I can't agree that this is a flame-ridden site. There are well over a hundred current discussions going on at any time and the number of participants and topics has been growing steadily over the past years. The occasional flame wars that sweep throough other sites makes the whining that some people do here seem very petty.
In my opinion, this is an amazingly comfortable, welcoming, supportive site with people who have gotten to know each other over a period of years.
That its main purpose, to be a source for information, where anyone, friend or stranger, can come and benefit from the knowledge of others, is extraordinary. When a muisc question or lyric search is requested, people race each other to be helpful, to be of service. I like being a part of that.
I think Guest Shenandoah's is a minority view. Max and his helpers have created an extraordinary community. Further than that, the DT database is an achievement worthy of being a life's work and for which tens of thousands of peole are already grateful. And it's free because of volunteer efforts.
I would think that any creation that promotes friendship appreciation of music and poetry, that exists to help people, preserves traditional music and has held to its main purposes for several years has to be worth a great deal of respect. As for the people who have created the database and the site, even more so. That is why so many of the long-time members, when they make suggestions, do so with a tone of appreciation for what they are given.
In the past two years, this site has become a real part of my life. I feel as though I know people here, people who post regularly. I see their names on a post and I can put what they say in a context of the literally hundreds of other messages they have written at earlier times. Over the months, a picture of each has emerged in my mind. I have learned about singers and songs from people who have a first hand knowledge that makes what they have to say rich and exciting. There are people here with whom I would never have had contact with if it weren't for Mudcat. There are songs and stories I would not know if it weren't for Mudcat. Recently, while planning a cross country trip, I asked for suggestions about where to visit. One suggestion I received turned out to be the highlight of my trip. If it weren't for Mudcat, I would never have known the place existed.
I wonder if the few people who do complain about being badly treated here also appreciate the undoubtedly good things about this unique site made possible by the efforts of ohers.