Has The Session as a ‘project; reached the end of its natural lifespan?
When I first joined this site I used my actual name as my username and wrote a little bit of background. I found the background comments about tunes really interesting and I was able to locate a version of music for tunes I had heard played at a session or whatever that I liked. It was good.
Having used the site for several years, including adding a few tunes, recordings, sessions and comments myself I have increasingly recognised there is a small minority of members (and visitors) to this site who demonstrate what I would describe as unhealthy psychopathology. Unfortunately some of these guys appear to be able to run amok on the site without moderation.
One of the symptoms exhibited by these guys is the preference for the use ‘2nd person’ when commenting (i.e. addressing the comment as "You…" rather than "This tune…this recording…"
I am wondering whether we all fall into two main camps - those of us mainly interested in the music (that’s me) , and those of us pre-occupied with ‘personality’ (anybody care to own up to this one?)
I decided, reluctantly, to remove my personal background in ‘Description’ section of the Members section of this site and have adopted an alternative username.
I have recently seen comments on a different music website that The Session is quite a ‘toxic’ site. At first I thought this was a little extreme, but, on reflection, I increasingly understand this view. I toyed with the idea of abandoning The Session and setting up a different website myself somehow protected for people genuinely interested in music. Then I thought (a) this was probably what Jeremy was thinking a decade ago – and (b) that if I can free up this much time (unlikely) then maybe I should try to help with other existing projects - such as the translation of the excellent Fiddlers Companion to Wiki format.
Then I thought that maybe the people whose ephemeral outpourings (Whoops am I creating one myself now?) increasingly clog up and despoil this site will eventually discover (a) Twitter as the perfect instrument for their compulsion to be noticed or place their stamp against every possible part of the site - what I would describe as "dog and lamp post" behaviour (b) Facebook etc as the perfect instrument for electronic interactions with their pals etc. (c) Real friends - you know those people who you pass each day when you are rushing back to your computer. Then it hit me - they are probably exhibiting the same behaviour in those other domains as well. Help!
As for some of the ill-considered, opionated, or simply unpleasant and personal utterances that the site appears to allow the posting of - well I don’t think these should have a place anywhere
Some types of ‘toxic’ contribution seem to be from people who appear to think that they are performing some kind of ‘sentry’, ‘policing’ or ‘guardian’ role (either of The Session website, or, watch out, of the entire ‘Tradition’ - or both!). In this they appear to try to identify what fits and what doesn’t fit into some mind set of their own creation. They then try to ensure that their mind set defeats all other mind sets - like some giant virtual conker fight in which in which they intend there to be only one eventual winner (theirs, of course). This could be fun if it were just a knock-about discussion between friends but it seems to me more sinister than that with a kind of quasi religious aspect to it. Keeping faith with the True Tradition – eliminating heresy.
As for rigidity about tunes being ‘Irish’: How many of us are actually Irish - or part of the Irish diaspora? I’m not (well technically I’m 12.5% Irish but I’m 50% Scottish, plus some Welsh – so ‘celtic’ yes, Irish no, but to the casual observer I would appear English!) I don’t care – I am interested in the history of the Doherty family in Donegal but in the end I just like the tunes - and I like other kinds of music too. The boundaries we draw around music just make our own lives poorer.
I have long wondered about the incongruity of a group of people (us) trying to preserve some notion of an authentic old musical culture but doing this predominantly in individual isolation (from our bedrooms?) using technology such as iPads, laptops and mobile phones - while arguing about whether electronic keyboards can be part of ‘The Tradition’. And (!) publishing transcriptions in ABC before going to actual sessions and decrying the existence and use of sheet music. Weird. Mad.
I have begun to think that maybe in its current format The Session website project has run its course - reached the end of its natural life. It has been (and is) a fantastic resource but it is clearly in need of an overhaul -and we should not all sit back and expect Jeremy (to whom a thousand thank yous) to do all this for us.
Maybe the solution is to close the site to new business and leave it as a fantastic lookup resource - periodically taking the chance to clean out some of the stuff that is clogging it up?
Any thoughts? Careful now ;)