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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 2:32 pm 
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One of the ongoing debates on the forum is whether the forum discourages negative feedback about instruments and instrument makers. Some argue that the forum ought to warn potential consumers against purchasing less-than-desirable products or from dealing with instrument makers with bad customer service. Others argue, as cogently, that there is potential for unfair criticism, even abuse, of instrument makers. I think both groups are correct.

This is a complex problem with no tidy solution. Subjectivity and individual tastes apply to judgment of instruments. The experience of the person giving the opinion is huge, but difficult to judge on the forum. Even customer service is highly subjective and some argue that Americans make unrealistic demands re: customer service. (I have seen--from my American perspective-- completely egregious business practices defended on the board. (So he's taken your money, is a year past promised delivery date, and won't return your calls or email! What do you people expect?))

We do not have a complete and clear set of guidelines on posting about negative comments; and what I'm writing now won't provide it. But, it'll be a start!

Let's start with 3 basic principles.

1. Comment only from personal experience. No "people have told me...", "other players have said," etc. It may well be true that a poster here has stood around with a half-dozen very fine musicians and all of them said that Instruments by X are dreadful. And, admittedly, that would be useful for someone to know if they're about to buy an X instrument. But allowing the reporting of 2nd hand feedback is a problem. Let's say I order a whistle from Barack McCain and he takes too long to deliver and then I'm disappointed and unhappy with Barack McCain's return policy. If I post about that and stick to the facts, I think that's fair. However, it's all too tempting, in my fury at BM, to remember that someone sent me an email a year ago and said they didn't like BM's whistle and for me to then post something like "People are constantly telling me BM's whistles are crappy."

Now, there's an exception to this--I can pass on this kind of information. I, Dale. Why? I don't have to make judgments about my own integrity. (I'm completely clear that I'm a shady and cowardly character.) And it's my website. I'll avoid being inconsistent about this, but I just want to anticipate that someone will probably find an example of me posting something like me saying that a lot of people have been in touch with me to say that some Acmes are out of tune or that some from a certain time period are inferior to others, or whatever.

2. Regarding instruments, provide opinions but give enough detail about the basis of your opinion to be useful. This should be known to most users by now as the Pepsi rule. No global dismissals or disparaging works, like "His flutes are crap." If you think they ARE crap, you must say why. What's crappy about them?

3. Regarding complaints about customer service, stick to factual descriptions of what has happened and avoid summing up with characterizations such as "Barack McCain is a thief and swindler." If BM has handled 100 customers well, and screwed up with you, you don't have the right to call him a crook. You DO have a right to say what happened to you and why you're unhappy about it.

Hope this helps.


Dale


Last edited by Dale on Sun Oct 19, 2008 7:38 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:03 pm 
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Dale wrote:

Hope this helps.


Dale


It does and thanks for making things a little easier on the mods. While I will confess to a penchant for soaring on temeritys wings, it does become wearisome after a short while.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:06 pm 
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well said Dale.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 4:09 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 5:20 pm 
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Dale wrote:

a lot of people have been in touch with me to say that some Chieftains are out of tune

Wouldn't have been Paddy, or Sean or Kevin or.....

Well, which ones? :devil:

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 5:21 pm 
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Sounds reasonable.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 5:49 pm 
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Fair enough. I just wish to point out that not one bloody harmonica out of the hundreds I've bought has ever been correctly tuned or gapped. They are all cheap cr@p, and every single one needs at least an hour's work to get it to play properly. Hohner, Suzuki, Tombo, Lee Oskar, Huang, Hering - you're a complete and utter bunch of fragrant Indian long-grain rice.

But hey! Twenty quid and an hour's work gets you a little beauty? So who's complaining? :D

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 6:08 pm 
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Does indeed sound reasonable. However, it strikes me that the instances of really bad whistle craftsmanship or customer service have been few and far between; and with respect to craftsmanship more a problem of a lot of over the top malarkey by new whistlers just happy to have a tool in hand and able to make sounds. Most of the debate centers on preferences and, as Peter always reminds, we tend to make too much of the whistle and not enough of the player and the music. A good rule of thumb is to note which whistles and makers stay around for a good long while - whether you prefer them or not, Abells, Overtons, Burkes, Sindts, Busmans, etc. are just well made whistles that have stood the test of time. Come to think of it, I guess the same could be said for Clarke, Susato, Faedog, Generation, Walton, etc.

