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Username: davehouck

Post Number: 9273
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Thursday, May 06, 2010 - 9:30 am:   Edit Post

In the last few posts to this thread, Jonathan, Bill, and Terry have all made thoughtful points that I think are worthy of further consideration and discussion. So I would like to hear from all of you that care about this issue. Please share your thoughts about what limits our forum should have on political discussions.

And for those of you who don't wish to share your thoughts in public, you are welcome to email me. But I do encourage here a thoughtful respectful discussion about what our boundaries should be.

I would suggest that when thinking of what you would allow, consider all of the types of things that could qualify as acceptable posts under the limits you would propose. Consider how the discussion of such topics might make others in our community feel.

For instance, topics that I've noticed as being hot button topics that can really stimulate emotional heated visceral angry reactions are Palestine/Israel, the new immigration law in Arizona, Prop 8 in California, the new Health Care Reform bill in the US, and most recently, off-shore drilling.

I'm not asking you to discuss these topics, in fact for the purposes of this discussion I prefer that you don't. What I am asking is should we have limits on the types of topics that are allowed here, and if so, why and what are those limits, and if not, why not. And if the limits you propose were followed, how would that affect the other members of our community; would they rejoice, would they leave.

And starting with Jonathan's post from yesterday, read every other member's post to this discussion and put yourself in their shoes; understand their position and turn around and look at your position from their point of view. Don't just post your point of view and then be done with it. Consider eveyone's point of view. Go back and forth, discuss the fine points, discuss the gray areas. Examine what is fair, consider what is hurtful.

It is hard for the moderators to know where to draw the line, when to jump in and when not to, what the members of our community want us to do and when. We do realize of course that the members of the community do not all share the same answers to these questions, and that there is no one answer that will please everyone. And like the members of the forum, the moderators will tend to have personal tendencies to react in certain ways to certain statements or actions made by others. However, we also realize that as moderators we have to strive to put our personal feelings about issues aside, and to act in ways that put the community first.

I look forward to reading your responses.
Username: kenner

Post Number: 4
Registered: 4-2010
Posted on Thursday, May 06, 2010 - 9:53 am:   Edit Post

I would respectfully ask that any discussion that has nothing to do with all things Alembic be directed to the misc. section. That's what it says to do.....

However, I can do like every other forum I frequent, and just bypass those discussions.

I come to Alembic's forum for things having to do with Alembic. I go to political forums for things having to do with politics.
Advanced Member
Username: jbybj

Post Number: 287
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Thursday, May 06, 2010 - 10:13 am:   Edit Post

I am of the opinion, that currently in our culture, there is far too much emphasis placed on shielding and protecting people from being offended. If I allowed myself, I'd be offended every minute of every day, there is so much BS thrown about. I choose to either ignore or confront, depending.

Except for personal attacks, hate speech, and ridicule, I would vote for no boundaries, IN THE MISC thread. With maybe a parental warning posted.

I recently had a posting edited, cause some people took offense. I did not find my posting offensive in the least. At the same time, my opinions and attempts at life's observations are not so important as to cause me the least bit of grief at having them removed. Either way, my dogs still love me, my family still tolerates me, and my basses still play well. In other words, it's SUPREMELY UNIMPORTANT, as is most of the nonsense that offends people.

Peace, JBY
Intermediate Member
Username: chalie_holmes

Post Number: 147
Registered: 3-2009
Posted on Thursday, May 06, 2010 - 10:15 am:   Edit Post

I believe that this site should be specific to Alembic instruments as well as the rest of musical instruments. Political views need to be stated and or debated @ a political site.
Respectfully Submitted,

Chalie Holmes
Advanced Member
Username: jbybj

Post Number: 288
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Thursday, May 06, 2010 - 10:49 am:   Edit Post

My problem is that I don't go to other sites, cause I don't care for the members in most forums. I like the people here, so these are the folks I want to share with and hear from. But that's just me.....

BTW, my post that got edited was musical in nature, reviewing a concert, not political at all.


(Message edited by jbybj on May 06, 2010)
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 1932
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Thursday, May 06, 2010 - 11:27 am:   Edit Post

I don't partake regularly in other musical instrument forum's either. I did try a good few years back and i found that my musical experience, desires tastes were not really represented by those forums as it seems most of the ones I visited are rock music based.
I joined here at the time when I was considering my first alembic and it's in the main been great. I've learnt so much about guitars and basses from here alembics and others too. In the main I keep out of the heated debates although my sarcastic side finds it hard to resist the temptation to wind it up but I do resist and avoid those threads.

I can't say I've felt enthusiastic about everyone's FTC build but I can understand someone who is paying a small fortune to have their dream created at Alembic being miffed if someone doesn't share their taste or is saying something they feel is disrespectful. But if you put it out there it's open season for comment.

I guess for me really the forum is about good harmony amongst members with just enough demented intervals to add interest without ruining the music.

Advanced Member
Username: benson_murrensun

Post Number: 271
Registered: 5-2007
Posted on Thursday, May 06, 2010 - 11:46 am:   Edit Post

Jonathan, Bill and Terry have indeed all made thoughtful points! Perhaps, in that other thread, I was unsuccessful at making my point. So here goes.
Surely it is up to Alembic to decide what level of controversy it will allow on its Forum.
There is a Miscellaneous section which can be used for things other than Alembic-specific material.
A moderator, by definition, is bound to keep things moderate ("of average or medium quality" etc.) He is going to have his work cut out for him with this bunch. Alembic products are not of average or medium quality, and my best guess is that neither are the people that make up the Company of average or medium quality nor are the contributors to the forum of average or medium quality; certainly this last group is not interested in products of mediocrity. Therefore it stands to reason that discussion on the Forum is not going to be particularly milquetoast.
So, if Alembic is going to allow discussion on topics other than musical intruments and related products, we are going to see thoughts volunteered that are provocative. My opinion is that this should actually be encouraged, rather than censored. Lively, provocative discussion from diverse points of view, when offered in a positive spirit, is what helps us be stimulated and moving forward.
Advanced Member
Username: lembic76450

Post Number: 226
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Thursday, May 06, 2010 - 11:50 am:   Edit Post

