The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #21559   Message #229974
Posted By: bbelle
18-May-00 - 12:43 PM
Thread Name: A Kinder, Gentler Place
Subject: A Kinder, Gentler Place
I decided to go back through all my earlier posts … 3 ½ years worth. It took some time because I had to search under chinadoll, humdinger folksinger, Jenny, and moonchild. Here's what I discovered about me … 3 ½ years ago I was a kinder and gentler soul. And from revisiting some of the threads, discovered that everyone was.

The subject matter wasn't so different … we were discussing gun control and the rights of choice and the 60's and Viet Nam and the Mudcat. There were double entendres and wonderful off-the-wall pearls from Art Thieme, when he thought conversation was getting too intense. 99% of us had never met and probably didn't think we ever would. Most of us were folksingers or musicians who had actually been in the trenches. All of us had a passion for music.

The tone was mostly civil. That doesn't mean there were not differing opinions … there were a whole host of differing opinions. And there were heated arguments. Mostly political, or about human rights, or civil rights. There was always a bit of thread creep, which made the discussions more rounded and all the more interesting. And always, there have been discussions of keeping the Mudcat forum strictly musical. But it was things like thread creep that allowed us to laugh and get to know each other better and on a more personal basis.

Contrary to what some of you may think … it was not Utopia … but it was civil … and it was interesting to hear the experiences and views of others.

After I had been on the Mudcat for a new months, one of my posts to Max said that I felt safe on the Mudcat and asked him to change my nickname to my real name.

Then, whether by word of mouth or searching the internet, the Mudcat Café membership started to grow by leaps and bounds. Some of the new mudcatters assimilated themselves so quickly and smoothly, I still couldn't tell you exactly when they started posting. And the musical history and knowledge these individuals brought with them was boundless. The Mudcat Café has always been a place that welcomed everyone, with the assumption that whatever they shared with the rest of us would be a plus. Unfortunately, it's impossible to keep out the chaff when the locks are opened.

It was at that time we got our first flamer … gargoyle. Yes .. he probably is talented … and started throwing flames almost immediately. I was one of the first he attacked and was forced to change my name back to a nickname. I no longer felt safe. Then he moved from me to katlaughing and the list goes on.

This is when the Mudcat changed. And this is when I changed. I became untrusting and wary and read between the lines of everything that was posted in my direction. Whenever I choose to post, it is always from a defensive stance. I've become a hardened "poster" to the extent that some Mudcat individuals have thought that was my actual persona. Thank g-d for gatherings and the capabilities of getting to know someone through ICQ chats or personal email, to dispel those images. Only because of private communications and my "personal" relationship with another Mudcatter, was I made aware of the recent use of my nickname by a troll. I assume that everyone else took it for face value that I would actually have "said" those vile things. It makes me feel sad … very, very sad. And the very saddest aspect of all this is that some of the anonymous posters are people I know.

Flamers and trolls and just generally nasty, anonymous people came flooding through the cracks of the Mudcat. Now we have voluminous threads with flamers throwing nasty barbs and those with names throwing barbs back. Or silly voluminous threads which have nothing to do with music and are nothing but gratuitous backslapping sessions. Or threads about breasts with 100 posts and threads about music with 20 posts. Or threads named with a double meaning, but about music, just to get people to read them. Or religious proselytizing threads. Or threads asking people to vow not to do this or vow to do that, which I always find very interesting, because the people involved in the folk music industry have mostly been those who walked outside the parameters of a governmental society.

I've been fortunate in having met a handful of mudcatters in person … 99% of whom I hold in great affection. And there are a few more whom I haven't met in person, but whom I also hold in great affection... and with whom I communicate on a regular basis. And they come from all walks in life, with a variety of personalities, religions, political bents, and philosophies. We are not all alike, nor do we think alike. But we have a tremendous amount of respect for each other and trust and honesty.

I realize that without censorship the people on here are uncontrollable. I have never believed in censorship and wouldn't even suggest it. It has been suggested that we "police" ourselves. That's not possible in a virtual society but those of us who have grown "close" do just that … but privately … and with respect. I have seen so many Mudcat "friends" virtually drop out of sight because of the above and I feel sad about that, as well.

This is not about threadiquette, which would involve all Mudcatters. This thread is about me and how I've changed and my sadness. It is not intended to invite gratuitous comments. I post less and less and will eventually no longer post at all.

And I have a given name. And it's Jenny Lind. And I love my name. My parents were prophetic and named me for the Swedish Songbird. And I have a nickname. And it's moonchild. And I identify with that nickname on a very personal basis. And I love being called "moonchild" or "moonbaby." But, I chose that nickname because I was afraid to use my real name for fear of my personal safety. Henceforth, I will use my given name on the Mudcat.

Shalom … Jenny