Author Topic: Our Guild Mission  (Read 49913 times)


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Our Guild Mission
« on: April 08, 2006, 10:17:46 AM »
I have a dilemma and need some help.  There are fifteen pages of knot forum postings on this web-site and not one of them has to do with the other two parts of our Mission.  Here are the three parts of our Mission:

1. To promote the art, craft and science of knotting, its study and practice
2. To undertake research into all aspects of knotting.
3. To establish an authoritative body for consulting purposes.

My bolding there, just to highlight the areas I would like to discuss with you.  We all seem to be able to do some of the first part of our Mission (promote the art and craft) with great alacrity (and sometimes acrimony) and we are quick to jump in with help, so I am thinking that my request will not fall on deaf ears.  What about the science of knotting and the study and practice of that art, craft and science?  Yes, we have had articles referenced by some who point out others' work, but what are we ourselves doing?  I don't hear about that either on the Forum (which is a smattering of the activity going on worldwide, I think) or in KM or in papers submitted to learned Journals by knotters, at least not declared knotters.  Am I looking in the wrong places?  Help me out here.

Then again, what about the research - who, in our organization, is spearheading that effort?  Who is leading the effort and gathering and disseminating the information?  What Universities and colleges of learning are involved actively in that research and where do we get to hear about it?

Do we have an authoritative body yet?  Who is it?  How did they become appointed?  Were you asked to take part?  What have they said and where did they say it?

I am not just asking questions, nor trying just to be a burr under someone's saddle - I am perfectly prepared to lead an effort in some part of our Mission, but I feel that our Mission should not just be words on paper or a web-page if we are not performing the actions stated there.  What are your thoughts?  Do you think we are meeting our Mission?  Do you care, or is this a hobby that you are content to pick up now and then and not worry too much about all that technical stuff?  Not that that is wrong - I would just like to know if there are like-minded souls among our many readers and writers who would like to see some action in other areas of our Mission than talking about which knots are good for what, and whether or not Ashley has a better form or Budworth or Toss.

Please, if you care, reply to this forum or send me a private message or an e-mail.  I will try to respond to all, good and bad.  I will also send this article to KM to see what interest there may be from those who do not read this forum.  Thanks for reading!



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Re: Our Guild Mission
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2006, 11:02:19 AM »
Well put Lindsey - And as your 'Overseas Representative' on the Council, I will take this to the AGM with me and put it to the floor.
In fairness, there have been some efforts in the directions you mention - a 'New Knot' committee was formed at one time, but that I believe is now only a committee of one!  There are currently efforts towards youth education being 'talked about' and I believe will come to fruition following the next meeting at Shrewsbury.  
On the Science front - there were some sterling efforts by our mathematics members to educate the masses via KM, but that met quite a bit of flack from the 'every finger a marlinspike' brigade.
The majority of our members are 'hobbyist' knot tyers and are happy not to 'get involved'  others are professionals who are pressed for 'time'.  Those like yourself who are keen to get stuck in, are often remotely located from any other members who can back them up and help.  And although this Internet is a wonderful communication media - the majority of members either can't,  don't or won't use it. Made apparent by - How many of the people who use this forum are IGKT Members - how many members use the Sunday 'Chat Net' (10 - 12 at most).



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Re: Our Guild Mission
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2006, 01:34:27 PM »

Lindsey, a thousand thank you for initiating this discussion .

IGKT statement of mission will stay so much empty words in the absence of
real implication by a sufficient number of members

The Board seems to act as if it had not realized that we are its customers
and that first objective is getting us to be regular patrons and beyond that :
suppliers rather that "drifted in".

This demand hard continuous work, giving away little "tokens of consideration",
and quite a lot of practical action, help and impulse.

e.g of token: a monthly mail to members with useful tips or a full study
about a knot just as "business" people do.

IGKT is "administrative",mainly "virtual" with few real parts (Forum and KM.)

IGKT is living " on its laurels"content to uphold "the tradition"
in words if not in deeds.

Nothing real !
REAL = something that consolidate the knowledge, preserve it, even enhanced it.

There is WINDOWS and a bit of APPLE/MAC but now they have both to think
about LINUX and all the GPL and the FREEware, often of as high, when not higher, quality.
IGKT is a bit in the same position.

