Well i dont write much anymore so i figured id jot some thinkings down for you all to ponder.
Being around as long as i have ive noticed a tredn in how the prominent members of this lovely forum grow and flourish. They grow in set stages that are clearly different from one another and likely have a specific point in that members locksport career that they can recall exactly when they changed from one stage to another. There is no defined timeframe for these stages, these stages can be skipped (rarely) or a member can revert back to an earlier stage then proceed to progress again, all the wile learning and exploring.
Stage 1: Whats That?!?
The "Whats That?!?" stage is the infant stage of the locksport enthusiests life, everyone goes through this stage and there is no shame in being in this stage. This is the time frame when the forum member first joins with little to no knowledge of either how things work around a locksport forum or little knowlege of locks themselvs. It is important that these new blossoming members be treated with respect and encouraged along their path to adultood by our more expierienced members. During the "Whats That?!?" stage members seem to ask ALOT of questions, like; What is a binding order? How do i know when a pin is set? Whats a EVVA? or a plethora of other things that new members simply dont know. Instead of telling them to google it or directing them somewhere else, we need to take the time to answer their questions, no matter how many times we have answered them in the past. This is how we get these members to trust in the community and not their googling ability.
Stage 2: I got this whats next?
During the "I got this whats next?" stage a member has lerned the fundimentals of lockpicking and has mastered the low security lock. They understand how the forum works and are using it to the best of their ability and the learning curve REALLY picks up. They are now moving onto their first master #140 and discerning the binding order of their locks. they are figuring out what counter rotation is and how to use it to overcoms false sets. Now is the time for the mature members to encourage these youngsters as they stagger to a walk. Its the time for watching yt vids and offering encouragement and constructive criticisms. They want to know what the next big challange will be, its our job as the adults in their lives to tell them where to find the next challange and to help them jump that hurtle.
Stage 3: Gimme Gimme Gimme!!!
This stage is VERY popular among the up and coming. The "Gimme Gimme Gimme!!!" stage is where accomplished lockpickers (they can call themselves that now that they knwo what they are doing) are starting into the world of High Security. this is where they build amazing collections. These collections are not a dick measuring contest however, they are a tool belt. there is no winner or loser in the class of collector, there is only who gets to try the new lock and who must wait for the next one to roll by. whoever has the most money, or spends the most time in this stage has the most impressive collection... there is only 1 other way to amass great collections, that is luck. Building a collection takes pride and patience. you dont collect because you have too, you collect because it challanges you and you need to learn more. You learn more by defeating harder more complex locks. I myself stayed in this stage for quite some time before moving on finally. This is the time for the mentoring hobbiest to back off, let them buy locks and get that practace under their belt, only offer help when they ask for it. This is the rewarding time for the mentor, the time to watch these rising members GIVE BACK to the community when they learn something noone noticed before, the time to watch the new members gloat about how they beat their first medeco or they found an emhart for $45.
Stage 4: Here, try this.
This is the stage where the student becomes a mentor, in this stage the up and coming generation has collected till they are content (for now) maybe even started downsizing the locks that they beat so new members can learn from their past success locks. This is the stage when they are on the forum tohelp people, not to learn. That is not to say they will not enjoy learning, everyone here loves it when a new or accomplished member finds something we have not seen and teaches us. But in stages 1 and 2 we do not appreciate it, we add it to the book of other things we are learning and it becomes part of the class, the accomplished stage 4 member is impressed and takes it to heart, even helps with the research where he can. This is your lockpicking adulthood. Usually your collections take a dive, because you not only realize you have too many, but you want to help new members out aswell, sometimes you just need the money... money issues can force you into an early adulthood, when you are forced to stop collecting and start listening, you become an adult by default.
Stage 5: bye...
this is the stage noone wants to see, the stage where we move on and get too busy to log onto a forum and chat every day, we may stop by once a week, or once a month, but we dont come by often. we may even stop picking or just pack it up for awhile... this stage happens eventually... noone likes to see it happen though.
Stage 6: Triumphan Return! (per MBIs response, thanks)
This stage is generally a glorious day for all, when a long lost brother returns to claim his rightful place as one of the greats. You see, sometimes after the member attains greatness and has to leave due to any number of "busy"(stage 5), when the busy is over or when they find more time in their schedual, they can return to the forum they once loved and once again be a mentor to the up and coming generation. if they are gone for such a long time that new techniques and locks are in the hands of the students, the up and comings get the privelage of teaching one of the greats, which is good for everyone involved. often times when the more business locksmith greats return they bring new information for us to learn and study, maybe some safe combination lock or an electronic bypass. So new members, always welcome back the greats, if someone is being treated with much respect and you have never seen them, please check their account before bugging them about who they are.
I myself did not stay in stage one very long due to my access to locks... i had 5200s to practace on... thats it... so i boosted to the later part of stage 2 quickly and then stage 3 after another short time... I stayed there for nearly 3 years... I have finally passed on to my stage 4, not saying i wont jump on a new lock before the new comers realize how rare it is (perks of knowing so damn much) but i have no issues parting with most of my locks and have narrowed my collection down to about 1/3rd its former glory... now it is a managable ammount of locks still worth more than my car.
I feel everyone has a mentor, id have to say mine was the great kokomo, id follow that guy over a cliff if he was picking a lock, but the time has come when i stopped asking questions and started sharing expieriences. granted i did not meet kokomo till nearly stage 3, but that is due to my being orphaned at an early age by another forum
alas i see the days when i am nolonger among us coming soon. I see the busy coming like a fraight train and the enevitable is sure to come.
the pick making stages are different entirely and do not factor into this timeline... they are based partly on enjoyment, skill, availability of tools and materials, and lastly necessity.
I hope you all enjoyed this tour in the life of a community locksport enthusiest, come back and visit anytime