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Muzzle on Daniel James?

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I read a tweet from Daniel James where he said he's been "essentially banned from talking about anything Spitfire on vi-control. (Positive or negative)."

I'd like to hear the rationale behind this from the person/people who run this forum and I'd like to know whether this stems from any explicit requests from Spitfire - who obviously in part fund the forums because they buy ad space here.

I personally think that the whole HZS debacle would have blown over quickly should Spitfire have done what any professionals should do in similar situations: Ignore the bad press, smile and just ride out the storm.

If HZS was such a huge investment for Spitfire that it was "too big to fail" and they couldn't accept any bad press, then that's entirely their own fault. If Daniel had the wrong expectations on the library (I know he had very specific ones) then that's again the fault of Spitfire, their marketing and pre-release announcements.

Daniel, just like anyone else, is entitled to his opinion and no one should tell him not to express it. I think it's very worrysome that this forum is censoring any voice, and it detracts immensely from what I see as the purpose of the forum - being a place where consumers and pros can share knowledge and honest opinions on VIs.

Who knows how many voices have been silenced without anyone knowing about it? I'll be visiting this forum more infrequently in the future, knowing now that it isn't the source of honest opinions I once thought it was.
 

Mike Greene

Senior Member
Moderator
Since I don’t want my response to this to get buried on what would now be page 4 of this thread (what a nice surprise this morning …), I’ve moved the other responses to this thread. Not an ideal solution, and I do sincerely apologize for that, but a number of things I’m about to say are things I’ve said before, so I need to make sure I get heard on this.

First, Spitfire did not ask me to do this. They have never asked me to delete negative posts about them, other than one time last year when Paul complained (rightly IMO) that someone wrote “Sh**fire” in their thread. I did edit that post, but then as I read the rest of the thread (I’m not an orchestral guy, so I rarely read Spitfire threads), I noticed a lot of other negative posts. I emailed them that in theory, the Commercial Announcements section is a “safe zone” and if they like, we could enforce that. They said no. They didn’t want any appearance of censorship, and asked that I not do any moderating in their threads.

They’ve stayed true to that. Other than the “Sh**fire” incident, I have not gotten a single request from Spitfire to delete, edit, or do anything at all in their threads. None. In fact, other than their ad department sending me ads to posts, I had had no conversations at all with Spitfire since then. Daniel, on the other hand …

We get reported posts from Daniel from time to time. He’s a guy who needs to have the last word, so sometimes he’ll tangle with someone else who also needs to have the last word, so the conversations often turn ugly and Daniel sometimes believes the other guy went too far and then tells us about it. (Ah, the joys of running a forum.)

On one occasion in April, he complained about JohnG, who is one of the most measured and calm guys I know. (Sorry, but if you’re in a conversation with John Graham that has devolved to where you feel you need to report a post, then you’re doing something wrong.) So I sent Daniel a PM (while I was on vacation, mind you) suggesting that maybe having the last word isn’t as important as it seems, and the best solution might be to just let the topic go. Everybody’s points were already made on page one, so page 30 isn’t doing anyone any good.

I have to write messages like that way too often and I don’t enjoy this role as Dorm RA, by the way. I do have a job (Realitone) that has suffered significantly since taking ownership of this forum. These emails (or even this post) don’t write themselves and I’m spending 10 to 20 hours per week dealing with this stuff. Most days I will get at least one “Mike, you gotta do something about xxx!!!” PM or email. It’s draining. Anyway …

On Thursday, Daniel sent me a PM, this time saying he’s going to quit the forum. Garry (his nemesis at the moment) is giving him a hard time. I spent about an hour writing a response. It had to be written carefully, because I very much want Daniel to stay on the forum, although the drama and constant demand to play Solomon is wearing me out. Not to get melodramatic about all this, but I’ve already approached a couple people about selling the forum, because I can’t keep doing this. It’s too stressful and as I said, it’s seriously costing Realitone.

Anyway, it started becoming clear to me as I read this thread that Daniel has a thing against Spitfire. Maybe it’s just me, but some of his accusations seem pretty wacky, and I can’t help but wonder if there’s some backstory that is motivating him.

