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From Max: Mudcat Update

The Villan 12 Nov 08 - 11:01 AM
Nigel Parsons 12 Nov 08 - 11:13 AM
Max 12 Nov 08 - 11:25 AM
Max 12 Nov 08 - 11:26 AM
John MacKenzie 12 Nov 08 - 11:27 AM
Cllr 12 Nov 08 - 11:59 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 12 Nov 08 - 12:03 PM
Geoff the Duck 12 Nov 08 - 12:08 PM
John MacKenzie 12 Nov 08 - 12:09 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 12 Nov 08 - 12:28 PM
The Villan 12 Nov 08 - 12:46 PM
katlaughing 12 Nov 08 - 12:47 PM
Barbara Shaw 12 Nov 08 - 12:48 PM
Rain Dog 12 Nov 08 - 12:49 PM
katlaughing 12 Nov 08 - 12:53 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 12 Nov 08 - 01:05 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 12 Nov 08 - 01:16 PM
ClaireBear 12 Nov 08 - 01:28 PM
Big Mick 12 Nov 08 - 01:41 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 12 Nov 08 - 01:42 PM
Melissa 12 Nov 08 - 01:46 PM
GUEST,one clone 12 Nov 08 - 01:47 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 12 Nov 08 - 01:59 PM
Bill D 12 Nov 08 - 02:07 PM
GUEST,two clone 12 Nov 08 - 02:09 PM
Peter T. 12 Nov 08 - 02:24 PM
Amos 12 Nov 08 - 02:52 PM
Bill D 12 Nov 08 - 02:55 PM
Bill D 12 Nov 08 - 02:57 PM
MMario 12 Nov 08 - 03:03 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 12 Nov 08 - 03:04 PM
Max 12 Nov 08 - 03:19 PM
GUEST,one clone 12 Nov 08 - 03:22 PM
Leadfingers 12 Nov 08 - 04:10 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 12 Nov 08 - 04:10 PM
Big Mick 12 Nov 08 - 04:23 PM
dick greenhaus 12 Nov 08 - 04:26 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 12 Nov 08 - 04:35 PM
GUEST,TB 12 Nov 08 - 04:41 PM
Barbara Shaw 12 Nov 08 - 04:49 PM
MartinRyan 12 Nov 08 - 04:53 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 12 Nov 08 - 05:05 PM
Amos 12 Nov 08 - 05:06 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 12 Nov 08 - 05:11 PM
The Villan 12 Nov 08 - 05:17 PM
Bill D 12 Nov 08 - 05:29 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 12 Nov 08 - 05:43 PM
Bill D 12 Nov 08 - 05:55 PM
bobad 12 Nov 08 - 06:05 PM
Monique 12 Nov 08 - 06:31 PM
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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: The Villan
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 11:01 AM

I think Tom is right, we could do with somebody in the UK for when we cock it up. Is ther anybody?


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 11:13 AM

But who would you trust?
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: Max
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 11:25 AM

UK Amazon link is here: AmazonUk.mudcat.org

US Amazon link is here: amazon.mudcat.org.


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: Max
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 11:26 AM

We do have some UK moderators and are seeking another.


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 11:27 AM

After what Nigel said, perhaps I shouldn't admit to anything.

¦¬]


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: Cllr
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 11:59 AM

HI Max good to see this thread, will pm you.
Cllr


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 12:03 PM

You have UK mods? Like Joe? Surely these are 'secret'? I'm not talking about elves, is it? (sorry I've never got my head round the different roles/job titles here).

Obviously there are important tasks to be done behind the scenes - but I'm talking about a mod like Joe, who has 'moderator' in his sig and therefore speaks with an authority born of the knowledge that he can ban members, close threads, delete posts etc. (The others don't because we don't know who they are - or we forget because it's not in the sig).

Mostly, of course, he doesn't need to - a shot across the bows is usually enough. In fact just knowing that he's reading a thread has an instant calming effect on the debate.

