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Kite Land Talk => Website Discussion => Topic started by: chilese on June 24, 2010, 11:47 AM



Title: AKA RIP?
Post by: chilese on June 24, 2010, 11:47 AM
Got the email from the AKA.

After all the nice stuff came a plea for donations.

I made a donation, but wondered in this recession business burying time we're in, what would happen if the AKA went away.....

No National Convention
No insurance for competition events
No magazine with articles and photos
No.........?

I know many of you are AKA members (as am I) and many of you are thinking, "Who cares? I didn't get into kiting to join a fraternity anyway."

As Carly Simon Joni Mitchell sang, "You don't know what you've got till it's gone."

I have quoted Mr. Graziano before,
"The internet will be the death of kiting."
Or words to that effect.  ::)


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: DWayne on June 24, 2010, 11:58 AM
Or as Bob Dylan sang, "the times they are a changin'."
Only time will tell if its for the better or the worse.

Denny


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: RonG on June 24, 2010, 12:56 PM
I have quoted Mr. Graziano before,
"The internet will be the death of kiting."
Or words to that effect.  ::)

The death of *organized* kiting anyway.  I think when I first made that observation, it was in regards to why festivals and (as a result) competitions were disappearing.  My feeling was that the rapid development of "online kiting" was at least partially responsible.  I was lamenting that new fliers could buy kites, watch instructional and entertainment videos, and get all their "social kiting" online and thus had little need or incentive to travel to organized events.

I probably first said that nearly 10 years ago, and IMO the process has continued unabated.


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: johnfarl on June 24, 2010, 01:01 PM
Have to disagree with Ron.  The reason I got more involved was the internet and forums.  Not may kiters around here so this forum and a couple of others gave me a chance to become part of the community and travel to about 6 festivals a year.

John


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: Bob D on June 24, 2010, 01:04 PM
If I hadn't discovered GWTW I never would have known there WAS a kite community. I flew alone for many years and didn't know where there WERE people who knew something about kiting. I'm glad for the internet because it opened my eyes to a lot more than I ever would have known about in isolation. Besides, family responsibilities makes travelling to events mostly impractical anyways.



Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: RonG on June 24, 2010, 01:25 PM
Have to disagree with Ron.  The reason I got more involved was the internet and forums.  Not may kiters around here so this forum and a couple of others gave me a chance to become part of the community and travel to about 6 festivals a year.

Well.....that's one.

I never said it applied to everyone, just that it was a trend I observed.  I think it was more apparent back in the days when both festivals and these forums were considerably more active.


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: 711jrp on June 24, 2010, 01:39 PM
That may be the case in your part of the world, probably due somewhat to the cost of travel as most of you have to do allot of it.Over here it seems to be just the opposite pole,our get togethers at festivals are getting larger each year due to the forum chat that proceeds most fests.


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: kiteking on June 24, 2010, 02:11 PM
I'm confused (again that's not hard to due), is this thread about the online kite community or about keeping the AKA alive? Should the online folks support the AKA? Would there be a kiting community if Bob Ingraham had kept his passion to himself?  I personally think the AKA is the backbone of the sport, the home team if you will.

I've never competed, never attended a convention, but have been a member for 30 some years

Donation sent

It is a tax write off ya-know


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: randyg on June 24, 2010, 02:13 PM
That may be the case in your part of the world, probably due somewhat to the cost of travel as most of you have to do allot of it.Over here it seems to be just the opposite pole,our get togethers at festivals are getting larger each year due to the forum chat that proceeds most fests.
This is where someone should superimpose a map of Great Britian over one of the US. Sorry, I don't possess those skills. ;) But you are correct. Our geography might wind up being the single biggest reason kiting is on it's death bed over here. Second only to the economy. I, and a bunch of others, can no longer afford to travel the distances and drop the cash to attend festivals. Heck, I'm having a hard enough time just keeping food on the table at this point.

I've always felt Ron was fairly accurate with his statement though I cringe when I hear it, partly due to that whole instructional video thing. But, were it not for the internet a number of us wouldn't have stuck around more than a couple of years. It gets old doing this stuff by one's self and 90% of my flying time has been completely alone. The closest flyer to me that can trick a sportkite seriously is over two hours away. The internet, and more specifically GWTW made the lonely existence of this sportkite flyer somehow more bearable.