Now, up to this point, I have had no conversations whatsoever with Spitfire about any of this. For that matter, I had nothing to do with moving the Charity thread to the Drama zone. (That was a request from Garry, and indirectly from Daniel. I didn’t even know at the time what the “drama” was about. Like I said, I don’t read Spitfire threads.)

After that Thursday private message from Daniel, though, I did have a conversation with Paul and Christian. It turns out that there is indeed some backstory to the HZ Strings affair and it’s more significant than most of us probably thought. Interesting. I can’t help but wonder at this point whether there’s some ulterior motivation to all the anti-Spitfire posts Daniel writes. I doubt it’s intentional, but I think there’s some underlying bitterness at play.

Anyway, Daniel’s forum departure lasted all of 24 hours. He was right back to arguing with Garry that Spitfire’s Labs promotion amounts to “predatory pricing”, as well as other ethics charges against Spitfire. More reported posts, more drama for me to deal with. My suggestions (on several occasions) to Daniel to maybe let topics go are seemingly ignored.

This was going to go on forever, so I honestly felt there was only one solution - Ask Daniel not to post anymore about Spitfire. This wasn’t unilateral, by the way. I also asked several other members to not post anything about Daniel. This plan, flawed as it may be, is the only way I could think of to get this fighting to end.

This solution is possibly a little draconian, but I believe most people here would prefer fewer of these tedious debates on the forum. Disturbingly, though, many of the people leaping to Daniel’s side and condemning me are the same people who in previous years left the forum for these exact same reasons! The hypocrisy blows my mind. Negativity towards East West? They left in a huff. Negativity towards Spitfire? How dare Mike Greene do anything about it!

Look, you guys can hate Spitfire all you want. You can even hate me all you want. (There’s a 7 page thread on another forum dedicated to what an asshole I am, so I’m starting to get used to it. Wait … no I’m not. Anyone wanna buy a forum? ;) ) But don’t you think the forum would be better if Mike and Mike from CineSamples posted here again? Or Andrew from Audiobro? Or Nick and Doug from East West? Or Alex and Jonathan from Embertone?

They all used to be regulars here, but they were all chased away by various people who had to make their points so relentlessly that the forum became too unpleasant for them. For people familiar with the history, you’ll recall that it wasn’t product critiques that chased them away. It was certain relentless members who kept hammering some annoying point over and over and over again.

Is it really that outrageous to try to stop that? If the majority of the forum believes a member is getting out of hand with their attacks on a company, is it that unreasonable to ask that member to stop? Free speech is one thing, but when it’s chasing good people away, that’s another.

By no means am I suggesting negative comments not be allowed. VI-Control is first and foremost a forum for members, not developers, and that isn’t going to change. If a product sucks, we need to know it.

But if one member is involved in about a hundred total pages (I think that’s literally true!) critical of one particular company, then can’t we agree that’s going too far? Paul stopped posting here months ago. Christian is still here, but after our email exchange this last couple days, I’m now learning he’s on the edge, too. I tried to handle this in a more traditional way, but I failed. I totally agree this new solution is not ideal, but for everyone’s sanity, especially my own, I have to do what I have to do.

For the record, yesterday at 1:00 (long before this thread was started), I clarified to Daniel that if he does a YouTube video review of a Spitfire product (as opposed to Spitfire drama), he CAN post a thread here linking to it, even if the review is negative. He can also speak positively about Spitfire if he likes. He’s not “banned.” The ONLY thing I’m trying to accomplish here is an end to the drama. I find it annoying that there is no mention of that in Daniel’s Twitter feed, nor here in this thread.
 
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Mike Greene

Senior Member
Moderator
This is a separate post to address the claim I keep seeing that “Mike makes decisions based on Spitfire advertising dollars.” I’m posting this here so I can point to it later when I will inevitably hear the same accusation again.

First, I didn’t buy this forum to make money. I’ve been very lucky in my music career. I realize many people struggle financially, so I apologize for the possible insensitivity of what I’m about to say, but I’m lucky enough to be in a situation where Spitfire’s $175/month ad buy has virtually no financial impact on my life.

