To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

I know Jeremy doesn’t like meta-threads — discussions about how we discuss things here. He even explicitly says "If you have a comment or question about the way this website is run, just write to me instead of starting a discussion."

Oops. Sorry.

So the "rule" here is "Be civil."

Obviously, lots of uncivil things get said here, on a daily basis. Too bad, given that we all come here to talk about this music we love. We have at least that in common.

In the past, I’ve lobbied Jeremy by email to flesh out his civility rule with a few more guidelines. (I’ve also pleaded with him to be more visible when a post is uncivil—that way, all of us would learn what sort of behavior oversteps the line.)

So I was thinking of a few guidelines that are often used in public dialogue forums.

- Challenge ideas, not people.
- Show respect for other’s opinions (or simply don’t address them).
- Participate in good faith - that is, refrain from stirring the pot maliciously, and speak with reason, not rhetoric.
- Keep a sense of humor.
- Stay focused on the prize: even when you disagree with someone, we’re all here for the same basic reason (in this case, a passion for Irish trad music).

Sure, I’ve violated these a few times myself, in large part because civility had broken down and no rules at all were in force. That degrades the whole board. Let’s nip that problem in the bud so we can all get back to better conversations.

So what are your ideas? Can we collectively petition Jeremy to update and clarify the civility clause? Shouldn’t 40,000 members have some say in how they interact?

Feel free to challenge my suggestions and post your own.

[Hoping this thread lives for more than 15 minutes….]

Posted .

Here; Kitty, kitty, kitty …

I hope your thread survives.
Personally I hope Jeremy does not intervene any more than he does already. It is his creation; but we are the ones who must show responsibility. I might suggest using emails en masse if that might tame this lack of civility.

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Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

That’s where you went. Good luck to you puddy tat.
They say everyone gets fifteen minutes of fame. That 1st one would certainly shake things up in the mustard jar.
" Challenge ideas, not people."

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Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

Sure, I wish we could all just get along. But you’re looking at a membership the size of a small city. There are bound to be problems now and then.

Hmmm…stuffing an offender’s inbox with tsk tsking emails might actually be effective. Imagine getting yellow cards from 30,000 people. LOL.

Posted .

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

*Grin* Tonya, I burned my 15 minutes of fame a long time ago. Infamy is all that’s left to me now….

Yeah, I realize that first one is asking a bit much, especially when slagging is such an art form here. 🙂

Posted .

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

I’ve been following this board for a while now… how many of you remember the days when it was Jeremy posting a tune a week? It’s been up and down over the years, mostly up - right now, there’s a low ebb of civility, and that’s a little bothersome. When a simple question about the meaning of a particular mark in the notation turns into a 150-message squabble about every joker’s pet issue and folks are taking sides… well, it’s a sign that maybe people are spending a little bit too much time looking at a screen, and maybe taking this thing a little too seriously. It’s just tunes, people. It’s supposed to be fun. Imagine how embarassed you’d be if a thirteen year old saw you arguming like Sunnis and Shiites over… tunes. Oh, wait - we had one come in, and that’s what she saw.
But I don’t know that refining and expanding the rules will help too much. If "be civil" is too hard to understand, then more rules will just give the uncivil more tools to be uncivil with. It’s worked pretty well so far - as I say, it’s been up and down, and right now it’s at a low point, but I think it’ll settle down again.

I see no objection to discussing general points of civility, however, as long as we stay away from personalizing the issue. One rule of thumb that I could suggest would be to avoid posting to the same discussion more than once in a day. Some of the exchanges can be fun, true, and if you’re getting some good craic (so to speak - or whatever the online analog would be) have at it. But in a substantive discussion, there’s a lot to be gained by leaving room for someone else to get their oar in. Not least of those is they might say something you hadn’t thought of, or in a way you hadn’t thought of. No need to jump all over a topic.

As to email, I think it’s a fine way to tap someone on the shoulder, or to take a topic off line if it’s not something that the whole board needs to be reading. I’d hate to see "civility spamming" though. If you have something to say to someone, say it. No need to bring all your friends.

Thanks for bringing the topic up, o cheesy dessert inked on a hipster’s back.

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

‘ave a go, yer mug!

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

Good, reasoned response, Jon Kiparsky.
But "cheesy dessert inked on a hipster’s back"????

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

Will… if I may, I’d like to contribute another point to your list that has been a sore point with discussions and arguments I’ve either been a party to or a witness of.

- Be careful how you interpret other people’s comments before you offer your opinions or critiques of what you believe they’re saying.

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

I like the point about keeping a sense of humour (UK spelling 🙂) - eg, I tried to diffuse things a little on the thread which inspired this one, with a few weak attempts, as I thought jig was taking a slightly unwarranted hiding - so I was trying to take the sting out of it. I’ve been reading a bit of late - totally unrelated to the music - strangely enough about people who have come through terrible disasters and tragedies, and the one thing in common that kept them going was love of friends and family. Sounds soppy but if it keeps you alive, it can’t be too bad. Maybe we ought to chill and take time out from here if it causes your blood pressure to rise too much. Life really is too short.

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I personally don’t think a rule of "one post a day to a conversation" or "civility spamming" are particularly good ideas. Telling people to "get a life" isn’t a particularly good idea either, you’re just looking for a fight that way. (How do you personally react when someone tells you "to get a life", for god’s sake?) Life isn’t like that, nor are good open bulletin boards and forums.

