[Smt-talk] Let the list thrive! [+ my missing signature -- sorry]

Rob Schultz rschultz at music.umass.edu
Thu Feb 16 17:17:06 PST 2012

Dear Colleagues,

As an addendum to Kris's excellent and highly informative post, I'll just quickly mention that for a while we hosted an online discussion board at the Analytical Approaches to World Music Journal website. We've taken it down for the time being due to lack of use and the copious spam it seemed to attract, but it might be a worthwhile option for SMT to explore as well.

All the Best,

Rob Schultz, Ph.D.
Lecturer, Music Theory
Department of Music and Dance
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003

On Feb 16, 2012, at 11:50 AM, Kris Shaffer wrote:

> Dear Colleagues,
> I must admit feeling a positive response both to Jonathan's plea to move the discussion in question off list and to Gerry's call to keep the list open and the discussion going. I'm probably not the only one who feels that tension. I believe that it is, at least in part, due to the way my approach to consuming non-peer-reviewed writings and topical musings has been conditioned by other fields I keep track of. While we music theorists tend to do our online discussion in an email list—a decidedly twentieth-century technology—other fields (and even some humanities disciplines) have made an entrance into the world of blogs and tweets. As a result, email inboxes tend to have a different feel than they once did, with smt-talk discussions seeming out of place even for some of us who want to keep abreast of, and occasionally participate in, the discussion. (For comparison, think of how online "humor" has moved from email forwards in the 1990s to blogs, facebook, and the like today. I can still find funny diversions online, but they're not part of my daily inbox perusal.) 
> While daily digests can minimize the clutter, there is a way to move some of these discussions "off list" while maintaining open access to the discussions, for both readers and would-be contributors. Paul's suggestion of supporting RSS for smt-talk subscribers moves in such a direction. But I also would point out that if enough of the more prolific contributors to smt-talk were to take up the blog platform, the same kinds of community discussions could take place while allowing community members to keep it out of their email inbox, if desired. Further, the blog format—and using Twitter to provide links to posts (one's own and interesting posts by others), along with topical hashtags—provides some advantages that are foreign to the email list. For example, community members can choose whom to follow (or which topics to follow on Twitter, WordPress, etc.) and which posts' comment feeds to follow, and they can still find individual posts of interest on blogs they do not follow regularly.
> If a group of theorists moved off-list in this way, I don't think it would take long for the community (or a new community—why not?) to (re-)form in the new venue. And the advantages would extend beyond reduced inbox clutter and the ability to follow certain people or topics without following others. For example, it would facilitate interdisciplinary discussions and allow non-SMT members to "join" the community.
> Further, Twitter allows for the possibility of a conference "backchannel," where attendees and non-attendees alike can converse about the goings-on, arrange spontaneous meet-ups and discussion groups with people who don't know each other, pass on word of a great poster on a session soon to close, etc. Chronicle of Higher Ed has a good blog post outlining how this worked at MLA 2009 (http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/academicssocial-media-mla09twitter/22901), and I think that it could be a great addition to SMT/AMS/SEM 2012, official or not. (A helpful intro to Twitter for academics can be found here: http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/how-to-start-tweeting-and-why-you-might-want-to/26065.)
> Best,
> Kris Shaffer
> Assistant Professor of Music Theory
> Charleston Southern University
> http://kris.shaffermusic.com
> On Feb 15, 2012, at 10:47 AM, gzar at mail2.gis.net wrote:
>> Dear Colleagues,
>> I can't imagine what our Society's talk-list is for, if not sharing 
>> whatever we want, within respect, with its members. No member's 
>> posting is denied placement or readability due to list traffic on 
>> other topics, and one's Inbox is only as cluttered as one allows it 
>> to be.
>> For those annoyed by continual arrivals of posts on subjects they 
>> then discover not of interest, I think subscribing instead to the 
>> digest version is an excellent idea. I would also suggest, though, 
>> that none of us should feel that the list is not for us to use, to 
>> share ideas or interact with ideas on any subject whatever, as long 
>> as it's somehow related to SMT's aims.
>> I admit that my eyes glaze over a bit when the subject line includes 
>> chord labeling -- and yet it is an interesting subject (however 
>> "politically incorrect" it may have become). I imagine once I have 
>> time to read more than the few ongoing "6/4"-posts I've read so far 
>> (maybe in May!), I'll find some of them interesting and informative 
>> as usual -- and perhaps be impressed by their passion, too.
>> Let's let the list thrive!
>> Sincerely,
>> Gerry
>> Gerald Zaritzky
>> Faculty, Department of Music Theory
>> New England Conservatory of Music
>> 290 Huntington Avenue (Room SB 305)
>> Boston, Massachusetts 02115  USA
>> gerald.zaritzky at necmusic.edu
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