Ethics and Policies
I wish to raise a matter that I would like the moderators and members of this Forum to consider.
I have noted a recent increase in threads that are started in this Forum by people known to be dealers or sellers of keris.
These threads are presented as "for your appreciation", "for comments", "to share" etc, etc, type threads, but in fact are thinly disguised advertisements that seek a free appraisal.
Once the thread is up for comment those of us who are able to comment have, I believe, the obligation to comment, as if we do not, inaccurate comment by others could mislead prospective buyers, either positively, or negatively.
However, there is a distinct danger here also, as it is often very, very difficult to accurately appraise any keris from photos. If the appraisal given, either by a single person with knowledge, or by group concensus, is a positive one, it will be used in promotion of the item to be offered for sale. If it is a negative appraisal, the item in question will be reworked and then offered for sale without the appraisal.
In effect, to a large degree I believe that this Forum has become a master class for dealers , as well as an educational facility for students and collectors of the keris.
I personally do not believe that this usage of the Forum by dealers is to the long term benefit of collectors and students of the keris.
Because a dealer must sell his stock.
If an item of stock is identified as unacceptable the dealer will rework that piece to make it acceptable, or will direct it into an area where he knows his deception will not be recognised.
The unknowledgeable collector will be taken advantage of by the unethical dealer.
Ultimately all of us will suffer.
Some years ago I recall discussion in the main Forum, before the Warung was hived off. This discussion was to the effect that it was dangerous to make too much information publicly available as this then provided a work plan or road map for those who wished to deceive.
We already have a ban on providing valuations.
We have a ban on discussion of items up for auction.
I have some difficulty in coming to terms with the fact that we are prepared to provide appraisals of items that are being offered for sale, or will be offered for sale.
Some of you will know that as a hobby, I deal in keris and I regularly offer a catalogue of keris that I have for sale.
Would it be acceptable for me to publish photos " for comment" of the items that I will include in an upcoming catalogue?
I would suggest that such an action would be totally unacceptable, unethical, and in fact a misuse of this Forum.
At the moment I cannot suggest a remedy for what I see as misuse of this Forum by sellers, to obtain free advertising and appraisals, but I do think that our moderators should consider this question, and that any members with opinions should make those opinions known.
HEAR! HEAR! ...:)
Alan, I agree with you wholeheartedly!
On more than one occasion I have had words in an ad ring bells in my head... giving me a sense of deja vu. On checking my posts, I find my words had been 'lifted' verbatim. In some instances, my words were attributed to some other (loftier) entity.
Now you can understand my somewhat reluctance in being too forthcoming or elaborate.
(BTW... wrt another thread, I feel like I'm already part of IA:)... necessity has made me remember 'who's who' in the marketplace, be it eekPlay or others of its ilk... and the list keeps growing!:O)
What can I say? Value has a strong social component. For better or worse, it's also part of the story of a piece.
I would also suggest that it's inevitable that all of the keris that you now own will pass out of your hands, either because you sold them, gave them away as gifts, or ultimately, became part of your inheritance. Assuming none of them are destroyed, it is almost inevitable that anything you display on this site will eventually be sold, and their appearance on this site will be part of their provenance. It's unclear to me why it's totally unethical to display items that you hope to sell in the near future, but it's totally ethical to show them if you're not planning on selling them yet.
I'm also puzzled by why reworking is unethical too. If someone puts in some work to improve the quality of a keris (perhaps by dressing and staining it properly, fixing the fittings, and so forth), doesn't that increase its value? Obviously, fraud is possible in reworking, but that, too, can be uncovered on this site. For example, if someone sold me a piece with the pamor silk-screened on, I'd be happy to post a high resolution image of it, as an example of what to be careful of. Then again, I can be a little blunt.
Another way to look at it is to flip it: assume that there's a total ban on selling anything that's displayed on this site. Fewer items will be shown, and certainly some of the most avid collectors who regularly recycle their collections won't bother. Moreover, the items that do appear for sale will have little or no commentary. Is that a good thing? Not to me: I'd rather hear what everyone thinks. While it's not a perfect antidote to fraud, I suspect that multiple opinions do help people better evaluate what they're looking at.
Finally, I'd also gently suggest that one reason we may be seeing more sales is that there's a recession going on, and people's financial situations are changing quickly. Let's allow them to sell their collections if they must.
This is currently under discussion by the Moderators; new rules are being written .
In the meantime .......
I sincerely hope that most of us are able to recognise a covert offer for what it really is when they see one . :mad:
Until the new rules are in place we must trust in common sense and do our homework .
If a keris is brought up 'for comment' feel free to express doubts backed up by solid argument .
It goes against, and insults the whole concept of the Warung when someone appears here solely to peddle their wares .
