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General Astronomy >> Outreach

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edwincjones
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Reged: 04/10/04

Outreach protocol
      #5342988 - 07/30/12 09:02 AM

I recently went to Garden of the Gods park in Colorado Springs, CO;
and saw a person with an Ha Scope and sign

"free, safe views of the sun"

where people were lined up to view
so far-so good,

then I saw the bucket for people to drop cash



seems wrong

edj


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oldtimer
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 11/13/08

Loc: Lake County Illinois
Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: edwincjones]
      #5342997 - 07/30/12 09:11 AM

Yes I agree. It has always been my thought that sharing the night sky with the public should be free. However there are those that seek to make a buck on everything. I would make an exception under certain ciccumstamces where a club had to take on expenses to do outreach. Even then it would be in the form of a donation bucket.

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Jason B
Proud father of 5!!
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Reged: 06/21/04

Loc: Mid-Michigan
Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: oldtimer]
      #5343355 - 07/30/12 12:39 PM

At Fox Park Observatory here in Michigan, our observatory is located in the rear of a county park. We have a donation box by the door. On the park's dept newsletter, ads, etc, it states that the program is $2 per person or $5 per family. In reality, when I introduce the group in attendance to our facility and our volunteer staff, I mention the donation box and how it helps pay for electricity, maint, etc but don't really pay attention to who pays, etc. A lot of times later on, new visitors will ask where they pay and I repeat the donation explanation. By the end of each month, the box usually covers what is needed to keep the place open and it works out well as nobody feels pressured and/or obligated. It has worked out good that way for many years.

Edited by Jason B (07/30/12 12:40 PM)


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: Jason B]
      #5343368 - 07/30/12 12:49 PM

Another way to look at it:

If that person were a juggler or a musician, a box for donations would be expected.

One possibility is that maybe the box is there because people have indicated in the past that they want to donate, they are so thrilled with the experience that they want to provide some appreciation. In our society, this would typically be money.

I would guess the proceeds are unlikely to cover the cost of gas, nobody is getting rich with an H-Alpha scope.

Jon


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Pharquart
sage
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Reged: 11/11/09

Loc: Southwest Minneapolis Metro
Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5343866 - 07/30/12 05:42 PM

I debated this very topic in my head (and on these forums) for a while. I do outreach in my suburban downtown, showing people the moon and Saturn, at least so far this summer. People absolutely love it, and many are first time viewers through a telescope. For the first several times I did this, I had a surprising number of people ask, completely unsolicited, if I accepted tips. Others suggested I charge a dollar.

I think the juggler/musician/street performer analogy is close, but buskers like those are usually performing specifically to earn money. I do outreach because I love doing it, and I love the exclamations of joy when people see something they've never seen before.

I will not charge anybody a cent to look through my telescopes during my outreach. However, I have found that some people like to show their appreciation, particularly ones that ask questions and talk to me for 10-15 minutes about astronomy. (Jon hit this point well above.) So I now put out a tip jar. It has a clear label that says "Tips - completely optional" with the last two words as bold and clear as I can make them. It's attached fairly unobtrusively to the rocker box on one of the telescopes.

Some people drop in a dollar, many don't. On a typical outreach night, I might have 80-100 people look through my telescopes. I usually bring home $30 or so. I have used that money to buy eyepiece cleaning tools (lots more lash oil when others look vs. me), replace a diagonal that broke when an over-eager kid grabbed too hard, and buy a new wide-field eyepiece with better eye relief that's easier for novice viewers to use.

Brian


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edwincjones
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: Pharquart]
      #5344098 - 07/30/12 07:53 PM

interesting, and diverse, responses so far

edj


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Coolkid70
super member


Reged: 04/19/11

Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: edwincjones]
      #5344141 - 07/30/12 08:26 PM

My university has a public outreach program about once a month. They actually incur a significant expense; they must pay for electricity, graduate student assistance, buses (to carry people from the parking lot to the remote location), etc... A few years ago, all of this was taken up by the Astronomy department. With the budget cutting these days, they have been asking for a $5 donation for each group. I personally don't see a problem with it, and I have been happy to give them $5 to continue their program.

Just some thoughts.


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David PavlichAdministrator
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Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: Coolkid70]
      #5345941 - 07/31/12 08:00 PM

An observatory setting is different from a typical outreach in that there is a building that requires maintenance, not to mention property taxes, etc, etc.

I've never considered asking for donations when I'm out doing outreach stuff. I've can't remember anyone from our club suggesting that we ask for donations. I do it because it's one of the great joys of this hobby.

