I sent this to Jeff earlier, and received his permission to post here. I hope it is a positive contribution. If it's not, I'm sure I'll hear about it!
>Date: Mon, 27 Apr 1998 21:28:41 -0700
>From: Jeff Parke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: Re: TPIN Commercials (was "Wild Thing Trumpet")
>One more subject, before my blood pressure subsides.
>Before I say this, let me state for the record that I think TPIN is a
>fantastic thing, and I wish I had the time to read and write all day.
>But I don't, and neither do most of the manufacturers I know, nor most of
>the professional players for that matter.
The following is not intended as a flame, but as constructive commentary. It might read, despite my best efforts (I'll edit it at least once), as inflamitory. I do not mean it to be, unless to inflame your thinking process. 8-) I will not post it to TPIN unless you reply stating that I may do so.
>Am I mistaken, or would an analysis of the posts show very few by
>qualified people? John Harner, Vince DiMartino, Marvin Stamm, Wayne Bergeron,
>Fred Powell; how can we make it more worth your while to participate? IMHO,
>the thing that would make TPIN more inviting would be a rule something like
>If you know what you are talking about, make it brief and to the point. If
>you don't, feel free to ask questions, then cool it.
Good advice, overall. This should be in the guidelines, IMO.
>Unfortunately, TPIN seems to be a high percentage of guesswork and
>talk. Of course that's OK. But if you want more participation from busy
>people, the factual info ratio would have to go up, and the BS ratio would
>have to go down.
There's no darn reason why the "signal-to-noise" ratio cannot be higher by having more experienced and knowledgable individuals post. You don't have to weed through the hundreds of messages every day to respond to a particular thread, though being familiar with that thread helps. And the digest makes this easier. I don't spend more than about an hour a day going through the digest; yes, I check my watch when I start and finish. If I post, the time I spend on TPIN goes up. But I am not interested in buying new equipment and a number of other aspects of discussion on the list, so I skip those (as well as posts from folks who can't remember to change the Subject and post about "tpin-digest V3 #1685" <pet peeve mode off>).
>Hey, everyone should be able to post questions, but how do we raise the
>percentage of good answers?
People are going to reply with an "answer" if they think they have something to contribute. If a pro sits there and reads a thread and says "Humph! They don't have a clue," but doesn't post, it benefits no one (except that pro's ego, perhaps). If they have a good answer, then post it!!
This is a discussion forum, not "ask the pros" and grovel at their feet of wisdom. On this list everyone is a peer, and should be treated, and treat other list members, as such. As a PLAYER, I don't come close to anyone on this list, especially you and the other professionals here. But as a LIST MEMBER, I am a peer, and have just as much right to post as anyone - within the bounds of good "netiquette" and common sense. I try not to post unless I believe I have something to say. Some other members think I contribute positively, some don't, and some would say "Bob who?" Until the rules change, that's just the way it is. Join the fray and contribute. Or don't. The individuals involved need to determine if it is worth their time to do so. Having people of the experience level you mention post on a number of topics that have come up over the last week alone would have been a tremendous boon to the group. But they didn't. Why? They know. (I do wish they'd tell us in their own words instead of you having to say it for them - I personally don't like being talked about behind my back and have to hear from others when an individual has a problem with me, and I feel the same way about the list.)
Another solution: moderate the list. I know Michael does not have the time (and likely doesn't have the desire; I know I wouldn't), but perahps someone does. It's a lot of work to moderate the list, and I bet a lot of people would leave when none of their posts show up. 8-) Moderating the list might be less time consuming after about a month or two.
(One quick solution: if you have a problem with a particular post/poster, TAKE IT TO PRIVATE E-MAIL!!! Two replies on the thread Ian started about standing when a conductor comes on stage come to mind (the first reply was a simple misunderstanding). The reply to this was condescending and should have been private. The reply that was equally hostile, at least in print, and should have gone to private e-mail. IMO, of course.)
>How about this; a formula for how much to post. For posting
>teaching, take your total career income teaching, and for every $100,000 you
>have earned, you get to post once a week. Same thing for the subjects of
>performing and equipment making. It would get real quiet around here, but
>busy people would be able to get good information fast. And there would be
>fewer "TPIN widows" regretting the purchase of the family computer.
Then start your own list. The sw to do so can be had for very little, some of it is even free. And you don't need a state-of-the-art machine to do it; the Classic-Macs mailing list was moderated, until recently, on a Mac SE, a ten year old computer! There are a number of sites on the Internet that have info on setting up a mailing list group.
>Of course I don't really expect this would happen, and I would hate
>accused of limiting "freedom of speech", even when that translates into
>"gossip ad nauseam".
(This is a forum for subscribers, and subscribers are bound by the rules established. Our "free speech" is already limited, as we cannot use profanity. It can be further limited by the rules established and the membership's wishes. This is a private group of subscribers and discussions can be restricted as such.)
If you want to establish a list solely for professional players, manufacturers, and teachers, and establish member requirements, go ahead. I would be willing to bet that the people you want to reach would be just as busy and non-participatory as they are here. If they think it's a worthwhile expenditure of their time for them to participate here, they will.
>So there, I opened my big mouth, and said in public what others have said
I commented on this above. I'd like to cite when a certain pro replied to a post about him awhile ago. I don't recall the development, but he left the list soon after; I don't know how long he lurked before posting. I do know that there were many threads prior to that incindent where his contribution would have been very valueable, but if he lurked and didn't contribute we all got shortchanged. The next thing I hear (yes, heresay, I know) is that this individual commented to others (not gossip to anyone who would listen, but stated his opinion to a few) in a negative way about TPIN. BUT - did he comment to the list? No. He just left or quit posting - same thing, no contribution.
A number of times members have posted TO THE LIST when they have had concerns about the direction and tone of discussions on the list. They care enough about the list and the contributions it makes to do so. Usually, the offenders at the time either straighten up or leave. Both are desireable outcomes in that if they can't do one they should do the other. But problems with the list need to be dealt with ON THE LIST. If someone is so thin-skinned, or unfamilar with the medium (good "netiquette" requests monitoring a list or newsgroup one to two months before posting), or just uncaring, not to post to the list about their problems or concerns with the list, we all lose.
>So, will it be ignored, agreed with, or flamed to death?
I, too, would like to see the signal-to-noise ratio increase. But you make the point yourself that players and manufacturers and teachers are busy people. They have to prioritize their time, and if the benefits to them of posting are low, they'll spend their time and energy on more efficient (to them) activities. (Eddie Lewis did just this for the last couple months; he decided that something had to go, and it was TPIN. Now that he has the time he retuns, and brings his wealth of knowledge with him.) A number of very informative posters (I think we all know who they are) seem to feel that they get a lot out of contributing to the discussion here, and I do think they are the majority. Others lurk, or leave, some because they feel that the benefit to them (and us) of their contributing is low. Our loss? Definitely. Their loss? I'd like to think they are losing out by not beling a part of the community. After all, the professional players, etc., are greatly outnumbered by us amatures, not just on the list. But we'd ALL like to be a part of this thing called the trumpet - perhaps some just don't want to associate with us on that peer level. I am glad that you, and the others on the list, do.
Here goes...pressing "deliver" now...