I think AGF is heavily moderated, but it also has 108,000 members with a whole lot of traffic. So I do think the moderation helps keep the discussions civil. I agree there appears to be many unnecessary edits and excessive control. However, I believe a lot of that is what you get when you have volunteers making their own determination about what does and doesn’t follow guidelines. In general, I find it to be a decent place to discuss acoustic guitars. It’s not an enjoyable forum to conduct discussions about other life experiences. While I’d like to have an adult conversation about things related to politics, I understand how discussions involving politics and religion often create an unpleasant atmosphere on a guitar forum. There are plenty of places on the Internet for those discussions. The “Wild West” awaits us on Twitter or FB as we like.
On the other hand, I really don’t appreciate many of the controls AGF has in place. For example: you are not allowed to announce the launch or discuss ongoing activities of any other forum, like this SCGC Forum. You can’t mention that you might be interested is selling or trading a guitar in an ongoing discussion unless you are a paid sponsor or charter member. You can’t even announce or discuss the fact that Froggy Bottom is holding a guitar raffle (or discuss any fundraiser) to support healthcare for musicians. You can’t even put a tag line about your new CD or instructional offfereings in your signature line unless you pony up as a sponsor, etc. etc. etc… I agree the curbs and controls can be very annoying, but the upside is that rude and incessant attacks about Brands, Religion and Politics don’t detract from otherwise enjoyable discussions about music and guitars. Over time I’ve adjusted my expectations and carry on. I’m also a member of the Collings Forum and they have few controls, yet they have a very civil environment. AGF can become nasty at times, so there are benefits to some moderation IMO. And it’s a privately owned enterprise and like any privately owned business, I guess they get to make the rules.
– Paul –