David


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amicus sidera
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Reged: 10/14/11

Loc: East of the Sun, West of the M...
Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: edwincjones]
      #5345965 - 07/31/12 08:22 PM

As long as the man with the solar telescope isn't strong-arming people into dropping money in his bucket (note that his sign indicates "free" views), I fail to see the issue here. Apparently he feels that his time and effort are worth something - good for him.

If an altruistic amateur decides to set his H-Alpha telescope up next to his, and strenuously declines any donations that come his way - good for him, too.

I tip everyone who performs a service for me... everyone... unless their boss or the law forbids it, but maybe that's just a Jersey thing. All I know is that every amateur observatory around here that I know of has a donation box out on public nights. If it's ok to donate to them, but not to a lone guy providing a similar service, well... give me a nine-letter word for pretense of virtue or morality.

This matter has come up before, and not too long ago, on this very forum - anyone seeking a spirited discussion on this subject might go here to review those comments, of which I still steadfastly stand by mine.


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edwincjones
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5346494 - 08/01/12 06:47 AM

maybe it is like passing the plate at church



edj


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haywool
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Reged: 05/07/12

Loc: Illinois, U.S.A.
Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: edwincjones]
      #5346508 - 08/01/12 07:04 AM

You mean that I'm not gonna "git rich quick" being a "professional amateur" stargazer ??? Rats ! :-)

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edwincjones
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: haywool]
      #5346520 - 08/01/12 07:30 AM

my personal observations have been that
when a hobby becomes a business,
the fun is gone

edj


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troutinco
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Reged: 06/11/12

Loc: Littleton, CO
Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: edwincjones]
      #5346741 - 08/01/12 10:40 AM

Something not mentioned: perhaps he was a victim of the Waldo canyon fire in the springs and is trying to make extra to help rebuild or just take care of his family. Could be a big assumption on my part but just to throw it out there...

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StarStuff1
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: troutinco]
      #5348171 - 08/02/12 04:52 AM

I have never asked for or have been offered "tips" for personal outreach. Since I belong to two astro clubs there are plenty of group outreach opportunities. The larger of the two clubs holds it's annual picnic in a pavilion at a state park a few miles out in the country. It is a beautiful location. On a hillside with electricity and good horizons. Normally the pavilion is rented out for weddings, family reunions, etc. But the park lets us use the nice facility for free as we always do a public star gaze, weather permitting, of course. This allows the campers at the park to have an astronomy experience. It is a win-win situation.

At one of the observatories of this larger club we do have a "tip box" with a sign that says all moneys donated will go to upkeep and upgrades to the scopes and facilities. As we do not pressure guests we only get a few donations. I don't have a problem with this situation or with the guy doing public solar outreach. With the cost of equipment and gas these days not to mention your time...


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edwincjones
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: StarStuff1]
      #5348948 - 08/02/12 03:59 PM

back to basics-what is the purpose for outreach

-altruistic
to show/teach the beauty of the heavens

-more selfish
to promote the hobby for the future

so---does charging/collecting help with these goals?
that is the question
if it helps, then good
if not, then not good



seems like opinions mixed

edj


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amicus sidera
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Reged: 10/14/11

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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: edwincjones]
      #5349259 - 08/02/12 07:45 PM

Quote:


so---does charging/collecting help with these goals?
that is the question





I would posit that this question is in and of itself an informal fallacy: lumping the charging of a fee together with collecting (more properly, accepting) freely-given donations... one is a fee for services rendered, and is an implicit consideration, while the other is charitably given, under no contractual obligation, for the same or similar services. These are unequal propositions, and must be considered separately.

That said, consider that altruism, while appearing to be selfless, may actually be self-serving to a greater or lesser degree... for example, the real or imagined elevation in the eyes of others, along with the positive feelings one derives from such activity, results in a considerable reward for one's ego.

As far as promoting the hobby is concerned, even in the face of deplorable light pollution and expensive instruments, the hobby appears quite capable of taking care of itself, with little or no outreach required.


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bassplayer142
professor emeritus


Reged: 10/03/11

Loc: Michigan
Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5349411 - 08/02/12 10:03 PM

I don't have a need to ever charge money for outreach personally. I believe it would be acceptable to charge if it was part of a program that was planned and advertised at a cost. If you are at a free outreach and someone is trying to charge people that seems out of place.

But it is nice to live in a country where I or anyone else can do what I please .


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Pharquart
sage
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Reged: 11/11/09

Loc: Southwest Minneapolis Metro
Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: bassplayer142]
      #5349522 - 08/02/12 11:25 PM

Quote:

If you are at a free outreach and someone is trying to charge people that seems out of place.




