Norman C. Witte ncwitte at wittelaw.com
Thu Oct 13 18:34:13 EDT 2005


> On the other subject - It took me 12 minutes to type this
> letter. I have
> railed in the past about the "Internet mentality" that thinks
> that all
> information ought to be free - that means it has no inherent value.
> There will always be lots of "free" information  but it will almost
> always be totally inadequate for most people.


I don't know that all information "ought" to be free...I make my living
selling advice, after all.  But the free information available on this list
has enabled me to do things I never thought I would be able to do.
Sometimes it's the reassurance that someone will call me out when I start
down a wrong path that makes it easier for me to get comfortable with
tackling projects, sometimes its a solution to a problem that I can't
resolve after reading the shop manual, but the free advice I get on this
list has been invaluable to me.  When I post a question, I frequently get
answers that either don't address my problem or are obviously wrong, but in
between I also frequently get expert, accurate advice.  I try always to
thank those who respond, even the ones whose advice I don't follow, because
at the very least they took time to address my question.

I own a lot of Corvair books and I read them, but I disagree that the "free"
information I get here is anywhere near "totally inadequate."

On further reflection, I don't think it's really free, either.  Instead it's
a barter system.  I share what I learn, and you share what you learn.  Terry
Kalp has provided me with many excellent technical answers over the years.
I was pleased in the last weeks when I was able to return the favor a little
by writing about installing the body trim around the well on my convertible
and about recovering the interior quarter panels.  It takes me time to write
down what I do, and for me time really is money, but I do it for two
reasons.  First, I am proud of my accomplishments and I want to share what I
have done, and second, I hope to provide a resource for others who want to
take on more ambitous projects than they've been willing to tackle in the

I wasn't offended by the idea of writing out a detailed recipe for
rebuilding motors.  Whether those who have the knowledge and skills also
have the time and inclination, I don't know.  But I find it odd that the
idea would generate such a strong negative reaction by various members of
the list.  Maybe the idea will be stillborn, but the Basics manual started
pretty much the same way.  Nothing wrong with throwing it out there and
seeing if it will fly.

I do think a lot of the necessary information can be found in places like
the shop manual, Bob Helt's excellent book, the vendor catalogs, and so
forth.  But if someone pulled together all the parts information in one
place, there might be interest in such a publication.

I don't think the idea deserves to be treated as a
"you-just-don't-want-to-read-the-book" heresy.

Go ahead and toast me.


PS  Hank, you must be mellowing.  Did I miss it or did you not issue the
traditional closing phrase?

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