the end

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Ralph Herold
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the end

Post by Ralph Herold » Thu May 10, 2007 5:20 pm

Quite understandably, questions have arisen about the course this website will take. With great relief, I hereby present you the long overdue answers:

Why have their been no updates for such a long time?
While I was short on time for about a month, the ultimate reason is that I do not feel commited to document Magic anymore.

What!? How on earth could this happen?
This is a good question. There is no single reason but more of a mixture of events and factors which wore me down. Let me name the ones which come to my mind in no particular order:

- I am a lot less interested in collecting Magic than I used to be. Again, there are many reasons, but the main one is that I feel overwhelmed by the masses of items I need to collect. We now have four sets a year on a regular basis, a plethora of promo cards is being thrown at us (of which the judge cards increased in value dramatically), and Asian third-party products flood the market, just to name a few things. Being obliged to purchase all these items just to sort them and archive them does no longer excite me but has become a burden, both in time and money. I might even stop collecting, but this is a decision for another day.

- I have realized that I do neither have the time anymore required to uphold the standards this website is built upon nor do I have the will to spend it. It is one thing to devote the majority of your free-time for a hobby project and neglect your studies when nobody pushes you, but it is a totally different thing to have a job and to be confronted with a very limited supply of free-time of which all your interests struggle to gain a small portion. Speaking of interests, my devotion to maintain and expand this website has caused a severe imbalance in disfavor of all my other hobbies. In hindsight, it just seemed to be a matter of time before it became insufferable.

- My own ambition has defeated me. When I set out to craft the new design, I wanted it to be perfect and to encompass all the ideas which had come to my mind over the years and which empowered my desire to redesign the old website in the first place. The downside of this perfection was that the workload exploded, especially concerning image processing, and several sources of information and data became useless because they did not meet all requirements. Despite the strong support of a few people, some goals became unfeasible. A good example are the expansion logos. Originally, my plan was to use Eric's booster pack images and cut out the logos. Soon after, it became clear that the images were too small and that all the boosters needed to be rescanned. Eric was kind enough to send me a few scans but he made it clear that he would never rescan all his packs. While I was still thinking about how to convince Eric to rethink his position and even considered to pay him for his work, it was hinted to me that the booster box logos differed from the booster pack logos and usually provided even better and more memorable logos. I dismissed this option as impracticable, as obtaining booster boxes for all sets in all langauges would be even more difficult and next to impossible but the mere thought of being stranded with second class logos derived from booster packs kept nagging at me and tainted my appreciation of booster pack logos irreversibly.

- My business relations did not turn out as expected. When I decided to rebuild the website, I knew I had to earn some money somehow rooted to my expertise in Magic in order to be able to justify my commitment of time to the website. For that reason, I contacted Wizards of the Coast in USA, explained to them the situation I faced, and asked them for support of any kind. They never even responded. A similar approach of the German division remained unfruitful as well. I also engaged into business, namely consulting, with a trading card company but met heavy resistance when I pointed out that their marketing model was obsolete. We parted soon after.

- I had faced termination of what I thought to be a friendship (over a matter unrelated to this website) with somebody who in fact is a very important collector with access to many very rare items. Without his support, I lost my ability to update the documentation of these items.

Note that while I blame a few people for different things, I do not blame anybody for my decision to quit. I just want to point out causalities.

Why the heck did you not tell us earlier? The website maintenance has not worked smoothly for much longer than the last three months!
A valid question. First, let me emphasize that there were periods of time in between where I simply did not have the time to work on the website, even though I wanted to, most notably during my exams preparation. Nonetheless, the first time where I became unsure about the whole website project dates back longer than my exams and resurfaced numerous times in between. So why did I not make it public (note that I told a few people on a private basis)? The following reasons come to my mind:

- I had been working for the website and later on the website since its earliest days under Bob's reign and it had become a very important part of my life. I had spent more time with it than most people with their partner. To give it up felt like a divorce and probably was one of the hardest decisions in my life so far.

- Everbody who is very involved in a hobby knows that there are always less favourite elements to it and that despite the great overall fascination, the daily excitement flows and ebbs over time. When I noticed my first phase of waning interest, I could not yet decide whether it was just an insignificant fluctuation or the beginning of a one way development. I hoped for the former.

- I am by my nature a careful person. I take my time to think things through and I wait until I feel totally confident before I act. The upside is that I rarely regret my decisions, which is very important to me. The downside is that my decisions sometimes take a long time and time can become a luxury when others rely on my decisions. In this case, having you keep waiting struggled with my strife for confidence longer than I wished and I feel sorry about that.

- There was a time when I was fully commited to the website all the time and I was completely reliable. When I said I do something, I did. This reputation had become grazed over time due to numerous factors. Knowing that I had not kept all promises I had made, I deeply feared to fall further from grace by spreading false confidence before feeling certain about myself. Therefore, I remained silent for the time being.