Amicus pointed it out well, something that has been bothering me as I've read the responses, all very well reasoned, by the way. Many posters are using the word charging, when accepting is more appropriate. Back to the original post: the outreach astronomer in question had a sign indicating the views were free.

I do not and will not charge for general unsolicited outreach. After considerable deliberation, however, I have decided it is acceptable to accept free-will offerings of appreciation.

I also respect the opinions of those who disagree with me.

Brian


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Jon Isaacs
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: Pharquart]
      #5349541 - 08/02/12 11:39 PM

Quote:

Amicus pointed it out well, something that has been bothering me as I've read the responses, all very well reasoned, by the way. Many posters are using the word charging, when accepting is more appropriate. Back to the original post: the outreach astronomer in question had a sign indicating the views were free.

I do not and will not charge for general unsolicited outreach. After considerable deliberation, however, I have decided it is acceptable to accept free-will offerings of appreciation.

I also respect the opinions of those who disagree with me.

Brian






Jon


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Bill Weir
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 06/01/04

Loc: Metchosin (Victoria), Canada
Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5349645 - 08/03/12 01:56 AM

When I drove from Victoria Canada to Red Bluff California for the Transit of Venus I let dozens of people look through my scopes. Many wanted to know what I wanted from them for the views I offered. I was surprised that the concept of money ever entered into the situation. All I wanted from them was signatures, where they were from and any comments written on a "visitor's log" that I created.

It has never occured to me to treat public outreach as busking but I guess it could be considered that. Doesn't take much talent though just deep enough pockets to buy the gear. Then again with present times we don't know what a person's situation might be now. The scope could have been aquired under different cicumstances. It could be like if you have a cow, do you sell the cow or the milk?

Bill


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: Bill Weir]
      #5349928 - 08/03/12 09:34 AM

Quote:

When I drove from Victoria Canada to Red Bluff California for the Transit of Venus I let dozens of people look through my scopes. Many wanted to know what I wanted from them for the views I offered. I was surprised that the concept of money ever entered into the situation. All I wanted from them was signatures, where they were from and any comments written on a "visitor's log" that I created.

It has never occured to me to treat public outreach as busking but I guess it could be considered that. Doesn't take much talent though just deep enough pockets to buy the gear. Then again with present times we don't know what a person's situation might be now. The scope could have been aquired under different cicumstances. It could be like if you have a cow, do you sell the cow or the milk?

Bill




Bill:

It's true that when my wife plays in public, whether for pay or free, she puts in far more effort in preparation than I do if I am just showing people the night sky.

But I think we need to step back from motivation and intent and just recognize that it is only kind and gracious to accept gifts that are offered to us by a gracious heart. If one is uncomfortable accepting the gift for themselves, pass it on to someone or some group who is needy.

Jon


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amicus sidera
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Reged: 10/14/11

Loc: East of the Sun, West of the M...
Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5349983 - 08/03/12 10:32 AM

"...and what desert greater shall there be, than that, which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving?" - Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

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killdabuddha
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 08/26/11

Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5350057 - 08/03/12 11:33 AM

Quote:

Quote:


so---does charging/collecting help with these goals?
that is the question





I would posit that this question is in and of itself an informal fallacy: lumping the charging of a fee together with collecting (more properly, accepting) freely-given donations... one is a fee for services rendered, and is an implicit consideration, while the other is charitably given, under no contractual obligation, for the same or similar services. These are unequal propositions, and must be considered separately.






Umm,

Sorry, but edwincjones properly used the forward slash to demonstrate alternatives. "The slash is most commonly used as the word substitute for 'or' which indicates a choice (often mutually exclusive) is present. (Examples: Male/Female, Y/N, He/She.)"

It follows, therefore, that there was no informal fallacy committed under these conditions. If anything, edwincjones can be said to have most properly (as in properly and most commonly) used this now accepted and standardized punctuation form. Mr. Jones is merely asking whether the exchange of money, under at least two types of transaction, is appropriate. This is very much allowed, as much so as to ask whether a simple question constitutes the commission of a logical fallacy of any sort. Were it otherwise, and at least insofar as common practice is the rule, there would be no forward slash.


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amicus sidera
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Reged: 10/14/11

Loc: East of the Sun, West of the M...
Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: killdabuddha]
      #5350096 - 08/03/12 12:08 PM

"so - does charging or collecting help with these goals?
that is the question"
(modified for argument's sake)

The use of either "or" or "and" does not change the question's basic presumption, which is that either of these two actions will have either a negative or positive effect, and that the problem is the transaction, period.

Nice strawman but, umm, sorry.


