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Mudcat - changes in style and profile

Will Fly 22 Jun 14 - 08:02 AM
GUEST 22 Jun 14 - 08:42 AM
bbc 22 Jun 14 - 09:35 AM
Janie 22 Jun 14 - 10:13 AM
Big Al Whittle 22 Jun 14 - 10:58 AM
skarpi 22 Jun 14 - 11:33 AM
Bill D 22 Jun 14 - 12:45 PM
Dave the Gnome 22 Jun 14 - 01:33 PM
Will Fly 22 Jun 14 - 01:47 PM
Will Fly 22 Jun 14 - 01:48 PM
Big Al Whittle 22 Jun 14 - 03:38 PM
Janie 22 Jun 14 - 04:41 PM
The Sandman 22 Jun 14 - 06:21 PM
Dave the Gnome 22 Jun 14 - 06:26 PM
Rob Naylor 22 Jun 14 - 07:24 PM
Janie 22 Jun 14 - 08:52 PM
Janie 22 Jun 14 - 09:18 PM
Jack Campin 22 Jun 14 - 09:20 PM
Big Al Whittle 22 Jun 14 - 09:59 PM
Janie 22 Jun 14 - 10:28 PM
Phil Cooper 22 Jun 14 - 11:34 PM
The Sandman 23 Jun 14 - 12:02 AM
Rob Naylor 23 Jun 14 - 12:48 AM
Mr Red 23 Jun 14 - 03:36 AM
Mr Red 23 Jun 14 - 04:02 AM
Brian Peters 23 Jun 14 - 04:54 AM
Mr Red 23 Jun 14 - 09:13 AM
Richard Bridge 23 Jun 14 - 10:18 PM
JHW 24 Jun 14 - 06:25 AM
ian1943 24 Jun 14 - 07:23 AM
Crowhugger 24 Jun 14 - 02:52 PM
Kenny B (inactive) 24 Jun 14 - 06:37 PM
GUEST,big al whittle 24 Jun 14 - 06:53 PM
Steve Shaw 24 Jun 14 - 07:33 PM
Mr Red 25 Jun 14 - 04:08 AM
GUEST,Will Fly, out of town 25 Jun 14 - 04:37 AM
GUEST,Giok 25 Jun 14 - 06:35 AM
GUEST 25 Jun 14 - 09:37 AM
GUEST 25 Jun 14 - 09:51 AM
GUEST,Peter 25 Jun 14 - 10:14 AM
Jeri 25 Jun 14 - 10:21 AM
GUEST 25 Jun 14 - 10:27 AM
GUEST,Giok 25 Jun 14 - 11:31 AM
Bill D 25 Jun 14 - 12:01 PM
Mark Clark 25 Jun 14 - 12:25 PM
Azizi 25 Jun 14 - 02:40 PM
Richard Bridge 25 Jun 14 - 07:00 PM
GUEST,Azizi 25 Jun 14 - 08:29 PM
Steve Shaw 25 Jun 14 - 09:05 PM
Alice 25 Jun 14 - 11:23 PM
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Subject: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Will Fly
Date: 22 Jun 14 - 08:02 AM

I'm a comparative newcomer to the 'Cat - my first post was in August 2008 - but I've been a regular reader and irregular contributor to it since then, and it's interesting to see how it has changed in just the last 6 years.

One of the interesting things that struck me as a newbie in '08, and still strikes me today, is the subconscious, but very definite, division of the membership into what I might call the "Old Guard" and the rest. And I hope that term is acceptable. There are many Old Guard members here who were here at the start of Mudcat, who recall its early days and the things it represented - some of them are even Mods - and who have common bonds and relationships both musical and personal. This can be a daunting start for a new member of any forum, not just Mudcat, but it's something one has to live with. This is not to cast aspersions on the Old Guard by any means, and I've rarely had a problem with being a new-ish member of Mudcat, but it's a fact.

One of the other interesting things is that the average age of the membership is quite high. I did a trawl about a couple of years ago (I think) and, by the age info from those who replied, the average turned out to be around 70 or 71 years of age. That's pretty high by many forum standards. What we're seeing at the moment is increasing reports of illness and - very sadly indeed - the deaths of much-loved and long-standing members. I'm 70 myself this year, and still feel as frisky as a flea for most of the time - and there are good ol' guys and gals here much older than me. But what will we all look like and where will we all be in, say, ten years time? What of the 'Cat then?

