Woodwind Forum: You want answers, you can’t handle answers…

imageApologies to the creators of that great line Jack Nicolson delivers in “A Few Good Men”. Where do you go to get answers for almost anything. Internet forums can be a valuable piece of your solution set. When it comes to music, I now go to the Woodwind Forum where I am an administrator. It isn’t as large a place as say the Sax on the Web (where I used to be the chief admin), but I know the people on the Woodwind Forum and I get very good response to my various music-based questions. I also try to provide support to the group so that this forum is a friendly and useful place.

I really like the mix of professionals, teachers, and amateurs on the Woodwind forum. There are also a number of music instrument historians and collectors who frequent the discussions. Because we are not the big dawg on the street (size-wise), we get fewer of the really annoying questions like:

1.What is the best sax for me to buy?

2. How can I sound like Kenny G?

3. Is there a way that I can learn music without taking lessons?

4. I just found an old, POC instrument; how much is it worth?

Arriving at any new forum can be very intimidating as you stare into the huge collection of information. So here are four quick and dirty guidelines to get you started in any forum. My examples will be drawn from the Woodwind Forum.

image

Tips and Tricks

1. Find and read the rules before you join. If you get a bad vibe, look for another forum. Here is an example of our rules:

The end-all, be-all of our rules is “be nice to each other.” There are some specific things that we want to mention, though:

  • Be respectful of each other. Remember, one has to “take offense”. If you take offense to something, ask politely for clarification. Someone might have “misspoken”. If you have a real problem and can’t settle it via PM, talk to a staff member.
  • Post in English. This isn’t because we’re English snobs, it’s because we can’t read anything else. (Well, mostly.)
  • Make an effort to use good spelling and grammar (see the above note). If you can’t read English and you’re using Google Translate or something similar, the translation will be hideous if the spelling and/or grammar is bad.
  • We recommend that you use Firefox, IE7 Pro (or better), Google Chrome or the Iron browser. All these have built in spell-checkers. You could also type your message in your favorite text processor, check it and then copy and paste it into the forum.
  • Please limit your use of slang. I’ve worked with people from all over the world and it is sometimes amusing to see the looks on their faces when I use slang, but you can’t see people here, so there’s no amusement value.

2. If you join fill out enough of your profile so that people on that forum can answer your questions and great you appropriately. Suggesting you check out a store in the US may not be especially helpful to someone in France. Here is my profile as an example:

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3. View this humorous but enlightening video:

4. Find the Welcome topic and introduce yourself. Start slow and try to be a person who does more than just ask for help and questions.

Good luck and practice safe foruming. (Is that a word?)

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About Gandalfe

Just an itinerant saxophonist trying to find life between the changes. I have retired from the Corps of Engineers and Microsoft. I am an admin on the Woodwind Forum, run the Microsoft Jumpin' Jive Orchestra, and enjoy time with family and friends.
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4 Responses to Woodwind Forum: You want answers, you can’t handle answers…

  1. haha, thanks for sharing Jim. That video was pretty good.

    Although I might argue that starting a new thread is sometimes a good idea if there are multiple pages within the current thread. If the topic is actually tangential and not directly related anyway.

    Ideally, you would want people to read all of the thread before adding to it OR creating a near duplicate thread.

    But you’ve moderated sotw and woodwind forum, what do you think about that?

    -Neal

  2. One can tell that the Woodwind Forum was started by experienced admins, knowledgable and enthusiastic about their passion for woodwind instruments – I find it unfortunate however, that you must point out getting fewer questions of the “What is the best sax for me to buy?” type or again “I just found an old, POC instrument; how much is it worth?” type (what does “POC” stands for again?) as one of the highlight of the Woodwind Forum on top of qualifying those questions of “annoying” – While it might really get fewer of those questions; it is not a very PC thing to say, IMO – Surely your forum has other, better qualities to be worth mentioning instead.

  3. Gandalfe says:

    Kim, you are of course right. Still ten years of answering poorly though out questions that have already been answered are hugely annoying. POC stands for piece of crap and refers to the cheap instruments that a naive purchaser finds in abundance now a days. CSO is my favorite acronym in that ilk to as clarinet-shaped object. :O)

    Neal, people will take what they thing is the easiest path to get their answers. Reading through 20 threads on any one question probably would provide the answer, but everyone feels like their question is unique in some way.

    • Still ten years of answering poorly though out questions that have already been answered are hugely annoying.
      Well, at least you’re honest about it.

      For some reason I thought that POC stood for something else, but then I realized it is I who can’t spell (oops!)

      BTW, I also owned a TI 99 in the 80’s or actually, my father did 🙂

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