This also happens on the BBC forum. There in fact are many faceless mods in the BBC factory, who don't post as themselves, but merely apply the rather draconian BBC House Rules. There are lots of things wrong with the BBC system - as others will testify - but the basic approach has merit, even though it's a little hamstrung by the need to confirm to the BBC Production Guide.

We also we have our host, Mel, who occupies the role played by Joe here. (Sometimes other hosts pop in too). Now, that site is nothing like as busy as Mudcat, and Mel - though extremely tactful and attentive - is not full time, so is unable to keep on top of everything which is one of the reasons they have a rather over-zealous mod system.

But if you had a handful of cool, polite, laid-back but empowered people here - volunteers who were willing to keep at one remove from the debate but who still chipped in regularly, who were KNOWN to have edit power, because it said so in their sig, I think you'd find a lot of nastiness could be avoided.

And because much of the brawling happens in the Eastern Atlantic Islands, it makes sense to have people who will be at their computers at the times when debate is likely to be hottest.

I get the impression that some Statesiders are at a loss to understand some of the behaviour emanating from this side of the pond. I think it's a cultural thing - we're used to tighter guidelines over here, and in the absence of them are more liable to loose our way - which is why sometimes it can look as though a small group of us could derail the whole project.

Tom


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 12:08 PM

Guest - Tom Bliss and Villan - I seem to recall from a thread a couple of years ago, that there are reasons for Joeclones not being named. One being that the type of poster who has their comments deleted for being offensive is the type of poster who might also be inclined to be vindictive and target the person who deleted the posting.
That said,on occasion it has seemed as if unidentified clones have tampered with threads for personal reasons rather than for the good of Mudcat. Whether this was true or not, we will probably never know.
As for UK Mudelves. I know there are some, but don't know how many, or who.
I you need a serious typing mess cleared up, it sometimes works to ask in the same thread for an elf to sort it out. Also, if, as a non member,you need more detailed or off the record discussion of something specific, Joe can be contacted by e-mail at mudcat dot org.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 12:09 PM

There are UK Mods Tom.

JM


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 12:28 PM

Thanks for those clarifications Geoff and John. But I am none the wiser - which is my whole point.

What is the difference between an elf and a clone? Is there any?

I've never seen anyone apart from Joe be routinely identified as a Mudcat Official.

I'm not, myself, in favour of self-editing facilities. It can make a mess of a thread and lead to sloppiness. Knowing you can't edit makes one a bit more careful - and who cares about the odd typo (as a major dyslexic my posts are full of missing and duplicated words, but I just think it makes me look cute)!

If you drop a bollock you can always post a correction straight after - it's not a problem.

And if there are invisible people who can fix any serious errors that's all to the good. (Though if unidentified clones tamper with threads for personal reasons that's not, obviously).

And it's good to be able to contact Joe by email too- as I often have.

But none of these address my point; that you need a number of named 'prefects' in a forum like this, not just one.

Mods/clones/elves/beavers/mudlarks - whatever you want to call them, they need to be willing to speak out as themselves but from a position of known authority. Yes, they will make occasional mistakes, but this will be in a spirit of transparency.

It is the lack of this - and all that flows from it, including the problems I've mentioned above an often in toehr threads over the years - that prevents me from joining Mudcat, and causes me to continue to agitate for change, in public as well as in private to Joe as he would prefer.

Call me old-fashioned, but i like my policemen to wear a uniform, and a big friendly smile

Tom (Tom the Copper's son)


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: The Villan
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 12:46 PM

>>Call me old-fashioned, but i like my policemen to wear a uniform, and a big friendly smile<<

Sounds like the start of a new song Tom.


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: katlaughing
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 12:47 PM

A little bit of history: Way back when Max had an office and dot com company the "elves" were his employees who helped to produce Mudcat radio with video and helped with keeping the place online, etc.