There's also been a significant change in the type of posts and contributions to posts, mainly "below the line" in the B.S. section. I've rarely contributed much to this, preferring personally to discuss music rather than, say, religion and politics. It's obvious from the current crop of postings that many members have stopped posting down there, or even altogether, because of the nature of the discussions. I look at them myself from time to time and consider many of them to be a waste of space, what with personal insults and the endless circuitous arguments coupled with the seeming impossibility of anyone ever changing their minds or engaging in any kind of agreement. It seems to me that many members, including particularly those I've called the Old Guard have got fed up with the same feuding few accusing endlessly accusing each other of ignorance, lying, blah, blah and blah. It's a sad comment that one of Spaw's last comments in a thread was how "pissed off" he was with the Cat. Who could have blamed him?

So where will we all be in ten years' time - assuming we're still here - and what will Mudcat look like as the membership subtly changes? Was it all very "cosy" ten years ago - cosier and friendlier and more of a community than now - and, that's the case, will it be even less friendly and cosier in the future?


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Jun 14 - 08:42 AM

I was thinking along similar lines, but as one of the chief cat-bellers when matters got right out of control a while back, felt it wasn't my place to be too up-front about it. But at the same time, the best tribute anyone could give to Spaw is to follow in his tracks, earthy but not gratitously obscene, knowledgeable without beiing bigheaded.
There are younger performers out there, indeed I guess I'm one, being 20 years younger than the norm, but still positively aged by comparison with some. The trick is to ensure our grandchildren get to follow where we did, doing new things with the old tradition. Bits of Bellowhead were doing that with kids from Lambeth, not labelling it as "Folk" but as a different approach.
Part of the problem is that the music industry tried most determinedly to crash anything which wasn't punk or rap in the late 70s as a means to recover financial control of the sector, and in particular had it in for folk, the main drive of the concept album scene.
Having thrown the baby out with the bathwater, they came back somewhat apologetic a couple of years back, their scene becoming moribund, and nobody would go with them. Whether that's a good or a bad thing I don't know, but I think we are back in their bad books as a result. So don't look for cultural encouragement now.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: bbc
Date: 22 Jun 14 - 09:35 AM

Thoughtful post, Will. I am one of the Old Guard &, for the past several years, have only dropped in, once in a while. The beginning of Mudcat seemed, to me, to exemplify the best of the Internet, enabling like-minded people, around the planet, to get to know each other. We shared our lives, online, & many of us have even met in person. It was a joy! As time passed, new folks came in & the tone of the forum changed--in my opinion--for the worse. It truly grieved me & I dropped out. Even so, I hated to give up the wonderful friendships I'd made. I find it interesting to see so many of the "old" names on the catspaw-related threads. It seems that, though many of us have become, largely, silent partners, we're still checking on the community. The thought heartens me.

Best,

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Janie
Date: 22 Jun 14 - 10:13 AM

I don't think there is anything unique about the way Mudcat has gradually edged away from being a community. Still makes me sad.


The Decline of the Online Message Board


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Jun 14 - 10:58 AM

most of the old guard seem to have come from stateside. and the problem seems to me that the statesiders look on the Brit scene with incredulity at the depth of the bitterness between the various factions.

they've never had a period where the schisms imploded and destroyed half of the folkscene. they've never had a period where the top folksinger in the country has said, is Tom Paxton a folksinger -my god no!

their top traditional singers are perfectly understandable to the man in the street - whereas ours have laboured mightily to distance themselves from the pop cadences and chord progressions of simple songs.

so they look on us with bewilderment, and are shocked at how we express ourselves. I admit its not attractive. but basically its just two sets of people who are both striving in our own way to keep our culture alive. there is actually in most cases quite a lot of respect between the warring parties.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: skarpi
Date: 22 Jun 14 - 11:33 AM

Once I was in here a lot , now I am not , well I wonder why ...

all the best Skarpi .


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Jun 14 - 12:45 PM

There was a famous quote from Yogi Berra about some restaurant:

"Nobody goes there any more- it's too crowded."

Somehow-- in addition to the relevant mention of the all-too-many obits, a significant number of the 'old guard' and others have decided to either leave or seriously limit their participation...citing their dislike of various trends and personalities. Once 'major' contributors begin to abandon ship, it becomes a trend.
No one seems to realize... or care.. that the way to make a forum what you WANT it to be is to stay and overwhelm & outnumber the perceived problems. We used to do that! There have been a number of posters... both member & 'guest'... whose 'contributions' were widely condemned and debated. The majority of us either debated them or ignored them.
   

