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Dear Joe Offer et al

GUEST,Shenandoah 16 Jul 01 - 01:24 PM
bbc 16 Jul 01 - 01:25 PM
annamill 16 Jul 01 - 01:39 PM
GUEST,Shenandoah 16 Jul 01 - 01:47 PM
Jeri 16 Jul 01 - 01:50 PM
GUEST,Shenandoah 16 Jul 01 - 02:02 PM
dwditty 16 Jul 01 - 02:17 PM
Amos 16 Jul 01 - 02:24 PM
Lonesome EJ 16 Jul 01 - 02:35 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 16 Jul 01 - 02:38 PM
Joe Offer 16 Jul 01 - 02:50 PM
Bill D 16 Jul 01 - 03:22 PM
GUEST 16 Jul 01 - 03:23 PM
Ralphie 16 Jul 01 - 03:43 PM
mousethief 16 Jul 01 - 03:44 PM
dwditty 16 Jul 01 - 03:45 PM
MMario 16 Jul 01 - 03:56 PM
Ralphie 16 Jul 01 - 03:58 PM
dwditty 16 Jul 01 - 04:01 PM
CarolC 16 Jul 01 - 04:34 PM
mousethief 16 Jul 01 - 04:38 PM
flattop 16 Jul 01 - 05:47 PM
Barry Finn 16 Jul 01 - 07:20 PM
CarolC 16 Jul 01 - 07:29 PM
Big Mick 16 Jul 01 - 08:05 PM
Snuffy 16 Jul 01 - 08:47 PM
Lighthouse 65 16 Jul 01 - 11:40 PM
SharonA 18 Jul 01 - 12:22 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 18 Jul 01 - 01:53 PM
Lonesome EJ 18 Jul 01 - 01:55 PM
GUEST 18 Jul 01 - 02:23 PM
Wolfgang 18 Jul 01 - 02:41 PM
SharonA 18 Jul 01 - 02:42 PM
catspaw49 18 Jul 01 - 02:49 PM
Wolfgang 18 Jul 01 - 03:04 PM
Lonesome EJ 18 Jul 01 - 03:06 PM
katlaughing 18 Jul 01 - 03:11 PM
Wolfgang 18 Jul 01 - 03:13 PM
Jon Freeman 18 Jul 01 - 03:13 PM
Lonesome EJ 18 Jul 01 - 03:17 PM
Lonesome EJ 18 Jul 01 - 03:27 PM
Jon Freeman 18 Jul 01 - 03:35 PM
Jeri 18 Jul 01 - 03:44 PM
Pseudolus 18 Jul 01 - 03:46 PM
SDShad 18 Jul 01 - 03:47 PM
catspaw49 18 Jul 01 - 03:50 PM
Banjer 18 Jul 01 - 03:51 PM
Lonesome EJ 18 Jul 01 - 03:57 PM
SDShad 18 Jul 01 - 04:01 PM
SDShad 18 Jul 01 - 04:03 PM
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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: GUEST,Shenandoah
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 01:24 PM

C'mon people. I said, look at Jeri's posting history here. While she can be very kind, helpful, and does often contribute to music discussions. She also is, like so many others currently posting in this very thread, drawn to flame/troll threads like a moth to a flame.

How about a little something straight from the horse's mouth to make my point?

From Jeri's 15 Apr 01 10:17 a.m. message posted to the "Non-music...Why, oh why, oh why?" thread:

"(Just ask me - I used to routinely shoot my mouth off in those newsgroups and I'm just getting to the point where I can walk away in Mudcat, or at least discuss and not react.)"

I am of the opinion that names like Jeri, as well as many others currently posting to this and the other flame threads, are found just a bit too commonly in these types of threads.

I hadn't so much as looked in here even once in recent months. I was so deeply disturbed by the witch hunt that drove Bruce Olson from Mudcat for anonymous posting, I didn't think I'd ever come back again. I check in, and what is happening, but the very same thing. More witch hunts, attempting drive out people who clearly have some knowledge about folk music, and about the folk music scene. And of course, I find precious few, if any, really knowledgeable people posting in Mudcat.

To be fair, many of them aren't posting in Usenet anymore either. Why? Because they keep getting driven out of the forums by "well meaning" people like Jeri, who are just going to teach a thing or two to those people they disagree with.

I see by the most recent threads, the witch hunts are still business as usual, and that virtually no one is discussing music. All of us lurkers/guests haven't been successfully brainwashed by the Mudcat party line.

We also aren't idiots. We know there is the open forum here. And we also know how important your "membership has it's benefits" shadow forum of the PMs.

After all, you used the shadow forum so effectively in your witch hunt to drive out Guest #1 when you drove out Bruce Olson, didn't you?


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: bbc
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 01:25 PM

Well, the thread's at 100 posts. Can we stop now?

respectfully,

bbc


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: annamill
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 01:39 PM

Ok! That's a f**king nuff! First you attack Joe (what brought me in here in the first place), then you attack MICK, I believe someone even attacked MAX!!!! Now you're attacking Jeri!

I know all these people personally. Some have even been to my house. (Mick keeps promisin', but nothin' so far) Everyone of them is worthy of being called fantastic. ..and some who have posted here that I have not mentioned are too. That's 'nuff!

