How are the Seasons intimidating or exclusive?

I'd like to share what I managed to do this afternoon with you all. I made a quick audio recording of Amazing Grace on ukulele, just using my Tablet computer and it's generic voice recording app. Then I opened a free account on Veed Studio. Winging it on Veed, I managed to create a project, upload my recorded audio and my avatar picture, and then I pressed done. Winging it again, this time on YouTube, I created a channel, and uploaded the video file from Veed.

 
Putting yourself in a video online will always be intimidating.
Seasons or no seasons.
But hey, if you take a minute to look through a seasons thread, see a couple of videos on YouTube and read the comments, you will soon realize how jovial and welcoming the forum is, and how non competitive this challenge is for something posted in a "contest" forum. Yeah there are often prizes, but they are usually either drafted or awarded based as much on someones idea, spirit or personal highs as on technical playing skill.
 
I’m offended by this, Tim.

Yes, you should be. It was offensive. I apologize. Full stop. I was having a bad day and responded too quickly. It had nothing to do with you and Voran, and I hate that I posted it.

Part of me wants to just delete it because I would hate for anyone else to see it and think that that's the kind of post we consider appropriate here, but part of me feels like it should remain as a scarlet letter of sorts. I really effed up, and I really am sorry. It won't happen again.

I'm especially disappointed in and exasperated with myself because, well, I know I'm not supposed to have favorites, but both you and Voran are on my list of people I follow. You really ARE among my favorites, and you deserved better from me. Not that everybody doesn't, but still.

And in spite of some of what’s been said in this thread, I’d like to repeat what I just posted elsewhere:

All the more generous in context. Thanks so much! You're very kind.


I wouldn't suggest "elitist", I don't think that's appropriate. Exclusive, not in a classist sort of way, more in a "you don't belong if you can't figure it out" sort of way. To me, as an outsider, it has come across that way, just because it is somewhat obscure and hard to understand, especially if the only way you view these Season's threads is through the New Posts section.

I can always count on Amie to say things better than I can, and once again, I think this is absolutely it. For people who only see the occasional post in the New Posts section, there's no context, and no easy way to get it.

I get that for people who are already in, there doesn't feel a need to change a thing...but there are reasons that more people aren't in, including some folks who are regularly making and posting videos elsewhere on the site.

As Amie notes, it's not elitism (a word that I agree couldn't apply LESS here) as much as...I'm looking for the right word. Obscurity? Opacity? Something like that. Not implying anything negative, just that if you're not pre-wired for this kind of thing, it's not easy to find the way in.

Some other folks have mentioned that there are a bunch of pinned posts to explain how all this works, but that's also part of the problem. There are too many of them, some of them are way too long, and it's hard to know which of them is still relevant. All of them? None of them? I have no idea.

I DO have an idea for the other forums, as did Amie and @Arcy, so we were pretty proactive about unsticky-ing, editing, deleting, consolidating, or rewriting other FAQs as needed around the site. I especially like what Rob did with the Marketplace docs, which are masterpieces of concision and clarity.

I know that sorting this out for the Seasons will be a large-ish undertaking, which is why I'll be starting a thread about it soon. I have a feeling that even a lot of regulars here haven't looked at those in a while, ESPECIALLY with an eye to being accessible to people who don't know anything about it.


Why not Song of the week? Or This Week in Ukulele? Or anything else.

I'd be lying if I said that this hadn't crossed my mind. :) Names do sometimes outlive the usefulness of their original use, but I'm feeling like it might be a little less pressing to consider that in this case if we can do a better job of giving people an idea of what it actually is.
 
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I think one of the great things about the UU forum in general is that if someone is obviously trying too hard to sound interesting, and clearly failing, the “Ignore” facility comes in really handy 👍
I have to admit to being just a teensy bit entertained by someone posting on a forum they say they're ignoring to announce that they're ignoring it. But, to be fair, I have a lot of forums and threads and people on my "ignore" list for various reasons and I still can't resist looking from time to time. It is a great feature, and vital for any community of any size in my opinion.
 