Now, it IS the case that Facebook has usurped so much of some folks' attention that they can't be bothered to share life & opinions here, but it is also the case that Facebook allows one to see & interact only with folks they care about. (Mudcat did too, but many seemed unable to avoid wallowing in the MUD areas of Mudcat. "If you don't like it - don't read it!" was often suggested...but....)
Facebook, with its huge resources, also allows posting of pictures... and that is its major virtue.

So... when Mudcat started (and I have been here since Nov. 1996 and watched the song database be created in the 3-4 years before that) it was a music forum.... and 97% a FOLK music forum. If no one EVER discusses religion, politics or condoms (look it up) again, it will still be a valuable MUSIC resource.
   The thing is, music in general, and folk music in particular, have always been windows thru which to view and evaluate the world. It is totally natural to discuss, debate, share & analyze "life, the universe and everything" among a group who sings about it all! We have opinions.... it is just sad that some can't 'share' without anger, rancor and accusations.

I could write for hours about what IS... what OUGHT to be and what MAY be... but... I'll just say that, as one of those older members (75 last month), I find the format of the Mudcat forum to be far superior to Facebook for creating and following topics. Perhaps it's just that my 'aging mind' won't easily adapt to FB's 'scroll off the page in an hour' format. (yes, I know there are ways to find things, I just don't with to spend 6 hours a day doing so! :>(
   I'm on FB... I just prefer here, so I'll 'mostly' be here...for the music and for the occasional topic of discussion... as long as Max cares to keep it going.

YMMV


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Jun 14 - 01:33 PM

Sorry but I see this as an opportunity for many to start another load of shit slinging. Al reckons the problem is the traddies. Others will say it is the Brits. More will say it is swearing and cursing.

Sorry, Will, but I think your post, however thoughtful, will cause more problems than it solves.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Will Fly
Date: 22 Jun 14 - 01:47 PM

Dave - there are many opportunities in this world, but we don't have to take them all up.

The fact is, whether one likes it or not, that the forum has changed hugely in the few years I've been a member - mainly below the line - and I, for one, happen to miss many of the names who either don't post or rarely post any more. They were interesting, hunorous, worldly, intelligent and interesting, unlike much of what's around at the moment.

If my post causes shit slinging, as you call it, then the blame will rest firmly with the slingers. I've commented on the forum as I see it now - a personal view - and I speculate about the future, as any reasonable forum member is entitled to do.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Will Fly
Date: 22 Jun 14 - 01:48 PM

Interesting twice, in fact.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Jun 14 - 03:38 PM

I like mudcat . its a forum - where generally people know what i'm talking about. I don't have to explain who Pete Seeger was, or what a Gibson j45 is.

I don't say the problem is the traddies.   on the contrary - they do a lot of good work. many of them are my good and trusted friends.

On the other hand, their insistence that their vision of what folk music was, was folk music in its entirety , plus all the power that the middle classes exercise in Brit society - well and truly buggered up a movement that had captured the creative imagination of many ordinary English people.

I am genuinely sorry - if I have been part of the problem that you feel has eroded the appeal - and ruined the pleasure of other mudcatters.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Janie
Date: 22 Jun 14 - 04:41 PM

Don't think there is any question that Facebook has had a significant impact, Bill. Has resulted in dilution. One example is Big Mick's eloquent post regarding Spaw, made originally to Facebook on his own timeline. Much of what would have been our collective sharing, grieving and condolences to Karen and the boys is happening on Mick's time line as result. I'm not up to really trying to follow or participate there, in the Mudcat group on Facebook - where there are many separate posts with comments that get collapsed by the format when a certain number are reached and require you to "click on previous comments," and here as well. So I am missing the opportunity to collectively mourn in as meaningful a context as would have happened on Mudcat in the past. That is the result of my limited ability to adapt as well as my reluctance to give up on Mudcat. I feel bad about that. Appears Karen is more comfortable or adept on Facebook. That does appear to largely be a conversation among the "old timers" of which Spaw was surely one. He touched so many of our lives very personally, but it is clear the memories and early relationships built here on Mudcat go back to times many of us were not around to be apart of, many of those people no longer choose to be part of Mudcat, and I understand the need and desire for an "in-gathering" of folks that go back before my memory and knowledge,, with ties to each other and Karen that far exceed my own or that of the latter day Mudcat.

Like you, I prefer talking with Mudcatters on Mudcat for the most part, and when I do try to follow here, as well on a number of different time lines or the Mudcat Facebook group, I simply can not keep up or really participate. Not a complaint - it is what it is - just an observation. Pros and cons, and is a reflection of the modern and post-modern mobility of society.

