Monday, June 2, 2014

Reddit Vinyl: The Land of Dad Rock Records, Vinyl Tourists, and Downvote Teens

At Reddit Vinyl it's always harder to find the guy who isn't Waldo.

Related to Elements: Cratedigging

Pertinent confession: I am a music forum whore.  I spend a little too much otherwise valuable work time at various record related, crate digging, and Hip Hop focused forums residing all over the globe.  For many years I've made my daily rounds between the forums, blogs, and news feeds relentlessly satiating my music information void.  

Sometime along the way it became obvious that every music forum has it's own distinct qualities, quirks and 'personalities' as unique as the individual members who dwell there.  In a way, these online communities I routinely visit each represent a contradistinctive slice of the overall worldwide music scene.

Usually I am on the prowl for these fresh sources of music information, actively seeking them out, but once in a while the forum finds me.  That was the case with Reddit Vinyl when a user linked to my DIY Record Storage Shelves. It blew up my visitor stats for that week, and like a red cape in front of a bull it grabbed my attention.  

As always, curiosity killed this cat because I couldn't ignore those numbers.  Upon discovering the information was deemed helpful to a handful of fellow record aficionados, I joined the seemingly massive community hoping to build with and grow from other like-minded vinyl addicts.  

Subsequently this was my first Reddit post ever.  With that first post I contributed one way I knew how to contribute, hoping to get a little in return.  Ultimately, that's what these forums are all about.  You get in what you put in.  Well, if only I knew then what I know now.

Reddit Vinyl, the Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Before we get into the bad and the ugly, I'll start with the good.  After all, there's got to be some reason to visit the forum, much less blog about it.  Well, for starters, besides the sheer massive number of members, and consequently threads and comments, a huge quantity of record related news and updates rolls through there starting on page one.  Don't like what's on page one right now?  Just wait a few hours and it'll be filled up with new threads and record related links.  Some of the news on page one can actually be relevant and fresh when it's not over-posted by those too lazy to use the search button to see if the news has already made it's rounds.  

So digging for quality content at r/vinyl is a lot like digging for good records.  Imagine crate digging in a football field sized record store for just a few good records.  Obviously you'd have to flip past a million crap records to get to the ones you care about.  Likewise with r/vinyl, before you find the newsworthy and\or valuable information, you gotta flip past a million and one pointless newb posts, like comic strip posts of Charlie Brown being proud of his collection, kids closely relating to Joseph Roundtree's confusion with vinyl, the collective teenagers' giddiness with lego turntables, a myriad of "My Goodwill hauls!" clone threads, "I built my first IKEA!   Fellow clones look and drool!" and "Help me find a turntable for under 200 bucks!"   Now imagine infinite variants of these threads from wannabe record collectors who correctly assume that r/vinyl is the place to find experts of cheap crappy used decks.  As long as you don't mind digging past this unstoppable flood of madness there's some real data there.

Throughout this minute by minute torrent of repetitive fluff, the mods frankly do their best to deal with the impotence.  They constantly point to their "sidebar rules" that exist to deter the flow of "hold my hand and walk me thru buying crap turntables that don't suck" threads.  Another of these ignored and unarguably ineffective rules supposedly bans photos of collections containing no descriptions or effort whatsoever.  Yet every day a pic of nothing more than dollar bin records lying on the carpet next to the owner's photo-bombing, nasty-ass bare feet at the bottom of the frame are posted.  The moderators do try, but the downpour of newb dumbassery is just way too much to quell as they are so vastly outnumbered.  Regardless, for their underpaid selfless effort to maintain some sense of relevance there and their attempts to purge the flow of one-percenters' half-assed posts, they do deserve credit.  Likewise for the relevant threads that eventually linger on page one, r/vinyl deserves credit for being that source of information.

Not to mention, although stifled and disenfranchised by the overwhelming masses of vinyl tourists asking uncreative questions, there is still a fair amount of members who truly know their shit.  This small minority of intelligent cats are genuinely good people, knowledgeable about turntables and certain records and genres.  They bring insightful answers, good banter, and somehow maintain a little bit of grace and sanity in the face of staggering flamboyant ignorance.

The Bad and the Ugly = Downvote Teens

Shortly after my first post it became painfully obvious that the forum had a massive number of members.  Unfortunately their quantity wasn't the solution, it was the problem.  Vinyl is trending right now and record sales have skyrocketed the past few years and somehow almost all of these new-to-vinyl collectors decided to start at r/vinyl.  By my estimation, approximately 90 percent of the members in r/vinyl are basically mystified newbs and\or vinyl tourists who are, according to their own words, "curious about vinyl".  

