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Sarcasm on Threads

Rating: 3 votes, 2.33 average.
More and more frequently a member will reply to a thread, "Why doesn't the OP do a search of prior threads to determine if the topic has already been covered?" The phrase may be posed as "How many threads do we need on Blue Chip picks?" as an example. This is a stereotypical response I have seen numerous times on all similar forums, i.e., Acoustic Guitar, Strat Talk, etc.

This question makes the assumption that the OP is asking for instructions and has no idea what to do. To the contrary, a thread may share a topic of interest that has been posted with another approach or with a different emphasis in prior threads, but it does not mean that there is a rule that it cannot be discussed again.

If there is a related rule or policy, it should be concerning sarcasm for sarcasm's sake. I use this wonderful forum for the purpose of seeking the fellowship of other musicians for the purpose of learning, entertainment and, yes, even friendship. Sarcasm rarely addresses one of those. I do not want members intimidated such that they do not want to start a thread for fear of being shamed.

I would suggest if one finds a thread topic laborious or repetitious that they may decide to ignore it rather than viewing it as an opportunity to quip in a way that may cast a negative light on one person for the benefit of the other's image or humor at the expense of another poster.

Just a thought... The mandolin cafe in my four short years of participation has consistently been a place of mutual trust and respect. I thank you for your kind consideration of my expressed opinions.

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  1. Explorer's Avatar
    I don't mind when questions get repeated, even if about Blue Chip picks or using the search function. There are no rules against such things being mentioned again.

    Sometimes when someone asks a question centered in one of my areas of interest, I will search for a particular discussion on the topic which answers the actual question, and then post a link to that earlier topic. I'll even gently suggest searching on the topic and reading the previous discussions, especially if a question suggests that a poster didn't do so.

    As far as ascribing or assuming intent, I can only go by what is written. If there are no indications that a person did a search first, and the person isn't approaching a novel aspect of previous discussions, then I do assume the person is sincerely looking for information, and would be grateful to know of previous discussions. Similarly, if a suggestion is written in a really offensive manner, then sure, hit the Report button. If it's not clear enough to determine, then (as you suggest) ignore it.

    And, of course, thank you for expressing your opinion, and I wish you a belated welcime to the Café!
  2. lflngpicker's Avatar
    Hi Explorer, I always appreciate the link to a previous thread because the information referenced will be beneficial to the OP or any member reading and responding. These kinds of interactions are all positive. I am specifically aware of some that just answer in a wrote manner, "check previous thread" with a bit of a sneer and even a grinning avatar. In my four years there was so little of this that you might see on other forums but I felt that it was beginning to show up in the best forum on the Web, the M.C.! Thank you for allowing me to express my thoughts and for affirming me for doing so.
    Updated Mar-12-2018 at 5:30pm by lflngpicker
  3. Mark Wilson's Avatar
    Back threads are an awesome resource but honestly the exchange of fresh ideas and opinions make the site what it is. Even on the oft repeated questions. There is a grump or 3 in every bunch and I let those 'look it up!" comments pass without notice.

    Some folks seem to be irked by others asking or bragging on a product that they have deemed unnecessary or expensive and the snarky comments come out like bugs to a light. There are things that irk me but it just seems best not to put down things that others enjoy. Some folks can't resist.

    String winders, $50 tuners, bluechip picks to name a few. Dare and ask about them and someone always chimes in to tell you how little you know. It's the internet. I never get that from folks face to face.
    Well not twice anyways.
  4. JeffD's Avatar
    Here is the thing. There is nothing new under the sun. I think every topic one could think of, for the most part, has been discussed before. Especially topics about fundamentals.

    So that means that us old timers are on our 57th rehash of whether mandolins open up, or if pinky planting is ok, what is and isn't bluegrass, and how much mandolin can I buy for $250.00, do I need to learn to read standard notation. So I can understand the frustration, and the strong temptation to just say "look it up". But, truth is, it is not a rehash to the OP. The OP just wants to know what to do or how to think about it.

    So I think swallowing our frustration is the best policy. Gulp. Then be helpful, if possible. Or try to find a way to make fresh and interesting yet another thread about whether the cost of a good mandolin is worth it. Of course recommend that the topic has been dealt with elsewhere as something helpful might be found here or there. But there is a way to do it that isn't off-putting.

    Imagine if we permanently resolved these topics. The forums would be silent. If it wasn't for the same old questions, we would have almost nothing to talk about.

    And don't worry. Most everyone who gets miffed by someone abruptly telling them to look it up, will, God willing, become an old regular on the site, and someday see the same old war horse of an issue re-opened by a newer newbie, and hopefully stop themselves before they show their frustration, and smile as the wheel comes around.
  5. lflngpicker's Avatar
    Thanks JeffD and Mark W, You two made some excellent points and showed support for what I was trying to get at. The idea is to have fun learning and growing in my knowledge as a musician and helping others do the same, if possible. When someone gives me the, "Just practice more rather than buy a new pick" I think, "Wow, now that was coming from what motive?" I am fine with constructive suggestions or direct instruction, not being one to feel I know close to everything or anything for that matter.

