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but seriously folks.

     
5:14 am on Mar 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

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So I get an e-mail from someone I've known online for ages. He's excited to discover that I have a website. (I'd mentioned it in the course of some discussion or other.)

I said: What are you talking about? Your cat has a website!

He said: Yes, but I didn't know you had a website.

Here is the food-for-thought question: Is there any other human activity that has this mixture of people doing it for fun-- or "doing it on the side" if that sounds less insulting-- and people making a living at it?

Snap answer: Well, yes. All of them. But I'm trying to think of a serious analogy. I keep thinking professional sports. But, well, come on. Pro football players may make pots of money, but they don't get annoyed when they see someone playing touch football on the lawn. Granted, they probably would be annoyed if you tried to conduct your pickup game in the AstroDome while they're trying to use it.

What is the analogy? Mechanics? Naah again. You can tinker or you can do it for a living-- but even the most dedicated auto mechanic doesn't stand to win all or lose all depending on how good he is.

Astronomy? It's supposed to be the only skilled endeavor where significant discoveries can still be made by amateurs.

Can't be anything in the housekeeping realm. Things like food preparation have to be done-- by somebody-- whether you enjoy it or not, and also whether you get paid for it or not.

I'm overlooking something obvious, aren't I?
8:06 am on Mar 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Here is the food-for-thought question: Is there any other human activity that has this mixture of people doing it for fun-- or "doing it on the side" if that sounds less insulting-- and people making a living at it?
Prostitution? ;)
8:39 am on Mar 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Great Answer BeeDeeDubbleU! Love that.
Also, how about:
Murderers?
I wonder which one would look down his nose more at the other one, the hit man or the serial killer?
8:57 am on Mar 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I think Lucy was looking for serious replies so let's get on track. ;)

Writing? Lots of people like writing for the sake of it.
9:18 am on Mar 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Music?
9:36 am on Mar 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Anything that may be done by both volunteers and professionals:

1) Religious activities (not all of them, but quite a lot)
2) Looking after children (leave them with grandparent or a creche)
3) Helping other groups of people (disabled, elderly, etc.)
4) In the UK, shops selling second hand goods (most are run by charities)
5) Fund-raising for any of the above.

Thinking about it for almost all the above (including other people's answers) I think the more is done by the amateurs the better (e.g. its better to play sports than watch pros).
9:39 am on Mar 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

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interior design and to a lesser extent trading in antiques.

... there are a bunch of people in these businesses who do it for fun and something to do (often but not always, they are the wives or daughters of someone very rich - which is also often how they get their clients)
9:44 am on Mar 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@BeeDeeDubbleU

thanks for that, excellent answer, gave me a smile over my morning coffee!
10:05 am on Mar 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Acting?
12:11 pm on Mar 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Reminds me of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain the second chapter, where Tom gets the kids from the neighbourhood paint Aunt Pollys fence because he makes work look like doing it for fun.

If he had been a great and wise philosopher, like the writer of this book, he would now have comprehended that Work consists of whatever a body is OBLIGED to do, and that Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do. And this would help him to understand why constructing artificial flowers or performing on a tread–mill is work, while rolling ten–pins or climbing Mont Blanc is only amusement. There are wealthy gentlemen in England who drive four–horse passenger–coaches twenty or thirty miles on a daily line, in the summer, because the privilege costs them considerable money; but if they were offered wages for the service, that would turn it into work and then they would resign.

[etc.usf.edu...]
3:14 pm on Mar 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Flying-- private vs commercial!

There are a few forms of flying for recreational purposes. Private Pilot's license, Recreational license, ultralight's, base jumpers in wing suits, skydivers. All done for the shear joy of the experience.

The difference between the above, and a commercial pilot, is that the latter wakes up each morning laughing at the concept of being paid to fly, something s/he would in many cases gladly do for peanuts -- like bush pilots in Canada's north.

As a private pilot license holder myself since 1986 I have only ever had two better experiences, one was witnessing the completely natural drug-free childbirth of my two daughters. The first one is a little fuzzy because they had to give me oxygen as I was passing out. But the second time I was calling the play-by-play while my wife (ex) was screaming, telling me she was dying, and shaking her fist at me saying "this is your fault". Second daughter was a very healthy plump dumpling, so large, so painful it was have been, tisk.

The other experience, the ultimate one, happened in 2006, but I cannot talk about it.
5:19 pm on Mar 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

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BeeDeeDubbleU's answer was my first thought... I can certainli imagine some of them being upset at other people "giving it away" and taking away their market share. :)

But if you think about it a little differently (adult movies), it's actually a serious answer. With many people posting their homemade videos (with or without the permission of all parties involved), people don't need to pay to watch the "pros" (and given the number of free sites, people don't even have to pay for that either).

And jecasc's post sparked a more serious answer: writing. Many "amateur" writers use non-traditional publishing methods (blogs, e-books, self-publishing) that could make "real" writers (not to mention their publishers) cringe.
7:16 pm on Mar 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Good point about writing. My main website makes money from advertising, but it covers the same ground the used to be covered by reference books I owned many years ago. Many of us are "giving it away" by the standards of dead trees publishers.
2:44 pm on Mar 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

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The word is 'autotelic' :)
5:03 am on Mar 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Prostitution?

Y'know, I was trying really hard not to say that :)

I wonder which one would look down his nose more at the other one, the hit man or the serial killer?

What a delightful analogy. Except that the Boring Old Poop in me says that supposedly there is no such thing as a hit man; if you're in that type of work you are expected to clean up your own messes. Or deal with competitors as you see fit.

Many "amateur" writers use non-traditional publishing methods (blogs, e-books, self-publishing) that could make "real" writers (not to mention their publishers) cringe.

I think the distinction is on its way to disappearing. Thanks to computerized typesetting, professional writers can have much more control over the final output than they did even a few decades ago. Conversely, some of those Print On Demand productions can end up in your public library. And nobody is prepared to shell out for decent proofreading, let alone real copy editing.

:: detour to dictionary ::

D'oh. I should have been able to figure that out without looking it up.
9:40 am on Mar 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

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programming, to a certain extent.
(similar to writing in a way)

i mention this because many programmers i know didn't start out programming or get formal training - they were typically trying to solve a problem in their original pursuit and the programming took over.
10:16 am on Mar 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I've made money on the side as an artist, musician, photographer and a programmer although programming became my profession.

I think it's easier to list jobs you really can't do on the side like lawyer, doctor, senator...
8:38 am on Mar 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Woodworking
10:19 pm on Mar 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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What are you talking about? Your cat has a website!


Is it loads of pictures of naked dogs?
9:53 pm on Mar 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Is there any other human activity that has this mixture of people doing it for fun-- or "doing it on the side" if that sounds less insulting-- and people making a living at it?


I studied a degree in languages and linguistics before I did a couple of postgrads relating to sociology (how any of this relates to SEO, markup and server-side scripting, I have no idea)...

... so my immediate thought answer to this question was:

"Yes! Languages!"