It's actually worse than that.  Not only are the bulk of members simply clueless people, but they are the worst kind of people, actual teenagers who think at one year of hand-me down records from Grandma's attic and one Daft Punk record gives them the expertise to advice the legions of incoming eager to learn impressionable trainees who are just coming out of lurking.  Like Lord of the Flies online, these self appointed child experts add confusion to the chaos by mass downvoting otherwise good advice if it even remotely contradicts their narrow minded blurted-out comments and assumptions.  

The Numbers Don't Lie

r/vinyl's own member age poll conducted by their moderators indicates a lopsided percentage of teen angst.

Poll Source

Need More Proof?

Now, if this Reddit supplied polling data isn't enough to convince you of the hoards of dysfunctional teenyboppers there, then this following link should be all the additional proof you need...

Thread Titled: People who've spent triple digits on a single record, what was it and why?  

The most upvoted response was this...

"Taylor Swift - RED. Limited ACM Awards edition. Bought it for $250 excl. shipping. Bought it because I just love that album. Not that I'm going to play it though."  - maxim380
As of today, 90 people upvoted this human being's response making it the most popular answer by a landslide.  

Furthermore, the member added...

"I don't play it because I don't want to risk scratching it or damaging it in some other way. I know that the chance of that happening is really small, but I just don't want to take the risk." - maxim380

Adding insult to injury, this comment also was upvoted incessantly because the resident vinyl tourists find it perfectly normal to buy a record just to have it for bragging rights or display purposes.  

And hey, what better artist to brag about spending 250 dollars on than that tinsel town concocted teen idol who produces cheerleader anthems, Taylor Swift?   It's inevitable that all of her future ex-fans will outgrew their training bras, and on that day they'll figure out how God-awful this pixie rockstar's so-called country music is.  Except for dumb ass teenaged disciples with Taylor Swift pajamas, it is universally understood that she embodies everything that is tawdry and petty with the music industry.  Apparently, as America's elvish red-carpet sweetheart, the moment that wretched voice comes out the speakers crooning about her whoring around in her own narcissistic world, we're supposed to be able to relate.  Even the twiggy twit herself knows that only teenagers can subscribe to her corny, mellowdramatic lyrics.  She's understands that it's because of these moldable juveniles that she's set for life.  Well, for whatever reason this collective of Swift putty found it's permanent residence at Reddit Vinyl.

This overpopulation of perplexed newbs and downvote teens are the proverbial "bad and the ugly".  They are the true elephant in the room and they are directly responsible for r/vinyl ultimately being a pathetic joke of a vinyl record collectors forum.  Because of this paralyzing flood of them rearing their trend-jumping heads every hour, Reddit vinyl will never reach it's potential to become a serious online resource. Because of the downvote teens, it will always be the land of vinyl newbs.   

What Exactly Are Downvote Teens?


One unique to Reddit trait that could be a powerful feature when properly utilized is the up and down vote option on every post.  Be that as it may, at Reddit Vinyl that just means every single word out of your mouth is a high school popularity contest.  Effectively, every kid there will do whatever it takes to sit at the r/vinyl cool kids' lunch table.  

Ironically, they call this "karma" but it has absolutely nothing to do with karma at all.  They know in order to fast-track their way to this proverbial table they should rush to be the first to reply to the forum's posts with the most cynical responses, obvious solutions, blatant ass-kissing, and\or any popularly held beliefs regardless of their statement being correct or relevant.  

Not quick enough to get there first?  Ok, how about a gif animation of a kitty cat spinning on a turntable as your response to a topic?   Useless fluff guarantees karma points.  The more pandering to this lowest common denominator, the more karma points you "earn".  While these points are basically as valuable as pretend money, to the downvote teens, accumulating them is the same as offering up your Fruit Roll-Ups to the homecoming king.  

The quintessential example of a downvote teen's user profile


While fluff and fruitless remarks get awarded with upvotes by the mindless masses, almost everything else is downvoted by the downvote teens.  Comments which are accurate and helpful responses are often ignored and hover at neutral.  At least they are upvoted by lingering well-informed members attempting to offset the multitude of snot-nosed brats who are pressing down arrow because they are "annoyed" with the confident "tone" of the factual contribution.  Therefore comments like "I'm pretty sure you're right, but you don't have to sound like such an asshole!" get upvoted by the same dysfunctional teens downvoting the dead-on response.  

Likewise, it's no surprise that name-calling and insults to purveyors of unpopular opinions get upvotes while actual healthy debate and respectful disagreements and discussion are treated with indifference.  

Behold the March of the Downvote Lemmings 

Moreover, once a comment is downvoted to reach a negative number, or even zero, like clockwork, the mob mentality kicks in.  These powerless teenagers often don't read the comment being downvoted, (everything is TLDR) nor do they care as to why it's being downvoted.  It's simply an instantaneous knee-jerk response for them to click down arrow because they instinctually mimic their own kind.  For these helpless drones "monkey see, monkey do" is their standard because individual thought is just too hard.