When Max asked a few of us to assist Joe in moderating, we became known as the "joe clones." Some of us have been public about it and may now regret that or not, while others have stayed private about who they are. If I had thought about it, I would have asked for a separate identity as a clone, and kept katlaughing for joining in the fun. I still do that, too, but I am convinced it would have been better to have the two separate, as I've noted others do on other boards. Just my opinion.

FWIW, I don't like the idea of wholesale editing...it could change the complete tone of the place; right now, it's warts and all and and I love it that way. It's such a piece of personal history for so many of us; it'd be a shame if suddenly it could all be edited out/rewritten/etc.

I am happy to help folks out; it works esp. well if someone posts a corrected version of whatever they posted before and think is messed up and asks in the thread for the earlier version to be deleted. PMs work, too.

Thanks,

kat


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 12:48 PM

An idea for generating income right on this site is to sell members' mp3s with Mudcat getting a cut. See eFolkmusic.org for an example. So many mudcatters are musicians and have music available for sale. Not all of it is available at Amazon, but could be available on mudcat to each other as well as to the public. This would be good for members and good for the 'cat.

Imagine researching a particular song, finding various mp3's available right here, buying it online from mudcat and then discussing it in a thread.


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: Rain Dog
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 12:49 PM

I am not a frequent poster on this forum but I would like to say that I am not a great fan of being able to edit a post. It can be a little confusing. If you need to correct something in a post just send another post.


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: katlaughing
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 12:53 PM

GREAT IDEA, Barbara!!


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 01:05 PM

Thanks for that explanation Kat, but you don't say what the difference is between a JoeClone and a MudElf.

I'd prefer there to be more Joes, not JoeClones, with their roles clearly on view in their sig.

Back-room mods are fine - you're always going to need them too. (Better/safer to come clean, I think, but entirely understandable - in fact I've proposed the two name solution myself in the past). But that's not the same as your sig saying 'Katlaughing - Mudcat Moderator' so every passing guest knows that you have this extra power and treats any diplomatic comments you may make with due deference.

I'm not in favour of wholesale editing either. I'd like to see a lot more warning shots though, and I'd like threads like the Mental Illness one stopped as soon as they cross the line. If the discussion can be steered away from danger with a firm word, so much the better. If not then offensive or bullying posts should be deleted before they can hurt someone - something that does not happen here anything like enough in my opinion. Closing a thread would still be the last-but-one resort as now, and deleting a thread the ultimate sanction - again as now. (I wouldn't have closed that tread but left it on view myself, though. Defamatory stuff should just be erased, and if you won't erase single posts you should really erase the whole thing).

Tom


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 01:16 PM

Sorry Kat, I meant to pick up on your warts and all comment.

Are you in the US or UK or somewhere else?

Warts and all is all very well, but when it comes to bullying it's not good enough, and that's just a gradual and welcome cultural change we're going through in this country anyway.

I think the Mudcat philosophy is a wonderful thing, but could there not come a time when this site's influence could reach a point where its power and visibility might demand a slightly more responsible approach?

In the UK, anyway, we have a massive challenge trying to drill some holes in the silo to let this wonderful music flow back into the streams where it belongs. That's a task that artists, promoters, singers, players, writers, club committees, folk organisations and webmasters all face. As Joe will confirm, there have been times when I've started to worry that we, here, could become part of the problem rather part of the solution.

I'm looking ahead, now - not sniping. But as Max has accidentally given me this platform I can't help raising it, because I do think it's really important.

Sorry and all that


Tom


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: ClaireBear
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 01:28 PM

I'm not sure how I feel about self-editing, but just because I am an editor in my day job, a thought occurred to me:

I wonder if it might be possible to enable self-editing in revision mode -- with crossouts and insertions -- such that the "warts and all" atmosphere stays more-or-less intact and nobody gets to be a revisionist, but posters have an opportunity to demonstrate changes of heart, correct belatedly spotted typos, etc.

If that's even possible with the input technology we're using...