Don’t get me wrong, 175 bucks is 175 bucks, so I’ll happily take it, but there are nine other advertisers who also subscribe to the deluxe $175/month “Complete Package.“ The idea that Spitfire’s $175 gets more attention from me than the same $175 from Virharmonic or Best Service or Sample Logic or Sonixinema or 2cAudio doesn’t make any sense. Why would I make myself Spitfire’s whore for that?

More significantly, the alleged dynamic of Spitfire having control over me is backwards. Just think about it for a minute. I own the forum that is arguably the number one place for Spitfire to gain new customers. 43,000 page views by 9,000 unique visitors per day, baby. The power is all mine. (Okay, that sounded a little pompous, but I'm just trying to make a point.)

So if I decided to raise Spitfire’s ad rate to $1,000/month, or even $5k/month, they’d be pissed, but they would have to pay it. They’d have no choice, because I have them over a barrel. If I move their threads to Tier 2, where only logged in members can see them, they’d lose 2/3 of all their post views. (Two thirds of the 43,000 daily page views are people who are not members, so they'd never see their announcements.) The dollars lost from those lost potential customers far outweighs almost any ad rate I could dream up.

I’m not going to do that, of course. Paul and Christian are my friends (one night at NAMM, Paul and I solved the world’s problems over beers until the Tangerine Grill Bar kicked us out at closing time), so there’s no such power dynamic in either direction. Still, for anyone to think that Spitfire is waving $175 in my face and chanting, “Mike, you will do what we say” is silly. More than silly, it's insulting.

With that said, I do care very much if Paul or Christian are unhappy about things on the forum. Not because I care about $175, but rather because we can all agree that these guys are great for the forum. I want them here. (How could anyone not?) I’m not going to make a rule against criticism, of course, but if something is getting out of hand, I’m going to listen. (Again, just to be clear, they have never asked for rules against criticism, and specifically asked that I not moderate negative comments in their threads. They also never even asked me to do what I did with Daniel. That was all me, motivated by what I believe is for the good of the forum, not just Spitfire.)

For that matter, I’ve also had conversations with Mike and Mike at CineSamples and Andrew K (Audiobro) and Alex and Jonathan (Embertone), asking what we can do to get them back. It has nothing to do with ad dollars, it has to do with voices that I think would be valuable here.
 

Jaap

Yes, that's an alto flute
I think you earned a pretzel now Mike.

Seriously: Thanks for this clear and well constructed post.
Would love to see them all come back to be honest (though another signature for Andrew (Thonex) maybe, smashed my screen enough on that annoying bug thingie :grin: )
And an edit: would also love to see Daniel sticking around btw!
 
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Ashermusic

Senior Member
But don’t you think the forum would be better if Mike and Mike from CineSamples posted here again? Or Andrew from Audiobro? Or Nick and Doug from East West? Or Alex and Jonathan from Embertone?

They all used to be regulars here, but they were all chased away by various people who had to make their points so relentlessly that the forum became too unpleasant for them. For people familiar with the history, you’ll recall that it wasn’t product critiques that chased them away. It was certain relentless members who kept hammering some annoying point over and over and over again.

Is it really that outrageous to try to stop that? If the majority of the forum believes a member is getting out of hand with their attacks on a company, is it that unreasonable to ask that member to stop? Free speech is one thing, but when it’s chasing good people away, that’s another.
Bingo. I have said that many times because developers have told me this at NAMMM personally.

As someone who used to fight with Daniel also and finally crossed even my OWN lines and had to apologize, I became convinced of the wisdom of Mike's advice that having the last word should not be a priority for me, and I no longer seek to have it.

Mike is about as anti-policing as any forum owner will be (too much so IMHO) so people here who believe in very light moderation should beg him to continue.
 

robgb

I was young once
This is a separate post to address the claim I keep seeing that “Mike makes decisions based on Spitfire advertising dollars.” I’m posting this here so I can point to it later when I will inevitably hear the same accusation again.
Thank you for the explanation. I don't agree that Daniel should be banned from discussing Spitfire -- I think his points are interesting and valid and in the spirit of open discussion, and banning such discussion creates a chilling effect that can't be good for any forum. But it IS your forum and you obviously have the right to do with it what you will.
 

