Is there anybody out there?

R900

New Member
What happened to this place? It's like a ghost town. 2 members online, not much activity.
It used to be a lot busier. Where did everyone go?
 

John Brooks

Well-Known Member
What happened to this place? It's like a ghost town. 2 members online, not much activity.
It used to be a lot busier. Where did everyone go?
Good question and well answered already. However, your question took me in a slightly different direction. You are identified as a new member, but know tMP used to be more active. That leads me to ask what made you leave and what brought you back? Maybe your own experience is part of the answer?

Also Dave, if most have moved on to Facebook as you suggest, would it make more sense to move tMP? Again, asking the question out of interest as we've both been around here for a long time.
 
What happened to this place? It's like a ghost town. 2 members online, not much activity.
It used to be a lot busier. Where did everyone go?
I've always checked from time to time and read posts that were of interest to me. A portion of the subjects involve local, rather than universal situations, and since I'm not local, they don't affect me. My primary interest is TrumpetBoards.com, which BTW has rather sparse participation, too. I cancelled my FB account years ago due to multiple issues with them, and I'm not interested in other popular social media sites. TromboneChat.com and TrumpetHerald.com have quirks that keep me from regular participation.

Is there a broader situation with forums in general similar to theMouthPiece.com? Perhaps. Times change, as does interest. Some topics get discussed to the point that there is nothing more to add, so participation just stops. Nature of the beast, I suppose.
 
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MoominDave

Well-Known Member
Also Dave, if most have moved on to Facebook as you suggest, would it make more sense to move tMP? Again, asking the question out of interest as we've both been around here for a long time.

You mean to create a Facebook group with the TMP branding? Not sure that would make great sense - it might have say 12 years ago, when TMP was still in the greater banding consciousness to some extent and Facebook hadn't been about for ever. Indeed, I have a vague feeling somebody did do that about then, and it wasn't a success?

But there are specific banding Facebook groups now, some of which see a lot of traffic - but most of which are as moribund as this place. The "Bored Bandsmen" FB group was set up at the start of lockdown, and quickly gathered thousands of members. It's the most active brass banding FB group that I'm aware of, but it shows the same pattern as all online gatherings of bandspeople seem to - rapid growth phase (novelty, new discovery, perhaps associated with particular events) followed by a much slower decline phase (boredom, saturation, nostalgia for the early days, unwillingness to leave a formerly exciting place that's no longer exciting). It's down to a mere 10 or so new threads a day now, from an early-pandemic high of dozens. Remember when TMP had that much posting? Ah, nostalgia.

What is TMP at this point in time? It was a vibrant online (and sometimes offline) community that flourished for about 3 or 4 years in the early 2000s, a format that felt quite ground-breaking at the time. It was also the tail of that community as it petered out over the next half-decade, in the face of trolls and falling participation, a time when its reputation outstripped its abilities. In the decade since then it's been occasional posts, only resurrected by the occasional fly-away controversy of a thread (for example, I regularly point people at the 2016 Brexit thread to help them understand how things politically went as they disastrously did), a situation that's done little to make the place feel welcoming. Right now, its primary value is as an archive of discussions, some of which from back then are still worth referring to. If it stays up long enough, I don't doubt someone will get a PhD thesis out of the dynamics of it: "Blowing Their Own Horns: TheMouthPiece.com - An llustration of Shifting Social and Class Paradigms in the Early Internet Age" :)
It's a place some of us owe a lot to - a wife, in my case, as well as good banding friends and an online moniker that spread from here to other social media platforms and out into real life. I'll always keep an eye on it, but it's really very difficult to feel that it's anything other than played out unless online circumstances change. Which is a long way round to say that I don't see that its branding has enough cachet for it be successful in establishing a FB group using it. But never say never.
 
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James Yelland

Well-Known Member
It's symptomatic of the UK brass band scene generally, I think. Even allowing for the pandemic, the band scene has been moribund for some time now. The only respectable outlet for bandsmen to debate with one another and register points of interest, the 4BR letters column, ended some years ago. A pity, because it was the most lively part of the website and I don't know why it ceased. The editor seems to spend a lot of time nowadays jetting around the world to various international contests, so maybe he doesn't have the time to edit any more? The British Bandsman stopped publishing letters years ago too, and Brass Band World magazine never had a letters page in the first place. Elsewhere, nobody seems to be making CDs any more, so its difficult to hear new music. I honestly can't remember the last time I bought a new band CD. And of course, any chance of hearing bands on the radio is next to zero. What a contrast that all is to forty years ago.

