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What's "banjo-related."

Posted by Bill Rogers on Saturday, June 23, 2012

like this

In recent weeks I, and other moderators, have moved a number of topics from various "banjo-related" forums to Off-Topic because they did not meet a minimum threshold to be called "banjo-related."  One of the most common assumptions on the part of posters is that any item about a bluegrass band (or old-time string band music) is "banjo-related."  However, unless there's specific discussion of the banjo and/or banjo players in such a post, it's not banjo-related.  Calling such posts "banjo-related" would mean that general posts about Spike Jones and his City Slickers or The Firehouse Five Plus Two would also be "banjo-related," since both  of those bands had banjo players.   Likewise general announcements about various festivals aren't banjo-related, unless you're discussing items such as the presence of banjo players and workshops at Fiddle Tunes in Washington or the banjo contest at Clifftop or Merlefest.  Nor would we buy a topic with only a casual mention of banjo in attempt to avoid exile to Off-Topic.  OTOH, discussions of Mike Seeger, Doc Watson, et. al. likely would pass muster as banjo-related because they were well-known for their banjo playing, even if it was not their chief instrument.  Hope this helps you to understand what I consider as "banjo-related."  [ as first posted:  While I can't speak for the other mods, I suspect their ideas are similar.]  EDIT--The reactions (or non-reactions) of the other moderators agrees with my approach to "banjo-related," so I imagine we'll continue to approach it this way.

40 comments on “What's "banjo-related."”

dbrooks Says:
Sunday, June 24, 2012 @5:52:32 AM

I admire the work that you moderators do and refer to it as one of BHO's best features when refering BHO to others. I disagree with you on this topic, however, Bill. You described it best when you described Off-Topic as an "exile." I seldom go there, yet I do want to hear about festivals, jams, even the Firehouse Five Plus Two (maybe). I definitely think that band-related posts (bluegrass, old-time, etc.) do belong in "Other Banjo-Related Topics." I think of Off-Topic as being totally non-banjo: home gardening, scrapbooking, and other hobbies. Maybe other instruments too, like harmonica.

The description reads: "Got something banjo-related that won't fit into the other categories? Post it here." That is very broad and not nearly as restrictive as your definition. Off-Topic reads: "Got something to post that isn't related to banjos or this site? As long as it ain't objectionable, post it here." I'd suggest that you try to come up with new forum descriptions that make clearer distinctions before you begin enforcing this change.

Bill Rogers Says:
Sunday, June 24, 2012 @11:56:01 AM

Good point. We'll bat this around with Eric, and decide whether we need another forum or to loosen up on "banjo-related." Thanks for your articulate and well-reasoned comment.

dbrooks Says:
Sunday, June 24, 2012 @6:14:17 PM

Thanks, Bill, for taking my comments in the positive light I intended. It can be tough to infer the intended inflection and tone in email and posts on the internet.

Bill Rogers Says:
Sunday, June 24, 2012 @10:38:25 PM

Considering the feelings of the other moderators (see EDIT in first post), it seems to me the best route to a place for festival, jam and band notes sans banjo specifics would be a new forum. That, of course is Eric's department. Ideas for such a forum should be posted in the "Improvements and Suggestions" Forum.

plunka5 Says:
Monday, June 25, 2012 @12:10:11 AM

I once posted a thread in the "Banjo-related" forum that was moved because on-the-surface it was viewed as being more band-related than banjo-related. It was sort of an "April fool's" joke about the Sam Bush Band playing in Asheville, N.C. I posted about attending the "Bush Inauguration Ball" and did not state at the end of my post that it was Sam Bush and not GWB. The real purpose of the post was to tell of the premier of Scott Vestal becoming the new banjo player for the Sam Bush Band. So, I was upset that it was moved, protested the move, and it was changed. dbrooks is right to commend all moderators for the terriffic job they do on the forums!

From Greylock to Bean Blossom Says:
Monday, June 25, 2012 @1:54:23 AM

I agree with dbrooks but didn't really want to post on this but had to in order to subscribe to the topic. Just another food for thought, maybe we should be able to subscribe to this without posting.

Fathand Says:
Monday, June 25, 2012 @4:03:51 AM

I like dbrooks comments.

