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Question about Ballet Alert

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Recently I was private messaged by someone who implied I am too dumb and should not be posting anything to Ballet Alert and people like me are the reason so many dancers and knowledgeable people no longer post. I was under the impression Ballet Alert was for everyone and even beginner's. I have never gone into the Dancer version of the site because I don't belong there, but I post often to this one so I learn. I have never tried to portray myself as anything other than someone who likes ballet, watches a lot and wants to learn, etc. Do the majority only want the "cognoscenti" posting and the rest of us to just listen and not ask questions or give our opinions? I would like to know. If this place has 98% wanting only "cognoscenti" posting I will retire from this forum. Maybe a new branch should be created for beginners and people who want to teach them about the art. That might solve the problem. I will go there instead if such a forum is created.

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Maybe we can turn this one on its head and suggest the person who sent the message is too rude to post on Ballet Alert.

I told the person that he didn't post publicly b/c he knew his intent was to kick me but he is now claiming I am the rude and hurtful person because I responded to rudeness with rudeness. Basically, he wanted me to roll over and play dead, I guess, and let him kick me. This is actually the second time this person I never knew contacted me and was rude. The first time I turned the other cheek, but now he is blocked!

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This board is for everyone who wants to discuss classical ballet (in the ballet forums) and who post within our policies, with very few exceptions, and those are single-issue posters with agendas. (Birdsall, you are not remotely in that category.)

We have people with a wide range of experience and knowledge. People post voluntarily, some more, some less. There are many people we miss, and many who want us to be something else that is not necessarily replicable at this point in cyber-history, but not to get all Balanchiney, we don't hold guns to people's heads. If people like the environment, they read and/or post. If they don't, they don't, and they drop off -- of course for many reasons -- and either start blogs, start their own boards -- okay, doesn't happen often, but anyone who wants to can, and they can control who's invited to the party -- find another platform, like Facebook or Twitter, subscribe to Google or bing alerts, or enjoy ballet another way. We assume that there are long-time members that rarely or never post but use the PM system to discuss ballet, the election, and their kid's upcoming graduation.

Members are adults and make their own decisions about how to use their time and energy, and while our goal was never to make people 100% comfortable -- we encourage respectful debate -- we try to keep it as free of hostility towards other members as possible, although we accept the inevitable possibilty that people will behave badly in private.

Admins don't have access to the content of PM's unless members accidentally reply to email notifications instead of the PM itself, since the "From" for the emails is our address.

However, our policy is if someone is using the PM system to harrass or abuse, there are several approaches you can take:

1. In the PM section of te sire, for each PM, there is a list of "Participants.". If there is the word Block under the name of the poster, click it to block further PM's. (It should change to "Unblock.")

You can't block Admins or Moderators from sending you PM's, though.

2. Because of reasons that I haven't been able to understand through the "Help" forums, the "Block" link doesn't appear for everyone (aside from Admins/Moderators). If you want to block another member and there is no link, please send one final message to that person, asking them never to contact you again. If they do -- not including something that crossed in transit -- let me know, and chances are they will lose their PM privileges, or at least go through a round of the 'I never got the no more PM messages' dance, which they can only use once. Alternately, or if their Inbox is full, let me know, and I'll send that message. I don't need a reason why, just that you don't want the person to send you PMs anymore.

PM's are not meant to bludgeon, harrass, or privately attempt to police this board, but, we don't know what's in them unless you tell us there's an issue, and, preferably, directly to us via PM. (We haven't had this issue be discussed publicly for a while, so there's little reason for most to know or remember, and I'll add a bullet point to the policy list.)

I'm actually glad I can't see PM content, because, while I might read some interesting unofficial news, people have already written to me directly to equate me with Hitler and Stalin and to call me a fascist and a stupid cow, so I don't have any illusions :) but it would not be fun to see members abusing other members.

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Birdsall, although I am a former dancer, it was so long ago - and I am so far out of the loop, both in terms of memory and first-hand acquaintance with contemporary dance issues - that I count myself a respectful, admiring bystander. Love of the art is what this forum is all about, and even the cognoscenti can benefit from fresh points of view and questions whose answers often call for reflection and renewed examination. I don't post often, as I have little to offer in the way of balletic expertise, compared to so many others here - but I do feel welcome, and hope that you will again, once the sting of this experience has passed.

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I agree with Mashinka. And I miss Tom Parsons who always had such diplomatic influence on early ballet internet forum discussions. If discussing ballet were left only to the experts, it would be a very sorry cultivating of a healthy ballet audience... it would be interesting to read, but it would not be the lively forum we have here. If the audience does not think and wonder and ask... There is a place for everyone here.