Imagine a moment : IGKT Forum is lost with all hands!
I can very well imagine all of us asking KHWW to take up the flag
and we could even put our money in it rather than in IGKT.

I know that a "high mass" is celebrated here and there, now and then.
I do not believe it is sufficient and that it amount to "pushing and encouraging".

IGKT board should ask themselves why so many active forum about
ropes and knots are existing in a lively manner.
May be some are of a greater use for promoting knots and ropes that Igkt forum or even IGKT itself are.

May be contacting all those other forum and opening for them
"specialized" sections INSIDE IGKT and enticing their members
to make contributions would be a "good survival move", a sensible move knots-rope-wise.

I do not see anything  " real":

- no true " conservation" work about knot lore or expertise,

- no tentative to make some other bodies recognize ( and help make growing )
all the IGKT expertise : police, justice, maritime museum, ethnography, crafts associations...

No 'research' on 'knots and ropes' is sponsored.

No real 'intervention' addressed to ropes makers for their testing and results.

No contacting of UNESCO, ropes makers... to get funding or help in putting up tests.
Imagine the marketting value of a "tests methodology accepted as valid by IGKT" label for roperies!
They could pay it intesting being done for IGKT.

Some documentations could be put on-line by IGKT about " how a valid testing"
must be conducted, how to interpret statistics, how to make "understandable"
highly specialised publications...

I think that a big annual feast hiding a bid void in the interval
is not really "useful work" making for a lasting contribution,
It is the pleasure of a regional fair or a village market only.
That entails great cost for the organisation, the organisers and the participants.

I see as more important and useful that IGKT ,
(as the entity-regrouping-tyers-sufficiently-interested-to-join) ,
would in a steady and  regular world over action:

- get in contact with museums ( maritime, ethnography) , Universities...industrials...Historians...Ships modellers...

- "heavy users " of ropes and knots : fishermen, seamen, rescuers, firefighters,
climbers/cavers of recognized capabilities...

- initiate research in public libraries about books on knottings still not widely known,

- sponsoring translation of non-English-language books
( I think one must admit the fact that the actual Esperanto is English in one form or another),

- that projects for research about effect of knots on ropes,
truly professionaly made, are funded and/or "morally" encouraged.

- Launching an effort for "conservation" of knot lore ..( from tools to songs )

-..Putting to good effect Internet to create a "library"
of screened and peers-reviewed or at least commented of writings...

An opportunity to "publish on-line" on IGKT web space should be opened
to willing authors whose writings would of course have to be reviewed
by people trained in knots and publication reviewing.
At least 2 sorts could exist :
"fully endorsed by IGKT" ,
"proposed to the Tyers by IGKT",
even  a third one "controversial personal view worthy of further discussion",
a fourth ? "hosted by IGKT"

- ...Contacting those holding "rights" upon books or photographies or
items of knotting interest to seduce them into giving the rights
to IGKT to put them on-line in an "undownloadable" form ( downloadable for fees if needed be ) :
a sort of Nuremberg Project or Project Runeberg but for "the Knotical Art and Knowledge" :-) .
Putting on-line for a fee ( non downloadable ) a "loan service" of sort  for consulting
online scans of books put in a "virtual IGKT library'....

ACTING and not simply BEING.

I know "la critique est aisée mais l'art est difficile"
( Criticism is easy but Art is difficult)
so I will thank all the 'human beings' behind that 'virtual entity'
for all they are already doing and giving.

For all the shortcomings I am very glad that the Forum exists :
a "waterhole " in the bush  bringing occasions for meetings.



PS :Please put an end to that counting of posts made  on the forum,
replace it by what is "usable information" :

- date of registering,
- date of the last post made
- PLUS date of the last connection.

No notion of judgment or of "marks" being given as in school.

Another point :
each of us without consideration of his/her academic/formal training
possess some "real life practical knowledge and competence" :
a list of "resources available" could be made so that every one know
that so and so is ready to put up personal resources to good use in order to help someone else.


