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Too Many Choices . . . or Not Enough?

Call me crazy, but I think hashers appreciate having choices.

Not that long ago, you had to subscribe to hard-copy print newsletters to discover what was going on in the rest of the hashing world, and there weren’t many newsletters to chose from. Today, while you can still subscribe to newsletters (as many do, including me), you can also get hash news electronically, instantly and for free. And you can get e-news from a wide selection of sources.

True, the majority of hashers worldwide still don’t have e-mail or internet access. They rely on print and word of mouth for info about hashing outside their local area.

But where does that word of mouth come from? Mainly from hashers who have e-mail and internet access, that’s where. Not only that, newsletters today are full of news and info downloaded right off the web (a great amount of it right from this site). The internet is becoming the dominant source of hash news for all of us, whether or not we’re on the net.

Hash webmasters pursue varied goals. Some offer international news. Some maintain regional and national information centers. Some try to entertain us. Together, they offer hashers a tremendous amount of information.

No one editor could offer all this stuff in a single newsletter or web page, far less keep it all up to date – and yet there are some hashers who argue that one source of info is all the hash world needs. As one who once tried to publish an all-in-one hash web page, I know firsthand how false that argument is.

Internet old-timers will remember that I used to publish a list of worldwide hash contacts. It was impossible to keep that huge list current, and since I’d rather publish no info than bad info, I cut my coverage back to the Americas once other hash webmasters began to create regional and national hash web pages. For contacts outside of the Americas I link to regional and national web sites, and the webmasters of those sites link to me. What a difference this has made in the quality of the contact info hash webmasters are able to offer! The world is too much, but regions and nations are manageable. By distributing the load, each webmaster concentrating on one country or region, we have a task we can get our arms around. Today, you can get quality hash info from a variety of internet sites, all of them excellent.

If I were to die tomorrow, the hash world would take little notice. There are other sources for the info and news I provide on my web page. Ditto Prof, Baldrick, or Beaver Bam Bam Balls (hey, nothing personal, guys – just making an example here). But if there were only one source of hash info and news, and if that editor died, got sick, trashed his computer, or had to get a job that prevented him from carrying on his hash work, we would all suffer.

It’s always seemed slightly incredible to me that we have this small group of “harrieditors” working their voluntary butts off providing news, info and entertainment to the rest of us. Even for those who sell subscription newsletters and magazines, there’s no money in it. And the editors who write and maintain web sites are even worse off – they literally pay for the privilege of keeping us informed.

I hope hashers realize how much they benefit from having multiple sources of hash news. I also hope they realize how important it is they continue to keep the editors who provide hash news and info updated. Please, dear hashers, keep those contact and event announcements coming. Support your regional and national webmasters. The better the info you give them, the better the info they’ll give to hashers everywhere.

- Flying Booger

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