Is thesession.org a community?

Is thesession.org a community?

Hey all. I’m doing a PhD on music education and Irish traditional music (University College Cork). I’m doing a section on learning through media & internet and was wondering if ye could help out.

(I realize there are a couple threads similar to this one, but I don’t like using people’s responses unless they know I’m doing a study, ethics are nice!)

1 Questions:
We all converse and get new tunes on thesession.org, but do you consider the website a ‘community?’

Why or why not?

Thanks a million, just let me know if you would like to be left anonymous, otherwise I could use your membership names.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

No, it’s not a community. For it to be a community you’d first have to describe the internet as an "environment". It’s not.

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Re: Is thesession.org a community?

It is a community in the sense that we all share a common interest, but as we are separated in every other regard, I would not describe it as such.
I am often pointed in the direction of new tunes by the comments of members here, which is one of the reasons I participate; but I wouldn’t expect to learn new tunes here. And I wouldn’t say we converse, exactly, as the word has a specific meaning.

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Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Yeah, specifically, "converse" is about speaking. So you’re right there, we don’t even converse.

Rather stymies your Q1 somewhat eh?

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The session website is not really an internet community of Irish Music lovers.It started out like that.Now its more of a World Roots music haven for the self opinionated.

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I recently purchased a couple of CD’s on the basis of peoples recommendations here and have done so likewise before. My opinions have been informed by others who write here and I’ve learnt a few tunes here & there on the basis again of peoples suggestions.

I don’t know if that constitutes community, except maybe in some web age definition. You might do worse than look at the tone of threads - many are helpful towards the originator of the thread but many others can turn hostile and argumentative.

What this place does do is show clearly that interest in Irish trad music spreads across many parts of the world. I would be fairly certain that most people who visit here anyway regularly are from distant shores. In the sense that it allows these people out in the diaspora to discuss a common interest, I suppose you might call it a community of sorts but a strange one?

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

OED: Converse

c. Interchange of thoughts otherwise than by speech."

Nah…it’s not even that. It’s a boxing ring for the self-opinionated and a source of humiliation for the beginner in Irish traditional music.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

I don’t have an OED handy, but my Chambers has specifically talking.

However, lets put the semantics aside and just assume jcawley meant "exchange views". There are more interesting views to exchange than semantics.

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Re: Is thesession.org a community?

…but it is also a vital link for those of us at some remove from the hubs of activity in this music. In that sense, it ties us into a community of people who play the music, even if it is not truly a community in its own right.

In as much as a community might be said to be a colleciton of people who share a ‘consciousness’ then it works - I have learned a great deal from the sharing of information and opinions on here, no matter how extreme it might become at times.

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‘We all […]get new tunes on thesession.org’

Don’t assume anything on behalf of the rest of ‘us’

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Re: Is thesession.org a community?

I’d consider it a community, if you define community as a loose confederation of people who share a common interest or idea, and many of those same people keep coming back to one central place. By that definition, I’d consider the corner pub or coffee shop a community, but not the train station.

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Is Facebook a community? I’d say not. I’d say it’s merely a means of communication. And that’s how I’d describe this.

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Re: Is thesession.org a community?

So what else would be necessary for it to be defined as a community, Llig?

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It would have to exist in an environment.

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Maybe the English Language needs to catch up with what this really is…. I would go for a communinet

I guess you need to define community and then we can start answering the question….

In sociology, the concept of community has led to significant debate, and sociologists are yet to reach agreement on a definition of the term. There were ninety-four discrete definitions of the term by the mid-1950s. (wikipedia)

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

"It would have to exist in an environment."

Is that what Chambers says?

Several OED definitions would suit - this one, for example:

"b. A group of people who share the same interests, pursuits, or occupation, esp. when distinct from those of the society in which they live."

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Facebook is a means of communication
just like "The Bucks of Oranmore" is an instrument.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

I have no problem with the English language needing to catch up. That’s what language is for. (Maybe there’s an environment of people who quote from wikipedia?)

But what if you have a goat herder in Kazakhstan and a goat herder in Ethiopia? Are they part of a worldwide community of goat herders? I’d say not.

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Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Interesting discussion. How about this? Some people who visit this site (myself included) use it to find out where and when sessions are on in different places (e.g. I live in NZ and on a trip to Melbourne consulted thesession.org for info on the sessions happening). I also recently met a lad from Ireland who came to our session in Wellington after contacting us through an email link on our session info here. So, where is the line drawn? While we are faceless usernames discussing things on the website we are apparently not a community (according to other users in the discussion)… but when this site serves to bring us together in the flesh, then how can we not be entering into a community? We have a common interest (trad music), an environment (pub session) and we even converse with spoken word!

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>>But what if you have a goat herder in Kazakhstan and a goat herder in Ethiopia? Are they part of a worldwide community of goat herders? I’d say not.

Agreed, but surely the missing factor there is (probably) the ability to communicate with each other, not the physical separation? If they were both to join a goat herders’ internet forum, become aware of each other’s existence and then interact with some frequency, then they might claim to be part of a community.

My family (i.e. parents, siblings, aunts, in-laws etc.) most often interact by telephone or email these days, thanks to geographical separation, but does that make us any less a family?

‘Environment’ may be necessary, but the scale of such things is flexible - i.e. we are all part of the global environment.

And as rutharmstrong says, virtual links do sometimes turn into physical interactions in any case.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

"But what if you have a goat herder in Kazakhstan and a goat herder in Ethiopia? Are they part of a worldwide community of goat herders? I’d say not."

If they use a communal (OED def. #3) means of communication (see those words - same root) then I would say they were part of a community.

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I’d say session.org is an old style BBS (bulletin board service) all be it web based and thats part of the reason I like it, that and ease of access as I can access it from a snail seep connection any where I plant my feet. Could call it a virtual community but I’d say community is too strong a word to describe what happens here.

In an on line community I’d use my own name as user name rather than a handle, but I don’t feel that I have the checks and balances that would be afforded in a normal community on this or any other open site. So no, not a community. More of school playground (yard) where the same laws of the jungle prevail.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Having a shared interest is not enough to make a community. I think that to be a member of a community, one has to regularly commune with other members of that community.

I’d say that "commune" means to "get together". So I say thesession is not a community.

Other’s are saying that "commune" means merely to "communicate", so to them, thesession is a community.

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Re: Is thesession.org a community?

"I’d say that "commune" means to "get together". So I say thesession is not a community."

