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"If there is no struggle, there is no progress" - Frederick Douglass

I chanced on the M:P&T site while I was researching info on "non-standard" guitar-string gauges (particularly those for quarter-tone players who 'bend' strings). Saw a question which I knew some things about / created an account / answered it.

Then I looked around, read a bit, and had questions about the direction of the site. I've read and contributed to a number of online forums and this one seemed unusual:

  • Upvoting/downvoting, editing other folks' posts, and the reputation/privilege matrix DO exist on other sites, but not as evidently as on this one.
  • I rarely see this level of effort to control the Q&A. Some corporate HR sites, yeah, but not a public music forum.
  • In sixty years spent with creative musicians, we constantly discussed purposes and philosophies (theories) of music. Despite the name, I don't find that on this site.
  • The constant shibboleth of "be civil" recurs, but I didn't see real concern about contributors' dignity.

So, I pushed some buttons. I answered a few questions, expanding the area I addressed each time.

I had written an old Amazon blog-post which I converted to Q&A, and through that I stumbled into the "meta". Holy Toledo!

I essayed one more answer which technically met Tour & Help-Center guidelines, but purposely included discussion of individual musicians' concepts of music itself as well. Shut down out of the gate! (Guess somebody laid in wait.)

So, M:T&P is not a place for me! Some OK stuff, but lots of controlling behavior. I pushed for answers to dignity-related questions and was repeatedly treated to "rankism". I acknowledge that some of you are aware of these issues, but there is plenty of abuse.

I wish you folks all the best in your endeavor. Not certain how the universe will treat it - and your meta conversations indicate the answer may be 'not well'. When your organization vests power in people who fail to be fair and accountable, it becomes a dark place.


User '@topo morto' - I wish you the best, but fear you're going to be unhappy. @Todd Wilcox, you're a fair-minded fellow but you get caught by the obsessive arguments of a few control-freaks.

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    The thing is that Stack Exchange sites work a bit different than many other sites. I think it's for the better, but you obviously disagree, which is of course fine :-) I think it would be a lot more constructive if you would ask "Why was this action taken?" rather than "This action was taken and it's terrible!". That sort of phrasing tends to lead to actual discussion (and perhaps changes in policy), while this sort of post tends to create a more adversarial attitude in people... – Martin Tournoij Jan 21 '17 at 20:58
  • Well.... The tech staff is not answering, and won't act on my "delete account" request until whenever. Kinda spoils my dramatic exit! ________________________________________________________________________ That said, @Carpetsmoker has obviously not seen my "Why was.." question, with various comments and answers. Nor looked at my chat with Dr. M. Suffice it that the construction of this site makes it's activity as transparent as the incoming US president. You guys keep going "That's the way it is". I'm just saying why it can never work for me (nor for music, I suspect). – user36052 Jan 22 '17 at 1:18
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    "we constantly discussed purposes and philosophies (theories) of music. Despite the name, I don't find that on this site." That's not what is meant by "Music Theory" on this site. See here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_theory – Todd Wilcox Jan 24 '17 at 6:28
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    I doubt you'll see this, but I am sorry this wasn't your cup of tea. It is what it is, and it's not meant to be for everyone. – Todd Wilcox Jan 24 '17 at 6:33
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Marko - I'm afraid you have just not managed to grok how this site works. The few posts you made that met guidelines got upvotes. The essay one - wasn't on topic. The next one really really did not meet any of our requirements for an answer post - despite what you may think. It had concepts about music, but had no answers to the question - as I commented to you at the time! And we don't use meta posts to say "I'm leaving" - as you will have read in the faq, you can use the "contact us" button to request account deletion or disassociation. The problem here is really that this site is not what you think it should be.

I, and other mods and members of the community have repeatedly tried to guide you. You will find if you read, understand and follow the site guidelines, it is very open, and in fact this site is much more relaxed than many on Stack Exchange. All mods follow community guidelines, and are held accountable not only by the community (who make sure that if we overstep the mark we fix things) but also by the staff of Stack Exchange and each other.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Doktor Mayhem Jan 21 '17 at 21:16
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    How can I be more clear - a down-vote is an example of what I feel strangles discussion here. It's unattributable (at least from my place on the ladder). It does indicate someone's negative response without communicating their reasons. It blocks discussion. If you don't care for what I said, ignore me. If you want to engage me (and @Dr Mayhem did me that courtesy), do so openly and not with a mere mystery-click! – user36052 Jan 21 '17 at 21:20
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    @Marko down votes are also informative to other users -- when you come to a question, the answers are (by default) ordered so that the accepted answer comes first, then the answers in order of their vote counts, so up/down voting affects an answer's priority for other viewers too. – Dave Jan 24 '17 at 14:48
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    For the benefit of anyone reading these comments: Marko complains that downvotes "block discussion". I'd say the whole SE system intentionally blocks discussion, since discussion is not what SE is about. There can be discussion in the chat rooms, but the main sites are about questions and answers, not discussion. – Todd Wilcox Jan 25 '17 at 21:24
  • Must come in here! I agree that downvotes are not particularly informative. Could just be any old reason - or none at all. With a comment they are most useful - and will make a positive addition to it all. Without - who cares? – Tim Jul 1 '19 at 19:00
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User '@topo morto' - I wish you the best, but fear you're going to be unhappy.