What will happen now?
I will no longer update the website but leave it online as a monument and archive for public use. The forum will stay active in its current form - until a replacement has been found. Within the near future, I will make public all the unreleased raw data I had collected from numerous sources for public use.

Is this the end then?
It depends - on you. Now that you know that the Magic Library has come to its end, the road is clear for you to venture on your own quest. And if you belong to those who expressed their desire to take a turn in the command chair, well, this is the opportunity for you to put of all your words into action.

Why do you not simply hand over the website to somebody else?
This question has been risen already and I loathe it because I know the answer is a difficult one. Yet I think you deserve an answer nonetheless. The honest answer is that I do not think there is somebody who could replace me. I think that only I am capable to maintain the website according to what I wanted it to be. Now am I selfish? Am I Captain Ahab who sacrifices everything recklessly in pursuit of his own personal delusion and ultimately drowns his own ship along with himself? Maybe, but on second thought, there is more to it. The underying truth I see is that only the creator of an idea is able to bring it to full blossom. Other people can try to adopt the foreign mindset but are doomed never to bring it to full potency as long as they do not reshape it according to their own vision. Therefore, it is pointless for somebody to simply take over. Whoever feels commited to document Magic now first has to decide for himself a bundle of very imporant questions. What exactly do you want to document? How do you want to document it? Do you have the necessary resources at hand to put your idea to practice? Do you have sufficient time at your disposal to maintain the level of commitment you are about to introduce? In summary, whoever wants to document Magic has to shape his own vision of it. Only after he has, he will be able to embed all the information and images already available within his envisioned structure and can carefully add new data. I went through a similar process when Bob handed over his website long ago and you will have to as well. I permit everybody to make use of all the data this website provides as he sees fit and I will gladly link to any serious attempt made to document Magic in the tradition of this website.

Before I close, I wish to express my gratitude to Dave Riddle, Andrew Alchemist, and Hans-Dietrich Pester. Those three offered tremendous upport when I redesigned the page and I feel sorry that our shared vision will not come to fruition. Furthermore, I wish to thank all those who stood loyal by my side and believed in me during less glamorous days. I also wish to thank all those who supported me in the past, most notably Alexis Ambrunn who used to be the greatest contributor this website ever had. They all played their part in making this website become so special. They deserve to be called the real Magic Library community and I had great pleasure to work with them.

Farewell,
-- Ralph
Last edited by Ralph Herold on Thu May 10, 2007 10:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Ralph Herold
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Post by Ralph Herold » Thu May 10, 2007 5:21 pm

raw data

a collection of the new set symbols I intended to use
http://www.magiclibrary.net/images/general/symbols.html

-- more to come --

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misterpid
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Post by misterpid » Thu May 10, 2007 8:55 pm

Ralph,

Thank you for all the years of hard work and effort that you've put into this site. I wish you the best of luck with anything and everything you decide to do now that you're putting the website behind you.


Stuart
Always looking for:
Legends Presence of the Master (English or Italian)
Dark Sorrow's Path (English or Italian)
Non-English Contract From Below.

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Charlie
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Post by Charlie » Thu May 10, 2007 9:10 pm

Thanks very much for years of hardworking.

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me-and_we
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Post by me-and_we » Fri May 11, 2007 7:24 am

This is a very sad thing to hear, but everyone has to make his/her decisions in life. Thanks a lot for all the effort and hard work you put into this site...

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equi-nox76
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Re: the end

Post by equi-nox76 » Fri May 11, 2007 7:52 am

Ralph,

I can understand everything you wrote and I can not put into words how regrettable it is you'll quit.

But one thing IS NOT TRUE =
Ralph Herold wrote:... I feel sorry that our shared vision will not come to fruition.
I think every member will see this similar; this website ALREADY CAME TO FRUITION!

Like Konfuzius said: „The journey ist the reward.“

Thanks to you Ralph!! =D>

Chris

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dragsamou
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Post by dragsamou » Fri May 11, 2007 10:55 am

Hi Members.
I believe this Website is like the Phoenix and will reborn from his ashes...
I will have a phone talk with Ralph this afternoon,and will keep you informed,too many "The End" for me lately,so I will do anything to keep this one Alive.
Want/Have Lists.
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=8903
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1515
I Love you Dad.R.I.P.

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pp
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Post by pp » Fri May 11, 2007 12:03 pm

dragsamou wrote:too many "The End" for me lately,so I will do anything to keep this one Alive.
Also very sad news for me too

I would vote to keep the site online with a little more collaboration, for me this was the main problem. Why not share tasks?

Patrick

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pickle.69
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Post by pickle.69 » Fri May 11, 2007 12:15 pm

pp wrote:
dragsamou wrote:too many "The End" for me lately,so I will do anything to keep this one Alive.
Also very sad news for me too

I would vote to keep the site online with a little more collaboration, for me this was the main problem. Why not share tasks?

Patrick
I have to second that.

Dear Ralph, thanks a lot for your hard work. Maybe more sometimes is less the "80/20 rule" is one of my personal goal's in nearly all ways.