Parsifal666

I don't even own a DAW, I'm just a troll.
I personally wasn't wild about the endless James video on HZ Strings (for one thing, calling one of the patches too low volume when a) the patch was labelled "soft" and b) he only had one of the mics on). It seemed more like someone whom had too much caffeine at the expense of wanting to deeply review anything.

Though it's obvious Daniel has helped a number of folks here, for which I'm personally grateful, I think that video was a bit like him jumping the shark imo.

I mean no disrespect or offense to Daniel, whom has put out MUCH better and educational videos. He can be a good educator. But I do agree, there's something between him and SF. It would be sad to see him go, though.
 

Daniel James

Senior Member
Since I don’t want my response to this to get buried on what would now be page 4 of this thread (what a nice surprise this morning …), I’ve moved the other responses to this thread. Not an ideal solution, and I do sincerely apologize for that, but a number of things I’m about to say are things I’ve said before, so I need to make sure I get heard on this.

First, Spitfire did not ask me to do this. They have never asked me to delete negative posts about them, other than one time last year when Paul complained (rightly IMO) that someone wrote “Sh**fire” in their thread. I did edit that post, but then as I read the rest of the thread (I’m not an orchestral guy, so I rarely read Spitfire threads), I noticed a lot of other negative posts. I emailed them that in theory, the Commercial Announcements section is a “safe zone” and if they like, we could enforce that. They said no. They didn’t want any appearance of censorship, and asked that I not do any moderating in their threads.

They’ve stayed true to that. Other than the “Sh**fire” incident, I have not gotten a single request from Spitfire to delete, edit, or do anything at all in their threads. None. In fact, other than their ad department sending me ads to posts, I had had no conversations at all with Spitfire since then. Daniel, on the other hand …

We get reported posts from Daniel from time to time. He’s a guy who needs to have the last word, so sometimes he’ll tangle with someone else who also needs to have the last word, so the conversations often turn ugly and Daniel sometimes believes the other guy went too far and then tells us about it. (Ah, the joys of running a forum.)

On one occasion in April, he complained about JohnG, who is one of the most measured and calm guys I know. (Sorry, but if you’re in a conversation with John Graham that has devolved to where you feel you need to report a post, then you’re doing something wrong.) So I sent Daniel a PM (while I was on vacation, mind you) suggesting that maybe having the last word isn’t as important as it seems, and the best solution might be to just let the topic go. Everybody’s points were already made on page one, so page 30 isn’t doing anyone any good.

I have to write messages like that way too often and I don’t enjoy this role as Dorm RA, by the way. I do have a job (Realitone) that has suffered significantly since taking ownership of this forum. These emails (or even this post) don’t write themselves and I’m spending 10 to 20 hours per week dealing with this stuff. Most days I will get at least one “Mike, you gotta do something about xxx!!!” PM or email. It’s draining. Anyway …

On Thursday, Daniel sent me a PM, this time saying he’s going to quit the forum. Garry (his nemesis at the moment) is giving him a hard time. I spent about an hour writing a response. It had to be written carefully, because I very much want Daniel to stay on the forum, although the drama and constant demand to play Solomon is wearing me out. Not to get melodramatic about all this, but I’ve already approached a couple people about selling the forum, because I can’t keep doing this. It’s too stressful and as I said, it’s seriously costing Realitone.

Anyway, it started becoming clear to me as I read this thread that Daniel has a thing against Spitfire. Maybe it’s just me, but some of his accusations seem pretty wacky, and I can’t help but wonder if there’s some backstory that is motivating him.

Now, up to this point, I have had no conversations whatsoever with Spitfire about any of this. For that matter, I had nothing to do with moving the Charity thread to the Drama zone. (That was a request from Garry, and indirectly from Daniel. I didn’t even know at the time what the “drama” was about. Like I said, I don’t read Spitfire threads.)

After that Thursday private message from Daniel, though, I did have a conversation with Paul and Christian. It turns out that there is indeed some backstory to the HZ Strings affair and it’s more significant than most of us probably thought. Interesting. I can’t help but wonder at this point whether there’s some ulterior motivation to all the anti-Spitfire posts Daniel writes. I doubt it’s intentional, but I think there’s some underlying bitterness at play.