"I guess for me really the forum is about good harmony amongst members with just enough demented intervals to add interest without ruining the music"

Jazzyvee, sounds like the basis for a great jam.
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 1180
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, May 06, 2010 - 12:34 pm:   Edit Post

And it was all the above comments and views is why I originally joined in the first place
You know, along with my kids and girlfriend, I feel I can really trust the people here, if I was stuck in the USA and needed help and would find a PC and ask you people for help as I am sure most of you would also but there are some I definitely don't trust.
I have made comments that anger people but a short e mail or post with an apology of my misunderstanding rectifies the offence..have some people just lost their humbleness??
I hope this forum becomes the great meeting place that it is again with some very easy adjustments made by us... the people who contribute
Senior Member
Username: mike1762

Post Number: 525
Registered: 1-2008
Posted on Thursday, May 06, 2010 - 1:21 pm:   Edit Post

Dissention is not necessarily a bad thing. It's when things get personal that it becomes a problem. But when one has to resort to personal attacks in order to defend their position, it doesn't say much for the person OR their position. Nearly all of our "heated" threads were instigated and perpetuated by some of our more "colorful" members, but a few of our more reasonable members were sometimes drawn into the fray as well. Although I tend to lean towards the "freedom of expression" camp, one should not impose their narcissism on the good people of this forum and you should always remember where you are and how your comments might affect Alembic.

Although I've never met any of you, I feel like I know all of you. The "level of cognition" is much higher here than at other forums I have visited. As such, I would value your opinion on any number of topics (not necessarily musical)... it would be nice to be able to have those conversations here. I think "the line" is the point at which a discussion or comment might have a negative impact on the business of Alembic. But this is coming from a guy who just recently had to stand in the corner because of a comment I made about one of our more "colorful" members.
Advanced Member
Username: afrobeat_fool

Post Number: 201
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Thursday, May 06, 2010 - 2:21 pm:   Edit Post

I have taken Art's thoughts into account, type, read and delete. If one feels the same way a day later, then post. I am glad to see Kenner post here as he is a new member but seems to have been a reader of the forum for a while. The rest of the posts have been from long time members. We know what to do folks. Patience and big ears goes a long way in the performance of music and daily interactions. I for one really like being here with you. I have made one good friend here, and had some great conversations with many others. I guess my plea is that we try to understand others point of view and if we can't, then leave it alone. Asking for moderators interference in all but the most disturbing posts seems unneeded. The primary instigator is gone(for now), the dust has settled, and only the memory lingers. It too will be gone soon. Thank you all for taking the time to make this a great place to be.

Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 4404
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Thursday, May 06, 2010 - 3:32 pm:   Edit Post

I think James hit it right on the nose:

"Except for personal attacks, hate speech, and ridicule, I would vote for no boundaries, IN THE MISC thread. With maybe a parental warning posted."

I just want to know what I should warn my mother about? lol

Bill, tgo
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 1181
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, May 06, 2010 - 4:47 pm:   Edit Post

Bill. as you know, if you upset your mother then it takes half a lifetime to get her forgiveness lol
Senior Member
Username: hb3

Post Number: 481
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Thursday, May 06, 2010 - 5:47 pm:   Edit Post

I agree with Nick. I don't think there's any need to pre-emptively censor when there's no serious personality conflicts going on between posters. That's going to stifle discussion just because it can be unpredictable, but unpredictable doesn't necessarily translate into "bad."
Username: jon_jackson

Post Number: 40
Registered: 12-2008
Posted on Thursday, May 06, 2010 - 5:54 pm:   Edit Post

Rather than re-type what others have previously said and probably more gracefully, I am in agreement with Jonathan, Bill, James and Terry. Respectful discussion.
Senior Member
Username: richbass939

Post Number: 1089
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, May 06, 2010 - 8:08 pm:   Edit Post

"I guess for me really the forum is about good harmony amongst members with just enough demented intervals to add interest without ruining the music."
Jazzyvee's comment sums up my feelings. Many other people have expressed that they come to the Alembic Club to get away from all the negativity. When we have discussions that tend to polarize the membership, the harmony is at risk of breaking down.
Often the anonymity of the web makes people meaner than they would be in person. Many sites already exist on the web where you can go to fight about your feelings and thoughts on a variety of topics.
I think the club should have some reasonable "lines" in place so that discussions don't get too nasty.
Senior Member
Username: dfung60

Post Number: 411
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Thursday, May 06, 2010 - 8:35 pm:   Edit Post

Dave & The Moderation Team -

Thanks for thoughtful comments and seeking the voice of the community on the moderation issue.

One thread that I would reinforce in this discussion is that we come together a community because of the instruments, but often find that we are kindred travelers on a bigger scale. This is why some of these political hot-button issues pop up - because it's part of the fabric of the world we live in, even though we stake out many different viewpoints.

Since bits are free, may I suggest that you consider adding another Forum area - perhaps "Social Discussions" or the like? This should bring the best of both worlds - a sandbox of sorts where we can touch on these political/social issues and thrash to our hearts content, with our comrades but in a place that's easily avoidable for those who want to maintain a tighter product focus.

If you need a different set of groundrules and moderation guidelines there, so be it. Short of the kinds of personal attacks and hate speak that infrequently crop up, it can be more no holds barred. The Wild West, or perhaps more like Height Street, 1966. If something pops up in one of the mainstream forums that needs to move, then that can happen too, just like a serial number request here will be redirected.

I don't know if I really believe that this would be a "best of all worlds" (we're in Alembic group because we don't believe in compromise, right?), but I do think this might be worth a try.

Best regards,

David Fung
Username: mike13

Post Number: 83
Registered: 11-2007
Posted on Friday, May 07, 2010 - 12:01 am:   Edit Post

Great idea David Fung don'nt let the politcal crap
polute the great Alembic name!!!!!
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 902
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Friday, May 07, 2010 - 4:30 am:   Edit Post

I take great enjoyment in the privilege of being able to participate in this Alembic Club /Forum . Although I have only been an "Alembic Club " participant on the internet for about a year now I have very fond memories of Alembic while I was a local kid growing up in San Francisco. I remember the 280 Judah St, and the in particular the 60 Brady St. locations . As a young local Musician and later a young local Audio Engineering student at the "College for Recording Arts" in the 1970's I was an Alembic advocate to bring Alembic's " Active " technology into the recording studio class room by presenting it to my teacher; Mr. Leo De Gar Kulka. ( he was quite fascinated by it ).