Thank you for bringing this to the attention of the forum; you've saved me a bit of trouble and also provided me with a couple of new ideas . :)
Well Alan, i know that you know that we know this is going on. Frankly we moderators have been considering this question for years. This is not a new problem. Obviously there is only so much to be done about it. It is very difficult to prove the intentions of the forum member when a keris is presented for comment. And certainly not every keris presented for comment is with the intention of sale. But for anyone paying close attention it should become obvious after a time which keris are and who the dealers are on this forum and i would caution every member to think twice about buying any keris that is presented in this covert and deceptive manner. Why? Well simply because if the dealer finds the need to sell his "product" in this deceptive manner then he is obviously already trying to hide something. And we all know how easy it is to deceive with keris, especially when our only means of assessment is a few photographs on the internet. New blades are aged to look old, composite pieces are assembled designed to appeal to specific markets, fresh carved ivory is aged and patina is added. Even the experts can be fooled at times. What hope does the beginner have or even those with a moderate knowledge of the subject? But over the years many of us have found straight forward dealers who we know we can trust. Ones that don't play games like this. So my best suggestion is buy from people you know and trust.
I would seriously suggest that members here do not make any purchases of keris that are presented to them in this deceitful manner. If you receive offers of sale in PMs i would ask that you reject them and contact the moderators immediately. The chances that you will miss out on a great deal in doing so is practically next to nil. Also please don't be drawn to the bait. Sure it's looks pretty on the computer screen and you think you have to have it. Don't contact people who are presenting keris in this manner to enquire about sale. That is their game and exactly what they want you to do. Be advised not to fall for it.
How we answer the call for comment on these keris is just as difficult. Many of our membership are honestly seeking opinions of their own keris that they have no intention of offering for sale. But i do believe that the dealers are indeed becoming very obvious here. Perhaps we can just politely respond "nice keris" to these offerings and move on. If they are obviously composites with aged pieces this can perhaps be subtly suggested by the more knowledgeable among us without giving any suggestions about how to make the deception less noticeable. Of course ultimately the old adage applies; Let the buyer beware.
Fearn i think that perhaps you are missing the point here. Certainly many collectors at some point in time sell off parts of their collections, either because they are trading up, need a little disposable cash or have just become bored with a particular item. I see nothing wrong with that and if such is the case we have the swap forum in which to facilitate those transactions. But this is first and foremost a forum for collectors to discuss and learn from one another through the sharing of information and, if we choose, images of our various collections. It is not a marketplace.
The problem we are discussing here is not collectors who sell parts off their collections. It is dealers who become members here for the sole purpose of selling keris. You may not be fully aware of them since keris is not you main interest of collection, but it is very clear to those of us who spend most of our time on this side of the forum boards and who mainly collect keris.
As for reworking keris, the question at hand is indeed a matter of fraud. When a dealer presents a composite keris in the forum with the hopes of attracting a buyer and makes no effort whatsoever to inform members what parts are new, used, aged or whatever the object is indeed to deceive through the act of omission. Sometimes when pressed for info the dealer will even go so far as to suggest something like "well, i don't know, but people have told me the blade is 17th century" when it is clear to knowledgeable members that it is more likely a contemporary aged piece. Properly staining a keris is not what we are talking about here or even fixing fittings. That is restoration. But putting a newly carved (but aged to look old) ivory hilt on and old blade and trying to pass it off as an original old hilt is a deception. Adding new fittings on to an old sheath and trying to pass that sheath off as original is a deception. Calling someone out on such a deception, especially based solely of photos, is not always all that easy.
Bottom line, if you are a collector who needs some extra cash take it to the swap. Don't post it first on the main forum trying to lure buyers. If you posted it last year and are now trying to sell it that is another issue. It is not the kind of sales that we are discussing here at the moment.
Yes David, you have identified the problem exactly:-
what can be done?
none of us have a crystal ball so that we can identify with certainty the keris presented "for comment" that are destined to offered in the immediate future for sale.
yes, our members here can, to a degree, protect themselves by using a little bit of caution, but there are many keris collectors in the world who do not belong to, and who very seldom look at our discussions. A lot of these people are being regularly taken advantage of by unethical dealers. I know this with certainty because not one week would pass without contact from somebody seeking an opinion on something he has just purchased, or is considering purchase of from a dealer somewhere on the other side of the world. Sometimes the sales blurb that goes with the keris offered for sale includes comments taken from Forum discussions.
Fearn, I can understand your point of view. There can be no argument that the commercial aspects of collection, including keris collection, are important. With the keris we are dealing with something that is to many of us an investment vehicle, so maybe it is perfectly legitimate to discuss value and the things that determine that value.
But as I understand it, this was not one of the prime objectives of our Keris Warung Kopi when it was set up. I believe that we were trying to create a place for open discussion and encouragement of study of the keris. Once the mighty $$$$ gets a foothold, it tends to pollute everything else.
I will admit, my views of this whole matter are a little slanted.
I started to buy keris 50 odd years ago, and for 40 odd years I have been buying from Indonesian dealers.
The volume that I buy effectively makes me a part of the Indonesian keris trade.
I have an intimate knowledge of the way in which this trade works.
I also have an interest in goldfish.
I makes me feel very uncomfortable when I see goldfish swimming in the same pond with sharks.
