I was on my fifteen-minute break at work the other day when someone submitted a topic. I try my best to answer reader submissions despite controversies.
@JonlynL would the StudioG masterclass make for a good blog? Specifically, I’m fascinated with why people have this stance that they define what is and isn’t acceptable with “THEIR” hobby. And if someone goes outside that they are now a problem? Any thoughts?A lovely twitter reader
In all honestly, I was unaware of the whole ordeal at the time. So, when I got home I slumped down in front of my laptop and went to work pouring over social media and the cracks of the hobby.
What had caused a stir in the gunpla community had been StudioG offering a seven-day virtual masterclass for hobby basics at the price of a hundred dollars to 430$. The basics include things such as scribing, airbrushing, using styrene plating, and so on. All wrapped together in a bow that says “StudioG’s Masterclass is designed to help you customize your model kits like how a pro should“. along with a promise that this will all be achieved in seven days. I went to look for further details but only to find most of the information to be scrubbed from the internet quickly, but the impact had been seen.
I reached out to the community and found mixed results when it came to opinions.
Some opted in favor of it, stating that it is a business. That with the selling point of 430 you walk away with tools and sets of paint. If people want to spend the money on it, then so be it. Others vocalized that, while in favor of the business aspect, dislike the monetization of knowledge. It was even taking a step further when some spoke up that it wouldn’t be a terrible idea except that they felt there were rare interacts with the community other than pushing products.
There was neutral ground where indifference was held. Monetization of specific skills that aren’t free knowledge seemed to be okay.
Then there were those who disliked the concept. Concerns over making money rather than the best interest of the community. That the foundation of the community is the peer-to-peer sharing of knowledge without the use of money. Discouragement over the idea that knowledge should be paid for, and that knowledge should be free. A gatekeeping of information from those who cannot afford it.
Many believe that it feels like a swindle. Especially considered there was talk of a price drop after a while. 100$ to 30$ in the future.
Some just shrugged it off as a typical influencer and wished for it not to become the norm.
To quote one community member:
I have realized that studio g’s decision really is not “bad” or remarkably exploitative. But it does feel like someone setting up a hot dog truck at a food pantry. Time and place, dude. Time and Place.
There is also an argument going on about how this compared to something like patreon where people can pay monthly. Well, there is a difference between making people pay for something to, say a masterclass, rather than inviting people (through patreon) to contribute if they want. Most patreon accounts tend not to block a lot of the information they share. Some post easily accesses but the information will still be made public at some point.
Not to mention the notable cost difference. Some offer just one dollar a month tier that people can sign up to if they want. Granted most things behind a paywall on patreon are NSFW 18+.
Another rising option I am seeing in the scale modeling community is Ko-Fi. Strictly donation based. No monthly sign ups unless you want too. Most of the content is up available and donations are made by what people can afford.
Paywalls here and there…
I am not terribly surprised by the attempt of hobby paywalls nor is a new thing for me.
Some of you know that I have a degree in criminology, the study of crime and criminal behavior. Both the natural sciences and social sciences (along with many other career fields) are plagued by paywalls for information. Which is terribly frustrating for people entering the field.
A good chunk of the criminology journals is out of cost for anyone entering the field. The cost of publishing these journals is out of hand. There had been a relevant paper that I had an extreme interest in only for the small cost of 42$. What university student afford ONE just one journal at that price? Especially when some go for more. I’ve seen them go as high as 75$.
Of course, there is a long-complicated spiel about how difficult it is for the publishers to publish these journals, minus the fact that most universities have to pay millions in subscriptions (I want to know how much of that goes into my tuition rates) and the labor that goes into it by the authors. The irony is that the universities often employ those writing the journals.
(Looking at you Elsevier.)
How are we going to thrive in science if we cannot afford to learn innovative, up-to-date, research? Especially when most of the scientific research conducted is done by the support of federal tax dollars. This extends into biology, criminal justice, and even medicinal journals. This bars people who cannot participate on a fiscal level.
The same can be said for journal paywalls (as a way to increase revenue both online and print). Even blog seem to have paywalls.
(don’t worry, this will be free for everyone).
Information should be open access to benefit the masses.
Open access is the concept that information should be available to all.
Free information for all
Free information benefits all. That’s all.
Free information is priceless for the community, especially beginners.
Theres also an abundance of online sources that people can go to for hobby information that doesn’t involve spending money. Hell, there’s even build nights if those are accessible.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone. Most people in the hobby are willing to provide help for free or can point you in the direction of someone who can.
One example of it that I’ve seen this weekend is by a dude named Keven. He published a book called the Model Maker that can be bought for free using the code “cash money” to get it for free (use all lower cases).
One goal I have in mind for December is setting up a resource page for beginners, or anyone in that matter, to be able to scroll through and find videos about what they are looking for. Scribing, decals, funky painting techniques, you name it. (Thanks to @the.salty.robot for the idea and dealing with my rambles about it.)
What do you think? Drop a comment below and tell me what you think, I’d love to hear it.
Have a great Monday everyone!