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Re: Our Guild Mission
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2006, 04:25:35 PM »
Firstly - are you a member of the IGKT?  I do not see a 'Charles' listed in France.
I don't have a problem with that, but you are talking negative of many things that are in fact positive.  You obviously do not have copies of the IGKT publications entitled 'Knotlore', 'Much a do about Knotting' or Knot Rhymes and Reasons'.  You seem to know nothing of the research (published and unpublished) done by Guild members, some of which is ongoing at this very moment.
The other fact that you must bear in mind is that ALL the IGKT administration is carried out by VOLUNTEERS - who live in the 'real' world and have to earn a living.
That said - much of what you say is valid comment and I will add that to my presentation of Lindsey's opening thread at the AGM next month.



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Re: Our Guild Mission
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2006, 09:48:01 PM »
Thank you Gordon and thanks also to Charles,

Gordon, I am especially glad that you will take this message to the Guild in May - I wish that I could be there in person and find a way in which I can put my enthusiasm to work in a more positive manner.  Your support is very important and I value your having offered to take this message forward.  Please also express that my concern is not that our Mission is not being accomplished - it is that I do not "see" it being accomplished.  Perhaps I have missed a vital communication channel?  Charles, you evidently have a number of very heartfelt concerns, and I will write privately to you.  Your message is loud and clear that you are a committed member (of the Pacific Americas Branch) and that you have concerns for our ability as a Guild to uphold our traditions, our purpose and our Mission.  I feel that you are expressing ideas in language that "bursts" on the scene, as if having been held back by an invisible dam?  Thank you for letting us hear your thoughts, although with so many at one time, it may take a while to address everything successfully and we may need to select the greatest concerns first, before moving on to "also-rans".  What would you say are your five greatest concerns, in one sentence each?  Not that your other concerns are not valid - it is just that we make our task of eating the elephant completely if we do so one bite at a time, n'est-ce-pas?

A common language is a great tool for communication, and we all do not have access to a common language, so we are starting off together at a slight disadvantage.  I think that ideas are just that - ideas - as we used to refer to them in the corporate world they are "trial balloons" floated to see if anyone wants to follow them.  If not, they are left behind floating but not yet shot down.  Gordon, what do you suggest we use as a common tool for communication?  Charles, do you have thoughts about that?  I think that establishing a communication device such as a translator or perhaps agreeing to put it in writing by re-quoting, such as we have seen here?  I regularly use Babelfish when trying to communicate with people in other languages, and I have received no complaints yet.  OK, it's not the same as being able to use the language as my native tongue, but it works.

Communication aside, I am very encouraged by the response so far.  I have received private messages and public responses to the Forum posting, so I think that there must be more interest.  Please keep your responses coming, so that we can see and hear the interest and feel the need.  Thank you!



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Re: Our Guild Mission
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2006, 07:09:21 PM »
Hi Squarerigger !

Five items :

- "specialized" sections in the forum beyond the small talk chit chat

- creation of a collection of writings (screened and  peers-reviewed
or at least commented) or if you will  an e-magazine before committing
to official paper magazine

- contact world over with museums ( maritime, ethnography) ,
Universities...industrials...Historians...Ships modelers..

- research in public libraries world over about books
on knottings still not widely known.

- contact with UNESCO, ropes get funding and help in putting up tests.



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Re: Our Guild Mission
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2006, 10:07:07 PM »
Hi Charles,

Many thanks for the pointers - I agree that we as a Guild should have all the help we can get, paid or unpaid.  Research by volunteers through museums and libraries would be a wonderful way to fulfill some of the need.  The idea of getting a grant for research from a rope company, while appealing, may tend to be one-sided.  The World Bank, UNESCO or another world-based organization I agree would be a good funding source.  Many of the non-profits seek funding in the form of a single large grant producing self-perpetuating funds, the grant being used as the capital to achieve interest income in perpetuity, and I think this is a great favorite.  Prior to obtaining funding it will of course be necessary to set up some kind of request for funding, so an assembly of needed information would be good.  Once the needed information had been identified, then identifying the chunks to be funded would be next, together with some rough timetable.  Once the needed information, funding and schedule had been identified, a series of writers, editors, reviewers and researchers would be needed, followed by a publisher interested in continuing updates.  A natural outcome of the collected knowledge would be the maintenance and updating as necessary by the "authoritative" body, presumably and perhaps preferably from within the Guild, to continue the task as new knots are devised or discovered.  Thanks so much for your thoughts!


