Why do they do that?

April 5, 2019, 12:32 PM · Earlier this morning there was a post from someone who said he felt like he was going through life as an imposter. I made a lengthy response to him that I genuinely hoped would be helpful. An hour later the thread was gone, evidently deleted by the OP. Why do people do this? And if you happened to see my answer, was it so offensive? (I hoped it wouldn't be offensive at all!)

Replies (46)

April 5, 2019, 12:37 PM · Paul, I can't answer for this guy in particular, but it's possible that there was too much identifiable information in his post and he didn't want someone from his local community to see it for whatever personal reason.
April 5, 2019, 3:51 PM · I saw your response Paul and thought it was spot on. It was not offensive, and I think that James has the right idea. (This is when allowing postings without the persons identifying information like names would be very beneficial, or having a private vs fully public forum.)
April 5, 2019, 4:04 PM · Not unusual. I've regretted pretty much everything I've ever said or written. Just too lazy to undo them, I guess.
April 5, 2019, 4:43 PM · That guy seemed like he was dealing with a lot of stuff, and I think that when some people vent a lot of stuff they have guilt or shame about, they may regret putting that stuff out there. I hope he finds what he is looking for.

I write a lot of dumb stuff on here, and I just figure it's all part of being alive or something. I always get a laugh when I am searching for something to fix some problem I am having with my playing, and then find a post of mine from years ago advising on that very topic - I usually even look at the advice, and go, huh, I guess I should do that, but the hubris is still funny.

What I'm curious about is how threads get archived here. Is there some algorithm that selects threads for archiving, or does Laurie do it, or do the posters of the topic do it? Sometimes I'm looking for a thread to keep posting in, and for a reason beyond me, it got archived.

April 5, 2019, 5:26 PM · Some people stick by the decisions their past selves have made. Others go back on their word and hide their mistakes. It's all up to what kind of person you are.

April 5, 2019, 5:48 PM · I constantly think of asking MySpace to take down my old account from yearrrss back because it has some hilariously embarrassing stuff, but every time I almost do it, I feel like I'm denying who I really am. Was that shallow, stupid-humored child really any different from who I am now? Or was he simply a version of me that was willing to put himself out there, despite how ludicrous his behavior was?

Besides, who is really going to look me up and find all of my embarrassing old internet stuff, except for stalkers? And stalkers don't seem to care what I've done in my past. They like me regardless.

Edited: April 27, 2019, 6:13 PM · Another individual deleted his/her thread. However, I saved it as a PDF because it was still open in my browser.
April 27, 2019, 8:39 PM · I saw Chase Stevens's thread (on DMAs and orchestral positions) disappeared, which I regret, since I hadn't caught up with the responses and was curious to read them.
April 28, 2019, 2:09 AM · I notice that DMA post was gone as well. Actually, I was commenting on it one night, and when I hit the "reply" button, it send me back to the forum page.

Honestly, I think we shouldn't be allowed to delete a post after other people contributed on it. The information is valuable to other people. I learn a lot by searching for old topics in the forum without even setting up a new post. If you don't like the answer, or disagree with other in a post, fine, we just have to agree to disagree. By deleting the information, you rob other people from being informed on the topic, or joining the discussion.

April 28, 2019, 6:48 AM · I completely agree with Sivrit. The old way of the site, where the OP could delete the text of their post, but not the post itself, was much better.
Edited: April 28, 2019, 2:23 PM · My guess is that it's for privacy reasons. In some of these deleted threads, the OPs reveal pretty detailed information about themselves. The professional music community is small. Some of the issues discussed, and the attitudes revealed, are pretty sensitive.
April 28, 2019, 10:23 AM · "Honestly, I think we shouldn't be allowed to delete a post after other people contributed on it. The information is valuable to other people. I learn a lot by searching for old topics in the forum without even setting up a new post. If you don't like the answer, or disagree with other in a post, fine, we just have to agree to disagree. By deleting the information, you rob other people from being informed on the topic, or joining the discussion."

This is a common opinion, but I feel it's wrong. There are two sides to this issue:
1. People should leave their responses posted, otherwise it robs readers of context.
2. People should have the right to delete responses if they change their mind.