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: Big Mick
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 01:41 PM

Folks, all you have to do to edit is to take a moment, and check the "Preview" box before you send it. Sometimes it pays to write it in Notepad or Word, and then walk away from it and come back. Or you can just preview it for typo's before you send. You already have what you want, but many just don't use it, and then want edit it after its posted instead of proofing it before.

Even if you make an error and you want it corrected, all you have to do is drop me a line, or Joe, or any of the elves, and we will usually fix it. Feel free to PM me anytime you need a hand. But do get in the habit of using the Preview button...... please?

All the best,

Mick the Muderator


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 01:42 PM

That's a very good idea Claire


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: Melissa
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 01:46 PM

I do not the part where a poster who has been pounced in an obvious rude/hateful manner is supposed to contact Joe to let him know it's offensive to them.

Name-calling is obvious and so are a lot of other insults.
Sending a pm to Joe feels like tattling..and tattling can tend to bring more hateful behavior toward the 'whiner' in the future.

Maybe if Joe (or other moderator)sees posts that seem offensive, they could contact the person who has been slammed, but I think behavior would improve dramatically with a more consistent policy that covers all of us equally without requiring us to tattle.

Joe has a big job and some of the things that pop up occasionally are no doubt hair-pullingly overwhelming..because they're a tangle with no clear outline.
I think Joe's task would get easier if he could sort of slowly ease out of being our Babysitter and become more of a Defender.

Most of us want peaceful, pleasant interaction.
Some of us are intimidated by fangs and poison..
All of us are capable of behaving appropriately.

Sorry for the rambly post.
I think what I'm saying is that it would be nice to see a shift from "Do Not Feed the Trolls" to trolls and troublemakers being kept from eating us. If I'm not a troll, I'm not sure it's reasonable to make me responsible for them.


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: GUEST,one clone
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 01:47 PM

Tom, there is no real difference between 'mud-elf' and a 'Joe clone' or a 'volunteer'. They are just various names people have used. There ARE, though, a couple levels of ability to do editing.
   Joe & Big Mick are co-moderators, with all relevant powers. Maybe 1-2 others can do significant other editing. And a larger group, like myself, can do minimal editing, like correcting spelling or fixing a link, or emergency deleting of spam.
   I gather that some, like katlaughing notes, do it fairly openly, while others prefer to not confuse their editing ability with their freedom to participate in threads without getting complaints.
   In the past, we had a couple of members who spent a large amount of time making a huge issue of anonymity, and there was much uproar.

As suggested above, it might be useful to have moderators have 2 IDs, but it is already a bit late for that.

There is no simple answer to the question, as people just have different opinions. Max has seen fit to leave the system as it is for now. It works pretty well so far, and Joe & Mick keep good track of problems. Remember, they and other 'clones' are all volunteers who do this in spare time. Not everything can be dealt with instantly, but an email or PM to Joe or Mick gets pretty good results. Even a post IN a thread can get the attention of a minor clone/elf/volunteer.

If Max has new ideas on how to improve it all, I imagine we'll soon know.


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 01:59 PM

So why is Joe identified and Big Mick not, then?

That's the kind of thing that makes my blood run cold, you see? I'm actually shivering at the thought of these two being equal - when I had Mick in a totally different box.

Thanks Melissa, that's something else I feel strongly. Writing to Joe feels like a displacement activity. Far better for someone to beg for fair play within the discussion. This happens a lot, thankfully, but sometimes it just adds to the turmoil. That's when the mod needs to step in and just say cool it. Mel does it brilliantly - as does Joe when he's not sleeping!

I agree it's a thankless task, and it has to be done with a really light hand on the tiller.

I believe that by having more known mods will reduce the need for intervention in the first place, and make it much more benign when it does prove necessary.

Tom


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 02:07 PM

Hi, Tom...Mick HAS been identified in many places. It is no secret, though he does not mention it in every post, but only when relevant. Same with a couple of the others.