Then again, you are a viola player.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

jcawley: For me, this website is a bit of entertainment and often an encyclopedia. The Irish Trad community really exists among the people you know when bumping into them at actual REAL sessions all over the place.
I have only ever met a few from the Land of Mustard in the flesh…or let’s say only a few have made them selves known to me! Some may be difficult to detect as they can hang on to their anonymity. I, on the other hand, stick out like a sore thumb due to always carting my hot water bottle collection & beard around with me.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Michael, while I’d agree that Facebook generally isn’t a community, I consider the group of FB friends with which I regularly communicate to be a community.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

well this time I decided to go to the one below wikipidea, and below is why the question needs to define community before you can answer the question, otherwise everyone is right. so Mr. Cawley your PHD is on the line here, save your project.

Community
1a. A group of people living in the same locality and under the same government.
1b. The district or locality in which such a group lives.

2a. A group of people having common interests: the scientific community; the international business community.
2b. A group viewed as forming a distinct segment of society: the gay community; the community of color.

3a. Similarity or identity: a community of interests.
3b. Sharing, participation, and fellowship.

4. Society as a whole; the public.

5. Ecology
5a. A group of plants and animals living and interacting with one another in a specific region under relatively similar environmental conditions.
5b. The region occupied by a group of interacting organisms.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

So we are ‘5b’ then.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

This site is (at its best) a marvellous resource for the traditional music community to share music, advice and views. I don’t believe that it is the community, any more than, say, the telephone network or the WWW is a community, these are tools that help communities establish and maintain contacts. The Kazakh and Ethiopian goat herders are probably not members of a community but merely share an occupation - this could grow into a community if they had a resource like this (if Jeremy would kindly establish www.thegoatherd.org).

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Absolutely, define community before the discussion could possibly have any meaning. M, Scott Peck has done a lot of work on community if anyone interested .

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

5a sounds good

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oops cross post with Weejie - It already exists??

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

"So we are ‘5b’ then."

Don’t bring organisms into it - you can’t play Irish music on organisms.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

I’ve said this before, but under these circumstances, it requires reiteration:

If you value this website as resource for traditional Irish music, then you are severely under resourced.

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Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Is it that you can’t get the right articulations on the organism?

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Of course it’s a resource - one of many. Value is subjective. Sometimes I value contributors comments - sometimes not :)

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

"Is it that you can’t get the right articulations on the organism?"

It’s the hordes of organisms gatecrashing the sessions that gives them a bad name. Some of them are quite articulate when they want to be.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Anyway, somebody tell jcawley to come back from his lectures and tell us what he means by a ‘community’. Not good enough just to pose a question and then run away.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

"Anyway, somebody tell jcawley to come back from his lectures and tell us what he means by a ‘community’. "

He might not be at his lectures. He might be doing community service.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

I would generally consider there to be an "Irish music community", under #2 of the definitions above, but outside of this website.

And I would say that a lot of the people on this website are part of that community. So this website may be a tool of the community but does not constitute "the community" in and of itself. There are a lot of people on this forum that *aren’t* part of what I would consider the "Irish music community"

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

"He might not be at his lectures. He might be doing community service."

Or he might be down at the commune, communing with nature.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

"I would generally consider there to be an "Irish music community", under #2 of the definitions above"

There is also a "session.org" community under 2b - though with widely differing characteristics. Even some judgmental, elitist, snooty bar stewards.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

No. Thesession.org is a venue of sorts, the "place" people come to ask & answer questions. It is a convenience for people who either are or wish to become part of a community of traditional musicians. It does have an impact on the community. But this website essential is not the people who correspond &/or read on it. That’s not to be taken as a flippant statement. A community is of people. https://thesession.org is an address

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Re: Is thesession.org a community?

"Or he might be down at the commune, communing with nature."

He might even be a goddamn communist!

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

"But this website essential is not the people who correspond &/or read on it. "

No, but there is a group of regular contributors who ‘converse’ (or argue black and blue) and could be taken as being a community - those visiting the venue to ask questions etc have the option of contributing to discussions and, in effect, joining that community. "Session.org" is just a name given as it’s the ‘venue’ where all this takes place.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

I would consider the banter here to be very similar to the interaction at my regular session. I would certainly consider the group I hang out with to be a community of musicians. The only difference I can see is the physical environment. I’m not convinced physical proximity is a requirement to the working definition of community.

In regards to Organisms - I once knew a piper who claimed to have multiple organisms while playing certain airs. Reflecting back now - that would explain the euphoric facial ticks

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

To be clear, people, their ideas, & environment form a community. The internet has an enormous impact but I wouldn’t consider it (thesession.org) as community any more than I would consider the postal service, Amazon.com, or a bulletin board being a community.

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Yes, physical proximity does not constrain community.

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I may be wrong, in the specifics of semantics, but I kinda think that a community is bigger than a group.

I see a group of people who all know each other as just that, a group of people who all know each other. And I think that communities can have disparate groups within them.

But I think that you have to have something more in common with people than a mere interest for it to really be a community. If you think of classic axamples of "community", like an island community for example, the thing that binds the community is a physical boundary,

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Most of the people I hear playing diddley music I would not choose to associate with. The idea that I am part of their community sends shivers down my spine

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Is the commonwealth a community?

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Re: Is thesession.org a community?

No, it’s not wealthy either.
Maybe the OP should ‘do’ a PhD ‘on’ english language instead. Or as well.

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I thought community meant poor people who’re stuck with each other. It’s not like that here at all - we all have enough disposable income to own a computer and we agree on everything

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

For Llig -

"I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member". - Groucho Marx

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

As you probably noticed, we know each other by name/nym, have interpersonal interactions (not all positive), and come here repeatedly over fairly long periods of time to talk about Irish music. I’m no sociologist but I imagine this would be labeled an "online community".

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

We’re just playing semantic badminton again. Jcawley should define what s/he means by “community.” Otherwise, what’s the point? What’s the point anyway?

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

>>think that you have to have something more in common with people than a mere interest for it to really be a community.

Llig, I sense that you are meaning community in the sense of ‘people you go through life with’. If so, I think you are right in the conventional sense, it’s just that the old understaning of community originated at a time when people were more geographically and technologically constrained, and it indeed meant people you were forced to live in proximity to. Time for a definition upgrade, methinks.

But no, a virtual community is no substitute for a real one, (except possibly that you aren’t forced to put up with other people’s bad habits).

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Community? More like a massively disfunctional family with way too many drunk uncles.

Community exists in the relationships in the local session scenes and between players in house and pub sessions, or with those who actively organize workshops and those who participate in them. This place is increasingly a cesspool of bad behavior, intolerance, and general unpleasantness with the occasional gold nugget reward that keeps us coming back for more abuse, not unlike a slot machine.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Michael E - it seems like your definition of community must also include mutual respect and civility. A wonderful utopian idea - but I am not convinced it is a requirement. Drunk uncles, disfunction, and boorish behavior can all be part of a community. In fact a cesspool itself is a community with all sorts of gooey organisms. I think your working definition needs to expand and include all the gooey drunk uncles.

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"not unlike a slot machine"

So there you have the answer to the question:

Is thesession.org a community?