I don't know how many years I've been on this Board (15?), but in all that time there have been maybe one crap maker (who many praised to the heavens), one totally poor customer servicer, and a handful of other problems.

In any event, by all means, let's shoot straight and specific when discussing our experiences.

Philo

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 6:10 pm 
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Hmmmm...... OK.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 6:20 pm 
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Dale wrote:
One of the ongoing debates on the forum is whether the forum discourages negative feedback about instruments and instrument makers. Some argue that the forum ought to warn potential consumers against purchasing less-than-desirable products or from dealing with instrument makers with bad customer service. Others argue, as cogently, that there is potential for unfair criticism, even abuse, of instrument makers. I think both groups are correct.

This is a complex problem with no tidy solution. Subjectivity and individual tastes apply to judgment of instruments. The experience of the person giving the opinion is huge, but difficult to judge on the forum. Even customer service is highly subjective and some argue that Americans make unrealistic demands re: customer service. (I have seen--from my American perspective-- completely egregious business practices defended on the board. (So he's taken your money, is a year past promised delivery date, and won't return your calls or email! What do you people expect?))

We do not have a complete and clear set of guidelines on posting about negative comments; and what I'm writing now won't provide it. But, it'll be a start!

Let's start with 3 basic principles.

1. Comment only from personal experience. No "people have told me...", "other players have said," etc. It may well be true that a poster here has stood around with a half-dozen very fine musicians and all of them said that Instruments by X are dreadful. And, admittedly, that would be useful for someone to know if they're about to buy an X instrument. But allowing the reporting of 2nd hand feedback is a problem. Let's say I order a whistle from Barack McCain and he takes too long to deliver and then I'm disappointed and unhappy with Barack McCain's return policy. If I post about that and stick to the facts, I think that's fair. However, it's all too tempting, in my fury at BM to remember that someone sent me an email a year ago and said they didn't like BM's whistle and for me to then post something like "People are constantly telling me BM's whistles are crappy."

Now, there's an exception to this--I can pass on this kind of information. I, Dale. Why? I don't have to make judgments about my own integrity. (I'm completely clear that I'm a shady and cowardly character.) And it's my website. I'll avoid being inconsistent about this, but I just want to anticipate that someone will probably find an example of me posting something 3 years ago saying that a lot of people have been in touch with me to say that some Chieftains are out of tune or that Copelands from a certain time period are inferior to others, or whatever.

2. Regarding instruments, provide opinions but give enough detail about the basis of your opinion to be useful. This should be known to most users by now as the Pepsi rule. No global dismissals or disparaging works, like "His flutes are crap." If you think they ARE crap, you must say why. What's crappy about them?

3. Regarding complaints about customer service, stick to factual descriptions of what has happened and avoid summing up with characterizations such as "Barack McCain is a thief and swindler." If BM has handled 100 customers well, and screwed up with you, you don't have the right to call him a crook. You DO have a right to say what happened to you and why you're unhappy about it.

Hope this helps.


Dale


Question:

Does the 'Comment only from personal experience' rule
mean that one cannot quote people and give their name?
So, suppose a particular flute is for sale for a great
deal of money and suppose
I talked to famous flute maker Joe Dokes, who worked
on it, and Joe Dokes tells me: 'This flute is badly out
of tune, the tone holes are in the wrong place, it
is very poorly made.' Suppose I therefore do not buy it.
Can I report what Joe Dokes said, naming him, or can I only
go on my own experience with the flute, which is nil,
as I didn't buy it. Suppose I talked to several other
flute makers who checked out this flute. They
independently agree with Joe Dokes. Can I report
what they said if I name them? Or is this violating
the rule?