I’ve watched meatspace sessions die for less than the offenses and insults thrown around here at thesession, and I know most of the people on this thread have seen those sessions die too, and were often directly involved in that dying themselves. The line between meatspace and cyberspace isn’t THAT wide, kids. It’s STILL real people on the other end of the keyboards.

I personally feel that the individual definition of "civility" is a real problem in this instance. For some people, the definition of "civility" simply means "not swearing" and they feel that they can say anything else at all that they like. For other people, "civility" goes quite a bit further than that, and impacts how people interact in a deeper way than just language.

To simply say "be civil" and leave it at that is to invite problems.

Speaking personally, I’m not a particularly tactful person, nor am I particularly long-suffering, as several of you know to your cost. If I feel I’ve been insulted or that my loved ones have been insulted, I will insult in turn. If I don’t feel respected, then I don’t respect. That’s a pretty natural reaction, quite common among human beings. You do it, I do it. Sure, we can preach at each other and say that we should react in the opposite way and win our sainthoods, but when push comes to shove, that’s how we’ll most likely react.

I’d personally prefer to see an addition to "be civil": "be respectful".

That doesn’t mean having to agree with everything someone says. It just means to be respectful of other people’s opinions. Nine times out of ten, that will solve the problem.

Almost every huge spat on this board I’ve ever seen has been because people’s opinions were not respected (rather than being agreed with), and they reacted in an entirely human way, by not respecting those who they feel didn’t respect them, and it all grows like topsy from there.

Civility is not the issue, I feel. Respect is.

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"Telling people to "get a life" isn’t a particularly good idea either"
….well, that is what I suggested on the other thread, when pointless trench warfare seemed well underway. At least one person took the point. after all, it’s only a website. I’m not overly worried about all that stuff about it all connecting everyone and real emotions are expressed by and to real people. It is, really, just a website.
"we can preach at each other and say that we should react in the opposite way and win our sainthoods, but when push comes to shove, that’s how we’ll most likely react"
…true, but there’s no harm in reminding people how they might like to be seen to behaving, especially in front of god-knows how many thousand people.

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

If it was "just a website", would anyone bother getting uptight about any of it? If it didn’t connect everyone, why would anyone be bothered about behaving badly in front of thousands of people?

Respecting other people and their right to hold different opinions will never shame anyone, either in front of thousands of people or simply the person standing in front of one, or on the other end of the keyboard.

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

>If it was "just a website", would anyone bother getting uptight about any of it? If it didn’t connect everyone, why would anyone be bothered about behaving badly in front of thousands of people?

…precisely my point. I’ll bet you loads and loads of other members don’t bother getting uptight, or just superciliously and vicariously observe the comments of those who do behave badly. Depends on your perspective maybe. As for getting a life, I’m off out for the day with my wee boy. Bye for now!

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Respecting other people, however, still remains my main point. It won’t ever shame anyone or hurt anyone. It’s noteable that people often say things like "it’s only a website" up until their own feelings are hurt, though, don’t you think?

Nope, the many people who don’t actively post don’t bother, and plenty of musicians love to lurk and laugh about some of the things said here, and hello to you all. ;)

Have a nice day — I’m off to a session!

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Can’t think why Jeremy doesn’t like discussions about how we discuss things. I respect Jeremy but I’m sure this is his form of avoidance of something that’s hugely, hugely valuable.

Almost everything that ever goes wrong between people in any group / organisation is due to people resisting talking about how they are relating to each other.

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…and isn’t it up to us as a community to self-regulate?

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

I read through this "civility" thread, then I went to the thread that inspired this one.
It was simply business as usual at the DIScussions - and among the stars were the very two who so insulted and abused me when I first joined up with this site (as I recall, it was my personal spiritual beliefs they were slinging at so visciously). Still doing their thing. No surprise.
SO. Rules? What rules? They are only guidelines, and in the end, as you stated, we can only police ourselves. But not, I think, by taking notice of the savages amongst us.
If the conversation has turned sour, either ignore the animals (I mean seriously, do not even acknowledge them, why bolster their egoes?), or pick up your hat and depart.
I do.
It works for me.
My time is not theirs to waste.

Have a grand day, all.

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Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

Love the city analogy - 40,000 people! I’ve occasionally stumbled into a no-go area! What other "districts" might exist on this site?

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

I think the civility rule is a good idea but if our opinions are considered uncivil and are removed isnt that bordering on facisim and that IMO is a bad thing.

I do agree everyone should keep their sense of humour though.

It can be hard sometimes to take peoples opinions, becasue they shove them down your throat and what otherwise would be taken as good advise is lost in their expression of the point they are tryin to get across.

I personally have found some people (not mentioning names) to be condecending and a little arrogent, they may be tryin to help in good faith but it doesnt come across that way and so people get defensive, ive done it myself and the argument gets lost in a tirad of abuse.

In the previous thread that inspired this one an 8th grader who simply wanted to know the meanin of a symbol has her question turning into a snide argument about who had bigger credentials and the whole point of the thread got lost. I dont think the poster would have found most, bar one or two comments, anyway helpful in answering the question.

Arent we all here to learn from each other and if they question get ignored is their any point asking them in the first place?

I dunno………………

In saying that i do find a few poster here very helpful and informative and they do so in a way that is gracious aswell and that is not be forgotten.

