The internet is a wonderful thing, but it's also fraught with many perils too. There are website forums (fora?) and Facebook groups for cigar box guitar, resonator guitar, slide guitar...just about anything music related that you can think of, and they can be a wonderful resource for information. However, on occasion, they can also be the source of frustration, misinformation, boasting in public, the cause of arguments, the breaking up of friendships, and an arena for the hurling of the vilest and most base insults.
These days I find myself dropping in less and less often at some of the internet haunts that I used to frequent, partly because I'm too busy to get involved, but more often because expressing any opinion or proffering advice is met with a tirade of negativity and snide comments. I find this rather depressing, so these days, in the main, I prefer to stay away from these sources of irritation.
One huge problem is that the internet has created thousands, if not millions, of "overnight experts" who are willing to share their views with everyone, and in the worst cases, someone asking for advice on a subject will be presented with an answer that is quite obviously incorrect, based on no personal experience, and then hawked around and defended as the Gospel Truth. It often comes from reading something on the interweb that is already wrong, or misinterpreting it, and then presenting this as the only possible view on the subject. I now find myself keeping a low profile on this sort of discussion, because it just becomes a point-scoring excercise for some folk. I hate to see bad advice being given out on something that I'm passionate about, and sometimes I feel I have to step in, simply to tell someone what the easiest way of doing something is, based on my own experience. This often attracts the accusation of being elitist, because I'm a professional (by which I mean that I earn my living as a guitar maker, teacher and musician) and of being a "know-it'all" because I have some years of experience and some useful practical advice which I can to offer. It's not pleasant to offer a few words of guidance or to try and gently correct someones error and then get a whole load of nastiness thrown about online, but sometimes, despite the egregious nature of the errors and misinformation being peddled, I keep well out of it. It's not worth the ill-feeling and negativity that it generates.
Some forums have gone from being a real internet community to the stomping ground of a few noisy individuals, and I try and follow the words of the Desiderata, "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit". Some sites have gone from a position where people want to share their creations and ideas, to a place where folk only want to show off and promote the sale of their products. Often these are wannabe guitar makers, which is fine, but these people don't bother to get themselves a website or internet shop and sell to the wide, wide world: they clutter up discussion forums with pseudo-commercial advertising. It's great that the whole cigar box guitar thing has continued to grow, but the default position for many small hobby guitar makers seems to be that they are trying to sell it their wares through forums aimed at other smalltime hobby guitar makers....there are quite a few big fish in little ponds. The better forums have strict posting policies and a degree of active site admin, but these seem to be in the minority, in many cases it's a free for all, and all the worse for it.
Anyhow, I'll keep ploughing my own furrow, making my guitars (over 670 of them to date), and teaching other people to make them too (it must be well over 1200 people by now). If you spot one of my comments on a guitar forum, try not to be nasty to me, or to other people come to that....I'm only trying to be helpful. Back to work for me, I've got guitars to make.