Question: Doesn't the 'Avoid cheap e bay (Pakistani) flutes'
sticky violate this policy? It begins with
Alan's injunction: 'Avoid these dreadful instruments!'
Alan is entirely global, dismissing a vast number
of instruments, without giving any detail about what's
the matter with them and with
no indication that the injunction comes from
personal experience on his part. This violates
the first two conditions of the policy.

Shouldn't that thread be removed? What exempts cheap
e bay and/or Pakistani flutes from the protections
given other flutes? The same harm can be done
the people who make them.
The thread seems full of violations
and it itself as a whole appears to constitute one.

And shouldn't we be very careful in the future,
when people ask about Pakistani flutes, to speak
only from our personal experience with them
and to provide careful detail about the particular
problems. I've never played a cheap e bay flute,
most of us haven't, so isn't a consequence of
the policy that we should remain silent?

Saying: 'Lots of people say these are no good'
is now forbidden. Saying: 'I've talked to three flute makers who have
checked these flutes out carefully. They say they
are unplayable' is also forbidden.

It seems to me there is no way to consistently keep both this
policy and the sticky, and that we must become
vigilant about what we say about inexpensive
e bay flutes.


Last edited by jim stone on Sun Oct 19, 2008 7:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 7:03 pm 
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Edited to correct bad judgement. Apologies.


Last edited by FJohnSharp on Thu Oct 23, 2008 7:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 7:29 pm 
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The Landlord
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Mike Hulme wrote:
Dale wrote:

a lot of people have been in touch with me to say that some Chieftains are out of tune

Wouldn't have been Paddy, or Sean or Kevin or.....

Well, which ones? :devil:


I changed the original post to make it clearer (I hope) that I meant those as hypotheticals.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 7:36 pm 
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The Landlord
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jim stone wrote:

Question:

Does the 'Comment only from personal experience' rule
mean that one cannot quote people and give their name?
So, suppose a particular flute is for sale for a great
deal of money and suppose
I talked to famous flute maker Joe Dokes, who worked
on it, and Joe Dokes tells me: 'This flute is badly out
of tune, the tone holes are in the wrong place, it
is very poorly made.' Suppose I therefore do not buy it.
Can I report what Joe Dokes said, naming him, or can I only
go on my own experience with the flute, which is nil,
as I didn't buy it. Suppose I talked to several other
flute makers who checked out this flute. They
independently agree with Joe Dokes. Can I report
what they said if I name them? Or is this violating
the rule?


I don't think is violates the spirit of the rule.

Quote:
Question: Doesn't the 'Avoid cheap e bay (Pakistani) flutes'
sticky violate this policy? It begins with
Alan's injunction: 'Avoid these dreadful instruments!'
Alan is entirely global, dismissing a vast number
of instruments, without giving any detail about what's
the matter with them and with
no indication that the injunction comes from
personal experience on his part. This violates
the first two conditions of the policy.



These are introduced as guidelines, and imperfect ones at that. We cannot be entirely consistent about it. Sorry about that.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 10:48 pm 
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Jim makes a valid point regarding my comment in the first post of the 'Beware...' sticky.

When I made that remark three years ago my personal experience with two Pakistani made flutes was that both were dreadful and that the others I saw for sale on ebay at the time were of the same sort as the ones I had in my posession.

I recently was loaned a Pakistani made flute that is a rather nice instrument and, though not one of the cheapest sort the sticky is meant to warn against, I feel my comment is imprecise and in order to avoid a retroactive violation of the current policy I am altering that comment.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 1:21 am 
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Alan wrote:
Jim makes a valid point regarding my comment in the first post of the 'Beware...' sticky.

When I made that remark three years ago my personal experience with two Pakistani made flutes was that both were dreadful and that the others I saw for sale on ebay at the time were of the same sort as the ones I had in my posession.

I recently was loaned a Pakistani made flute that is a rather nice instrument and, though not one of the cheapest sort the sticky is meant to warn against, I feel my comment is imprecise and in order to avoid a retroactive violation of the current policy I am altering that comment.


Ah, but do we know that is a Pakistani flute? Maybe it's from "Something-stan".


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