I really didn't want to post this, but you know that thing where you are cut off online and not given a voice and others then state their case without any right of reply? I figured that for posterity I'd set out what happened the day Uke Players died.
For those not in the know, Uke Players is a Facebook group for ukulele fans. There are lots of Facebook groups for uke fans, but this one has been around a fair while and had a LOT of people in it. I was removed from that site this morning and blocked by the admins. Well a lot of people were, but that is kind of what started it all. If you are a member of another Facebook ukulele group read this as a lesson in how not to run a group. If you are reading this AND you are still a member of Uke Players, you may want to rethink some of the lies that have been posted by your exalted leaders.
So as I say, I was banned from the group this morning and blocked by the admin. For what, I was not told. They say they have some strict rules on advertising (I did no advertising). I did no bad mouthing, no name calling. If you are a member - please check - you will see I didn't. So I woke up blocked.
Surely there are two sides to every story? Well in the interests of full disclosure one thing that did happen last night was I dared to question the method used by Amanda Thompson, the admin on ruling the group. Earlier that day a friend of mine had been booted for nothing at all that breached the rules. I spoke out. Nothing nasty, just saying that I admin another group and taking an arrogant condescending line with people was not the best policy. An admins role is to encourage debate and not delete posts from people that simply question things (like saying the ukulele world is happiness and flowers ALL the time). She didn't like that, but I thought the night ended without further clashes. Note, no breaches of rules, no swearing, no advertising trainers or sunglasses...
But the next morning I am gone and I state that to friends on Facebook. Then something odd happens. I find several other people have been booted recently, similarly without having actually done anything wrong.
Hmmm. Then it really gets odd. All sorts of people start getting booted off the group. People start posting in the group along the lines of 'what is going on here?'. They get booted. People join the group in solidarity and ask 'what is going on here?' THEY get booted. Worse still some people try to join and get booted without even having posted.
All the while some people posted some screenshots and transcripts of what the admins were saying. Just to give me my right to reply, please indulge me...
Amanda Thompson claims that
That really wasn't true though was it Amanda? Dozens of people at this point were booted, some not having posted anything at all.
I don't want to single people out - but they include GNUF team players Mary Agnes Krell and Kris Ball. Tony Casey ex of the GNUF team (and one of the most loveable people in the uke world on BOTH sides of the atlantic) posted this...
And guess what? It was deleted and he was then banned. I think that then happened after a poll asking members whether people should be banned (that was unanimously voted against).
For 'spreading negativity' I think they meant ' having an opinon'...
Simon Taylor was booted for sharing a picture of his uke collection and posting a piece about fitting a pickup to a uke.
Later on they set the group to closed so nobody can see it bar the members (a clever move, as with Facebook, when you do that, you cannot undo it - effectively sounding a death knell for new members). Amanda Thompson stated:
"We've 'Closed' the group. This simply means others can still find us, request membership, but our posts are no longer public. Only members can view your posts. It's a great option and one we should have chosen a while ago. We believe in the value of this body of people as a whole with much to offer to and from many. We're not going to allow it to be destroyed by a few disgruntled people who really should have better things to do. Off the soapbox now. Let's move forward. Thank you folks."
That's a classic tactic - blame everything on the trolls.. It hopelessly misses the fact that there were not trolls, there was not breach of rules and the only reason people were disgruntled was because of a knee-jerk approach to being an admin on a Facebook group. Very sad.
So what was really going on? Who actually knows, but my take on it was simple. They wanted a group that had no dissent from the norm, nobody to actually challenge pre-conceived ideas, nobody to actually have any opinion other than that the ukulele is happiness and wonder. And then they realised they were a bit harsh, saw the backlash and banned them too. Then they saw people trying to join and banned them too. Just quell the rabble and it will all go away....
Most importantly though - does any of this actually matter? OF COURSE NOT - It's a Facebook group, not real life. It's sad for those who remain as they get a coloured filtered view of the uke world and it's sad that anyone actually acts like this (as I say though - very evidential of what I have been ranting about for ages - the uke world is NOT all happiness and flowers).
But most importantly, it matters not because there are PLENTY of ukulele fan groups on Facebook. In no particular order, those include Uke Club, Ukulele International Society, Ukulele Itis, Ukulele Tabs, UAS Anonymous and many more. Maybe consider one of those if you need a uke fix on Facebook.
If you are in the Uke Players group and reading this though, please don't believe everything you read and try a better group with broader opinions!
As a final comment, I was sent this earlier this morning. Which kind of sums up the whole problem - there is quite a lot of mis information being circulated on what remains of Uke Players. I stress again, if anyone can tell me what I did to get banned I would like to know. Yes, some then followed in with the intention of being banned, but you know Amanda - you kind of created that. Let's start with the basics - what did I do exactly? Because both you and I know, the answer to that is NOTHING.
Note- this blog post isn't 'cowardly'. Cowardly is removing someone from posting on your group for fear of them being more intelligent than you are, then calling them cowardly for using the only other means he had for a right to reply.
© Barry Maz