Particularly when the goldfish cannot see the sharks.
However, I do think that this matter is one that we should all express an opinion on, if we have one.
Any more opinions out there?
I hope this does not affect those of us collectors who ask for comments, and then at a later date decide to change our minds and sell the piece. :confused:
I think David just clarified that issue, Battara.
Any more opinions out there?
Yes, but they have already been mentioned, however, in my simple mind we are not doing any present or future collector of Keris any favor's by the comment "nice piece" and leave it is that.
From what I have been able to see in past or present postings, the dealers (not the collector thinning out or making an effort to better a collection) are seeking approval and listing material for what they are about to list elsewhere. If we give them a nod and say "nice piece", that for them translate to a fine piece and will eventually be listed as such elsewhere.
Here my concern is for the beginning collector, who based on the listing will be buying a piece which may be an assembled piece not what it is advertised to be. In fact we should be aware of a potential future listing that include the phrase "as advertised in the Vikingsword Keris Forum" scary is it not.
I also concur, deal only with dealers that you trust, I also recognise the dealers are entitled to a cup of rice a day and they most likely do not see anything wrong in what they do, after all its just business as usual.
However, if we point out all faults as we see them, will the dealers keep coming back for more, perhaps not.
The simple solution would of cause be the dealers listing their pieces directly and strictly in the Swap Forum.
Just my opinion ;)
Some very valid points.
Some very valid points and well written by all.
Some idle rambling from me in no particular order to share some insight to my own personal intents for all to better understand. This insight may reflect true for other people out there too, some though are just focused on the cold hard commercial aspect of it all and have no emotional connection to what goes through their hands.
I by default fall in to the category of "dealer" though I use the term loosely and dislike the word as that is what I do as a hobby not a full time business. I have a great day job that keeps me very busy and a young family that also keep me very busy too.
I established the commercial side of things to share much of what I found when looking Chinese arms and to support my collecting interests in Chinese weaponry, also to keep it all separate from the family monetary commitments.
This interest has grown a little in to other fields such as select Indian, Borneo, Burmese and other SEA items including the Painted keris I recently posted.
I posted the nice keris as I like to share and like many others here I like to share some of the more unusual pieces people might not often get a chance to see like a Sosun Patta, The Sadap I have, the painted Bali Keris, the recent Kampalin etc. In time my tastes may spread further rather than the sole focus on Chinese arms that once was.
Besides my fields of interest I have helped many here enhance their collections too and always with gratitude between each other. On a face to face interpersonal relationship I have also given away pieces to special people in my life even though I might only see them once every five to ten years...these are just a few aspects of what I do and why I do it.
Spread it around is one belief I have, besides gifts I have also offered trade and or monies for others more learned in some subjects to better describe items for some vendors who come to me. Some are happy to help, others never reply, some lovely individuals help because we help each other and like to share too.
One cannot just take take take; it has to be shared around. Some do well know I have some pieces that I would never part with for love or money either, some I will never publish on the net as they are the focus of study that may with a little guidance turn in to an article.
As I expressed to a good friend in Europe the other day who is also a member here and also to Lee some time back, I only offer pieces from my own collections for discussion, no linking to a page with items for sale, no water mark advertising on images etc. I did once ask about then sell a piece on the forum as it came in a group lot and curiosity got the better of me but I knew the bad taste it left in some people’s mouths and being a member of the community I will never do that again.
Sure one can never guarantee taste will never change and things won’t be sold on, that needs to be considered a given in today’s economic climate and trading up as mentioned above is another reason but for me it would only be a last resort to cater for a family disaster or similar.
I will enjoy reading further about this subject.
Thanks for the clarification, David and Alan.
To a large degree I agree with your points, particularly that this is a discussion forum, and it (rightfully) annoys people to be used as part of what can be properly called a "social marketing" campaign to increase the value of a keris offered elsewhere.
Likewise, I agree that fraudulent reworking is reprehensible, as I implied in my last post.
We do, however, want to make sure that the solutions to these problems aren't worse than the problems. Banning all trade in discussed keris, for example, will move the trade elsewhere, where we cannot moderate it, and likewise it will make it difficult for someone who wants to offer a keris to a group of people who will provide it a good home.
One thing that would be useful, perhaps, is a sticky of what we mean by "nice keris." That would help with any non-expert who thinks that nice is a technical designation.
Yes Fearn, I agree that this is a difficult matter to address.
Its not just the marketing aspect of this issue, but the appraisals and opinions, either from a single knowledgeable individual, or from a group of people.
Going back a long time, maybe 6 or 7 years, an opinion I gave of a keris buda was edited and then used by the seller to extract a very high price from an unknowledgeable person. The editing consisted of removing my caveats. As it turned out the buyer bought a recent production that had been very artfully aged. It was something that could correctly be called a forgery, and this is a term I am very, very careful with in respect of keris.I forget if my opinion was given on this Forum, or whether I might have given it somewhere else, but I remember very clearly the result.