Tam_Zeb Says:
Monday, June 25, 2012 @4:19:48 AM

Bill I am amazed that you need to define what Banjo-Related means.. I always thought you guys on that side of the pond were ALL banjo experts and would know for sure exactly what the term banjo-related was all about. I see many posts asking for advice on medical matters creep into the Playing Advice section. So I am happy that you guys are at least noticing that the forums are tending to slip off-topic. I have no issue with you moving any of my posts which you feel doesnt fit the catagory.

pfunk Says:
Monday, June 25, 2012 @5:04:44 AM

I agree with dbrooks as well.

Gymbal31 Says:
Monday, June 25, 2012 @6:15:52 AM

I agree with dbrooks original post, especially the first sentence about the moderators doing a good job.

I was just looking at the "Other Banjo-Related Topics" forum and I see several posts that could easily be moved to other forums.

"Shipping Banjos to Norway" could very easily be moved to "Shopping Advice", as could "Found a ES Golden Deluxe for sale: hidden gem".

"A flood of MP3 postings" would better fit "Improvements and Suggestions".

"List of 10 Worst Beginner Mistakes" looks like a "Playing Advice" thread.

My point is, there is a lot of room for interpretation of what relates to a topic title and what doesn't. Like others have said, I almost never go to "Off Topic" because there's nothing banjo or bluegrass related there.

I think that many posters to the "Banjo Related" forums who start a thread about a band or a festival do so thinking the banjo connection is assumed since this is Banjo Hangout. A thread asking "Who is going to SPBGMA?" is, to me, banjo related because everyone reading the thread is a banjo player and SPBGMA is a festival where banjo players would gather. A thread asking "Who is going to Lollapalooza?" would not be banjo related since it isn't known as a festival where banjo players gather. A thread asking "Who is going to see Mumford and Sons at Lollapalooza?" would be banjo related.

My point is that discussing bands and festivals is a part of discussing banjos. "Off Topic" exists as a place for members to socialize about anything BUT banjo related topics.

Maybe the solution isn't so much deciding what is banjo related or not but deciding what the forum should be. Perhaps the better solution would be to just change the two banjo related forums subjects to "Clawhammer/Old Time Music Related" and "Bluegrass Music Related". It would broaden the scope of topics discussed without putting more onus on the moderators to interpret the intent of the posters.

Just tossing the idea out there. This is a great place and Eric and everyone is doing a great job.

MajArcher Says:
Monday, June 25, 2012 @6:48:22 AM

What dbrooks said.

ZEPP Says:
Monday, June 25, 2012 @7:27:48 AM

The issues are, IMHO, non-resolvable. In virtually all things, there exists a continuum, and our attempts to define inviolable boundaries therein is often what causes bad feelings.

Thus, I have no problem with the status quo, relying on the moderators' decisions on which side of the blurry "lines" a post belongs. The fact that a poster may defend his original intent and successfully appeal a moderator's action makes it all the more workable.

While I'm at it, let me add my thanks to our moderators for doing what I consider to be a great job of handling these things--it's surely not a job I'd want!

Banjophobic Says:
Monday, June 25, 2012 @7:39:10 AM

Regardless of what they do, the mods will be praised and scorned in equal breaths. They are human and so are the rest of the BHO members. I appreciate their work, even if I disagree with certain decisions from time to time. The job is not to 'please' everyone but to manage the site postings as best they can.
Its a job I would not want but its nice that there are folks willing to do it-my thanks!

Bill Rogers Says:
Monday, June 25, 2012 @10:25:51 AM

I'll call Eric's attention to this discussion. He, after all, makes the decisions on new forums. I continue to think a bluegrass/old-timey festival/band/misc. forum is the preferable answer. This is, remember, the *Banjo* Hangout. Changing the "banjo-related" fora to simply cover musical genres invites an effective change in the websites focus. Meanwhile, thanks for your comments--and their civility .

pickNgrin Says:
Monday, June 25, 2012 @11:12:24 AM

Another vote for dbrooks. If a post is about music and is related in any way to banjo, bluegrass, oldtime, etc, I think it ought to stay in a forum where the majority of readers care about those things. Off Topic is for bigfoot, recipes, your favorite hat, etc.