Guess I'm part of the Middle Guard, Will Fly, as are you, if we must categorize. I came to Mudcat in 2002. At that time there were still a preponderance of people who did consider this a community - and the article I linked in my first post indicates that was much more common on-line then than it is now among many internet forums. Apparently we are not the only gathering place on the web where people once came together to discuss, debate and share ideas and information, but also to spur one another's creativity and humor. The silly threads of banter are gone. The wonderful story telling and collective fiction writing are gone and efforts to try it again over the past couple of years have petered out. Even the birder and gardening threads don't fly anymore. We don't share our lives and other interests like once happened. I don't know why that is exactly. I know I find myself still reading, but often not posting. And I probably still post a lot more than other folks who have been around awhile

After reading Will Fly's first post I was wondering if dividing the forum into above and below the line may have had an unintended consequence, but after reading that blog post, I would guess not.

Mudcat has never been an entirely harmonious community - what community ever is?   No community lasts forever. No dynamic system is static and all will change, and eventually explode or implode or simply succumb to entropy.

By the time I came on board in 2002 comments from the earliest members made clear Mudcat in 2002 was not the same place as Mudcat in 1996 or 1999. As Bill D. noted, Mudcat will probably be around a very long time as a significant music resource and archive. There will still probably be some social element well into the future, and hopefully it will be a social element that is relevant to those who mostly inhabit the place at that time. Hard to say. I hope I remain connected enough to be curious enough to at least observe the process.

Know this is rambling. Sorry. But not so sorry as to not hit submit:>)


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jun 14 - 06:21 PM

I would rather play my concertina


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Jun 14 - 06:26 PM

Fairy Nuff, Will - I am sure you are right. But there will still be shit slinging!

DtG


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 22 Jun 14 - 07:24 PM

I'm a late-comer here. Starting looking at Mudcat regularly in 2009, but I've been a user of newsgroups, bulletin boards etc from back in the days of CIX (UK) and CompuServe (pre AOL buyout) in the very early 90s.

What I've seen from membership of a whole bunch on on-line communities in that time (alt.rockclimbing, compuserve outdoors, compuserve education, talk.origins, UKclimbing, weighlossresources, and a whole bunch of others over the years) is that all websites, and particularly their forum/ forum users, go through certain cycles, broadly similar but with slightly different outcomes.

There's an early flush of enthusiasm from the people who start the site. If the site becomes popular it starts to spin-off real-life meet-ups and get-togethers. This leads to a lot of real-life friendships and relationships ( including marriages and other long-term partnerships: I know of at least 50 couples, for example, who've met through UKClimbing.com, and that's just the ones I know personally).

There's then a period of people complaining that the site has become "cliquey" or is dominated by an "in" group. This is often not true as becoming "in" usually involves no more than being willing to participate/ contribute, but it's easy to see how less gregarious people can feel that a clique has developed.

Then, one of two things seems to happen....the site either declines in popularity, people leave and it eventually closes or becomes totally moribund. OR it remains active, but a lot of the original users leave, complaining that it's "not what it used to be" (of the 24 people who come to my UKClimbing Winter Meets in Scotland....permed from a "rolling population" of about 50, I'd say that in any one year, 2/3 of them are now "former" UKC-ers who either never, or hardly ever, log on there anymore, despite the site's high volume of members generally).

Occasionally a site has an injection of new enthusiasm from a second generation of newcomers who bring it back to life.

Sites that remain very active (and positively so) tend to be those where a good percentage of users have open minds and are willing to see change as a positive. That's one strong downside of Mudcat to me....there seems to be an awfully high percentage of people here who are stuck in a rut, looking back both musically and from a lifestyle viewpoint to some time in their youth when everything was much better than it is now. I've said before that it really doesn't feel very welcoming to young people from that viewpoint. I'm sure it'll keep going for as long as it can be hosted, as the knowledge database is a fabulous resource, but I suspect the forum use will continue to decline as older members go to the "Great Gig In The Sky" and are not replaced by sufficient youngsters to keep up a decent critical mass.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Janie
Date: 22 Jun 14 - 08:52 PM

Good observations, Rob. Certainly observations I will reflect on. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Janie
Date: 22 Jun 14 - 09:18 PM

If I may, Rob, would like more data. I'm a social worker, not a sociologist, but got most of my training back when social work was a sub-discipline of sociology and have always maintained a strong interest....Mudcat is the only on-line forum I have ever participated in. I am on Facebook, but that is a different beast. What are the time spans and the time periods of the forums with which you have experience on which you base your observations? I think length of time and time period are two separate but related variables.