    Well, you obviously see what I am getting at. Gosh, Jeff, Mark and Explorer-- the mandolin experience and the drive to improve-- both were improved, no, err, enhanced dramatically by interacting with my fellow participants on this Cafe. I am grateful to you and all our friends out there in this cyber forum. Thanks again!
  6. James Miller's Avatar
    When I posted about the Seagull S8 Mandolin, I did do a search and found page after pages of mentions but no topic. Least not that I found until mine was posted, and then someone else posted - there it was!

    The search engine does not always bring up what a person is looking for topic wise, and brings up everything someone has typed instead. And when one works 2 jobs, sleep is iffy, one does not have an hour to search before posting - especially when they are excited and want the world to experience what they are at the time.

    Know sarcasm all too well... TerraTrike Forums is known for that... glad that is not HERE.
  7. Gelsenbury's Avatar
    I don't feel targeted, but since I'm the author of the line about how many threads about Blue Chip picks the forum needs - which you use as an example - I thought I'd join the discussion.

    Some users visit the Mandolin Cafe forum for information, others use it as a social network, and for many there are elements of both. Humour is useless when just information is sought. But it fulfils an important function in the social aspect: making the conversation less formal, and - with a bit of luck - making people chuckle and think. Since my writing style is relatively formal, it's sometimes also the only way to show that I'm chatting and not teaching.

    Of course, humour is risky and sometimes goes wrong. I said in your Blue Chip thread that it was not my intention to attack you (or indeed the company). But you obviously felt treated badly, and my answer was unhelpful. For that, I apologise. If you searched for my other posts in this forum I hope you would find that I'm (appropriately) humble about my own skills and knowledge, and happy if I can help. This was obviously not the message I brought across in that particular thread, and I'm sorry.

    As Jeff wrote, you see the same topics come up again and again. Blue Chip picks, pinky planting, best mandolin for under $x, etc. Yes, it would be rude only to point contributors to the search function. I think Scott Tichenor once wrote that people want to talk to people, not to a search engine. I agree with that and find it very well put. Nevertheless, in most online forums, searching before posting is just good manners ... and common sense too, because why would anyone want to ask about information that they haven't even attempted to search for yet?

    So, personally, I'm against a ban of repeat threads and also against a ban on sarcasm. We all have in common that we love the mandolin. That's why we write, chat, joke, and help each other here. And if we ever get the tone wrong, we are grown-up enough to apologise.
  8. Jim Garber's Avatar
    Some of us curmudgeons here may mention prior threads on the same topics but that is mainly to add to the current crop of posts and we will supply a link to those past threads that are appropriate. I don't see many folks posting nasty "Go search" threads. Besides if someone does start a new thread that thread already exists and probably has a bunch of posts already.

    BTW for those who are frustrated with the internal search engine, try a site search on google: [subject without brackets here]
  9. lflngpicker's Avatar
    Thanks Gelsenbury, Apology accepted and I know your intention wasn't to be rude or personal. Your thoughts above were expressed so clearly and I did understand the ideas you outlined. I simply noticed a bit of a tone difference in the MC, and it certainly isn't a single individual that I was referring to. I realize your intent in my BC thread and even more so after you explained so well what you were meaning. Forgive me if I misinterpreted, most sincerely.

    Jim Garber, I always enjoy our exchanges and the many ways you provide info, as in this case with the search on google formatting.

    Good to get to know you, James M. Thanks to all. I am always learning and I think this exchange has been both friendly and informative.
  10. Bill McCall's Avatar
    Always good to bring up discussions of etiquette for a wide variety of reasons, not the least of which is to maintain civility.

    Now, for my $250 mandolin, which Blue Chip should I get if I play mostly bluegrass, but some Irish and use mostly J-74's but sometimes monel, if I want to get a bright, woody tone?
  11. lflngpicker's Avatar
    Hi Bill, My experience is limited to the one I have tried, my new B.C. CT55 (the Chris Thile version)-- I have no illusions, BTW . I will say that I am really enjoying practicing fiddle tune lessons with it. Do you play an A or F style, or is it a flat top? Thanks, Bill!
    Updated Nov-21-2019 at 6:53pm by lflngpicker
  12. Bill McCall's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by lflngpicker
    Hi Bill, My experience is limited to the one I have tried, my new B.C. CT55 (the Chris Thile version-- I have no illusions, BTW . I will say that I am really enjoying practicing fiddle tune lessons with it. Do you play an A or F style, or is it a flat top? Thanks, Bill!
    Well, your reply shows that my attempt at starting a discussion full of cliched questions shows that print doesn't really convey all of the information one might intend, even with the addition of a smiley face.

    But it does show that people respond openly and honestly to questioners with sincere replies, no matter how frequent a beginner question can be asked. I tried to ask as many items as I could reasonably put into a request that hits many of the common questions that are often created by 'search here' for an answer.

    It can be a fine line between humor and sarcasm and I'm hoping my answer was above the line.
  13. lflngpicker's Avatar
    Bill, I should have recognized the hilariousness of your loaded question. I am laughing at myself for not catching it-- I wanted to be, as you said, sincere. As a result, I ran past the open gate with an arrow pointing "enter here". Humor is always welcome and should be differentiated from sarcasm, though sarcasm in the right context might be constructive. I think well framed satire has a place, and possibly that would be the distinction we could make in reference to the broader topic.

    Anyway, thanks for letting me off the hook.