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: GUEST,two clone
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 02:09 PM

Sorry Tom, but it is also true, that known clones would be restrictive, on those clones.
It would mean that a contentious post by a known clone could be misinterpreted as being Mudcat policy.
There is also the personality clash factor, when a known clone has upset another member, then they might be sending PM's to Max or Big Mick, or katlaughing, or any one of about 10 other clones. Or worse still sending complaints to ALL clones, because they can. Once they've been given identities to contact.
Sorry but if you want a list, then it would have to be under aliases, otherwise it could make life difficult.
Don't forget these people are volunteers.
Sorry, but those are all factors to be considered.


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: Peter T.
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 02:24 PM

It would be a good little trick -- maybe you can already do it? -- if there was a way of mass deleting personal messages. Some web sites have a place where you can check off all the messages you want deleted, and not those you don't, and then press a delete button. I don't know if space is of any concern any more these days, but I do feel a bit guilty having hundreds of messages sitting around in my personal box that I don't want any more, but am too lazy to get rid of.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: Amos
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 02:52 PM

The form of our nascent "organization" is appropriate to the informality of the actual environment here. And, much more important, it has evolved on the dynamic of what works for Max, with th eminimal burden on those who are volunteering their efforts. It is not more structured--with identfied posts and hats and functional boxes -- because it is dedicated to the fire, wind and slurry of real life, with just enough form to keep the channel open.

A


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 02:55 PM

Peter...you can delete- or even 'archive' PMs en masse. Archiving doesn't delete them, but merely keeps the visible list down to managable size.


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 02:57 PM

(You do have to check the boxes, but you can do dozens in a very short time)


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: MMario
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 03:03 PM

but I think behavior would improve dramatically with a more consistent policy that covers all of us equally without requiring us to tattle

The problem with this is that without going to something along the lines of moderated posting (nothing posts without a moderator seeing it) it's hard even for a large group of moderators to read EVERY post. I have a yahoo group of just over 2000 members - and I don't read every post there....I doubt if there is anybody here who reads EVERY post. I strtongly suspect that you could pick out any TEN members of mudcat and not cover every message.

Plus - what is perfectly acceptable language and behavior between some people is unacceptable to others.


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 03:04 PM

I agree that it would be restrictive on clones. It would be a very difficult and responsible job - but a necessary one if you want to have a successful, vibrant but benign website in the future that might raise a bit of dosh for Max.

That's why I'm not suggesting that existing clones should be outed. But rather that new volunteers should be sought (from among the existing elves if they so chose) to share Joe's burden. Not many - two would halve Joe's work and double his efficiency (if this side of the pond). A handful would probably suffice - along with all the existing anonymous drones of course. Maybe it would be a good idea to have areas of expertise too so they'd be browsing different areas of the site.

The solution to the complaints system is simple. Ditch the PM method and have a 'complain about this post' button, like the BBC one. That goes to a central list and is picked off by the next mod that drops in - back-room ones included.

As for mods upsetting members, well it happens. But being Out - like Joe is, and in fact like all of us are who are artists with careers and reputations to think of - acts as a wonderful stay of the hand. Why should a need to be tactful and polite be seen as a limiting factor?

I'm sorry but the fact that Mick and others have been identified at times is dangerously irrelevant. That is a view from inside the mirrored ball - the view of a long-term initiate. You need to remember that people who've perhaps read these things will soon forget (who has time to remember which members are elves? I don't), and a much bigger number will never even have read it - specially new arrivals, and guests, and who knows how many casual or long-term lurkers.

If no-one was identified it might be different - though the dichotomy between the freewheelin' approach to free speech and the opaque moderation system would be even more uncomfortable than it is now. But Joe IS identified - and that adds even more subliminal confusion to the mix.

Remember that first impressions stick, and the clear impression given is that Mudcat is largely unmoderated. I'm sure that sets some users off down a road which they'd perhaps not travel on other folk forums that are less hands-free anyway.