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killdabuddha
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 08/26/11

Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5350104 - 08/03/12 12:17 PM

Quote:

"so - does charging or collecting help with these goals?
that is the question"
(modified for argument's sake)

The use of either "or" or "and" does not change the question's basic presumption, which is that either of these two actions will have either a negative or positive effect, and that the problem is the transaction, period.

Nice strawman but, umm, sorry.




No strawman. Sorry. I was afraid of this. Didn't actually wanna give a logic lesson. Can anybody see the mistake? Anybody? How 'bout it, amicus? What does a logical fallacy of any sort require? This is Logic 101.


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amicus sidera
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: killdabuddha]
      #5350110 - 08/03/12 12:21 PM

Oh, you shouldn't be afraid, I'm sure you'll wipe the floor with me... after all, I barely finished high school.

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killdabuddha
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Reged: 08/26/11

Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5350156 - 08/03/12 12:51 PM

LOL. Naw, it's all good amicus. And I didn't wanna seem to be jumpin on anyone either, but I'm still a little anal from my teaching days and I tend to wanna defend people if I think they've been misunderstood or if what they've said has been misrepresented. Guess I'm sorta a critical thinking junky, too...wattya expect from a disaffected English, Philosophy and Law grad? I'll trade all of it any day for yer good humor.

All I was tryin to point out was that there wasn't any claim made by edwincjones' question, regardless of the number or type of elements constituting that question. Whether formal (syllogistic) or informal, a fallacy requires a faulty claim or conclusion. Were we to fault a mere question according to its premise(s), then we'd also expect everything to be self-evident, no? To wit, Noam Chomsky is even allowed to ask whether "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously," if only to demonstrate that grammar alone is not the carrier of meaning. Mr. Jones said this:

"back to basics-what is the purpose for outreach

-altruistic
to show/teach the beauty of the heavens

-more selfish
to promote the hobby for the future

so---does charging/collecting help with these goals?
that is the question
if it helps, then good
if not, then not good"

Now, we can argue whether his conditions for an analysis of the question as he's framed it are sufficient, or whether his conclusion that, "if it helps, then good, [but] if not, then not good," necessarily follows. My only point was that the part of his post that you cited could not contain any type of fallacy because it was a mere question, and that his use of the forward slash was very appropriate and permitted.


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edwincjones
Close Enough
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5350168 - 08/03/12 12:58 PM

ok, ok, getting a little OT on the question,
what about the answer?

-what is the goal of outreach?
-is it more successful if free,
- charged,
-accept donations,
- other



edj


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killdabuddha
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 08/26/11

Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: edwincjones]
      #5350259 - 08/03/12 02:00 PM

Quote:

ok, ok, getting a little OT on the question,
what about the answer?

-what is the goal of outreach?
-is it more successful if free,
- charged,
-accept donations,
- other



edj




Depends. Do you accept his premises? His conditions for or framing of the question? There's a little rule of thumb in debate that says, "He who frames the question wins the debate." Sounds like yer questioning his assumptions about what constitutes the goal of outreach--in this case and as stated, that the purpose of outreach is either altruism or self-satisfaction. Personally, I wouldn't have allowed either choice to stand as a "purpose of outreach." These are more the "means" by which a goal is obtained, and as neither of these would satisfactorily account for the possibility that others have raised, that the request for monies is to recoup expenses incurred, then I'd have to side with you in determining that his conditions for even this are insufficient or circumspect. But that's still only a re-framing of a question that hasn't actually been formulated. What's the purpose of outreach? Seems to me that that answer has more to do with strangers to astronomy than to the person with the scope. If we can determine that the goal of outreach is to expose as many people as possible to something that they wouldn't normally have access to, then maybe we can ask which means best accomplishes that goal--charging money, asking for donations, or neither? If the goal is to expose the greatest number of people to astronomy, then I'd probably make the case that keeping money out of the equation is more likely to achieve this best, and if someone tried to claim that this sort of financing is necessary to continue outreach efforts, I can simply point out that there will always be people like yourself, amicus, who will contribute even though not asked to.

Oops. Sorry. I thought I was answering amicus, not you edwin. Kindly read the response accordingly.


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: edwincjones]
      #5350303 - 08/03/12 02:29 PM

Quote:

ok, ok, getting a little OT on the question,
what about the answer?

-what is the goal of outreach?
-is it more successful if free,
- charged,
-accept donations,
- other



edj




- What is the goal of outreach.. that is a subject all to itself. But one has to own it, recognize that ultimately you are doing it for yourself.. maybe because you believe it is important or that you find it pleasurable.

I suspect the "success" has little to do with whether someone puts out the hat or not.