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

>> Ive done it myself

i meant i’ve gotten defensive

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

I’m a big boy - I can take getting knocked around here on the board. However, I find it especially despicable when a genuine new person (not a clever wind up) posts and honest question only to be ripped to shreds by the cynical vultures who circle this web-site waiting for the next unsuspecting traveler. I find those to be the most offensive posts. They undermine the growth and development of our musical community.

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

Civility (the currency of reason and objectivity) is a worthy goal, for which we strive. As "temperamental artists" (passionate natures with attention to minutiae), we have doubtless forged some personal musical "truths" on our respective musical journeys. When anybody feels their beliefs to be challenged (ground shifting underfoot), passion often triumphs over reason, and… voila! the civility meter drops. Too bad, though. The whole point of making music (for myself, anyways) was to communicate effectively without words , possibly spreading a little joy on the way. Heh.

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One wonders if some of the arguments on this site are really happening or if some sad individuals are writing in comments under another name and then replying to themselves.
This is the net/web call it what you will, where some people who are quiet mice in public can roar like lions on these yellow pages.
It does not make what they say any more correct just louder.
One also wonders at the fortitude of Jeremy to read such stuff that people get hot under the collar about.
Life is too short lets just play some tunes 😉

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

Jusa Nutter Eejit, as usual, isn’t being one. What he said.

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

Yep, what Jusa Nutter Eejit said, because you could potentially put someone new off for life (which is a pretty despicable thing to do).

And I know they should do a search first etc etc, but, guys, when someone is starting out they’re vulnerable (remember!) so give them a break, okay?

In other situations, there’s nothing wrong with being ‘robust’ in defence of a POV, but as others have said, civility is the key.

The encouraging thing is that most of us DO keep coming back here. It’s still probably the best site there is for anyone interested in session music! Personally I’ve had some great advice over the years, for which, many thanks. 🙂

Just my 2p

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Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

Some people are wind-up-merchants by nature and the more civility rules you have, the more people will push the boundaries.
I look in for the music (and a bit of harmless bodhran-baiting)

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

… and furthermore, having met not one of you in person, how do I know that any of you exist at all, and that postings and repsonses (both civil and petty) are not just a product of algorithm-analyzing software? Jeremy (if such a construct actually exists) is a programmer, is he not? … em, sorry ‘bout that… I’m a recovering (but not recovered) cynic. Nonetheless, paraphrasing Rhod, thanks for all the info and craic over the years.

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I guess I have a dilemma on this one. On the one hand I want to support as many newcomers coming to the board as is humanly possible - and I suspect that on that I am not alone. On the other hand the anarchist in me starts to shudder whenever we talk about rules in an online community. Now undoubtedly if newcomers witness needless flaming (and we have all seen it on here) they are more than likely to disappear over the horizon and join some other discussion board.

So how do we ‘police’ it (and, do we want to)? Undoubtedly Jeremy has done an outstanding job moderating the board (extra creep points please Jeremy), but the job of this ‘policing’ should not be his alone. As a community we have a combined responsibility to monitor the content in our discussion.

Now undoubtedly different cultures have a different notion of what that responsibility might be. For example, I have been priveleged to enjoy some discussions with Australians and their manner of debate may be seen by some as abrasive. However, I would suggest that if you were to ask those individuals if they meant to be offensive, they would quickly deny it. In their eyes they are simply passionate about an issue and speaking their mind.

Surely then the answer must be to commonly agree a standard of decency (while respecting cultural differences) where no personal offence is accepted. In short - you can condemn the issue and not the person.

Do we need formal rules to do this? On balance, I hope not. I would hope we are all mature and responsible enough to recognise that if we don’t protect the community and the members living in it, then like Athens and Rome - it will fall.


Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

".. and furthermore, having met not one of you in person, how do I know that any of you exist at all, and that postings and repsonses (both civil and petty) are not just a product of algorithm-analyzing software?"

Eeee by gum! 🙂

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Good discussion everyone. Lollypop, the answer to Maya’s post did get deeply buried. That is the sad fact.
But I think our young fiddler might find something useful from every person who posted. It is there, unfortunately you need a shovel to sort through the rubble.
I respect people’s opinion but at times the blog psychology pushes buttons beyond the norm. The keyboard can be wielded as a very effective weapon. Just look at the casualty count.
Sorry for not saying something humorous.
Thanks Cheshire P. T.

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Wow, great responses everyone! Thanks for taking the time to post.

And thanks to Jeremy for letting this thread stand. I *do* appreciate the time and energy he puts into this site on a a daily basis. It’s a gargantuan job.

But the reason I posted this thread is that, unfotunately, "Be civil" does not seem to provide enough guidance for 40,000 people. As John Kiparsky says, things were simpler back in the day (I too came here when J was the only person posting tunes, and the site was not "interactive"). My member number—58—does not give me any privileges here, except possibly some perspective as someone who has seen this site grow and evolve from day one.

And based on that, I’d say we’re a remarkable ***community.*** I have to (respectfully) disagree with Danny—I think this is more than "just a website." It’s a community forum for sharing tunes and ideas about this music. Everything that happens here happens between real people sitting in meatspace at their kitchen tables, work desks (you know who you are), internet cafes, etc. I’ve met people through these discussion who have become my best friends. I’ve picked up tunes here that now get played in my local sessions. The brand of strings I use on my fiddle were recommended by someone here. I don’t know how more "real" it could get than that.

I like what Zina says above about how important respect is, maybe even superceeding the civility clause. Respect works two ways—we’re all better off if we give each other the benefit of the doubt and respect each other from the start. But respect is also earned or burned based on what we say and how we say it. It wouldn’t hurt to be mindful of that.