Tom


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: Max
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 03:19 PM

It's up to the individual volunteer if they want to be identified. Speaking from experience, it is difficult to enjoy the forum the same way when everyone sees you as an authority or even having different abilities than the others.

I personally recommend that those that are anonymous stay that way, though they can do what they want, just as all of you ultimately can.

I also don't think that authority is the proper way to get folks to behave themselves. I believe that a community naturally governs itself with a set of norms. Like a schoolyard, if you're an asshole, you won't have many friends, you won't have much fun, and you won't want to hang out in the schoolyard anymore.

I've been on the net a long time and participated in many many online forums and communities. You have to understand that this place hums along rather smoothly compared to most. It's understandable to always want things better, but please take a moment to notice how good it already is.

Ideally, if we have enough Vols, and the community reacts to abuse in a mature way, no one will have report a problem to a Vol, a Vol will see it because they are participating in the community. These Vols don't moderate for fun, they participate in the community and just happen to have extra abilities because I know them well enough, and their peers know them well enough to handle, discuss and debate issues that arise. You don't have to have authority over a friend to stop them from, say, drunk driving, and I believe that holds true here.

The volunteers we have now were chosen based on several years of personal relationships, and not chosen only on their own merits, but by how they add to the group that is the Vols. I alway try to keep a well rounded group of people who compliment (or counter) the others' personalities and beliefs so that the group ends up a microcosm of all the members of the mudcat. Currently, as we have evolved, we have leaned toward the UK, so we need to lean our Vols to the UK and make an addition to our team.


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: GUEST,one clone
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 03:22 PM

Tom, if you were a registered member, you could see a feature called "messages since last visit". It allows all members to follow posts in order and clones often look at this to browse recent posts and identify possible problems without opening every thread and trying to browse them.

Be assured, all of these issues have been discussed at interminable length for years, and it is calmer right now than at many times in the past, due to Joe & Mick's policy of not allowing anonymous BS posts.


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 04:10 PM

With regard to Sleepy Rosie's question about Members Info , this does not seem to have been updated for a LONG time -NO this is NOT really a moan , just a comment - I am well aware that the guy who used to look after it has had other priorites . BUT it IS nice to hang a face and location on a Cat handle !


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 04:10 PM

Thanks for that Max - I nearly used the schoolyard metaphor myself then decided not to, because actually Mudcat can be rather like a schoolyard sometimes - and maybe that's not such a good thing. Maybe you guys have a different view of folk music in the States to us over here. Your folk is all nicely bedded in with your other similar genres, and traffic flows both ways without problems. We don't have that luxury in the UK - specially in England. We're at something of a crisis point here - fighting a rear-guard action for our music against media indifference, government meddling, demographic inevitability and a host of other challenges. The flow of nutrients from the roots of our own indigenous music was holed below the soil forty years ago (partly because of US imports it has to be said), we've had a battering since, and now we're going through another rocky patch - specially with the folk club movement. The rough-housing that sometimes goes on on this website does nothing to help those of us who are desperately trying to 'market' folk music outside of our little clique. This is all the more tragic because Mudcat could be massively useful if you/we could point it in the right direction and make it more inclusive. I know you guys think we eat our babies over here - but that's just a dozen people giving the rest of us a bad name. But you seem happy to let that situation persist in the interests of natural self-governance. Well it's a fine ideal, but i for one don't think it's working - not from where I'm standing anyway. I don't expect you to understand because you've no experience of how things are over here, so why should you be interested? But you have made this thing, and it IS over here, and it IS having an influence. Mudcat is routinely derided on other more 'serious' forums, which is a real tragedy in my opinion, because what you have here has real potential to make a difference - as well as earn you a modest living too.

Sorry if that seems insulting - I have great respect for what you've made, and wish you all the very best with it.