But, to be fair, I have a lot of forums and threads and people on my "ignore" list for various reasons and I still can't resist looking from time to time. It is a great feature, and vital for any community of any size in my opinion.

One of the early things I did in my moderation tenure was to find a more extensive Ignore toolset than the free one built into the forum. It's via an add on called Ignore More, and I like it. 😁

And I STILL click on Ignored stuff to look at it sometimes. 🤣
 
or maybe, they were trying too hard to sound interesting and failed.
I just want you to know, I freakin died at that comment. LMAO. That, my friend, is being up front.
It goes back to what Tim said somewhere about the label on the tin. SOTU tells you jack. I've only been here a year and half. The ones who have been through 594 of these might be more attached to the name. I've tried telling people at the uke group I go to about the seasons and even made sure they went to the forum instead of the lesson site. They couldn't find it. Then again...
turning into me.JPG
 
I don’t participate in Seasons, so please don’t jump on me for commenting here.

I‘ve been in the forum for a number of years but didn’t know that Seasons even existed for a long time. Once I bumped into it, I was enjoying listening to videos & dared to leave an enthusiastic comment. I was chewed out so strongly that I haven’t ventured back to an area of the forum that didn’t welcome me.

I understood it to be a contest. Apparently it’s not? I think clarifying what it is and that comments are not welcome would be a good idea.

I have no idea how to record anything, don’t have a YT account. It sounds like those of us who are low tech people are causing people to pick their noses & have aneurysms. I don’t mind the nose picking but would hate to cause an aneurysm. Are low tech people not welcome?

Those of you who are active in it like things the way they are. Fair enough. If the rest of us are being excluded, (can’t even tell you I really liked your video let alone participate in any other way?), then maybe it is a bit like Tim’s party description.

Well, the neighbors seem to have finally stopped shooting off firecrackers & fireworks & terrorizing my dogs with their noise, so I’ll stop worrying about all the nose picking, hand you all some tissues & some hand sanitizer, & go have some happy dreams.
I was really sorry to hear that you were chewed out for leaving a comment. I am trying to think of which of the regular Seasonistas would chew someone out and I'm at a loss. I hope a suggestion has not been interpreted as a "chewing out".
As I said in another thread, I am certainly low tech when it comes to posting videos. I prop my phone up against a pile of books and put it in "selfie mode". I press the little red dot to record, play my song, and press the little black square to stop recording.
Going to youtube.com, you will find it pretty easy to follow the directions to sign up for an account and then to post your video on the Seasons. I have remained low tech for the about 3 years I have been on the Seasons. I have never had a negative comment posted on my videos, even though some of them were pretty amateur and not very good (the videos, not the comments).
Most folks post their comments in the YouTube comments and comments from non-Seasonistas are always welcome.

Of course, Seasonistas are human and some don't think before posting a comment. I'm really sorry if this has happened to you and I'll guarantee that the overwhelming majority of regulars in the Seasons Of The Ukulele are nice, welcoming folks.
 
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I apologize. Full stop. I was having a bad day and responded too quickly.
Apology accepted and reciprocated - thank you, Tim. You put a lot of thought and time and effort and care into your list of suggestions, and in retrospect I reacted a little too defensively to some of what was being said. The Seasons has been a huge driving force in my musical progress, but more than that, it’s become a very important community of friends and people I respect, admire and value, especially since the advent of our Zoom Saturday open mic meetings. So I was a probably a little over-protective in some of my reaction. Onwards and upwards! :)
 
I'd like to share what I managed to do this afternoon with you all. I made a quick audio recording of Amazing Grace on ukulele, just using my Tablet computer and it's generic voice recording app. Then I opened a free account on Veed Studio. Winging it on Veed, I managed to create a project, upload my recorded audio and my avatar picture, and then I pressed done. Winging it again, this time on YouTube, I created a channel, and uploaded the video file from Veed.


Gorgeous! That was my brother’s favorite hymn 🩵
 
Apology accepted and reciprocated - thank you, Tim.