What childish nonsense! I'm way too busy for this crap!

LOVE, annamill


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: GUEST,Shenandoah
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 01:47 PM

Hey annamill, some of us felt the same way about Bruce Olson, as you feel about your Mudcat cronies.

Only difference between Bruce and the Mudcat elite, are that Bruce actually knows what he is talking about when it comes to music, and most the rest of you don't.

It is just this sort of non-music crap that has driven nearly every knowledgeable folkie who once frequented Mudcat, out of this forum.

But apparently, that is supposed to be JUST FINE with the passive/aggressive and emotionally needy among you, who, apparently, would just rather talk about themselves, amongst themselves.

Is it any wonder all there is left of Mudcat are the ashes of a formerly good on-line folk music discussion forum?


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: Jeri
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 01:50 PM

Janet - LOL!


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: GUEST,Shenandoah
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 02:02 PM

To those who are interested in discussing American traditional music in a forum without this sort of invective, I invite you to join us in alt.music.bluegrass.

A wonderful group.

Hope to see those of you interested in music there any time!


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: dwditty
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 02:17 PM

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah - just my 2 cents.


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 02:24 PM

Shenandoah:

I don't recall Bruce being "driven off" in the way you imply, but, whatever the kafluffle was, his insight and wisdom about things musical is always welcome here as far as I am concerned. I would suggest that you let him speak for himself. I have always found him to be an intelligent, helpful and valuable colleague here.

But we each have to decide for ourselves how we are going to respond to irrationality, and withdrawal is certainly only one of the options. To use a term like "witchhunting" for a cyber environment where noone is obliged to take on board any viewpoint that is wrong, ill-reasoned, unfair or bigoted is a bit extreme. The real world referent is a practice that physically destroys people involved, where grace in response is meaningless, and the outcome usually is out of the target;s control! None of these things apply here.

I for one am sorry if some injustice or irrational messaging left Bruce O feeling like dropping off the 'Cat.

A


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 02:35 PM

I don't believe Bruce was "driven out", Shenandoah. He left of his own accord. He did indulge in several instances of anonymous baiting and trolling for which he received well-earned vitriol. I think, despite that, Bruce is missed here and would be welcome any time.


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 02:38 PM

ANNOUNCEMENT

IMPORTANT EVENT !!!!!

THE FINAL SHOWDOWN CAROLC AND BIG MICK

ON ONE OF OUR FAMOUS STREETS DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED

TO BE FOLLOWED BY BURIAL CEREMONY ON BOOT HILL

CHAMBER OF DEADLY COMMERCE LAREDO, TEXAS

LICENSED BETTING PRELIMINARY AMATEUR SHOOTOUTS BARBECUE BARBEQUES


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Subject: Mudcat, formerly a music forum
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 02:50 PM

I saw in another thread that Mick Lane said this isn't a music forum, that's it's more of a hangout for people who like music. I think he's right. It used to be a music forum, where music was the primary focus of discussion - and delightful, intelligent, uproariously funny side discussions sprang from the music discussions. Now it's a cozy, friendly hangout for a bunch of nice computer addicts who know each other quite well and enjoy each other's company. There are music questions that come up regularly, and people will wander over and answer the question and go back to goofing around with their friends. The music discussions still arise on occasion, but they're really not connected to the main part of the discussion. Sure, there are more music threads than "BS"- but the music threads contain far fewer messages.

So, what's happened? The balance of Mudcat has changed, and I think Mick is absolutely right that this is no longer a music forum. He likes it that way. I don't.

Yes, there is a need for community and goofing off and prayer and concern and freedom - but do we have to sacrifice our reputation for music in order to satisfy the needs of our current community? Are we drawing and keeping people who want to talk music, or are they getting disgusted and drifting away?

I'm not completely opposed to anything that is currently happening at Mudcat. It's still a vibrant, interesting place filled with wonderful people. However, it is no longer primarily a music forum, and I would like us to work together to nudge us back into balance.

