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General comments about the Best Minerals forum

Posted by Rock Currier  
Rock Currier December 22, 2008 10:08PM
If you have comments or suggestions about the Best Minerals forum, this thread is a good place to put them. If you have comments or suggestions about specific minerals or minerals from specific localities you might better place them in the particular thread that deals with them or start a thread of your own. Initially this forum is only available to managers on Mindat, but in time it is hoped that it will be opened to all Mindat users.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/22/2008 10:11PM by Rock Currier.
Steve Sorrell March 13, 2009 01:23AM
Great work Rock. I only came across this yesterday.

One potential issue that I can see relates to the way entries are displayed in forums (ie: not alphabetically). It would be very easy to end up with duplicate entries, particularly as more information is added, as it is easy to miss a mineral name. This problem will be lessened when there are links from the species pages.

Perhaps a solution may be to have a sticky post called (eg) Best Minerals - A Index, at the beginning of each forum where minerals are listed (in one post) alphabetically. For example, were I to add another azurite locality (eg: Morocco), I would insert that in between azurite Bisbee and azurite Tsumeb by editing the post or index (as per example below). We could get smart and have these entries link directly to the indiviual posts. It would be a sort of Table of Contents with clickable entries.

AzuriteAzurite Bisbee, Arizona
Azurite Morocco
Azurite Namibia, Tsumeb

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 03/13/2009 01:29AM by Steve Sorrell.
David Von Bargen March 13, 2009 03:13AM
The intent is to have a single thread per mineral (with exceptions for common minerals such as quartz), with the thread starting message being the "best" page and the following messages being comments about the species that can be incorporated into the starting entry. The links from the minerals will be in the reference area, along with links to articles/blogs (see for instance rhodochrosite). A sticky index page would probably be another good way to access this info.
Steve Sorrell March 13, 2009 07:18AM
To make sure that I understand David, the structure (and terminology) is as follows:

Mindat Mineralogy Messageboard contains Forums - Example "Best Minerals A"

Forums contain Topics - Example "Alabandite" - presumably this is your reference to a thread?

Topics contain Posts

If that is correct, then my suggestion of an index page would be a sticky topic?

David Von Bargen March 13, 2009 09:32AM
Olav Revheim March 13, 2009 11:31AM
I admire the guts required to start this project, as the amount of work involved is overwhelming. The project is of course of immense value for me as a user, and the mineralogical community as a whole.

If there is anything I can do to assist on Norwegian minerals and/or locations, please let me know.

Rock Currier March 15, 2009 09:43AM
Yes, the amount of work is overwhelming and the reason that have been pushing to place it in a format like this is to 1. Provide a place where information relating the ten questions can be placed.

1. What is the largest crystal of the mineral that the locality has produced?
2. What do the best specimens from this locality look like and where can one be seen?
3. Does the locality produce a variety of different kinds of specimens of this species, and what do the best of each type look like and how many of them were found etc.
4. What are the associated minerals found with this species and what is its geological setting?
5. How abundant are these specimens and when were they found? A type locality? In other words, how rare are they.
6. How do they compare to other specimens of the same mineral from other localities?
7. How much is it worth. This should probably be optional, but in cases where specimens are worth thousands of dollars we should probably say something of the value of these things.
8. What kind of care and feeding do these specimens require? Are they delicate, radioactive, unstable, color changeable etc.?
9. Are the specimens commonly faked, and if so, how to tell if they are?
10. Are there any interesting stories relating to the collecting of these specimens or their discovery as a new mineral?

And 2. To find people who can help generate the actual content of the various articles about the various minerals and to moderate the efforts of others.

Olav, I would be glad is you could help with the effort. You can understand that this project is way beyond the ability of any single person. If you would like to get involved, to start with, pick out a particular you would like to work on and write it up using the exampled format in the Aluminum article. Read over my introductory comments and let me know what you would like to work on and Ill help you get started how ever I can. Initially respond here, and then we will open a thread for the mineral of your choice and we can continue the dialog in that forum.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Olav Revheim March 15, 2009 01:45PM
I'd be happy to help, Rock.