Lemmings are too dense to contribute to the topic so instead they lurk and blindly follow the downvoters.



Why Do Downvote Teens Downvote?

Since teens have no real control over their lives, they overcompensate by retreating into the Reddit virtual world where the downvote serves as their wooden sword.  Consumed by misplaced angst, sexual frustration, and petty beefs, they are completely oblivious to their own awkwardness, so they take comfort in religiously pushing the down arrow.  These twerps easily fool themselves into thinking that will be their expression of power.  Like an old man with a penis car, a downvote teen burns rubber at Reddit vinyl.

Meanwhile, outside Reddit vinyl in the real world, their mothers are fucking pissed at them for not putting their clothes in the hamper and jizzing all over their socks balled up under their beds. She's ready to drop their allowance to 20 bucks a week for not watering the cat and making their beds, but sadly she won't do it because she's so drained from the constant battle.  Instead she'll limit their video game privileges to a mere 4 hours a day effectively enabling the teen to continue down the same fruitless path.   

Downvote teens will always upvote Crap Stevens, crap disco and all dad rock

What Do Downvote Teens Upvote? (Like)

Believe it or not, they downvote pretty much everything, but downvote teens do upvote a few types of threads and comments.  The following types of threads constantly stay on page one due to the DVTs upvoting them...

  • Anything Beatles Related, Especially the Butcher Cover
  • Anything pertaining to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, or the Doors Records
  • Any kind of dad rock picture posts
  • Any kind of records inherited from parents or grandparents picture posts
  • Any kind of "my humble setup threads" as long as the word humble or "small" is used
  • Dorm Room Setup Pic Topics
  • Any Thread from 15 or 16 year old teens announcing their age in the title
  • Anything IKEA related because they are proud they can erect it for their 4 records
  • Anything negative about Crosley Record Players
  • MF Doom and Nas Records but no other Hip Hop
  • Goodwill Record Haul Posts
  • RSD Haul Posts and, ironically, RSD Sucks Posts
  • Thrift Sale or Garage Sale Haul Pic Posts
  • Posts about Records purchased Best Buy or Hot Topic
  • Any cartoons that contain a record player in them
  • Tiny turntables built out of legos
  • Any picture that contains a cat
  • Any thread that starts with "HELP!!!"
  • Any Daft Punk topic
  • Any rock band that is named after an animal
  • Every rock band that is getting the daily reddit circle jerk
  • Comments from people who say "Get that turntable off your receiver!"  
  • "Vintage" players even if they are broken and are as big as a chest freezer
  • Colored Vinyl Records
  • People who display their records on the wall even if they don't have a turntable
  • Threads with "My Grail" or "My White Whale" in it despite it being a common record
  • Responses that are gif links
  • Anyone who yells at someone "Pretentious!" "Elitist!" "Prick" or "Asshole" especially in any combination of these words
  • People who bitch about record sellers


What Do Downvote Teens Downvote? (Dislike)

  • Crosley Brand Record Players unless it has a Peanuts Cartoon on it.  However most of them had a Crosley on day one of joining r/vinyl.
  • Flippers, aka all sellers who make a few extra bucks on post RSD resales.  They want stores to stay in business they just don't want sellers to make money.
  • Record players that don't come with a dust cover (must kill dust!)
  • Record players that don't come with a cue lever (too clutzy to hand cue a record)
  • DJs since they ruin records.
  • People who scratch or even touch the grooves (Q-bert is satan to them)
  • Any kind of negative opinion about any music will be mass downvoted (With opinion, only positive comments are tolerated especially when it comes to the Beatles and Taylor Swift)
  • People who say "Vinyls" (Which obviously it isn't a word, but they are extremely passionate about disliking that word)
  • People who correct people who say "vinyls".  (They want people to know without being told)
  • People who don't follow the "side bar" rules
  • People who tell people to follow the "side bar" rules
  • Picture discs (although displaying them is fine, enjoying the music on them is unacceptable.)
  • Threads with individual music taste which isn't their own
  • Record Store owners that put price tags on records
  • Anything related to actual crate digging
  • Lastly, they hate me for saying this.  So much so that they created this thread.


Daily Downvote Dumbassery: What Do Downvote Teens Claim To Understand But Can't Grasp?