And I agree with Jack—it’s important to take care in how we interpret what’s been posted. To ask for clarification when it’s needed. Not everyone is a wordsmith, yet this medium is all about words. No body language or facial expression to foster clearer communication. Take care in what you post—mean what you say and say what you mean—and take care when reading the posts. Don’t read into a post what isn’t there. That’s another good guideline.

In the old days, Jeremy would occasionally wade in to remind us that is a place of great diversity. We come here from around the world, from many different cultures, of all ages, from 8th graders (and younger) to utter senility (I’m including myself here). It helps to think about how you’re presenting yourself, imagining that perhaps your young niece or nephew is reading this, or your saintly grandmother.

Over the years here, I’ve (grudgingly) learned to think twice before hitting "post." This thread provides ample food for thought during that pause.

Posted .

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

I seem to recall meeting several folks who used to be regular contributors to this board a few years back in a basement in Miltown - the nebulous construct known as ‘Jeremy’ being among them. They were some of the most delightful tune junkies I’ve ever played with, himself included. I haven’t heard a peep out of too many of those people on this board in some time. Can’t say I’m at all surprised.

Regarding Jeremy … yes he’s a robot … closely resembles C3PO come to think of it.

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

The problem with this place is nothing to do with rules. There are already unwritten "rules" for online interaction and general human social behaviour. No, the problem here is that some people don’t understand the concepts of "slagging" and "irony".

OK here’s an example:

It’s like the whole bodhran thing, right. (Don’t worry I won’t make any more comments about bodhrans by the way - I’m bored of it now). Look, I don’t have anything against bodhrans or bodhran players and never have done. I never even gave them a 2nd thought until I saw people’s gross overreactions to slagging and to any use of ironic humour in connection with drums. Any comments were usually met with an absolutely ridiculous mix of outrage, insults, and an expression of overinflated ego in the sense of "we’re better than you b/c we’re Irish" or "you’re just jealous", which would be fine if it was just a return slag, but it’s usually paired with an outright insult like "get a life, loser" or "shut your hole".

This kind of behaviour makes me want to wind people up relentlessly, because if I don’t, I’d go mad reading the damn discussions.

And now, seeing as I’ve made a few comments about bodhrans in the past few weeks as a reaction to the humourless ones, I’ve been branded as a "bodhran hater" who is a snob and would exclude people from sessions. The reality is that I don’t bloody care. I’m taking the p1ss out of you until I get bored and move onto something else. If you want me to stop taking the p1ss, show me that you don’t take yourself seriously.

Anyway, all that and the fact that there are simply more horrible people on this website than there used to be. Just basically horrible people who I don’t get on with. That used to bother me, but I suppose it’s natural that that should be the case, because nobody gets on with everybody in real life. In real life you get personality clashes and people b1tching at each other, whatever the social circle.

So that means, if I don’t bloody like you, I can either let you know that to your online face, or just keep quiet about it and be all meek and nicey-nicey, which just isn’t me, in meatspace or online. I call a spade a spade and always speak my mind. So stuff youse all 😉

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

I’m not sure that expanding the guidelines would help all that much. When there’s a list of rules, people usually try to find loopholes. I kind of like the fact that the entire posting policy of this site boils down to two words—be civil—although it is a fairly fuzzy guideline. But that’s by design.

I often speak to friends of mine who work on social media sites like and Flickr about this and it’s interesting to see how they list their guidelines:

Like I said, I’m not sure that the guidelines need much updating here although it would be good to add the caveat "You don’t *have to* click ‘post’, y’know" to every comment form. 🙂

What does need improvement, as Will pointed out, is my presence here. Sometimes I’m away from the computer for a while and if trouble brews up, it looks like I’m simply ignoring it. That’s not the case; it’s just that I haven’t mastered the art of bilocation yet.

I’ve just been cleaning up the thread on notations, removing all the off-topic personal issues. I really should have caught it sooner but it’s been a busy 24 hours for me. If uncivil comments are left stand for a day or two, don’t take that to mean that I approve of them. They are destined for deletion (sometimes along with the people who post them).

Lollypolly said:
"I think the civility rule is a good idea but if our opinions are considered uncivil and are removed isnt that bordering on facisim and that IMO is a bad thing."

I don’t think it’s quite fascism but it is definitely censorship. I am sometimes referred to, only half-jokingly, as a benevolent dictator, which is a harsh-but-fair assessment of my role. Perhaps I need to make it clearer that censorship can and does occur here at The Session.

Anyway, perhaps I should expand on the "be civil" rule in the FAQs. The points Will mentions above are a good starting point (thanks, Will). Should we refine them down to two or three short bullet points that cover the main issues?

Oh, and _Steph_, I am fluent in over 6 million forms of communication. 😉

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

Dow, the problem with humour, slagging and irony is that it doesn’t translate too well into online cross-cultural communication. The emoticons help; they’re silly but valuable. But you need to make some compromise in your behaviour when your posting online: you can’t expect people to react the same way as when you’re face to face with someone. If you don’t modify what you say for the medium, you are asking for trouble.

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Yes, that’s true. What I find amazing though is that it doesn’t seem to be cross-cultural. Many people associate "slagging" with "Irishness", and "misunderstanding of irony" to be an American thing, but I’ve been surprised to find that a lot of the time it’s the exact opposite. I know all that stuff is stereotypes, and largely bullsh1t really when you think about it, but it’s been an education for me.