I'm with #2. As Cotton put it so well: "Some people stick by the decisions their past selves have made."

I don't think it matters if your "past self" is 2 years old and you've since change your position on something, or 2 minutes. We all post things we've thought the better of, or pushed "send" and immediately regretted it.
It's the nature of the internet, which encourages a very different behavior than other forms of communication.

And if readers later are robbed of context or information? I guess too bad. For one thing, almost ALL the questions asked on this forum are duplicates. If someone asks (yet again) "I'm 15 and a beginner--is it too late to be a professional?" I don't think much will be lost if someone deletes a response. Go back and look at the other 99 similar questions.

Personally, I think all forums (on other sites) should be required by law to allow people to delete their responses. But then, I may change my mind. And I may delete this answer...

Edited: April 29, 2019, 7:25 AM · Scott, You post on this forum with your real identity. So it is possible that one day, say if you want to run for the US president, someone digs up your old comment on v.com many years ago and ridicule you. It sounds silly, but it is a risk.

However, for those who post under a fake name/alias, do they have to worry about the same problem? When no one knows who you are in the first place, do you still need to try to look clever in front of a forum of strangers?

I am not sure which post Paul mentioned at the very beginning of this post, but I do know about that DMA post. For someone who so carefully conceal his/her school name, I doubt he/she is posting with his/her real identity. Not convinced? Would you like to give it a try on google searching for "Chase Stevens" and maybe with "violin" or "music" or "doctoral student"? So even if this person say something stupid, what is the odd that people can identify it with him/her in real life?

Even if there is a need to delete your own response, do you have to delete other people's contribution? By deleting the whole post, all contribution by other peoples are also gone. If I were going to start another "Flagship state university DMA qualification in resume screening" post, I doubt whoever actively contribute in previously deleted post want to repeat the long speech they gave the second time. Some topics might have been discussed on this forum 99 times, some don't.

As for saying something stupid or offending others, I think an apology works better than just ninja yourself.

Edited: April 29, 2019, 6:30 PM · In the past, some of us have entered the person's screen name into Google to do our own "background checks" on the people posting questions here. Responses to that practice usually tilt negative -- too invasive, stalking, badgering, etc. Simple fact-finding is not generally an accepted rationale. Nevertheless, I'm 99% sure that Aidan Campbell is his or her real name, and almost equally sure that Chase Stevens is not his or her real name.

I can appreciate young people might need a way to ask questions about things privately. Is violinist.com the best place to do that? Should people only use their real names here? These are not easy questions.

April 29, 2019, 10:04 AM · What Scott said.

I deleted my previous answer...

April 29, 2019, 10:32 AM · https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll
April 29, 2019, 1:57 PM · I am agnostic on the question of whether people should be able to delete their posts, but I invested a fair amount of time composing comments full of what I hoped would be helpful information--not realizing at first that my perspective was unwelcome and not particularly germane to the OP's unstated agenda--and it is annoying to have all of that wiped out.

If there are others on v.com in similar positions to the OP, I hope they were able to glean something helpful from my responses before they vanished. I would have given anything as a college student to be able to ask questions of the very professionals who might be judging me in the future, but alas this sort of thing was not available in the early 1980s.

April 29, 2019, 6:32 PM · Tim I didn't spend $15 on any background checks. I typed "Aidan Campbell violin" into Google. I got back a hit showing that (s)he performed the Bach Double with a certain orchestra that (s)he mentioned in his/her post. Now, the person making the post might be some other person who co-opted Aidan Campbell's identity, hence the 1% of lingering uncertainty.
Edited: April 30, 2019, 3:24 PM · Hey, as I'm sure you know I'm the kid (male) who deleted the orchestral careers. I'm sorry if I took down info that could have been helpful to others, or frustrated anyone in the process, but all the responses I got were very helpful to me, especially since everyone had different opinions. It's helped me think a bit more open-minded in my options, and a little less naive about the whole college and orchestral admissions process.
I'd like to especially thank Mary Ellen Goree, Ricky Chan, and Lydia Leong, your responses were especially helpful.

