Friday, March 29, 2013

Elitism in the graphing world

A discussion I just had at an autograph-related discussion site made me think about this a bit. Do any of you ever encounter a sort of "hounding elitism" in your collecting?  I've seen it a good bit over the years and frankly, it annoys me.

I don't mean necessarily those who think they're better because of a better collection because frankly anyone can build a great collection by throwing money around on expensive pieces and private signings.  I'm talking about more of an informational elitism; that since they worked to find out anything and everything, that they would be doing the collecting world a disservice by sharing that info-- things like who signs, what items a player won't sign, just some basic info essential to the hobby.

I can understand having pride in your hobby accomplishments-- being able to identify every player, knowing what hotels each team stays at, knowing rosters like the back of your hand.  That's simply a case of doing your homework and every collector should do it.  As I said in a previous post, some early words that stuck with me were "If you don't know who he is, then you don't want his autograph too badly."

But some of the knowledge-hoarding is unreal.  I asked a simple question on whether the Cowboys players sign outside the Stadium or not.  It's a reasonable question-- why should I bother wasting my time if someone can tell me they won't sign?  I don't even care who signs, just do they do it or not?  Some teams don't: in Cleveland it was impossible to get the Cavs.  In Boston, it wasn't worth it to bother with the Celtics.  If someone asked me about something like that, I'd answer them honestly.

Incredibly the first response I got was "Some people keep their 'insider info.'"

Seriously?  THIS is what counts as insider info now?

I didn't ask who signs or even where they sign-- just whether or not they'll do it.  Is that too much to ask?  I can understand outrage if I showed up and asked who every player was.  Or if I asked what hotels teams stayed at.  Or even where specifically to go at the Stadium.  But getting jumped on for the most basic of questions?  Amazing.

You're going to encounter some info-hoarding anywhere you go in the collecting world, and rightly so.  There is protected insider information that hounds work hard to get.  It requires ingenuity and a little social engineering sometimes.  It's simple, but it takes some time and work.  If we can do it, you can do it.  There's basic homework that every collector should do on their own.  So I can understand protecting that.

But don't get all high and mighty over a simple question of "Will they sign at this location?"  It's about as basic of a question as it gets in this hobby, and it isn't worth getting indignant over it being asked.

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