Reciprocal apology accepted! It's hard to remember to slow down sometimes on the internet, and here's a great example why. :) All's well!

The Seasons has been a huge driving force in my musical progress, but more than that, it’s become a very important community of friends and people I respect, admire and value,

Understandable! I know that I overreach sometimes, and it's only because of enthusiasm.

I especially understand that the people who have been able to find their way into the Seasons and find a home there don't feel like anything needs to change. And within the four walls of the Seasons, for sure, nothing needs to change. My hope remains that we can put our heads together and find ways to actively bring more people in, but we'll continue that conversation elsewhere. :)

especially since the advent of our Zoom Saturday open mic meetings.

Wait, what? That's amazing! I'm gobsmacked to only be hearing about this now! What's the story?

I'll note that this kind of thing is one of my frustrations across the entire Ukulele Underground Cinematic Universe as I've nicknamed it. The Ukulele Underground side of the house, ie, the place with the free song lessons and paid tutorials by the boatload (literally thousands of videos), ALSO has a Zoom open mic that I just found out about. Theirs is monthly, but what?!? How is this not plastered all over the forum? I only found about it by accident in a conversation with Aaron, rather than any kind of official announcement.

Part of my broader idea is that we'll all benefit if the clubhouse walls between all of these events, and many others like them, were just a little lower, and more people knew about them. There shouldn't be so many secret codes to crack. At least that's my thinking.

Anyway, thanks again for reaching out, and for all you're doing to make the community what it is!

Best,
Tim
 
I don’t participate in Seasons, so please don’t jump on me for commenting here.

I‘ve been in the forum for a number of years but didn’t know that Seasons even existed for a long time. Once I bumped into it, I was enjoying listening to videos & dared to leave an enthusiastic comment. I was chewed out so strongly that I haven’t ventured back to an area of the forum that didn’t welcome me.

I understood it to be a contest. Apparently it’s not? I think clarifying what it is and that comments are not welcome would be a good idea.

I have no idea how to record anything, don’t have a YT account. It sounds like those of us who are low tech people are causing people to pick their noses & have aneurysms. I don’t mind the nose picking but would hate to cause an aneurysm. Are low tech people not welcome?

Those of you who are active in it like things the way they are. Fair enough. If the rest of us are being excluded, (can’t even tell you I really liked your video let alone participate in any other way?), then maybe it is a bit like Tim’s party description.

Well, the neighbors seem to have finally stopped shooting off firecrackers & fireworks & terrorizing my dogs with their noise, so I’ll stop worrying about all the nose picking, hand you all some tissues & some hand sanitizer, & go have some happy dreams.
I didn't mean to have a go at you. Those comments were not meant for you.

I admit something similar happened to me when hosting a season. I forgot there was a rule about commenting on absolutely everyone's Youtubes. There was a lot of bad feeling. I'm not sure that's a problem with anyone else though. I did read the how tos but genuinely just forgot. I will be the first to admit that my attention span is not the best and perhaps I'm not cut out for hosting seasons - I am a bit of a blunderbuss!
 
This is a great thread. I love all the thoughtful comments, and that multiple people have apologized and rephrased some thoughts that they thought differently about after listening to each other and reflecting. This is exactly the sort of stuff I love about the Seasons and UU.

__________________

Suggestions:

1) Perhaps it's time for a new up-to-date FAQ / Invitation / Welcome post?

2) And to clean up our pinned posts? I'm an oldtimer, and I still get confused every time I look for one. There are too many, and a lot of them are outdated and are currently more confusing than helpful.

3) Once we have a new, clear, welcoming, and succinct Invitation post, we could ask hosts to put the link to it at the top of each new Season thread, to make it easier for new folks to figure out what the heck we're doing here. Maybe we could come up with a sentence or two of standard language (including the link) that hosts could just paste in, to make it easy for hosts, newbies, and everyone.

__________________

Re the name, we're on Season (week) 594.