How can we adjust the balance?
  • Well, the first and most essential thing we must do is to maintain the discipline of silence and do not respond to trolls, flames, and Spam. We've had some horrible threads started in the last week, but what's even more horrible is that Mudcatters have responded to these threads at an incredible rate and ran many of them up past the hundred-message mark. The most deplorable thread was the "Erection" thread, and people responded to it with dozens of messages. People, what is it that drives you to prolong this insanity?
  • Another thing we can do is to provide a home for personal things that don't quite deserve the prominence that threads get. I think there's a pretty easy way for us to do this: Think twice before you start a thread, and don't start threads for personal matters. Feel free to say anything you want in messages within a thread, but don't start a thread unless you think it's going to make a discussion that's interesting to all. If you want to mention needs for prayer or birthdays or welcomes within a thread where it fits, that's wonderful. People around here generally are compulsively nice. If you start a thread, people will feel compelled to respond to you so you won't feel alone, even if they have nothing to say.
    A week ago, I was involved in a spectacular and very frightening car accident. I was driving the speed limit, and in my rear-view mirror I could see a pack of cars racing with each other, coming upon me at a tremendous rate of speed. One car hit me from behind, hit the car next to me, and ended up in front of me. A fourth car hit me from behind and pushed me into the first car. It was a very significant event for me (and the damages to my pretty red car were $5,000), and it would be perfectly appropriate for me to tell people here about it - but should I have started a thread to tell people about it? No. What significant things could people have said in response? Would have made an interesting thread?
  • One more thing I'd suggest: Find another home for things that are repetitive or not of general interest - and by that, I mean especially prayer, healing, birthdays, welcome, and requests for sympathy. Is Pete Seeger's birthday suitable for a thread? No, I don't think so. He has a birthday once a year, like clockwork, just like the rest of us. Is a new Pete Seeger album a suitable topic? Certainly. It's nice to welcome new Mudcatters, but is it appropriate to start of thread for each of the over six thousand people who have joined us? Nope.
  • I got a prayer request e-mail from the Mudcat prayer mailing list today, and it struck me how perfectly appropriate it was. I read the message with interest, thought for a moment about the person who needs prayer, said a brief prayer, and went on. The message was almost a gift to me, I think. I had asked to be put on the mailing list, and it gave me a moment to be thoughtful of someone in need. It didn't arouse controversy or question because it was right where it belonged. Such messages are welcomed by all who receive them, and I think that's how it should be. An occasional prayer request in the Forum isn't the end of the world, but where do you draw the line? There were three this week, and it seems that related topics on Mudcat multiply geometrically. So, I'd suggest that we make good use of the wonderful Mudcat prayer and healing mail lists, and start threads on such needs only when it's clearly a matter of general interest to Mudcatters.

That's my opinion. It's not infallible, and it's not Mudcat policy. Still, I think there's a need for us to work together to adjust the balance so Mudcat regains its reputation as a home for rich, intelligent discussion of music – mixed with a lot of fun and a lively community life.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 03:22 PM

I have spoken to Bruce O..face to face...about Mudcat & his feelings. He likes old music, and does not like wading thru BS threads to get to it...I suppose you could construe that as being 'driven off', but he knew very well what the score was, he just made a considered, adult choice not to post...just as several others have. (I 'suspect' he occasionally peeks in, but the 2-3 times I have talked to him, we didn't discuss it!)

..he tried very hard for a long time to cope, and just decided it was taking more time than it was worth...he made the point that we all know how to find him, and if anyone has any serious questions about his fields of interest, he'd be glad to help.

'taint very nice to read folks minds in absentia and explain THEIR motivations for them.


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 03:23 PM

Joe....I don't know you, I'm assuming that you live in the US...
I live in the UK, and, to me, anyway, you make complete sense. (?)......I'm pleased to be here, Very happy with all the wonderful information that I've gleaned from threads,(various). Not too bothered by the others. I still wake up in the morning feeling OK....no "flamers,trollers or gargantuan reptiles" to haunt (or taunt) me.
Religious beliefs have led to a lot of wars in the last 2000 years or so.(don't want to start a Northern Ireland thread here....Don't even think about it!!!) Whether your, (or indeed, anybody's) God exists doesn't really matter, except to the beleivers....
Prayer threads?? Don't really have an opinion, except, that I hope that everybody who is ill gets better....That everybody who has lost someone, has close friends to support them......and, that everybody respects everybody elses rights......
With great humility, and much love to all who are in pain, for whatever reason, BIG HUGS Ralphie xxx
Can I stop now??.....And Will You?...(Not a particular message to Joe
) Applies to all...LOL!


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: Ralphie
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 03:43 PM

Previous message was from Ralphie....Don't EVER, EVER, EVER, Think I would post as a "Guest"...I would never post anonymously....Cookie failure, apologies.


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: mousethief
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 03:44 PM

That was a very nice post, Ralphie! Thanks!

Joe: great ideas. Anybody who wants to follow them is welcome to. Will you allow those who do NOT want to follow them their freedom of expression as well?

Alex


Sure, Alex - I'll allow people to do whatever it is they do. But does that mean I'm not allowed to express my own opinion? Actually, somebody pointed out to me in a personal message that because I have somewhat of an administrative responsibility here, I am somewhat more restricted in what I should say and do, and I need to be careful to maintain impartiality in all my posts. I admit that I may have pushed against that barrier in the last few days.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: dwditty
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 03:45 PM

I smile a bit when I notice those who have NOT posted here - and you know who you are. It occurs to me that, by Max's design, Mudcat is free to go pretty much where it will. Maybe it'll become a 100% prayer site. Maybe a 100% music site. Maybe a 100% clique-y, in-crowd site. Maybe Max won't like where it goes and, he'll shut it down. After all, it is his opinion that really matters. So what. I say let it go where it goes. Go ahaed and voice your opinion, but if the will of the people (hey, I remember that phrase) dictates a particular direction that may be in conflict with your particular view....well, accept it, voice your opinion some more, or go on to some other place. No big deal, really. Maybe it's just me, but it always surprises me to see how we react to words on a computer screen. After all, people, it is just a freaking web site (all be it, one that I love and will continue to visit regularly).