Please note that my knowledge and experience on locations outside Norway is close to non-existing. The best way for me to start is probably to fill in information on some of the Norwegian locations for the already existing locations, such as Actinolite- Altermark, Anatase- Hardangervidda, Aegirin- Rundemyr and others, Aeschynite-Y- Iveland & Hidra & Vesuvianite Kristiansand.

Starting from skratch with a new article, minerals like Thortveitite or Davidite may be a good start, both which are rare minerals with a limited number of known locations.


Rock Currier March 15, 2009 08:30PM
Thortvetite and Davidite would be a good place for you to start. I have created threads in the D & T minerals for you get started on. All you have to do is to add a reply to those thread entries and you will be on your way. Just keep editing your thread entry till you get it in good shape. You will find that creating these articles is a wonderful way to learn about minerals. You will also find that as you progress, that others may add their comments to the thread and help provide you with good information that you can incorporate into your articles. Ill check up on your progress from time to time and perhaps make suggestion about changes you might wish to make or add tips about how to make your work easier.

A good place to start is to read about those minerals in general reference books or on the net. This will help you generate the general text about the mineral before moving on to that of specific localities. Also go through the photo galleries here on mindat and select out those images that you think are the best and copy their Photo numbers into a notepad for easy retrieval and use when you are adding the images to your text.

You can send me a private message if you need some help, or just make a new reply to the thread you are working on and I will see it and can answer any questions you might have.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Knut Eldjarn March 15, 2009 10:26PM

I have a general concern about the pictures in your articles in the Best minerals forum. The pictures have been copied from the galleries in Mindat without consent or reference to the photographer or copyright. People stumbling on the articles may feel free to download the pictures to be used for other purposes without asking the Mindat members who have placed these photos in the Mindat galleries on the conditions of copyrights being respected. You should maybe discuss this issue with Jolyon.


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/15/2009 10:28PM by Knut Eldjarn.
Rock Currier March 15, 2009 11:38PM
All the images have captions, and those captions if you click on them will take you directly to the image which has the full information about that article including the copyright information. Many of the images that are in the Best Minerals articles were imported into the thread postings using what I call the old style image import system. About three days ago, Dave made a new method of importing images into the the thread postings for us, available through the little red rubelite icon just to the left of the smiley face on the tool bar above where we type in this stuff and when the images are imported with that method, the copyright information is automatically included below the image along with space for the caption. As time permits, the old style images will be replaced with the new style and you won't have to click on the caption to find the copyright information.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Knut Eldjarn March 16, 2009 12:16AM

Sorry to contradict you, but what you are writing is simply not true. I tried clicking on the identification code below each of the pictures in the actinolite article and just got an enlarged image of the specimen with no information whatsoever. I must admit that these things are worrying me as a contributor of copyrighted images and the uncertainties created by Jolyon after "changing the rules during the game" has influenced my uploading of photos. Also previously my main aim has been to contribute to the educational side of Mindat by uploading photos of species or from localities not previously pictured in Mindat. I have so far not uploaded my best photos or the photos of my best specimens in my gallery in Mindat and will be reluctant to do so also in the future. But I realize that if others feel the same way, it could also have a negative effect on your Best minerals project.

David Von Bargen March 16, 2009 04:41AM
The photos in the actinolite article are still all of the old style. The caption that Rock is referring to is the blue link below the photos, not the link in the photo itself. (ie second photo caption is "Actinolite, 9.5 cm across." ) With the new style, the caption and picture link both point to the full photograph page in mindat.
See calcite article for new style:
Rock Currier March 16, 2009 09:08AM
This is a further response to your concern about image copyrights. If you will take another look at the actinolite thread you will see that all the images have been changed out for the new image format that automatically displays the copyright information and constrains most of the images to 600 pixals? in width. It also provides them with a nice border that makes them look a lot better. If you decide you want to work on a mineral description in one of the threads, you can vary the width of the images to what ever you want and center it left, center or right. Dave did a great job on setting it up.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Jesse Fisher March 17, 2009 03:51PM
Hello Rock,

I would like to contribute to the fluorite section, but find that I can not post to it. Does one need to make a "special application" to become a contributor to this forum?