Also remembering a thread from a number of years ago started by a former 'Catter who went by "Bee", if I remember correctly. Sad to say the defensive reaction of most of us, me included, probably drove her away - our loss. She started a thread that simply was observational and an invitation for us to observe the sociology in process. We didn't like feeling "watched" and were unwilling to "watch" ourselves. In hindsight, pretty telling.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Jun 14 - 09:20 PM

I used to post much more, and rather differently, when I was actively doing library research and had Bruce Olson and Malcolm Douglas to discuss it with. If I knew I was going to be in the National Library of Scotland every week, using it as a resource to answer random questions raised here was quite easy. (I suppose I dropped snippets from Scottish manuscripts with similar intention to the way Spaw used surreally imaginative scatology, to liven things up). Now I mostly use stuff I can find in this room, either in books I have, in my files or on-line. Doesn't compare.


there seems to be an awfully high percentage of people here who are stuck in a rut, looking back both musically and from a lifestyle viewpoint to some time in their youth when everything was much better than it is now. I've said before that it really doesn't feel very welcoming to young people from that viewpoint.

As far as what I play goes, I'm lucky in having guessed right with a few choices. Playing a wide range of genres and a wide range of instruments, none of them in a particularly stellar way, does mean I can fit in with what much younger trad-ish players are doing. (It probably helps that I genuinely respect a lot of them). A singer-songwriter or techie guitar player just has to hope that somebody will come along and fall at their feet in admiration of their party pieces. Mostly that means they just end up playing to an ever-narrowing, ever-ageing circle of their peers. Or just sitting at home behind their computers grumbling that nobody wants to listen to them.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Jun 14 - 09:59 PM

its so bloody sad jack that you seem to know sod all which way the world is turning.

guitar playing is mow a folk art - Richard quayles son has countless devoted followers who follow his website and buy his guitar lessons.

look at the music shops - full of people trying to express themselves - its an industry!

look at guys like Jake Bugg i'm willing to bet he played the goldem lion open mic in Nottingham - but I bet he never went to the folk clubs more than once, people like Bugg are the natural successors to people like Donovan - who most of your gang won't even allow is folk music.

bruce I never knew, but malcolm was very much - well dictatorial is putting it nicely, he knew about folk music - he reckoned.

but common sense never came into it. the doffin mistress was a Belfast song, he insisted. never mind that Sheffield was full of Irish people, whom common sense tells you would have made up a local version.
Its all had to be written in letters of stone for guys like Malcolm. but as wilde said the truth is seldom pure and never simple.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Janie
Date: 22 Jun 14 - 10:28 PM

Geez. I'm sorry and embarrassed. I didn't understand what the thread was about. Do me a favor and ignore what I posted. I'm a dolt.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 22 Jun 14 - 11:34 PM

I've stayed at the fringes, just pretty much posting when I thought I had something relevant to say. But circular arguments on nitpicking points can get old. I like the forum the way it's going. But the posters who seem to grind the old axe just get tiresome.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Jun 14 - 12:02 AM

In my opinion the best thing about this forum are discussions that pass on hepful information either about singing or playing, Will Flys you tube videos are helpful too.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 23 Jun 14 - 12:48 AM

Janie....sent you a PM.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Mr Red
Date: 23 Jun 14 - 03:36 AM

"Its deja vu, all over again" as Yogi Berra often said.

My rules for the 'Cat are (and you can use them if you wish)

1) Answer vituperation not the vituperer. Redress the accusation not the accuser. You get my drift. Don't feed the trolls (now where have we seen that before?) I do it sometimes to pour oil on troubled twaters (sic).

2) Take a lot of no never. There are idiots in this world, and there is alcohol. A magic potion for turning the erudite into blabbing morons. You can't see the empty cans.

3) there are (at least there is one thing to thank Donald Rump's felt for)
   a) "Known Knowns",
   b) "Known unknowns",
   c) "Unknown knowns"
   d) "Unknown unknowns"
   e) opinions beware c)
   f) when in doubt beware c) it applies to individuals too!
   f) if you haven't checked for c) check for 2)

4) this is a fun place. Erudition comes for free (where found).

5) don't feed the trolls

6) don't feed the trolls.

7) you got to be init to winit. Participate or gripe. Your choice. Lift the average by using 2)


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Mr Red
Date: 23 Jun 14 - 04:02 AM

I just thought, apart from my experience (one remove) of a community that had a Farcebook membership, it got pretty libelous at times.

The thought:
   by allowing the bitter and angry to vent their spleen here (rather than the person/group they cannot reach) we are doing the world a service, as long as we recognise they are to be pitied, not engaged with. We know who they are (see above) sadly they don't!
Just like the driver, who, after an accident, says (first) "why did you?". The aggression is a form of defence against guilt. We know who they are!