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oops I didn’t mean cross cultural, I meant another word which isn’t coming to mind.

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

Ok Jeremy, not fascism and i didnt mean you actually were a was a theorectical remark, a "what if" situation.

Dow saying that there are now at lot more horrible people on this site then there used to be is exactly the type of thing that sets people off on a big rant. Yes, maybe its true. in your opinion, but if your going to say that expect some retort.

even if Jeremy did expand on the guidlines people would still go and try to push the boundries. We don’t need to make his job harder. We all just need to turn the other cheek.

Plus i need to work on this reading what i say before i post, like puddy tat says, my gramer is shicking ha their instead of there. How come you never notice until you hit post???

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Right Will, when I say this place here is "just a website", maybe this description needs some clarification, because, yes, in many ways it is also a community. I also said it "Depends on your perspective maybe" but didn’t expand on that.
There was a time when I posted here a lot more than I do now, but realised I was taking it a bit more seriously than I ought to. Maybe for me, and also for others when they get het up over someone else’s comments, it’s best if you pinch yourself and say, "hey, it’s really just a website..many of these people who are winding or trying to wind up me or others, I have never met them before." Certain things in my life have occurred where I can now take this perspective, so I’m happy to pursue that line, thus to chip in with attempted wisecracks and maybe occasionally help someone out. If I succeed even 10% of that I’ll wear it and be happy. So for me, I’ll keep it as "just a website", and offer that perspective to anyone else who starts taking it too seriously.

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Increasingly there seem to be a load of folks coming to the site who can’t read ~ at least the FAQs. Adding more words for them won’t make them any more considerate or understanding… But, that doesn’t mean that a few additional salient and concise points wouldn’t help…

The site has evolved, as I suspect so has ‘Da Whiz’, our ‘benevolent benefactor’ Jeremy… It may be that the FAQs are ready for a facelift and a makeover, for example, to salve those few fervent folk that are convinced the only thing that should be on this site is bonafiedy Irish? Maybe a short description of ‘session’, which has itself evolved and become more welcoming of other traditions in its folds. I have stumbled across sessions in many places and venues, from mostly Irish to Irish being a small percentage, to no Irish at all… A short statement of intent, maybe a bit of his-story, by the person who planted this seed and is regularly feeds and prunes it, would be welcome, by me anyway… Musn’t forget the emoticon ~ 😎

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‘Civility is not the issue, I feel. Respect is.’

You’re absolutely right, Zina. We need to respect the essential personhood of other people always. We don’t necessarily have to respect other people’s ideas, ways of doing things, religion, politics, etc. This is when we need civility and tolerence.

‘Tolerence is tolerating the intolerable’ (Coleridge, I think..)

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Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

I may be misguided, but my notion of this ‘session’ is that it is "mostly Irish"…

Worth a repeat, as JNW has mentioned it:

"Respecting other people, however, still remains my main point. It won’t ever shame anyone or hurt anyone." ~ Zina

I also have the notion that Zina meant to type that opener without the ‘t’ ~ "I won’t ~" 😉

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

Good on you Danny. Your lighter mood hasn’t gone unappreciated. And it’s a regular reminder for me, too. Thanks.

That’s one of the difficulties of communicating online—people often take things more seriously than they were intended. The emoticons really do help—when used in good faith (and not merely to create a deniablity defense for being insulting).

Jeremy - thanks for weighing in. It definitely helps me to read where you’re coming from.

I seriosuly like the idea of adding "You don’t have to click post, y’know," or something along those lines, at least to the FAQs.

Maybe also an admonition to "Respect others, even if you disagree with them. In turn, be respectable."

Part of what makes any social circle or community fun and worthwhile is diversity. The growth of this forum is wonderful—I thoroughly enjoy meeting people here from all around the world and all levels of ability and passion for the music. It’s great that the circle of people joining in the discussions has grown.

But all of this hinges on people being aware of how diverse the membership is, and accepting (or at least tolerating) that diversity. Differences of opinion are inevitable—let’s do our best to accept them and let them be water under the bridge, or at least remain civil when we air those differences.

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Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

And "Keep a sense of humour" is worth adding to the FAQs. My 2p.

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Civil disobedience

Can we still have an occasional row? ;)
I mean, Dow is not cashing in his chips.
& Ms. Lee found a chair to pull up.
Even Jeremy sat in for a few.
Sounds like a session to me.
Anyway ~ I got nothin’
Someone call the next tune.
I’m looking forward to it.

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Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

LOL, like on Chiff and Fipple, where they have a separate forum for political and other volatile chat. Maybe Jeremy could add a menu button: "15 Minute Hate"


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Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

Do you really think a rule to keep a sense of humor is enforceable, Will? *smirk*

Muse, as if. Try and stop them; the rows will happen anyway. ;)

‘c’, dear, nice of you, but I did mean the "t" to be there. :p I’m perfectly willing to shame people if I think they need it and God knows I’ve hurt people’s feelings often enough. Hopefully it’ll count on the ledger balance that I usually don’t *mean* to do the latter. Um. Usually. 🙂

Lovely session this afternoon — quite small, mainly really good players…and me! 🙂

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

This site is often dominated by a handful of people, some of whom are extremely knowledgeable, helpful, interesting, amusing, tiresome, and offensive; not necessarily all at the same time.
It is not surprising to note that these personalities can and do take umbrage with each other, and with unsuspecting visitors who didn’t notice them guarding the entrance.
I think we should keep in mind that there ARE forty thousand potential witnesses to our comments, and perhaps most of them are content to scan the site from time to time to see if there is anything which might interest them. Although we can feel protected by anonymous usernames, we have a responsibility both to the person who spends so much of his time administering this site, and the global community who share our interests.

