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Summer 2020 thoughts

Hey there, friends of wikiloops!

Once again I feel it's about time I'm sending some life-signals from the wikiloops engine room,
and -as always- I've been wondering for days what might be worth addressing.

I do not know if you share the feeling, but I feel a little tired of the continuing burst of crisis-evolution-information we all have to process each day, and with the amount of controversial opinions offered on just about everything.

So, I neither feel like adding to that, nor do I feel like posting something cheerio-ish in an attempt to pretend everything was business as usual.
At the same time, I would not want to miss my chance to reach out to you and to send out some positive signals, but then there are too many things of serious concern going on to not address them in some way.

What concerns me, as the wikiloops founder?
First of all, I'm hoping you and your families are in safe situations virus-wise,
are not hit by any sudden financial/job situation changes or loss of work
and (maybe most importantly) are coping well with the psychological stress caused by the general uncertainty, these phases of social distancing and isolation.

It would be naive to think there was nobody on wikiloops who had to deal with these concerns,
so let's send some well-wishes & positive thoughts to those who are in difficult situations out there.

I have built wikiloops with a strong focus on advertising "non-commercial international collaboration",
starting with basic ingredients like open access to the music and the multi-lingual interface of wikiloops,
down to the shared experience of "I would not have been be able to create track XYZ by myself, collaboration really improves the individual result!".
I'm also fond of the way wikiloops can shake up ones stereotyped ideas about some foreign country, and how gettng to know some individuals by making music together can change ones feeling towards a whole nation.

When observing the way the global community is dealing with Covid-19 and the yet-to-evolve economic change, I can only say I wished there was more of a collaborative spirit, and more of a wikiloopers patience in waiting for things to eventually evolve.
Come to think about it, I believe there is a quite simple pattern one can observe on wikiloops, which might as well be generally true about successfull collaboration in other fields.
Let's collect what increases the chance to let a collaboration end in something better than one might have done by oneself, first:
- it is a good starting point if nobody is forced into a collaboration, but whoever participates does so voluntarily
- to find someone willing to collaborate, it is good to have a large pool of potential collaborators available
- to keep that pool of potential collaborators large, it takes tolerance and the basic acceptance of people who collaborate on something I might not really enjoy. Think of the metal & electronic genre on wikiloops - if we didn't allow and appreciate both, the pool of musicians who might add to your Rock track would be a lot smaller.
- it seems beneficial to let go of fixed ideas of the best result (which will always end up in a comparison between ones imagined ideal outcome and the collaborations outcome). The patient, open-minded and curious approach with which we go about on wikiloops is a crucial ingredient, it spares us the negative communications on disappointed expectations, and the negative judgement on each others contributions.
As wikiloops collaborators, we can also easily state some things which are definetly counter-productive in the collaborative field:
- telling others what they do is wrong/bad/stupid/worthless is a sure collaboration killer
- excluding people from the collaboration process, be it based on location, skills, instrument, nationality, political opinion or whichever parameter. As soon as you start to exclude, you are loosing some potential.

When I look at the global community and try to apply the above to judge the quality of international collaboration that we are currently witnessing, then I'm affraid I see the trend towards separation instead of collaboration picking up speed in the face of the current global crisis.

We are witnessing a lot of experts and political leaders claiming to know the one best solution, leaving treaties and collaboration agreements and -by doing that- limiting their pool of collaborators. We also see groups and parties which used to co-exists drift apart to a point of not being able to talk to each other in a constructive way, and sometimes not even sharing the same view on what is factually true.

We are also witnessing a lot more adversity and heated debates within families, who need to collaborate on a mutual way to deal with the social distancing.
Given, dealing with the infection risk is not the ideal voluntary collaboration setting, and it's easier to live with a remix of a track that you don't really like then to accept that someone might take either less care than you feel is necessary (leaving you scared), or taking more care than you feel is necessary (leaving you annoyed).
But one wisom applies never the less:
It will not get any easier if we start to bark at each other, and if we eventually quit talking to each other.