No, it’s a slot machine.

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I vote for llig, at least he’s predictable.

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"…a slot machine…."

Hey I got all bananas. What do I win?

8-)

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Mr Harmon: maybe Jeremy will send you some hot water bottle vouchers…

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Wow. If all of you feel that negatively towards the discussion forums on thesession.org, why on earth do you bother posting here at all? You must all be gluttons for punishment!

I think the OP needs to clearly define his terms, otherwise his data is sort of meaningless as respondents answer according to their personal understanding of "community," a term which sociologists can’t even agree on. So while all respondents are correlating the Mustard Board with their understanding of community (or not), I’ll do the same. In my sort of construction of what I conceive of as an online community (I have no idea how this relates to the ideas of people who actually study this stuff, ‘cause I only do 18th and 19th Century stuff and they didn’t have the Internet in those days), this definitely fits the bill. Contributors communicate regularly, they share a common interest, they have sense of each other’s identities (or the online identities people choose to present), there is a level of interaction that is deeper than economics, like you would find on ebay. If you want to get into the phenomenological, experiential BS, you could find out that people on this site know each other "in real life," have formed freindships outwith thesession.org but as a result of interacting thereon. It’s not like Amazon.com where you don’t know and don’t care who else is buying books, nor do you have much interaction (beyond clicking the "buy" button) with other people on the site.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

I wouldn’t say that there is a worldwide community of people who play diddley music. I think there are communities where diddley music is played, but I don’t think that collections of musicians who meet each week to play diddley music in a pub are a community, they are just, at best, mates. An interest in diddley music does not create a community. I don’t think any single interest groups could be ever be regarded as a community

I do think religions create communities though. Not sure why, but although religion seems to me to be a straight forward single interest, there does seem to be something to it that creates a need for community (or maybe I’m being unfair and it’s not a "need" for community but a deliberate evangelistic creation and acceptance of one).

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Re: Is thesession.org a community?

jcawley, in the research community who study online communities, the term is fairly well defined.

Whether the members of the community consider themselves a community is pretty much irrelevant.

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This is an online community for people who are being punished.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

this thread, like so many others, is intellectual masturbation at its finest.

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"his data is sort of meaningless as respondents answer according to their personal understanding of ‘community’ "

"Whether the members of the community consider themselves a community is pretty much irrelevant."

Well, it does tell you something about the community (or the whatever you want to call it) and the people who comprise it, and their view of it, and of communities.

Maybe that’s what he’s after. Or maybe not, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. ‘Cause you’re right, if he wants to determine whether this is a community by asking the participants, he’s not really getting a whole lot more than front matter for his dissertation.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Seriously, this forum is simply a granfalloon. As coined by Kurt Vonnegut, a granfalloon is "a group of people who outwardly choose or claim to have a shared identity or purpose, but whose mutual association is actually meaningless."

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Actually, Will, you’ve provided the definition of a false karass, not a granfalloon. A granfalloon is just one example of a false karass.

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:-)

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It’s not a community. It’s an interactive website. Or what?

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Everyone must have really gotten up on the wrong side of the bed.

So what is the accepted academic website of an "online community?" In my lay understanding, if this isn’t it, I don’t know what is. This website is the only message board I actively participate in, as I feel I have some sense of connection to other regular participants which goes beyond just recognising their screennames. I have quite a bit of off-list correspondence with people and have met quite a few in "meatspace."

I wouldn’t agree that the interaction on the Yella Board is meaningless. Indeed, I hang about for the most part because it’s good banter.

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"this thread, like so many others, is intellectual masturbation at its finest."

Heheh. Are you saying that we’re all t*ossers savants?

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Come, come, lads………………………….

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And once again a fine example of the OP question going either unanswered or answered very unhelpfully. Jcawley, I’ll email you my answer.

:3

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Thanks a million for all the incredibly diverse (and some very strongly worded) opinions. There are so many things I would like to address.


1). In response to a number of you… (especially Theirlandis and TheSilverSpear, who seems to think I’m confused on the matter and that is the reason I’m asking the question)…

I have a strong theoretical basis in cultural theory, including many issues relating to ‘online communities.’ Therefore I do have a working definition of my own, however I was merely curious about how YOU all use/view this particular online forum. One member wrote that because there are definitions of community, that your thoughts are irrelevant. Because my study is ethnographically based, I strongly disagree and seek out your opinions and perceptions of community.

2). I apologize for my past grammatical errors, misuse of words. I informally wrote the question, no excuses though, I should really hold myself to a higher standard (even if it is an online forum). I also apologize if this is similar to my first question I posed a couple years ago. The first question broadly gave a view of how people use this site, this one is intended to gauge more social aspects of the site. Both questions have provided practical insights into the use of technology in traditional music (in response to a couple members, particularly yhaalhouse, who asked what I’m using it for, it has been quite useful, so thanks a million!)

3). Don’t some of you see the irony of criticizing this forum as intellectual nonsense? Why engage then with the ‘conversation’? (he he). No, seriously I really want to know. I am totally a academic (a status I do not think needs apology, although in some traditional circles it does seem looked down upon). But I am also an active traditional music, playing sessions 3 nights a week, etc… Lots of us now can play the music well and think about more theoretical aspects of the tradition, without being labeled inauthentic (Matt Cranitch’s musical life, for example). This reminds me, I also apologize for not answering sooner, I was away from my computer, actually playing traditional music in a local pub. (Any why do many of you assume the writer is a male? Is it because I’m doing a PhD ? Hmmmm…..)

4).
I agree with many of your views on the definition of community. From the number of different views, perhaps this is a community for some, but not for all? For instance, it seems like the user llig leahcim, replies to many discussions. llig leahcim - do you think because you communicate on a normal basis through discussion broads there is a sense of connection to the online group (opposed to a member who only uses the tune search application, for instance?) (These are just informal thoughts/ponderings).

Lastly, On a personal note, just because we’re online doesn’t mean social graces are irrelevant. Keep on with the strong opinions, I love them. There are a minority that just seem random though.

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Thanks mandolinist!

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P.S. I realize I have a few typing errors in that last post (so don’t worry about the corrections this time, sorry lads).

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Lads?

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"I should really hold myself to a higher standard (even if it is an online forum"

… because, not even if. Anything that you write for publication as an academic will, unfortunately, sink without a trace, because it’ll be hidden behind the journal wall, and nobody but specialists will have access to it, and the specialists will be too busy writing their own articles to read anyone else’s. However, anything you post on a discussion board is indexed by google and you have to assume that anything you say is going to be the first thing that comes up when your name goes into the search box - forever. An online forum is that permanent record they tried to scare you with in grade school, and you’re the only one who puts anything in it. Choose wisely.