Besides the" Alembic Club " I am also a member of another forum called the "Ampex List" this is a technical forum relating primarily to Ampex recording equipment . One of our rules are to try and have "Ampex content" in our posts and answers. In the "Ampex List" we have a separate area to post most any other type of issues or thoughts ; we call this area "The Back Room ". I would agree as to what with Mr. Fung has stated as well and "consider adding another Forum area " for such discussions. In our profile edit section area we would then be able to make our own personnel adjustments as to what email topics we choose to receive.

Sonic Regards and Love ___________

Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 2601
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Friday, May 07, 2010 - 4:49 am:   Edit Post

Most of my thoughts have been expressed above so I'll keep it short. I believe any subject should be open for discussion in the Misc section so long as it's kept civil. Any thread that devolves into a slagging match should be locked by the mods straightaway.

Senior Member
Username: bracheen

Post Number: 1546
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Friday, May 07, 2010 - 6:31 am:   Edit Post

I agree with most of the above. Misc. should be open as long as it's done with respect and stays civil. I've posted in anger in the past on occasion but even in those I've reviewed the post before hitting the button. This is a great place to hang out and great people to hang with.

Senior Member
Username: dadabass2001

Post Number: 1409
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Friday, May 07, 2010 - 7:31 am:   Edit Post

I think my feelings are well covered by Jazzy, Bill, Jacko, et al. I truly appreciate this forum, and return several times a week because I feel comfortable here. I worked in Public Access TV for most of my life, and found that Free Speech and civility can coexist, even in a close community.

Senior Member
Username: the_mule

Post Number: 768
Registered: 1-2004
Posted on Friday, May 07, 2010 - 10:38 am:   Edit Post

When I visit the Alembic Club I´m not looking for political discussions, or in fact any other discussion that doesn´t involve Alembic, musical instruments, artists and/or music. In my experience one just can't win a political or religious discussion because they're not based on facts but on opinions, so unfortunately you'll find that on many occasions everyone loses in the end.

Another factor to consider is that although Alembic is an American company, and the majority of Club members is American, the Alembic Club is a global community, simply because Alembic has a worldwide fan base and posters hail from all over the globe. I've seen many political topics go downhill and hit rock bottom because this simple fact isn't taken into account.

So my vote goes to a social discussions subforum under Misc. which I can avoid like the plague, and a complete ban of such topics in the other forums.

Senior Member
Username: serialnumber12

Post Number: 726
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Friday, May 07, 2010 - 11:10 am:   Edit Post

Political Views Belong Here...
Intermediate Member
Username: jedisan

Post Number: 129
Registered: 3-2008
Posted on Friday, May 07, 2010 - 11:16 am:   Edit Post

By virtue of all that is Alembic, most of us are respectful and courteous of each other. Because of this, I think a sub-forum for anything social would be a great idea. I know I can often learn something new from some else's opinion.
Senior Member
Username: hydrargyrum

Post Number: 792
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Friday, May 07, 2010 - 11:17 am:   Edit Post

I'm concerned that a social discussion section will fail to be self contained, and that there will be a potential for hard feelings to escape into other areas of the forum. I'm also a little disappointed that there is so much censoring going on, even before anything nasty or hurtful has been said. I didn't see James post before it was edited, but I really have a hard time imagining that his opinion regarding a concert would be enough to put me in a rage. And the topic seems to me to be relevant to the interests of a bunch of musicians, steering well clear of any of the previously mentioned trouble areas. In the end I side with those calling for a subforum.

"You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time"
Senior Member
Username: groovelines

Post Number: 586
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Friday, May 07, 2010 - 2:12 pm:   Edit Post

To the Club,

As a benefactor of the Wickershams hospitality in creating this site, I usually keep quiet about this kind of stuff. But I have a few questions for all to consider.

The moderators’ proposition is to allow a variety of new topics, not just politics.
What will be the basis of determining acceptable topics and who decides what’s acceptable?
So, is it reasonable to admit a few new topics and exclude others?
How open is everyone to threads regarding religion, life-choices, abortion, racial issues, etc.?
How can anyone anticipate what another would consider inflammatory?

I don’t consider the idea of including new topics as risky as how the threads may develop. As an originator of a thread, are you prepared to facilitate/moderate the discussion you instigated? That should be more than a consideration; it’s an implied responsibility.

I enjoy the variety of insight and helpfulness I find in this community. I just wanted to inject my thoughts.


As stated many times by members, new and seasoned, this site is unique in tone and hospitality. It’s worth maintaining. I’ve always considered the Miscellaneous section the place for odd, humorous and relatively benign chatter. Currently, my preference is to continue with the posted guidelines and keep the Alembic Club related to Alembic and music.

Username: davehouck

Post Number: 9278
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Friday, May 07, 2010 - 2:32 pm:   Edit Post

(Sorry to jump in, I just wanted to clear up a couple points.)

- With the increase in moderators there has been an increase in editing for copyright issues, which probably accounts for a good amount of what people are noticing as an increase in censoring. I would imagine that most would agree that we would not want to put our hosts into any kind of situation where they might have to incur the cost of a lawsuit.

- Kevin; I am the moderator that edited James' post. It has been, and continues to be, my view that when the moderators can avoid calling out a member in public, they should do so. Each of us has different views of what is acceptable behavior, so it can be understandable that what one person thinks is ok to post on a public forum, someone else might find quite objectionable. This site is owned and hosted my two women, whom I happen to admire and respect; several members here are women; several members here are teenagers; and there are of course many visitors here who do not post and are not members but do read the threads. There were two posts on our board recently that I personally found objectionable; and I edited them fairly quickly so that others might not see the objectionable parts. And I did not state my reason for the edit in the post because I did not want to call the member out in public. The first that comes to mind referred to a 'mother I would like to f*** and her two daughters'. The second referred to 'passing a drunk barmaid around a biker bar'. Again, some of you may find this perfectly acceptable, this may be the way you talk all the time around your mother and your daughters. But I don't think it acceptable to talk this way around the women, or for that matter the fathers, here at the Alembic forum. So yes, I edited those posts. While such comments may be acceptable for some, they are not acceptable to me; and I will edit them fairly quickly. I do generally email the member first, explaining my objections and giving them a chance to edit the post themselves; but I don't like leaving stuff like that on the board for long and will generally try to move quickly to edit.