I think David has probably shown the way to address this situation, and if his guidelines are followed perhaps we will see an end to this objectionable practice of dealers obtaining opinions and appraisals and then using those in their sales pitch.
David's suggestion of a "nice keris" comment I read as a throwaway line --- just a meaningless comment that carries no weight at all. However, I do agree with both you and Naga Sastra that "nice keris" could easily become "highly commended by the knowledgeable members of Keris Warung Kopi". Maybe where there is a suspicion that something less than legitimate is happening, complete silence might be the answer.
Your suggestion of a definition for a "nice keris" is something that is absolutely impossible to provide.
There is a classic thread somewhere about what a "good keris" is. It went on forever, attracted an impossible number of posts, and eventually reached no conclusion.
The keris is totally unlike any other edged weapon and formulating standards so that we can say that something is either wonderful or worthless is way beyond my ability.
It is not at all difficult to appraise each individual component of a keris, but to provide the information to do this in a canned format is again not possible. There is simply far too great a body of knowledge required to put it all down on paper as a guide.
Perhaps the answer is to trust in the wisdom and vigilance of our moderators.
The core of this problem is money as it is ultimately money that is the driving force behind dealers wanting appraisals and commentary for purposes of advancing their sales. Thus what we are dealing with here is basically sales promotion or the preparation for a such activity. As long as there is need for promoting sales in the pool of dealers there will be splashes that reach the shores of this forum also, thus this thread. Rules cannot stop attempts - they will just become better disguised and thus enforcing the rules will become an ever harder and more time consuming process for the moderators which, of course, is not wanted.
Thus the solution is simple also: money.
I propose that those in command of the forum with sufficient expertise provide a "valuation" service for the dealers who want to have commentary on their stock. This service will cost the dealer just like any outsourcing does. The forum can use that income to either develop the forum, to put together a sort of a beginners-guide-to-kerisology-booklet that can be either ordered for a moderate cost as a PDF. Or, it can be uploaded freely. I am not saying that the forum should start making money, I am merely saying that there appears to be demand for something that is not yet fulfilled and as long as that demand is out there there will be masked attempts here also.
Vacuums do not stay vacuums for long in the nature.
At some point, someone will start this kind of a service as the demand is increasing. I personally think that the best solution for all would be to satisfy this demand for appraisals on a transparent way thus getting rid of all the negative implications that follow from the apparent "masked sales promotion" and preparation for such.
Maybe this is contrary to the nature of the forum. Then again it is arguable whether this kind of a service would be contrary to the interests this forum was based to service.
If something is unwanted but we "cannot get rid of it", why could we not rephrase the question to "how it can be made acceptable"?
Just thinking aloud.
PS. If this idea is not shot down immediately I also have a plan on how to execute it on a manner that does not mean excessive work nor is contrary to the ideals of the forum.
Jussi, I'm going to ramble a bit here, so I would ask you to be patient with me.
In my misspent youth I had some sort of a distorted idea that one day I'd get selected in an Olympic Games team.
I was a fanatic cyclist. This fanaticism lasted a bit longer than my youth, but what I'm going to say here is relevant to that long ago time, so I'll just concentrate on that period.
At that time the Olympic Games was about equivalent to a Holy Crusade for amateur athletes. Runners, swimmers, wrestlers, cyclists, everybody who had an ounce of ambition and was an amateur sportsman had his --- or her --- eyes firmly fixed on the chance of a gold medal. If it wasn't going be a medal, well, selection in a Games team was almost as good. Just being there meant that you'd made it.
In those days Olympic athletes were all very much younger than they are today. You tended to think in terms of the Games by 22, and if you were a cyclist, you then went to Europe, rode as an independent for a couple of years, got into a professional team, and hey presto Jacques Anquetil's your uncle.
Well, that was the dream. Virtually nobody from the Land of Oz realised that dream back in the 1950's.
But we tried.
In those long ago days amateurs were amateurs.
Cyclists who wanted to ride the national selection races were told that if they took more than two weeks off work to train in the month preceeding the test races that they would automatically be disqualified. This was considered to be a professional action, and not in the spirit of amateur sport.
An Australian road champion who was selected to represent was thrown out of the Games team because it was discovered that as a 12 year old he had raced for sweepstakes with his mates around the houses where he lived. He appealed this dismissal and was grudgingly allowed back into the team.
But anyway, that was the spirit of the times. At least it was in Oz, and a few other countries.
The Eastern Block countries, notably East Germany can be credited with putting a stop to amateurism as we knew it then.When the blokes in white hats found that they were consistently getting beaten by the blokes in black hats, and those blokes in black hats were getting well paid to do the job, the white hats were taken off and thrown out the window, and amateur sportsmen were re-evaluated as political weapons. The Olympic Games became a battle ground of nations, rather than a shrine to the ideals of brotherly competition. Members of national teams became employees of the state, and were permitted to maximise monetary return for their sporting skills, subject to a few rules being followed.
This state of affairs reached its natural conclusion a few years ago when the Olympic Games, that shrine of purity to the human spirit was opened to professional sportsmen.