BTW, does anyone know what the plan is for the radio show tonight?

dw


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: MMario
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 03:56 PM

today is monday at mudcat. radio is tuesday, isn't it? Or have I lost a day?


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: Ralphie
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 03:58 PM

Mouse....Ta Muchly!! dwditty.....probably can't access any US Radio over here in London town....But, to all UK readers....Friday nights Andy Kershaw show on BBC R3 has a brilliant Kate Rusby session on it. I should know....(Puffed Chest!!) Aw Shucks, I cannot tell a lie......LOL R xx
Ralphie, Click here for Mudcat Radio.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: dwditty
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 04:01 PM

You haven't lost a day, Mario. It's just that this particular Monday is dragging a bit. My mistake.


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: CarolC
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 04:34 PM

Annamil, I don't understand your post. You said...

Ok! That's a f**king nuff! First you attack Joe (what brought me in here in the first place), then you attack MICK, I believe someone even attacked MAX!!!! Now you're attacking Jeri!

No one has attacked Mick. And I have not attacked anybody. I am defending myself against an accusation that was made against me about something that was allegedly said by me in a Personal Message.

I have been told by a Mudcatter that it is considered bad form to reveal the contents of PMs. So my question to you and to everyone else is this...

If someone made an accusation against you that you knew was false about something you put in a PM, and if it was an accusation that you could not let ride, how would you defend yourself without posting the actual PM in question?


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: mousethief
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 04:38 PM

Not sure you can, Carol. If somebody is saying things about a PM that you believe false, then they are responsible for publicizing the PM, and your posting of it to set the record straight doesn't (IMHO) count as a breach of PM etiquette.

For what it's worth, that's my opinion.

Alex


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: flattop
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 05:47 PM

It's nice to see so many of the old regulars being irregular on this thread. Hello everybody.

I have only had time to skim the posts but I think the worst part is the opening message. Talk about poor etiquette! If Joe had a few good kat-fights, why can't Lighthorse 69 post blue clickies to the exciting and offensive posts so that we don't have to spend hours searching. Isn't there something in the faq compelling mudcatters to create clickies to the most outrageous items that they find? If there isn't, there should be. Haven't had time to read the faq either.


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: Barry Finn
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 07:20 PM

Hey Moonchild nice to know you're in the neighborhood & it'll be good to see you come Oct (always a pleasure). I'd have to say you're dead right on with reguards to Jeri. After playing/singing with Jeri over the years, at sessions, at parties, at my house, at Getaways I think I know her well enough to say that I do know that she's one of those people who'll be right there with a lending hand & a warm heart & never the one to play the unfriendly note in anyones direction. I know & play/sing with a great many others who feel the same way about her. In fact, up till now I've never heard anyone say even the slightest thing that wasn't in a positive light (not that if you can't say someting nice don't say any thing at all, it's always been positive) & I'm covering the span of a number of years.
It well may be that many of the long time posters don't post that much here anymore because of the lack of the music (this topic goes back at least to 1997 that I can remember) or it may also be due to the change in the way people relate to one another or it could even be a change in the weather, what ever the cause it's a very sorry sight to see what's going on here presently.
As to cyber friendships, I must know &/or have met about a hundred catter's & played/performed with or shared a stage of one kind or another with perhaps at the very least half of them & can only say that I am far off the better & richer for meetting in them in the flesh which would never have happened if it weren't for this site. I do believe that you can say you're rich if you have one friend & that (at least I can say, already being there) one can be ready to die content knowing that they have made may friendships in their lifetime. What does one say about themselves when they use their time going about & picking fights & making enemies? A poor soul?
I hope that this tread has had enough rope to now hang itself in shame so we can all get back on track. Good rythmns to bad trash. Barry


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: CarolC
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 07:29 PM

I'm sorry Barry, but I have to post to this thread one more time.

I have been informed that it could cause serious harm to the Mudcat if I post the contents of the PMs I sent to Big Mick. So I will not do so.

I stand by my assertion that I did not say what he accused me of saying. And I feel comforted in the fact that I have not posted any Personal Messages that were sent to me by anyone else in the forum.

Very sincerely,

Carol


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: Big Mick
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 08:05 PM

Let this be the last post. Please.

Carol, I apologize for referring to the PM. I could have conveyed the same opinion without referring to that message. I sincerely apologize for referring to it and ask anyone who reads this message to accept that the mistake was mine. I am not apologizing for my opinion. In the future I will not respond to you. I may respond to some of the ideas that you post, but only in the general sense.

And Carol, Thank you for not starting a thread. I am just as certain of my position as you are of yours. But the only outcome of it would have been negative to the Mudcat. It is to your credit that you took this path in the face of something you believe strongly. I shall never again mention our differences unless you do.

Shenandoah, do us all a favor. Go back to lurking. We all know Jeri, and have been reading her posts for years. Whatever your axe is, go grind it somewhere else.

