New Audulus subforum at AllTheSynths.Info
  • Come join the satellite Audulus forum at!

    ATS has been established as an alternative to Muff Wiggler, a long standing forum for synthesizers. The reason being that women, minorities, and people of color have in large part not felt welcome there.

    Audulus supports creating and participating in these types of spaces that are explicitly welcoming to all people.

    Of course, I hope you've felt that this forum has been this way all along. I personally feel like it's the friendliest, most open forum I participate in. That said, there are very few (confirmed) women on the forum, and perhaps fewer still that are regular contributors. If there is something I as an admin can do to help change that, please let me know.

    I would however like to take the opportunity to say that there is a zero tolerance policy for racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, et. al, and NSFW content on this site. The Audulus forum is intended for all ages 13+ or below 13 with parental supervision. Keep that in mind when posting.

    You'll get one warning, then be permanently banned if it happens again. I also want people to know they can report any harassment on this forum (that may be happening in private messages I don't see) or the ATS one to me directly, and I will deal with it immediately and justly.

    ATS is not meant to supplant this forum - rather it's to show that Audulus cares about participating in those spaces, as well as the very understandable and practical goal of driving cross traffic eyeballs to our amazing software hah! The way I see it, the more people - and the more women, LGBTQIA+, POC that participate here or there, the better for everyone. Diversity equals diversity of thought and experience, and diversity of amazing new patches and modules to play with.
  • >The reason being that women, minorities, and people of color have in large part not felt welcome there.

    >You'll get one warning, then be permanently banned if it happens again.

    One of the reasons I enjoy synthesizers is because it provides respite from political thought. I am all for heterodoxy of opinion and new ideas, but I would caution against it's onerous enforcement. In the current zeitgeist of intercultural dissance and political correctness, I am often reminded of avant garde musician John Cage's diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse)

    For what it was worth, Cage was widely known to be gay, lived with Merce Cunningham for decades and never had a date with a woman. But when it came to his art, Cage saw no relevance.

  • @RobertSyrett - I understand, but the laissez faire attitude about letting things slide is exactly what keeps women away from forums like MW. Luckily the only people I've ever had to ban on this website were spammers, so it's not like I expect this to happen soon anyway.

    As for political correctness, I feel that word is inelegant to describe what I'm referring to. What I mean is no harassing women, no making anyone feel less than, no being mean in general. If this is happening in PMs, people can let me know and I'll take care of it.

    And as for the "onerous enforcement," I think if you weigh the fact that in general this forum stays mostly on topic about synths and Audulus and doesn't get too fraught with politics (and the flame wars that ensue), anything that would be worthy of first and only strike would be pretty obviously out of place and egregious.
  • Geez, I was looking at that Facebook thread where everyone complains about the word "muff." Seems like neovictorian nonsense if you ask me. If MW come back from the void, I would encourage you to cultivate community there as well, since inclusion is the supreme path.
  • @RobertSyrett - The people who complain about the name the most are the women who don't use MW because of its name. Most of them didn't participate in that discussion. I understand if you have different views about it, but the fact is that the MW forum doesn't go out of its way to welcome women and minorities, and the small effort to change its name (which women at least have said would make a difference to them), has been met with a lot of rage. MW's name implies that it's a puerile boy's club, no gurlz allowed, and though that was not the intention, that is its effect. It has absolutely nothing to do with "muff" being a "bad" word and everything to do with it being an objectifying one.

    When this was pointed out to the creator, he said "Well, people don't have to come here if they don't want to." That's an abdication of responsibility in my book, if only by not seizing an opportunity to make your community more welcome, merely by changing its name. It's quite literally the least he could do.

    Because basically, the argument on their side goes, "It's just a name. It's a bad joke maybe but people just need to get over it."

    And the other side says, "It's sexist and doesn't make me feel like women are welcome."

    And the reply is, "Well, they are, and we're not sexist."

    And then, "Well, if it's just a name and it doesn't matter, can you change it? Especially if that's my dealbreaker of whether or not I participate on this forum?"

    And the answer that comes back is, "No, get over yourself."

    And then the women don't stay.

    Inclusion of women and minorities in the modular synth world is something we have to actively pursue, because it won't just happen by itself. It's not all MW's fault, but the name and dismissive disinterest in changing it is a symptom of a larger culture of sexism.