Jon


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amicus sidera
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Reged: 10/14/11

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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: killdabuddha]
      #5350313 - 08/03/12 02:36 PM

Quote:

LOL. Naw, it's all good amicus. And I didn't wanna seem to be jumpin on anyone either, but I'm still a little anal from my teaching days and I tend to wanna defend people if I think they've been misunderstood or if what they've said has been misrepresented. Guess I'm sorta a critical thinking junky, too...wattya expect from a disaffected English, Philosophy and Law grad? I'll trade all of it any day for yer good humor.

All I was tryin to point out was that there wasn't any claim made by edwincjones' question, regardless of the number or type of elements constituting that question. Whether formal (syllogistic) or informal, a fallacy requires a faulty claim or conclusion. Were we to fault a mere question according to its premise(s), then we'd also expect everything to be self-evident, no? To wit, Noam Chomsky is even allowed to ask whether "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously," if only to demonstrate that grammar alone is not the carrier of meaning. Mr. Jones said this:

"back to basics-what is the purpose for outreach

-altruistic
to show/teach the beauty of the heavens

-more selfish
to promote the hobby for the future

so---does charging/collecting help with these goals?
that is the question
if it helps, then good
if not, then not good"

Now, we can argue whether his conditions for an analysis of the question as he's framed it are sufficient, or whether his conclusion that, "if it helps, then good, [but] if not, then not good," necessarily follows. My only point was that the part of his post that you cited could not contain any type of fallacy because it was a mere question, and that his use of the forward slash was very appropriate and permitted.




I concede the point to you, good fellow, and stand corrected! Standing in defense of clarity is to be commended - we're all friends here (or, at least, we all should be! )

Now, to the subject at hand (directed to the forum):

The point I wanted to make was that charging for a service and accepting (but not soliciting) donations are two different beasts. As to whether any monetary exchange would have a negative effect, I would think it would depend upon the value received by the consumer of the service rendered.

For example, if a bus company started packaging tours to dark sky areas specifically aimed at urban dwellers, and could turn a profit by doing so, that would be a positive, in my book. They would be charging a fee, but can you imagine the allies we would have in the LP arena if a few tens of thousands of people took such tours? Yes, such a thing could be done for free, but if the net effect is the same, who's to say that turning a buck is a bad thing? You know, people do tend to appreciate an object or service more when it has cost them something, and often in direct proportion to its cost... using that logic, perhaps we've been going about this all wrong - maybe we should all start charging folks to take a peek through our telescopes!

I say this in jest, but it is food for thought.


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edwincjones
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5350367 - 08/03/12 03:15 PM

thank you all for the responses

I saw the "hat" as distasteful
but
opinions mixed, most seem ok-to some extent

edj


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amicus sidera
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: edwincjones]
      #5350379 - 08/03/12 03:26 PM

Quote:

thank you all for the responses

I saw the "hat" as distasteful
but
opinions mixed, most seem ok-to some extent

edj




I can see your point, and if it strikes you as distasteful, there's no gainsaying that - that's your preference. To my mind, and not speaking from a strictly impersonal point of view as I have been, it would strike me the same way it did you - not something I would do. I've never accepted money for outreach, never put a hat or tip jar out... but then again, I've almost always been in a position to turn down such offers, which I'm most grateful for.


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: edwincjones]
      #5350398 - 08/03/12 03:40 PM

Quote:

thank you all for the responses

I saw the "hat" as distasteful
but
opinions mixed, most seem ok-to some extent

edj




Ed:

I think my initial impression to the thread was that it was somewhat distasteful, not quite on the up and up. However when a stepped back and thought about it more, I was OK with it.

I think it would have been interesting had you taken a moment and asked the fellow about it and how he felt. You probably would have had a clearer understanding.

Jon


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killdabuddha
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5350402 - 08/03/12 03:44 PM




My Dear Fellow amicus,

What may you have stumbled upon?

First, sumthin you said puts me in mind of sumthin that may be its opposite. Rather than having any detrimental effect, on a purely psychological level it might be shown that people will only appreciate sumthin if they are asked to pay for it. BUT, let's not necessarily accept the standard coin of that currency, i.e., money. Yes, it can be said that the lowest common denominator of our civilization is the taking of each others' money, by whatever name or philosophy or theory we choose to call that. Now one thing that really seems to stand out about astronomy is the generosity of its members, whether by the free sharing of their star charts, dob plans, general how-to knowledge, or even of their otherwise "profitable" computer programs for go-to capability (I'm thinkin of Mel Bartels). And another thing that seems apparent to me is the inevitable continued growth of open-sourcing. How can I make these work toward the goal of getting more people involved to our mutual benefit? Maybe ask that the people trade their signature for a look thru our glass? That they sign a petition calling for a referendum that addresses light pollution? Maybe couch that in the language of wasted energy and unnecessary taxpayer costs? If there be any donations, make sure that they know that the monies are going toward some worthwhile effort? Is there a win/win/win? One Nobel laureate in economics showed that the demise of civilizations was due to the decreasing levels of its members' participation in that civilization's wealth.

