I definitely see both sides here. As a hobbyist I rarely sale anything I make, mostly because I don't make anything good enough to sale. On a few rare occasions someone has asked to buy something I have made, this is encouraging as that means I'm getting better. I use forums ( not this one so much B/C I don't make knives) to show my work to those with more experience and to learn and get tips to improve my work. I sold a few things I made not to long ago on this board ( my spoon holding thingeys), one of the mods pulled it and sent me a warning. I was like ***???, and PM'ed Dave. In a short time it was resolved and my post went back up. Point here is I think mods in general here are a little trigger happy. If I was a new member or a not very active one I could understand, but it bothered me thinking that Dave and or some mod would think i would try and "rip off the forum". Hell I was debating at the time to buy the vendor permit just to sell the 3 spoon things I had, that way my vendor section would sit there for god knows how long unused, people would be like WTH does Colin sell??? Why is he a vendor???.. I thought it would be funny, you guys know my sense of humor. Point is that the _____ amount of money was not a issue to me, I know the money goes to pay for a sight that I spend a lot of my time, good cause in my book. I was not trying to make a buck, not even recover materials or time spent.
Darkhoek on the other hand has hit a different level. His skills have hit a point were people seek him out on a consistent bases for his work. It may still be a hobby to him but the people who are buying things from him don't look at it that way, they look at is as buying something from a skilled craftsmen. I hope the day comes that I'm in his shoes.
I'm not trying to stir the pot, but I have to say that the fees on here for hobbyist or vendor memberships are VERY expensive. A comparison to a monster forum like Blade Forums may not be relevant. They have 180,000 registered members and even after all of the mass exodus stuff over the years, they still claim to have over 15,000 active members. Another smaller forum would be a better comparison but I shall not name it. IIRC, it was started for reasons similar to why this one was. People grew tired of the BS on the old "mother" forum (BF in this case) so someone set up a new forum. They now claim to have over 8,000 members of whom over 7,000 are allegedly active. That forum currently has 74 individual "vendor" forums of all types. These forums can be had for as little as $100 a year if you have 3 or fewer employees or as much as $300 if you are a "big player and have 11 or more.. More importantly, if you are a "hobbyist" or even a individual "pro" or any kind and don't need your own forum, you can get a membership that allows you to pimp your product with no limits for $30 a year. Unpaid members, regardless of their status as makers, dealers or just users, can sell up to 12 pieces a year on their free membership. That means that they can also show the work that they are doing and if someone wants to ask them about buying it, they can without worrying about running afoul of the rules. If they get to the point where they are selling stuff regularly, they can pony up $25-30 a year for the appropriate individual membership.
I understand that this forum has to be paid for and perhaps the original intent was to limit the number of "vendors" to a select few. The current prices guarantee that. $300 for a vendor membership for a sole proprietor like me or even (or especially) $175 for the hobbyist or random dabbler is a LOT of money for any forum, much less one that only has 1100 members, no matter how rabid those members might be when it comes to buying kitchen knives. Like I said, I am not trying to cause trouble, but merely to lend some perspective.
This thread was supposed to be locked on 12/24. There had been plenty of time given for everyone to say what they needed to say on the subject. The thread is now locked.