    And for the record, I don't like to label individual people as sexist. Actions can be sexist, and I like to put the focus on actions rather than the person.

    If you'd like to learn more about Muff Wiggler's history of sexism, I'd refer you to this excellent article written by an Oberlin Experimental Music grad:
  • I do admit that we are a species with gender dimorphism and that people form groups of like kind. So while it's all well and good to try and deconstruct our unintended offenses, the better path is inclusion of both people who like bad jokes and those offended by them. At the end of the day, synthesis is not connected to such things.
  • @RobertSyrett - I agree, as an abstract concept, that synthesis is not connected to gender.

    But granted that no one gender is just more "naturally" inclined to synthesizers, what accounts for the ~95/5 male/female split? Not all instruments are like this. Piano and violin are probably closer to 50/50. What's different about synthesizers? It's of course not them as instruments or concepts, but the culture around them, their cost (vis-a-vis the wage gap and disposable income) and the barriers that society has put in the way of women feeling like they're "for" them.

    Sexism, racism, homophobia - it all has to be fought in every corner of the world. Because if it's not fought in every corner, the fight can't take place anywhere.
  • "Inclusion of women and minorities in the modular synth world is something we have to actively pursue, because it won't just happen by itself."

    I honestly don't get why is it of any importance. Internet is already full of possibilities for learning and understanding synths for all kinds of newcomers who want to learn and understand it.

    What's really sad is that not everyone on this planet has access to the internet.

    Maybe there's not much women in the modular synth world because most of them simply don't care, and have zero interest in it?

  • @Fedor - the importance to you is twofold. If the synth market grows, then more people will be buying synths, which means more choice and innovation. The second and more important is a diversity of ideas and ways of thinking about things. I don't think all women think alike, but if you're missing half a population you're missing a lot of great ideas.

    It is sad that everyone who wants to have access to the internet doesn't have it. It's also a little beside this particular point.

    As for "most of them simply not caring," that's factually not true. What we're talking about here is women missing from synth culture, not from buying or being interested in synthesizers. Women don't participate in online synth culture in particular because they are routinely harassed by men. I know this because I've talked to many people who have had this experience. It's also just the way women are treated in most every male dominated field.

    I guess I'd throw back at you why you think women aren't interested in synthesizers. If your answer is "I don't know," then you're admitting that you don't really know if they're interested in synthesizers or not - you're guessing. If you have a more concrete reason that doesn't have to do with systematic discrimination, I'm interested to hear that though.
  • I'd like to have a forum which provide a solid space for constructive Audulus-related Synth Talk. I would welcome a place without a big offtopic scene which often becomes bigger than the content the forum formerly was made for. Sure - people get related to each other, communities form and some are having a good time. But you also create borders for the new guys, like @RobertSyrett described: People will form their communities with people who are like them; a synthead will find syntheads, a white-collar will get along white-collars, a man will get along men.

    Unregulated communities... you already can find them elsewhere - the worst example imho is facebook, where you can see how minorities can vastly degenerate the experience for others. One cheesy comment - and you've got a discouraged sad guy.

    Therefore I'm for the strict enforcing of community guidelines. Just imprint the good culture we (frankly more *you* or @biminiroad, 'cause I'm mostly passive) have in rules and maybe this good habits will expand to others. As communities get bigger - the more "bad guys" will come... kick them and move on. If you won't kick them, the others would move on und you won't get your culture of friendly, open people.
    Social media makes people unhappy, because of the overly too positive representation of life; or maybe because everybody forget how to behave to each other?
  • @Experiment1 - "If you won't kick them, the others would move on und you won't get your culture of friendly, open people." My thoughts exactly!

    I feel like this Audulus forum is a model of what forums can be. It's 99.99% been totally friendly, open sharing, helpful, etc. The best parts of humanity.

    I never really felt the need to explicitly lay out the rules, but it's not a bad thing to have them out there and have an open discussion about why they are the way they are.
  • @biminiroad

    Maybe US and Ukraine are way too different societies, so your and mine experiences vary. If you say that's a real issue because you know people who suffered from that - then I can trust you on this.

    However, most of the women I ever met irl and online, avoid everything too technical and too geeky like a fire. And synth and electronic music in general are quite technical.

    Why its like that here - from my experience women are generally interested in more grounded and practical things, like survival, family, money, bodybuilding and so on, and arts, music, theatre and science exist on the periphery of their needs and world view.