I hope the AKA can continue to exist in some form but these days I've got bigger things to worry about. Anybody want to buy a clapped out Nirvana for cheap.  :D


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: DGomberg on June 24, 2010, 02:30 PM
To thrive or even survive, the AKA needs to evolve. No one disputes that. The hard part is building a consensus on what to do.

But before you can change, you need to stabilize.

What I find interesting is that half the posters in this thread mentioned festivals -- whether they support the Association or not. And to fly together in any fashion that sets aside marked space, the fact is that we need insurance. Most venues require $2 million. And that's what AKA offers sanctioned events.

Stand-alone policies are too friggin expensive for small events or clubs to purchase. The group policy remains essential to any kind of collective (I won't use the word "organized") kiting.

Unless we want to fly kites on our IPod applications instead of occasionally on a field with friends, we need the AKA.

dg


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: Sherman Myers on June 24, 2010, 04:43 PM
I will support the AKA. Will get the check in the mail tonight.



Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: normofthenorth on June 24, 2010, 05:23 PM
Randy, the fact that Britain is smaller than the US isn't relevant, IMHO. The density -- like number of people per 1000 sq. miles -- should be relevant. But if you split up the US into a bunch of smaller countries, they might all be smaller than the UK, and it wouldn't make it one iota easier to get a crowd out to a kite festival!

Meanwhile, the US was small enough -- or the number of Americans per 1000 sq. miles was high enough -- to send crowds to kite festivals 20 years ago. And neither of those measures has changed for the worse since. I think there's just lots more competition now for time, leisure time, hobby time and money, etc., etc.

If you like steering stuff around in the sky, and you couldn't afford a real airplane, you used to have a choice between model airplanes and stunt kites. Now there's a bewildering array of flying things, some of them silly cheap, and then there are games and apps that scratch similar itches. (I've attended a couple of HUGE model airplane festivals over the years. Do they still gather in huge numbers, and compete in 10s of different categories, or has that age passed, too?)

I think Ron's "The Internet will be the death of kiting" may be true as much because most of us have "lost" a few hours a day to the Internet, than because of the influence of Internet sites that relate to kites.

Chilese, Carly may have sung it, but Joni Mitchell wrote it!


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: chilese on June 24, 2010, 05:37 PM
Thanks Norm, my old age is showing.

You are correct. Joni should be credited. I'll update my post.  :)


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: fidelio on June 24, 2010, 11:42 PM
as a freestyle flyer, in the term i was a member, i didn't find the aka had anything to offer.

so to answer your question John;
what would happen if the AKA went away.... No? problem.


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: tpatter on June 25, 2010, 12:07 AM
Some things are bigger than ourselves - they stand for ideas that we believe in. 

Democracy, freedom, education, motor cycle clubs, feed kitchens, the list goes on and on.  People get involved in these things at a  basic level because they think these organizations improve society in some way - that they have value in what they represent.  The people that hold it together have to work in order to do so.

So I say, "Ask not what the AKA  can do for you, ask what YOU can do for the AKA!" 

-Tom


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: fidelio on June 25, 2010, 12:22 AM
i have donor fatigue.

it's my opinion spending $40 at my local kite shop, or here with steve, does more good for the industry than handing it to the aka. if i give it to them, they might make $4, it i give it to the aka it'll cost them $4.


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: zippy8 on June 25, 2010, 01:08 AM
Some things are bigger than ourselves - they stand for ideas that we believe in. 

Democracy, freedom, education, motor cycle clubs, feed kitchens, the list goes on and on.

Socialism ?  ;)

Especially at the moment any organisation asking for your money needs to demonstrate some personal, tangible benefit to the donor. The AKA should be able to do this with their newsletter and 10% discount at "merchant members". If that isn't enough, even for the Lone Wolf Freestyler, then it's hard to imagine what else could be. How about a 10% score increase in the next round of VF (http://virtualfreestyle.net/) ?  ;D

Mike.


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: chilese on June 25, 2010, 01:30 AM
I think I need about 50% to have a fighting chance Mike, but thanks for the offer.  ;D


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: RobB on June 25, 2010, 02:07 AM
I joined AKA for the Kiting magazine, only to find that it's 80% political garbage of the inner workings of the club. I want to read about the festivals that are too far away for me to travel, and what other members are doing with their kites. I continue to send my membership dues every year because it seems like the right thing to do. I'm part of the kiting community, so I should help to support it. But does the AKA represent the kiting community, or should I send my AKA dues here, and support what really keeps the kiting community together ?
~Rob.


