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Re: Forum updates (current and pending)
Shirrif
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Rowns wrote:

First, I have made a small handful of very long-time regulars into forum moderators. They can delete spam posts, move posts between forums (to put them in the proper topic category for example) and other maintenance functions. With this working smoothly, I will be able to turn on more open posting again (I got swamped with porn spam last time I had open posting turned on though this should be better next time around). Having extra hands to keep things running smoothly will really help out. Please contact me if you would like to help in this regard, though I will keep the list fairly short for the time being just for sanity's sake. Just for clarity (I am not at all concerned about this), I have access to the entire historical database of posts and changes, so moderator abuse will be noted and fixed quickly. Let me know if you are interested in helping in this regard.

Second, it was recently pointed out that we might need or want a private forum that is not publicly visible. In the interest of supporting community desires, I have made changes to support this. There is a short list of registered users that I know personally that are now tagged "Members" - members of what, I have no idea - but there is a forum category that is only visible to members now. Not much posted there yet, but if you are logged into the site you will see those posts on the home page (recent posts section) and the category listed on the Discussion Forums page. The posts are otherwise not visible, not even to search engine bots. So anything posted here should be relatively private.

I may have missed quite a few people when I created the "Members" list, so please contact me if you want to be added and we will see what can be done. I am not sure about this whole "Member" thing - this is not meant to be an exclusive site, and I feel there is a lot to be learned and shared by discussing topics openly, but I do understand the concerns that started this idea off in another thread. Please do let me know what you think of the "Member" concept. I have considered making TCG a worldwide/virtual smial for The Tolkien Society, and/or a discussion group for the Mythopoeic Society (neither of which require that TCG members also be paying members of the parent group) so this is another topic for discussion.

Finally, the thread that started all this - In a race between forgers and experts, I feel that open communications help the experts/open market more than they help the forgers. For example, some threads here have been shared with auction houses and private dealers in order to convince them that they are in possession of a forgery, and successfully gotten those items pulled from the marketplace before another buyer was cheated. That could not have happened were the discussions and comparative samples in a private forum. On the flip side, any dishonest person who has been following our discussions is now armed with better information for a future attempt at passing something off.



Thanks for being allowed to Moderate the discussion forums on this site.

Please note that the Members area is for topics that are sensitive such as the problems with a fake item which we do not want to communicate to the forger.

Like Jeremy I think that this forum benefits from openness and that you in most cases post in the public areas so that everyone can benefit from the site.

Andrew

Posted on: 2010/1/19 12:04


Re: This is getting silly!!!!!!
Thain
Joined:
2006/5/26 20:36
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Thread, no thread. Replies, no replies. I feel like Oogway in Kung Fu Panda. :)

I can create a subforum specifically for eBay item reporting if we want. We want?

Posted on: 2010/1/19 11:53
_________________
- Jeremy


Forum updates (current and pending)
Thain
Joined:
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Hi all,

please chime in with your thoughts here. I am in the process of setting up a few user profile changes.

First, I have made a small handful of very long-time regulars into forum moderators. They can delete spam posts, move posts between forums (to put them in the proper topic category for example) and other maintenance functions. With this working smoothly, I will be able to turn on more open posting again (I got swamped with porn spam last time I had open posting turned on though this should be better next time around). Having extra hands to keep things running smoothly will really help out. Please contact me if you would like to help in this regard, though I will keep the list fairly short for the time being just for sanity's sake. Just for clarity (I am not at all concerned about this), I have access to the entire historical database of posts and changes, so moderator abuse will be noted and fixed quickly. Let me know if you are interested in helping in this regard.

Second, it was recently pointed out that we might need or want a private forum that is not publicly visible. In the interest of supporting community desires, I have made changes to support this. There is a short list of registered users that I know personally that are now tagged "Members" - members of what, I have no idea - but there is a forum category that is only visible to members now. Not much posted there yet, but if you are logged into the site you will see those posts on the home page (recent posts section) and the category listed on the Discussion Forums page. The posts are otherwise not visible, not even to search engine bots. So anything posted here should be relatively private.

