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Respect What is it? How do you earn it? (DB Forum thread)

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Treyzer, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. Over the past year or 2, I have read any number of threads where people who do not fill out their profiles feel compelled to jump into TBDB with both feet and provide incredible advice (and I don't mean that in a positive way). The thread usually devolves into many off topic asides and usually involves the new poster getting their feelings hurt and/or their feathers ruffled when others call them out on their more than obvious lack of knowledge and/or expertise.

    Here are a few questions for everyone who hangs out here. How does a musician earn or gain respect? If you are a well established musician how hard did you work to become respected in your field (not on this forum)? Should everyone's opinions be considered equal? Should anyone, regardless of their lack of knowledge, expertise, playing ability and/or credentials have the right to blather on ad infinitum about things that they know little or nothing about without being questioned or called out?

    I don't wish TBDB to be some kind of High School clique. However, I do KNOW ENOUGH to listen to those who are far more well versed in a particular area than I am. I'm not going to argue with luthiers that know far more than I do about buildings bases, or how to set up and repair them. I'M GOING TO LISTEN! I'm not going to try to provoke some of our classical members about areas of expertise in their field. I WANT TO LISTEN AND LEARN FROM THEM! There are also a number of bassists on this forum who have played with jazz giants, written well regarded books on jazz bass and generally built up a certain amount of CRED. I"M GOING TO LISTEN AND LEARN FROM THEM!

    What is the point of being disrespectful to people who have actually done something in the music world? What is it that compels certain people who have done nothing of note to act like experts and/or sages? If you haven't gotten in the ring, you don't know what it's like to be a fighter; you can only imagine. Why not ask good questions and listen for a change!

    What say you forum members? Do we want to use this forum as a great resource or do we want to see it degenerate into a boring, frustrating troll hang out? Why don't we police ourselves a bit better and show respect when it has been earned to those who have earned it! If you have something of worth to say, fill out your profile, let us know who you really are!


    Jeff Bonny likes this.
  2. This should be interesting, Trey.

    A recent "dust up" in a 7 or 8 page thread that I wasn't involved in (I used to post quite a bit, but as you mention, so many anonymous BSers made me run for safe haven in other internet groups where you have to be accountable for your posts). shows two posters who actually use their real names and have a bit of history @ TBDB, as well as some solid knowledge about the instrument and the music they play on it. That kind of %, in terms of negative, jive and just plain stupid posts doesn't bode well for the future of TBDB. IMO, our best years, and you were around, of course, were even pretty sketchy. Those threads and posts yielded, as good as most were then, statements from anonymous posters calling us names like "The Jazz Mafia" and many of us had full Private Message boxes from these people that included name calling and actual threats.
    You're a good, positive member of the board and I hope your thread ends up on the positive, but, as a friend of ours likes to say "Good luck with that."
  3. Right now, the threads are flat, so that every comment gets equal billing. On sites like Reddit and Slashdot, users can vote on other comments up or down, and the most favored comments float to the top. When a person replies to a comment, it is filed under that particular comment. Those sites get a lot more traffic than this site, so the trolls are often (but not always) modded down by the wisdom of the crowd. This moderation system would not be useful for some of our threads with only a few replies, but for threads like "Why isn't jazz more popular?" (which just seemed like a place for simpletons to whine about why they hate great music) or "Should I paint my bass?" it could be nice tool for wading through the idiocy. Also, guys like PW should get x10 mod power.

    This is not a comment or a suggestion as to how the site should be run. It would require a major change on the back end. I'm just throwing it out there as an example of the way things are done elsewhere.
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    On TB, as in life, there are basic kinds of respect. There is basic human compassion, where by default people are treated decently out of respect for life itself. There is also a form of default respect whereby people are treated as reasonable human beings until they prove that they either aren't or have no intention of being so at the moment. These are the kinds of respect that our forum rules call for as a standard of behavior here.

    But the form of respect Trey is talking about is of a higher order - respect based on recognition of skill and/or accomplishment. It can only be earned through years of hard work and training, and as such goes against the mindset of those who wish to have something for nothing, who want to talk the talk without first walking the walk. This is true in internet forums, and in the real world. The difference on the internet boils down to three things which facilitate this all too common lack of respect for knowledge and accomplishment: Anonymity, Ignorance, and Denial.