Do you mean with the site, or is that a foretelling of the direction of my life in general..? :0 Anyway thanks for the shout out!

At the end of the day, I've been involved in a bunch of "musician's forums". I've been in rehearsal with orchestras, I've been in the classroom, I've been backstage after hip hop concerts, I've played in a band, I go to folk and blues gigs in pubs... and I've also been on a whole bunch of internet forums. Probably too many.

To be honest, I recall many of the aforementioned places (real and virtual) being arguably better than music.stackexchange.com in a few ways...

  • The ease of getting a beer
  • the possibility of meeting someone interesting who you can lure home to your bedroom
  • friendly chat and banter
  • everything going dark and then waking up on a roof somewhere one morning and not even knowing what city you are in

Slightly less flippantly, it's not yet the best place, IMO, for - equipment information - more abstract discussion / philosophizing about music - actually hearing some actual music... - production techniques - synthesis, software usage and electronic music

But IMO it is a pretty good place for

  • Music theory
  • The science of musical sound
  • information for instrumentalists
  • less abstract 'problem solving' kind of discussions.

The attraction of spending time here may or may not wane for me personally. But this place does have its strengths - namely, the presentation of factual or at least somewhat objective information about music in a way that it doesn't get too choked by all the opinion, misinformation, nastiness and, indeed, pleasantries that you get on other internet sites. And I think some of that strength comes from some of the things you have (I think) highlighted as negative.

So... I think they / we are doing some things right. But there are things that could be done better (or even better) too. We could definitely do better at being friendlier to new users, IMO. Maybe we could do with a bit more actual music on the site. And if I could get sent a beer now and again, that would be wonderful. (They sent me a T-shirt, so I live in hope...)

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    I've been in many, many online music communities, including a Guitar Gear Group (mailing list) from way back before that system got bought by Yahoo (umm, 1998?) and became Yahoo Groups (and now I have no idea what happened to it). As much as I miss the old Guitar Gear, nothing compares to Music.SE except possibly ProSoundWeb (actually filled with mostly professionals) and maybe the TOMB (TapeOp forum). But both of those are more about engineering than music. This place is the best, IMHO. Stack Exchange is a great system. You just have to be ok with getting down votes. – Todd Wilcox Jan 24 '17 at 6:32
  • @ToddWilcox let's see, what have I been on... kvr, basschat, talkbass, thegearpage, thefretboard, gearslutz... and probably a bunch of older ones I've forgotten. Basschat was probably the best for "having a laugh" and gearslutz/kvr were quite in depth about equipment and production tecniques.... they had a lot of stuff in those areas you don't really see on here. I've made my comments above a bit less flip! – topo Reinstate Monica Jan 24 '17 at 11:29
  • This post is a bit old, but just wanted to say I really enjoy the contributions on this site, and despite what I might have guessed before coming here, the more restrictive stackexchange Q&A format seems really conducive to in depth discussion of musical concepts (thanks in no small part to the community in moderators, we seem to have squared the circle with the restrictive format and discussion on a topic such as music which obviously usually has more than one answer, and different ways of looking at it). – Some_Guy Mar 30 '17 at 10:23
  • Having said that, I think the main disadvantage of this site for most of us is that there isn't much of a space outside the Q&A where we can chat with each other. I reckon I'm not the only one here who wishes it was easier to have a a bit more regular forumy niceties on the side, as well as the Q&A. I get that SE isn't built that way (and for a reason, coming from SO). But there're some posters here (yourself included) who I'd love to be able to engage with in a less restricted context. If I see an interesting/useful answer, I'd love to be able to just PM and strike up a conversation about it. – Some_Guy Mar 30 '17 at 11:17
  • @Some_Guy Though it's not exactly PM, there is always the main chat - you can try to '@-message' people in there, though I'm not sure it always works for all users. – topo Reinstate Monica Mar 31 '17 at 6:41
  • @topomorto it's true, chat is a thing, but it's just a bit crap really; hidden enough that you can't really discuss things with the community, and public enough that it doesn't really work to PM someone, even if the notifications work properly.. Other than that I do really like it here though, some fantastic contributors. – Some_Guy Mar 31 '17 at 12:14
  • @Some_Guy "there isn't much of a space outside the Q&A where we can chat with each other" - Well, for better or for worse, that's intentional. I think it's the price paid here for the quality of the content that is here. The more open discussion is allowed, the more it would take away from the focused Q&A. I think SE is focused, which means there are a lot of things that won't be allowed (one definition of "focus" is "saying no"). But we then reap the rewards of that focus. Maybe what SE really needs is a sister site that is more of a forum. – Todd Wilcox Jan 12 '18 at 22:24

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