When teaching students how to survive navigating an automobile through traffic (that’s what I do for a living) I emphasize the use of two tools: courtesy and communication. I also show them examples of individuals who feel safe in their mobile fort, behaving in a way they wouldn’t dare do when face to face with strangers.
Yes, an effective society can be self-policing, but usually officers are elected or inherited who interpret and enforce the will of the majority. Jeremy has the right, and the need, to protect and nurture his creation by editing and censoring as he sees fit. We have the option and the machinery to offer him suggestions.

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

God bless America, I love momma’s apple pie.

Re: ‘they shall not pass!’…

…except they did,lol!

for a small fee i can send you a quick overview of the civil war,Danny!

(those of a nervous disposition shoiuld avert their gaze now as there will be yet another shameless thread hijacking albeit it does most certainly have a connection with the music…)

anyway,console yrself with kane’s new album…

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

to make up for being a bit flippant then…

well,it’s hard to disagree with an exhortation to be civil but sometimes some really good posts come about purely because of some very uncivil antagonism-off the top of my head i’m thinking of llig’s eloquent description of the music and what it means to him which was beautifully expressed not so long ago.

and ditto mr Micky Finn,as i recall.

maybe it’s a shame that these posts don’t come about without the uncivil behaviour but friction is n’t always a negative.

that said,there’s plenty of times when it is.

but i think it would be a pity if everything were so smooth as to be anodyne.

however it is a plus to read yr post before it ends up in full view!
i should know,lol.

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

Wow, Dave - thanks for the link to Kane’s album. But be careful doing that kind of thing on here - the name-drop cops will get you and that’ll start another world war on here.

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

"What did I ever do to deserve such disrespect?". Godfather 1

"That’s who I am…I don’t apologise for my life" Godfather 1

Men of respect deserve respect.

And Biggus, middle American viewpoints ruling the board would be a bit anodyne.

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

ha,that’s nothing!

i’ll tell you all about the time when…………………….

no,really - after the clangers i’ve seen dropped on this site i’m not taking anything from anyone re the name dropping!

anyway,i’ve calmed down now. i think.

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

"What did I ever do to deserve such disrespect?". Godfather 1

"That’s who I am…I don’t apologise for my life" Godfather 1

Men of respect deserve respect’

i like those corny old cosy nostril films,bb- but i think that harvey keitel’s character,mr wolf,put it best in ‘pulp fiction’ by that upstart,quentin tarantino and it went something like:

‘just because you are a character does n’t mean you have character’.

best wishes from yr cinematically challenged biggus

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

I guess I just have to wonder why so many of the more knowledgeable among you need to bludgeon other people with nasty comments. Aren’t you all secure enough in your superior knowledge to simply share your experiences with us? Or is there an actual purpose for telling people they talk out their a-holes or that they save ruined sessions by going home? A purpose other than stroking your weak egos, that is.

I can understand that some of you have history and bicker back and forth uselessly and it’s easy enough to ignore that. But what good does it do to attack beginners and newcomers or to assume the worst from every innocent question?

Anyway, I’ve said this over at Chiff & Fipple. I am a newbie. I know I am not very good at the music. But I attend the sessions, and I start tunes and I play in front of people in the park and post recordings of me in all my beginner glory because no matter what mean crapola you guys sling at me the reality is that I cannot get better if I do not take my chances and play. I can’t learn to play in front of others if I don’t do that. I can’t learn to play Irish music unless I actually play some. I can’t learn to be part of a session without being part of one. So I ignore all your rudeness because I figure it’s just Internet bluster coming from weak egos.

Share some real, personal experience and maybe I’ll listen to you. Without it, you’re just mean people not worth listening to.

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..


Excellent idea to expand the civility policy with more details. Unfortunately that will still only affect the behavior of those who are willing to cooperate with the rules in the first place.

I’ve run several email lists for the last few years, with membership numbers ranging from the low teens to the high three hundreds, and I’ve learned that a civility policy only matters to the ones who believe in civility in the first place. Jerks and trolls will continue to be jerks and trolls unless you either silence them or throw them off and keep them thrown.

It’s not realistic for Jeremy to institute a moderation system and silence anyone who violates the rules. Even if he wanted to run things that way, and I suspect he wouldn’t, it’s impracticable with this many members. The way he does handle things is probably his best choice.

All we can do as residents of the yellow city is try to avoid feeding the trolls, and to ignore the jerks. If nobody gives them their fix of anger and rejection, they’ll be less prone to act up. It doesn’t stop them completely, but it keeps them less noisy.

Thinking twice before you hit post and trying to be decent are good ways to move in that direction.

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

I love the sign I saw some time ago on a dilapidated shopping centre wall saying "No Vandals Allowed".
I guess they would have seen that and thought - ‘gosh we had better get out of here!’

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

Just to be civil, I agree with much of the above. You are all jerks.

That seems to be acceptable, certainly it is above.

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

What all of us? Sorry i dont understand, could you explain why you feel that? or am i missing something here….