    Anonymity: As Sam Sherry likes to say, "Anonymous posting is responsibility-free and attracts the irresponsible". While some chose to remain anonymous out of privacy/security concerns, many choose to do so so that they can act in this pretend world in a way that they never would in real life. Due to the respect that Paul Determan has for security concerns, he allows anonymity here. Note that he does not personally avail himself of it.

    Ignorance: technically means "lack of knowledge or information", and in this sense is entirely excusable as we are all in some sense lacking knowledge of some sort or other (no one knows everything). It's when the ignorance is willful, when a person wishes to remain uninformed and yet still argue with those who have bothered to learn, that it becomes disrespectful. For example, I try to avoid pontificating in threads on arco technique out of respect for those who know more about it than I do. This list includes just about everyone who practices regularly with a bow.

    Denial: "failure to acknowledge an unacceptable truth or emotion or to admit it into consciousness, used as a defense mechanism". This is often facilitated by both willful ignorance ignorance and, on the internet, anonymity.

    The respect Trey speaks of can be earned, but it cannot be demanded; if it could, those who have not earned it would simply demand it. Those who have truly earned it are secure enough not to need it, especially from strangers. Those who do not recognize the accomplishments of others are likely personifying one or more of the above conditions. If these people seem uninterested in better informing themselves within a reasonable period of time, I find it best to simply ignore them. Until that point, I try to treat them as "reasonable until proven unreasonable".

    [moderator hat]

    Please do not troll this thread.

    [/moderator hat]

    Time to make the doughnuts...
  5. This is an interesting topic that is sure to degenerate within a day or two so I'll get my .02 in quick.

    Trey, from my somewhat limited perspective you seem to be talking about "Generation Z" for whom narcissism is the norm. Posting 800 pictures of themselves on facebook, tweeting minute by minute accounts of their activities on twitter, not bothering to learn anything because you can always google it, everyone's opinion has equal value regardless of experience or education, etc. etc. Just look at all the "instructional" videos on youtube. Read any 'net blog or forum on any subject, and you'll see plenty of "experts" with no credentials or experience. Talk to a few employers and you'll hear plenty of stories about new hires who think they should immediately be a manager earning a top salary and never get their hands dirty. Not to be political but I think a lot of that mentality is behind the Occupy Wall Street protests.

    What we see on TB is just a reflection of society in general.

    PS: That was well said Chris.
  6. Beginner Bass

    Beginner Bass

    Jul 8, 2009
    Round Rock, TX
    A&R, Soulless Corporation Records
    I think the respect the OP is referring to is respect for someone as a musician. This kind of respect on TB is generally reserved for those whom have proven themselves competent musicians outside of this forum. Ed Fuqua comes to mind of the top of my head. People accept their opinions because they see that they have done fairly well, presumably by using the advice they give.
  7. The problem you've described is bigger than TBDB, skill/experience, or even the Internet. It's helpful to step back a little and see the problem in context of different generations, how each gen thinks/acts/etc.

    ".... every generation wants one thing above all: respect. Gen Yers and millennials want respect for their ideas. Gen Xers want respect for their professionalism. Boomers want respect for their experience." (great table in this link also)

    Gen X wants respect too:

    Truths about Gen Y's

    "Perception: Little Respect for Authority
    Reality: While some people refer to this cohort of people as Generation Why for a reason, it is not so much an issue of a lack of respect for authority as much as it is that this group has been raised by their parents to question everything and raise questions when they don't understand something. This generation is very independent and not afraid to challenge the status-quo....It's not that these folks have little respect for authority; on the contrary, they feel employers do not respect them.

    The key for employers is realizing that asking questions can often lead to answers and solutions that are actually more efficient and effective."

    Some food for thought......
  8. I feel respect (on the giving end) is apparent in the person who gives it attitude. If someone comes along that is a complete smart ass who thinks they know already, then you will not get respect from them, nor should they receive it from you. However, if there is a bit of humility about them (expert or not), I would sooner respect that.

    When I first came to the TBDB forums, I had not played DB in the 25 years since I graduated high school. I came to learn about an instrument that I ignored all that time, and knew I had a lot of catching up to do. It didn't take me long to find out who I needed to listen to, and who I could ignore.

    I initially became frustrated due to the time that had elapsed, and I was still met with somewhat the same attitude about being a bass guitarist that I received when I was a teenager. Once I got into actually studying the instrument, I realized the reason for the attitude. I myself have passed it on to some degree.