Gymbal31 Says:
Monday, June 25, 2012 @1:48:04 PM

Wait. They discuss Bigfoot recipes in Off-Topic?? Cool.

minstrelmike Says:
Monday, June 25, 2012 @2:15:44 PM

How about a Music-Related forum?
It's still a fine fractal line (as all definitions are)

jwoods Says:
Monday, June 25, 2012 @2:25:58 PM

How big of an issue is posting in the wrong forum?

I agree with ZEPP on the matter how many categories are created, someone will always skip reading the Forums Home Page for guidance or, simply not be sure and take a chance.

Seems like there are bigger fish to fry regarding the tone of some of the posts...

mojo_monk Says:
Monday, June 25, 2012 @4:40:29 PM

I am still trying to wrap my mind around how a thread I recently started about a prominent OLD-TIME group releasing a new CD was "exiled" to the Off-topic forum??? How is this not appropriate for the "Other banjo-related topics: clawhammer/OLD-TIME" forum??? It certainly can't be, as you suggested, that the group no longer features banjo since this is entirely untrue. Doesn't "/" mean "and,or"? This is a bit infuriating given some of the threads that are currently floating around. Micromanaging for the sake of micromanaging doesn't do anyone any good at all.

Bill Rogers Says:
Monday, June 25, 2012 @5:52:42 PM

The "Old-Time" in Clawhammer/Old-Time is still under banjo-related. I found no reference to a banjo in the review you linked. Nor did I see any mention of a banjo player in the band on their website.

mojo_monk Says:
Monday, June 25, 2012 @7:19:45 PM

The number of topics in those forums not explicitly referencing the banjo is at times astounding. Good luck.

Rich Weill Says:
Monday, June 25, 2012 @7:52:42 PM

I second minstrelmike's suggestion. If bluegrass band-related posts are not going to be deemed "banjo-related," then there should be a "Music-Related" forum -- so that these kinds of posts aren't lumped together with debates about motorcycle helmets.

robbif Says:
Tuesday, June 26, 2012 @4:54:18 AM

Just a little post to thank you and all the moderators for your sometimes-thankless efforts that make this hangout so great!

paulaschumm Says:
Tuesday, June 26, 2012 @10:41:05 AM

Thanks, moderators, for all you do. BTW, I just posted a new topic entitled "claw stick" in the Other Banjo Related Topics because I didn't know what sort of instrument this is. I have just found 1 lone photo of the instrument, and it appears to be some sort of a mouth bow. Please feel free to move me to off-topic with the recipes, reminiscences, and other senseless ramblings.


minstrelmike Says:
Wednesday, June 27, 2012 @12:40:45 PM

Why can't we just have a regular discussion in the regular place--the forums where the people who have issues with the forums tend to participate?

wuzapicker Says:
Thursday, June 28, 2012 @6:39:24 AM

With all due respect, I would suggest the Tech Talk forum is filled with strings that aren't really banjo related. Yet I see no suggestion relegating those discussions to some "off topic" corridor. Surely I say those Tech Talk discussions are as essential and relevant to banjo playing in this modern age as are the bands and media that promote banjo playing. Who among us learned to play in a vacuum devoid of influence by recordings and observing better players pursue the art?

In any environment a moderator's judgment must be respected if order is to be maintained. However, I think it possible to be too parochial.

Having formerly served as a moderator on a so-called "Christian" discussion board, I can surely say the even the worst posts here at BHO do not compare. Having a post deleted or relegated to some other discussion area is NOT a personal attack against the author. While we bear full moral responsibility for the words we write, once we click that "Post" button, those words no longer belong to us alone. Site managers actually manage the data which comprise the records of the site and by extension they manage access to those data. It compares well to a librarian's work. The difficulty is sometimes dealing with the people who wish to access and submit data. It seems everyone has an agenda.

Hats off to the moderators and site managers at BHO!