Tom


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: Big Mick
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 04:23 PM

Joe is the public face of Mudcat for a very good reason. He takes a minimalist approach to moderating, does not allow his personal likes/dislikes get in the way of his duties as a mod, and gives everyone a person they can direct their concerns to. I am sorry that Tom didn't realize that I am a co-moderator, as I have not made a secret of it. If there is someone that is more comfortable contacting me, or if you can't reach Joe, please feel free. But Joe and I talk things through a lot, and our focus is to make sure the place stays a site where creative anarchy can flow as Max intended from the start. The only restrictions we place on that are those designed to stop folks whose main goal is to manipulate, and be nasty. As always, Max is the ultimate authority in all matters. He made it, he kept it going through thick, thin, kids, marriage, and a beagle puppy (the most daunting task of all), and our goal is to make it what he wants it to be.

It seems to me though that we shouldn't let this thread get steered away from one of its central tenets. We are coming onto the season where we all do a lot of shopping. Like it or not, for this to work for Max, he needs to be able to have it produce income. He isn't asking for handouts, he is asking that you direct your e-commerce towards this place you all care about. I am restating this so that we all plant it firmly in our minds.

And remember, if there is something you want that you don't think you can get through Mudcat, drop Max, Joe, or I a PM and let us see if we can find a source from which Mudcat Cafe' can derive some income.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 04:26 PM

Personall, I'm hard put to see how Mudcat could be more inclusive. What's being kept out?


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 04:35 PM

Thanks Mick - I agree with what you say about Joe. I've been impressed by just those qualities myself. But can you not see what signals your semi-transparent semi-detatched policy is sending out, specially to new arrivals, and the way it affects behaviour here? If you are co-moderator it should be clear from the outset to all. To do otherwise is to invite suspicion. Web culture is not static, perceptions and mores change and if you want to develop a revenue stream you may want to consider thinking laterally.

Having spent a lot of time grappling with just the challenges Max is considering I wish you all the best of luck. There are ways of making money from this, but you'll have to fight the guys who came down to the beach before breakfast!

Tom


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: GUEST,TB
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 04:41 PM

Dick - 'what's being kept out' is all the people who visit Mudcat purely for the shadenfreude but wouldn't dream of posting, all those who visit for a while then leave again in disgust at the entrenched views, factional in-fighting and inverse snobbery, all those who'd love to take part but dare not for fear of being ridiculed for a spelling error or using 'bad' grammar. Tom


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 04:49 PM

So what do people think of my idea mentioned above?

An idea for generating income right on this site is to sell members' mp3s with Mudcat getting a cut. See eFolkmusic.org for an example. So many mudcatters are musicians and have music available for sale. Not all of it is available at Amazon, but could be available on mudcat to each other as well as to the public. This would be good for members and good for the 'cat.


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: MartinRyan
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 04:53 PM

Beagle puppy? So that's where all the missing threads went....

Regards


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 05:05 PM

Barbara wrote: So what do people think of my idea mentioned above?

Like Kat, I think it's a great idea, though I don't know the practical ins-&-outs of the admin it would involve (payments, monitoring etc). But it's a brilliant suggestion - I'd love to see it happen!


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: Amos
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 05:06 PM

'what's being kept out' is all the people who visit Mudcat purely for the shadenfreude but wouldn't dream of posting, all those who visit for a while then leave again in disgust at the entrenched views, factional in-fighting and inverse snobbery, all those who'd love to take part but dare not for fear of being ridiculed for a spelling error or using 'bad' grammar.

Well, I am a bit of a bumpkin in these matters. I have no idea how to count the people who come for schadenfreude, and while there have been plenty who have come and gone, that is also true of most towns and cities, and I have no idea what their motivations have been at one time or another. The quality of this community has a core consistency even though the noise level does go high and low at different periods. Except for a small handfull of dedicated nutballs, I have not seen anything that makes the ambience so toxic that a reasonably abled, mature human couldn't handle it easily enough.

There are a few topics that make people get hotted up--mea culpa in the political arena--but by and large the balance, for such a minimal effort at control, is quite good. (Not that Joe's efforts are minimal, but that the control structure is, being a democratic sort of attitude).