EDIT: I deleted it from a combination of regret, privacy, and parents telling me I should

April 30, 2019, 6:02 PM · Aidan, you're fine. I'm pretty sure the thread Paul was referring to--certainly the one I was thinking of--was the DMA thread started by Chase.
April 30, 2019, 10:12 PM · Actually I was referring to Aidan's thread, but it doesn't really matter. I can guess why his parents wanted him to remove it. We parents do worry what kind of online "presence" our kids are creating for themselves. I have tenure, so I'd have to start saying some pretty grim stuff online to damage my career.
Edited: May 2, 2019, 3:24 PM · Here are a few rules of thumb on writing that I try to follow:
1. Don't write a final draft first. Write an initial draft, which can be intuitive and impulsive. But don't let an instant reaction to something end up being a final draft.
2. Give it a few days to settle, then re-think it and edit it carefully.
3. When you edit, make sure that you are saying EXACTLY what you have intended to say.
4. Make sure that every single word, phrase, sentence, and thought is not only exactly what you mean, but that it cannot be interpreted in any other way or with any other meaning than the one you intended.
5. Ask yourself how your severest critic or someone with a different point of view might interpret it.
6. Give it to someone else to read and review before sending it for publication.
May 2, 2019, 6:55 PM · Sander did you write that in two drafts?
May 3, 2019, 8:22 AM · Sander, those writing rules are those I was expected to adhere to in my working career as a patent attorney. Interestingly, I was taught early on that the real addressee of a patent specification is not the client or inventor, as one might expect, but a High Court judge, should there ever be litigation involving the specification.
Edited: May 3, 2019, 8:56 AM · I think the DMA thread was taken down because of the cutting and hurtful comments directed at the OP. Young musicians aspiring to be professionals are acutely aware of the odds. To imply their life’s work “doesn’t mean anything” is inappropriate in any context.

May 3, 2019, 9:53 AM · Paul:
Actually, thought about it for a few days before writing anything, then did a draft, then went back the next day to edit, then put it up.
As a co-author of 3 books (2 on academic underachievement and one children's book with one of my daughters) and dozens of published and internet articles on a variety of topics, I learned from hard experience those rules. But I am violating them at the moment to write this.
So there!!!
Trevor: Yes, of course, those rules aren't unique or original.
And, yes, David (and others), your comments are well noted.
I don't recall who wrote it, but a writer once said, "Writing is easy. Just sit down at a typewriter and open up a vein."
May 3, 2019, 10:11 AM · "open up a vein..."

Yeah, well much online stuff is a result of something opening. I'm not sure it's always a vein, though...

May 3, 2019, 12:18 PM · Oh for pete's sake.

I said the DMA "doesn't mean anything" *in the context of professional orchestra auditions*, which it doesn't. You can ask any professional orchestral musician that question and you will get the same answer. Getting a job in an orchestra is a matter of winning a (usually) blind audition. Getting invited to that audition is a matter of credentials and prior experience. The DMA from a nonspecific school is not, on its own, a sufficient credential for many orchestras. This is not a matter of opinion; it is fact.

In other contexts the DMA means a lot. It means the degree holder has invested a lot of time learning the academic side of violin performance as well as presenting no few number of recitals. It means the degree holder is a viable candidate for a tenure-track academic job. It means the degree holder has worked very hard.

Nothing whatsoever has been assumed about the playing level of the OP and in fact I expressed the opinion that he could very well be an excellent player. I just made the point, one which very few if any people living in my world would disagree with, that the DMA alone did not provide enough information about his playing level.

It would be nice if my comments could be read for comprehension.

May 3, 2019, 2:30 PM · Sander in fact I've noticed that your comments do tend to be quite well-considered. But if I waited, re-edited, slept on it, ran it by a colleague, etc. for every post I made here, then by the time I actually joined these conversations all of the cheap-and-easy comments ("ask your teacher" or "get gear pegs") would already be taken. I can't have that.

Anyway, getting a doctorate is not supposed to be your life's work. It's supposed to prepare you for your life's work. And depending on what your life's work is, the doctorate might prepare you for it or it might not.

