The Jackrail or Facebook

How does this forum contrast with or complement the FB harpsichord group? I have noticed some contributors contributing to both spaces. Just wondering as to their relative merits and goals, and where best to post some questions I have cooking.

Whoa. It’s entirely up to you. It bears no relationship whatsoever to the facebook groups and is not intended to be a ‘complement’. This forum was started as an alternative to HPSCHD-L mailing list several years ago due to technical issues with that list and its consequent decline. We are in no way affiliated with HPSCHD-L either.

This format allows for much deeper levels of discussion than the ephemeral and often rather trite and fleeting nature of facebook, Posting images is well supported and we have a great search function which facebook does not. Also, Discourse, the platform used, supports a nice web interface as well as a parallel email list interface which does 98% of what big LISTSERV mailing lists do.

My opinions on facebook are well known and I shall not repeat them here. [You can therefore easily deduce them.]

The main facebook group claims to have 10,000 plus members. I refuse to believe this, and there are certainly not 10,000 active users. I don’t know why all these people or bots sign up for it.

HPSCHD-L at its peak was about 700 users. We are at over 200 users now. Ours is a small but knowledgeable community of dedicated members. Nobody will ever ridicule you and you will get answers to your questions instead of just ‘likes’. There are no stupid questions.

There’s no local policy or regulation stopping you from cross posting to as many harpsichord groups as you like.

I recently added an Introductions category so that we could learn more about each other. You are welcome to post a little about yourself there if you like, which I encourage.

The Jackrail is a non profit organization and I run it all entirely on open source software and OS. Neither do we harvest your personal data for commercial gain. We relay on the generosity of members to maintain the service.

Any questions you have about how to use the site, PM me and I am happy to help out.


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Why not post to both and we can observe the variations?
It might be fun, and hopefully not life threatening.

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I’m not a Facebook apologist, but I do use it to keep in touch with various people I am unable to see in person, and it does provide a certain amount of information and entertainment in terms of the harpsichord. The good thing about Facebook is that it is a blank slate on which one can put serious questions, humour, requests for advice, videos of performances, pictures of instruments, announcements of concerts, festivals, masterclasses and recordings etc etc etc. And, for each Facebook user, harpsichord-related posts are mixed in with posts from friends and family and other interests you may have. It is easy to use passively.

There are two main harpsichord groups in English, plus some in other languages which I don’t usually look at. There are also groups which focus on historical performance practice - which can have very good topics indeed.

Statistically, Facebook has an older user base, as perhaps this group does as well. Some younger players are using Facebook to market themselves and it’s nice to see what they are up to. But trends tell us that younger people prefer TikTok, Instagram etc etc etc, and Facebook is a bit ‘old hat’.

The two main harpsichord groups on Facebook have, in my opinion, become less interesting in the last year or two. I rarely see a really good post in either of them. Perhaps people really are getting tired of Facebook.

Social media is only as good as what we put onto it.

Apart from the problem of finding things on Facebook, I refuse to go there on account of the business model of the company. I am glad that this forum has developed as well as it has, and apart from video and audio recordings we are able to post all the things listed by Douglas above.


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Allow me to point out you can do all that on the Discourse platform that The Jackrail runs on. I encourage posting all of those categories. And we allow commercial posts as well, within reason (altho not many people seem to realize that).

I don’t let people post videos or audio purely for the reason that it requires substantial disk space, which would really mean users would have to pay for it. But if there was a common desire for it, we can enable it. As has been said before on the forum, just paste a link to an appropriate sharing service.

My view of Facebook is that when I post something there it is read by thousands, as opposed to hundreds.

For example, when every year or so I produce either a new book on early music or a fingered keyboard edition, I first communicate it through Jackrail. This within a week can produce perhaps 2 or 3 copies sold.

Then I communicate it through 2 or 3 Facebook groups (mainly HARPSICHORD- …) and that’s where the sales start by the dozens.

Which means that in Facebook the message gets to a much greater number of readers.
(Just HARPSICHORD- and Early Music Performance Practice have a total of about 14,000 members).

As for discussions among colleagues, that’s another matter of course, nobody denies the importance of “our” Jackrail in this respect.

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