It's ironic that just as this decay is setting in, Brass Bands England is making significant headway to becoming an effective voice for its members!
 

MoominDave

Well-Known Member
It's symptomatic of the UK brass band scene generally, I think. Even allowing for the pandemic, the band scene has been moribund for some time now. The only respectable outlet for bandsmen to debate with one another and register points of interest, the 4BR letters column, ended some years ago. A pity, because it was the most lively part of the website and I don't know why it ceased. The editor seems to spend a lot of time nowadays jetting around the world to various international contests, so maybe he doesn't have the time to edit any more? The British Bandsman stopped publishing letters years ago too, and Brass Band World magazine never had a letters page in the first place. Elsewhere, nobody seems to be making CDs any more, so its difficult to hear new music. I honestly can't remember the last time I bought a new band CD. And of course, any chance of hearing bands on the radio is next to zero. What a contrast that all is to forty years ago.

It's ironic that just as this decay is setting in, Brass Bands England is making significant headway to becoming an effective voice for its members!
Not sure that these are related quite as closely as you suggest, Jim. We're only 20 years into the age of mass internet use now, there's been a lot of churn in the way people communicate and absorb knowledge, and there will be a lot ahead of us, although some patterns are becoming clear. I think almost anything that arises online has to be considered ephemeral for now. TMP belongs solidly in this tradition.

The whole UK banding scene... Has its major problems, for sure. And isn't what it was at various points of time in the past. The 1970s and 80s seem a world of riches from here - bands on national TV, knocking on the door of major arts festivals, industry sponsorships. In reality, this was the tail end of an older era, the age of company bands proudly touring the country and playing to packed-out crowds night after night. TV itself killed much of the appetite for paying attention to banding that was in that time - why go out when increasingly impressive entertainment is beamed to your home? That's been gone a while, and banding has been settling in to a new way of being for 20-30 years now. The pandemic's given us all a big knock, and its effect shouldn't be underestimated, but, as you suggest, there's been a different kind of scene to the further past regardless of it. "Moribund"? I wouldn't say so. This place is moribund - "lacking vitality or vigour". There are plenty of people and groups in UK banding displaying plenty of both of those.

I must admit that your fondness for the memory of the 4BR letters page exceeds mine... The level of debate was often eye-rollingly over-simplified, the turnaround rate too slow for meaningful conversation, and it attracted plenty of 'green ink' writers. (Not your good self, of course, I hasten to add!)
 

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
By chance I looked in here tonight but it’s been a few days since I last checked on these pages.

Why has this place demised so? Multiple social factors but I would say some bad calls too. This place suffered from Trolls and they weren’t properly addressed by the site owners - admittedly a difficult thing to do - and some particularly divisive threads were allowed to continue when they should have been locked by the Mods. It could have all have been so different.

I’m a member of another couple of forums and they’re active despite not being Facebook or whatever. Why are they still going strong and this place is not? I’ve given my answer above but YMMV.

It’s most sad really, I’ve learnt a lot from this place and hope that it stays in existence. The archives are great sources of info and I live in hope that people will eventually wise-up and return to this place - unlikely but not impossible.
 

KMJ Recordings

Supporting Member
You mean to create a Facebook group with the TMP branding? Not sure that would make great sense - it might have say 12 years ago, when TMP was still in the greater banding consciousness to some extent and Facebook hadn't been about for ever. Indeed, I have a vague feeling somebody did do that about then, and it wasn't a success?

But there are specific banding Facebook groups now, some of which see a lot of traffic - but most of which are as moribund as this place. The "Bored Bandsmen" FB group was set up at the start of lockdown, and quickly gathered thousands of members. It's the most active brass banding FB group that I'm aware of, but it shows the same pattern as all online gatherings of bandspeople seem to - rapid growth phase (novelty, new discovery, perhaps associated with particular events) followed by a much slower decline phase (boredom, saturation, nostalgia for the early days, unwillingness to leave a formerly exciting place that's no longer exciting). It's down to a mere 10 or so new threads a day now, from an early-pandemic high of dozens. Remember when TMP had that much posting? Ah, nostalgia.