"Lots of us now can play the music well and think about more theoretical aspects of the tradition, without being labeled inauthentic"

So there’s a lot more talk about "theoretical aspects of the tradition" now? Then why does it surprise you if some people are tired of it, and wish it would stop, and others are getting a taste for it, and they want to play too? You’re seeing both of those here.

"Any why do many of you assume the writer is a male? Is it
because I’m doing a PhD ? Hmmmm….."

"so don’t worry about the corrections this time, sorry lads"

I could say something about that, but I won’t… :)

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Well, apologies if I assumed you were male, whether you are or not.. usually something I’m careful to avoid.

Anyway, please elucidate and explain the use of all above and please don’t use American spellings if you’re an ‘academic’ from Cork! Unless you’re an American of course, in which case, carry on.

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@ Steve. ‘Lads’ would be used in Ireland as a general term for all & sundry nowadays..

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I wouldn’t even consider answering a question like that unless I knew what the implications of answering one way or the other were.

For example, does the OP work for an organization that has funds to disburse to something categorized as a "community" and not otherwise?

Unless you’re willing to say what you’re intending to DO with the answer (which, so far, you haven’t done).

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

In official, finalized versions of my writing, I do use the Irish/UK spellings (unless to a American journal). But being an America, online (informal writing) I tend not analyze writing subtleties too much! Indeed, I see the American spellings as part of my ‘online accent.’


… and to kill the suspense, I am a lady (debatable). :)

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Or a ladette?

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Indeed, like the wounded hussar stated, lads in Ireland is used in mixed company. Groups of girls are occasionally called lads as well (espeically if there is only 1 guy present), so I wasn’t being hypocritical/contradictory.


Thanks for your comments Jack, like I stated at the beginning I am asking the question to help with my current research. If people do not wish to be included, they can just comment and say please don’t these statements, or they can refrain from contributing to this thread entirely. It is not my intention to fool or use people for my own gain. And I am willing to tell you what I’m going to DO with your answers, all you had to do was ask nicely :)

(and for your information I’m in debt from funding my own study, so yeah I totally taking financial advantage of everyone here! I’m going to be a millionaire one day, yeah right!).

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I like that Steve, Ladette it is from now on!

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

"I am totally a academic"

LOL!!! Well, I am totally a one too. In fact, I already have my PhD and so, like you, I am way more intelligent than anyone else here and hold myself to the very highest standards. You may PM me through this site and I will tell you all the answers you need to know, but unlike the other dunderheads on this website (thank god we are different!), I will totally be able to speak to you in academic language. I can also cite all the sources you need to refer to off the top of my head, with dates, publishers and page numbers. I’m also well connected (as you know, when you are totally a academic, it’s about WHOM you know) and I can put you in touch with countless other people who are doing pointless degrees that will find themselves totally leaving off their CVs if they ever want to get decent employment oops, did I say that? High standards, high standards, ethics, ethics [smacks own wrist].

Reference List

- Dow, D.R. (2011a). Online community or granfalloon? A case study of the pointless ramblings of a random Montana fiddler. Ether: Mustardboard.
- Dow, D.R. (2011b). The pros and cons of the PhD: implications of the real-world/value paradigm. Ether: Mustardboard.
- Dow, D.R. (2011c). Pretense and pretension: a synchronic study of PhD students who waste their time on internet forums while kidding themselves that it is relevant to their studies. Ether: Mustardboard.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

"Groups of girls are occasionally called lads as well"

I call bulls hit. Will anyone step up and confirm this one? Has anyone actually heard this in practice? Not, "can anyone imagine this being said" but can anyone actually recall an instance on which this was said?

I can imagine a mixed group identified by the masculine plural - this is fairly common - but a group of women referred to as "lads"? That seems suspect to me. Could be wrong, though. I’d love to hear about it if I am.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Jeez, lets not get so heated over the little things in life!

All I can say, living in Cork for a number of years now I have heard the term used in this way only occasionally (it is by no means the norm or common). It is especially used by young groups of students (17-20 year olds), on nights out drinking.


But for god sakes we’re kind of getting off topic…

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Ha Dr. Dow. You are the man (excuse the anti-academic speak, he he). Will be emailing you in the near future! Thanks for the comments, the old self-esteem took a knock there for a while.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Like she said, Jon - our daughter would regularly say something like ‘come on, lads’ when talking to her girlfriends - jocular term.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Come on Guys (or is it Gals) or Chums? maybe Chumps… (in a feminine sense that is).

I particularly like Dow’s cv

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

"Jeez, lets not get so heated over the little things in life!"

An academic who’s not interested in verification? What are you, literary theory? Anyway, I’m looking to find out if anyone besides you remembers hearing this said. If they do, I’m wrong, and I’ve learned something about usage, which is interesting to me. If not, nothing’s proved and I figure it was a slip of the tongue.
That would be interesting as well.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Okay, wounded - that’s really interesting. Not the sort of thing you see every day, a term as strongly marked as "lads" being bleached that way. Does "mates" also get used this way? Would your daughter speak of a group of women friends as her "mates"?

And for the language and gender crowd I should probably point out that referring to your mates as "lasses" is probably not acceptable, right?

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Hi Jon,

I have noticed that the (female) presenters on Clare FM often say "lads" in contexts where it’s fairly clear that they are addressing both genders.

"Lads" is also very common in my local dialect, Geordie, (haway the lads!) but I don’t believe it is used for lasses at all.

So I speculate that this is an Irish English usage.

I haven’t recorded any examples, but I’ll try to.

Posted .

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Hmm - without wishing to stray too far off topic but to answer your query, Jon: both son & daughter (late teens) would refer to friends as ‘lads’ in some circumstances - she’d talk about getting the ‘girls’ over but as above she’d often use the term ‘lads’ is a jokey kind of way. You’d often say girls on a camogie (hurling) team referring to their team mates as the ‘lads’ etc. ‘Mates’ is a more English term I think.

As to origin of ‘lads’ in this context, I might hazard a guess that it comes from American or British sitcoms or movies!! Staple diet of many the Irish teenager. Any chance it arises in ‘Friends’?!

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

My comment was deleted. :-(

Posted by .

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

I would have thought "thesession.org" is an "internet community".

Hi "j" - sorry I won’t make it to Ballyvourney this year. Hope all is well with you. Good luck with the research.
[ "jcawley" is a fine flute player ].

Posted by .

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Hey Kenny! Nice to ‘hear’ from you! It’s a shame we can’t catch up in Ballyvourney, perhaps we’ll meet up at another festival over the summer! Thanks for the wishes, hope all is well with you too!

@ Ben Steen, I’m not sure what happened to your comment :(
Sorry about that, I certainly wouldn’t have deleted it, love hearing from everyone. It is actually post and then disappear a few minutes later? Maybe it didn’t send right, thesession.org seemed to be down for a few minutes about an hour ago…

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

The webmaster deleted it. Discussions about discussions are disallowed.

