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New feature: download sgf problems?


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2016-09-06 03:30
nikwdhmos Hi, I love the lectures on this site and the training system, but I already have a spaced repetition system in place for Go on my phone (anki droid).

I can load SGF problems directly to it, and I have a lot of my books digitized in there already. Would it be possible to add a download feature for the SGF of each problem, assuming the training system membership is paid up?

Ideally you would be able to download the set for a lecture you just purchased or watched. If that's not good, perhaps just a download of each problem in the problem page?

Right now I am making them by hand, but it is getting overwhelming; I spend more time encoding than I do playing or studying. I know this will not solve all my problems; I had to go design and figure out my own problem sets for the Avalanche lectures, for example. But it would help a lot.

2016-09-06 10:09
Darrell Malick Hi Sam,

It's nice that you have some idea how much work goes into making a problem. Now imagine being a Pro (Guo Juan) and making 9000 of them. And then imagine getting each one of those checked by two others and then checked a third time yourself before publishing them. It represents an incredible effort.

If Guo Juan allowed the sgf files to be downloaded, how long do you think it would take for the whole collection to be available for free online? Not long I'd guess. So this is a feature that cannot be added. I hope you understand.




2016-09-12 04:33
nikwdhmos Hi Darrel,

That's fair, but have you at least considered selling them as an add-on for a course? If they looked like a pretty good deal, say .05-.07 per problem in a set (each class a separate set), I know I would buy lots of them. That's 2-3 euros additional possible revenue per lecture with problems.

I'm sure others would buy too, especially your rental customers or the folks like me who are trying to memorize as much as possible as fast as possible. I'm not sure what the revenue stream would look like, but it could be significant.

You're right, eventually a large portion of them may make it into the pirating community, but the people that download and have no money would not pay you anyway, and (if you put branding and links in the problems), the ones that do have some cash to spare -- some of them sign up for other services if they are impressed. Basically, it would be like advertising except more targeted. This is especially true since you are always coming out with more problems, and the only way to keep up is to join.

Sorry if I'm sticking my nose in, but I'm part of the writing community, and piracy is a big discussion point among us as books are pirated all the time. Basically, the "free advertising" concept is how most authors (excluding, notably, Harlan Ellison who may sue me for even mentioning him) approach the issue. It may or may not apply here; I cannot tell and would not guess.

Only you guys know the business. The loose revenue-generating framework I presented above is only a data point for your consideration.

-Sam



2016-09-12 11:04
Darrell Malick Hi Sam,

Written discussions like this are hard to keep happy sounding. I'm trying. If I start sounding cranky, I'm not. I'm just trying to answer you in a reasoned fashion. Similarly, I choose to hear more loudly your laudatory comments than your minor criticisms, as I'm sure that's what you intended.

I have a background in photography and this debate is very popular among that group too. I'm fully familiar with the arguments, pro and con. To watermark or not to watermark... But I think far more sellers are harmed than helped by piracy. In my case, even my watermarked photos were pirated. And no, I never got any significant referral business out of the "wider distribution" that piracy provided. Sure, I acknowledge there are a few exceptional cases that benefit more from allowing their work to be distributed freely.

For writers, photographers, app designers..., this free distribution gives you a chance to rise above the background noise and get noticed. You don't already have a name, so no one notices you. You have no working marketing channel. You hope for some viral growth. It's kind of a "hail mary" play - throw it out there and hope someone catches it.

Guo Juan, on the other hand, DOES have a name and a long reputation as a player and teacher.

I see no reason for Guo Juan to volunteer to make herself into such an experiment. She works very hard creating the content for this site on a continuing basis. She is making another major financial investment in the site software right now.

So if you like what she has made and want to use her product and support her efforts, just subscribe (I know you already have, she appreciates it very much!). I happen to think it's the best teaching solution out there. Sure, it can always be improved and she is working on that.

Anyway, it's enjoyable to knock ideas around. I have a very strong opinion about this idea, however. It simply involves too much risk and I counsel her against it.

Best regards!

Darrell


2016-09-12 17:21
ndbgo I'd like to compliment both of you for keeping this a well-mannered discussion between two reasonable people, you don't see that too often on the internet!

I must confess that initially I seconded Sam's question, because it is just a bit more convenient to have everything available offline. However, I very clearly see Darrell's point. Recently, I've installed the puffin browser on my iPad mini, so that even when I'm travelling I'd be able to go online and keep studying without lugging a laptop with me, and so far that works well enough for me. In the end, I'm not that much of a frequent flyer that I'd miss a lot of study time just because I couldn't get online.

2016-09-12 19:37
Terri Schurter I was also impressed with the tone of this discussion.

While I can see how it would be convenient to have sgf files, and perhaps even profitable initially to offer them, it is inevitable that someone, someday, will post them for free. It is sad but true.

Also, it would be unfortunate to see the problems disconnected from the material for which they were created. Easy Go is nice, and I am even drilling with it in addition to the Spaced Repetition here. But one of the values of this program is that you pay for a year of it, so you actually commit to using it. You've paid and you want your money's worth. Divorce the problems from the subscription and you lose that.

After awhile though the problem sessions become addictive. It's fun to remember things and get the positive feedback for it.

Terri

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