    I may not care for jazz, but you guys are the ones who have the knowledge, and experience to teach someone like myself, who although I have studied music, and understand theory, and know how to play (as Ed Friedland once put it) as a 'functioning member of society' on bass guitar, I have limited skill on the double bass, and draw upon the expertise of the people on TBDB. Someone mentioned youtube. I have actually looked up videos of PW, Fitzgerald, Fuqua, and others to see how you guys do it. As I said, I may not care for the music I am listening to, but I respect you guys enough to check out what you do, and learn from it.
  9. DBCrocky


    Oct 18, 2011
    Cary, NC
    First, be true to yourself and who you are. This means first being able to take a good hard look at yourself and find out who you are, and to accept yourself, a scary task many folks underestimate, and many are too frightened to undertake.

    Second, be able to admit that you are not perfect, and be OK with that, and be willing to admit graciously when you make mistakes.

    Third, understand that people are who they are, and that communities change as the people in them change, and that's OK too. Find joy in who people are rather than be upset because people aren't who you think they should be.

    Fourth, realize that, while all arguments are not equal, all people do deserve a certain level of respect as human beings. There is no need to put people down to express your disagreement with their opinions. In fact, your arguments will be more influential when expressed without personal attacks.

    Have patience with people. Modify their behavior by being a role model. Plant seeds in them and let those seeds grow.
  10. This is interesting material and although there is probably some sociological truth to these generational divisions, I think the greater truth regarding what is happening on this forum has more to do with individual behavior that cannot be so easily palmed off to generational differences in communication.

    As a former teacher, I very much enjoyed the back and forth that an intellectually curious student could bring to a discussion regardless of divergent or differing opinions. However, a good discussion means that people have the ability to LISTEN, REFLECT, be respectful of others opinions and possibly, be intellectually agile enough to change their point of view based on what has been said or imparted by others with more knowledge/expertise without resorting to name calling, insulting others or being pugnacious and/or obnoxious. Based on what I've seen/read on this forum lately, many of these negative communication traits span multi generations.

    People who hide behind some internet "nom de plume" and then feel free to engage in all sorts of weird, combative, pugnacious and/or obnoxious behavior seem to come from every generation!

    BTW, many thanks to those who have contributed to this thread so far. Great ideas and insight. It's my hope that the tone of this thread continues! (Like a good musical conversation)
  11. Cody Sisk

    Cody Sisk

    Jan 26, 2009
    Lilburn, GA
    Ronald Sachs Violins
    It's difficult for some people to keep a discussion/debate civil when they disagree. This is what's sad about our culture in this country. Disagreements lead to prideful foolish boasts and fundamentalist thinking. Perfect current example? Congress.

    How many times do you hear someone say "Politics? uh oh, let's not go there"? People seem to be trained to be afraid of confrontation or disagreement. I see it happen here all too often. I've often disagreed with luthiers here who are far more reputable than I. When debating the topic in a civil fashion, I often find my opponent to be reshaping my thoughts, feelings and beliefs about the subject matter being discussed. I feel that I'm a part of a select few who do the same. Though I often find myself abandoning this approach when some troll makes deliberate attempts to make me feel incompetent or stupid.

    I agree that this problem can't be pinned on one generation versus the next. I've known plenty of baby boomers who engage in childish tantrums when I call them out for being wrong and they know they're wrong. Also, I think you'll find that Generation Whys love any opportunity to engage in real-world (non-virtual) activities. I can't count how many high school students approach me asking if they can apprentice in my shop.

    If I could echo this brilliant message Treyzer is elaborating, it would be:

    1. Fill out your profile with specifics. Be a real person behind your posts. Otherwise, expect to be dismissed and disrespected as a troll lacking anything credible to offer here
    2. Let go of your pride and learn something. I would like to see more meat in threads that I read. Skimming through emotional prideful tantrums to get to the heart of the subject matter isn't something I want to waste my time doing..
  12. Chris Symer

    Chris Symer

    Dec 13, 2009
    Great thoughts Trey, and some wonderful responses from people with real names/profiles. Nothing to add at the moment, but I'm paying attention...
  13. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    If we're talking about tone and respect on Talkbass, I think it's a different discussion, but since this is in jazz technique, I'm going to take it strictly as a respect as a musician question.