594 / 52 = 11.42 years, which means the Seasons of the Ukulele have been going continuously for 11 years, 5 months. We have 11-1/2 years of threads and posts and YouTube videos and playlists referencing "Seasons of the Ukulele". Yeah, it's a silly, confusing, unhelpful name. But also, I'd be really sad to lose all that history and searchability. Willing, if we decide the benefits outweigh the cost, but sad.
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Re the challenges of getting started, yes - there is a bit of a learning curve and a setup curve. It's manageable by most people, and Seasonistas have always been super helpful and willing to help newcomers through it. It's worth it.

It's not an artificial barrier we put there to make it hard for you. Complaining about it seems to me a bit like complaining about the learning curve and equipment acquisition required to start a new sport. If you want to play baseball, you're gonna have to learn the rules, practice the game, and get a glove. Most of us didn't have a YouTube account or know how to make video when we started. Most of us got help, and we all got there eventually. You can too, and we're happy to help you.
__________________

Participation, including making and posting YouTube videos should have zero cost for most people. Even if you don't have a camera, you can make YouTube videos from audio recordings, as Renaissance-Man has just beautifully demonstrated. We like to see you and your uke, but we don't require it. We respect those who choose to remain unseen. If it's been a barrier to your participation, don't let it be. You can do this.
__________________

Come join us. We welcome you. Really.
 
people tell us why and a couple of very vocal seasonistas tell them they're wrong and then post a thread like this
if it was welcoming and inclusive participation would be growing but that is not the case
i will opine that youtube and having to have a youtube channel is an issue for some
the time frame for participation may also be an issue but that is part of the challenge
finding a song to fit the theme and owning your performance is also a challenge
but it is meant to be a (personal) challenge
i will state that all levels of uke ability have always been welcome
and although it was once a competition it is no longer so
the fact that the home of the seasons is in the contest section would also be intimidating for some
you do have to be able to cope with other seasonistas and internet behaviour - but that is the case where ever you spend your web time .....
As you well know over on the dark side long before the seasons existed the Ukulele Cosmos had a monthly "Invitational" which was a more neutral term. If challenge or invitational were used instead of contest, it maybe a more friendly way to frame the seasons.
 
Wait, what? That's amazing! I'm gobsmacked to only be hearing about this now! What's the story?
Back at the start of Covid, @YorkSteve suggested a weekly online Zoom meet-up for Seasonistas, and it’s carried on since then. It’s a lovely mix of music and chat, attended by, on average, about a dozen of us. We each play a piece on uke (lag makes it impossible to play anything together at the same time), and conversation ensues between performances. We have a weekly question that helps to fuel the chat (ranging from “what’s your favourite fruit?” to “what’s your most embarrassing moment?”, and everything in between!). Most, but not all, of us are regular Seasonistas - yes we even allow ‘outsiders’ in too!!!! 😲😉😁

See here for more details - you’d be very welcome to join us, Tim! 🙂
 
Wendy -- UkeCan1 of Uke Can Play Too!
YouTube:
Uke Can 1 | Uke On! Band | Uke Can Play Too! | The Prosperous Artist
Facebook: Uke On! Band | Uke Can Play Too! | The Prosperous Artist Revolution

Ukes: Tiki Uki = soprano Tiki Flea, Epi Leadshredder = Les Paul Epiphone concert
Pocky = Kala Pocket Uke sopranissimo, Chili = Mainland soprano Chili Pepper Uke
Minnie (hot pink, "Happy to Be Me!), Mickey (bright blue), and Sophia (lavender) First Act "mini guitars"

If you're a Seasonista, come join the Seasonista Facebook group! (PM me)
If you're not (YET!), come play with us in the Seasons of the Ukulele ... it's easy and fun

The above is from Wendy's signature, and that message has been there for ages!

This is a great thread. I love all the thoughtful comments, and that multiple people have apologized and rephrased some thoughts that they thought differently about after listening to each other and reflecting. This is exactly the sort of stuff I love about the Seasons and UU.

__________________

Suggestions:

1) Perhaps it's time for a new up-to-date FAQ / Invitation / Welcome post?

