands of threads that are free.



I don't think anyone is expressing the belief that all permaculture information is somehow locked behind a paywall. Obviously quite a bit of information is available for free. But your above statement appears to imply that all information is equal regardless of format, accessibility, or organization, and this is simply not the case.

Firstly: Access to a concise, well-organized and tested reference volume is very much different from the ability to dig through thousands of conversations between individuals (which may or may not stay on topic and whose knowledge or opinions in many cases may be misinformed, biased or unreliable). I know this firsthand because I'm currently in the process of assembling a permaculture manual of sorts whose content is specific to my area, and I have spent countless hours sifting through forum posts (amongst other sources) to glean the frequently small gems of relevant and accurate information. I am doing this precisely so that I will be able to share this specialized information with others (for free) in a format that will not require them expending the same time and effort I am putting in (because 99 out of 100 people would/could not).

Secondly: All of the above-mentioned free information, whilst very accessible and helpful to me (who has full-time access to a computer with a dedicated internet connection, the electricity to power it, and the time to access it) may not be as helpful to someone without those things. In the small town I live in many people do not have a computer, and of those that do many don't have the internet. The internet is available at the library, but many of these people are working class folks with very demanding jobs (sometimes more than one), families, and little free time... so even if they do have limited access to the web, they may not have the option to utilize it for the purposes we're discussing. And that's here in America where we're living high on the hog (I wonder how caught up the poor farmers in Haiti or Afghanistan are on their podcasts?)

Thirdly: There's the issue of common credibility. I can teach myself any number of skills utilizing freely available resources (and have), but in our current society there are precious few pathways between independently acquired ability and widely accepted accreditation for same. I could teach myself electrical engineering perfectly well, but getting a job in that field without the "official" credentials would still be nearly impossible. Attending a permaculture design certification course usually requires $500 (or more) and a week of free time. Most people can't swing that. I am absolutely sure you could find that same information for free, but your options for greater application of that knowledge are at that point somewhat limited. As far as most people are concerned you would essentially be an Internet Expert, and these days that's a title just about everybody's got.

The question at the bottom of this, as far as I can see, is a simple one: What is the point of permaculture?

If permaculture is a revolutionary system of reorganizing the interactions between man and nature in a way that benefits all, and has the potential to be a game-changer for the sustainability of human life and society, then let's treat it that way. We're not talking about hockey tickets or potatoes here, folks. This sh*t could literally change the world. Let's not degrade it into some cheap commodity and find a way to leverage it to make a few bucks, and in doing so insure that it is only capable of reaching .1% of the population. We can do that (and have) with just about everything else in our society, and the results speak for themselves.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to a seed swap I'm hosting, at which I will be giving away hundreds of dollars worth of heirloom and open-pollinated seeds and hopefully disseminating as much useful information on how to utilize them as possible.



Well that kinda sums it all up. I would only add one point: people who sell are clearly biased by their commercial position and to discuss this with them might be counterproductive in the sense that it may only aggravate them further... but i like your perspective, very much like my own.

That will be funny to watch... as it all caves out with the soil weight...
7 years ago