You are describing undefined generalized pluralities of these offenses, and I think it may be the case that your impression is actually founded on a small specific number of incidents and/or individuals.


A


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 05:11 PM

Mudcat Cafes, in towns and cities around the world. Get rid of the Folk Clubs, and bring in The Mudcat Cafes, for real. 'Latte and Live Music, every night of the week' ...with a generous portion of the profits going to Max. Mudcat Diaries, with lists of all the folk music festivals in Canada, USA and UK. Mudcat Calendars, 'Bedroom Blue Eyes' could be January... ;0)


From Max: "We do have some UK moderators and are seeking another. "

"OOH!! Max! Max!" she said, raising her hand high in the air and wiggling her fingers back and forth... "I'm over here!"...   






















(just kidding, Max) :0)


Seriously though, I'd like to nominate Tom Bliss for UK Mod.

And thank you, Max, for all your hard work.


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: The Villan
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 05:17 PM

Tom, I understand what you are saying, even if some others don't.

Everybody has a view point and they should be allowed to express it. However, all too often, people abuse the people who make those posts. They are not able to debate the issues, they can only abuse the people who post (flaming). That's where strong moderation is required and moderators who are visible and known to mudcatters can cut this sort of abuse out immediately. It doesn't take much to inform somebody who is flaming, that unless they change their attitude towards individuals, then they are not welcomed and will be banned from posting.

Its all about manners to each individuals.

I personally think that it is not acceptable to insult an individual and people like that should be banned if they consistently abuse individuals.

What I object to most, is guests who start a thread that is obviously meant to cause a flaming situation. Once it is nicely flamed, they disappear and start another thread in a similar vein.


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 05:29 PM

"... dare not for fear of being ridiculed for a spelling error or using 'bad' grammar."

Oh, c'mon! That happens almost everywhere, and MUCH less here. If spelling & grammar get bad enough to warrant a comment, it might behoove some folks to make more effort. There is 'almost' no reason for regular, serious spelling mistakes with all the spell-checking programs available....some built right into the browser! (Firefox) I regularly post links to free, excellent spell-check programs.

Everyone has different posting, phrasing 'style', but muddled, run-on sentences with little punctuation and NO capitilization WILL get comments. If it is just reversed letters due to hasty typing, it is seldom noticed or mentioned.

and re: "... the entrenched views, factional in-fighting and inverse snobbery" ...It's a FORUM....where people air opinions! Some people are less...ummm... genteel & polite than others. There are no clear, discrete dividing lines to say THIS post is ok while THAT one is not. It's a continuum....and everyone has a different 'threshhold of pain' when opinions differ & arguments get hot. If they get way TOO hot, Joe or Mick has the authority to edit or delete! Please understand...it is WAY better than 3-4-5 years ago!

Max makes the point that it is better when the members mostly police themselves .... those who do not behave get noticed and spoken harshly to or ignored. There is really no other way to do it, except to delete or ban them, and that is 'rarely' needed... (like 3-4 times!)

   This is really a VERY nice place, and it is possible to read and participate with almost NO involvement in the occasional spat or disagreement.... many, many post here everyday and are never involved in pettiness, though it swirls about them.

Do as YOU please, but don't assume too much till you've tried it a few years... *smile*


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 05:43 PM

I've only been posting about three years, but I did lurk for about four before that. My views are coloured by views I've deliberately canvassed from people around the folk scene, but I do take your points on board Bill. Tom


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 05:55 PM

Ok... I hope you have seen the improvment. Take care and enjoy.


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: bobad
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 06:05 PM

Max, you listed Amazon in the US and UK but may I humbly point out that there is also a Canadian branch at amazon.ca. That is where I make my purchases and perhaps you can arrange to get a cut from there too.


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Subject: RE: From Max: Mudcat Update
From: Monique
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 06:31 PM

Max, there's also Amazon.fr and that's where I shop...


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