2) And to clean up our pinned posts? I'm an oldtimer, and I still get confused every time I look for one. There are too many, and a lot of them are outdated and are currently more confusing than helpful.

3) Once we have a new, clear, welcoming, and succinct Invitation post, we could ask hosts to put the link to it at the top of each new Season thread, to make it easier for new folks to figure out what the heck we're doing here. Maybe we could come up with a sentence or two of standard language (including the link) that hosts could just paste in, to make it easy for hosts, newbies, and everyone.

__________________

Re the name, we're on Season (week) 594.

594 / 52 = 11.42 years, which means the Seasons of the Ukulele have been going continuously for 11 years, 5 months. We have 11-1/2 years of threads and posts and YouTube videos and playlists referencing "Seasons of the Ukulele". Yeah, it's a silly, confusing, unhelpful name. But also, I'd be really sad to lose all that history and searchability. Willing, if we decide the benefits outweigh the cost, but sad.
__________________

Re the challenges of getting started, yes - there is a bit of a learning curve and a setup curve. It's manageable by most people, and Seasonistas have always been super helpful and willing to help newcomers through it. It's worth it.

It's not an artificial barrier we put there to make it hard for you. Complaining about it seems to me a bit like complaining about the learning curve and equipment acquisition required to start a new sport. If you want to play baseball, you're gonna have to learn the rules, practice the game, and get a glove. Most of us didn't have a YouTube account or know how to make video when we started. Most of us got help, and we all got there eventually. You can too, and we're happy to help you.
__________________

Participation, including making and posting YouTube videos should have zero cost for most people. Even if you don't have a camera, you can make YouTube videos from audio recordings, as Renaissance-Man has just beautifully demonstrated. We like to see you and your uke, but we don't require it. We respect those who choose to remain unseen. If it's been a barrier to your participation, don't let it be. You can do this.
__________________

Come join us. We welcome you. Really.

Back at the start of Covid, @YorkSteve suggested a weekly online Zoom meet-up for Seasonistas, and it’s carried on since then. It’s a lovely mix of music and chat, attended by, on average, about a dozen of us. We each play a piece on uke (lag makes it impossible to play anything together at the same time), and conversation ensues between performances. We have a weekly question that helps to fuel the chat (ranging from “what’s your favourite fruit?” to “what’s your most embarrassing moment?”, and everything in between!). Most, but not all, of us are regular Seasonistas - yes we even allow ‘outsiders’ in too!!!! 😲😉😁

See here for more details - you’d be very welcome to join us, Tim! 🙂
The open mic is lots of fun, although for me personally joining it for the first time was way more nerve-racking than making videos and posting them on YouTube. We are all different.
The open mic is not recorded, so it's even more fleeting. You can just pop in to say 'hi' as well, especially if people have been dealing with colds or covid, performing is the last thing you want to do.
However, because it is a live event, the different time zones may not be favourable to your attending on 'Saturday'.

Some further observations and ruminations:

There has been a reference to Mountain Goat/Jon Duncan's 'Celluloid or Bust' contest, which ran for more than a month. Jon had opened up his contest to all UU members, not just seasonistas. Other hosting sites were also accepted, and audio only participation was allowed. Despite removing some of the barriers, most of the contestants were or had been active on the Seasons. There were some new names, Patty, Wiggy, Tanya (YooperGirl), Mike (KohanMike) and DonBoody spring to mind. Tanya has since made regular videos for SOTU. I am sure Wiggy (who was one of the winners, btw) will probably post to the Island of Misfit Seasonistas

The Collins uke was a fantastic main prize and I was initially intimidated to enter, and I think that other people weren't sure they were good enough to take part. It can't have been that the theme was too narrow, or that the duration of the competition was too short. So, perfectionism and procrastination are two elements that I detect in my response to 'Celluloid or bust', and I can't help but think that those two - and mainly perfectionism - is what keeps the participation in SOTU so low.

We really want more people to join SOTU in general, but this week in particular, the more the Berrier!
 