May 3, 2019, 2:51 PM · Anyone following Sander's writing rules is not really going to be participating in forum discussions. For that matter, that style of writing has been inappropriate and ineffectual in a corporate setting for the last twenty, if not thirty, years. The shift from "writing a memo" to "dashing off an email" has been stark in businesses.
May 3, 2019, 4:20 PM · Maybe I get the wrong idea that this forum is violinists at all level casually gathering? I never think much about writing draft, re-think, etc. I wasn't thinking maybe one day I mis-spoke and get in a lawsuit or something :p

However, there are a few situations where I did stop myself from posting anything. Sometimes for fear adding fuel to the flame to a very heated discussion. Then, there are also topics where I am not sure if I am qualified to join. Things like buying high end violins (I have not owned an expensive violin and likely will never in a position to shop for one), or that DMA post (I have no experience in auditioning nor working in a pro or semi-pro orchestra). I am not sure if amateurs like me should jump in with our points of view that is merely a wishful thinking than the reality. I think when these posts get achieved, the future readers (I personally search the forum for old post a lot) may not be able to tell who actually know and who write some crap thinking they are trying to be nice.

May 3, 2019, 5:05 PM · Yes, the world of communication has changed, and radically. Today is what I call "The Age of Instantaneous Brevity." Everything (and I do mean everything) is now valued by how quickly you get it, produce it, sell it, experience it, communicate it, understand it, etc. And it has to be brief - like a headline or a tweet. And it has to be truly of the moment - no time for thought or reflection. Spontaneity, speed, and brevity are now what are valued. It's the way we now communicate (especially publicly).

This kind of communication certainly has its place, but I think it has now become the norm. No longer do we value the time to reflect.

And, if you think about it, especially in the value of classical music, what does that mean if we consider improvisation - which is certainly valued in jazz, but not so much in classical music.

[There!!! How's that for a few spontaneous thoughts?]

And, by the way, I happen to appreciate differences of opinion. I usually learn something in the process.

So, thank you all for being who you are.


Edited: May 3, 2019, 7:24 PM · As a rule of thumb, if I have a niggling doubt about whether I should post a particular comment - or even a new discussion - then I don't.
May 4, 2019, 5:48 AM · Sander I am not so sure this holds for everything. There have never been more novels written (many of the fantasy genre but also many others) than in our current period. And a novel is not really brief. Also think of the current wave of popular TV series, many new ones produced. They are everything except brief.
Edited: May 4, 2019, 10:06 AM · Jean:
Yes, I agree. But in our (especially) public and personal communication (speaking, emails, tweets, news, and so forth), it's usually of the moment. And this, I think, has become instantaneous and brief. Not many long discussions any more. That doesn't deny the fact that people are still spending a great deal of time writing novels, books, dissertations, governmental reports (including some current famous ones), research, computer programs, and so forth.

Incidentally, TV commercials have become longer than ever, but they consist of an almost endless number of "cuts" and camera angle changes, so that each little mini-clip is only a matter or seconds or milliseconds. It's really annoying. And take a look at movie coming attractions - constant cuts. You don't even get a chance to get a good look at anything. I think they do it because it gives the illusion that there is action. No?

I think this makes listening to the Brahms Violin Concerto tell it's musical story over time such a wonderful experience of an enduring art form.

Anyway, thanks for the comments.

May 5, 2019, 8:03 AM · Yes.
May 5, 2019, 12:20 PM · Copying nature is fine. But there are limits: We don't build airplanes from feathers.
May 5, 2019, 3:14 PM · Paul, not quite true - research is underway to design the surfaces of airplane wings so that they can behave more like the efficient feathered wings of large gliding birds such as the condor or albatross. Of course, as is usual with all such advanced developments, it will be many years before we see it in commercial aircraft.
May 5, 2019, 5:33 PM · They might behave like feathers but they'll likely still be made from metallic aluminum, one of the most non-natural materials, or an alloy thereof.

We digress, but I don't mind. We can return to the main topic the next time someone flushes their thread. :)

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