Edit. Oops. I see that you've already addressed a lotta this. Well good!

Edited by killdabuddha (08/03/12 03:52 PM)


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amicus sidera
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: killdabuddha]
      #5350451 - 08/03/12 04:18 PM

I agree, Killdabuddha... amateur astromomers, at least in my experience, are on average some of the most generous and open-handed people I've ever had the pleasure of encountering... that goes double for people like Mel who make a considerable sacrifice for the overall good of the hobby. It's axiomatic that the more one gives, the more one receives... perhaps not in a monetary sense, but as you infer, there are other modes of wealth besides cash...

Not positive, but the Nobel laureate you refer to might have been Joseph Stiglitz.


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killdabuddha
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5351482 - 08/04/12 10:39 AM


Yes! Thanks amicus.

http://news.columbia.edu/stiglitz

As for the OP, seems the "proper" venue for monetary transactions is thru an organization. Otherwise, showin the sky to passersby with a hat out smacks of peddling, and while this is accepted and normal in lotsa places, here in the U.S. it's been discouraged (and licensed and zoned) out of existence. Now if the scope came with sufficient aperture and a monkey with a grinder organ, I'd be hard pressed to resist. Just to keep the monkey happy, you understand.


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frolinmod
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: killdabuddha]
      #5353226 - 08/05/12 02:08 PM

Around here if any money is involved whether for profit or not, you'd better have obtained a business license from the city otherwise you're gonna get cited.

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Pharquart
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5355058 - 08/06/12 04:17 PM

Either my town is more relaxed on licensing, or the local police aren't the ones to enforce it. A couple of the night shift cops are some of my loyal repeat viewers!

Brian


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tedbnh
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: Pharquart]
      #5359456 - 08/09/12 09:33 AM

When I do outreach on the boardwalk (Hampton Beach, NH, a popular family tourist destination) the only thing the cops are concerned about is whether or not I'm charging any money. I never charge, and I think that is the common bond among most of us who do outreach. When I am alone I don't accept donations either, but when our club does its monthly sidewalk outreach activity we do put out a donation 'box' and the money collected goes to the club treasury for various purposes, all related to the usual club mission.

I would not want to get into a discussion with some officer about whether a voluntary donation box was equivalent to charging for views, so I eliminate the possibility. Once you go through the difficulties to get all set up, every minute is precious, no time to waste on legal discussions!


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: tedbnh]
      #5359614 - 08/09/12 10:50 AM

Quote:


I would not want to get into a discussion with some officer about whether a voluntary donation box was equivalent to charging for views, so I eliminate the possibility. Once you go through the difficulties to get all set up, every minute is precious, no time to waste on legal discussions!




Me either... if a tip box was acceptable legally, I still wouldn't put one out but I would be OK with someone who did. Heck, I'd probably stick the poor devil with some of my astro-gear overflow and he would never again put out the box.

Jon


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Scott in NC
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5359715 - 08/09/12 11:34 AM

Quote:

...Heck, I'd probably stick the poor devil with some of my astro-gear overflow and he would never again put out the box.

Jon




That's awesome, Jon! Now that I think about it, I've got a "brand new" still-in-box, never-opened lens pen that I bought 10 years ago before I knew any better. I've been wondering what to do with it.


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edwincjones
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: Scott in NC]
      #5363008 - 08/11/12 09:06 AM

Quote:

Quote:

...Heck, I'd probably stick the poor devil with some of my astro-gear overflow and he would never again put out the box.

Jon




That's awesome, Jon! Now that I think about it, I've got a "brand new" still-in-box, never-opened lens pen that I bought 10 years ago before I knew any better. I've been wondering what to do with it.





is not that like pouring honey in the collection box



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edwincjones
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: edwincjones]
      #5363019 - 08/11/12 09:11 AM

I had not thought about the legal aspects-but in a city, a city/state/national park, there are rules or laws

I also agree, for a club or organization, voluntary collections are ok

not to get too political, but what is the opinions outside of the USA?
(all of the responses, except one from Canada, has been US-so I wonder if international beliefs are different)

edj


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GeneT
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: edwincjones]
      #5368584 - 08/14/12 03:40 PM

Whether alone, or with my club, we have never put out anything for donations. We have some organizations who invite our club to set up for their members. Those organizations often give us a stipend. When setting up for schools, the school often feeds the club members.