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

Donough - that’s like the signs they have in the US around school neighbourhoods: "Drug-free Zone."

My first impression was that you were free to shoot up or snort so long as you were outside those zones.

(BB, you’re not currently in a drug-prohibited zone, are you? I’m concerned about your last few posts.)

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Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

Yikes, forgot the 🙂

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Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

Read the posts asking for people to be civil. They refer to the rest of us as jerks, kids, stroking our weak egos, and a few other things.

I was just joining in, being civil.

I also fear the creation of a board run on nice liberal Middle American mores, but then perhaps they insult people less obviously than those of us who belong to the great unwashed.

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

Maybe that’s the problem. Some of us here ***are*** just "nice"—civil, even—with no ulterior motive, and regardless of our nationality, sexual orientation, language skills, and all the other labels a few people here like to toss back at us as though these labels are insults (or just to wind us up because their own lives are so empty , they need the excitement, and they have nothing better to contribute). Maybe that *is* the problem after all.

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Ah OK fair enough, This is a heavily edited board so its not fair perhaps to judge based on the comments left.
However I really think we must draw the line with our own behavior. If we say something without intending to hurt or insult there is a problem of communication. If we say something to hurt then that is being abusive and we all, myself included , could reflect upon whether that is a good idea both for ourselves the witnesses and the receiver.
If we see the kind of behavior we are all entitled to speak up, I know confronting a gang of bullies or an individual is an intimidating thing to do, but folk, this is only an internet site, spare a thought for the people in real life who have to do that and far worse.
If someone is given the impression that their behavior is acceptable then why should they change it? If we all spoke up when we recognize undesirable behavior …..

But let us be clear, It is surely the impulse behind the act the motivation that dictates undesirable behavior. If i say something that offends someone, speak up. i will apologize. Or explain my meaning better. If someone is insulting to me i will likely take umbrage at their remark. this is only human. if someone else has allready said something then i may feel that I dont need to.

If some of my remarks have, unintentionally , offended anyone here i am sorry. If someone insults me they will likely receive a response. Again, if that comment was unintended to harm then fair enough, if you intend to hurt me in some way, diminish or devalue then be warned, I will likely respond in kind. I am a peaceful man, I havent had an argument in meat space for many many years. [Well one, when someone tried to physically bully and intimidate me and i am glad to say that i remained peaceful and left. ]😎

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

this phrase should read.😀
If we say something without intending to hurt or insult but unintentionally do there is a problem of communication.

Pride & Empathy

Everyone is capable of each.
But I’m here for the tunes.

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Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

At the end of the day, one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor. As I have informed some of you, I can tolerate a lot on a site, as long as it does not infringe equality laws and rights, and stops short of outright insults, and lies and denials.

A few examples above methinks. Put it this way, if I was "deeply hurt" I cannot see me responding in a dignified, helpful manner. And believe it or not, I am one of the nicest guys you could meet.

As long as you do what I say.

Re: conciliation

I forgot what we were talking about.

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Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..


Steve & Jig

My bad! ;)

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Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

? still lost me on that one muse….😎

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

Naturally, my credibility is in tatters, but no matter, here goes anyway. A lot of the trouble (not all, of course) on forums such as this arises from (though is not necessarily carried on by 😉)a handful of people with rather puffed-up ideas of just how good they are at ITM. They like to sit back (I like to picture them, their lifetime achievements already achieved, slippers on, pipes aglow, reclining in a big padded armchair, glass of malt in hand - only a small one mind!) and tell us all how they well they pass on their master’s knowledge to ITM-apprentices all and sundry (Dow, you have an honourable exemption from this. Michael, so do you). But when details of their methods are proffered, the upholstery is sometimes seen to be absurdly threadbare. Nothing irritates the weak-willed and argumentative among us, yours truly included, more than these self-appointed pontificators whose credentials may well be genuine, but only maybe. Cosiness is the death of vibrant discussion. If you want to know how good or bad I am at playing the harmonica (you don’t) I won’t tell you. You’ll have to come and listen if you can be arsed. Me and Bliss you see - humility personified.

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

All, I have been out of town, and then too busy to post on this thread (which now appears to be heavily redacted, for good reason, amazing what a call for civility can produce).

For my own part, I would suggest that discussions would be better for a little more "That is interesting, but I approach it differently…" "In my opinion…." More of an approach that you see things differently, rather than stating the other person is wrong. Of course, too much of that can get boring, and there is nothing wrong with a little vigorous disagreement, as long as personal namecalling does not ensue. And nothing wrong with humor, albeit recognizing that sarcasm doesn’t translate well over the electrons.

At the risk of naming names: Sometimes Llig and Dow come across a little too blunt, but in my opinion, they have earned a little latitude because of their many valuable contributions over the years. I remember Dow took a holiday from the discussions about a year ago, and we were pooer for it. I was saddened to see that Will Harmon and Jack Gilder still get prickly over past disagreements, which I think were caused not by any meanness of the individuals, but by the difficulty of communicating via this media, and especially carrying on a strenuous argument without someone misinterpreting things. As has been stated many times, without the nonverbal cues of real life, internet discussions often run astray. And I am delighted to see Zina rejoining us.

In the end, what unites us is stronger than what unites us. My granddaughter came to our session last night, and is finally old enough to show an interest in music, and is delighted to hear her ‘Peepaw’ and ‘Mamie’ in action. That is truly what this is all about, sharing music with our families and friends.