    One hard lesson I learned after years of telling myself the comforting lie that really good people were born with talent, is that EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM WORKED REALLY HARD TO BE AS GOOD AS THEY ARE. I had to meet and get the story from a lot of them before I became willing to accept that harsh truth. Surely we're all individuals with our own unique voice, but to express it through most of the types of music that we seem to be involved with on this forum, you have to work really hard. Additionally, to go beyond a certain level, most will pay a price in health, financial security, relationship status, comfort, something.

    Liking someone, agreeing with someone, following someone's advice without question, wanting to hang out with someone, wanting to play gigs with someone, willingness to pay a big cover to hear someone perform or buy their records...all different than respecting someone.

    Musical skill is not the only reason to respect someone as a person, of course, but that seems to be what we're talking about, I'm going to try to stay on subject for once.

    Edit-For the record, I'm not as good as I want to be and I haven't worked as hard or made as many sacrifices as are required yet. I've done my best and I accept my own playing for what it is until I can improve it.
    s2bs2 likes this.
  14. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Most of the experts that show up here generally are pretty gracious and unassuming. They generally are pretty open to listening and will freely apologize if they think they're wrong. IOW, they're just great people. Goldsby and Bromberg come to mind. And if the old timers are more opinionated, they tend to relate ideas and stories anecdotally or in other ways (like PW). And then there's those terrible PUKESPRAY types. ;) Still, most importantly, the're not THAT serious and are pretty good humored until someone rubs them up the wrong way.

    There's guys like me who have been playing music a long time, but should prolly be considered more of the hobbyist type cuz we simply can't commit to it for our bread and butter. For the most part, we just have experience with what works for us but mostly our only real asset in a forum like this is to be able to form logical arguments and say things that are sensible. We can't throw our weight around because there's pretty not much there. I still consider myself a young-upstart with only 8 years of solid exp on the bass... I still try to tread carefully and try to only opine on things I know as absolutely right or close to it.

    Generally, I judge posters through a few things:
    1) Are they sensible? Logical? Can they form a decent argument without resorting to ad hominem attacks?
    2) Are they open minded or just want to get on a soapbox?
    3) What experience do they have?
    And just to go against the grain, yes IMO, in that order.

    I dunno... experience is great, but if words and socializing are the method of communication, you better be able to explain yourself well. And if you don't, you better be ready with those A/V clips so we can see what you're talking about. We've had a couple guys here with amazing resume's and in a couple instances found themselves digging a hole for themselves cuz they said the wrong thing (everybody makes mistakes).

    TBDB is like a big giant room. If you're going to walk in and act condescending-like, you're pretty much playing with fire. I dont' see things in terms of Gen X/Y/Z etc. Certainly, I think some newbies make the mistake of overjudging their skills and get all butthurt when they get their due smackdown.

    Anyways, I think people don't understand what it means to earn respect. Granted it's not given, but earning it means more than just being courteous and saying **** like "lets agree to disagree". I think you get bigger kudos if you openly show that you're willing to have your opinion changed/altered and aren't publicly afraid to admit to being wrong. Even for the experts, throwing your weight around isn't that great of a thing to do. It can be interpreted as just another form of condescension when in reality, the greats that I've met - they're just people, and generally, really good people. The folly of youth simply won't understand or recognize when they might be wrong. That's kinda hard for them. It's my personaly belief that people are all self-righteous. They think they're always right as part of their nature. Stubborn people are those that make no exceptions.

    Personally, I never really believed in the "use your real name" thing. It doesn't help you if you can't communicate to save your life. *shrug* I just did it cuz it makes you guys happier. ;)
  15. You make a good point here. I firmly believe that hearing a different viewpoint can help me see fallacies or strengths of my own ideas. Unfortunately, too many people feel threatened by a different opinion and resort to name-calling and personal attacks rather than actually debate the different point of view. Your example of congress is a prime example. "Republicans are Nazis who want to starve the hungry, kill the sick, and step on the heads of puppies." or "Democrats are socialists who want to destroy America, kill free enterprise, and brainwash children."

    While I agree that you can find examples of mature people engaging in immature behavior I still believe it is far more prevalent in younger people. The whole "I'm okay - You're Okay - Everybody gets a trophy - Everybody is a winner - You are all special" self esteem stuff that's drilled into kids heads from birth to adulthood breeds the idea that everyone's ideas and opinions are of equal value.