The Games are no longer about the striving of the individual, but are now a fully blown political battleground with the warriors supported by national budgets.
The Olympic Games are now unabashedly about power, money and political prestige --- not necessarily in that order.
Well, I guess this reflects the dominant attitude of almost everybody today. Its probably a natural outgrowth of the outdated system of continual economic growth and expansion that we all contribute to in one way or another.
I reckon the Baron must be spinning in his grave.
But I'm a bit of a dinosaur.
I add up with a pencil and paper; I shave with a straight razor; I split wood with an axe, and I use a bow saw, not a chain saw.
I also have an irrational yearning for the days when money was not equated to God, and people did things for other people simply because it made them feel good.
And that brings me to my point.
If somebody asks me for assistance, and I can give that assistance, I will give it.
As far as keris go I've given probably hundreds of free appraisals and opinions, and I've enjoyed doing it. Its something I do have a little bit of skill in, and I don't mind sharing that skill.
There is no way I could ever be a part of a cash-for-service arrangement involving keris appraisal.
However, that said --- and it took me long enough to say it --- I do not want to see this keris discussion group tainted with any of the commercial aspects of keris collecting. The primary reason I am here at all is to try to assist others in the study of the keris and its culture. In my opinion any part of the commercial aspect of keris collecting has no place at all here. There are plenty of other places for that.
In some respects I have never moved out of the 1950's. I like the idea of fellowship for the sake of fellowship, not fellowship for the sake of money. Its the old amateur ideals that I just can't get rid of.
Now I'll make a recommendation that could change your life:- sit down and watch the movie "Chariots of Fire".
Gotta love it when we're separated by a common language.
So far as I know, "nice keris" is a compliment, and it tends to be given more to long timers than to newbies. The sticky I had in mind was an explanation that "nice keris" has absolutely nothing to do with the value of the keris, as a caveat emptor.
I cannot but to agree with the ideals you present - as you know already - but that is not the question, the question is, and I quote myself:
The question then is whether we can accept commercialism on this site in any form or can we not. If the answer is that we cannot accept it then the solution is simple - everybody should act as you. - Those pieces that will be put onto the market cannot be shown nor talked in public on this forum. All attempts should be shot down as the there cannot be a blurry line of what is and what is not acceptable.
This means that the principle that this forum is all about the gathering and transfer of keris related knowledge is to be enforced ruthlessly. What I cannot see possible is to have a some sort of a middle ground. - It just does not work like that. Commercialism then either has to be banned completely or freed completely and let the public decide what is and is not acceptable. Everything in between is doomed to fail.
The question basically is then what is the reason for the forums existence?
When that is outlined on a clear and concise manner the rest is easy. There is no way that all opinions could be addressed satisfactorily as our motives for being here differ. A forum has to be something for somebody. It cannot be everything for everybody. The wider the audience wanted, the looser the rules have to be. The tighter the grip the smaller the audience that accepts such a firm control.
I think it would be best to address what is the reason for this forums existence and then make decisions based on that regarding the acceptance or banning of commercial elements.
I have nothing to add except reinstating that in my opinion there can be no middle ground. - Commercial elements are either OK´d 100% or banned 100%. Anything in between is doomed to fail as drawing the line would be extremely difficult and lead to complications on what it is and what is not OK .
I take it that you all have read the pertinent posts in the Swap Forum rules .
These apply to outside the forum sales also .
I rarely comment on this but I do make the rules in the Warung . :D
That having been said here are a few ideas and comments :
If any one of our members sees even a third hand quote from here used to sell a keris or any other weapon in any venue (even PM or email) without the express consent of the commenting member, members, or mentions the Warung in a sales pitch, that seller if a member here will be permamently banned .
Please notify the Moderators via PM ; be specific; have proof .
I would like to float an idea here ; how about a 30 day time limit before a keris discussed here in the Warung may be offered for sale in Swap ?
I would also suggest that those who endlessly offer these 'discussion' keris without taking any other part in the Warung should have their motives closely examined by the Staff .
If it is found that a member is posting keris in the Warung ONLY to sell then they will be banned .
We will not be used as a sales catalogue; ever .
Bottom line; if you are here only to sell keris put them in Swap; not here !
Comments would be greatly appreciated . :)
Jussi, commercial elements have always been banned from these forums, with the exception, of course, of the Swap Forum where commerce is permitted. It is plain and simple, cut and dry and has always been the way we work things here.
Like Alan, i am here to share knowledge and learn from others. What i know (or think i know) i am always willing to quite freely share. What i do not know i am always willing to listen to and learn. This is the mission, i believe, of this forum, to freely exchange thoughts and knowledge about keris and the culture of keris. I personally have no intention, desire or inclination to ever run an appraisal-for-hire aspect of this site and i seriously doubt that any other knowledgeable members will be interested in such a undertaking either. Besides all of the afore mentioned reasons why there is also the extremely practical one that you simply cannot give a truly accurate appraisal of a keris without examining the item firsthand. Photos are just not good enough to make definitive judgments of certain aspects of keris. If someone else wants to try to set up an internet site that provides this service then i say more power to them. I would personally take any assessment coming from such a site with one huge grain of salt.