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Brian Peters
Date: 23 Jun 14 - 04:54 AM

With respect, Al, Malcolm Douglas did know his stuff, which is the reason people like me would always seek out his posts if we wanted to get the real story. There are of course a lot of different strands to Mudcat, but the stuff I usually head for is the traditional song background side of things. Malcolm put a lot of his own time and effort into sharing his knowledge here, as do several other people with a lot of good information in their heads. That's why I keep coming back, and why I spend much more time here than on FB.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Mr Red
Date: 23 Jun 14 - 09:13 AM

Malcolm Douglas had opinions. It is just that in as far as my limited knowledge could tell his opinions were far more informed and well researched than anyone I have had the pleasure to gain knowledge from.
He is missed for his knowledge like Spaw is missed for his incisive wit.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Jun 14 - 10:18 PM

Well my first post appears to have been in '99. I thought it was a fair-ish bit before that because I clearly remember posting about the millennium and how ill my (now late) wife was then, which I probably would not have done if I were a newbie at that stage. I suppose that makes me middle guard.

I come above the line a fair bit less because the experts on folk music ('54 definition) are no longer here, although the 'cat is still a useful resource for UK-ers to say and see what is happening where of a vaguely folkie nature.

I post below the line quite a lot less, first because I was asked so to do, partly because of the presence of posters who I am convinced are constructs, partly because there is more tolerance for views I regard as sociopathically right-wing, and partly because some moderation seems to have become more defensive of idiocy.

I do not of course accept Woodie Guthrie or Pete Seeger as "folk singers", or even largely as "folksong singers", but I am glad that a few members keep their politics alive.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: JHW
Date: 24 Jun 14 - 06:25 AM

Coming across other conversation sites looking for info I often find gratuitous screen fancywork which makes them hard to follow.
Long may Mudcat retain its simplicity of structure.
Agree with Mr Red on trying to stay focussed on the original question or premise.

I miss Malcolm Douglas too as I found him ever helpful as was John In Kansas in his speciality.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: ian1943
Date: 24 Jun 14 - 07:23 AM

How good is Mudcat? On Sunday I sang a tune of a hymn. Did a thread to find out whether this traditional tune was a song. It's Tuesday lunchtime now and I'm going to type out the words which I will learn then sing. That's how good Mudcat is!


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Crowhugger
Date: 24 Jun 14 - 02:52 PM

We who remain are responsible for the tone and content, not those who have moved on for any number of reasons. This certainly includes yours truly who, participates much less frequently than in the past. I was surely never part of any guard though. I'm doing so much more music in 3d life that recreational computer time is scarce. I come to look up stuff sometimes, but rarely have time to read much or compose thoughtful content.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Kenny B (inactive)
Date: 24 Jun 14 - 06:37 PM

I have ben a member for at least 13 years (Lucky me) and only the number of trolls/members posting has changed downward.
The quality of the music threads & tech threads has remained roughly proportionate and informative.
The number of well? informed in the BS section and the vociferous pursuit of their informed? points of view or hobby horses has not diminished, this adds a bit of colour (often blue red green white and orange ...oops nearly forgot pink and purple) to the often humerus ( nudge nudge) and often contradictory posts (if you read them carefully)and the more they write the more likely they are to expose their inconsistancies.
I find a lot of the posts say much more about the folks posting than the post themselves say about the subject.

The Mudcat is still a great source of folk music and other music of all genres.
Robert Burns — 'O, wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
An' foolish notions

Long may it continue.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: GUEST,big al whittle
Date: 24 Jun 14 - 06:53 PM

didn't mean to be nasty about Malcolm - or to attack his memory. obviously he had a lot of friends on the folkscene and on mudcat.

I was very moved by all the messages at the time of his death.

I don't think we really clicked. probably my fault.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Jun 14 - 07:33 PM

I'm only guessing, but, like about 95% of people who come to this site, I ignore about 95% of the stuff on this site. I have found it to be an incredibly useful resource on a large number of occasions. But I click on very few of the very large number of threads here. That is not a reflection of this site, more a reflection of my musical predilections (namely the traditional instrumental music of the British Isles and, mainly, of Ireland). The key point is that I click only on the stuff that might be of interest to me (sometimes I get a bit more adventurous than that, and it's often very rewarding so to do, but life is short). I repeat, I tend to click on stuff that I think might be interesting. Therefore:

I do not click on stuff that I know will be tedious (frequent) or offensive (hardly ever) to my somewhat thick skin. I recommend this approach to anyone with a thinner skin than mine. I can't remember when I started here, but what I do remember is that it was a place replete with cliques. That has subsided, and I think that's all for the good.