Thanks a lot for the great work you did until now, knowbody will be able to replace you. Big Foots leave big marks. But maybe a small footed can leave its marks also.

I hope we stay in contact.
Richard
Collections needing help
Shivan Dragons http://beam.to/shivandragon
Alpha Dwarven Demo Team h: 5%
http://www.magiclibrarities.net/forum/v ... 9506#29506

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bigfatkitty
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Post by bigfatkitty » Fri May 11, 2007 12:29 pm

This just makes me sad. I fully understand Ralph's position and wish him the best with whatever life throw's at him next.

Thanks for all you've done. We'll miss you.
Solitary Member of Dragsamou's 'Dirty Frenchie' Fan Club.
Worshiped by all Netherlandians.

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dragsamou
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Post by dragsamou » Fri May 11, 2007 2:36 pm

Hi Members.
So,I have been talking to Ralph for a while,and we arrive to that:
I will moove the Old Version of Magiclibrary to another webspace like this one with a very similar other name in the next weeks.Basically,as a First step,all the new Promos,Rarities, of the existing section will be added as well as new categories(Gateway,Scholarships,Pro-Tour Promos,Grand Prix promos,etc..).There's one part,that I can't take care of,is the Technical one,so,I will need the help of some Members,willing to work with me on that project.Thanks to contact me.
Want/Have Lists.
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=8903
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1515
I Love you Dad.R.I.P.

Gryfalia
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Post by Gryfalia » Fri May 11, 2007 3:50 pm

I will second..third..whatever number all the positive comments to you Ralph. You ran a great ship here, and sometimes ya just have to do something different. Your work is greatly appreciated and we won't forget!

/sniff

Gryfalia

Mr.C
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Post by Mr.C » Fri May 11, 2007 4:42 pm

dragsamou wrote:Hi Members.
So,I have been talking to Ralph for a while,and we arrive to that:
I will moove the Old Version of Magiclibrary to another webspace like this one with a very similar other name in the next weeks.Basically,as a First step,all the new Promos,Rarities, of the existing section will be added as well as new categories(Gateway,Scholarships,Pro-Tour Promos,Grand Prix promos,etc..).There's one part,that I can't take care of,is the Technical one,so,I will need the help of some Members,willing to work with me on that project.Thanks to contact me.
PM me, Mr. Ambrunn. I can work on it. We also have two or three members here who can pitch in.

I'd be glad to help.

Ralph, thank you sir for all the effort. Will write more later.

hammr7
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Post by hammr7 » Fri May 11, 2007 5:01 pm

Ralph,

I want to thank you for the all the years and all the effort you have put into the site. It has been, and will continue to be, an enormous help to my Magic collecting endeavors. It is the best single source for information on older rarities in the world, and for that you should be extremely proud. You need look no further than the increasing number of references (from eBay to Wikipedia) to know this is true.

It has also provided a mechanism for a community of like-minded collectors to develop. This has been a subject of debate, and it is true that many forum members have become involved for short-term, single item (or even greed-based) reasons. But the core of long-term members has become a community. I have communicated with most; and have traded, bought and sold with many. If they were to visit my corner of the world, or if I were to visit theirs, I would want to get together with most of them. Should I ever make it back to Germany I would certainly want to meet you in person. And there is a great deal of site loyalty from the lurker community, who love the site but feel intimidated about active participation, fearing they have little to contribute.

I understand your frustrations. Magic can become overwhelming. There are so many sets, so many accessories, and so many tangential products. And other than the sets (and some promo cards), there is so little support from Wizards. It is tough enough to document normal releases in just one language when information is available from the supplier. When you have regular and special releases in almost a dozen languages, and all the peripherals, with minimal documentation, the task becomes a nightmare. Like most, I have been forced to limit my collection tremendously to keep it from spinning out of control.

And being the site administrator & developer has put you in the middle of many personal issues. No two people are ever going to see everything the same way. As a result there will be problems from time to time. Some people have a knack of resolving problems at arms length, while others take them to heart. I know that you are among the latter. I'm sure that stepping away will allow you to regain a personal freedom that has probably been missing for a while.

I can promise you that the goals of this site will be continued in some form. I hope that your frustrations do not lead you to divorce yourself completely from Magic, and that in time you can reclaim a balance that includes utilizing and contributing the extensive knowledge you have gained. Your experiences over the past few years make you a precious resource in this area. It will be a blow to lose your efforts towards this site. But it would be a much greater blow to lose you completely.

So again I wish to thank you for everything you have done. I hope this is not a goodbye, but simply a change of focus, a handing of the baton to the next runner in the race to learn everything we can about the oddities and rarities associated with Magic.

Lasbrook
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Post by Lasbrook » Fri May 11, 2007 5:28 pm

Good luck in your future endeavors Ralph. I know i dont post on this site that much but without it i probably wouldnt have been able to start my collection or be anywhere near the point i am today (which is still far from the finish line, heh.).

Thanks for everything.

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