Forum decorum & seeking a quorum on a better norm.

Posted: 9/14/2020 5:59:08 AM

From: Hillsborough, NC (USA)

Joined: 2/13/2005

Folks, we have a problem.

On top of a demanding job, caring for my family, dodging the pandemic, and for the past week, living with some of the most toxic air in the entire world due to wildfires, the last thing I have energy for each day is policing our forums. Yet it must be done because some in our community have chosen to focus their posts on attacking others' differences rather than the common interest that brought us all together.

I have tolerated this for too long... not in agreement with the offenders, but in fatigue and exhaustion. To those of you who have been hurt by this, I apologize deeply. It was never my intention to create a community of pettiness and spite, but I recognize that my inaction has allowed such a community to grow.

I will soon be turning off the ability for everyone to post in the forums, myself included. Everyone will need to agree to an updated code of conduct before your ability to post is enabled again. Violations of the code of conduct will be taken seriously. Extreme or repeated violations will result in the permanent closure of your account.

I've enjoyed getting to know so many of you over the years, and I've learned much from all of you. I hope we can all continue discussing our common passions together respectfully.

It will take me a few days to implement the changes and create the new code of conduct. In the meantime, I'll leave you with this quote:

"I believe that for all our imperfections, we are full of decency and goodness, and that the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us."  

-Barack Obama

Posted: 9/14/2020 12:02:42 PM

From: Minnesota USA

Joined: 11/27/2015

This is welcome news.  Any time you have more than one personality in a room you run the risk of clashes.  It doesn't matter if it's a cooking, knitting, or a political forum. Rod Serling was right - people are alike all over. Most of us would probably be happier with some rules in place that would discourage bad behavior or the need to respond to it.

Just to suggest a few things, here are some rules from other forums that seem to keep things in check as well as some that pretty clearly apply here specifically:

1) No political, hate speech or conspiracy theories. No bigotry or insensitivity to any group. This is far too divisive and is destroying families and not just disrupting forums.
2) No personal callouts. Attack the message, not the messenger.
3) Be courteous and respectful.  Before this behavior was branded as "political correctness" and a sign of weakness, it was simply called being polite.
4) No off-forum personal message feuds or threats, whether direct or implied.
5) No disclosure of personal information against others. No doxxing, no online stalking.
6) Be a contributor, not a detractor.  Contribute to, clarify, or disagree with the conversation, but don't troll with the sole intent to disrupt.
7) Stay relevant to the topic being discussed. Avoid hijacking threads.  If a tangential subject needs to be addressed, start a new thread.
8) No divisive group attacks (musicians versus engineers, analog versus digital advocacy, are examples that for some reason come to mind)
9) No posting of obviously irrelevant content or imagery with the intention of disrupting the flow of the conversation.
10) No commercial spam, obviously.
11) Don't post copyrighted material or anything that violates US law.  Limit any excerpts to 2-3 paragraphs.
12) Posting links without a clear indication of the purpose or destination should be discouraged.
13) Don't post any graphic content of a violent or sexual nature.
14) Avoid bringing grudges or past history into the conversation.  Respond to the moment, but don't continue fighting the past.

Posted: 9/14/2020 1:31:20 PM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

Jason, I feel responsible for much of the rancor lately, I apologize to you and everyone here.

Some sites automatically lock threads after a period of inactivity, I wonder if that might be one more defense against spam?

A couple more suggestions:
15) Multiple accounts in which the user doesn't clearly indicate such to the group, particularly when used for sockpuppetry and the like, are forbidden.

Not sure how one might phrase this, much less definitively detect and enforce it, but IMO it is the beating heart of most of the contention:
16) No pseudoscience, particularly as it relates to the electronics and physics of the Theremin.

Having a fixed numbered list could be helpful when reporting posts: "this post strays from rules 3, 6, and 16 of the guidelines".

Thanks & Cheers!

Posted: 9/14/2020 4:14:00 PM

From: Hillsborough, NC (USA)

Joined: 2/13/2005

Thank you all for your ideas and input. I will incorporate all of these ideas into the new code of conduct.

While Facebook is arguably better at bringing people with a common interest together, has decimated niche-interest sites like this over the past 10 years. I'm not denouncing that or trying to fight it. The world evolves, and we must evolve with it. In fact, I am modeling our new code of conduct after similar codes I've read on several popular community groups on Facebook.

