This is a genuine attempt to start a sensible and continuing debate about the future of the Mudcat Forum and to involve and invite some of the more hesitant contributors and lurkers in an attempt to unite us all, rather than create more divisions. Hopefully this thread can be a place where ALLl will feel safe enough to air their views and where those views may receive criticism but the poster will not. It has been my, often-stated belief that the worst thing you can do on the forum is to do anything that may inhibit someone else from making a contribution. Some of us will never be inhibited from making a contribution but that does not make that contribution any more worthy than one from someone who is more easily put off, or who may not feel part of some real or imagined, 'core group'.
I have not really posted here for some time, after explaining my reasons in a thread called A Warm Goodbye From The Shambles, a thread (and I think the only one ever) that was actually censored! I have recently taken the opportunity to read carefully (amongst others) The Bobby Sands, The Compulsive Posting and The Threadiquette threads. It is quite obvious, from reading those threads that all is not well here but when I look through the rest of the threads, it is business as usual, if not better than it has ever been!
Part of the problem, I think is that we thought this place was different to other web places, when in fact it has all the problems of other sites, newsgroups and of course, the world. There has been an element of turning a 'blind eye' and hoping that by saying how wonderful things were, they would be so. To some extent it has become like a family but an unbalanced one. It appears to be OK to get to know each other on the forum and to say nice things and hug but not to recognize that when we do get to know each other better, that we may find each other extremely irritating as well. We do find that, don't we? If we are really honest posters, we will admit to that? If we do admit it, I think we can move on.
Why if we can say ingratiating things, like "I love you guys", can we not say things like "I think you are a pompous asshole"? I find them both equally offensive and for different reasons but that is probably partly my English reserve?
If I go to a club or a concert to listen or to see someone perform, I may, in the interval see people that I would like to be more friendly with or meet an old friend there. I would probably speak briefly to them, to make arrangements to continue our discussion some other time or by some other means and get on with the main business of being there, the music, for that's why I came. I would not shout out private jokes to them and laugh loudly during the performance. Why then should the forum be any different? It is a great place for making friends and I feel that I have made many here but are there not better ways of chatting with those friends, once made, or is it more important to be seen on the forum to have those friends and to belong? I am not knocking the need to belong, for the forum serves many purposes but surely, to belong here, it is as simple as saying, if you want to belong here, then you do? Do you really need to try that hard?
As for taking sides, for I feel we should and I don't just mean BS v music (for we can have both), I am on the side of Max, music and The Mudcat, which will be as good or as bad as we all can make it. What's gone is gone and what's done is done but what is important now is where do we go from here? What do you think?