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Re: Our Guild Mission
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2006, 01:55:10 AM »
Thanks for floating this interesting statement, which I shall be pleased to put to the membership at the AGM next month.
For a long time the Council has been concious of their failure to achieve ALL the aims and objectives of the Guild, largely due to a lack of inspiration as to what should be done, and by whom.
Hopefully the result of this open debate will generate some practical ideas that the Council, working together with the Membership, can develop, encourage, promote, stimulate, grow etc., until that ultimate goal is achieved.

Over the years, the concept of a Technical Journal has been spoken about on many occasions, but that in itself has been a problem. The members of the Council are willing volunteers, however most are not academic in the scientific sense, and most have a limited technical knowledge of knotting. Thus if there were to be a scientific or technical article offered for publication. who would be prepared to acknowledge, authenticate, and validate such a paper on their behalf, - if in fact, anyone should.
I am sure that there are a number of suitably qualified members, but as The Secretary,  am not aware of them. That is not intended as a critism of any member of the Guild, but only of my own failing and lack of knowledge of the abilities, skills and professional standing  of the members.
I look forward to all and any observations. Nigel Harding - Honorary Secretary -  ???.


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Re: Our Guild Mission
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2006, 07:04:01 AM »
Hello Nigel,

First, many thanks for responding on this public forum - a very encouraging response that does not say "the door is closed" nor does it say "you are off your rocker", and that does speak in positives.  I do not consider this a failure of the Council, nor of the Members - this is simply something that has been identified and we need to put the situation right.  You do say, which I appreciate greatly:

1.  You are prepared to offer the subject for discussion at our next AGM - wish I could be there! - maybe I can help by writing out something of the entire ideas set for presentation?
2.  That a Technical Journal has previously been considered, but that there may be some difficulties to overcome,
3.  That we have a skilled and very capable membership of volunteers who are willing to try,
4.  That it is only inspiration that may be needed to find the solution as to how we go about solving the issue of meeting all our objectives,
5.  That practical ideas should not be found wanting in the members of the Council and the general membership as to how such a dilemma may be moved forward from its present sticking place.

Please encourage all who care, to think of a timetable that is reasonable and practical.  We celebrate our 25th anniversary next year - why not make this our 30th anniversary goal for 2012 to meet all objectives of our Mission by making the necessary moves to get things started, to lay down some railway tracks and find an engine with some carriages to put behind it, so that we can get the show on the road, the tracks obviously being the plan from the Council and Members, the engine a person or group of people who are prepared to make the effort happen and the carriages the people who will devote their time in a measured way to achieve certain tasks along the way?  Maybe not a great analogy but I think most will get the idea.

As for technical knowledge of the scientific process, I feel that we likely have that in our membership.  We will need to agree on a workable, practical method of obtaining and disseminating the information, so that it is clear as to purpose and direction with whatever partners we need, be they universities, museums, translators, funding bodies, or whomever.  Please also remember that I am not just advocating a Technical Journal, not just advocating a scientific study of knotting, but I am talking about all parts of our Mission being achieved and then continued.  That does not mean that all Members have to take part, nor does it exclude their taking part.

We can eat the elephant one bite at a time - we just need to know where to start and then dig in!

Thanks again,



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Re: Our Guild Mission
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2006, 08:41:23 AM »
Hi Lindsey,
 I waited for the ship to stop before stepping onto the dock (to all others; this was a private recomendation by Lindsey to me that I not post while in my cups).
 Now, back on the water: I'll put my oar in and row, but as often happens when I row on one side of the boat it goes in circles so I need the opposing oarsman to help hold a course.
  I am sorry that you feel the IGKT (and therefore IGKT-PAB) is not meeting the mission.  At every public show we demonstate and teach hundreds or even thousands of people.  Medical professionals use knots recommended by IGKT and IGKT-PAB in operating theaters.  Courts are assisted by forensic experts from IGKT and IGKT-PAB (I can only assume all other branches are having similar success).  I write a simple article for KM on an "expedient eye splice in wire" and men who test splices for Lloyds of London or international safety boards respond in KM with hard data from extensive testing.  I post a line about cedar block slings, 'copters and tucked eyes and a flood of OSHA safety standards and accident examination reports are posted.  The arborists have a site, the climbers have a site, the sailors have a site.  Our forums and publications are the distillation of world wide data.
 We teach.  We explore and document research.  We are the authority of record.  People come to us from around the world to learn, to validate and to confirm knotting lore. They get rock solid information.
 Yes, if you intend to eat an elephant you may need to know where to start if you want to be the fastest elephant eater.  But since we are already "chowing down on Dumbo" as it were, I think we have a fine start... and since we intend to eat the whole thing... I'll just keep on chewing.  I really do not see any rapid elephant consumption in the offing.  But by a larger and larger hungry group of fellow knotters we will get it done. Please pass the hot sauce.
 We have a goal.  We just may need to pick up recruitment rate..... if we are in a hurry.
 Please row a bit on your side so we don't circle.  See you on the dock.