What purpose does Theremin World serve today? I'm not entirely sure, but I'm not ready to give up on it yet. I also often ask myself why I continue to maintain the website after all these years when other environments such as Wordpress and Facebook provide a better user experience. The answer is complex. 

I believe Facebook and niche sites like Theremin World can co-exist, and I will never be able to compete with all the features a platform like that can offer. The one thing Facebook isn't great at is enabling people to write durable content that can easily be found by others. Facebook is all about sharing and commenting on what people have written elsewhere (news sites, blogs, and niche sites like this). That said, in a world where "content is king", I'm sure you'll all agree that my contributions to that content have been basically nil over the past several years. So why not just place the whole site into "archive mode" and make it read-only?

In part, I disagree with some of Facebook's business practices, but I'll keep the details of that to myself for now. I also enjoy working on Theremin World from a technical perspective. I've learned so much while working on the website over the years that has been beneficial to me in my professional life. That said, I recognize that much of the content here is old, outdated, stale, and on some browsers & devices, inaccessible. Theremin World may be my personal "windmill", but I enjoy tilting at it and as long as that brings me joy, I'll keep it going. The toxicity of the forums has certainly made me ask myself hard questions again, and the new code of conduct is partly an attempt to remove one of the aspects of the site that does not bring me joy.

I agree everyone is entitled to their own opinion. "everyone is right" is fine with me. But as the old saying goes: “Yes, but your right to swing your arm leaves off where my right not to have my nose struck begins.” (ref) When a post about someone's personal opinion turns into direct attacks on other community members, I will not tolerate it.

Posted: 9/14/2020 4:56:12 PM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

Jason (not trying to give you more to do than you already do for us, but) maybe you could do a bit of very light blogging now and then to a pinned thread? 

You're much more than a webmaster for this site, so it would be interesting to read about what's going on in your life, and your take on various things, Theremin and not. 

Putting a face to TW, as it were, might also help to stave off some of the posting abuse by keeping the real human effort behind it all a little more apparent.

Posted: 9/14/2020 5:03:53 PM

From: Rockville, Maryland

Joined: 9/12/2020

How dare you?

Jason,  Christopher posted about Trump and his supporters comparing them to the KKK and Jim Jones.. I posted a response to that and because you believe all the lies, you are disappointed that I dont hate Trump or his supporters. I voted for the nice Jewish lady doctor, not Trump.


I shared a lyric about the common cold but i said PROPER NAME.  God forbid anyone use LATIN.

So I am a Cospiracy theorist  for that???


Jason, no model 302s on the page of theremins. 


No need to answer that. The ad banner at the top of you page answers that.

The forums are great for the builders, worthless to to me, each post gets  views on youtube, and a source for new thereminist.

Are you sweating?

How often do newbies or the experienced post about technical problems with their Etherwave or Etherwave Plus? Remember the grounding issue, which was no fault of the instrument. How much BAD ADVICE did they give them before I explained that they needed a long instrument cable laid on the floor, or to put yourself in contact with the cable?

Then there are the real issues -  SEND IT TO THIERRY!

Clearly the forums are bad for MOOG MUSIC.

How's your blood pressure?

Especially when I brag about the easy theremin with a playable 8 octave range.


Just kidding Jason. I am a grown up.

Anyone who believes TV,  TV News, or Journalists, make me shake my head in disbelief.

Don,t blame me, look in the mirror.

I am not a conspiracy theorist. I am a mind control expert. I write scripts and others do what my scripts intend them to do.

Thank you for doing exactly as I programmed you to do.



Now why would I ever post here again???


I was trained at the USNRC HIGH TECHNOLOGY CENTER IN 1997. I bet they regret it.

Posted: 9/14/2020 5:55:50 PM

From: Minnesota USA

Joined: 11/27/2015

Well, maybe this is a better option:

Posted: 9/15/2020 2:40:13 AM

From: Hillsborough, NC (USA)

Joined: 2/13/2005

I appreciate the offer Christopher, but I was unclear in my last post. I am not planning on putting TW into archive mode. I am not asking for donations or support to keep the site alive. I’m just asking for people to agree to treat each other with respect. 

Posted: 9/24/2020 7:32:24 PM

From: Hillsborough, NC (USA)

Joined: 2/13/2005

The new Code of Conduct is live. Let's keep it classy folks.

Would love to know for sure that others are able to get through the gate and post in the forums. If you have any problem, please use the Contact Us page to get in touch and I'll help out.

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