Faithlife, Please Fix the Early Church Fathers

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This post has 39 Replies | 4 Followers

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Matthew | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Dec 7 2015 6:59 AM

The background for this thread can be found here: https://community.logos.com/forums/t/119830.aspx

There are two versions of the Early Church Fathers sold by Faithlife, one for Protestants and one for Catholics:

https://www.logos.com/product/5771/early-church-fathers-protestant-edition

https://www.logos.com/product/7832/early-church-fathers-special-catholic-edition

Per the description on the product page for the Catholic Edition:

"The Early Church Fathers comes in two versions, Protestant and Catholic. Simply put, the difference is that the Protestant edition contains additional front matter written at a later date. There is no difference in the actual ECF text."

There are two problems I would like to suggest be fixed.

1. Faithlife prides itself on stating that users never pay for the same product twice, but in this case users who already own one version of the Early Church Fathers essentially do pay for the same product twice whenever they purchase a package that includes the other version. Someone who already owns the Catholic version will at least can some additional content, but someone who already owns the Protestant version will be paying for a stripped-down (value subtracted, rather than value added) version of what they already own. Since the set is public domain and no royalties are involved (as far as I know), why charge users twice? It seems like owners of the Protestant version should not have to pay anything for the Catholic version and owners of the Catholic version should pay at most an extremely small amount for the Protestant version.

2. Several users (see first link I provided) have commented on the fact that some books sold by Logos link to the Protestant version and some books link to the Catholic version. In other words, for all links to work, users have to purchase BOTH editions of this set. They each sell for $229.95, so that duplicate ownership isn't necessarily cheap. Mark Barnes has already outlined a solution to this problem (again, see first link). Faithlife fixed a similar problem in the past with Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics by Wallace. I would like to suggest that the fix described by Mark be implemented.

I am sure Faithlife has its reasons, but I personally do not see the value in even maintaining separate editions if the only difference is the removal of material that one group or the other might not agree with. I am not aware of any other products sold by Faithlife where this has happened, and it is an understatement to say that other products also have content that one group or another strongly objects to. If a Catholic publisher put out an edition of this set that included Catholic notes, and a Protestant publisher put out another edition of the set that included Protestant notes, then selling both sets would make sense. That is not the case here.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 7 2015 7:15 AM

FYI, back in 2012 we were told that Logos were "working on a possible solution": https://community.logos.com/forums/p/44241/329279.aspx#329279

I suggested at the time that could be as simple as the software intercepting links for one version and passing them to the other version (if only one version exists). That would be a simpler solution to the one I suggested in the other thread, as it works around rather than solves the problem. But it probably wouldn't be able support prioritisation, and would have to be implemented independently on mobile and web. But it would certainly be a lot better than nothing.

(Perhaps at the same time Logos could do the same for the two editions of the Tyndale New Testament Commentaries and Bible Speaks Today commentaries.)

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Ted Hans | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 7 2015 8:09 AM

Matthew:
1. Faithlife prides itself on stating that users never pay for the same product twice, but in this case users who already own one version of the Early Church Fathers essentially do pay for the same product twice whenever they purchase a package that includes the other version.

Matthew are you sure about this? I ask because long time ago that may have been the case but i don't think it is so presently, i could be wrong. When I upgraded to a verbum base package my sales rep did not charge me for the catholic edition.

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Matthew | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 7 2015 8:25 AM

Ted Hans:
Matthew are you sure about this?

I can't speak for what individual sales reps may do, but the website definitely charges. I only own the Protestant version, and every bundle or package I look at that includes the Catholic version lists it among the titles that are "new to me," and there is a corresponding price listed that is not $0.00. There is nothing online to indicate that owners of one version are not being charged for the other, and that gives me great pause in buying certain bundles/packages. 

Even if a sales rep did offer me the Catholic version for free (please do!), that would not solve the links problem. I would want to hide one set so I don't get duplicate search results, but I couldn't hide one set or else not all links in my library would work, apparently.

EDIT: Here is a screenshot showing me being charged for it in an Orthodox package. Apologies for the sloppy circling job - it was done from my phone rather than my desktop! 

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Ted Hans | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 7 2015 8:43 AM

Thanks Matthew for taking the time to respond. I now see what you mean, hopefully FL will address this.

Regards.

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Fr Devin Roza | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 7 2015 9:29 AM

Yes, please fix this!

Posts 4023
SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 7 2015 12:34 PM

Matthew:
Even if a sales rep did offer me the Catholic version for free (please do!), that would not solve the links problem.

I would accept a free (Protestant) version too.

In fact, one simple if non-ideal workaround from FL's point of view might be to set the price of one version to $0.00 if you own the other. This would allow us customers not to pay for the same work twice while not confusing people by a sudden and inexplicable download of duplicate resources if FL simply unlocked the other set automatically for those of us who only have one of them.

Posts 934
Matthew | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 7 2015 1:02 PM

SineNomine:
In fact, one simple if non-ideal workaround from FL's point of view might be to set the price of one version to $0.00 if you own the other. This would allow us customers not to pay for the same work twice while not confusing people by a sudden and inexplicable download of duplicate resources if FL simply unlocked the other set automatically for those of us who only have one of them.

If Faithlife were willing to do this, it would certainly be a step in the right direction, as well as a stopgap until a proper fix is available for the linking situation. It might even increase sales for people to know they no longer have to pay for such an expensive set twice! Yes

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EX | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 7 2015 2:52 PM

Agreed! This is one reason why I did not buy any Orthodox and Anglican package.

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Kyle G. Anderson | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 7 2015 2:59 PM

I'm popping to report I've seen this message and am looking into possible solutions. (I don't know what was discussed in 2012. I'll look into that first.)

