Over a year after a relaunch of GemTalk in a new format, it is entirely moribund. Time perhaps both to wonder why and to suggest what might be done to encourage improvement. 'Encourage improvements'? Well only we the members can breathe life into it but, for that to happen, sufficient members need to want to put some jottings here. After all this time, it is quite clear that those who have looked in are not sufficiently interested by what is on offer to bother with it any further. Why?
I think we might start by casting a critical eye over the topic organisation and indeed the fixed topic headings. It is clear that, as they are, they do not stimulate participation. In detail:
- General Rules. Well, I suppose all net fora need a basis set of rules. but, for this forum, what are they? where are they? All we have is a single post irrelevant to the topic and which no moderator has seen fit to move somewhere appropriate. Come on Mods! Write a short set of sensible rules (no spitting, no swearing etc.). Get them approved, put them here and leave the topic open for user comment, going forward. but with the rules alterable only by the forum mod..
- FAQ. There are no repeated questions and at the current rate, it will take a decade before even a one-page FAQ can be written. So, delete until there is a clear requirement.
- Community. Oh do come along! I'd like to participate here in chatting about gemmology; sometimes relevant and sometimes not quite so relevant. Sometimes light-hearted and sometimes profound. Sometimes with thoughts or facts to offer and sometimes seeking to learn from others. None of us know it all at least *I* don't). But I shan't come here to discuss 'Community', however touchy-feely that word may seem to some.
- Gemmology Questions. Ugh! The implication here is off-putting, i.e. 'post here to admit your ignorance and, just perhaps receive a cryptic one-liner response sometime in the next decade. It's *all* about gemmology! (or should be), Need to know.... want to tell.... by the way.... Seen this? Know that? It *all* should be here, possibly with a dozen or so sub-topics to give some sense of order as traffic volume builds.
- UK Discussions and International Discussions. What next, UK Eyes Only and the UKUSA Agreement? Bin them. IMHO these never had any place here and there is patently no member interest. Anything vaguely related, such as the *one* question asked to date, could be well placed under 'General Discussion'.
- Gem A section and all topics within.Bin it. There is no user interest nor obvious requirement. Gem-A organisational, educational and administrative matters are amply provided for in the rest of the Gem-A website and social media pages. Again the odd posting/discussion can find a home in General Discussion.
OK, there's my brick thrown into the pond to make some ripples. Does anyone want to make more ripples too and add their thoughts here? Heavens, we might even start a discussion on the observation of wave-train interference patterns
Perhaps we could make a start by developing a consensus view on useful headings for the forum that are more likely to attract participation than continue the substantial failure of the present set of headings offered?
Any one out there? Anyone listening? Anyone else like to see this forum improved and healthy?
P.S. Nice stone JFW. Flaw at the bottom - or is it just the way the light is catching it?
I'm not comfy leaving what was (above) a post critical of what is without being prepared to stick my neck out and suggest something that I think might work better in attracting interest and a lively exchange of views. Accordingly, I ran the following up as a target for others to comment on and, hopefully, improve on.
Break the forum into three areas as follows:
- Gem Science, Instruments & Technology
- Other Discussions
It's relieving that our thoughts run along much the same general lines. I hope that some others will chime in to share their views. Your point about 'less is more' is well taken and, for myself, I don't think it critical where the point of balance is set.
I do appraisals, and wanted to know what kind of disclaimer are gemologists putting on their appraisals to cover themselves from synthetic diamonds. I do not have the equipment to test for synthetic diamonds other than a fluorescent light LW/SW. I am interested in knowing what to write to safe guard myself. I do many appraisals and not every diamond can be sent for further testing.
BTW how does one start a new conversation? It's not very clear. Where is the write icon?
I agree with you that getting started in this forum is not particularly straight forward and leads to folk being put off from posting at all - or else simply adding their post to the nearest thread at hand. Never mind. You posted! Perhaps one of our slew of moderators could write a short and clear 'how to' guide and pin it in the FAQ topic and the first of several FAQ's that really need to be written and published. Anyway with things as they are and until there is a short 'how to' guide for beginners, your query does no harm where it is whilst traffic level is at close to vanishing point.
Here are just a couple of thought for you though sadly they may not be what you want to hear. Please take them in the spirit of honesty in which they are offered and without any sense of being 'got at'. If you feel I have seriously misunderstood you please do come right back and say so and we might try to start again. But to be getting along with, you say you have been giving appraisals for some time but are only now addressing this issue. Are you a self-certified appraiser (appraiser of what?) or do you have membership of one of the appraising bodies recognised by the insurance companies?
If I were to suggest that any one seeking advice in a public forum and based of nil knowledge about you, such advice being core to propriety of the services you offer and on which the security and financial well being of the business rests, will likely receive advice as valuable as the sum of money paid for that advice, would that seem fair?
I am both FGA and G.G. as well as A B.A.
I really just want to know if I should be putting a disclaimer in my appraisals because I am not able to test for synthetic diamonds. I can do the basic test LW/ SW fluorescence but I can not certify that a diamond is 100% natural.
I have heard that some appraisers will only certify stones that have a lab report. What are people doing to protect themselves???
Thanks for the additional information; as you say the precursor for any gem appraisal is a correct and sufficiently detailed ID. In turn, that ID needs to be supported by an assessment of quality. As I understand it, (and I am not an appraiser) it is at this point that the appraiser's work begins. It is likely also why neither Gem-A nor G,I,A. offer training or or certify qualification as an appraiser. ABA rang no immediate bells for me so I googled it - only to get no hist relevant to our discussion. So, if you would help out an old man here, who are ABA and what do they do?
It will be interesting to see what difference the current shift of synthetic diamond sales into the general market, as DeBeers introduces its own brand of synthetic diamond.