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And I miss Tom Parsons who always had such diplomatic influence on early ballet internet forum discussions.

Oh, I miss him as well -- he was as enthusiastic and inquisitive as he was diplomatic. Ages ago, I wrote a paper about the rec.arts.dance newsgroup (before alt.arts.ballet spun off from it), and one of the things that was so unusual about it was the lack of flamewars.

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I think there is a difference among some different members about what constitute appropriate social behaviour/niceties.

I agree that there is a place for everyone here. From the least knowledgeable to the most.

I fully agree that those less knowledgeable should post and ask questions, but to me, it should be in a reasonable way.

The fact that people who say they don't know much seem to now post more than those who do does seem to pose a problem for the health of the board.

As an academic you have to strive for a balance in classrooms.

You want everyone, even the kid who knows nothing, to ask questions. That is one way they are engaged and learn.

But when the kid who knows nothing talks constantly, day after day, drowning out other conversation and saying the same thing over and over again? It is a horrible classroom dynamic. It discourages others from participating.

Anyway I thought another perspective could be useful.

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The difference between a classroom and a forum is that in a classroom someone speaking has to be listened to. On a forum like this it is easy to skim or even scroll down and bypass a post if you're not interested in what the person has to say. Big difference, in my opinion.

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That's absolutely true: in a face to face situation, people can interrupt, drown each other out, and there are social conventions about not ignoring someone who has spoken. On on online discussion forum, there's a subject, and while it can be great when a group has back-and-forth on specific points, there's no reason that the discussion has to be sequential. Skipping posts is generally neutral.

There's no obligation to read anyone's posts or reply to them, and there's a formal "Ignore" feature that allows posters to filter other posters. The "Ignore" feature doesn't suppress quotes from posters on the "Ignore" list, but quotes can be easily skipped: you don't even have to scan left to see a poster's name, because quote authors are in both and scan vertically.

I'm not sure if "Ignore" suppresses posts from Admins or Moderators, though.

The forums are what members make of it. Another difference between Ballet Alert! and a classroom is that the Moderator team isn't responsible for generating content, as a teacher is.

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The forums are what members make of it. Another difference between Ballet Alert! and a classroom is that the Moderator team isn't responsible for generating content, as a teacher is.

That is certainly true! It is a hard enough job without you having to do that.

However in a seminar, while a professor chooses the subject for a class, it is generally discussion between participants, with some guiding by the professor. While, depending on the prof, they may take a more active role, often it is pretty self generated, and in that way less of a strange comparison than it is being taken to be.

(not arguing the point, obviously there are differences, I am just clarifying)

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The fact that people who say they don't know much seem to now post more than those who do does seem to pose a problem for the health of the board.

Aurora makes a good point and this seems reflected in the fact that there are fewer substantial discussions at Ballet Allert than in previous years.

Regarding Helene's comment, it's difficult to bypass a lot of comments which, while they may be charming, don't move the thread along the important discussion points as they are coming to the fore.

Also I think we've gotten a bit stuck in issues such as Balanchine's revision of his early Apollo (what writer or artist has not done that), while ignoring radical aspects of seemingly old fashioned ballets like Ballet Imperial. More discussions about where ballet should be going from here – than about the restoration of the imperial glories of pre-Diaghilev times.

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A lot of the substantial discussions were early ones, and, frankly, a lot of the core contributors have either said pretty much all they want to say or are saying it elsewhere professionally. That was already true when I joined BA almost a decade ago.

The board is what we make of it. We provide the structure and keep it running, but no one is stopping anyone from bringing up ballet-related topics that interest them. Anyone who expects others to do it, get what they get. Also, frankly, it's BT4D that is the main financial driver, which was not the case historically -- and we and BT4D are very thankful to those BAers who can and do contribute, many year after year -- we are the increment that makes both boards viable, at this point.

We're not a graduate seminar with an admissions policy. That is doable elsewhere, and the technology is simple and the costs low for a small board, which everyone is welcome to start, but that's not what we are.

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I read this board every day basically and have for a long time though I didn't register until about last year I think. However, I have tried my best to try and only post in things I feel don't require much knowledge (such as tv shows related to ballet, or dancers whom I enjoy which is a subjective thing in the end).

It is good to see those of us with less knowledge are welcome, though on a personal level I try to keep my posts to a minimum to not intrude. I must say though that I do learn a lot from reading BA, and the search function is my best friend. biggrin.png

For those of us who still have to learn, this forum is a gold mine of information... so thank you to the people who do not mind answering with their knowledge and who contribute, and also to the beginners who are not too shy to ask the things other people might not dare to ask themselves. smile.png

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