Mark - Thank you, that was good information. Having tried the picking a little more I realized, that unlike everything I'm doing the 'beat' (the 1 and 3 strokes) are done with a melody string, not with a bass string and that is completely unfamiliar to me so I'll have to practice a little more to tell whether I can make something out of it or not.
When playing that only 'banjo' of my life (6-string, to be played as a guitar, therfore raped of course) I also noticed that this instrument didn't have something like a bass as I know it from the guitar. If you play the bass strings they somehow don't behave as an accompaniment of what you are doing with the melody strings but rather disturb it by behaving like a part of the 'melody' sometimes ok, sometimes kind of wrong. I learned that what you are doing with a guitar cannot be transferred to a banjo even if the fingerboard is the same. This may also limit the use of Scruggs style for guitars, but let's see...
I learned the expression 'attack' when trying a program named 'Mellosoftron'. Besides some 'attack slope' there is also a 'decay-', 'sustain-' and a 'release slope' and I know what these mean. So I think I can figure out what you mean with 'attack' regarding flatpicking but I'm not sure if we are talking of the same - anyway it's difficult to talk about things like these without hearing the music.
Johnny, Peter -
To me there's a main difference between folk and other kinds of music. When you're a musician doing e.g. Beethoven you better have learned the whole workmanship, thoroughly. That is because you will have to do everything that is on that paper as it is there. And every time you're doing it you'll do it as it is on that paper or else you might be fired. I do respect the skills of those people because I had to learn my own (different) skills for my job and I also can tell a professional from an amateur.
The music they are doing is not a living thing. When I'm doing folk music I am EXPECTED to do it some way different from any way it was ever done before. And if I do it some way I like because somebody showed me that way (that happens, I'm not always really creative) I can only hope that there is nobody in the audience who knows what I am copying and also knows what folk music is AND then tells me "Well your version is very similar to ...".
Any other kind of music once set up some way will always be reproduced in a way as similar as possible. That's everyday music, that's professional, that's business, that's an object. Folk music is alive, as yoghurt should be, changing, mutating, always looking for new ways and finding them (well I hope my yoghurt isn't that alive).
Because of this I think that defining what's allowed or forbidden for any kind of folk music is at least at the very edge of what 'folk' tells me. But the next edge of 'nazi' is very far from that.