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csrlice12
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: Scott in NC]
      #5373084 - 08/17/12 12:16 PM

Quote:

Quote:

...Heck, I'd probably stick the poor devil with some of my astro-gear overflow and he would never again put out the box.

Jon




That's awesome, Jon! Now that I think about it, I've got a "brand new" still-in-box, never-opened lens pen that I bought 10 years ago before I knew any better. I've been wondering what to do with it.




It's all in the marketing: Antique Lens Cleaning Pen for Cleaning Antique Lenses, Only $$$ on CN Classifieds.


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Zebra24601
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: GeneT]
      #5410079 - 09/08/12 01:08 PM

Quote:

Whether alone, or with my club, we have never put out anything for donations. We have some organizations who invite our club to set up for their members. Those organizations often give us a stipend. When setting up for schools, the school often feeds the club members.




Personally, I am a big fan of being fed dinner when I do outreach. After all, we often do this around dinner time, and don't always have time to eat or drink for the 2-4 hours we're on the lawn or in the parking lot. Bring me a sandwich or something and I'll be there every year, as long as you want to have me do outreach at your school/church/park!


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Globularnut
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: Bill Weir]
      #5415403 - 09/11/12 02:29 PM

My astronomy club has never charged a fee for our events, but the state park our observatory is in requires a state park sticker. I'm ok with that, although I think it does keep our attendance down. We do have a donation jar hanging up in the observatory, but we do not ask people to contribute. It is there if they wish to contribute something.

I see outreach as something that I do because I love sharing what I find in the night sky. My reward comes when I show someone Saturn for the first time. I had a cousin come out to our observatory with a boy scout troop. He said that was the best night of his life. That is enough reward for me.


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amicus sidera
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: Globularnut]
      #5415433 - 09/11/12 02:42 PM

Quote:

My astronomy club has never charged a fee for our events, but the state park our observatory is in requires a state park sticker. I'm ok with that, although I think it does keep our attendance down.




Not familiar with this system; does this mean that only people who've paid for a sticker are allowed entrance to the park, and thus the observatory?


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Globularnut
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5415443 - 09/11/12 02:48 PM

Yes Amicus. You pay $25 for a yearly state park sticker and it allows you to go into any park in the State of Wisconsin that year. You can also buy a daily sticker, but it's more cost effective to do a yearly one. No sticker, no admittance to the park.

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amicus sidera
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: Globularnut]
      #5415499 - 09/11/12 03:15 PM

Thanks for the reply... I could see where that might be a hindrance for many people.

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Globularnut
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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5415506 - 09/11/12 03:17 PM

I always joke with the rangers out there and tell them that my park sticker is usually paid for by May if not sooner because I'm out there so much. Club members need to have a sticker as well.

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Matthew Ota
Hmmm


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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: Bill Weir]
      #5470686 - 10/14/12 10:22 PM

I see nothing wrong with putting out a tip cup, but then again I am a poor person and really need the money to cover gasoline expenses. Amateurs who are better heeled have no need to do this but I have done my share in spades of giving free public outreach shows and running telescope at an observatory with no monetary compensation.

I now ask for donations and do not formally charge for telescope views. I leave it up the the viewers to put in money of they so desire.

I have noticed how I get absolutely NO donations when I do outreach in affluent areas, but I do get donation in middle class and poor neighborhoods. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth to see this.


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Substrate
member


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Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: Matthew Ota]
      #5479620 - 10/19/12 10:32 PM

Wow this is bizarre! I believe I am the gentleman in question from the OP, as I doubt there is anyone else showing the sun to folks at Garden of the Gods.

This is the second time I've looked in this forum (first time was years ago) and this was the first thread I clicked on. Imagine my dismay to find that I have been the topic of an online discussion started months ago

Reading through the comments I felt somewhat compelled to address the speculation concerning me:

Quote:

Something not mentioned: perhaps he was a victim of the Waldo canyon fire in the springs and is trying to make extra to help rebuild or just take care of his family. Could be a big assumption on my part but just to throw it out there...




Fortunately my dwelling was not consumed by the fire, although it was right on the evac line. I count my lucky star on that one.

After getting laid-off from a job I had held for nearly seven years, I decided to go back to school and better my prospects. While I should have saved to make this possible when times were good, I didn't. Being in the position I was, I had to think of another way. This is right around the time the sun was throwing its first real temper tantrum of the summer, and I thought it was a shame that so few people get to witness our star putting on the amazing and violent display that it does. I made a sign, got a little basket, a rock that reads "Help solar power my college", a stool for the kids and a parasol and went to the most touristy place I could think of near colorado springs.