Some further observations and ruminations:

There has been a reference to Mountain Goat/Jon Duncan's 'Celluloid or Bust' contest, which ran for more than a month. Jon had opened up his contest to all UU members, not just seasonistas. Other hosting sites were also accepted, and audio only participation was allowed. Despite removing some of the barriers, most of the contestants were or had been active on the Seasons. There were some new names, Patty, Wiggy, Tanya (YooperGirl), Mike (KohanMike) and DonBoody spring to mind. Tanya has since made regular videos for SOTU. I am sure Wiggy (who was one of the winners, btw) will probably post to the Island of Misfit Seasonistas

The Collins uke was a fantastic main prize and I was initially intimidated to enter, and I think that other people weren't sure they were good enough to take part. It can't have been that the theme was too narrow, or that the duration of the competition was too short. So, perfectionism and procrastination are two elements that I detect in my response to 'Celluloid or bust', and I can't help but think that those two - and mainly perfectionism - is what keeps the participation in SOTU so low.

We really want more people to join SOTU in general, but this week in particular, the more the Berrier!

Reading Sabine's mention of Jon's Celluloid or Bust contest reminds me of something I wanna share.

My entry for the contest had been ignored and excluded by one of the judges. She was thorough and sweet and kind on everyone else's entry, and left mine out. I thought it could be an oversight on her end, but interestingly enough, my comments on her videos since then had either been removed or blocked.
Baffling. I dunno said person and am sure I have not done anything to deserve this treatment from her.
(everyone else was very kind and warm towards me during the contest)

What I wanna add on to this thread, is this -

We don't have to take ourselves too seriously.

No one has to like you or your song.
And a Like on your video doesn't necessarily mean you are an uke god, or have made someone's life a better one.

If you come to the Seasons wanting to be treated like a hero or a princess, yeah you might probably be made to feel that way by a few of us :p , but not everyone is gonna do that to you. I won't. I don't have heroes and I don't like princesses. But I will be welcoming, warm and friendly with you, just like how I am with all the seasonistas past and present. This is how I am with the people I meet in my real life. No special treatment.

When I mentioned being excluded from Jon's contest by one of his judges, I wasn't asking for any special treatment. Just what any contestant would expect from a judge. But hey, people just behave whichever way they choose to behave, and that is something we cannot control. So I told myself to just forget it and laugh it off. I admit that bothered me for a long time. Said judge's hostility towards me after the contest added to it. I even told myself to leave the Seasons. What? Because one person dislikes me? For reasons I don't even know so I can't fix it and get it right for her? Is it worth it? Nope.

In conclusion, I say this to anyone who are considering to join the Seasons but are scared they might feel excluded - just show up with your uke. Sure, there are some obstacles to overcome for first time YouTubers or Seasonistas, but there is a first time for everything, right? We have many Seasonistas here ready to help you if you run into any technical problems. Myself included.

If you don't like the Seasons after trying it for a while, just walk away. No one needs to feel obligated to be a certain way here. It will be nicer if more people comment on others' videos every week, but we can't force love, no.

No one is gonna ignore you. (and speaking from my own experience, I AM STILL GONNA SHOW UP HERE even though I am excluded by 1 other member! Or 2, or 3! or more!)
The issue with Perfectionism as Sabine mentioned, yeah, very likely to be one of the reasons for the low SOTU participation.

The other reason i think is - not everyone enjoys the banter or commenting. They just wanna share their videos or songs.

Interestingly enough, if you look at any Seasons thread, the most likes always go to a witty or funny remark someone typed.
The same person's video might have no like. Hahahahaha.
I can understand. Some of us are better with words than music or video making!

Also, to spend 2-4 minutes on someone's video, pay attention to their music, and then to react and type a comment, that is definitely more demanding than to read some funny line.

To conclude -

it is all about being interested in other people other than yourself. Not silently, but showing it by sharing something about yourself on the Seasons. Either by posting a video, or the way Wiggy has participated all these past months. I see Wiggy as a fellow-Seasonista. He has not posted any song yet, but he has become a regular and important member!

If you don't exclude yourself from us, no one will exclude you.
 
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