Joe, your last post has given me reason to pause. It is well written and has great merit. I need to rethink some things. To be sure we will visit the subject more as we go.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: Snuffy
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 08:47 PM

Sorry to creep this thread onto music, but this seemed appropriate (from LET UNION BE IN ALL OUR HEARTS )

Cease your quarreling and fighting,
Evil thinking and backbiting.
All these things take no delight in,
While we are together.

cho:Let union be in all our hearts,
Let all our hearts be joined as one.
We'll end the day as we begun,
We'll end it all in pleasure.
Right-folla-rolla-rye, too-ra-lie-doe (3x)
While we are together.


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: Lighthouse 65
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 11:40 PM

Amen.

The End.


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: SharonA
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 12:22 PM

Lighthouse 65 and all others: I'm afraid that, by request of Joe himself, it's not the end after all. Joe has taken his post of 16-Jul-01 (2:50 pm) listed above, and posted it on the Mudcat FAQ/Newcomer's Guide (including his anecdote about his traffic accident!). He has requested that any responses not be posted there, as he edits that thread regularly, but on this thread instead. In fact, mousethief posted a comment about it on the FAQ and that comment has already been deleted.

I have already stated, in this thread and in the "prayer request" thread, my opinions on the subject matter of Joe's post. However, I have a response to its appearance in the FAQ: I don't think it belongs there.

He prefaced the FAQ post with the statement that it was his own opinion, not Mudcat policy. However, its very presence there, its outline as a list of suggested behaviors, and the thread's position at the top of the Forum all give Joe's post an air of authority. The absence of any conflicting opinion following his own on that thread — and the quick disappearance of any other opinions that might be posted there — creates even more of the illusion of authority, especially to newbies who might interpret it as a line not to be crossed, considering its source.

Does this cross over into abuse of his position at Mudcat? My feeling is that it does. I thought that a Frequently Asked Questions page was a place to obtain information about a site's operation and policies, not a place for one person alone to express his opinions concerning those policies.

Also, Joe's opinions in the 16-Jul-01 post don't appear to be consistent with some of his earlier statements on the Mudcat FAQ:


"I think the general principle here at Mudcat is "civil anarchy." Max, Dick, and Susan have shown no desire to set rules for operation of the Mudcat. They are very gracious hosts, and it would be nice if we'd all follow their example. That should be the only rule we need."

Under LYRIC REQUESTS: "It's a wonderful thing that our Forum is a spontaneous free-for-all, no-holds-barred bull session."

Under WHAT'S NOT ALLOWED: "I refer most questions of etiquette to a truly wise person, Miss Manners, whose basic premise is the Golden Rule, that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us, etc., etc. I fully agree with Miss Manners on this.
"We believe that Mudcatters are blessed with common sense and admirable judgment, and should have little need of rules. The Powers That Be at Mudcat are tolerant of just about everything but intolerance..."

Under MUDCATIQUETTE: "I'm staying away from giving guidelines on etiquette.....Some people have suggested that there should be more rules around here, so that people know how to behave properly; and that this or that should be better-organized or have instructions that are clearer. Mudcat is governed by a principle of civil anarchy, and that principle gives Mudcat much of its spontaneity, intelligence, and friendly spirit."

Under WHAT ABOUT CENSORSHIP?: "We try very hard to preserve freedom of expression here at Mudcat....The Mudcat Cafe is a music discussion forum. Other activities are permitted and encouraged..."


Yet in his 16-Jul-01 post to the FAQ, Joe DIScourages specific activities. He had already stated in a 17-Jul-00 post to the FAQ: "I still think it's better not to use the Forum for stuff that's not of general interest" but has not, until now, defined that "stuff" and ignored his previously stated no-etiquette-guidelines-in-the-FAQ policy Again, I think the posting of Joe's personal opinion of what does and does not belong in the Forum should be stated in the Forum itself where the rest of us are free to discuss it, and should not be posted in the FAQ/Newcomer's Guide.

SharonA


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 01:53 PM

Freedom of expression is fine, but the purpose of Mudcat is to provide a music forum. General BS is one thing, but random BS has so invaded threads started with musical content in mind that it is difficult and time-consuming to find information. If both random BS and Music Forum are to co-exist, then a wall should be erected to separate them.


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 01:55 PM

Sharon, you are right.

Joe's post, in my opinion, steps outside the bounds of a guideline for Forum Use (the intent of the Newcomer's Guide) and presents editorial opinion. Now there's nothing wrong with editorial opinion, but putting that opinion into the Newcomer's Guide format puts an official stamp on it, and unless Max has authorized it, it seems to step across the boundary of Joe's authority.That's my opinion.


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 02:23 PM

My understanding of an faq is that it is unique to the particular forum it is to be used for, and should act as an "introduction to the ways we do things here, as opposed to the ways things are done in other forums."

FAQs are also places where one goes to find generalist and specialist information about the forum's purpose (in this case folk and blues music) which can act as a pointer to beginner/introductory sources of information about the subject matter the forum regularly addresses. To my way of thinking, this is intended to help newcomers/beginners to the forum or the music itself.

However, many FAQs are not maintained by site/list/newsgroup owners. So to suggest Joe Offer doesn't have the authority to put the guideline in, even if some current members disagree with it, may be incorrect for Mudcat. In most FAQs, one is provided with contact information for the maintainer of the FAQ (ie with a real name and email address) who can be contacted with questions. It does seem to me the whole Joe Offer thing is needless buffer/level of bureaucracy between site owners and site users.

