Recently here in the United States there has been quite a bit of press and television coverage about the pitfalls of online activity. Personal Web pages and online chat software have played their role in allowing less than honorable people to behave in a manner not accepted by the general public. The Internet landscape has grown over the years into a place to meet audiophile friends online, share experiences, and learn about both new and vintage equipment. Add to that the many DIY projects and various tweaks discussed online and it is easy to see how much great information there is to be enjoyed! The speed at which information is shared, and the worldwide access available to millions, has allowed high-end audio to flourish and grow. But there are also naysayers... and a darker side to be found.
My previous editorial in April 2005 discusses much of this plus various scams, though felt a basic revisit was in order as warnings of online activity have been taking much of the limelight in the past month or so in mainstream media. Like many Americans, July is my month for holiday and pleasure. As such, my workload is time-shifted to being between consecutive days of relaxation interrupted by frantic hours of playing workload catch up. During this time i also enjoy meeting new audiophiles online and participation within various discussion board and chartrooms. The difference between moderated and non-moderated boards/groups is easy to discover.
These are places where anything goes. Think of it as the Wild Wild West, with gunslingers, bullies, and where you find the good guys in White Hats battling the Black Hat Barts. Heated debates can become personal attacks that have no bearing on the original post's signal as the noise factor takes control. Over the years many audiophiles have migrated to moderated boards as the noise level on many non-moderated boards has eclipsed the signal. Adding insult to injury, the usual sock puppets and forged posts (as discussed in my previous article) make their presence felt and many of us have chosen to quickly find more enjoyable places to hang out online.
Moderated discussion boards are those that have members who are trusted to ensure civility. Their job is to not only remove the usual spam posts, but also to reduce the noise and personal attacks. These boards can be a great resource to meet friends, learn about new equipment, and aid in troubleshooting a problem you may have with a piece of gear. Over the years i have met many people all around the world who i first 'met' on these boards. Some boards have get-togethers at shows so everyone can finally meet one another. Writers from Enjoy the Music.com participate within various boards, with one being a moderator of a board's section.
A benefit from these boards also includes learning about new tweaks. The handball footers, using Dynamat sheets on a component's chassis, small ball bearings on a cup, etc. are but two of the many anti-resonant tweaks. Most online discussion of tweaks come from DIY'ers and guys who find great ways to enhance their gear for little to no money. Better still, these tweaks are easy to try and if they do not work as desired, you can simply remove them with no harm done.
A Few Suggestions
For security reasons, do not divulge too much personal
Use the same moniker for all boards.
Use the discussion boards search function.
Stay on topic.
Avoid personal attacks.
Avoid rumors and gossip.
Have fun, listen, and learn.
Meeting people you encounter online.
A Salute To The Many Great Online Friends!
Many thanks to everyone who i have met online and/or in person at shows. My life is that much more enjoyable and enlightened. Together we have been able to further enhance our musical pleasures and find new ways to have fun. As we always say, in the end what really matters to me is that we all....