I also must point out that the goal of this forum is not necessarily to fill the needs of the lowest common denominator of keris collectors in order to gain the largest membership possible. It is the free exchange of thoughts, ideas and knowledge of keris and keris culture between collectors of a like interest. It is to grow our understanding of the keris and the culture that supports it so that we might better grasp it's place in that society and in human history and to discuss what is happening in the world of crafting high-end art keris in present day. I do not see this as a place to appraise monetary value of keris, which in and of itself is both a tricky and highly subjective thing. So if you are a dealer whose sole purpose for being a member here is to present keris that are intended for sale then you are indeed in the wrong place. This does not mean that members who also sell keris are not welcome here. We have many who are regular, productive contributors who have never attempted to present keris for sale on this forum. And there are a few who have never even used the Swap Forum to sell an item other than to post a link to their sales site. They understand the purpose of this forum and show great respect for it and i think that in doing so they have also shown their high level of integrity and honesty as dealers, a very valuable commodity in my book. For some reason i trust a dealer more who isn't always trying to push their items on me like a sneaky used car salesman.
Rick has presented 3 additional guidelines to address this issue which i fully support. I would also add that if you do try to sell something in Swap after the 30 day waiting period that it should be clear that you can in no way, shape or form provide a link in your sales thread to the previous discussion on the forum. In other words, you cannot use the comments of other forum members to promote the sale of your keris unless you receive express permission from every single person who participated in that thread.
If you ask for open discussion and opinions why don´t you welcome them?
Do we want it or not, most people here are more or less continuously on the look out for new additions to their collections. It would be for the benefit of the unexperienced collector to have some sort of reference that the new addition that he is considering is not a lemon but as a worthy an addition as can be judged from two dimensional pictures on the www.
Yes, for granted a wise collector buys the seller but given the nature of the keris it is many a times that even the most honest of sellers is selling something that he think is X only to find out (if it is found out) later that it actually was Y or Z. - Not all vendors have the grade and understanding of, say Mr. Maisey´s.
If I am buying a new addition to my watch collection and I am not 100% sure of what I am dealing with never mind who the seller, I will post pictures on the forums and ask for the opinion of the more seasoned collectors who are experts on the model in question.
Yes. Watches are nothing like the keris for a myriad of reasons, but the risks in acquiring them on the internet are not very different from each other.
Why cannot a collector ask for the opinion of a more seasoned collector outside the forum, well, of course there is nothing to stop him or her for doing that. Is it not how ever natural to ask something of this nature on the forum dedicated for the items in question?
I understand that opening the door for something like this might bring along unwanted side effects. It might however also ignite the motivation for the beginning collectors to seek for a deeper understanding that is the norm of most postings.
If we want this place to be a completely free zone of all having to do with commerce that is more than OK for me. I just voiced an alternative possibility, no biggie.
Hi David and Rick,
I think #1 and #2 and well-intentioned, and may well turn out to be draconian and unenforceable.
As all of you know, I'm not a seller or a much of a collector, so I'll use myself as an example: Suppose I post new something here, and ask where it's from. Someone says, "Nice keris. I think it's from Bali."
A week later, my fiancee finds out I bought it, and hits the roof, saying that we'd agreed to spend money on the house first, not on toys, and we don't have room for it anyway (this happens to be mostly true). I decide to sell it on eBay. "For sale, nice keris, probably from Bali. Starting bid US$40."
I will be banned if I didn't get permission to quote whoever it was.
Or I can lie and say it's an excellent keris from Java, US$200, and be okay???
And how does me having permission work, anyway? I have to email the moderator before I put up the item for sale? Or do I get banned first, and then have to defend myself by forwarding emails and hoping you believe that I didn't just write them myself?
At the very least, I would suggest putting in the rules something about the moderators having sole discretion about what to do to offenders. I would be happier if there was a procedure in place for dealing with potential offenders too, but that is a lot of work.
We can only try to control what happens in this forum and what happens to content use concerning this forum . :)
You would not be banned .
If you placed your hypothetical keris on ebay no one would ban you .
If you wanted to use forum comments the rules apply ; you must first get permission .
In the case of a simple 'nice Bali keris' no problems . :)
If you were to post a link to the ebay auction in Swap before the 30 days were over I'd feel concern .
I edited my comment while you were writing. Probably your post won't change, but check. Sorry about the cross-post, and feel free to delete this comment if you want.
Jussi all opinions are most certainly welcome. I did not making my reply post to stop the discussion. But you seem to be under the impression that the purpose of this forum and it's stance on commercial elements have not been clearly and concisely outlined already. My response to you is that we have always been clear about it. You are certainly welcome to suggest that we change the way we deal with this subject. That doesn't mean that you will find me in agreement.