Gymbal31 Says:
Friday, June 29, 2012 @2:36:18 PM

Has someone been complaining about the posts that have been relegated to "Off-Topic"? Has there been an over abundance of posts about bands and festivals that don't mention the banjo? I guess I'm just missing why this has become such a problem. There have been may times when moderators haven't stepped into threads, letting them run their course. It's the right way to handle it, of course. I just can't see what problem this action solves.

blindsniper Says:
Thursday, August 30, 2012 @7:35:50 PM

Having participated in non-moderated forums all I can say is this. I'd rather have my posts deleted or moved somewhere else than not being moderated at all. Moderators have a hard job and will not ever satisfy everybody.

ceemonster Says:
Tuesday, October 23, 2012 @10:38:17 PM

Glad this is here, because there is an active post just now on the "other Banjo-Related Topics" forum purporting to elucidate the world as to why Arabic people do not play football. And I really don't want to see this kind of thing here.

captbanjo Says:
Wednesday, January 16, 2013 @8:02:37 PM

I will say, I am on other forums and this one is highly moderated, for better or worse. For example, Reso Hangout is loosely moderated. I've seen big digressions/smack downs go unnoticed.

Here, there are non-moderators who scream at something like a post I made yesterday, one featuring Brian Setzer playing (horribly IMO) FMB. The poster demanded the moderator remove "this filth!" A bit much, methinks...

Tom Hanway Says:
Sunday, March 17, 2013 @10:39:32 PM

Good thinking Bill.

Porschefan Says:
Monday, April 1, 2013 @4:04:51 PM

I read this before my latest (and first) post. I think it passes muster. IMHO this forum serves a need as most of the others are quite specific and a post like mine doesn't really have anywhere else to go.

hamishpink Says:
Monday, June 17, 2013 @9:28:30 AM

I'd be happy with a new forum for Bands, events, CD promotion, Youtube show samples, camps, entertainment, new performers etc. They would be easier to find in one place instead of lost in the wilderness of banjo related or off topic.

Bill Rogers Says:
Monday, June 17, 2013 @11:00:32 AM

If you haven't already, you should post that idea in the Improvements and Suggestions forum. I think it's a good one.

RobKunkel Says:
Tuesday, August 21, 2018 @4:38:42 AM

I feel like a intermediate beginner trying to fit in with the site, as one would trying to hold his own playing in an jam. I agree with Bill Rogers.

Why? Because he is the moderator. My topic was more about lyrics, although I did try to open the door to re-learning banjo from the Pete Seeger book. Pete shows playing from a 5 string with gDGCD tuning. I tried that tuning and seems counterproductive.

But, not going there now, just thanks all. ????

RobKunkel Says:
Tuesday, August 21, 2018 @4:45:45 AM my comment, at the end, there are four question marks. They were are emoticons that are not used with this software and I cannot figure out how to edit them out.
...Sorry....the intermediate beginning from open G, Rob Kunkel.

RobKunkel Says:
Tuesday, August 21, 2018 @6:40:50 AM

Lord not another stupid, uneditable (for me who did not read directions properly) mistake!

He wrote gCGBD .... I read the order wrong. So, the drone string gets altered. That’s fine, for me. Also, Seeger seems to suggest that the key that drone string (4th) is tuned in is more of an option for the advanced picker.

Thanks for your indulgence, gentle people.
Rob, an Intermediate Beginner from St. Thomas VI ....
....always there to welcome cruiseship visitors!

RobKunkel Says:
Friday, August 24, 2018 @6:37:45 AM

I just found a YouTube for this song, Mr. Garfield, that has a couple of more juicy lines. He also explains the song and his style for quite a bit of the video. Only two likes, so that shows how well-viewed this is. I mentioned Banjo Hangout in my comment.

lovinghusband1 Says:
Sunday, April 4, 2021 @9:48:09 PM

After a stroke and some other issues, among other things, I'm back at the Seeger style banjo playing and learning what I can for performances, especially since the fact I used to play professionally and busker style for lots of years. I playing and style. Does anyone know of a DVD or course? I have no car. Wish I could go to Boston. (Worcester loves folk guitarists but not banjoists). Thank you anyone and God Bless.

laguna21dc Says:
Thursday, November 11, 2021 @12:39:03 AM

I'm right there with all of you old guys. Been away for 2 years and have to re learn everything including the BHO rules?

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