Also, as a newcomer to the forum, I don't find much in the way of useful information (how we do it here information) anyway. I really don't consider the faq here to be a very good one, as FAQs go, for that reason.

The perma-threads are good though.


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: Wolfgang
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 02:41 PM

Lonesome EJ,

the whole permathread we are talking about is a mixture of information and opinions (not only from Joe). That did not start with the last entry. If I understand you correctly you advise to retire the thread and rewrite it without any opinion on how to do things best?

As for the editorial opinion on healing threads I have cited it in my last post, but SharonA doesn't seem to like this opinion.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: SharonA
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 02:42 PM

GUEST, if you have read Joe's 16-Jul-01 post to the FAQ and interpreted it as a Mudcat guideline and not as Joe's personal opinion, you have proven my point.

SharonA


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: catspaw49
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 02:49 PM

Well..........Joe has corresponded with me on numerous occasions and also very recently and has explained his thoughts quite well. I need to respond to his latest PM and I will, but this is a bit of a separate issue here.

Joe did say it was his opinion and of course he too is entitled to that as we all are. I don't really believe that anyone would expect him NOT to have an opinion and expressing it is not a problem. HOWEVER.....The FAQ/Newcomer's Guide is not the place (in my opinion) to post that info. Leej makes the point above:

Joe's post, in my opinion, steps outside the bounds of a guideline for Forum Use (the intent of the Newcomer's Guide) and presents editorial opinion. Now there's nothing wrong with editorial opinion, but putting that opinion into the Newcomer's Guide format puts an official stamp on it......

I couldn't agree more. What's next? cats and Dogs, Baseball, and the like? And then how about the only slightly related.....Name our band, a pub, travelling problems between gigs. It follows that over time, all BS will be called to "stand and deliver" and then be banished. It's been a long discussion here at times, but Max has repeatedly stated he wasn't going to separate the Forum and that he pretty well enjoys the BS himself.

We have so far pretty well coexisted and most people here participate in many types of threads. I know Joe is concerned over the lack of music emphasis, but I think Dave the Gnome said elsewhere that he sees Mudcat as a community of folkies who also talk about other things, which is only natural. Joe has a particular dislike based on some good thought processes for the "Good Thoughts" threads and I both agree and disagree, but that is between Joe and I and we can hash it out and remain friends.

What I would ask now is that the post in the FAQ be deleted as it heads down a slippery slope where the people here have repeatedly said they didn't want to go. I wouldn't object to statements that focus attention to newcomers on the music aspects and to try to keep the BS within bounds of some sort. Let's face it, some of it is silly as hell........but to make the statement Joe did, even as opinion, in a Newcomer's Guide gives it both credibility and begs the question, "What next?"

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: Wolfgang
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 03:04 PM

I do not like the turn this takes. SharonA has posted a whole list of Joe's opinions (in order to demonstrate that they are not consistent) in the permathread. If it is a questions of opinions as such you should vote that these opinions have to be deleted as well. Or does Joe only have the right to post there opinions which the posting majority agrees with? The idea to these threads was that one person gets the right to edit these threads and that was a good policy I think.

Joe might of course decide to delete his post in that thread, but he might also say 'if you don't like my way of handling that thread do it yourself'. I wouldn't like that option at all.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 03:06 PM

Now it's a cozy, friendly hangout for a bunch of nice computer addicts who know each other quite well and enjoy each other's company. There are music questions that come up regularly, and people will wander over and answer the question and go back to goofing around with their friends. The music discussions still arise on occasion, but they're really not connected to the main part of the discussion. Sure, there are more music threads than "BS"- but the music threads contain far fewer messages.

So, what's happened? The balance of Mudcat has changed, and I think Mick is absolutely right that this is no longer a music forum. He likes it that way. I don't....excerpt from Joe's Newcomer's Guide posting

This is the segment I find most objectionable, and in particular the image of "computer addicts goofing around" and the part about "he likes it that way. I don't."

Should a Newcomer's Guide immediately introduce visitors to the most divisive topic that comes up on the Forum? And should the man who is responsible for composing and maintaining the FAQ state that he doesn't like the way things are on the Forum?

Opinion is fine, Wolfgang, but let's suppose that the Guide IS the first thing a visitor reads. Is the first impression to be that the Forum is being misused, and here's how YOU can help get it back on track?

The rest of Joe's post walks a line between policy and recommendation, which is easier to swallow.


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: katlaughing
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 03:11 PM

Joe can state his opinion and debate it with others all he wants in the Forum, as the rest of us do. To have posted it in the Newcomer's Guide is wrong, for all of the good reasons cited above.