David Von Bargen March 17, 2009 05:24PM
Yes. If you would like to work on a topic (I'm sort of guessing it would be Fluorites - UK and not Fluorites - Antartica), you can post a new thread to this general forum and it can be moved over to the fluorite forum. Please follow the format that Rock has set up for these pages (for example the aluminum page or the calcite page - )
Rob Woodside May 25, 2009 12:27AM
I know we are just starting on this project, but it will be unending. One of the new things about this project is the revelation of the prices. I think we should be a little more careful with dating the prices. Statements like "You'd belucky to get a one for less than $1000." is good information now, but really it should be dated. E.g. "In 2009 you'd belucky to get a one for less than $1000." We all get a kick out the old Foote labels that say $5.00. Such a piece today is sometimes worth thousands. However prices may not always increase, though inflation which always seems to be with us should keep high quality pieces up there.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/25/2009 12:28AM by Rob Woodside.
Rock Currier May 25, 2009 03:03AM
Yes, you are right Bob. Thats why I like to see the persons name who generated a text block at the bottom of that block with a year date on it. If the US keeps printing money at the rate that they have been the dollar may be worth a lot less in two or three years than now. Soon it will be cheaper to collect coins and smelt them in metals than to mine ore for them.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Anonymous User May 30, 2009 11:21AM
I think Rock is doing a helluva job here with the Best Minerals forum, not to mention the other contributors, but I have to agree with Rob Woodside about the whole pricing issue creeping in. I don't think randomly including generalized information on a perceived cash value for a particular specimen, based on size or quality available at a given time is very useful to anyone, and may in fact be misleading.

Historically, specific mineral producing localities reported generalized values for those minerals produced or sold only as needed to pacify stakeholders and/or bureaucrats. To make a blanket statement that something like said mineral can be purchased for said amount, especially when the statement is not coming from the owner of the mineral deposit or the particular specimen - is problematic, and should really be kept to that loose-knit forum dedicated to monetary valuation for specific specimens, as in the Money Grubbers.

Please, let the sellers and buyers, businessmen and bureaucrats worry about issues such as cash value, and keep the Best Minerals forum focused on what truly are the best known examples of a mineral species for a given locality. That's my two cents in the pot - ka-ching!


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/30/2009 11:28AM by Scott L. Ritchie.
Rock Currier May 31, 2009 06:15AM

I tend to agree with you and don't often put in such pricing information, but I also think to ignore it is to divorce Best Minerals from a substantial chunk of reality. Every collector who buys minerals, and that means almost all of us face this every time we go to a mineral show, and of course big time when it comes to disposing of our collections or offering guidance to your children or wives who must try and get a decent price for our specimens. I thought of having a separate section for pricing alone, but decided against it in favor for the occasional estimate of price of the occasional hammer price at an auction. If we can't make value judgments about what specimens are worth, how can we make value judgments about what the best minerals are, which is what this whole Best Minerals thing is about. I do think however when such values are placed on specimens that is should be plane who is placing the values on them and the date. But keep complaining and making your arguments, you may be able to convince me otherwise.

Of course when you write some of the articles you could put your own value judgments to work and include just what you want to include. When authors do that here on Mindat I am reluctant to step in and change what they wrote, though I have been know to make suggestions to them from time to time. Sometimes they tell me that their English is not the best and could I help them out by cleaning up their text. In such cases I try to keep as faithful to their "voice" as I can. Beyond the more or less standard format that we have adopted I believe a range of opinion and value judgments expressed in the articles and the images the author selects will make the whole content here on Mindat a richer and more interesting experience for the user and that trying to create the whole "in my image" would be counterproductive and degrade the content.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
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