Anyway, Daniel’s forum departure lasted all of 24 hours. He was right back to arguing with Garry that Spitfire’s Labs promotion amounts to “predatory pricing”, as well as other ethics charges against Spitfire. More reported posts, more drama for me to deal with. My suggestions (on several occasions) to Daniel to maybe let topics go are seemingly ignored.

This was going to go on forever, so I honestly felt there was only one solution - Ask Daniel not to post anymore about Spitfire. This wasn’t unilateral, by the way. I also asked several other members to not post anything about Daniel. This plan, flawed as it may be, is the only way I could think of to get this fighting to end.

This solution is possibly a little draconian, but I believe most people here would prefer fewer of these tedious debates on the forum. Disturbingly, though, many of the people leaping to Daniel’s side and condemning me are the same people who in previous years left the forum for these exact same reasons! The hypocrisy blows my mind. Negativity towards East West? They left in a huff. Negativity towards Spitfire? How dare Mike Greene do anything about it!

Look, you guys can hate Spitfire all you want. You can even hate me all you want. (There’s a 7 page thread on another forum dedicated to what an asshole I am, so I’m starting to get used to it. Wait … no I’m not. Anyone wanna buy a forum? ;) ) But don’t you think the forum would be better if Mike and Mike from CineSamples posted here again? Or Andrew from Audiobro? Or Nick and Doug from East West? Or Alex and Jonathan from Embertone?

They all used to be regulars here, but they were all chased away by various people who had to make their points so relentlessly that the forum became too unpleasant for them. For people familiar with the history, you’ll recall that it wasn’t product critiques that chased them away. It was certain relentless members who kept hammering some annoying point over and over and over again.

Is it really that outrageous to try to stop that? If the majority of the forum believes a member is getting out of hand with their attacks on a company, is it that unreasonable to ask that member to stop? Free speech is one thing, but when it’s chasing good people away, that’s another.

By no means am I suggesting negative comments not be allowed. VI-Control is first and foremost a forum for members, not developers, and that isn’t going to change. If a product sucks, we need to know it.

But if one member is involved in about a hundred total pages (I think that’s literally true!) critical of one particular company, then can’t we agree that’s going too far? Paul stopped posting here months ago. Christian is still here, but after our email exchange this last couple days, I’m now learning he’s on the edge, too. I tried to handle this in a more traditional way, but I failed. I totally agree this new solution is not ideal, but for everyone’s sanity, especially my own, I have to do what I have to do.

For the record, yesterday at 1:00 (long before this thread was started), I clarified to Daniel that if he does a YouTube video review of a Spitfire product (as opposed to Spitfire drama), he CAN post a thread here linking to it, even if the review is negative. He can also speak positively about Spitfire if he likes. He’s not “banned.” The ONLY thing I’m trying to accomplish here is an end to the drama. I find it annoying that there is no mention of that in Daniel’s Twitter feed, nor here in this thread.

Hey Mike,

I report posts when I think a topic is getting out of hand. Or when lots of people are re-asking the same question. Usually I report something so that a mod comes in to referee a bit BECAUSE things are going off track. To suggest I am doing it so you will remove posts to allow me the last word is ridiculous.

In that PM where I was saying I was thinking of leaving the forum, I explained why. It was because of the mental issues I was dealing with as a side effect of allowing one side of the forum to pile onto me as a fucking individual Mike. Not a 40 person strong team. Relentless abuse of my abilities as a composer as a reviewer, and as a FUCKING PERSON Mike. Hans himself questioning my person. Paul himself questioning me as a person. Now you Mike, questioning me as a person.

I explained in that private message the mental problems I am now suffering from because of the bullshit and why I was getting close to my limit. Close to the fucking edge.

BUT NO it must be for some fucking anti Spitfire vendetta. Nothing to do with the fact holding an opinion led to a torrent of abuse towards me as a fucking person. I never make it about the people, I make it about the product and about the company. 40+ vs 1. But the 1 must be the problem.

So yes I thought about leaving, mostly so I wouldn't take myself off to a dark room and shoot myself in the fucking face. I had literally had enough.

So you know what. Fuck everything about this whole situation. I can't take it anymore.

And I am sure this 'conversation' you had with Spitfire was completely objective and unbiased right? And it also disturbs me that after that 'chat' with Spitfire I then receive a message saying I can no longer talk about them.

