Getting warmer . What I am actually suggesting is that there are a FEW forumites (as in probably less than four) who might care about this enough to buy a set of mules and run a real study. They might, or might not, discuss the study methodology on this forum. They would remove the steel code and put their own codes onto the blades. They would recruit subjects (who might or might not come from this forum). They would provide the knives to the testers and gather results.Bolstermanic wrote:SleepingRobot wrote: Let Sal provide the knives, and let people who want to run a study take it from there.
Oh, I see what you're saying. Normally the subjects don't run the study. The experimenter does. My impression is that Spyderco is contemplating an experiment, with us forumites as subjects in that study. You're suggesting the equivalent of a meta-analysis, where each subject is in fact an autonomous experimenter running his own study.
There are probably several forumites who don't want to or are not in a financial position to be able to buy the mules, but would be happy to borrow one from such an experimenter in exchange for using it on some predefined tasks and reporting back.
I suspect there are some people like me who want their blades to be stamped with things like S30V so they can bore their friends with explanations aboud CPM's nomenclature like "that steel is called S30V, and its one of a family of steels (S30V, S60V, S90V, etc.) which differ primarily in their Vanadium content...". (What can I say, I like knowing about materials.)
Actually, I think Sal is offering these at cost plus some percentage, and I think that is exactly what he should do. But that's an over-literal interpretation of what I meant by 'cost'.Bolstermanic wrote:But what is this cost that you are bearing if a code is used?SleepingRobot wrote: My final point is that I think simple things should be simple, and people who want to do elaborate things should bear the cost of doing the elaborate thing.
I thought Sal was providing the mules at cost, which is a pretty nice deal! Wouldn't we all like to get all our Spydies at cost--until the company went bankrupt, that is. But it seems to me that Spyderco is bearing the cost (meaning, no profit) in return for valid data from us. That's Spyderco's payback for their effort providing us with these at-cost, one-of-a-kind, exotic steel mules.
What I'm talking about is the never-ending inconvenience of having to lookup a code to be able to know the kind of steel. Five years from now, when someone uses one of these things and thinks the steel is "chippy" or "amazingly tough", they won't know what kind of steel it is without doing a lookup. (If they don't have to do a lookup, then the coding scheme is ineffective and not good enough for a valid study). For example, if the first steel is coded "A", the second steel "B", etc. a goodly percentage of the forumites and other knife and steel junkies would "know" what the codes meant. There are a few ways around that. One is for Spyderco to stamp random numbers onto the mules, ensuring that none are ever reused (and possibly tracking which numbers went onto which steel). That's kind of a pain for them, and starts to be a real expense instead of a simple step where every knife in a batch is processed the same.
So I guess that's my real gripe about using a code instead of just the name of the steel. Any simple scheme is probably going to be ineffective, which makes it doubly annoying. Any effective scheme is probably going to add a real cost into the program, which is contrary to the minimal cost approach.
I think the original goals were to get exotic steels into the hands of steel junkies as easily and cheaply as possible, in a uniform physical format so that differing grinds and ergos didn't confound things. The steel junkies could then have fun comparing sharpening ease, chip resistance, etc. etc. etc.Bolstermanic wrote: I think where we disagree is what the study is "about." I think it's about Spyderco getting unbiased user preference information regarding different steels. You think it's about us, the forumites, having fun.
Heck, you might be right. I honestly don't know what Sal has in mind.
I think at this point Sal gets to make the call as to whether he wants to remove even more of the potential confounding factors. But actually removing the confounding factor of the purchaser knowing the steel type is going to be tough. Simply substituting "A" for "52100" won't do it. If Sal is not going to hold inventory, and is going to allow sales on a per-steel basis, then buyers are going to know what they have no matter what is stamped on them. At that point somebody has to take on the job of holding an inventory of some blades until there is more than one steel type out there, then sending them on to people who don't know what kind of steel they are getting. Anybody who is going to go to that trouble can handle the additional bother of putting a truly secret code onto the blades.
I'm also finding it interesting, and like you, I hope the other readers will forgive my long-winded whining about codes vs. steel names.Bolstermanic wrote: Interesting discussion. Hope you and other readers will forgive my long-windedness and understand I'm simply trying to explain what you can & can't get, in terms of knowledge gained, based on how you design a study.
I think we both agree that if Sal's goal is a seriously valid study, then codes need to be used. I hope you also would agree that any coding system the forumites can memorize would not be effective. If so, then perhaps you can understand my point of view that so-called "secret" codes are likely to be more trouble than they are actually worth.