What is TMP at this point in time? It was a vibrant online (and sometimes offline) community that flourished for about 3 or 4 years in the early 2000s, a format that felt quite ground-breaking at the time. It was also the tail of that community as it petered out over the next half-decade, in the face of trolls and falling participation, a time when its reputation outstripped its abilities. In the decade since then it's been occasional posts, only resurrected by the occasional fly-away controversy of a thread (for example, I regularly point people at the 2016 Brexit thread to help them understand how things politically went as they disastrously did), a situation that's done little to make the place feel welcoming. Right now, its primary value is as an archive of discussions, some of which from back then are still worth referring to. If it stays up long enough, I don't doubt someone will get a PhD thesis out of the dynamics of it: "Blowing Their Own Horns: TheMouthPiece.com - An llustration of Shifting Social and Class Paradigms in the Early Internet Age" :)
It's a place some of us owe a lot to - a wife, in my case, as well as good banding friends and an online moniker that spread from here to other social media platforms and out into real life. I'll always keep an eye on it, but it's really very difficult to feel that it's anything other than played out unless online circumstances change. Which is a long way round to say that I don't see that its branding has enough cachet for it be successful in establishing a FB group using it. But never say never.

John Burns had a go at heading to FB....it was very much a target for missiles, due to the different mode of delivery....it was another reason why he left the whole thing behind, I believe.
 

MoominDave

Well-Known Member
John Burns had a go at heading to FB....it was very much a target for missiles, due to the different mode of delivery....it was another reason why he left the whole thing behind, I believe.
Vague memory stirs that I spoke about it at the time. Quick Google doesn't turn up that particular thread, but it does produce this time machine:
 
the 4BR letters column, ended some years ago. A pity, because it was the most lively part of the website and I don't know why it ceased.
Hello Jim, I asked that question a while ago as I miss the letters (and the editorial column) too. Mr Fox told me, and I quote directly from his reply, that he "just cannot be bothered to edit an echo chamber of increasingly crass libelness (sic) nonsense from people with worthless opinions".

I didn't say so at the time, but I thought that the job of an editor was to sift out the 'nonsense' from the 'sensible' stuff and only publish the sensible stuff. Or in other words, to edit. I also thought that the comment about 'worthless opinions' failed to grasp the nature of opinions themselves and showed a degree of disrepect to those who hold them. Perhaps it shows why it's a good idea to keep the roles of proprietor and editor separate?

Happy Christmas to all,

Etc.
 

GBH

New Member
What happened to this place? It's like a ghost town. 2 members online, not much activity.
It used to be a lot busier. Where did everyone go?

How strange to stumble across this so randomly.

Seemingly I joined in 2004 and I've not logged in for at least 10 years as my old email address I signed up with has been dead for at least that long. I was hardly prolific anyway (well ok I never posted) but 10 years is a long time to be away...

While I've not stopped playing I've not played in a band in 9 years and that was one of the reasons why I stopped coming here. There were a lot of reasons why I walked away from banding but the endless, boring "politics" and bickering were the final straw. I've never been in the highest circles of banding (played in the Championship Section for about 10 years but never for the likes of Brighouse or Dyke) but at my "level" one day I just stopped enjoying it. At the time, there were too many petty close minded people who refused to update, innovate and drag banding onto a more modern footing made worse by those who had elevated opinions of their own importance and abilities. I am actually itching to get back to it now in the hope some of that has maybe changed or as I'm older I'll not let it affect me so much. That said, seeing the huge pissing match that's recently gone on between Kapitol and BBE I suspect it's the same old rubbish all around and it's seriously made me consider whether I want any part of it.

But as has been mentioned above, this site is more indicative of the whole movement and I suspect of the Internet as a whole. For context even most of the mega social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have seen a plateau of new users, at least in the US over the past 5 years with only Reddit and the new kids on the block like TikTock seeing a significant increase. In the UK, social media usage has seen year on year increases in the very low single figure percentages over the past 5 years and the projections for the next 5 years indicate a sub 0.5% increase YoY.

So with
  • little to no new people using social media
  • a general downturn in banding as a whole (reason for this is a whole different debate)
  • very little "new" innovation in banding to really discuss
  • (possibly?) still the same generation of older people involved and controlling the direction/narrative
This is all going to have a significant impact on the forum and how much discussion there is going to be. FWIW this isn't the only previously thriving forum I frequented that seems to have died a death (completely unrelated to brass banding I hasten to add) so I don't think this is peculuar to this forum.

As far as this forum is concerned I'm not sure there really is an answer as this is just indicative of a far greater, deeper and systemic problem with banding as a whole and that's not something that's going to be solved by resurrecting or trying to invigorate a forum such as this.

G
 

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