    I see this mentality almost every day in the high school where I teach. I also teach night courses of a university. In those classes I have very diverse age groups--some recent HS graduates and others drawing social security. There IS a difference. Can you use my personal experience to make a blanket statement that accurately describes a generation's attitude? Of course not. But at the same time, I don't think it can be completely disregarded either.
  16. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    I read this quote on a political blog once and it really stuck with me. It very much describes issues we see here and issues with congress.

  17. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Here's something that's true about TB and every other forum on the web: we're not playing music here. We are reading and writing about music -- our interactions with each other are mediated through the written word. That's what we actually do here -- music is something we do in other places.

    Just as in any other human activity, there are not equal levels of language and discursive skill on display here. Not everyone writes well, not everybody reads well, and not everybody has "getting along" skills. Some of us are downright terrible at these activities (although I suspect the truly worst among us don't post very much.) This variation in language skill -- the lower end of the distribution, anyway -- isn't limited only to new people, or young people, or people who only play bass guitar. We've had some fairly heavy people come through here who just couldn't cut the language thing or the getting along thing. And I actually do have names in mind but you'll never get them out of me.

    IMO, that's the main reason why you can't simply say "hey, I'm an accomplished ________, read my profile, I deserve respect." I know that's not what you're calling for, Trey, but I think it's an often over-looked truth about these newfangled internet forums we're dealing with.

    I guess it's probably a bit of a contrarian point of view, but I say that because our business here first and foremost is TALK about bass, you're going to have to earn your respect with your language skills, too. Not just your real world music skills -- those aren't enough. Scoffing at newbies, acting like we have a closed system of old boys, looking down our noses at bass guitarists -- all of which I've seen in spades from a few musically respectable members of TB in my 9 years here -- these are things that take down the likelihood that you are going to earn your respect.

    In other words, it's not enough to have earned your respect on the bandstand, the studio, the workshop -- you have to earn it with your actions in words, too. This is a different place than those other places. Your hard-earned real-world musical respect is probably a necessary condition for TB respect, but it's not a sufficient condition.

    All that being said, I hope people have enough wit in their brains to think about who they're talking to when they flap their lips, but that's going back to that low end of the distribution thing...

    I like the idea of a rating system -- that makes sense to me.
  18. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    What Chris said. We are very fortunate to have a crew of hard-working, wise moderators on this board.

    + + +

    As many have noted there is no way to quickly and reliably evaluate which electronic phantasm is The Real Deal (cough - 'Fuqua') and which is a poseur who has been lucky enough to land in the right place a few times (say, ah, 'me').

    The rankest newby deserves our respect. At this time of year, when our society is awash in drops of religion mixed with gallons of commerce, I think a lot about my faith's directive to honor "the inherent worth and dignity of every person." We can learn a lot even from unpleasant people. These, ah, 'individuals' might have something thought-provoking to say even when they're bas-akward. Sometimes they're right, and sometimes they grow to become right over time.

    I welcome participation on an equal footing by anybody who is committed to do so while returning the respect which he or she is entitled to. It is a small, tentative step toward growing a fairer world. [Cue "Fanfare For The Common Man" here . . . ]

    + + +

    What I really like about the internet, and TB/DB in particular, is that I get to think about what I say before I say it. That has helped me to focus on what my best self would do or say in a given situation (and whether I need to say anything at all). That, in turn, has made me just a tiny bit more likely to do the same in my offline life. Thank you all for that. As Coltrane said,
  19. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    Just a quick point about real names:

    I hope that everyone realizes that choosing to use a screen name here is not necssarily the same as posting anonymously. I choose not to use my real name as my TB name for good reasons. (For example, when my day job clients and colleagues do a Google search for me, I would rather have my day job web site be high in the search results rather than links to TB threads.) However, my profile is complete, including a link to a band web site with my bio, and my TB name is an abbreviation of my last name, so my real identity should be readily apparent to anyone who reviews my profile.

    To be clear, there are many who do post here anonymously, and I certainly understand why some feel that is an issue, but not everyone whose TB name is something other than their real name is posting anonymously.
  20. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Conversely, I could just BS you guys by using an alias for a full name. Another reason why I never really believed in it.

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