I am now currently enrolled in school full-time with no need for a part time job at the moment, due to my outreach efforts this summer. Regardless of how you feel about how I'm going about it, I doubt I'd be doing what I am without it.

Quote:

Many posters are using the word charging, when accepting is more appropriate.




I put free views on my sign and I mean it. It is a joy to allow people to see their star in a way they might never have seen it otherwise. The telescope they look through is a 60mm dedicated Ha scope that is doublestacked with an additional Ha filter to increase surface contrast, so the view isn't shabby.

If I hear a person saying to their friend that they would like to look but they didn't bring any change, I encourage them to look, saying my primary goal is to share the view with others. I estimate that out of every 10 people that look, 3 may leave something in the basket. A lot of people are profusely thankful, especially parents who beam over their children experiencing something new.

Quote:

The scope could have been acquired under different circumstances. It could be like if you have a cow, do you sell the cow or the milk?




I bought the scope before losing my job, and have never considered selling it. Though my situation might have gotten to the point where I would have been forced to. Thankfully I discovered it's udders are endlessly full of sun (at least when it's clear).

Quote:

I think it would have been interesting had you taken a moment and asked the fellow about it and how he felt. You probably would have had a clearer understanding.




You should have, I am not shy in explaining to anyone what it is I am doing regarding the outreach. The way I look at it, what better way to fund my education than by educating others?

Quote:

Heck, I'd probably stick the poor devil with some of my astro-gear overflow and he would never again put out the box.




Is that an offer? My mount is falling apart... I assume you were jesting and so am I.

That is unless you really do want to send me stuff... (I'd pay the shipping)

Quote:

Personally, I am a big fan of being fed dinner when I do outreach. After all, we often do this around dinner time, and don't always have time to eat or drink for the 2-4 hours we're on the lawn or in the parking lot.




This summer I had a lady bring me a bottle of local ginger ale from south carolina. Man was it good!

Quote:

My reward comes when I show someone Saturn for the first time. I had a cousin come out to our observatory with a boy scout troop. He said that was the best night of his life.




This activity does have it's own rewards and often it is quite humbling. Like hearing someone exclaim "That is the coolest thing I've ever seen!", while at the same time being surrounded by the majesty of Garden of the Gods. Maybe someday I can do this without having to ask the public for anything in return. I sure enjoy it enough!

I'm in no way offended by this thread, in fact I am thrilled, and view this discussion as a very healthy thing.

Michael


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omahaastro
sage


Reged: 08/30/06

Loc: Omaha, NE
Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: Bill Weir]
      #5479857 - 10/20/12 02:34 AM

The Omaha Astronomical Society has no public observatory. We go to the people, where ever they are. Sometimes in urban parks, sometimes in rural campgrounds. We do probably 50 outreach events each year, including, in one case, a night for each of all 14 elementary school in a school district (they do an outdoor ed program for each at a 4-H center outside of town). We don't have any signs or donation buckets put out. It's pure enjoyment for us, and that is our reward. Invariably, we do get donations sent our way, especially by the school parents. But for us, what we look forward to the most, are the cards which kids make, often with crayon drawings, sharing what they learned from their evenings with us.

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Lynnblac
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Loc: Arizona
Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: edwincjones]
      #5480689 - 10/20/12 04:47 PM

I volunteer in our western national parks night sky programs every summer, in addition to our local club programs. I have noticed Americans are more likely to accept my invitations to view through my scope than foreign visitors.
I attribute this to the nature of our national parks ranger programs, which are free, and Americans have come to expect this. I have been told that Europeans are more likely to
pay for this type of program. In addition national parks are not as common elsewhere as in the U.S.
Since my goal is to show the sky to as many people as possible any deterrent, such as a fee to view or even the question of a fee, defeats my efforts.
For these reasons I feel outreach must not have any economic component. Any doubts in the visitors mind only discourages his participation.
Lynn


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MawkHawk
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Reged: 08/23/09

Loc: SE Michigan, USA
Re: Outreach protocol new [Re: Bill Weir]
      #5514345 - 11/11/12 11:55 AM

We have a donation box set up at all of our club events, public and private (to the club). Nobody is compelled nor required to make a donation. Some do. Some don't. The money helps cover the club's costs. I've never heard any complaints.
The original post said that the guy had a sign that indicated that viewing was free. I don't see where he was actually charging to look. So, just as with our club, people can donate or not and nobody has to make a stink about it.


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