I Can't Remember If I Cried, The Day, Uke Players Died

11 Jun 2015

I Can't Remember If I Cried, The Day, Uke Players Died

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.


  1. Keep up the good work. Love your blog, the opinions and the reviews.., and for telling it like it is

  2. WTF? There is room on the intershed for us all. Even Modern Jazz Uke loving me....

  3. Suck it up buttercup. Did you get your feelings hurt ? I find it hard to believe you are banned for no good reason , as hard to believe in fact that a grown man would cry as you are doing now or that your groupies would go out of there way to cause trouble on a other wise peaceful and fun group . It's people like you who cause trouble , not people like Amanda who is new to this and could use help not this self serving whining .

  4. Damn, now I'll never get a chance to be booted out in such good company as Mary Agnes Krell and yourself. My explanation is that some people are batshit crazy.

    Thanks for the update.

  5. The most laughable thing about today's fiasco was banning people who'd only applied to join the group. They had done nothing to warrant a banning beyond an assumption by the Admins that they were planning to cause trouble.

    Before the group changed its status to "closed" and the world and his wife were still able to read everything there, the people who'd tried to join were unable to read any comments at all. This wasn't just the normal screening of prospective members which most groups do, they were not on hold pending approval but completely blocked.

    Hardly a sign of reasonable moderation, is it?

  6. Love the title, you clever boy!

  7. But it does matter.

    There is a sickness sweeping through our world, a sickness of fascism. People who come down with this disease cannot tolerate dissent, cannot tolerate pointed questions, and cannot tolerate any suggestion that their personal worldview is anything but perfection enshrined in a few short quotes.

    It is sad to see the one world that should be open to everyone, a world devoted to playing a quirky little instrument with a plucky sound and a limited range, has also been struck by this vicious psychic plague.

  8. Anonymous (great name, well done there) - not crying - most of the uke world that exists on Facebook is laughing at the group. We even now have a 'banned by Uke Players group'. Nobody I know breached any rules - you would think that if I had - then surely the admins would keep the breached post up as evidence? Look forward to you finding that.

    In summary the admins have refused to have a broad church in their group and made the mistake of booting me, some of the leading ukulele players on the circuit (they probably wouldnt know them, then never bothered to find out who they were) and the directors of the worlds biggest ukulele festival. One would assume that for beginners they would be exactly the sort of people you would pay to join your group. Instead - it created an insular group. Ukulele advice in a bubble. Never a good thing. But as I say, if you have evidence rather than mere grandstanding, I'd love to hear it...

  9. 'Amanda is new to this' - yes clearly, A good choice for a moderator for a ukulele group that existed long before she ever joined?

  10. Normally it is the one who created the facebook group to become group admin, meaning his/her power of adminstration is not authorized by any person but by timing. There is a lot of nonsense in the (still) developing and evolving online world, and the thing one can do when faced unfair treatment by these "groups" is to voice out his/ her situation in a online platform with more credibility (eg. ukuleleunderground), and it is great that you have a popular blog to do so.

  11. Who would think the humble ukulele would cause such a ruckus?

  12. I applaud you for sharing the truth of this sad situation. Am not and have never been a member of this group. As a matter of fact, lots of strange things happen on Facebook, which is one reason I have recently deactivated my own Facebook account, and have not yet decided whether or not to reactivate it. This, after many years of membership and several hundred Facebook Friends. Have done the same with my Twitter account.

  13. Ahhh - Anonymous is Robert C Goetz...

  14. My sources tell me that as of this morning the group is still running and now telling members that the only people who were blocked were trolling (as vague as that statement is) and that I am a coward for writing this (you know the guy who as booted for NO reason and then lost his right to reply. Dead cowardly).

    If the admins of Uke Players are reading this (which I now know they are)

    1. Exactly what did I do?
    2. How do you explain the many people I know for a fact were booted having not posted anything.

    re point 2, that does raise a very interesting point and a worrying one. Vetting members and removing them based on their friends lists perhaps?

  15. Do we now call you Barry Buttercup?

    It was not just you who was banned but many others. In my case I posted a picture of 27 ukes, me and two cats. Clearly wholly offensive (there are already too many cats on the internet). I also discussed adding electrics to plastic ukes. Very offensive, too. I wonder if "Anonymous" can explain how I, and many others who were banned can explain why?

