There is no censorship. You can say anything you want about a KKF vendor's products. It is not protectionism for the vendors. If they make or sell something that you think deserves strong criticism, you are always welcome to do so.
Originally Posted by mkmk
What current policies are protecting is the community environment and the value placed on information sharing & learning. There are many individuals and businesses that want to use the forum purely for promotional or other commercial purposes without any evident intent to be a part of the community. It is for that reason that we have the rule about not discussing your own products or business unless you are a hobbyist or KKF vendor. Doing without that will take us down the road of turning KKF into an online market and not much more.
Our enabling one anothers' continued buying is different from someone coming in only to cash in rather than be part of the community :)
I think the one thing that's being overlooked is that most vendors here don't push their own products. Most don't even respond to criticism by members. And members have most certainly criticized knives of vendors here. Vendors generally let the members speak for their products.
Originally Posted by mkmk
I personally don't believe that Ken should be allowed to respond to criticism. Based on his posts, Ken is going to respond as a maker and defend his product. That's, ultimately, pointless.
He can say all he wants about steel, design, etc. When it comes down to it, what matters is how well his knives cut in the real world, being used by real people. The best defense of someone's product is user opinion.
Again, his best defense would be members that defend his products. If his knives are as well designed as he thinks they are, then members should be posting how much they like his knives.
But, I think the nearly complete lack of members supporting or praising his knives is very telling. And, it's not for the fact that members have not used or owned Ken's knives - I believe Rick (Theory) posted that he had one and it took months to sell. And, based on comments of other members in other threads about Ken's knives, several other members have used Ken's knives and have not been impressed by his knives at all.
As unappealing as they are, if Ken's knives were good cutters, more members would own Ken's knives. Carter's Riveted Handle SFGZ knives are an example of this in my opinion. They're kind of ugly, not inexpensive, handles were cheap, but the one I had was a great cutter. And, I'm not the only one that thinks Carter's Riveted Handle knives are good cutters.
Rather than letting the man defend his products, let his products defend themselves.
Almost makes me regret that I started this thread. I understand the rules and their reasons, but still find it unfortunate that Ken cannot comment here. While I don't know him, he seems to be a very nice guy and I would definitely like to heAr his thoughts. IMHO we should also make an effort not to criticize the man instead of his products. That said, I don't feel in a position to criticize the kitchen knives because I have not used them over any meaningful time, I just wanted to express they don't appeal to me. But I happily use a folding knife designed by Ken as my EDC.
The question that popped into my mind: Would we also ban Keijiro Doi if he commented on his knives?
No matter who it was, they would not be allowed to comment on their products. A ban is not usually the first response, but in this case Ken Onion put a bad foot forward right from the start.
KKF is pay-to-play for vendors and that's clear up front. We're trusting the owners/mods not to be draconian and, as Jim posted, they try to work things out with "offenders" behind the scenes before any banning.
I'm very interested in what Ken Onion had to say, but as a vendor he'd have to pay-to-say. Otherwise he could have talked to people through PM's or email. I'm guessing that's allowed.
Ken was a member for a year but didn't post or join as a vendor, and I can understand that. Given his market position and nature of his company there was little for him to gain from it and everything to lose. The average KKF member is not his customer. But we're interested in all aspects of knife making, so he'd have a rapt audience.
My observation is that when vendors post first, people here are receptive and respectful, even if they don't like the product. It's when they get pissed off when members criticize their wares that there's a blow-up. Even then, if the vendor cools off most everyone ends up playing nice.
It isn't clear to me that everyone here really understands Ken does not own the company that is making this new line of knives just like he never owned Shun. He is a custom knife maker that turns out very limited numbers of high demand hand made folders and maybe a few kitchen knives to test prototype designs. His other hat is as a knife designer whose name companies will actually pay money to put on their blades. Not very many custom knifemakers ever reach that point. I have no inside knowledge of what they are paying for the privilege but I suspect it is a lot less than many would think.