If there is one thing I'd like to recommend to all of us, then it must be:
Do not join the separators who believe there was a simple solution and who even claim to know who was to blame for the problems we are facing.
Whoever guarantees you some future result must be doubted, just as you would doubt anyone claiming to know the outcome of a wikiloops collaboration.
Just like on wikiloops, we all don't know where things are turning, we all are in this together, and we can make use of the opportunities that open up.

Just as you listen in on some track on wikiloops and instantly have that idea what to add,
you will come across situations where you can contribute something creative to make the best of these times, and to make someone around you as happy as a wikilooper who just received a cool remix.

Let's not miss these little chances because we are caught up in opinionating and useless debates, that would be a waste and lead to nothing fruitful in my humble opinion.

I feel it is valid to ask for help - just as it's OK to post ones new track to the wikiloops shoutbox to get some extra listeners.
I'm aware that among the almost 50.000 registered users of wikiloops, quite a number might run into financial problems and may have to re-think their spendings on fun things like a wikiloops membership upgrade.
I mention this for a reason:
First of all, I do not want anyone to sit at home feeling bad because he or she might be in exactly that situation, and ending up not visiting wikiloops any longer, feeling even worse. I have received more than enough statements of people who were happy to have wikiloops available during times of trouble and depression to know wikiloops participation can matter a lot.
If you are in a tight situation because of Covid-19, do let me know and we will keep your supporting member-stars twinkling for free for some time to come.

It's been a long read again, so let me thank you for spending time reading these thoughts.

Before I'll end, let me add a quick notion on the wikiloops member meeting 2020 plans for august.
Things are easing up in germany, lockdown-wise, but there still is no telling if international travelling will be available in august, or might possibly have to go along with quite long quarantene periods at some airport hotel.
We will have to be spontaneous this year, and I'm aiming to re-design the meeting in a way that nobody has to make any pre-reservations or pre-payments, so you may basicly decide to come or not a day before the meeting starts. I'll try to add some more info on that open concept soon, there will be some sort of smaller event taking place, so much seems predictable at this time :)

Take good care out there & all the best


Thank you so much for this true words Richard <3
Sometimes it is better to be the glue instead part a or b:D
June 07 2020 10:37:12
Dick thank you for writing that, "sometimes it's better to be the glue" sums it up really nicely :) +2
i wish the world could pick up even only a fraction of the wisdom ...
Richard and all fellow loopers are creating model for the future. Thank you.
Bo Newman (LtlBearMtn)
<3 <3+2
Glue on Richard! <3;)+2
Well said, Richard. Apart from everything else, I love what you said: "the way wikiloops can shake up ones stereotyped ideas about some foreign country, and how gettng to know some individuals by making music together can change ones feeling towards a whole nation."+2
June 16 2020 16:28:21
Dick Thank you :)
I really like how wikiloops does that.
Let me give some of my own examples:
Couldn't think of Canada (previously connected to maple leafs, bears and odd french in my brain) without thinking of MrAdamOnDrums, or Mexico, where Jussuf has outranked the odd sombrero & tequila stereotype for good.
I could go on, I just don't want to share all the odd stereotypes that have been replaced, even tho some are quite funny, too.
Words of wisdom!
WL seems to be one of the rare "social media platforms", where people understand the necessity of kindness and respect for each other in order to avoid judgments and schisms of any kind. A true beacon in an increasingly stormy ocean.
And you have my deepest respect for your decision to sustain free membership on WL for musicians who will face severe financial problems in the near future. The world needs more human beings like you, master Dick! :W<3
June 16 2020 16:19:33
Dick Thank you very much for sharing these words.
I'm always a bit torn - I really have no intention to appear as the notorious good guy looking to be praised, on the other hand it does reassure me of not going totally wrong when people react in such a positive way, and I thank you for that.
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