Posted by .

~

It was one of the comments which I posted yesterday.

Posted by .

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

"presenters on Clare FM often say "lads" in contexts where it’s fairly clear that they are addressing both genders. "

That’s actually not surprising to me. It’s absolutely standard in languages with gender marking to make the masculine plural serve as the collective as well. In fact, I can’t think of a language (maybe someone will oblige me) in which there is a distinct collective plural for groups of mixed gender.
What struck me as unlikely was the use of so strongly gendered a word as "lads" to refer to a group of women.

Now if that’s used in a jocular fashion, that’s something else. "I’m going out for a pint with the lads", meaning a group of friends, all of them women, would mean one thing if it was intended as ironic, something else if it were an unmarked usage. In the ironic context, it’s a pointed remark about women and men and their privileges. In the unmarked context, it would indicate that the word "lad" has undergone a remarkable semantic shift, possibly early evidence of grammaticalization.

That last would be pretty neat, but I admit it’s pretty unlikely.

I wouldn’t be able to tell you anything about American television. The last time I was watching it, I remember there was a show called "Moonlighting", featuring Bruce Willis before he decided to be an action hero.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Well that stinks Ben, sorry about that. Perhaps if you go into your account setting, under history, hopefully your old comment is saved, and perhaps you can re-post it. It would be lame to have to retype everything. Thanks for your posts though, really appreciate it!

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

jcawley, it’s all just life in the Mustard Family. ;)
Jon, is the collective plural for a group of mixed gender transgenders?
:-/

Posted by .

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

No, your account history is simply a pointer into the database. It’s in the bit bucket.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Ah. I do find the use of "lads" to refer collectively to the listeners a little surprising. Unexpected anyway.

Posted .

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Does anyone here remember party-lines? … switchboard operators? Those had an effect on communities but eventually they were phased out. Online forums are one current means of communication & eavesdropping.

Posted by .

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

"Jon, is the collective plural for a group of mixed gender transgenders?"

Q: What’s the collective plural for a group of feminists?

A: That’s not funny!

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Dr. Dow, I can prove that I’m smarter than you: I have a bachelors in English Lit., the least useful diploma on the planet, and yet I still manage to earn a living. Try *that* with a Ph.D. :-P



jcawley, in all seriousness, I *do* think of mustardia as a community, one of common interest. And when I get together with folks I know from this board, there’s already a rich, multi-dimensional back history thanks to our interaction here.

Contrary to Llig’s sense that this isn’t a place, I tend to think of it as a virtual pub, complete with ugly wallpaper and an eccentric publican hiding in the back room. When I come "here" (see, it *is* a place), I know what to expect behaviorally from the inmates, as distinct from other online fora that don’t have such a clear sense of place.

Posted .

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Erudition, whole loads of it. Here’s still more:

If the traditionally costumed, wigged dolls from many lands inside Disneyland’s “It’s a Small World” ride can be said to make up a community, then I don’t see why this can’t be one, too. It’s impossible to say which of the two communities has more value. One does receive far more visitors than the other.

In the more popular community, plastic beings spin to the staring delight/horror of fleshy mortals; in the other, fleshy mortals stare into glowing rectangles, pecking out delightful/horrifying coded symbols on plastic keys. The two communities overlap in this way: Walt’s family’s from County Carlow.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

obviously Dr Dow didn’t go to the national folk festival this year. Too much study to do perhaps.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

it’s now easter, and it’s nearly half way through easter, and I am reading session.org, and my head is starting to get really pointy, so I will head off (pardon the pun) to the nash…and get nashed.
Cheers, dudes.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

>>I tend to think of it as a virtual pub

My wife has long referred to my time spend on the three or four discussion boards that I periodically frequent as "down the pub"…

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

This thread has got so boring…

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Ms jcawley.

"For instance, it seems like the user llig leahcim, replies to many discussions. llig leahcim - do you think because you communicate on a normal basis through discussion broads there is a sense of connection to the online group"

The only reason I come here (that’s an interesting one that Will pointed out, it must be a place, because I’d say I come "here" - thanks Will) is because once in a while you get to read something really really funny and insightful. And thanks to Dr Dow for providing me with that moment on this thread.

And if you think this constitutes a community then you’d probably think that a group of strangers queuing to use a public toilet are a community.

Posted .

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

"is"a community.

Christ, english is too ferckin complicated

Posted .

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

"And if you think this constitutes a community then you’d probably think that a group of strangers queuing to use a public toilet are a community." - Michael Gill

I guess as long as the most vocal members on the board like Michael hold it this way and interact with others with this depressing image as the basis for what’s possible here, that’s what it will be in perpetuity…

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

This may well be all the community some folks have. Who knows, but a few of those ponderous ex-cathedra pronouncements may come from poor souls who are handcuffed to radiators in cellars somewhere. That’s what I’m guessing.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

I would say this site is an artificial extension of the community of musicians I am part of in the local area. There are folks I play with from time to time that post here, so the website is an extension of that community. And there are other musicians that I have met once or twice that I see posting. And then there are folks I have never met, but I have interacted enough with them over the years that I have a fair idea of what kind of people they are. When you look at degrees of separation based on who has played music with who, I would bet that I am not more than one or two degrees away from most of the people who post here regularly. For example, I have never met Will Harmon, but I know people in the real world who have met him and played with him.
And like real communities, on this website not all of our neighbors are the ones we would have chosen for ourselves, and unfortunately, not all of them are of the friendly variety. But there are enough friendly and interesting folks around, and enough information to be gleaned, that I keep dropping back into the neighborhood.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Al, whatever they told you, it’s all lies! I categorically deny it all, every last damning detail!




8-)

Posted .

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

jcawley,

With your strong theoretical background, and in particular for that of online forums, do you find that loosely bound questions where people exchange in writing, produces a coherent and useful outcome that enhances your theoretical knowledge ?

if yes, then could please please share with me, what you have learnt from this thread that you didn’t already know.

ps. I haven’t read the last 50 post (I saw someone discussing the meaning of lads, life’s too short)

by the way I believe the answer to your original question is NO

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

I myself am handcuffed to a radiator this very moment - luckily I have a good supply of wig glue, trousers, and syrip-stik. If the definition of community is a bunch of good lads whose advice you take with a grain or two, then definitely.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

"Who knows, but a few of those ponderous ex-cathedra pronouncements may come from poor souls who are handcuffed to radiators in cellars somewhere. "

How did you know I was replacing a CPU in the basement?

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

I don’t believe that this website can possibly be described as a Community.

However, I do believe that those who actively participate in the discussions can feel a … sense of community, but that’s a very different thing.

Can we really tell whether we’d like to spend actual real time with any other members here, in the real World, simply by how we each respond to these threads?