Just wanted to make those two observations; please carry on with the discussion. There have been a lot of opinions expressed and ideas put forward; and it has been very helpful.
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 2439
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Friday, May 07, 2010 - 6:56 pm:   Edit Post

I am strongly against an expansion of discussion here to include those social and political discussions that we've always tried to avoid. No matter how you try to keep them respectful, there's always the risk that they spin out of control. Since this should be a place of harmony, divisive topics will bring no benefit to this site.

If it must happen, then the idea of a separate forum for it would be preferred, but I would carry it one step further. Let someone create a Yahoo group, or the equivalent, for such discussions among the friends of Alembic. In that way, it would be entirely optional, it would not impact the atmosphere here, and the opinions presented in such discussions would not reflect badly on Alembic as a company. You could put a link to the off-site forum in the guidelines where you prohibit such discussions here. You might also mention it in threads where you have to moderate for those who forget the rules.

For me, it seems obvious that there is no benefit to Alembic that could come from political discussion on their corporate website. That should be the largest factor in deciding a course of action.

Senior Member
Username: hydrargyrum

Post Number: 793
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Friday, May 07, 2010 - 7:59 pm:   Edit Post


Enough said. That falls more than a little wide of my definition of a concert review, and I would have done the same.

I don't want election politics, abortion, racism, or any other nasty topic to become the standard fare here. If Alembic does create such a subforum, then it is my intention to never post on it. I apologize to Dave for jumping to conclusions, and it only serves to remind me that I'm probably better off just lurking, rather than posting.
Username: alemberic

Post Number: 95
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Saturday, May 08, 2010 - 12:47 am:   Edit Post

First, the name of this forum is "The Alembic Club." This name appears, at least to my admittedly simple mind, to be a pretty clear indication of the intended focus, not to mention boundaries, of any discussion one would reasonably expect to see or engage in here.( I am also good--like Wilfred says above--with including musical instruments, music and artists in our forum discussions.) Accordingly, I don't see any compelling argument for making social, religious, or political issues topics of discussion among club posters. As Dave has pointed out over and over again, if someone wants to discuss those issues, he/she can do so on numerous other blogs, forums, websites, tweets, etc.

Second, there's been a lot of talk both in this thread and others in the past about censorship, free speech, and in one notable comment I remember from the past year, "Constitutional rights." Folks, this is a privately owned, privately maintained site. Sorry, no Constitution here. This site is in existence-- along with free, unrestricted access to it-- solely because of the generosity and kindness of the Wickershams. The fact that you and I have access to the site does not grant us rights. We don't own this site, however frequently we drop in. In the past, Dave has suggested that in this forum we should conduct ourselves as though we were guests (which, in fact, we are), invited into the Wickershams' living room. I may be getting too old (the first number of my age is 6), but one of the principles I was brought up under is that you don't discuss sex, politics, religion, or finances with guests who come into your home. Not that these subjects aren't interesting or important, but not discussing these things can prevent a whole lot of drama, hurt feelings, and damaged or destroyed friendships from occurring.

I agree with Bob's suggestion about an off-site forum for Alembicians wishing to discuss other matters.

Username: masterofmanystrings

Post Number: 1
Registered: 5-2010
Posted on Saturday, May 08, 2010 - 4:17 pm:   Edit Post

Hey gang. This is an open letter to the management & members of the Alembic Club. This letter comes at the explicit request of more than one current or ex Club member.

I’m sure many of you will remember me as the “8 String King”… I used to be a member here, but since terminating my membership have maintained contact with several past and/or current Club members –some of whom I’ve contacted, some of whom (have) contacted me. Discussions with these individuals have repeatedly resulted in some suggesting I share some thoughts here; until now, I’ve chosen not to make the effort to do so.
What I have to say is entirely well-intentioned, with no malicious intent, and with no intentions other than constructive. I wish to share thoughts which pertain to the topic of this thread, and which are of great relevance and importance to the topic.

After several drafts, I’m just going to try and ramble through and present my thoughts and points in a linear way. I’ll try to get to the point as soon as I can. But one last comment is to make clear in advance that I fully respect the rights of management to run their website however they choose and to allow/not allow whatever they wish, good or bad, rational or irrational. I do not take issue with that, and what I’m about to say isn’t directed at that angle.

HERE WE GO. I used to be a “senior member” here, and posted/interacted here frequently/regularly. For the most part, I enjoyed the Forum and my interactions here –although I certainly regularly saw things I didn’t like, including plenty of “offensive” things. This never bothered me in the slightest. You see, “offensiveness” is a necessary consequence of open/meaningful dialogue/communication. To be more precise, in order for a forum/medium to be capable of harboring meaningful discourse, it must not attempt to “dis-allow ‘offensive’ speech”.

TO BE BLUNT, I hold/submit a/the two-fold argument that (1) the notion that we “ought” to be protected from “offense” is flawed to the point of absurdity, and (2) the notion that we “can” be protected from offense is flawed to the point of absurdity. Both these notions are patently false, absurd, and, when implemented, harmful. And of course what we’re talking about here is CENSORSHIP… when someone decides that another person’s thoughts/words/communications will be deleted/modified to “protect” some from being offended. Well, from my perspective, this is absurd –and on several fronts. First of all, censorship is fundamentally flawed because it not only doesn’t solve the (alleged) “problem” (and, I hold, can’t) but (instead) causes a bigger problem. From my perspective, censorship is infinitely more of a “problem” than “offensiveness”. NOTHING that anyone could say, even the most malicious, hate-filled, and profanity-ridden rantings could offend me as much as the mentality of anyone who advocates eliminating their words because they’re “offensive”. So what?

