Brad wrote this back in 2007. In light of the anniversary of his passing, I thought people might enjoy reading it again.....
Table of Contents:
The Old Guard
Where do we go from here?
This is just one man’s opinion and I’m not saying they are any more valid than any other member’s ideas. But I have been around here awhile and I have been active so please allow me a little leeway.
It will help to understand my points if you use this analogy.
Think of the internet as the world. You hop on the highway, travel at the speed of light, and arrive at an address. Think of it as a typical house, on a typical street, in a typical town. You are invited in to this private house to sit down, chat, & enjoy what this unique home has to offer. It is not a podium in a public town square. It’s a place meant for a specific purpose. If you want politics, that’s two blocks down on the other side of the street. If you want to talk religion, it’s two houses down on the left.
And another thing about this house. It remembers everything you have ever said while you were in it. (Kinda like my wife! [Wink] )
Ideally this site was meant to be about music, Ovation guitars, and the people who played them. And to be kind to each other. In the real world, after over 5000 members, and after many personal friendships have evolved, that ideal might vary. Just how much it varies should be a matter of concern, consideration and review.
This board is moderated. They were those two guys that opened the door for you when you came in off the street. They gave you a sheet with the ground rules for the house. This board is moderated so don’t be surprised if at times you are.... moderated. It’s not meant to be personal. It’s not an attack on your personal freedom of speech. It’s not a case for the Supreme Court. And it is certainly not an excuse to attack the moderator’s intelligence or way of life or accuse him of being a fascist nazi pig. He’s just the guy who is trying to keep a handle on what is going on in his house. He wants his party to go in a certain way. If you want the drunken frat house party it’s two streets over. The orgy? It’s three houses past that.
And there are other moderators that must be remembered and given the due respect and consideration. The folks at the factory, you know, the people responsible for the product that we love so much. The folks who’s job it is to run a professional, profitable business in a tough, competitive economy. They are the fine people who have given us unprecedented access to the purpose of our little club. The same people who taken some of our requests / dreams and made them into a reality.
The Old Guard:
Some members have been here a long, long time. To them even I am a “newbie”. The possible pitfall to that length of time at the wheel is that the Old Guard can fall into the “Heard it all before, Said it all before” mind set. Perhaps newbies would better grow into the club if one of us bit the bullet and answered the same question we have heard 2,398 times before about the tendency of the Ovation bowl to slip off the lap. I know it’s much easier to just say, “Do a search” but we have all had those type of questions ourselves at some time.
Let’s embrace those new minds full of mush and mold them to our liking. [Big Grin]
Hopefully you were given a warm welcome soon after you first post. But be warned. You are coming fresh into a group with A LOT of history behind them. Be patient. It will take some time to get the feel of the place.
You may get the impression that the OFC is “clicky” and that there is an “in” crowd. Well… in a way you are right. But not “clicky” in the exclusion type of way and not “in” in a superior type of way. This is a group where members have traveled thousands of miles and have spent some big, big bucks to be with each other at many different types of occasions. This type of face to face gatherings breeds a higher level of friendship than can be had just out of a computer screen alone. So until you have made trips like that, or encouraged an OFC member through a serious illness, or anonymously and behind the scenes kicked in $20, $50, or $100 to help a family in need, don’t judge to harshly.
With a group as old as this there has to be some level of off topic chatter to keep up the interest and because of the friendships that have grown. What concerns me lately is that the percentage of off topic stuff is rapidly growing. And much of it is coming from “newbies” who should still be more interested in the aspects of Ovation guitars than the mindless banter about _______ (fill in the blank).
You can say, “Well… don’t read it then!” The problem occurs when you have to pick through a number of posts to find one about guitars or music. And because the “Old Guard” goes off topic because of the level of familiarity, the newbies look at it as a free for all. Next thing you know we are looking more like a Howard Stern or Comedy Central fanclub rather than a guitar fanclub.
This can also happen mid-thread which makes it even harder for both the Old Guard and the Newbies to read and learn about Ovation guitars. For instance…. Andrew’s recent thread. Here a man comes on with a serious, heartfelt concern. It’s maybe one of the most serious threads written in the last 12 months. Within a few posts some suggests that someone tell a joke. From there the thread is a wash in extensive talk about the human digestive system. If I was Andrew and I checked back in to see how my serious thoughts were being received I just might find myself comforted with my decision to walk away from here.
Politics…. Please… not here. Despite the good intentions it never ends well. Go to the party 3 doors down. They love it there.
Religion…. More of a gray area. Praise and worship musicians are a big part of this board. And personally, I think they have been very tolerant. Perhaps tolerant to a fault with what goes on here but yet they stick around. I think the P&W members have shown much more care and consideration not to offend than the non P&W members.
Sex….. To be honest, as much as I love sex, I mean really love sex in it’s proper format, I’m getting tired of it here. The TV show Threes Company went on for years with T&A and sexual innuendo. I think the OFC makes Jack, Janet and Chrissy look like rank amateurs.
It’s not that I am offend or shocked, though I am sure some are. I’m more concerned with the bigger picture. How many women who would make a valuable addition to the OFC have been driven off? How many parents who have kids that are interested in guitars look at this board and say, “No way!” Do you post things that you would not want your wife or children to read? Do you post things that you would not speak out loud in a crowded shopping mall? If your response is, “Well if they can’t take a joke, than f&%k ‘em” please give it another thought.
Do you expect our friends at the factory to sift through all that nonsense in search of what features we might like for next years collectors series? Don’t you think it sad that and executive at Kaman cannot have his female secretary scan the board or him? Do you expect your requests and suggestions to still be taken seriously?
Now I’m not saying that we need to be reduced to the level of Mr. Rogers. There is nothing wrong with an occasional reference. But come on guys, let’s practice just a little moderation and consideration for others.
To sum it up, a “F^%$ YOU! YOU F*&KING F*&^WAD!” gets a smiley face while a simple “God Bless You” is looked on with scorn and suspicion. Is something wrong here?
We are probably not who we seem to be. Two reasons.
ONE…. When you read this you are perceiving it sifted though your own voice, ideals, agendas and prejudices. Most of you know me only as some flickering letters in a TV screen.
TWO… It might not be the real “us” making the post. Instead its that alter-ego, super-ego, Mr. Hyde guy. The guy who has had just about as much crap as he can take for the day and needs an outlet. The clown, the agitator, the tuff guy.
I have met a good number of OFC members face to face and have been surprised how different some of them are from their screen personna. And then there are some who are just what you would expect.
So..Where do we go from here?
First, thanks for hanging in with me. Instead of the usual 2 cents I have spent at least $189 and some change. I’m almost done.
1) Let the moderators moderate. Expect the moderators to moderate. If need be, ASK the moderators to moderate.
2) If the owners of the house feel that they have to take you to task, be gracious. They will probably take the effort to do it in private. Respect that. They deserve at least as much respect as your best OFC buddy and lately they have been getting a hell of a lot less than that. I’m not saying that you have to kiss butt and worship at the alter of Miles and Al, just treat your hosts for what they are… your hosts.
3) Always concider the bigger picture. Take two steps back and think about what you are typing. Do you really want to say that to the folks at the factory? Do you really want member # 2874’s 13 year old daughter to read it? Is it really YOU making the post your crazy alter ego?
4) If 85% of your posting is not about guitars or music,is this really the place you want to be or is the OFC the only forum you know that will put up with it?
5) If the OFC makes you miserable and crazy and you are just not getting what you need, please….. walk away. It will be better for everyone.