Thanks, SharonA for addressing this.

kat


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: Wolfgang
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 03:13 PM

LEJ, thanks, that makes it clearer, to me at least.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 03:13 PM

I have to disagree with you Wolfgang, the FAQ should reflect how Mudcat Works and Mudcat policy. The editor of the FAQ is acting on behalf of and representing Mudcat. I see no place for such personal opinions.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 03:17 PM

Can't resist putting in my 5c worth! If we all spent more time on the phone these threads wouldn't happen! how do you all have the time to read all this stuff, let alone argue about it? Just curious, I haven't read all the above as LEJ might fire me for not "taking care of business"! By the way, some very nice people did a prayer circle for my terminally ill sister. While I do not believe in all that stuff, was appreciative of the thoughts behind it. Also, I think to be a part of a prayer circle or some such makes one feel less helpless in a situation which no one seems to have control over. Thanks for letting me butt in, and has anyone heard any good music lately!? LION .... LEJ's spouse


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 03:27 PM

I'd like to add that I differ from "Guest" who says the FAQ is weak on this Forum. I think it is one of the clearest and most comprehensive FAQs I have ever seen for any site. I also believe, whether he has the title or not, that Joe has done an excellent job as Administrator in the day to day maintenance of this site. That is one of the reasons this site is as vital and busy as it is.


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 03:35 PM

I also believe, whether he has the title or not, that Joe has done an excellent job as Administrator in the day to day maintenance of this site.

I couldn't agree more LEJ and I know Joe from both sides, i.e. as Jon Freeman and as a JoeClone - I find he makes a great "boss". I just feel he has (as we all can) stepped the wrong side of a line in this instance.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: Jeri
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 03:44 PM

I have to believe Joe didn't consider how this would appear. I have to believe Joe isn't the sort of person to censor a thread. Edit yes, but eliminate ideas he doesn't agree with?

Joe, you say it's only your opinion, but any differing opinions will be deleted from that thread. People will only see what you wrote. It appears as though you're saying "everyone's entitled to an opinion, but mine is the official one."

If you think about balance, what happens when you forcefully shove one side of the see-saw down?

Please note I'm not fond of prayer requests.


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: Pseudolus
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 03:46 PM

I was going to respond to this before but in this thread and the earlier "prayer request" thread but both of them finished (at the time) with posts imploring us to let it die. I was glad it did for a while. but this thread has been "re-opened" with good reason...thanks Sharon. Now that it has, here's my two cents......

I respect Joe's opinions, as I would anybody's. I agree with all of the posts that praised all of the things he does for this Forum. And I agree that he has the right to have those opinions. The problem for me is when the opinions turn to judgements. Joe has referred to the prayer requests as chain letter events many times. It doesn't seem to be enough to just say that he differs in opinion, he has to make the point that YOUR opinion, although you're supposedly allowed to have one, is silly. The quote that shows this to me most clearly is the following....

"I suppose that healing threads work very well as a source of comfort for those who believe in things like chain letters and pyramid schemes and television evangelism and eating to lose weight." - Joe Offer -

Just because you don't agree or can't directly relate doesn't mean that someone else can't get comfort in such a thread, AND it doesn't make them vulnerable to chain letters, pyramid schemes, etc.

I am really dissappointed....I haven't really felt like logging in lately and probably won't for a while. Again I could handle it if someone suggested, "there's a better way to do this". But if I disagree, my opinion should not be belittled......and of course, THAT, is my humble opinion........

Til Whenever..... Frank


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: SDShad
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 03:47 PM

I'm not sure the Newcomer's FAQ is the right place for Joe's posting, either, but for an entirely different set of reasons. That's not to say I discount or disagree with statements by Leej, Spaw, et. al. above--indeed, I think that if the Newcomer FAQ is deemed an appropriate place for Joe's suggestions, it should be done as less one person's opinion, but rather pared down to eliminate the personal and make it "rough ettiquette guidelines that we mostly can agree on and live with--they're not the law, but they're a good idea." Unlike others, I think Joe's intro to the post in the FAQ made it perfectly clear that it was personal opinion, but I think the same suggestions could be made a little more objectively and dispassionately.

But good suggestions they are, and here's where I get into disagreeing with the FAQ being the place for them. 'Cause the way I see it, these suggestions are much more importantly in need of being considered and followed by those of us already here, not so much by newcomers (the odd "I'm a newcomer here, hi!" thread is kind of silly and superfluous, but in the end does no real harm, unlike, say, some of this thread). Like many others, I read Joe's original version of this post and it gave me a lot to think about.

I've seen flaming/trolling attacks by both inside and outside psychopaths on other fora that were far, far worse than anything that's happened here in the time I've been around--one in particular springs to mind, on a forum which I to this day won't name publicly because it still exists, and it's quite possible that the stalker who plagued that community has continued to search for the forum long after we've gone underground--indeed, that's already happened once. In that particular attack, one by an outsider who had been a member of the forum years before and already caused trouble then, I took an active and central role in responding to the troll, posting a lengthy, impassioned manifesto of sorts that spelled out why this person--persons, actually, as it turned out--needed to leave the forum as not to destroy it, even though he/she/it claimed to "love [the forum] beyond all imagining." Many at the forum knew my real name, but I didn't post it under my forum handle of Shadowspawn, but rather as Ender Wiggin, because I didn't want to become the troll's special target. The troll pretended to take my post to heart--not without a lot of counteraccusation and pouting, mind you--and promised to leave.

