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Posted By: Chuck Lee on: 05/22/2005 19:02:15 EDT
Subject: RE: A Clearinghouse Of Goods' Information Would Be Important to Emulators

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Excellent idea! This forum has certainly been a source of terrific information to me, and I'm confident that it has been so also to many others. Indeed, why NOT be a clearinghouse of information on products, as well? Offering individual, if not juried, reviews of products could be a worthy addition to this excellent site.

Signed reviews are advisable, I think. You may find that anything Walt or Dave review positively is solid gold, while anything I might review favorably would automatically be suspect. Too, if you're going to say something - good, bad, or indifferent - have the courage to back it up with your own name.

Not a bad idea, either, to establish a reasonable set of criteria to be used in reviews.

(See how neatly you avoid using inflammatory terms like "standards" when you call them "criteria" instead?

By having review criteria, which would be based on a variety of factors, it would be easier to evaluate the validity of the reviewers' comments, as well as to understand the specific basis for the "yea" or "nay" given. Keep it simple. Materials are authentic, or less than. Construction methods are authentic, or less than. Dimensions / sizes are accurate, or less than. Item is authentic (reproduction, copy, approximation, whatever term you want to use here), or less than.

Spell out where and how the reproduction items vary from the originals - and why, if that's known. For example, a reproduction Signal Corps crate may be adjudged less than authentic in dimensions because the reproduction's dimensions vary from the original overall dimensions in order to accommodate a 28-quart Coleman ice chest. However, it may be perfectly authentic in construction and finish (bare or painted, correct size and type of stenciling used, etc.). But it may be less than authentic in materials (or this may be a dimension issue, as well) since 3/4 pine was used, where the original made use of 4/4 pine.

A quick reference could eventually be indexed so that folks in search of flags or signal pistols or flag staffs or camelback keys or pencils or field glasses or a training manual or torches could find them sourced and reviewed here. Then, as with the rest of life, let caveat emptor be the rule.

Great idea on the disclaimer, too, Dave. The usual sort of disclaimer could apply, as well: "Listing here is by choice of individual contributors, and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of SCARD, the list owner or their agents. Listings may be screened for content. Listing a product or service herein is not a tacit endorsement by SCARD, this list or its agents of any product, service or vendor listed, nor should it be so construed. With every product, service or vendor listed, please be aware that the consumer warning of 'Let The Buyer Beware' applies."

If there is interest in so doing, then it would be prudent to set up a clearinghouse board, if you will, of members of this list who will screen the reviews, first of all. Some reviewers may take on a nasty tone, for example, if they're reviewing a product where they think they got shafted by the vendor. The Review Board could exercise the option of contacting the sellers / manufacturers to clarify accusations or negative comments. Where Review Board-verifiable problems exist, those could still be addressed, though the review rating for particular categories may indicate "Not recommended" say, in reference to Materials; and for those interested in further details, it could indicate an e-mail address where they can contact the Review Board for a juried comment on that category for that item or service.

And the Review Board could certainly exercise editorial discretion as to what wording actually hits the page. It's not always a good idea to publically publish all that can be known or said of a product or service.

Suppliers or manufacturers could, in that way, be encouraged even to submit their goods for review of the Review Board, if they so chose. That could be accomplished oft times at events.

Where the Review Board has not seen the products or enjoyed the services under review, it should be so noted, as well.

Chuck Lee

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