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: DWayne on June 25, 2010, 05:28 AM
When I started flying sport kites I perused the AKA magazine, visited their web site & forum, and talked to a few of their officers. In the end I didn't see any reason to support them. Their demise is their own doing as far as I can tell.
I agree with Rob, I think I've gotten much more benefit from being a member of this forum than I can imagine I would have ever gotten from being an AKA member.

Denny


Maybe Steve should be running the AKA


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: RonG on June 25, 2010, 06:22 AM
I find it supremely ironic that a lively discussion of the AKA's future viability is going strong here, but not on AKA's KiteTalk forum (and everyone who's a member there saw Barbara's July report too).  Few discussions there (other than political infighting) generate much interest, and most die on the vine.  I pity the poor saps who post there looking for sport kite help.  Sometimes I do the kind thing and direct them here...sometimes not.



Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: mikenchico on June 25, 2010, 06:46 AM
...what would happen if the AKA went away.... No? problem.

See David Gombergs post above

... the fact is that we need insurance. Most venues require $2 million. And that's what AKA offers sanctioned events.

Stand-alone policies are too friggin expensive for small events or clubs to purchase. The group policy remains essential to any kind of collective (I won't use the word "organized") kiting.

Unless we want to fly kites on our IPod applications instead of occasionally on a field with friends, we need the AKA.

dg

That insurance used to cover any member at any time while flying a kite, if you went to your local park and somebody happened into your flying space that you didn't notice and managed to hurt them in some way you were covered, if you kite got away and caused damage you were covered, that ended up being dropped years ago when the cost went above the membership dues but the cost of insurance for any event without the AKA option would keep some of the few events left from happening.

I would like to see the letter the AKA sent out asking for donations, I am not currently a member but have  considered re-activating my membership. If they are depending on only the few remaining members to help out they may not make it still.



Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: indigo_wolf on June 25, 2010, 07:05 AM
I would like to see the letter the AKA sent out asking for donations, I am not currently a member but have  considered re-activating my membership. If they are depending on only the few remaining members to help out they may not make it still.

It is on the public side of the KiteTalk forum. In the Messages from the President section. The part you are referring to is actually the bulk of the message and begins about 1/3 of the way in, first post in the thread titled "Almost July news." (http://www.aka.kite.org/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b=prezMes,m=1277318920)

ATB,
Sam


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: randyg on June 25, 2010, 07:13 AM
I think I've gotten much more benefit from being a member of this forum than I can imagine I would have ever gotten from being an AKA member.
+1


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: kiten00b on June 25, 2010, 08:01 AM
Quote
political garbage
that's where the AKA lost me, after belonging for 14 years


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: thief on June 25, 2010, 08:40 AM
I think I've gotten much more benefit from being a member of this forum than I can imagine I would have ever gotten from being an AKA member.
+1
+1 as well.....


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: rncembal on June 25, 2010, 09:08 AM
Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.
Otto von Bismarck
The politics have always been there to a certain extent. When I first joined in the early 80's at festivals I would hear the rumblings about the Maryland Mafia running kiting. Without the benefit of the internet in today's model you could still be active and avoid the inner battles. I've scaled my involvement way back but not my support or enjoyment. Keep in mind this is a volunteer organization but dealing with real money and real issues not all of which they have control over. The AKA is no where near death. Worst case it will shrink to the dedicated few. Those of us that see the value in the pure joy that kites bring will always be members.
 40 bucks won't change my life, but one event where one person gets to find the magic is worth it to me. I can honestly say that without the AKA and those few I never would have discovered the greater world of kiting. Sure I had kites before but didn't know the community that existed.
I don't see how anyone is surprised that kiting magazine  is mostly about the AKA it always was. There were magazines that were more world travel, review ,plan oriented all went broke. Clue there? Phil has done well to bring more into kiting but he is limited by budgets and donated writings.
The plea for money at this time is to stablize the AKA the same happened 10 years ago.
+1 more
Rob


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: Jared on June 25, 2010, 11:46 AM
I find it supremely ironic that a lively discussion of the AKA's future viability is going strong here, but not on AKA's KiteTalk forum (and everyone who's a member there saw Barbara's July report too).  Few discussions there (other than political infighting) generate much interest, and most die on the vine.  I pity the poor saps who post there looking for sport kite help.  Sometimes I do the kind thing and direct them here...sometimes not.




