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January, 2015

Play Well With Others

by Webmaster

AcousticByLines.com is a group of acoustic musicians, businesses and venues. Most of the people on this site know each other.

There are no group meetings, although we get together to play music and party, from time to time.

There are no officers for the group, and no elections. There's a webmaster who runs the site and decides what to include. And sometimes, one of the members will send information to be included, or request a change or (gasp!) a correction. All contributions are received gratefully and corrections are received with thanks and an apology (and embarrassment).

At no point has any member of AcousticByLines.com questioned my right to publish anything on the site.

I have rules.

  1. Each page on the site has the same design, font, color scheme, and basic layout, so the viewer always knows when he or she is on this site or followed a link to another site.
  2. No advertising, other than that on the bulletin board and the link to membership.
  3. No obscenity, with possible exception(s) on the jokes and quotes pages, which contain warnings.
  4. Private events are not published on the monthly calendar pages.

I think that's it.

And that's been sufficient. I'm proud of the members of AcousticByLines.com, who are friends as well.

I wish I could say that about other organizations to which I belong.

In two months, there were two incidents that made me question some of the members and their reasons for joining. I have no intention of giving enough details to identify the organizations or members, but will write in general terms.

One member had an issue with a board member, and decided to resolve it by including other people and making it a public accusation, instead of taking it up privately with the board member. Various people got involved and weighed in on the dispute, which eventually was resolved. But it left bad feelings on both sides of the issue.

Another member decided to use the group's email list for a different purpose, despite a request to not use the email list for that or any other purpose other than the group's business. One or two other members jumped on the bandwagon. To avert an avalanche of unwanted emails, a board member sent a public rebuke, reiterating the original request. Two offenders felt the need to defend their actions to the group, and more people weighed in with their opinions, both publically and privately. Eventually, the issue was resolved. Again, it left bad feelings.

In both cases, the people who started the brouhaha managed to offend and anger people and then complain about being victims. From the outside, it looked like both situations were initiated by someone with an ax to grind, looking for a stone. There are some people who will go around looking for piles of dung to kick, then complain because their boots got dirty.

I don't deal well with difficult people. I'm not a particularyly tactful person. I've learned, however, to withhold a response if I'm angry (most of the time). I have hopes that the difficult members of the groups will learn to play well with others, or failing that, feel uncomfortable enough to leave the group.

I believe that we are stronger as a group than we are as individuals. If we help each other, we all win. AcousticByLines.com is an example of that.

I was lucky, when I worked in the corporate world, to work for an organization that felt teamwork was far more important than competition among employees. The work got done better and faster when we thought of each other as people who could help us, and in turn, people we could help. We didn't view each other as competitors for awards or bonuses. We helped each other and we all had the opportunity to grow and learn new skills.

I've been lucky with the members of AcousticByLines.com. They don't see each other as competitors for gigs. In fact, they frequently help each other get gigs and play gigs together when they can. They can form a band when needed because they know other musicians. They can take a better gig if they know of someone who can fill in for them on the first gig. And, they've built up a following on this web site that helps all of them. People looking to hire musicians can learn about them and get in touch with them through this site. People looking for places to go hear live music can find their favorites and new performers and bands on this site.

This site came up Jan 1, 2004. It has become everything I hoped it would be. I am and always will be grateful to the Founders who believed in me before there was a web site and have stayed with me all these years as well as the other members who joined the site later and stayed with it.

Thanks for visiting AcousticByLines.com

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