And here is the problem with this, or at least one of them. No one here has any official credentials authorizing them to make appraisals of keris. From photo even someone as well versed as Mr. Maisey can, if pressed, make a judgment in error. So let's say you see a keris for sale somewhere and you want to know if it's the real deal. You post photos on this forum and either Mr. Maisey or someone else whose opinion you trust makes a public statement that the keris in question looks off for one reason or another and based on this information you then choose not to make the purchase. But perhaps they are in error and the seller, who can clearly monitor this forum sees this assessment. He then has a legal case with this forum for interfering with the sale of his keris and possibly slandering his reputation as a dealer. This is a liability that we just can't have on this forum.
It may seem natural for you to ask for such an assessment on the forum, but asking a member you trust privately, either by email or PM is the proper way to deal with this question. As Alan has already stated, he has done this countless times when asked. What i am sure he does not want to do is to make a public pronouncement on a keris that possibly opens him up to legal action by the potential seller.
I don´t see any point in continuing this talk this anymore really? :confused:
It is fruitless to try argument contra something that is cemented law.
hmmm....Daconian....perhaps, unenforcable, certainly not.
I don't think you are completely understanding what Rick has suggested here. #1 is, of course, dependent upon the vigilance and cooperation of all our members. If you see someone using a quote you or someone else wrote on a thread to support the sale of their keris send us the prove of it. I know that i would not be happy if someone were using my assessment, given in the spirit of helping a collector better understand what his keris is, used as a sales pitch further down the line. Would you? :shrug:
The 30 day sales ban that Rick was suggesting was if you want to place the keris in our Swap Forum. We are not about to police the entire internet. It is not our place or intention. But as Rick stated, if you put it on eBay before the 30 days, don't post a link to the auction in the Swap Forum.
Well first off Fearn, we probably wouldn't know that you quoted someone without permission unless that person first complained to us. You get permission by asking for it, i would say probably through PM. If you want to play it safe i would save your PMs just in case someone who said yes at some point has a change of heart, but that seems like an unlikely scenerio.
Moderator's discretion has always been in practice here, Fearn . :)
I would like to float an idea here ; how about a 30 day time limit before a keris discussed here in the Warung may be offered for sale in Swap ?
I agree with you, Alan and David complete that posting keris for comments only by the reason to sell it isn't acceptable and that you and David have to find rules to anticipate this.
But with this 30 day rule I have my problems. I have bought not long ago a sword from Africa but I thought it's from Indonesia but I haven't be sure by this and give it to discussion. After it have been clear that it don't fit in my collection since I only collect Indonesian/Philippines I moved it direct to the swap forum for selling or swap. I don't have seen any bad by this.
I also sell things in e-bay but I am not a dealer, I thin out my collection when I want to buy something better or something I don't have and I have to do like this because I am not a rich man.
Hi Sajen, what we are discussing here is *only* for the Warung and the sale of keris . :)
30 days does not apply to the other forums (nor here for that matter yet). :)
The posting rules in Swap are there to read . :)
Fair enough. I definitely prefer to have policies spelled out a little more.
Quite a bit of discussion going on here.
I did not know my "Dha thread" and sale on the swap had so much effect ;) :p (just kidding)
But seriously, It is quite clear why this thread started.
There are on occasion new members who only start threads for apprasion and than put them in the swap forum shortly after.
I have seen them come, but also see them go...
Maybe you could implement some system where you have to be an active member for a certain time before you are allowed to post items in the swap ?
These seekers of fortune probably won't have time and energy to actively join his forum without generating sales.
I really like the way this discussion has developed.
It's not quite the way I thought it might run when I started the thread, and I am a little disappointed that more people have not let us hear their opinions, but the opinions that have been given I personally, value.
I'm sorry for my misunderstanding of your intent in respect of David's "nice keris" comment.
I understood David's comment in one way, you understood it in another.
It can be quite difficult to transfer meaning and intent clearly and concisely in writing, not infrequently we miss a message that in face to face conversation would be very clear. For this reason I feel that a few extra words at the outset can avoid the need for additional words later. I'd be the first to admit that I tend to overdo this approach a little, but it is much easier and faster to write than it is to think.
I believe it was Mark Twain who apologised to friend :- " I'm sorry for writing such a long letter, but I didn't have time to write a short one."
The points you have made have merit, but I do think that David and Rick have provided the answers that will address the concerns that some of us have in respect of misuse of this Forum.
Yes, you've identified the exact question that needs clarification:-
"The question basically is then what is the reason for the forums existence?"
I think that Rick and David have now provided this clarification, and its pretty much as I understand it myself.
But you have raised a question that I would like to comment on a little further, and that is the place of appraisal and valuation in this forum.
Appraisal has two meanings. It can mean to assess quality, or it can mean to assess value. In the case of an assessment of quality that is one of the reasons for the existence of this forum.
It is often a bit difficult to assess quality of a keris from photos, and speaking for myself, I often find that when I look at photos of a keris I am filling in details that are not clear from the photos , by reference to my knowledge of that type of keris or workmanship. This is a very defective way of giving an appraisal, but its the best we can do from photos, and I will usually add the caveat of " based upon what I think I can see in these photos".