You see, I take fundamental issue with the whole underlying mentality and suppositions (of censorship); I don’t see it as either possible or even desirable to “eliminate offensiveness”. I submit that if one seriously attempts to defend the notion that it IS possible and/or desirable to do both, one will not be able to even present a credible position that isn’t absurd and laughable, much less defend it.

You CAN’T eliminate “offensiveness” with censorship… you can only eliminate what the censor regards as “offensive”. But the notion that one “should” eliminate it is highly questionable at the least, and patently false at the most. Allowing all expressions –“offensive” AND “not offensive” is essential, as the notion that there is a universally accepted standard… should be a self-evident absurdity.

This is a DEEP subject, and one worth of discussion which could go on for quite some length. I’m not inclined to go further, myself. I made the fundamental point. But I’ll add to it, and tell you the censorship policy and atmosphere here has achieved the opposite of the apparent intentions of management… its driven people away. There are at least a half dozen current or ex-members from this Club who’ve explicitly told me they either don’t come here at all now or do so less or just scan the postings but don’t interact here –because of the policies of management here regarding censorship, and because of the atmosphere that this has created.
See, back when I was here, it was a lot less uptight, but still on a regular basis, individuals would post “offensive” things. (Remember, from/under my paradigm, this is a given, and in fact there is no possibility it could be avoided.) Sometimes I would be offended by posts, often of a religious or political nature. So what? The question is, “how did I respond?” And the answer is, “by communicating”. And surely my responses might well likely be “offensive” (at least, to “some”)… how could they not be?

It was always in these situations that the inherent flaws of censorship would manifest themselves. Someone would start a thread of a “sensitive” nature… something “political” or “religious”… something with a PHILOSOPHICAL underpinning (meaning: something of IMPORTANCE). Then responses would be lambasted and/or censored, often/usually with Dave Houck’s flower rainbow-scented “press the button and hear the repetitious phrase on your talking action figure” “company line”… I can’t even stand to partially quote it.

Then on one such occasion, Dave completely deletes an “offensive” post of mine (but of course not the other posts which evidently were satisfactory to his enlightened and almighty self). To add further insult and injury to things, it was accompanied by his little generic “I may not have meant what I wrote” blurb… no Censor Dave, I meant exactly what I wrote. AND THAT WAS IT FOR ME. I simply won’t spend any time in a forum that… lacks integrity… yeah, that’s it. When you exercise censorship, you eliminate intellectual honesty and integrity, and also invite/encourage self-censorship, and it becomes a much less desirable place.

I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE. I left quietly and quickly, my parting words being “yeah right” in response to Dave’s BS about how I may not have meant what I wrote. What would be the point of responding in such an environment? Trying to “prohibit offensiveness” creates an offensive and inhospitable environment. Sure, if we want to sit around and stroke ourselves about how our Alembics are great, we can do that. And it certainly it appropriate to do so. But there’s a lot more to life than that.
We’re in a pretty screwed-up world with a lot of big problems. I submit a large part of that comes from us NOT discussing a bunch of frankly potentially “highly offensive” subject matter. I would submit that much of the most important things in life involve discussing differing ideas and positions that are almost certainly “highly offensive”… it’s really just a question of “to who” and “why”.

How do we handle offensiveness? Well, not all the same way, that’s for sure. I respond to it, intellectually… that’s what I do. On the other hand, I’ve repeatedly experienced the phenomenon of others “taking offense” at my communications, and then going off and sniveling to someone (Susan, in, she said, more than one case). Then I one day got a phone call from Susan –a very polite and respectful but pointed call- regarding my “problematic” (my word, not hers) conduct. Experience has taught me that those who, to be blunt, apparently lack the maturity, experience, and adult skills to respond to offense in a constructive, enlightened, and adult-like manner instead, like children, basically whine and cry until “mommy” or “daddy” or “whoever”… the “authority figure(s)”… the CENSOR(s)… respond(s). Yeah.

They bring us all down, these people. Those that can’t handle the inherently negative aspects of communication and honest adult interactions try and put shackles on those who can… and the sad thing is they only bring everyone and everything down –while not really even achieving their own objectives. The best you can achieve is to eventually have a primarily homogenous group with a transient group of those who come and eventually leave when the underlying implicitly/explicitly monitored/censored environment becomes evident.

Our ability to communicate openly and honestly –and therefore, OFFENSIVELY- in general, but most especially and particularly ON THE INTERNET, is one of the most important things in the world, literally. It’s actually, I would submit, the best chance our world and civilization has for survival. Most of the problems in the world exist not because there aren’t solutions, but because people are either unwilling or unable to say and/or hear them. Our survival as a planet, a race, and a civilization is a function of the extent to which those who know what is good and those who want to know what is good are able to speak and hear without interference. But this means that all viewpoints, the good and the bad, the ugly and the pretty, the offensive and the inoffensive… must be heard… because there is no way to separate them… other than permitting them all to be expressed and considered.
The whole recent “problem” that led to all the new mods and the “board policy changes” was both comical and tragic, and had resulted in even more unhappy Club members who have left altogether or come here less. That problem involved an individual with clear and extensive psychological problems… a “classic troll”… who was just fed over and over and over by members who then got upset with the troll for doing what trolls do when they’re fed. The whole issue was dealt with poorly… the troll either should have stopped being fed and ignored…. OR, alternatively the troll could have been confronted and collectively given consistent and crushing criticism. Something could have been done… and if no one here had the skills, I can assure you there are others who used to come here who did… but who don’t because of the negative censorship policy here.

I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. It can be denied, recognized, or downplayed, and that will be up to each individual who considers it.

I write this because the thread itself indicates that perhaps it’s dawning upon some that the idea of a “free speech zone”… the idea of maybe being able to honestly communicate without fear of censorship here… might be a good idea.
It is. Censorship has degraded and devalued the Alembic website, and actively discouraged members from participating. Once upon a time, there were rich conversations here –in addition to the back-slapping and stroking. It was a better place, much more fun.

I miss… most of you… and wish you the best. I’m not “back”… I just re-registered to make this post. I’m not inclined to come back as long as Dave Houck is here in a censoring capacity, and don’t expect that condition to change. But I hope for your sake and the sake of those who don’t participate here (or do so less than they otherwise would) and for the sake of future board members that this horrible policy change is corrected.