Granted, our words can be a pretty good clue to our personalities, but surely only a very one dimensional one at best, so not, I reckon, a great basis on which to attempt to build a real community.

However, our words are surely a much better indicator for our actual personalities than any visual ones might be so, for example, when someone here writes something like this ….
"Most of the people I hear playing diddley music I would not choose to associate with."
I immediately think of the word Snob i.e. "Anyone who thinks they are better than someone else based upon superficial factors"
& I immediately jump to the conclusion that no, I wouldn’t wish to spend time with them in real life, but are they actually a snob in real life, or are they just posting provocative statements to create more discussion?
Without those all important visual clues that you would have from body language & facial expression in a real community experience, it’s very hard to tell from words alone.

So I’m afraid all we have here is, at best, just a one dimensional ….. Sense of Community!

Cheers
Dick

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

@ llig leachcim: "And if you think this constitutes a community then you’d probably think that a group of strangers queuing to use a public toilet are a community." This is a brilliant thought that effectively illustrates your opinion on the matter. Just to clarify though, on this website, do you communicate with people (sometimes the same people) on a day to day (or however often) basis? If so is this interaction also possible waiting at a toilet? Surely you don’t converse with the same person, multiple times outside a toilet.
And I agree with you, some of the comments posted on these things are hilarious and insightful. Props to the few who do say something intelligent (excuse the American slang).

@ Michael Eskin, Atahualpa Quigley, llig leahcim, Ptarmigan and ian stock - Thanks for your opinions, very well articulated.

@ Theirlandais - And I really hope you reply to this.

“With your strong theoretical background, and in particular for that of online forums, do you find that loosely bound questions where people exchange in writing, produces a coherent and useful outcome that enhances your theoretical knowledge ?” – Theirlandais.
The purpose of anthropological/ethnomusicological studies is to investigate the cultural beliefs, conceptions, opinions, and experiences of a particular group of people. For this reason, we ask extremely broad questions to a number of different participants (members of thesession.org for example). These broad questions allow the participant (not the researcher) to structure the discussion. As an ethnographer, I am interested in other peoples’ conceptions, definitions, and experiences, not just my own worldview. What would have been the point of me defining a community for all of YOU anyways? That would have been arrogant and pointless, don’t you think? I am quite disappointed that you somehow think that the broad question I’ve asked is somehow an indication that I haven’t thought the project through. Seeming that you know extremely little about me, or my actual research, your criticism of my methodology is taken with a grain of salt.

“could please please share with me, what you have learnt from this thread that you didn’t already know.” – Theirlandais
Although I can sense your skepticism (and have a feel no matter what my response, you will have an counterargument at the ready), I do believe it is important for me to comment on what has been discovered in this discussion board (although these thoughts are preliminary and will be further theorized after more analysis of the entire board. Obviously these finding will also be formally written up in a number of months for the actually research project). I realize that some of you are curious how this will help my study, but trust me, you insights are very useful, and I really do appreciate everyone!

1). This board has illustrated that “community” means different things to different people. Some think this website is a community, others thinks it’s a strange type of community (virtual/online), others think it is an extension of an actual community in real life, many others think it is not a community at all. What does this all mean? Well, perhaps it means that people can use the session.org to suit their own beliefs about the online and actual traditional music community. People have different (and valid) experiences of the same phenomenon; it is this difference in perception that fascinates me. Why do some people get a community experience out of this website, and others don’t? Is it the cultural background of the people, or just personal beliefs and preferences? I do not have the answers to these questions, a part of research in the humanities involves raising questions that perhaps don’t have definitive answers (I suppose much scientific research involves this as well). These are just preliminary thoughts; I will be contemplating these theories and questions more in the future, perhaps with your additional comments…

2). The second thing I’ve learned from this discussion board is… Just like an actual community, this virtual community (or whatever you like to call it, this virtual place for exchanging ideas) is not a utopian society. Just like an actual session, there is often social discord at thesession.org. While the majority of members who responded to this thread had very useful and positive contributions to this debate, others seem more interested in confrontational discourse. At times, certain individuals seem more interested in contradicting others’ comments, rather than contributing their own opinions. (This probably has something to do with their personal demeanors and intensions).

3.) I’ve also learned that fieldwork in actual music environments is much easier than virtual field research (I’m also doing field research in sessions, festivals and workshops). On discussion boards we all communicate in a very slow, often vague and misinterpreted form of discourse. Verbal discussions on this subject seem much easier than this format. So in short, this experience has taught me a lot about the positive and negative aspects of conducting research online (a relatively new methodology in anthropology and ethnomusicology). That being said, this has been a memorable, and useful experience, so thanks again.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

It is interesting that there’s such a range of viewpoints. I would have automatically said that it IS a community of sorts because I’m used to hearing about "online communities" in the media, so in my head, I have it labelled. If there is such a thing as an "online community", then this is one. I’ve never had any reason to question this, but perhaps if I did, I’d see things differently. llig brought up the point that there has to be an environment first but I would think that some view "being online" as a "space" or "environment". For me, message boards like this and websites like Facebook are environments and communities build around them. I suppose when I think of this website as being a community, I’m thinking of social relationships with certain people who have been posting here for years. And it helps that I’ve met and played with a few of those people. I don’t know whether I’d feel any different if I hadn’t.

I think it all boils down to definitions. Those who say this ISN’T a community are probably viewing "community" as being a defined group who interact in real time, as opposed to leaving each other written messages. Those who say it IS, probably have a much looser conception of "community" as being a group of like-minded people who can interact and get to know each other or come to be able to predict other members’ reactions through regular long distance written messages.

Therefore, I think for this to make any sense, you’d have to define what you mean by "community", otherwise everyone is talking cross-purposes. Also, as it stands, it doesn’t make particularly good data whichever way you look at it because you as the researcher can’t know what each poster is inferring from the word "community". You’d have to chase it up and ask them, or just guess, and guessing isn’t good when it comes to PhD stuff. Scholars come in for serious criticism when their methodology involves making too many assumptions about psychological motivations for saying certain things or about the participants’ understanding of certain concepts.

An example of this is something you may not have taken into account. Some people who post here have been contributing to this website for almost a decade. They have a certain online persona. He or she may want to display certain allegiances or distance themselves from other groups of people through what they write in their posts and, to them, this is more important than thinking deeply about all the implications of the question before responding. If you haven’t been following this online interaction constantly for 10 years, you can’t possibly know what’s going on in such a scenario.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

>>Why do some people get a community experience out of this website, and others don’t? Is it the cultural background of the people, or just personal beliefs and preferences?

I’m sure it is partly down to personal preferences and indeed unique personalities. Llig, for example, seems to be too much of an individualist ever to have very much regard for many others. I wonder whather he really feels he belongs to any communities at all. Before he has a go at me for saying that, I understand that, and often feel the same way myself, but I think he could perhaps have a little more concern for others’ feelings and situations than he sometimes publicly does.