This lasted all of three days, and he/she/it was back with a vengeance, finally forcing us, as I've mentioned, to take down the advertised address of the forum and essentially hide it in plain sight, where several years down the line, the troll still hasn't found us. Yet. But consequently our membership has dwindled to next to nothing, and the place is now just a minor hangout for a very small group of old and devoted friends.

Now, Mudcat is a much larger community, and I don't think one such troll could wreak the same sort of damage here. But the lesson I walked away with was simply this: responding to trolls simply doesn't work. Not even so briefly as to just say "you're a troll" and move on, ignoring them. Same goes for posting "ignore the troll" in a troll thread. Only serves to refresh it. I'll admit I've fallen down and still thrown the odd snarky barb at a Guesttroll, and have even got sucked into a bitchy political comment or two or three (or so....). But I learned the hard way long before I got here that trying to fight trolls is futile. So 99.99 times out of a hundred, so far I've resisted the temptation to say even a word to a Guesttroll--not that there haven't been some recent ones that have tried my patience.

And this is where Joe's advice is so much more important to those of us who are already here than to new arrivals. We know this place, we love this place, and so many of us have established genuine and lasting friendships here. When our friends or our place seem under attack, it's only natural to want to defend--that's what motivated the "manifesto" I wrote all those years ago. But more shite is perpetuated on the Mudcat by trolls and gargoyles and ttcms and whatever, and by those of us responding to them angrily for all the right reasons--which only encourages them--than by all the healing threads, hi I'm here threads, birthday threads, tavern threads, erection threads, and general BS and craic threads combined. Likewise, I think it's far too easy to get carried away by the spirit of the place--I, too, love the BS and craic--and start a thread for reasons that don't really hold up if you stop and think about it for a minute or two longer. I know I've done it, and I know others have done it.

So, a reminder--and perhaps a fairly frequent one--that we need to police ourselves--ourselves, mind you, not eachother--is far more important, I think, than admonishing newcomers not to respond to trolls. I'm not sure I would've had a clue what to say to a troll when I was a newcomer. Nowadays, I come up with all kinds of rejoinders to them in my head, but try never to post them.

I like that Mudcat is a place where folk and blues lovers hang out and shoot the bull as much as it is a high-minded folk and blues forum. 'Tis more human that way, and more enticing to come back. I'd never want it to lose that flavor. But I'd never want it to lose its musical-informational flavor either. And as the Internet gets bigger and bigger, there are only going to be more and more trolls and psychopaths out there who seek to take advantage of how open a place this is--and in my opinion, must be--to spread chaos and ruin. If we keep responding to it, we only encourage it, and it could threaten to drown out both the music and the craic. How do we remind ourselves of that freqently enough? Beats the hell out of me, but that doesn't mean we oughtn't to try.

But if we take a few seconds to think before we post, and try, each of us, to cut back a bit on the sort of posting that Joe mentioned, particularly in my opinion the responding to trolling and flamebait, and the most excessive and silly BS threads--policing, I will add again for emphasis, ourselves and not eachother--we can have our BS and eat it too.

So I've gone and written another little manifesto anyway. Oh well. Trust me--this one's much shorter.

Warmest regards to all,

Chris


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: catspaw49
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 03:50 PM

The ability of a FAQ to do it's job relies on many things and Joe has repeatedly asked for advice and gotten it. There are parts of it that I don't like (not the ideas, the layout) and parts that work really well. In the grand scheme of things.....It's too early to tell. Not much around here is cast in Bronze and with age things generally improve. The FAQ/Newcomer's Guide is not in question here.

The particular message that is in question just goes off into a territory where we have repeatedly said we don't want to go. I really believe that if Joe thinks this one through, he'll agree.

Could the idea behind his post as I stated above be better phrased? Yeah......I think it can. Even the most inveterate BS'er would at times like to see a little thought before posting a thread simply because you're bored (sorry Firecat). If Joe likes, perhaps we can draft up something that addresses the issues without sounding as though we are getting into the censorship routine. I'll write it with you Joe......ya' wanna'??

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: Banjer
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 03:51 PM

This whole situation reminds me of the Eveready Bunny.... It keeps going, and going, and going.... WHY?


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 03:57 PM

we can have our BS and eat it too.

Now THERE is a graphic image, Chris! :>) I agree with what you're saying.


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: SDShad
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 04:01 PM

Spaw, you made a point far better, and as usual, far more succinctly than I could, to wit: "Could the idea behind his post as I stated above be better phrased? Yeah......I think it can."

Exactly. I think there are some good ideas in Joe's post, and it might indeed be a good idea to divorce the ideas from the personal opinion factor, and post the result. I second the nomination of Spaw--wwwaaaaaitaminit...you cain't nominate yerself, can ya bub?--so I first and second the nomination of Spaw to work w/ Joe to work it into excactly such a shape as can sit proudly in our FAQ next to Amos's welcome. You can do it with a humor and a cutting-through-the-bullshittednes most of us lack, Pat, if Joe's game to ya.

But I do still feel us regulars need the reminder at least as much as any newcomer.

Chris


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Subject: RE: Dear Joe Offer et al
From: SDShad
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 04:03 PM

Hey, Leej, I figured I was getting so feckin' pedantic there that I'd better throw in a little scatology or everyone'd nod off....

Shad


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