Having a “censorship free” “free speech zone” in the “Misc” section should be an absolute minimum for this or any website. To not have such an area is to be part of what causes/perpetuates problems in the world.

One other thing. I submit the idea of "some other off-board medium in which members can FREELY and OPENLY discuss things" is a bad idea... it's passing the buck. The question is, can members here on this site have honest and uncensored communication HERE? I submit they "SHOULD" be able to have that. Those who aren't up for it should exercise the discipline to not participate. If you can't deal with reading things you don't like and interacting with others whom you disagree with... don't. But don't try and stop me and others from having this option, and if you choose to, don't play dumb and wonder why it's a less fun place to be.

Sorry for such a long post, I had a lot to say. Hope it means something, 'cause I sure wasn't interested in writing it to "hear myself talk". I hope it matters to those here... even and perhaps especially those who disagree with and/or are offended by it.

Later, gang.

(Message edited by masterofmanystrings on May 08, 2010)
Senior Member
Username: glocke

Post Number: 718
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Saturday, May 08, 2010 - 4:25 pm:   Edit Post

Personally, I think this site is best served by remaining dedicated to discussing Alembics and music related things.

The misc. section is cool because posts there for the most part range from being music related, to topics that are not music related yet do not head off into the political spectrum (for the most part anyway).

Id like to see the boards remain free from a political discussion forum for many reasons. First off, it is pretty much a forum dedicated to Alembic instruments and music, and should remain so. Secondly, from what I see in other forums dedicated to politics, things can get real nasty real fast.

Personally I find this site to be kind of a panacea. I know I can come here and find pics of cool instruments, cool threads about music, or in the misc. section find some interesting (non-politcal) tidbit that is entertaining.

I would also like to point out that alemberic statement above is right on the money. This site exists solely because of the Wickershams, and by visiting this site we are basically "guests in their house". I for one would never start a heated political discussion when I am a guest somewhere.

Basically I and many others come here to discuss Alembics and related items. If I want to discuss computers I go to a computer forum. If I want to discuss politics I go here :

and hope I dont get banned again!!

Looks like someone has also suggested an offsite forum for discussing potentially heated topics...I second or third that suggestion...Maybe build a seperate forum for that on Yahoo or something and post a link for it somewhere here.
Username: masterofmanystrings

Post Number: 2
Registered: 5-2010
Posted on Saturday, May 08, 2010 - 4:40 pm:   Edit Post

And one more thing for "your" collective consideration. From my perspective, and from the perspective of several other ex and/or current members -who have elected and/or may (or may not) elect to speak for themselves- the censorship policies/mindset here of discouraging and out outright censoring "certain" "type" of posts has created a homogeneous and self-limited enviroment here... it seems that perhaps a majority of people here are either approving or accepting of censorship here, accepting the notion of some "other than this forum" place in which they can speak freely as being acceptable. Well, from my perspective, why even bother with this site at all? The notion of such a dichotomy in the first place would discredit both sites.

"You"... (those of "you" that accept, for whatever reason(s) censorship... in either an internally and/or externally censored atmosphere/environment... have, whether you realized it or not, discouraged (and very strongly so) those with differing viewpoints from... frankly, BOTHERING with you... because, that's what you make it... a bother. Odds are, "we" find "you" just as offensive as "you" find us; but "we" don't go sniveling or censoring "you"; "we" don't suggest that you and your thoughts be censored to protect "us" or anyone from the horrors of being offended. We do what mature and enlightened people of good intentions endeavor to do... speak honestly and openly.

So many of you here very clearly don't realize how many special people you discourage from coming here... people that might offend you... and might also have interesting and insightful and valuable things to say. They often, if not always, go hand in hand... they can not be separated.

What "you"... what "we"... we all have to gain... or lose... from whichever of the two alternatives we advocate and live according to... is something of infinite value. It is not something to dismiss casually. Of course, those who are unable and/or unwilling to grasp this may therefore not have any other choice.

Trying to put any chains or restrictions on communication devalues and diminishes the restrictive forum/format, and the quality of the communication(s) that occurs.

And this is sad.

Allowing and dealing with "offensiveness" is BY FAR the "lesser of the evils". The visable/obvious/immediate AND the more subtle/invisible consequences of these two fundamental alternatives represent 2 opposite extremes of the "good and bad" continuum.

Anyway, just wanted to add that. I've exactly zero interest arguing the issue with anyone... if it HAS to BE argued, there isn't any point.

Hope my words aren't wasted. Later.
Username: masterofmanystrings

Post Number: 3
Registered: 5-2010
Posted on Saturday, May 08, 2010 - 5:19 pm:   Edit Post

Okay, I don't want to be a hypocrite, I just said I don't want to argue, and I don't, though what I'm about to post might invite argument. But the last post by Glock after my earlier post is a great example to reference:

"Id like to see the boards remain free from a political discussion forum for many reasons. First off, it is pretty much a forum dedicated to Alembic instruments and music, and should remain so. Secondly, from what I see in other forums dedicated to politics, things can get real nasty real fast."

Let me analyze this briefly. "I'd like to see the boards remain free from a political discussion forum for many reasons. First off, it is pretty much a forum dedicated to Alembic instruments and music, and should remain so." Okay. Great. Seems reasonable. I agree. So what? "Secondly, from what I see in other forums dedicated to politics, things can get real nasty real fast." Yes, that's true. Things "can" get "real nasty real fast"... that's always a possibility. How we ought to, and how we do choose to deal with open and uncensored discourse are important and valid questions.

However, there is an implication here that these "dots" should be connected to imply open political/philosophical/"potentially offensive" discussion should be banned, the basis being essentially that some people lack the skills to interact with those of highly differing viewpoints with anything other than a degenerative approach.

I resent this tremendously. I have these skills, and I know plenty of others that have them as well; anyone and everyone can identify/develop/acquire the skills to interact with those of differing viewpoints in a civilized and non-degenerative way... IF they choose. If they choose not to, that is their sad choice/perrogative... but the notion that myself and others who have NOT made that choice, and who have instead chosen to learn to deal with others in a civilized way, using rational (and frequently/inherently "offensive") discourse... should have our options restricted because of THEM... it's punishing (arbitrarily, and in advance) the virtuous for the vices of others. No exaggeration.