Noodle, I think you underestimate the members grasp of the situation. It doesn't matter whether Ken owns the company that produces the knives or not. He 'sold' the rights to the use of his name, just like Bob Kramer. Obviously the financial gain from that far outweighed the results of having his name linked with mediocre products and the inevitable negative commentary. Chris Reeve makes fabulous folders & survival type knives, but I wouldn't use his kitchen cutlery to scrape dog poop off my boots. And I'm pretty sure that that design won some kind of award when it was introduced as well. With all the revenue that Onion makes from licensing royalties, I'm sure that he could afford the Vendor fees here and 'have his day in court' so to speak, if indeed he really gave a crap about what KKF members think.
I think everyone had a pretty accurate understanding of Ken and his knives: a talented and successful knife maker and designer who's very good at designing / making knives for non-kitchen applications, folding / edc, utility / wackin' at stuff... but who really doesn't seem to understand (or at least design knifes that show an understanding of) the ultra-high performance kitchen applications. Time and time again we've seen very skilled and knowledgeable makers take a crack at kitchen knives and walk right into some of the pitfalls that I mentioned in an earlier post in this thread.
A common trait amongst the one's that eventually "get it" is that they choke down whatever pride and ego may get in the way of learning (or the realize that failing / learning from failure is not a shameful thing, but essential) and they made a transition from "pretty bad" to "very good" in a pretty short amount of time.
I think that part of the reason why Ken's kitchen knives got blasted was that (in addition the the earlier ones being pretty bad) it seemed like he wasn't paying attention to anyone that really understood high performance kitchen cutlery and was instead approaching the designs like he already had all the answers from designing completely different types of knives and using fans, not critics, to validate his assumptions.
His posts just reinforced a hunch that I think many already had about his arrogance and rejection of criticism.
It's really a shame because there were so many ways that this situation could have gone "right": Ken could have come in early as a vendor and said "hey guys here's the project I'm working on, what do you think?" The idea of a top quality, contemporary, all American kitchen knife is one that folks on here would have been all over. In Fact, just the mention of such a knife in this thread inspired some KKF vendors and members to design their own small run of knives with L & G.. and the related posts have generated over 80pages (and counting)... imagine what the response would have been had there been a similar thread started by Ken...
There would have been criticism, but the vast majority would have been constructive and respectful. Ken could have done pass-arounds, of the development and pre-production knives. He would have generated the kind of "viral" or social buzz that sells (more) knives, and the resulting product would have sold its self to a much broader audience. It really could have been "the" breakout American knife line on a national and international level. ...and this thread never would have started the way that it did.
However, even just acting in reaction, after the thread was already spun up, Ken still could have come in as a vendor and been welcomed with open arms. Just talking about his design decisions and hearing other people's options, and, even if he disagreed, comporting himself with some dignity and class would have earned him respect and probably even some support if not the blind adoration to which he's accustomed.
Even if he didn't want to fork over the cash to come into the community as a vendor with the ability to discuses his branded products in detail in his own sub-forum, it wouldn't have been difficult to post like a human deserving of some respect and avoid the ban. I thought that it was interesting that even after his first rather obnoxious post, quite a few people wrote him very polite and welcoming responses.
I've also criticized some of the censorship and rules on here, but agree with them or not, I do know that you have to work pretty darn hard at getting yourself banned. Regardless of what else anyone thinks of him, I think that there's no doubt Ken has work ethic.
In the end, I just feel disappointed and annoyed that great potential was wasted by foolishness.
I think I said it once before, but you have to enter to win at the Blade show. And to enter you need to pay for a booth. Not that many kitchen knife companies have so the potential winners have been fairly limited. Far as I know Bob Kramer has never been in the running. Maybe more kitchen knife makers should compete before that jury too. Are there any similar award programs at the big culinary trade shows? I'm biting my tongue on that "all the revenue from licensing royalties" comment.
Originally Posted by Mrmnms
Even though you speak some good BS you're not going to be banned by me.