  • Stacking your records vertically will immediately warp your records.  (While it's true that doing so in huge stacks for many months may warp some records this belief is highly exaggerated.)  
  • Getting water on your record label will ruin it.  (During the manufacturing process the label is literally melted into the record, it can be submerged and it will still be fine.)
  •  All Crosleys suck and having one will ruin every record it touches.  (While most are low end or starter players they aren't going to destroy your records in any normal amount of play time.  Record player manufacturers know you gotta have the BMWs and Yugos and everything in between.)
  • Using the cue lever is essential or you'll break the needle and\or scratch your records.  (Actually, for them this is true.  Certainly if they are too afraid to learn how to hand cue records they'll never be coordinated enough to cue records quickly and efficiently like your average human being does with their hands.)  
  • The dust cover is the most important part on a turntable.   (Some of these dolts actually play records under the plastic cover because they are afraid of the dust that will accumulate during one rotation will ruin the record.  Doing this is not only impractical and stupid looking, but it actually generates more static electricity and can potentially make the record sound tinny with the big plastic shell reverberating in play.)
  •  What "holy grail" records are. (They equate "expensive" and "I have to have it" to it being a holy grail, oblivious to the rarity factor and how much something is sought.  Meanwhile in reality, "grails" are just like the real holy grail artifact, thus the reference.  Every one wants to touch it and no one knows where one is that can be obtained.  Often they add the word "My" to the title proving that they truly don't get it.  "I found my holy grail!"  Boobs who say shit like that need to stop grailing everything they want, because it's making that word completely meaningless.)
  •  What to buy  (Sometimes they literally ask the entire forum what record they should buy because they have no personal taste.  All they know about what rock to buy they learned from what r/vinyl circle jerked numerous times.  Or they heard about it from their parents first.  They might hate their parents but for some reason they love their parents' hand me down crap records.  Any kind of unknown record is worthless to them unless it was featured on numerous cloned Reddit threads featuring that currently trending band.)

Common Downvote Teen Traits

 Typical Downvote Teen Setup Pics...  In no particular order...
  • Setup 1 (This couldn't be any more perfect of an example)
  • Setup 2 (Blurry cell phone pic, empty IKEA, and toys)
  • Setup 3 (Shit on the floor, deck on amp, lined up in front of a damn radiator) 
  • Setup 4 (Let's try really hard to not impress anyone)
  • A Downvote Teen's DIY Record Wall Display (Oh, here's a surprise, it's Daft Punk)

Uh Oh!  Banned from Reddit Vinyl


Ever been fired from the worst job you ever had in your life?  That basically sums up the emotion I had when I was banned without warning not long ago.  My last post was a comment on a punk band I had respect for and shortly after posting that I got a anonymous message with no explanation saying I could no longer post at r/vinyl.  

Why this happened, I'm not sure, but I'm guessing it had something to do with me voicing my opinions on Taylor Swift two comments prior to that and clearly that really pissed off a lot of people.  That wasn't the first time I dissed that woman, nor was it the first time I openly expressed my fatigue from all the rehashed monotony and predictable 1% effort newb clones .  I'm guessing airing those grievances was deemed "trolling" by one or more of the mods and dropping the ban hammer was determined to be the most efficient way to protect the glass houses. 

I understood that very day that it was in fact better for everyone, especially myself that the band-aid was effectively ripped off.   The entire time I was actively posting there, digging through their proverbial information crates, I was constantly flipping past way too many beat up Elvis and Beatles records in there to get to the relevant content.  I spent way too much time trying to rinse the hair off the bar of soap knowing full well that I was in a yeti's shower.  

Keep in mind, I've never been banned from anything in my life, and in this one case, being told I don't belong there was nothing more than a subtle compliment.  I should add that it is a known fact that ANY serious record collector who has been buying records for at least 2 years will find the frustration of the daily flood of downvote teen dumbassery trumps everything.  Bottom line, as a forum member, unless you are "curious about possibly starting to collect vinyl," or "new to vinyl" or "16 and look what you bought with your allowance!" you won't get out what you put in at Reddit vinyl.

That's right kids, if your Ipod Touch isn't cutting it any more, even after the Beats by Dre earbuds birthday present upgrade, and you've resorted to dusting off the hand-me-down dad-rock records in the basement, r/vinyl will gladly welcome you to your new home where you'll be accompanied by thousands of like-minded, equally clueless but passionate newb clones. 

On the opposite hand, If you really wanna learn something about digging records,  Reddit does have a cratedigging subreddit, but it's clearly much smaller.  I haven't been there so I can't comment on it. 

Obviously, outside of the mega-forums of Reddit there are many valuable online communities to enrich your record collecting knowledge and experiences, many with contributing members who want to make connections as much as you do.  Cratedigging forums like the Cratedigging Cooperative, DWG forums, The Record Collectors Guild, and the Vinyl Collective Forum, to name just a few, all have active members of varying age groups and experience levels who are looking for the same mutually beneficial cultivation of music understanding that you desire.  Best of all, you'll find it all without any of the predictable prepubescent absurdity of the downvote teens.  


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