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 7 2015 3:09 PM

Kyle, with the release of a fair amount of Early Church Fathers' material since 2012 the situation has changed. The Church Fathers which should work off an integrated set of datatypes consists of these released series (note group outside series) - plus, of course, all that I don't own.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Matthew | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 7 2015 3:41 PM

Kyle G. Anderson:
I'm popping to report I've seen this message and am looking into possible solutions. (I don't know what was discussed in 2012. I'll look into that first.)

Thank you Kyle. Please keep us posted!

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 8 2015 1:24 AM

Fr Devin Roza:

MJ. Smith:

Mark Barnes:
Why should Migne references be the standard?

Because it is the most comprehensive set of Early churches fathers - Greek, Latin and Oriental - to be available and/or in pre-pub-community pricing. Therefore the approximately 500 other early church fathers resources currently available would be most apt to have a corresponding entry in Migne. If you have datatypes for the documents in Migne, you've not reached perfection but you can go a long time between having to invent new datatypes. The references should work similarly to Biblical/Deuterocanonical/Aporcyphal references ... especially since there is overlap between those categories and the Early Church Fathers. 

Making Migne the reference of what datatypes need to be created is a fantastic idea, even if it would be a bit of work to set up. If Faithlife wanted to, it could even allow them to go ahead and markup with datatype hyperlinks references to those writings of the early Church that don't yet exist in Faithlife's catalogue, and which could then be simply activated when the resources exist in the future. 

It is interesting, for example, how even many of the works in the Catholic U. Fathers of the Church series don't have datatypes! When I asked why they weren't being included in the Ancient Literature section, the reason was there wasn't a datatype... but these authors are in Migne, and are often very important for the history of interpretation or of theology. 

It would be a lot of work to implement, but would be very useful for the foreseeable future to make Logos & Verbum a much more powerful platform to study the Church Fathers and Ecclesiastical Writers, and provide a solid foundation for future development of features (like Ancient Literature, Catholic Topical Guide, etc.).

As Faithlife is now beginning to develop more datatypes that deal with history of interpretation and of theology, now is probably the right time to take on a project like this.

Please Kyle - solve the problem don't apply a band-aid and ask us to complain yet again for each resource released with inadequate linking. Neither the problem nor the solution are obscure. An organized plan now saves a lot of time and resources in the future.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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TCBlack | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 8 2015 6:18 AM

Matthew:
"The Early Church Fathers comes in two versions, Protestant and Catholic. Simply put, the difference is that the Protestant edition contains additional front matter written at a later date. There is no difference in the actual ECF text."

[:/] The answer, it seems is rather simple to my little noggin.  One resource, not two.  Put the protestant material in a "separate" book.  

Of course, this changes the format from the dead tree version... but hey it is public domain.

Hmm Sarcasm is my love language. Obviously I love you. 

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 8 2015 11:30 AM

TCBlack:
The answer, it seems is rather simple to my little noggin.  One resource, not two.  Put the protestant material in a "separate" book.  

No, no, no ... take it one step further ... a simple Visual Filter ... if we can block pericope headings, certainly we can filter notes and introductions.

(Good thought on your part, actually).

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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abondservant | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 8 2015 11:41 AM

This is going back a ways, so excuse me if I'm mistaken, or if policies have changed.


BUT having the protestant edition, I got a good discount on a package (anglican perhaps) that had the catholic version in it as I already owned the protestant.

I pointed that out to my salesperson, and he agree with me that it would be foolish for them to charge me more since its basically the same books with a different title, AND that protestant was a superset of catholic.

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Tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 8 2015 12:15 PM

abondservant:
BUT having the protestant edition, I got a good discount on a package (anglican perhaps) that had the catholic version in it as I already owned the protestant.

I pointed that out to my salesperson, and he agree with me that it would be foolish for them to charge me more since its basically the same books with a different title, AND that protestant was a superset of catholic

I tried doing the same thing in reverse, owed the catholic version, tried to get a discount on the protestant version they said "No way Jose".  

Ended up buying the protestante version as part of the Reformed Silver, but with out any dynamic pricing for the catholic version of the fathers that I owed.

I keep hearing that it pays to talk to a salesman on the phone, but my experiences has been that it is a waste of my time.

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TCBlack | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 8 2015 1:19 PM

That sounds perfectly reasonable MJ.  

Hmm Sarcasm is my love language. Obviously I love you. 

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abondservant | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 9 2015 6:00 AM

Tom:

abondservant:
BUT having the protestant edition, I got a good discount on a package (anglican perhaps) that had the catholic version in it as I already owned the protestant.

I pointed that out to my salesperson, and he agree with me that it would be foolish for them to charge me more since its basically the same books with a different title, AND that protestant was a superset of catholic

I tried doing the same thing in reverse, owed the catholic version, tried to get a discount on the protestant version they said "No way Jose".  

Ended up buying the protestante version as part of the Reformed Silver, but with out any dynamic pricing for the catholic version of the fathers that I owed.

I keep hearing that it pays to talk to a salesman on the phone, but my experiences has been that it is a waste of my time.



Not neccesarily on the phone, just the same salesperson over time ;).

Be loyal to them, they are loyal back.

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JAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 9 2015 7:31 AM

Kyle G. Anderson:

I'm popping to report I've seen this message and am looking into possible solutions. (I don't know what was discussed in 2012. I'll look into that first.)

            I like what MJ. is suggesting.

MJ. Smith:

TCBlack:
The answer, it seems is rather simple to my little noggin.  One resource, not two.  Put the protestant material in a "separate" book.  

No, no, no ... take it one step further ... a simple Visual Filter ... if we can block pericope headings, certainly we can filter notes and introductions.

(Good thought on your part, actually).

"The Christian mind is the prerequisite of Christian thinking. And Christian thinking is the prerequisite of Christian action." - Harry Blamires, 1963

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