It's cyclical, isn't it?  Very little discussion takes places on the AKA forum, so very few people visit it.  And because of the low turnout, there's a low volume of posts.

But if the AKA forum is meant to be a gathering place, then it needs to come out front and center.  A comparison, if I may:

If I want to visit Steve's forum, I do the following:
  • Type http://gwtwforum.com/ (http://gwtwforum.com/) into my address bar.
  • Read the forum

If I want to read the AKA forum, I do the following:
  • Type http://aka.kite.org/ (http://aka.kite.org/) into my address bar.
  • Look at the landing page
  • Hover my mouse over the small 'Table of Contents' link
  • Wait (depending on connection latency and browser general memory usage) for the menu to pop up
  • Find an equally small link for "KiteTalk Forum" and click on it
  • Read the forum

I should point out that I'd been an AKA member for 18 months before I got around to setting up my forum membership over there. 

Perhaps they're doing better with their AKA Facebook page, I wouldn't know; I'm not a Facebook user.

(edited to add) I have a bit of experience in building web applications for online communities.  One thing that stands out to me, the AKA doesn't seem to be doing anything to drive attention/visits to their forum.  Engagement is the key to success; in the AKA president's last email message to the membership, we were given:
  • A link to a Youtube video
  • A link to an ebay auction
  • A link to a page on the AKA's site about the banner raffle that simply reads: "The banner raffle continues. Tickets are only $5 and can be purchased at ..."

Each of those could have been and probably should have been links to posts on forum.  That way, you get both the external link AND a place to discuss it.


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: indigo_wolf on June 25, 2010, 01:28 PM
If I want to read the AKA forum, I do the following:
  • Type [url]http://aka.kite.org/[/url] ([url]http://aka.kite.org/[/url]) into my address bar.
  • Look at the landing page
  • Hover my mouse over the small 'Table of Contents' link
  • Wait (depending on connection latency and browser general memory usage) for the menu to pop up
  • Find an equally small link for "KiteTalk Forum" and click on it
  • Read the forum

Perhaps they're doing better with their AKA Facebook page, I wouldn't know; I'm not a Facebook user.

(edited to add) I have a bit of experience in building web applications for online communities.  One thing that stands out to me, the AKA doesn't seem to be doing anything to drive attention/visits to their forum.  Engagement is the key to success; in the AKA president's last email message to the membership, we were given:
  • A link to a Youtube video
  • A link to an ebay auction
  • A link to a page on the AKA's site about the banner raffle that simply reads: "The banner raffle continues. Tickets are only $5 and can be purchased at ..."

Each of those could have been and probably should have been links to posts on forum.  That way, you get both the external link AND a place to discuss it.



The link to the KiteTalk forum is at the top level of the menu on the home page. 4th link from the left.

You can also get to it by typing: http://www.aka.kite.org/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl (http://www.aka.kite.org/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl) 

Or just bookmark/shortcut it.

Navigation isn't the reason for the wind whistling through the streets of the KiteTalk forum.  The website refresh to Joomla, probably won't have much impact on that.

For good or ill, the KiteTalk forum has had the unfortunate history of being a whipping post.  Large spikes in forum attendence has generally been for the same reasons that popcorn sales at public executions had a certain level of success at various times in history. However most people have a tolerance level for piss and bile (some higher than others).... and unfortunatel certain stigmas have a fairly healthy half-life.

Probably unfairly the former AKA webmaster was also tasked with being the moderator for a majority of the forum sections (Committee Chairs still moderated the sections directly applicable to them).  As moderation categorically didn't include <quote> playing den mother to a group of petulant children <unquote>....it doesn't take a lot of imagination to figure out what happened when threads went off the rails and into the fields.  Needless to say, in some cases,  men, women, children, livestock and the family dog ??? found themselves in harms way with little recourse but to retire to the nearest bomb shelter and burble quietly to themselves until the dust settled.  In a lot of cases, the wounds from those periodic firestorms generally never got tended to properly and have festered into long standing animosities that span many years and miles.  Anyone that believes that the AKA has exclusive right to that phenomena has forgotten some of the more pyrotechnic threads in the previous GWTW incarnation.