But when we come to the assessment of value, the difficulties multiply many, many times.
Value is directly related to the price that is placed upon an object. It doesn't mean precisely the same thing as price, but when you get right down to it an appraisal of value is an answer to the question :-
"how much should I pay ( or ask) for this object?"
This answer depends upon a multitude of factors which can be split into specific segments, for example:- rareity, state of preservation, age, type, quality of workmanship, present geographical location, market bouyancy---etc, etc, etc.
In respect of a keris many of the factors within the segments relating to the physical qualities of a keris can only be adequately addressed if we have the keris in hand. An error made in assessment of age or origin of any component part of a keris could have a massive impact upon the value, and thus the price that can be reasonably paid for the keris. This might not matter much when we are talking about keris that are worth only a few hundred dollars, but when we start to look at higher level pieces an error in appraisal can result in a considerable loss to the seller (or buyer).
Geographic location of a keris is another important factor in affixing an estimate of a reasonable price.
Lets say I see an absolutely wonderful piece advertised by a UK dealer. As a collector I want that piece, and because of where it is I know that I cannot bargain for the same price as I would if I were in a street market in Indonesia. So I am prepared to pay what I consider to be a reasonable price from a UK dealer. This would be a totally unreasonable price in almost any other place on the planet, but because of where it is I need to adapt my standards, depending on how much I want it.
So if somebody asks how much something is worth, it really comes down to how much the buyer is prepared to pay, and that will vary according to circumstances, one of the circumstances being the location of the object.
As an extreme example of the application of this philosophy to collecting, I know one collector of keris and other weaponry who only buys from Ebay. He's got a massive collection. He uses sniping software and puts in an extremely low bid on everything that takes his fancy. Most of his bids fail, but when he wins he buys very, very cheap. I won't comment on the quality of his collection, but it is very, very big. And the thing is this:- this man has never paid a single penny more than he was prepared to pay for any item in his collection.
So, for me, appraisal of value, when that appraisal is based on photos, and most particularly when the appraisal is published for all the world to see is something that I simply would not do. It could damage my reputation immeasurably. But giving opinions to friends by private email is a completely different matter.
Re your proposals:-
2)--- agree in principle, but I would prefer a longer wait period, perhaps 3 months
I believe that your comments should have clarified any question as to the purpose of this Keris Warung Kopi, and I cannot disagree with anything that you have said.
I think we might be getting somewhere with this matter. Maybe it has already been settled, but before we set anything in concrete, could we wait a little while to give others who may have a point to make a chance to provide their opinions?
Absolutely , I would like to hear from everyone .
About point one:
my thought is, if there are unethical dealers, there must be also unethical buyers. There is a saying: every human has his price, and these prices are different.
Other thing is, to be a policeman is not good for every character (even to be a teacher is not good for every character).
About point two:
Since Alan has experience with this subject, keris dealing, so I think his proposal (three months) is to be taken in earnest. It is a big difference.
(For me it is clear, there absolutely cannot be discussions about direct material value or appraisals. )
Of course not Detlef, that is because you haven't done anything bad. There is currently no rule in place that says this is so. Rick simply put this idea out and asked for comments so we are discussing it. So your action was completely innocent. Unfortunately others members regularly do this as a method to sell their keris forcing us to consider this new rule. If there was such a rule in place you just wouldn't be able to post about your sale on the Swap Forum for 30 days. This would not keep you from selling it anyplace else, just on the forum site where you had just had an indepth thread with comments about the keris. I don't think that is all that unreasonable a request. After 30 days you are free to put it up in Swap if you haven't already sold it in one of the many other venues you could have sold it through in the meantime.
That is a good idea Willem, in fact it is one that has already been in discussion among the moderators group and has not been dismissed AFAIK.
Asomotif, I really do like that "active member" suggestion.
The swap facility in this site is something very valuable for non-dealers, as I see it. In fact, I don't like the idea of anybody who is a dealer on any level being involved in it at all.
A while back I gave lengthy consideration to using this swap facility myself, but I decided that for me as an experienced dealer to contribute to the forum discussions, and at the same time offer things in the Swap Forum was much too close to being a conflict of interest situation, thus I have never placed any articles for sale in that Forum, and I think only once did I place a link there to my site.
I would like to see the Swap Forum kept solely for the use of collectors, and those of us who are dealers on any level, either a hobby dealer as in my case, or a full-time professional dealer as in some other cases, stay out of it, and let the pure collectors trade between themselves.
The "active member" rule might not be exactly what I would like, but it would go a long way towards cleaning up the content of the Swap Forum.
As for your proposal's my comments go as follow:
2. Agree but would also like to see a 90 day period
As for the just added proposal "active member" I realize the good it would do, I am however concerned with my own status. Please define active?
this. but make it 90 days per gustav
this should apply to other areas as well...
Even for a seldom traveller on this side of the fence, this certainly sounds reasonable and yes, per concensus 90 days sounds better.
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