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On pumpkins and politics: Changing up what’s allowed on the site


Bravo, Bax. There are plenty of other places to air one's political laundry or simply try to get a rise out of others. Some people just want to watch the world burn. I'd much rather play my Gretsch and talk guitars.


Tim, I agreed with you before you wrote this topic. It's a question of balance and I think you do a commendable job of balancing the freedom of expression with forum decorum. Do as you see fit and don't let it weigh too heavily on yourself.

For the most part, I stopped participating in the type of threads that become toxic a few years ago. I'm just too busy and too tired most of the time. I'm bombarded with that stuff 24/7 everywhere else. I usually look here for a tiny vacation from that - but that's just me. I'm usually late for most threads I participate in anyway.

It's a privilege to be "here," so thank you for all you do.


Bax, I always thought you had it covered with the "Make your comment worth reading. And don't be a jerk." default text.

So long as we can discuss pumpkin colored guitars, I'm good.


If religion and politics are going to be taboo subjects here, that is not in any way contrary to the principle of free speech. You're not limiting anyone's freedoms by having such a policy, you're simply focussing the site on a specific set of parameters. Plenty places to discuss religion and politics on the internet; if you want to talk religion and politics, go to a site about religion or politics. I’ve done that myself on occasion, but I wouldn’t dream of doing it here. You wouldn’t go to, say, a football site to discuss ballet, or to a cookery site to talk about space exploration, so why come to a guitar and music site to talk politics or religion? You have set this site up to discuss guitars and music and you want to keep the chat on point - that’s not curbing anyone’s freedoms, it’s sensible moderating. It's not as if you're trying to prevent folks from discussing these things at all.

I don't read the (very few) posts I've seen here on politics after having read one of them - I wished I hadn't read it, in fact, because it resulted in 2 folks who previously had been on good terms with each other, having a major falling out. I completely understand why you want such things to be kept off your site, but please - set your mind at ease over the free speech thing, it really doesn’t apply in this case.


I only come here for the guitars. (and the cute animal threads)


I come for home spun wisdom from all the guys who are older than me...which im starting to think is all of them.


The Great Pumpkin is a fascist heresy.


For the record.... as a person who feels life is a journey of learning and exploration of ideas, my mind has been changed many times. I enjoy the range of topics and ideas on this site. While it is rare that I contribute to a political conversation, I like to hear what people are thinking. Religion is another area that I rarely if ever comment on. I certainly would not start a political or religious thread.

“The Great Pumpkin” seems like such a harmless yet thought provoking catagory of ideas. It is in essence part of who I am as a person. I look for the “magic” in all things. For me it is the what makes the world a joyful place. Creativity itself springs from its shores. Respectfully I will adhere to Baxter’s wishes. Yet I cannot rerfrain from my journey into the mystical. May your “mojo” never run dry...


I swing the other way. I see very little direct moderation on GT, and like it that way. It seems self regulating most of the time, maybe because topics with the potential to go south are verboten from the outset.


I don't understand why GretschTalk is even being brought up. They are absolutely not in any way a factor in or a model for anything I decision I make, and in particular are not a factor in any moderation decision I might make.


It was a response to Macphisto's post (no.45).


1) Baxter you have kind of danced around the fact that this is a private venue and speech rights and all that do not exist. Legally, the rules are it's your house and whatever want them to be (the NFL could do the same to control current issues but chooses not to - that's a Great Pumpkin discussion, I bring it up for illustrative purpose only).

2) I don't mind the political discussion as people are very often sorely in need of being educated on things like the US Constitution in particular.

3) I also think the posts get a lot of traction. Isn't traffic good for the site? I don't know a lot about the media side so maybe not.

4) I'll still come either way but the vintage section which is largely what interests me seems to be shrinking.


Knavel, with absolutely no intention of being even mildly disagreeable - much less combative - it's seemed to me since I came back in August after about 10 months away that the vintage side has become more robust and active than I remember it being for many years. Kind of a renaissance, I've felt. Lots of good stuff I've followed with interest (without contributing much, because I'm not knowledgeable enough to add value).

Just my impression after undergoing a kind of self-imposed reset on all things GDP...


Whatever works for you, sir. Love this place


Bax, I clearly understand why you have made this change. So, I respect your decision in doing so. Like others have said, it's your house.

I don't often engage in any of the GDP's political discussions these days. And, in those threads which I have started where I thought there was a chance that someone could begin to introduce political bickering, I expressly requested that politics not be injected into the discussion. That being said, I am one of those in the minority who learns from others' opinions about this sort of thing. Not that I necessarily adopt their opinion; but, I do learn something from them.

Before the passage of too much time, these political discussions on the GDP often seem to be commandeered by the same usual members who like to lob grenades at each other. It makes me weary; I can only imagine what it does to you.

I did have, however, a very polite political discussion with multiple GDP members this morning on FB. We exchanged ideas there, we each believed that the other was speaking with goodwill, and I think that there was some benefit which was created from it. Did minds get changed? Unlikely. Did some click away with different thoughts in their head than they arrived with? Perhaps, if not even likely.

Civil political discussions can be had, but the people in the discussion are the ones who control the tone. Rather than banning all discussions which touch upon world events or political themes, it seems better to me that those who turn these threads into food fights should simply be warned and then put in a time out if you, Bax, determine that they have acted inappropriately in the discussion. And, that action should be swift and with a very short leash in the case of further instances of that behaviour when they come out of the time out. One warning, one violation, one repeated violation after some mandatory time in the penalty box, and the offender is banned from the site. Period. End of discussion.