Its disgusting to me that knowing the things I told you, you still framed that post that way.
 
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Ashermusic

Senior Member
Daniel, a little advice from an older guy: relax, it's a forum, these people are not important to your life. You get to decide how much of what you believe is empirical and how much is opinion and how much to weight your own opinion vs dissenting opinions.

It isn't life or death, Nothing that goes on here will cure cancer. It's just a forum and just internet talk. Hug your loved ones, drink your favorite libation, and create some music.
 

Parsifal666

I don't even own a DAW, I'm just a troll.
So yes I thought about leaving, mostly so I wouldn't take myself off to a dark room and shoot myself in the fucking face. I had literally had enough.

So you know what. Fuck everything about this whole situation. I can't take it anymore.

Its disgusting to me that knowing the things I told you, you still framed that post that way.
This forum (no forum) is worth any of what you just described. There's nothing wrong with a break (I get the feeling you're more than aware of that). It could reset many things for you, just taking a solid month off. I do it, and it works.

Btw, you might find taking time off from here refreshes the heck out you in other areas of your life.
 

Tice

Active Member
I know I'm the new guy on the block here, and I hardly know the finer details here, but Daniel (or anybody else), if you're dealing with mental issues, and suicidal thoughts, you don't have to struggle with that alone. Please reach out.
All discourse asside, I really hope things would stop with this, as when someone is saying they can't take any more and need to protect their mental state, things can get irreversable right quick.

I deal with suicide as a volunteer. This can't be joked with. Someone is trying their best to set a boundary.
 

StillLife

Senior Member
Maybe I am naive, but why should we ever curse, call eachother names, be rude on a forum like this? If we're angry, we should not go on the internet, certainly not to VI: we should write a song about it, smash a guitar, whatever - we're musicians!
Thank you, Mike, for running this site, and for your explanation, though that should not have been necessary, imo.
 

Confuzzly

New Member
Genuine question... Are there any moderators on this forum anymore?

The only person I see doing any moderation these days is Mike, and while I appreciate the job he has done thus far, being the "Dorm RA" shouldn't fall under the responsibility of an admin of a website this large. That is a moderators job. An administrators job on a site this size should be mostly just that... administration. Mostly behind the scenes business.

Just to be clear, I am not criticizing the job Mike has done so far. I just think he needs some help. So much of the drama that occurs on this forum could be avoided with proper moderation, just as every other forum on the internet has done. This forum is no longer some small community of professional composers. It is a decent sized community full of various opinions, experiences, personalities, and cultures. Because of this, some conflict is inevitable, but small disputes don't need to be left to fester and turn into month long rivalries. Moderation can help with that.

Obviously I don't know what goes on behind the scenes, so I don't know whether mod candidates have been contacted or whether there had ever been candidates to begin with. However, in my opinion, proper moderation and mod structure is needed not just for the benefit of the forum, but for Mike's sanity as well.
 

SBK

Active Member
Oh my god, Daniel please calm, you are a nice person and this isn't that big deal. Mike please don't ban Daniel. Just calm the spirit please. Daniel take a break to relax and forget all this. Although I don't know the whole situation I am sure you can get over this keeping nice relationship with everyone.
 

Parsifal666

I don't even own a DAW, I'm just a troll.
Like all forums (and even moreso on Facebook), v.i. is subject to the law of diminishing returns. To relentlessly defend oneself, in the face of what seems negative potential return, is folly....and possibly unhealthy.
 

StillLife

Senior Member
Daniel, please calm down. Do not take what is said on the internet too seriously. Channel your energy in different ways, you're a very talented guy. I never felt you were questioned as a person, I am very sorry if you do.
 

Alex Fraser

Senior Member
I'll add to the chorus.
DJ - was clear enough to me watching a couple of your vids that the whole drama (HZ strings onwards) was taking a massive toll on you. Like others have said, take a break for a while and forget the forum. It's *really* not worth running yourself to ground over. We cease to exist when you close the browser window. ;)

Sad thing is, all of this could be avoided if the individuals involved sat down and thrashed things out over a beer. The internet has a horrible way of blowing things out of proportion.
 
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