If you have a tendency to moan about offensive posts in threads about politics or religion, well the answer for you is devastatingly simple. Avoid. Click ye not. If you click on a thread that you know will give you offence, you are barking mad. Psychiatrists may have a more technical term than that reserved for you.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Mr Red
Date: 25 Jun 14 - 04:08 AM

The Mudcat is much like a dictionary in this respect:

Anyone ever read a dictionary from start to finish? Why would you?

But they are both there for you when ..... pick and mix as Mr Woolworth used to say (in the UK anyway).

Thanks be to Max.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: GUEST,Will Fly, out of town
Date: 25 Jun 14 - 04:37 AM

If you have a tendency to moan about offensive posts in threads about politics or religion, well the answer for you is devastatingly simple. Avoid. Click ye not. If you click on a thread that you know will give you offence, you are barking mad. Psychiatrists may have a more technical term than that reserved for you.

That's obvious - but it's not the point I was making. Of course it's daft to get offended by threads that will offend you. The point I was making is that there are several good people who have already been driven away from the site by the B.S. crap below the line. Good and knowledgeable musicians, as well as good people. And that's a sad fact which reading threads or not reading threads on my part or your part can't now alter.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: GUEST,Giok
Date: 25 Jun 14 - 06:35 AM

When I was 5 years old., I started school, and when I was 15 I left school, and went to work. Lot's of folks stayed on to 17, before they left, with higher qualifications. Some even went on to universtity, for another 3/4, or 5 years. Then there were those who became teachers, and lecturers, and eventually, even professors.
In my experience, the longer most folks stayed in education, the less they knew about real life, cocooned in their own small world of pedagoguery, and work politics.
I left school early, and grew up quickly.
I see Mudcat as a bit like school. Especially the urge to pop back to reunions, and see what that idiot from year 2, is doing now!


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jun 14 - 09:37 AM

Time heals all wounds eh?


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jun 14 - 09:51 AM

As for alternatives, does the Froots forum even exist any more ?

Can't find it on the revamped website ???


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 25 Jun 14 - 10:14 AM

The fRoots forum is long gone. The number of regular posters was in low single figures last time I looked at it.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Jeri
Date: 25 Jun 14 - 10:21 AM

fRoots went to Facebook. Look for fRoots Magazine.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jun 14 - 10:27 AM

"fRoots went to Facebook"..

Vox Amps also recently dumped their forum to move to 'social media'...

Shame, an archive of years of valuable user info and advice, and honest constructive criticisms, suddenly discarded,
to be replaces with a tightly controlled facebook page for marketing soundbytes and corporate arse licking..


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: GUEST,Giok
Date: 25 Jun 14 - 11:31 AM

Time wounds all heels.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Jun 14 - 12:01 PM

♫"Time has made a change in me.."♫


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Mark Clark
Date: 25 Jun 14 - 12:25 PM

An interesting thread, Will. Thanks. I see posts from people I haven't heard from in a long time.

I started lurking in '97, I think, but probably didn't post until '98. Does that make me "old guard?" I've always felt like a newcomer. I have one or two friends here that I knew before there was a World Wide Web or even an Internet. I found Mudcat because it had become the home for The Digital Tradition which started on floppy disks and was then hosted by Xerox, if I recall correctly. I was delighted to find old friends and happy to make new ones. These were people with whom I could discuss the music, the traditions, and our experiences as carriers and performers.

Since those early days, Mudcat has become a priceless resource for learning about all aspects of "folk" music. It contains lyrics, history, influences, instrumental instruction, and many wonderful anecdotes from both performers and scholars. While the information here isn't cataloged (catalogued) or indexed, it still may be the best starting point on the planet for researching a song. That is the result of twenty odd years of effort by a great many people who've cared enough to document what information they have. If Mudcat were a building, it would be designated a national historical treasure and given special status and support. There would be steps taken to ensure it's survival for generations to come.

I'm another person who doesn't post here much anymore. We mostly stopped talking about things that interested me and fewer people seemed to have any respect, either for musical traditions or for each other. Like some others, I got tired of putting a great deal of time into a music post only to have someone tell me I didn't know what I was talking about. I think I was a member at WillsPorch. If so, my membership has lapsed. That seems a better place for musicians to share what they do. Some of the members at WillsPorch are also active on another forum I use.