Traffic on the AKA Facebook page is leveling off. It has some more active weeks, but a spark is still missing.  That's not meant to be unkind,  That's the nature of FB.  Keeping the AKA FB could easily take up as much time as you would want to spend on it. It's a lot like the magazine in that it is content driven.  I am not sure if anyone ever caught on, but the absolute best responses on Facebook came from when instructional material was provided, event notices came in second depending on the popularity of the event, articles were hit or miss (although some off-the-beaten path stuff spiked the Bell Curve).  There was one week, where the majority of items were obituaries and death notices.

Engagement is the key to success;

Absifrickingtively no argument there. Unfortunately, that or a similar sentiments have been  greeted with the resounding symphony of an avalanche of pins dropping on the floor in the past.

I really was going to steer clear of this thread....sigh. :(   

ATB,
Sam


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: FlyingJoe on June 25, 2010, 04:28 PM
My kite bag had been collecting dust for the last eight years or so. After dusting it off I surfed over to the AKA website to get my membership going again.

Until I realized that they no longer insured fliers who aren't in a group event or festival.

That did it for me. While I can appreciate the festivals, I've yet to attend one, but did enjoy knowing there was coverage for myself when flying.

Now that it's no longer available, there's no draw for me.



Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: Kantaxel on June 25, 2010, 04:29 PM
We joined the AKA as soon as we found there was such a thing................July 2003 to be exact..........We've got another year to go before we re-up again......and we will..........like a few in this thread have already stated, it can't hurt to spend less than what you'd pay for a decent dual lineset to support something that we all must have a passion for, or we wouldn't be discussing it.

The latest big boost to our 'sport?' has been the Dorans success with indoor quad flying, as well it should......brings us joy to have others enjoy our passion.....makes us feel valid.........Amy and Connor are members.............anyone who calls themselves a kiter should join whether or not the AKA meets their 'what does it do for me?' attitude............

As for us, we will give further support and participate in the raffles, as we are blessed to promote kiting......

I don't know how many people I've met from out of the blue, who have said, "You kite?  Wow!!  We were at Long Beach last year and became involved immediately after attending".  Without the AKA this passion will go back totally to loners who happenstancely run into each other at the beach or whatever..........

Agree to diasagree, if you will.........that's what makes us individuals..........just my little two cents worth   :-X


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: tcope on June 25, 2010, 10:14 PM
Do politics exist in the AKA? Yes... everyone knows that. I've know it for years and have had _many_ discussions on the subject. You know what... at the end of the day _it does not matter_. If you choose _not_ to get into the "politics" then they _won't_ affect you. It's just that simple.

I was an AKA member for a number of years and then stop. A few years went by and I ended up having a conversation with a fellow kite flyer. Based on what we discussed, I rejoined. I can't go over all of the info but here is some of it... it's not about what the AKA can do for fliers. The fliers _ARE_ the AKA. Once you realize that, it make more sense. I'll give an example... I thought the AKA did very little to actually promote kite flying. What I learned was that _kite fliers_ promoted kiting... and kite fliers _were_ the AKA. The AKA gives us the _tools_ to do this.

What I enjoy most about being _a part of_ the AKA are Kiting and the insurance. Kiting makes the world of kite flying much smaller. It helps me feel a part of what other fliers are doing. It lets me know that others are continuing to promote flying and spread the word. Without the AKA insurance policy a _vast_ majority of kite festivals would _not exist_. Read that again. I've been a part of many festivals and I've not had access to many. So I know how important it is to have every single one.

Do I think the AKA could do better? Yes. But they have been doing better... especially these past 4 years or so (times change). Personally, I think the AKA needs to look at this more like a business then an organization... but I also know, it _is_ an organization. So it's a tough line to walk.


Title: Re: AKA RIP?
Post by: inewham on June 26, 2010, 08:24 AM
Whether its the AKA or any other body related to a hobby people always say there's too much politics.
IMHO its a fact of life that only people who enjoy, or who are inclined toward politics want to be the administrators and board members etc. of a hobby. Now that sounds like a criticism but it isn't at all, we should be grateful for the politically minded people who are prepared to be board members etc. who dedicate their time to the organization letting the rest of us lazy people get on with the flying.   :)