    The new, elite group we have has quality members almost by definition, you can see the names in the list, they are a group with huge experience.

  16. Been told this morning by someone still in the group that Amanda Thompson has stated that I orchestrated the whole thing and I was out to 'destroy the group'. As I know Amanda is reading this - just a note that this is libellous and she should be very careful what she claims on a public page that is, frankly, completely untrue.

    The reality - I was booted out and have yet to be given a reason. Friends still in the group could find no evidence of a breach of the rules.

    I stated so on my public page on Facebook. Other friends said they had the same happen to them. Other friends then started to post on the page that 'hey, this isn't quite right'. They got banned.

    People have minds of their own Amanda, and pulling your group into the shadows by making it closed and blocking people just so you can tell them your incorrect version of events is really pretty low.

  17. If that page is so bad and there are so many better, why are you do butthurt about getting booted? It sounds like they could give a crap less who you think you are, if you are condescending and disrespectful then you're out.

  18. Kevin.. . Sorry the blog post didn't really make it clear enough, but really there are a few points to make
    1. It USED to be a great group
    2. They got rid of pretty much everyone I consider to be a valuable contributor - performers / luthiers / festival directors and the like.

    So I am not 'butthurt' - I just think it's a shame that they destroyed something half decent and left it with a group with far fewer knowledgeable people and a fear of saying anything that goes against perceived wisdom. Never a good thing.

  19. Oh, and I wasn't condescending or disrespectful either. Neither were people like Paul Tucker (manager of one of the worlds largest ukulele stores and professional performer who was booted without having posted anything.

  20. Ha!


  21. I feel as though I'm in amazingly good company because I got booted off too. Do I miss it? I can't say, I don't miss FB at all when I'm not on it. I don't miss FB so much I'm rarely there. It kinda sucks, to my mind.

  22. that was a monumental day Nickie - it snowballed and they didn't know what to do - so just started banning anyone they fancied. People who hadn't posted for years were banned. 101 in how not to run a uke group. I know one or two people in the group today - apparently it's completely dull as its devoid of any actual experts. So it's mainly blind leading the blind....

  23. Little late to the conversation, but I found this post kind of fascinating. It's certainly not unusual for this sort of situation to happen in online communities. For example, I started yoga a while ago and read some of the posts in online yoga communities to get a sense of how to improve. I found the same kind of mentality in those communities as in the ukulele community you've described here. Some of the yoga forums were downright savage to people who disagreed with them. It was baffling to me, given that yoga and mindfulness are all about non-judgment and peace and whatnot! So, if can happen in that sort of community, I guess I'm not surprised that it happens in ukulele communities. Sad to hear!

    I think the weirdest part for me was who got banned. I've only been playing a short time (a few months) and even I recognize many of the names you mentioned. It's super weird to me that they would want to ban people with experience who also, as far as I have seen across youtube and various forums, seem to offer sound and respectful advice.

  24. Interesting. I just tripped over this item. I was a member of a different Ukulele group and I posted something about an instrument that was not a ukulele. The post was removed in a polite manner and I was polite in accepting that I had broken a rule even though I did not know about the rule. In honesty I had not bothered to read the rules in depth. I was a bit miffed though as I am a member of several groups on Face Book to do with Ukuleles and I doubted that I could keep track in a few months time of which ones had which set of rules. A few days later an Admin posted the rules of the group and this list was amazingly long. We were asked to read the post and confirm our acceptance of the rules. I already knew that you could not discuss things like alternative tunings and also no posts were allowed that discussed using metal strings. To my mind that meant that if a newcomer asked about metal strings on a ukulele then we other members could not even warn them against such a dangerous idea. I posted my disagreement to the rules and left the group. I regret not copying the rules before I left as they really were spectacular. Until tonight I had no idea that you had fallen foul of the Face Book police. I am sorry if my comment resurrects this thread as I suspect you would prefer to forget the whole thing.

  25. as a contrast to this type of behavior; I posted a minor complaint in the facebook fan page of one of the Chinese uke companies and they responded by both politely answering my post and messaging me directly to offer different resolutions for my complaint. while they obviously have a business motive, it was still nice to see a civil, positive response which is often lacking in social media.


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