I may have missed quite a few people when I created the "Members" list, so please contact me if you want to be added and we will see what can be done. I am not sure about this whole "Member" thing - this is not meant to be an exclusive site, and I feel there is a lot to be learned and shared by discussing topics openly, but I do understand the concerns that started this idea off in another thread. Please do let me know what you think of the "Member" concept. I have considered making TCG a worldwide/virtual smial for The Tolkien Society, and/or a discussion group for the Mythopoeic Society (neither of which require that TCG members also be paying members of the parent group) so this is another topic for discussion.

Finally, the thread that started all this - In a race between forgers and experts, I feel that open communications help the experts/open market more than they help the forgers. For example, some threads here have been shared with auction houses and private dealers in order to convince them that they are in possession of a forgery, and successfully gotten those items pulled from the marketplace before another buyer was cheated. That could not have happened were the discussions and comparative samples in a private forum. On the flip side, any dishonest person who has been following our discussions is now armed with better information for a future attempt at passing something off.

Given all this, I would like to (a) take a poll and see which way the winds are blowing here (specifically with the experts, whom I want to be comfortable continuing to share their expertise!) and (b) set up some policies and framework for addressing forgeries specifically. An easy way to post questionable items into a database, articles on how to generally spot good/bad items, articles on how to easily report to eBay, etc. I will be working on this over the following weeks, but need input from all of you on ideas, thoughts, and preferences.

More to come, but please respond to this with any thoughts. Thanks!
Jeremy

Posted on: 2010/1/19 11:48
_________________
- Jeremy


Re: Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt
Shirrif
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It does not look like things have got a lot better in the last year.


CORRECTED - (OFFICIAL)-Houghton Mifflin owner in debt talks

By Jonathan Stempel


NEW YORK, Jan 14 (Reuters) - The parent of textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co is in advanced talks to slash its estimated $7 billion debt load by 60 percent, its second debt restructuring in less than a year.

The talks by Education Media and Publishing Group Ltd come as textbook publishers face potential sales declines because state and local governments are limiting spending to cope with budget deficits linked to the weak economy.

Boston-based Houghton Mifflin specializes in textbooks for children from kindergarten to 12th grade. It also publishes Curious George books and the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, including "The Lord of the Rings." The company dates back to 1832.

Houghton Mifflin spokesman Josef Blumenfeld said the restructuring contemplates that equity investors in closely-held Education Media would see their interests "impaired," while retaining their interests in a separate entity, Education Media and Publishing Group International.

He said the restructuring should take place "in the coming weeks."

Speaking to a radio station in Dublin, Ireland, where Education Media has offices, Chairman Barry O'Callaghan on Thursday said equity investors have already seen their holdings tumble in value, and that his own paper losses are in the "hundreds of millions."

He nevertheless said the company would survive.

O'Callaghan is also Houghton Mifflin's chief executive, and a former Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN.VX) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N) banker. Blumenfeld confirmed O'Callaghan's comments. O'Callaghan was not immediately available for an interview.

On Wednesday, Education Media had said it was in "advanced discussions regarding a comprehensive, consensual balance sheet restructuring."

It said a "substantial majority" of its most important lenders had agreed to a framework for the plan, which may increase working capital by more than $600 million.

Education Media underwent a debt restructuring in August.

In 2006, O'Callaghan's Riverdeep agreed to buy Houghton Mifflin from private equity firms Bain Capital LLC, Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP [THL.UL] for $1.75 billion.

The combined company later bought Reed Elsevier NV's (ELSN.AS) Harcourt education business for roughly $4 billion.


http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1 ... 20100114?type=swissMktRpt

Posted on: 2010/1/17 14:41


Re: Tolkien Signatures on eBay???
Home away from home
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I think this is their website, although it seems to be down just at the moment -

http://www.georgebayntun.com/

If anyone is interested, their contact details are -

George Bayntun
Manvers Street
BATH Somerset BA1 1JW
tel: 01225 466000 fax: 01225 482122

Occasional perusals of their shelves and website have revealed some very nice stuff there (although little or no Tolkien), but at equally "nice" prices!

- wellinghall

Posted on: 2010/1/17 11:27



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