    I'm on the same page with you about diversity of ideas, cultures and ways of thinking.
    And market growth, too. I'm not getting into eurorack because a "real" instrument like a decent electric cello can be had for less money than a very small and limited (in a bad way) modular system.

  • Wow, I just googled electric cello. I am shocked at how reasonably priced those are! The big difference for me is that I know I kind of hate playing stringed instruments, but making generative music Rube Goldberg machines with over-priced hand-crafted eurorack.

    But not even a stawman would argue that, "95% of the people who come here want to emulate eurorack modules and only 5% play cello. This is clearly because of the wage inequality that cello players suffer from. We must rectify this by antagonizing muff wigglers."

    No, my friends. This is a mistake. The trajectory of the conversion just leads to circular arguments. The way to fight injustice is with understanding and putting the emphasis on personal behavior. Go to a Katlyn Aurelia Smith or Suzanne Cianni concert. Share the joys of synthesis with a lady friend.

    The End.
  • @RobertSyrett - I'm at a loss to understand how you perceive the argument I'm making? It seems like I've offended you or something?

    All I'm saying is there's a reason that the distribution of people in synth culture skews heavily white male. It's not Muff Wiggler's fault, but the name Muff Wiggler is an outgrowth of the insular boys' club type attitudes that are a part of what discourage women from engaging in synthesis culture.

    Perhaps what you were saying about what @Fedor was saying (and yes, the culture is very, very different in America Fedor), was smearing into your response to me?

    I think the way that I can fight injustice is say that I'll bring the banhammer down hard on anyone who violates our forum rules, and I don't think that will make this place a bad forum. It's essentially what I've *been* doing but haven't had a reason to yet.

    Audulus will not participate on the Muff Wiggler forum as long as it has that name. You might think it's silly, but I don't, and neither do the hundreds, perhaps thousands of men and women who haven't used the site because of its name.

    I'm not maligning everyone who goes there. Or any particular person who does. I don't think you're a sexist if you use Muff Wiggler. But I don't want to participate in a forum where there isn't a diverse group of voices present. I'd rather build something where diversity is encouraged and welcomed, and put my effort into that kind of group - which includes this forum and hopefully!

    Speaking of which, I posted a nice Audulus+ES-8 guide on there. I'll post it here eventually too.
  • @biminiroad, I am not offended and I hope I haven't offended you. I did critique your argument, which is kind of a pandora's box for online forums. It leaves the door open to being offended. So I apologize for that.

    But the rhetoric you are employing isn't my cup of tea. It seems like an ad hominem attack against the character of Muff Wigglers. Muff makes me think earmuff-style headphones and the forum is about synthesizers. It's a waste of energy to rail against them, they aren't an enemy.

    It's your forum and your rules, so what you say goes. So I hope maybe this will be the last I have to say anything about this. We can just agree to disagree :)
  • @RobertSyrett - I'm not offended and glad you aren't either. I hope what I'm doing is not coming across as "railing" against MW. Whether or not you agree, it's a fact that many women have stayed away from that forum because of its culture. I know this because they've said so many times before, and every time the name discussion comes up, people shut it down. I don't want to make an outsized estimation of MW's impact on the systematic barriers to women and minorities into synthesizer culture. It's just an example of it, and one that happens to be being talked about here vis a vis forum culture. There are much, much larger forces at play that keep women and minorities out of synthesizer culture, and I don't want to lay all the blame at MW's feet.

    But I do blame them for not changing the name once it was pointed out to them by people who didn't use the site because of its name. Maybe you think that's unfair, but I don't. It also has a NSFW section (why? I have no idea) meaning that basically the forum is not really kid-friendly, and it should be. I think you're misrepresenting what I'm saying a bit by saying it's an ad hominem attack - I'm not saying anyone but Mike is responsible for that. It might make you think of ear muffs, but it's a play on the Big Muff pedal, which is itself slang for vagina. I think the key here is maybe it doesn't offend you, but it offends a lot of other people, and they had no good reason to keep the name once it was pointed out to them.
  • Oh the irony. The classic version of the Big Muff Pi was designed by a woman.
  • The linked page says "Oops! That page doesn’t exist or is private." How can I get in?
  • @DavidColling - huh something's up with the site - maybe they passed a free trial version and didn't pay? try that