But the other thing that he, and some others, seem to forget is that he has the luxury of living in one of the epicentres of this music, where it is on tap to him any day of the week. Many, though not all, of the key cynics on here appear to emanate from similar localities. I envy them that, but they sometimes forget that those of us who, for whatever reasons, have much less chance to play ‘live’ with such regularity may depend on virtual ‘communities’ like this for connectivity that they can’t get elsewhere. Dismissing that as having ‘inadequate resources’ as Llig once did, just demonstrates missing empathy.

And before I am (again) labelled a defeatist on that front, I was playing a few evenings ago, with a fiddler who now lives near here, who has in his time rubbed shoulders with many at the very top of this particular tree. He too was bemoaning the lack of live sessions within reasonable reach of where he lives. So it’s not just me. For some, this board performs a ‘communal’ function far greater than the contempt with which others can afford to treat it.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

>>And it helps that I’ve met and played with a few of those people. I don’t know whether I’d feel any different if I hadn’t.

Ten days ago, I finally met my first other MB ‘member’ (as opposed to user of the tunes library) in the flesh. It was nice that he was the guy who first put me onto the local session that I now regularly play with, when he turned up there as a guest. Also worth noting that he doesn’t live locally - just knew people who knew people… We already had a simple link which eased the meeting, indeed he sought me out. That was good.

I am looking forward hopefully to meeting a few more people in Scotland this summer - which will indeed transform the experience on here for me. But without the MB, those hoped-for interactions would simply never take place. It means that when I am there in the summer, there should be some ready-made links into the local trad scene that would probably never be available without the www.

I too talk to a few people here privately as well, which would also never have otherwise happened. Face to face meetings is the next obvious step. Community, here we come…!

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Thank you two for your comments (Dr. dow & ian stock).

I am a particular fan about dow’s comments about the vagueness surrounding my framing of this discussion. dow’s criticism is far more specific, clear, better articulated and based on constructive-criticism than others’ on this thread. I do agree, I could have phrased the question (and the whole discussion) in a better way. On the other hand the original question produced a fairly heated and interesting discussion.

Additionally, also in reference to dr. dow. You bring up a fantastic point about the level of involvement some people have on this website. Indeed, I was aware of the depth of online identities people have evolved over the years. This has, and will be, taken on board in the study. I’ve been in contact additionally with llig leachcim, about this particular point., he has been particularly helpful.

Thanks again especially to you guys, llig leachcim, Dr. Dow, and ian stock, for your intelligent contribution! I have certainly taken the opinions into serious consideration and believe quality of my research is indeed enhanced from your comments.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

I think you may have risked contaminating your data by engaging us in the debate, while making sure you get in a few snarky and sarcastic comments of your own, such as:

"Any why do many of you assume the writer is a male? Is it
because I’m doing a PhD? Hmmmm….."**

And,

"In response to a number of you… (especially Theirlandis and TheSilverSpear, who seems to think I’m confused on the matter and that is the reason I’m asking the question)… "

And,

"Don’t some of you see the irony of criticizing this forum as intellectual nonsense? Why engage then with the ‘conversation’? (he he). No, seriously I really want to know. I am totally a academic (a status I do not think needs apology, although in some traditional circles it does seem looked down upon)."

Ethnography is not something I’m doing at the moment, but I was in a sociology department for a wee while and one of the things I was drilling into the heads of undergraduates during my stint teaching methodology courses was that a researcher should try to maintain some level of distance and neutrality. Obviously one can debate whether *any* research is indeed neutral (it’s not), or the level of involvement researchers should have, especially in places where there is violent conflict, poverty, disease, etc. occurring (not the Mustard Board). In a context like this one, however, it should be fairly straightforward for the researcher to post their carefully worded questions (and if it were me, I’d have my supervisor look over them as well) and then hang back and let the debate happen on its own. One can of course debate the boundaries framing constructions like neutrality and objectivity until the cows come home, but I think leaping into the middle of the debate you started with your snarky and sarcastic comments blazing is miles past those boundaries.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

To TheSilverSpear:
In regards to this comment: "Any why do many of you assume the writer is a male? Is it because I’m doing a PhD? Hmmmm…..",

I did not intended to be sarcastic/snarky. People were referring to my identity incorrectly. I apologize if people took this as sarcasm, it was meant to come off as a playful, or humorous, informal point. Unfortunately, the line is very thin between sarcasm, humor, or aggression in written form. Many of the comments I made, that you view as sarcastic were probably poor attempts of humor, (I’m an academic, so not too funny), none of my comments were intended to hurt or poke at other members - believe it or not. If we were discussing these issues face to face, I’m sure these types of miscommunications would not have occurred so readily.

As for your critique that I put my own opinion into the debate, I decided to do contribute some thoughts, because a number of members asked for my clarification on a few things. Indeed, a few members poked fun at me (perhaps rightfully so) that I was not contributing to the discussion.

One member wrote: "Anyway, somebody tell jcawley to come back from his lectures and tell us what he means by a ‘community’. "And another wrote: "He might not be at his lectures. He might be doing community service."

So I thought it best to contribute when asked, a logical decision I think. Reciprocity is a now buzz work in ethnographic studies. I agree with you there is a delicate balance between neutrality, like you said yourself "Obviously one can debate whether *any* research is indeed neutral (it’s not)," Many are of the philosophy, that only researchers who admit their subjectivity can move closer to objectivity. I for one, agree.

I am still of the view that other people’s view, no matter how out there or strange, are relevant to a few of my questions. For this reason, I do not think anyone’s views ‘contaminate’ my research, but thanks for your concern (not sarcasm).

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Additionally, take my original comment: "Don’t some of you see the irony of criticizing this forum as intellectual nonsense? Why engage then with the ‘conversation’? (he he). No, seriously I really want to know. I am totally a academic"

The ‘No, seriously I really want to know" was not sarcasm, although because of the previous sentence I would see where this would be easily perceived as such. I admit this statement is poorly worded. What I meant to stay was, "I find it interesting that many of you have said that this forum is intellectual nonsense? May I ask then, why do you contribute to the board?" I definitely should have used this more bland formalized writing style. I’ve been a member of thesession.org since 2006, so the informal writing style that I have used in past discussions unfortunately came through this forum. As a researcher, I should have anticipated this a bit better. I am the first to admit internet fieldwork is a new methodology to me, and I am learning an enormous amount from this experience. This can only be good for the study.

Thank you SilverSpear, your comments have made me contemplate the broad implications of my research and research on the internet in the future.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

jcawley,

I’m very much with TSS on this one, especially regarding the flimsiness of your research methodology.