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Re: Our Guild Mission
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2006, 11:29:42 AM »
Hi Roy,

Well, I let myself go off all top ropes in my reply to you, which this system does not allow.  So here it is in a nutshell my friend:

Where have we met our Mission?

Yes, we probably do fine teaching (assuming that we have been checked out as being actually knowledgeable, which I sincerely doubt we have been checked out, because we do not publish any standards) but I don't think we are so hot on the other areas.

Show me - show me where we promote the science of knotting;  show me where we promote the study of knotting; show me where we undertake research into all aspects of knotting and show me where we have established an authoritative body for consulting purposes.  By we I do not mean the Royal "We" meaning an individual, but the common "we" meaning the IGKT and all its Branches.  Show me where "we" have actually done these things through promotion of actual examples, or establishment of extant bodies by the Guild.

Show me and I will look at what you say, but I think you are going to come up empty-handed.  I am open to being shown.

Show me, while you are at it, where I said that I feel we are "not meeting the Mission"?  I asked questions, yes, but did I in any part say that we are NOT meeting the Mission?  Inquiring minds need to know, so please tell me and show me where I am wrong.  Thanks for your comment Roy - please DO let me know.  Your silence would speak volumes, but I know you will not be silent because you have carefully put your statement together, knowing the answers.  Please share them with us.



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Re: Our Guild Mission
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2006, 09:00:32 PM »
"Sans la liberté de blâmer il n'est point d'éloge flatteur"
"Without the freedom to criticize there can be no flattering praise".
Beaumarchais. French philosopher.

I worked under the brainstorming rules of fire ( no censure - no evaluation ) with absolutely no intent
to offend or insult or "spit in the soup".

Sorry if I did!
My mistake alone, bad communication, I was the "sender".

If in order to access the full extent of IGKT labor one have to receive and possess the whole collection of KM
then I will say that is a very  autistic/autarcic/for-your-eyes-only communication.

Even if it is only I that say it,believe me, I was very well trained ( ordinary pupil but top teachers ).
I can do "search" : I am really sorry but  extensive and in depth ( both ) search on the Net did not bring any
reference ( beyond "pro bono" and P.R. good will ) of IGKT's endeavor that I would dare to put in a formal
publication as  bibliography or references.

I did not see any body of standing referring  IGKT expertise or advice in their own domain and using it "in the field"
beyond the "anecdotal".

If I missed so much works that were apparently done then it is IGKT fault and not mine.
All my professional training and all my life experience from professional domain to diving
lead me to consider as "proven true" or rather "not proven false"  that in communication
( sender -data tranfered- receiver just  to make it short and so not exact )
the full onus of making sure that the message is received unadultered and integrally is
falling on the sender only and never/not on the receiver.

If so much work were accomplished and a search cannot unearth it then I conclude it is well hidden.
A new Da Vinci Code ?
Why secret it ?
Put it somewhere it can be readily accessed not only by members but much more so by non-members
if we are not to be an autarcic grouping of individuals.
Communication should be 15% centripetal ( towards members are already "convinced" ) and 85% centrifugal towards the "big outdoors"
where "they" are very ( by a leaps and bounds ) much more numerous that our minority.

So please "weight" the communication not "by ease to do it" but by "population to be contacted".