If you don't like the channel I'm watching or the music I'm listening or the thoughts I'm either listening to/seeing and or speaking/writing... then don't watch/listen. If you don't have what it takes to interact in a mature way... don't. But don't use YOUR shortcomings to restrict those who choose not to be so limited.

To do so is ignorance... until once you realize that that is what you're doing. Once you DO realize this (or willfully evade the realization), you've then crossed over into something much worse.

You want to place limits on the communication that occurs here? Well, you'll succeed, and beyond what you realize. "You" have already succeeded... you have greatly limited what occurs and is communicated here... by creating an environment that very strongly discourages people from consistently openly and honestly expressing their thoughts.

One of the most absolutely important and wonderful things in life, and something which countless people fought and died for, is our ability to freely and openly communicate, and argue, and, on those occaissions where all parties involved are so inclined, for egos and insecurities to be cast aside in favor of identifying errors and contradictions, and learning, and growing and improving.

To censor in any way is to attack the whole essense and underpinning of that process/structure.

In short, censorship causes far more harm than anything that is or could be censored; the only questions are how much more harmful and how obvious vs. subtle the harm is.

Okay, I'm going away now. I'll be curious to see what impact, if any, this has. You may or may not hear from a few other current or ex-members who've encouraged me to share may thoughts, but it's not my place to quote any of them.
Senior Member
Username: ajdover

Post Number: 824
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Saturday, May 08, 2010 - 5:19 pm:   Edit Post

Lots of opinions here, and many relevant points. I'll keep my two cents as brief as possible.

An area in the miscellaneous section of the club will work only if all accept and understand that there will be things there that may make one's blood boil. Also, it will work only if folks agree to remain civil, e.g., at some point agree to disagree and move on, no name calling, etc. Finally, it will work only if the Wickershams, the owners/operators of this site, agree to allow it, period.

One thing for them to consider (if they haven't already) - do you really want a place on your company's website where politics/religion etc. are discussed? I've visited other company websites (Gibson, Fender, Rickenbacker, Musicman, Pedulla, etc.) and none of them have a place on their sites for such discussions that I can see. If it were me, I'd say no. If there is to be such a forum, I'd recommend that it be linked elsewhere. As I said, if I'm the Wickershams I wouldn't want this on my site. Alembic is a musical instrument company, not a political think tank.

As for Dave Houck ....

Dave, IMHO has a very difficult job (as does any moderator on any site). While I don't necessarily agree with what some here might term his "touchy feely, new age" approach, I can appreciate the difficulty he faces in moderating the site. I've personally met Dave, and while I don't know him very well, from the interaction I've had here with him he is a reasonable person. I have, on occasion, made his job harder via interaction I've had here with certain individuals. Even when I caused him headaches, he was reasoned and balanced in his responses and actions. I'd submit that the fact that things are as civil as they are here is a testament to him, and the other moderators.

Senior Member
Username: glocke

Post Number: 719
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Saturday, May 08, 2010 - 5:50 pm:   Edit Post


I see your point, and to a certain extent agree with you but:

a) Even though this forum is open to the public, the servers are privately owned by the Wickershams. Being privately owned, there should be no expectation of free speech. I have pretty loose "rules" when people come to visit me at my private residence. No hard drugs, don't bring people Ive never met before, and don't "bait" me with by trying to get me to react to a topic you know I am sensitive to (Im pretty laid back, but I do have buttons that for some reason certain people like to push). If people break these rules, they are simply asked to leave and are not welcome back. It is my house, and I set the rules and ask that people respect them, if people do not like that they dont have to come over. The same goes when I go to visit others, I respect any "rules" they have in place, and I stay away from topics that I know they may be overly sensitive to as my desire for their company outweighs my desire to get into a discussion with them on a topic they may be sensitive to.

I think Alan has hit it right on the money that in a way, this forum does represent Alembic, and I think it is highly inappropriate to have a section of the forum dedicated to what could possible be heated and confrontational issues. There really are a ton of places on the internet for that.

One suggestion I do have.....Make the damn box that you type you reply in bigger!!! lol..
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 2440
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Saturday, May 08, 2010 - 5:51 pm:   Edit Post

Having read the previous lengthy posts, I would like to post a brief counter in reply.

Simply put, the Alembic website is not the world. There are all sorts of venues out there. It wouldn't be appropriate to start playing trumpet in the front row at a pro basketball game, or in the audience at the symphony. Is it censorship if security takes your trumpet away? I don't believe anyone who wishes to keep political and religious discussions from these boards is saying they shouldn't occur. We just believe this is the wrong venue.

This site should exist at a business level to promote and support Alembic products. The further removed any conversation gets from thk,ose goals, the less appropriate it is for these boards. I would argue that more of the world's problems are caused and perpetuated by selfishness and the feeling of entitlement that has developed in our society over the past couple generations than by restricted communication.

I will agree on one thing, though. I have, on occasion, found some of Dave's moderator speeches to be offensive. They occasionally come across as condescending with all the word-smithing and that can feel more rude than the straight forward approach. I would ask that the moderators remember that members here are generally educated adults and should be treated as such. Keep it short, respectful and on point.
Advanced Member
Username: slawie

Post Number: 203
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Saturday, May 08, 2010 - 6:34 pm:   Edit Post

Is this something that requires a vote?
Would it really matter as majority rules may marginalise the minority vote.
Should this site be an Oligarchy?

If there were two options would they be, either;

1. Provide a place in this forum for "topics that may offend some people"

2. Continue as currently managed i.e. No changes.

Personally I like the Club, the people, the products and the overall pleasantness of the participants and I have done so for a good many years even before becoming a member.
This forum and the discussion topics are civilised, interesting, educational and beneficial.
It makes my music world a better place.
It is complete in its representation of all that is good about music and those people who are involved in the creation of music.