As far as I’m concerned your initial question ’ "We all converse and get new tunes on thesession.org, but do you consider the website a ‘community?’" was unnecessarily obtuse, made assumptions regarding the individual posters’ reasons for visiting this board, and assumed a ‘we-ness’ which many of us might not share. Attempting to focus this upon such a nebulous concept as ‘community’ seems to me like p*ssing in the face of a full-force gale.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Jon, I do think my response offended you.

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Re: Is thesession.org a community?

"I’m very much with TSS on this one, especially regarding the flimsiness of your research methodology."

Amen. I do hope your adviser is reading this. And I do hope you’re saving this for your future teaching career. It’ll be a great example to use when you teach research methods.

"These broad questions allow the participant (not the researcher) to structure the discussion."

In this case, that seems to have backfired. This may end up being the first ethnography of the researcher written by the subjects.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

These days it is impossible to comment on the mustard without going under the collective microscope.

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Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Screw neutrality. If anything is worth learning from the Mustard Pontiffs it is to become immersed. Join in the discussions, play the tunes, get to know people one on one. Play session, after session, then find more sessions. Make them be a priority above even completing your PhD!

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Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Ben, what on earth are you smoking? :}

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Ben - if you offended me, I didn’t notice. Where did you offend me?

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Geoff, I’m merely letting jcawley know it is O.K. on this forum to let her hair down ~ join the banter, converse, exchange ideas, get involved … It’s not always this academic. Often but not always. Continue the enlightening critique.
Cheers, Jon. It’s my natural density. I cannot make sense of the your response about feminists, which is probably a joke. Sometimes I get it much later.

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Re: Is thesession.org a community?

I know a few academics who are very funny people, but that’s by-the-by.

In any event, ambiguous statements like the ones you write could be read as stirring the pot and thus compromising the responses you received. That’s where your supervisor should have come in — he or she should have worked with you on the wording of the initial question and then on the wording of any follow-up comments or questions. That’s what they’re there for.

I get the reflexivity thing (I assume that’s what you really meant when you typed "reciprocity") but reflexivity isn’t an excuse to be lazy and have poorly worded questions. One can have an opinion (indeed, one always does. You wouldn’t be researching something if you didn’t have some sort of view of it), but still behave towards your research participants in a cool and professional manner.

Here’s how I would deal with the reflexivity issue: If I was going to use the Mustard Board as a source for some sort of research, I would have a blurb (or half a chapter… gotta drag out the old word count) saying something like, "I have been an actively participating member of thesession.org since 2004. Many of the active participants in the discussion forums are familiar with me and I am frequenty engaged in discussion and debate, which can range from humorous banter to passionate argument. I have had correspondence with a number of fellow posters in private emails, and have also met people at sessions and other social occasions in meatspace (or whatever fancy word you want to use for that). My experiences of thesession.org as a digital community are (insert academic twaddle about my time participating, learning and making connections in a digital environment here)….. My seven years of being active on this particular message board has given me broader sense of the types of interactions found in this context, the history of relationships between other regular members, both on and off the board, and how that interacts with the offline trad music community in pub sessions and other environments."

I’d word it nicer than that, but that’s more or less how I’d deal with reflexivity. The point being, reflexivity ISN’T engaging with the debate your research questions started at the same level of sarcasm (or perceived sarcasm) as your unruly participants.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Please don’t use my comments as part of the research.
;)

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Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Emily, your proposal reads like an endorsement for the concept that thesession.org *is* a community. I’m assuming you would not then ask if any of us regard the session.org as a community. Your description of your participation in thesession.org is already saying yes ~ thesession.org is a community.
This is purely academic.

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Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Aye, my comment makes it abundantly clear to the people reading my thesis that the bias of the researcher — me — holds that thesession.org is a community.

I’d put it right out there and then go on to say how I’m interested in how other participants on thesession.org understand the nature of the website and how they describe their online interactions. Or something vague like that which would allow plenty of scope for a variety of responses while trying to minimize the effect of my biases and interest in concepts like "community" on the responses.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

I still do not agree. I still don’t want my comments used in any such research. Cheers, Emily!

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Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Well, then don’t answer the question. Easy! In any case, the researcher would, if they are even following the loosest possible ethical guidelines, not use your answers if you didn’t want them to be used and it would all be anonymized anyway. That means disguising your screenname as well.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Or, one could count the yays and nays in this thread and write "X percentage of Y respondents stated that they did not regard thesession.org as a community."

Ben, I do sometimes wonder what you’re on about. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with me as I was only giving an example of how I would deal with one quite narrow issue relating to research methods, not presenting any sort of proposal for research I’m not doing. Luckily all my research participants have been dead for at least 200 years so they can’t give me any opinions about what they think of my work. It’s great!

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

I’ll be clear. Thesession.org is not a community. I do not wish to have any of my comments used in research unless I specify otherwise.

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Re: Is thesession.org a community?

We’re just two lost souls
Swimming in a fish bowl,
Year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found?
The same old fears.
Wish you were here.

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Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Can I have some of whatever you are all smoking?

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Unfortunately it wouldn’t translate very well online but Llig’s poetry reminds me of some wonderful times with a friend who always listened to Pink Floyd. & yes, Emily, it involves inhaling deeply.

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I just saw this bumper sticker

Don’t steal this Reverend Pete!
"Friends don’t let friends visit
https://thesession.org

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"

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Re: Is thesession.org a community?

"We’re just two lost souls
Swimming in a fish bowl,
Year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found?
The same old fears.
Wish you were here." llig

I don’t want any of what your smoking if it means we have to listen to old hat drivel. Having said that I do agree with your point.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

@ Ben. I will certainly honor your wishes and not include you in the study, but thank you for your contribution anyways. I certainly appreciate your thoughts as a musician.

Thanks to everyone else as well, especially the members who gave me tips and advice about other matters, in addition to the original topic.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Cheers, jcawley that is all I ask. I think it only fair to explain, as best as I am able, why I do not regard this website as a community. This is the classroom with it’s ebb & flow between classroom decorum & chaos. The classroom is not the community. It makes important contributions, but it is not the community. Education does not cease at the doorway, or if it does, then the classroom is the community & the world outside is very bleak.

Venture outside (yes, I read Candide) & one discovers everything you only heard about; or were never told. There is the community.
thesession.org happens when you log on. The community happens when you experience everything else.

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Re: Is thesession.org a community?

I think the session.org is an example of what is referred to as an "online community" and that the "community" part of that is more than just an analogy, for the reasons AlBrown and others gave. Even if it is an analogy it is a better one that many that come up here.

I am not sure that there is "a community" of traditional irish musicians though. Isn’t *that* just a figure of speech, an analogy ?

If it is a community then its members may have something more interesting to say about "learning through media & internet" than navel gazing about whether they are part of a community.

Re: Is thesession.org a community?

Answer: look at the number of replies to this thread. I’d say that’s a yes.