I think it's natural for Mudcat to have evolved over time. Max began The Mudcat Café as a blues forum and it's certainly strayed from what he originally had in mind. There's no reason it shouldn't also stray from what I had in mind. I only wish it was still the place for scholarship that it once was.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Jun 14 - 02:40 PM

Here are a few somewhat random comments from a middle guard Mudcat member (My first post as a guest in Aug 2004- stopped regularly posting in 2009 for reasons that I've shared several times and touched on to some degree below).

With regard to Will's question "what will we all look like and where will we all be in, say, ten years time? What of the 'Cat then?", it seems to me that unless there is an influx of "new blood" than Mudcat will still largely be nostalgic about its past [as a forum] as well as largely stuck in the past with regard to the music that it focuses on.

I suppose it is to be expected that a forum which focuses on folk music would be more interested in the past than in the present and the future. But isn't there some new contributions to folk music that can be studied and discussed or do people think that there can't be new developments in folk music? Perhaps that's true for British folk music, but British folk music and its Anglo-American folk music cousins aren't the only types of folk music in the world. If Mudcat intends to remain focused only on certain types of folk music, then that means that its participants probably won't expand as it loses it old participants for natural reasons and other reasons.

It seems to me that if Mudcat is to be more than it was and still is (a rather good resource for information about and lyrics of certain types of folk music), then it has to consider broadening its participants. Note that I wrote "participants" instead of "members".

Folks here won't be surprised that I continue to lament the almost total lack of People of Color who regularly post or even sporadically post to this forum. The almost total lack impacts the type of information, song choices, and even sometimes the accuracy of the information and lyric interpretations that are found on this site for certain types of music such as African American influenced Old Time music and African American Spirituals, and early Blues. It was good to see Mudcat increase its study of Caribbean music- largely thanks to MorwenEdhelwen1 & Q, but there's much more Caribbean folk music to be studies and discussed if there were people here who were interested in those genres of music.

Also, one of the things that I love/d about Mudcat was/is its playground rhymes threads. A large number of the contributors to those threads were guests. And from their comments, many of those guests were/are far younger than the average Mudcat commenter. However, to attract younger populations, Mudcat probably has to include video posting along with text commenting. Is Mudcat willing to do that?


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 Jun 14 - 07:00 PM

I am glad to see Azizi post.

I would however point out that there seems to be a view in her post above that the music of People of Color is predominantly American and Caribbean. That does a disservice to the modern Pan-Afrikan movement.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: GUEST,Azizi
Date: 25 Jun 14 - 08:29 PM

Hello, Richard.

I appreciate your comment but want to clarify what I meant when I referred to People of Color on Mudcat:

1. I meant that there haven't been many commenters on Mudcat who have publicly indicated that they are People of Color (by stating that and/or who inferred that by their comments about their personal experiences.)

2. I believe that this forum could benefit from a broader base of people who regularly posting on Mudcat - including People of Color.

3. I acknowledged that Mudcat has had a number of discussion threads about various genres of African American and some genres of Caribbean music.
-snip-
I want to clarify that I have learned a lot from people who have started Mudcat threads on African American music or Caribbean music and/or who have posted to those threads.
-snip-
My sense is that most people here either don't want things to change or largely want the Mudcat forum to return to the way that it was in the past. If that is the case, then other people-including me- have to either take the forum as it is-including its rich resource which I think could be even richer-or choose to completely leave the forum or at least stop hoping for any changes that we want because they obviously aren't what the membership and/or the administration of this forum wants.

I've been tottering between these choices for a while. Hence my very sporadic commenting here (which I admit mostly promote some folkloric post or another on the pancocojams blog that I started when I got too frustrated with this forum.)

That blog often features a number of credited comments from Mudcat. I thank all those whose comments-including song transcriptions- that I have quoted in those blog posts.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Jun 14 - 09:05 PM

The point I was making is that there are several good people who have already been driven away from the site by the B.S. crap below the line. Good and knowledgeable musicians, as well as good people.

And why would a good and knowledgeable musician be "driven away" by stuff that (a) they are perfectly free to not read, and (b) that has nothing to do with music? I respect your posts always, Will, but this is total bullshit. People stop posting because they are bored or because they have moved on musically or because they don't feel enthusiastic about online forums any more. I repeat. If you are offended by material that you can't resist clicking on, you're barking mad.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat - changes in style and profile
From: Alice
Date: 25 Jun 14 - 11:23 PM

I have had nostalgia for the early days of Mudcat, but all things change. I come back once in awhile to look up lyrics or find an old thread about a song. I miss even more the session we had here in my town for about 10 years that moved from the original venue and then was never able to regain what we had. But, all things change. I'm glad this database of information is still here.

Alice


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