I would like - No changes

Username: mike13

Post Number: 84
Registered: 11-2007
Posted on Saturday, May 08, 2010 - 7:45 pm:   Edit Post

Why don'nt you all look at the name of the site we are on "The Alembic Club" for members to talk about a great product,and get help from Mica and the crew if required.There are plenty of political sites to talk crap on,as my friend Slawie who lives down the road from me in OZ says No changes just get the site back on the Alembic track
Advanced Member
Username: 3rd_ray

Post Number: 222
Registered: 2-2008
Posted on Saturday, May 08, 2010 - 7:49 pm:   Edit Post

I agree a lot with Mark (manystrings) except that I don't have a problem with Dave and I don't think Alembic has any obligation to allow posts that deal with politics, religion or anything other than music. I haven't agreed with everything Dave has written, but I have no reason to believe that he wasn't doing what he thought was right and fair. There have been one or two people here who I think are instigators, and some of that led to me not having much to say here.

There probably is no good solution, but I think the best thing to do is to immediately remove all threads that start out about politics (I don't think I've ever seen a post here about religion). There doesn't need to be an explanation, just remove it. Make a rule and live by it, no exceptions. There might still be some people who can't resist writing about politics inside of a thread, but nipping every bogus thread in the bud will deal with most of the problem.

The only other forum I participate in is at Carvin. I've only seen a few inappropriate posts there, and I've seen them disappear pretty quick. There's no apology, no explanation, they just disappear. If people want to write about politics they should go somewhere else. It's as simple as that. Some people might get angry when their post gets deleted and they might stop posting here, but you're going to lose other people when you let little things turn into big things.
Senior Member
Username: mike1762

Post Number: 531
Registered: 1-2008
Posted on Sunday, May 09, 2010 - 3:35 am:   Edit Post

This "situation" relates somewhat to my experience in the doctor's lounge. Most physicians tend to be very conservative... and arrogant. As such, Faux News is CONSTANTLY blaring in the background and there are some pretty hard-core opinions about pretty much EVERYthing floating around the place. Let's just say my own attitudes are "left of center". Everyone is aware of that fact and we just "live and let live". We might have a discussion about a potentially hot topic, but we back-off when it's clear someone is starting to get agitated. We can do that because we are in the same room and reading each other's body language. That is lost in electronic communication. I would like to think that (name your favorite forum troll) would have backed-off had they been in the room and took notice that their comments were causing some distress. In this medium someone HAS to "referee" or chaos WILL ensue. We're just trying to define "the line". I again propose that "the line" is the point at which Alembic's business or reputation might be compromised.
Advanced Member
Username: pas

Post Number: 233
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Sunday, May 09, 2010 - 6:43 am:   Edit Post


Thanks for the gratuitous swipe at "Faux News". You've just concisely demonstrated why politics have no place here.
Senior Member
Username: glocke

Post Number: 720
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Sunday, May 09, 2010 - 6:47 am:   Edit Post

Haha. I happen to like like fox news. I'm offended and leaving, and taking my alembics with me !
Senior Member
Username: tbrannon

Post Number: 1176
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Sunday, May 09, 2010 - 7:21 am:   Edit Post

It's already been stated here, but if we're trying to gauge reaction then I'll weigh in as well.

I don't come to this website to read politics, religion, etc. I come here because I think Alembic makes incredible instruments. Additionally, this is by far the most helpful internet forum I've ever frequented. Technical questions, music theory, band advice... responses to problems are respectful, well thought out and timely. THAT is why I frequent this forum on a daily basis.

I don't come here to read social commentary, scientific debate or political soapboxing. I also don't think that the Misc. section should become a free for all for those interested in having political/religious discussions. There are a lot of great topics ad conversations that happen in Misc that I would entirely skip over if I thought that the Misc section was going to be open to conversations that I have no interest in reading.

It is my opinion that Alembic will be hurting their corporate image by sponsoring such a subsection of the forum. Potential clients certainly do check the website and forum before purchasing- that's how I stumbled across this forum almost 8 years ago. Alembic may well attract a small minority by opening this forum up to political and religious debates, but I think the vast majority of new users and/or clients would be turned off by heated debates and controversial topics.

The bottom line is that this is ALEMBIC's bottom line. This is not a public forum- it's privately owned. Alembic should do what they think is best and to be perfectly honest, I think we all should be grateful to have the platform for discussion that they ultimately choose and provide.
Senior Member
Username: tbrannon

Post Number: 1177
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Sunday, May 09, 2010 - 7:54 am:   Edit Post


I hope the 8 and 6 strings are serving you well. Even if you decide to never post content here again, I'd love to see some more pictures or get an update on how they're treating you. An update to your showcase thread or an email to the address in my profile would be much appreciated.

Take care,

(Message edited by tbrannon on May 09, 2010)
Senior Member
Username: mike1762

Post Number: 532
Registered: 1-2008
Posted on Sunday, May 09, 2010 - 9:27 am:   Edit Post

Did I spell that wrong??? LOL
Advanced Member
Username: pas

Post Number: 234
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Sunday, May 09, 2010 - 9:30 am:   Edit Post

Regular comedian, eh?
Advanced Member
Username: eligilam

Post Number: 250
Registered: 2-2006
Posted on Sunday, May 09, 2010 - 12:17 pm:   Edit Post

(Message edited by eligilam on May 09, 2010)
Username: oddmetersam

Post Number: 73
Registered: 7-2008
Posted on Sunday, May 09, 2010 - 2:32 pm:   Edit Post

I find this discussion about discussions as riveting as some of the discussions we've been discussing...Seriously, though, last year when I traveled to Scotland I went with a co-worker who is as polar opposite in his socio-political views from mine as you could possibly imagine. But we knew we'd have a great time because our mutual obsession with single malt scotch would make everything else momentarily irrelevant.

For two weeks we set aside our differences and had the time of our lives. As I'm drinking in the pictures and articles in this forum I have the same feeling. It's not that I don't care what folks here think about all the divisive hot-button issues that seem to have the whole world going crazy; but this forum is a reminder (for me, at least) of what makes all of us more alike than different.

But if I was really, really upset with something that was posted, I'd probably be more inclined to respond privately, if possible. BTW, this is still my favorite forum out of all the ones I frequent. Thanks for that!

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