If I understood correctly some of what was written : everyone stay "home" on their own domain and forum.
Cavers with cavers,ignoring mountaineers staying with mountaineers ( probably arranged by altitude of climbing ?),
both ignoring and being ignored by tree surgeons ( who separated themselves as deciduous-specialized and
conifer-specialized, most certainly just to keep things on keel) and so on ad infinitum.

Well take just a quick glance at what is happening to Koalas and  Pandas with their specialized diet.

Previously, that is before my eyes were opened by comments made here about my silly mistaken point of perspective
I held to the illusion that IGKT was the unique body  with the will and the knowledge to try and federate all that disseminated knowledge.
Sorry about my mistake, but then I am French and there is the Babel effect of a language not really mastered.

For all the interesting " histoire de chasse" / " hunting stories" that we all put on line
( that is popular parlance for anecdotal , wild, un-reviewed, un-controlled say-so versus "established-as-verified-and-for-the-moment-held-as-not-proven-false" by pondered and reviewed ( internal and external please ) consensus  of knowledgeable people and then and only then receiving the "stamp" of an official body taking moral and intellectual responsibility ) I think that the collective "we" is worth very much more.
It is my faith in this collective value that make we " not fully satisfied".

To go on on the elephant metaphor :
No !
We are not eating it yet, far from it.
We have just reports of  spoors and traces , dubbed "fairy tales" by the established opinion.
We have yet to know where it is and how to kill it.
Only after tracking, studying the lay of the land, the ways of the beast and consulting all the hunters
that want to  take a part either "big" or "rather smallish" will we know how/where/when to kill it.
More!  we need to take great care not to try to kill it before knowing how we will cook it
( so consult with the cooks too!) and make venison with it for fear of only losing a good animal providing marvelous meat.
With that venison we can  barter with other tribes, so we have to make sure they are ready for that too.

It seems to me that Squarerigger mind is rather quick and sharp on the subject, not to say well trained
in this sort of assessment and management.

For now we are very much more in need of that sort of competence rather than in need  of an umpteenth  tyer.

" At the limit" as it goes in maths : a non-knotter with well honed capabilities in organisation, logistics and management
is better "tailored" for the task than a "tyer and tyer only insisting only on "pragmatical" knotting.
Sure theory without practical is useless but practical without theory is pretty limited.
Fortunately Squarerigger give ( to my mind at least) all the right "signals" of being that individual  plus a tyer of standing.

If primatology is anything to go by it is at the lowest rung that it can begin.
Then by the by  it will  creeps up and one day  one 'alpha' will adopt it and it will be all over the group overnight.
I am not thinking "lowest" in another measuring scale than "hierarchical" which does not always mean something valid .

Point n'est besoin d'espèrer pour entreprendre, ne de réussir pour persévèrer
No need to hope to undertake something, nor to have success to go on.
( Guillaume de Nassau ?  Guillaume d'Orange ?)

Take care all and may fair seas and favorable winds be yours.



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Re: Our Guild Mission
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2006, 12:17:30 AM »
My dear Nautile,

Thank you for your response - it is always a challenge to conduct correspondance in a non-native tongue and I fully appreciate the effort you have made here.  I also appreciate your compliments, but I do believe that there are much greater minds than mine here - we just have to seek them out.  To seek them out we must approach every member, through our official publication, KM, so that we give each a fair shot at giving their feedback and input - no comment, no whining - rather than relying on the web, which is not reviewed, nor does it have any standard other than that imposed by whoever is the writer, and which web writing may be reviled by some members for those reasons or for their own reasons.  We may also find, as Gordon has said, that members do not want to use the web, and so are not able to be reached by that method, no matter how much we may wish that they would.

In my own translation of your excellent French to English I might say

"Point n'est besoin d'espèrer pour entreprendre, ne de réussir pour persévèrer"  We don't just need hope to undertake something, we need to persevere if we are to succeed

Let us hope that we can persevere together!
Bonne chance and thank you for reading...



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Re: Our Guild Mission
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2006, 12:48:19 AM »
hello all....
....great topic!: "The Mission of the Guild"
....and that will be the topic in IGKT Knot_Chat
on Sunday!!....i hope to see you all there!!....
((Gordon will be there when he's done with the dishes!!  ;D ))


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Re: Our Guild Mission
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2006, 03:41:11 AM »
Thanks Dan,

I am looking forward to reading others' points of view.