In short, I see value to these threads, but would like to see the behaviour of some agitators controlled when they seem unable to exhibit any self-discipline of their own.


Like Bob, I have found there is value in many of these discussions, at least in the earlier portions before the grenades begin to fall. As a non-American I struggle to understand the miasma of US politics (the entire Electoral College system) as it is very true that what happens south of 49 can and does have an effect north of it as well. So I feel a need to understand the whys and wherefores of some of the events which have taken place. Being informed about happenings in America can help me understand issues here in Canada.

But I have also watched so much intelligent discourse descend into name-calling and tribalism (Sadly, at least once I was partially responsible for it, although I try to keep my neutral hat on as much as I can). I'm here -and elsewhere- to learn what can, and not just about guitars. Unfortunately, so many other sites have shut down political discussions as a "quick fix" to the problem, which means to me that the strident shouters have won. Tim, you have to be commended for allowing it to continue as long as you have, and I'll happily support your decision. But I will also be a little saddened by it, because it means the loud and obnoxious have won another round in the war on civility.

Besides being what I laughingly refer to as a "semi-unemployed musician", I am by nature and past vocation a negotiator of sorts, and have stood or sat between opposing parties many, many times in an effort to find common ground, be it between union and management or between customers and service providers. Until recently, I have always thought myself to be pretty successful at it, but when it comes to the way politics has become almost literally a blood sport, it seems that the middle ground has been ceded and there is no room for debate.

We need to be tolerant of others' views. I am certainly willing to listen and want to learn what I can from them. But when all I get in response to a reasonable comment or question is hate and vitriol, it's tough to remain calm.


I love this forum. Definitely worth donating to. It is very free wheeling and , compared to most, void of the narkiness and bullying.

The political aspect of this forum are so appealing to me. I know there are political forums but they are not genuine and so often a means to people trying to appear intellectual by sharing thoughts they've stolen from others.

I know i am usually just a witness to these heated forums but they do give me an insight into the opinions of the good folk of the USA that i don't have living where i do now.

is it possible you add another category ? something like 'Dangerous Posts' that way folks who want just guitar talk can completely avoid


You can already avoid anything you don't want to read by not reading it. That hasn't worked. It's simply too tempting for many of us to dive in... irresistible, even.

It seems the consensus and overwhelming majority agree with Bax's decision. Plus, it's less work for him, which is a good thing considering he does this for free, with his own time. One less thing to worry about.

The only way a "dangerous sub-forum" would work were if it were completely unmoderated; no locking threads. So Bax wouldn't have to watch it, worry about it, or stop it. Just letting the animals run wild. Which causes alot of animosity (which we have seen confessed here in this thread)... not to mention because there are no rules, no one really knows when they might be stepping over the "jerk line", as that is open to the interpretation of one person: Bax. Better to not deal with that at all.

The problem with discussing these issues online is that the relative anonymity makes people brasher than normal; you can't hear people's tones. People get insulted MUCH easier, and people are willing to insult MUCH faster. Much easier to be sarcastic, snide, and "clever" (gotcha!) when typing on the computer. If we were all sitting around a room together, I don't think the conversations would get as heated, or as snarky.

I have been saying this for awhile now... just because someone disagrees with you politically does not mean they are bad person, a racist, homophobe, misogynist, fascist, freeloader, idiot, warmonger, or anything else you care to come up with. It means that they are likely a very fine person who thinks differently than you do. But that is unfortunately lost on internet forums. I have learned from the political discussions here, as have others, but imo the cost is higher than the benefit.

And, I'll repeat it again- this is the ONLY music forum I frequent that even allows (allowed) these discussions, and it's the one I have seen the most venom in as well. All good people, for the most part, but the "debating while not face-to-face" thing seems to remove the humanity from the situation, and everyone turns into a political satirist.


I'm thankful for the change.

People can still have political discussions offline but that rarely happens because the soapbox is so small.

Can we replace politics with porn? Just asking'. I know, it's the same thing...


please excuse me if i was unclear...i never meant to imply that your policies are influenced by GT's policies.


I totally respect, and will follow Bax's new rules. With that said, I did see a very good point on facebook yesterday that reminded me of this thread. Someone sated..."Instead of being taught not to talk about religion and politics, we should be taught to discuss them with respect to others." or something like that. It's a great point but the thing is , these are such hot button topics they will inevitably become heated. It's just the nature of it and who we are. Core belief's and all that good stuff, ya know.

Have I said that I love all of ya,lately?


is it possible you add another category ? something like 'Dangerous Posts' that way folks who want just guitar talk can completely avoid


You can already avoid anything you don't want to read by not reading it. That hasn't worked. It's simply too tempting for many of us to dive in... irresistible, even.


The only way it would work is to have it as a sub-forum that you have to intentionally go to. I don't know how long the "New Topics" option has been around, but I didn't start using it until a couple of years ago. I used to only go to the vintage section. As long as potentially toxic topics show up when browsing new threads, people who are too sensitive to handle those threads are inevitably going to wade in get their feelings hurt. And no matter what, some unsuited people are going to join the mayhem regardless of how much they are warned. And then they'll get upset, and then they'll whine to Baxter. Maybe less, but it'll still happen.

And I'm not trying to harass Baxter into changing his mind. Just making a point.


Old-timers will remember "The Soapbox" and what an unmitigated disaster that was.

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