I am thankful this forum exists, and its members are part of a wonderful community, with all its strengths, weaknesses, and especially all of the joys music brings to our lives.

All the best!

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

>>> If we all spoke up when we recognize undesirable behavior …..

The board would be even more combative and argumentative than it already is…

Nice try, Al, but I tried the touchy feely "what the music means to me" thread a couple weeks ago to lighten the mood. It’s not going to work…

So long folks!


Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

Can I be blunt again? As long as there are horrible people around being horrible, then there’s zero chance of a reasonable discussion. Doesn’t matter how much you blab on about civility and respect etc. It really is that black and white. God I’m so blunt. Can someone sharpen me please? 🙂

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

But dow, what about nice people being horrible? after all your name has been mentioned as one of the culprits in the past! Im sure you are not a horrible person so…..

pete>>It’s not going to work…<< Dont you think you are being a touch pessimistic there? After all, none of us have the gift of for-sight[do we?]
As the saying goes” Argue for your limitations and sure enough they are yours”
Lets not pre-judge the results of our efforts and discussions, but simply be open minded to the possibilitys that the future holds. Sure ,no one can say either way.

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

As long as there are horrible people around being horrible and incompetent people sounding off from their soapboxes on topics they know next to diddley-squat about there will be zero chance of a reasonable discussion. Insult me now and I’ll exercise my exceptionally weak will and continue to post, but be averagely nice and I’ll take a long holiday from the board now. The only AA I’ll need is the one that’ll come out when I run out of petrol on the M6 (hey, maybe I really am insane to even consider using that road!). As the doctor said to the man who couldn’t pronounce his ‘"f"s and ‘"th"s, you can’t say fairer than that then.

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

Yeah, whatever steve. Im sure you are a really nice guy who has a lovely family and i wish you and your family nothing but the best in your life. We have had disagreements in the past but i do hope that you wont allow those to get in the way of a possible friendship. However if you do thats also fine. I am not here to indulge in negativity. I am sure we could both examine our actions and find cause to consider that at times we have both crossed the line . Once again Steve best wishes and good luck.

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

Grand. And to you.

Re: viz. the above

As the doctor said to the man who couldn’t pronounce his ‘"f"s and ‘"th"s, you can’t say fairer than that then.

ah,that recalls my favourite cartoon of all time (in ‘Viz’) where there’s a bloke who stammers and is going:’f…ff…f…f’ and it is indeed the ‘fairer than that punchline’.

may i use this esteemed organ to ask if anyone here would have a copy of the relevant edition?-i’ll pay (nearly )top dollar for it.

best wishes,your speech impedimentedly-inclined biggus

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

"But dow, what about nice people being horrible? after all your name has been mentioned as one of the culprits in the past! Im sure you are not a horrible person so….."

Yeah, my name has been mentioned by horrible people whose opinions can be disregarded 😉

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

Hmmm, I think you perhaps wound some people up with your ‘jokes’. Its not fair to simply blame another. I have seen some of your comments Dow and even had words with you about them.
You can’t plead innocent . There’s no smoke without fire.
You can turn that around and point it back at me, and if I did offend someone by mistake then Im sorry. I suggest thats enough, Dow, everyone deserves a second chance. Its only 2 words.

Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..

Hey,Dow and jig and everybody…I missed the last few installments and now it’s all gone,deleted,water under the bridge….FWIW,I’m a nice person who can be horrible…or should that be a horrible person who can be nice? I guess that would depend upon whom you asked…
In my life I’ve been homeless,penniless,down and out,I’ve been a world champion,I’ve run businesses,I’ve been a member of a motorcycle ‘club’ on the outer extremities of soceity,I’ve met the elite,my sister was married to a royal equerry type person,all sorts of social strata and every kind of character from every walk of life….
I’ve met a handful of really good people,a lot who pretended to be nice,a lot who were just confused,a handful who were plain evil.I tend to think that anyone who’s prepared to spend time on this site because they like the music must have something going for them….I mean they could be gambling,or getting high,or mugging people or watching porn or making money or so many other pursuits….to be in love with this music is quite odd really,when you think about what most people do and how they like to spend their time,we are all strange eccentrics here,no?

November 20th, 2007

I know I missed some things.
Last nights’ session was grand.

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Re: To be Civil, or Not to be Civil…..


Talking about sessions

This ‘topic’ will certainly be revisited.
Here is something I found comparing/contrasting the Irish Music "Session" vs. the Online "Discussion"

Irish Music “Session”

Tunes and songs played “live.”

Musical connecting face-to-face, style in a social or cultural context.

Held in a particular place, limited to a particular time.

Conversation face-to-face, sequential in time, ephemeral unless recorded, heard only by those present, on or off topic of music (social), other activities – i.e. drinking, eating. Social in entirety.

Identity obvious or expressed.

Moderated at best by local tradition-bearers

Mediated by understanding, gesture, spoken and unspoken cues.

Remembered (memory).


Tunes and songs referenced.

No musical connecting. Discussions of style and content prevalent.

In “cyberspace,” accessible any time.

Computer-mediated conversation, usually held to a topic, asynchronous, storable hence more permanent, readable and can be copied and spread by anyone who accesses archives.

“Refer to identity the individual has already determined in non-electronic social space”. Possibility of deception.

Moderated in a much more free-for-all manner.

Mediated by writing skills, written or unwritten codes less obviously accessible because stored in an archive “place.” Invent own social “cues”.

Remembered, cataloged, archived.

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