Because I don't believe in hiding behind innuendo, and also don't feel my comments are disrespectful or inappropriate, I'll say this up front so we're all on the same page. Yes, newmusicboy, I'm talking about your behavior in particular.
When I was shopping for an orchestral library, the very first review I read about GPO said, essentially, “good product, good price, but the incredibly friendly and supportive community that has grown up around GPO shows that it’s here to stay.” That got my attention, and I saw these comments reflected in many other places. So I bought GPO, and experienced first hand that it was true. Some of you may not realize this, but it was the attitude and vibe of the people in this community that inspired me to launch the Composer Channel in the first place. Everyone was so nice here, it really made me want to help them.
The Internet is full of discussion forums, and in almost all of them there are continual arguments, insults and flame wars. Feeling safely hidden behind their false identities, people treat each other with a rudeness and disrespect that they would never attempt if they were physically standing in the same room. That’s because in the real world, standing nose to nose, people don’t tolerate that kind of behavior. On the Internet, however, many people feel that they’re immune to the consequences of their actions and use this as an excuse to abuse others with impunity.
Because the overwhelming majority of you here are exceptionally nice people, you’re sitting back quietly and saying nothing as the disease of insults and hatefulness begins to infest one of the few benevolent forums I’ve seen. All it takes is one intentionally inflammatory person to get the ball rolling. Soon, kindred spirits who also enjoy exercising their personal demons by insulting others join the ranks. Because these are the loudest voices and enjoy shouting others down, theirs becomes the voice that is heard. People of good conscience who don’t enjoy confrontation sit quietly in the background, no longer contributing their wonderful insights. Others, seeing the mood shift, simply leave. Soon, all that’s left are the loud and insulting voices, and what was once a wonderful island of benevolence amidst the typical flame wars of the Internet dies and fades into memory.
New Orleans offers a sobering and real world example of what happens when small breaches occur in a levee. Soon, the levee breaks, and all that was once good is washed away. Although I’ve said little, I’ve been monitoring the forums and have seen numerous people offer comments about this new attitude that range from “…and this is why I don’t post anymore” to “why aren’t people like this simply banned?”
Gary is a good guy, and works hard to give people the benefit of the doubt. Others, who don’t want to get sucked into a negative situation (and good for them), try hard to justify rude, insulting remarks by saying, “oh, that was just a joke that others took the wrong way.” Sorry, folks. Calling someone (and I quote) an idiot, telling people not to quit their day job or suggesting that they should enroll in clown college (if their grades aren’t too low to be accepted) is simply not funny. It’s insulting, rude, and just plain mean. That’s not the sort of spirit that used to prevail here, and it’s certainly no place that I want to be.
Gary asked me quite a while back if I’d like to be a Moderator here, and I simply don’t have the time. That’s probably just as well, because I feel very strongly about protecting what may be one of the few existing benevolent communities on the Internet. I would simply offer one warning and then ban such instigators without a second thought. Rudeness is not funny. Insults are not funny. If you want to be the center of attention, I’m okay with that, provided you do it in a way that doesn’t demean or inflame another.
Are you willing to give up what you have here? You might think the “finger in the dam” analogy is overstating the gravity of the situation. I do not. I am no scholar, but I’m certainly a student of both human nature and history. At every level of society, things like this go downhill in a hurry. (Try reading the abstract art thread if you’d like a case in point.)
If you’re willing to sit back and do nothing, then you will see the atmosphere here deteriorate to the point that people become uncomfortable posting their thoughts or music for fear of ridicule or confrontation. Look around you – it’s happening already. You will lose the brotherhood (and sisterhood) that has been nurtured and promoted by Gary and all of you here. You will lose the mutual support of your artistic endeavors, and these forums will diminish to little more than a technical support venue where people just complain and flame the company. Think I’m exaggerating? Spend some time visiting other forums.
Newmusicboy, if you’d like to become one of us, enjoy the benefits of a room full of friends who will encourage your artistic endeavors, offer supportive comments, give help where it’s needed and in general reap the benefits that come from a large and positive group of people, then I respectfully submit that you make swift and serious changes in the way you treat others around here. These people are my friends, and they deserve respect and consideration, not insults and ridicule. If you’re not willing to interact in a kind and benevolent manner here, there are plenty of other places on the Internet where people will be happy to exchange insults with you. Start conducting yourself with honor and respect, or get out.
Folks, it would be nice if everything stayed positive with no effort. Real life doesn’t work that way. If you want to keep what you have here, you need to stand up and be counted. Perhaps if enough people speak with a loud enough voice, either Newmusicboy will choose to tone it down and conduct himself in an appropriate manner or he’ll simply be banned. I’m perfectly comfortable with either option. I’m not comfortable with seeing the Garritan forums become yet another casualty of Internet rudeness.
If you’d like to see an end to the insults and negativity we’ve been experiencing this past few weeks, then step up to the plate and say so, even if it’s no more than a reply that says, “I agree”.
It’s your community, unless you give it up by letting the aggressively rude shout you down.