Thermionic Studios:Wiki Standards
The world-famous Wikipedia has a certain set of standards that the staff and volunteers enforce so as to make Wikipedia (relatively, given the current atmosphere of "fake news") authoritative and respectable. There are also, of course, hidden crazy articles, and articles that are incomplete or don't quite live up to Wikipedia's standards, but continue to be hosted and displayed. This happens because the editorial staff, at some level, has decided that the non-conforming articles provide some minimum level of value.
We intend to run this wiki in a similar (not exactly the same) fashion.
While we will not use the same set of standards that Wikipedia uses, we will adhere to this published set of standards so that we will also be seen as honest brokers of our understanding of the most accurate and reliable information.
Wikipedia most notably refuses for article authors to inform articles with their own personal knowledge. We will not use that standard. In fact, part of what we believe will make this a good and useful wiki is that the articles can and should reflect the experiences of the authors... within reason.
Axioms are the assumptions we make about the universe that we accept as true. Here are the Axioms for our Wiki:
- We have a point of view.
- Read our site to learn about it. If you'd like to become a contributor, it's because you've been asked, and agree to follow our standards.
- One of our goals is to rent out high-quality and well-described music equipment.
- We're not against other equipment, but we're filling out this wiki to create the best online guides about our stuff first.
- There is an objective truth to nature, the universe, and everything.
- We don't and can't necessarily know all objective truth to nature, the universe, and everything.
- For the purposes of this wiki, objective facts are more important than our subjective truths.
Wiki articles need to be more about facts, than opinions. There will be always be occasional exceptions.
- (WHAT) To describe various pieces of equipment and their uses.
- (WHO) To describe different music artists and how these artists have used, and do use, their various pieces of musical equipment,
- (WHY) Articles discussing equipment should always be written based on a piece of equipment offering high value to a musician. Articles on the laws of nature (regarding electronics or materials), music theory, or playing techniques must be grounded in solid, verified, empirical evidence.
- (HOW) Articles discussing artists should include how the artist used/uses their preferred pieces of music equipment.
- (OOPS!) We are human. As content is added, errors will be made. Errors will be found. Don't dwell on them; fix them. Move on.
Axioms are assumptions we make about the universe that we accept as true. In this case, when we use the term "universe", we mean to refer to the Thermionic-Studios.com website and the "world" of musical instruments, effects, and amplifiers insofar as they map to usage in creating or performing "heavy" music. We do not claim for our axioms to be completely infallible, but we feel is it fair to declare them and use them as signposts for the purposes of having integrity with the work of this wiki.
- We have a point of view. We like certain kinds of music better than other kinds of music. We like Metal, Hard Rock, Psychedelic, Electric Blues, and other forms and genres of "heavy music". Given these preferences, we make no apologies for choosing not to support or cover other genres. If we should decide to cover other genres even if only minimally, we make no apologies for that either. This is our site, our community, and our choice. If you want your favorite country or hip hop music covered, we are not stopping you from creating a website to do so. This is not and will not be a platform for "all music".
- Axiom #1 provides the perspective on and for our art. Through this perspective we will cover, create, edit, and update the content for this wiki.
- We rent out music equipment. To the extent that we are working to support a heavy music scene and culture, we're accumulating and renting out music equipment that we believe caters to "heavy" musicians.
- Axiom #2 provides direction on populating the wiki. We begin with creating, as best we can, the most comprehensive guides of our own equipment; if only so those who rent pieces from us can develop deeper understandings of what they are using, how they can get the most out of what they are using from us in their personal quests, and how they might shape their musical direction. If others own this equipment on their own and get additional insights as a result, so much the better.
- In addition, if you like this wiki and its mission and want to post articles describing your own pedals and gear, please contact us about gaining posting/editing privileges to the wiki. We delight in the idea of this wiki being more than just a resource for our rental customers. We do genuinely want it to contribute to the mission of helping meet the needs of a larger heavy music community.
- There is an objective truth to nature, the universe, and everything. The only consistently reliable means of getting to an understanding of the truth of the universe and reality (and therefore gear) is by use of objective facts. The realm of objective truth and objective facts is the realm of science. While Objective Truth is not the highest aspirational value we use for this wiki, it is most certainly a priority, and it serves to inform our perspective.
- While Epistemological Philosophers may disagree (which is why this is an axiom), Axiom #3 provides a standard on populating the wiki. Regarding the claims that we make in the wiki, others must have already verified, or be able to verify the facts we assert about the musical equipment, the laws of nature, the music theory, or the playing techniques we describe in this wiki. Opinions should be informed by facts. Therefore it follows that opinions need to follow facts; facts should not follow opinions.
Here is a list of the principles and policy standards we want for this wiki. They flow from the above axioms, from our shared love of heavy music. They flow from the love and passion that other great musicians have, and the from musicianship supporting it.
- Wiki articles need to be more about facts, rather than opinions. As with any human endeavor, there will be occasional exceptions to this. We expect for these exceptions to be somewhat rare. Please see below.
- Wiki articles are to be written and used as follows:
- To describe various pieces of equipment and their uses. Such wiki articles would also be expected to describe HOW to use a piece of equipment, the nature and use of the instrument and/or any controls, and to offer suggestions where in a signal chain a the described piece of equipment could be used.
- To describe the nature of music, or performance, or electric/electronic theory and any associated underlying principles. This could also include auditory theory (how the human ear hears things) along with physics (how a speaker vibrates).
- To describe different music artists and how these artists have used, and do use, various pieces of musical equipment, instruments, techniques, and effects to get their own unique sounds. Instances of artists using different or unique pieces of equipment in their signal chains, especially if unorthodox, are expected and valued.
- Articles discussing equipment should always be written based on a piece of equipment offering high value to a musician. Equipment that offers high value is always more important than equipment that demands a high price. Our editorial policy, to the extent that wiki articles are about equipment, will always instruct us to discuss equipment that offers value, as opposed to equipment that offers prestige. Some pricey equipment can be bad; some inexpensive equipment can be great. WHILE THIS TENDS NOT TO BE THE CASE, it will always be our primary endeavor to host wiki articles that are about equipment that delivers value to musicians.
- Despite what we've just said immediately above, we are aware that prestige, value, and price are usually highly correlated. Great equipment is neither a substitute for, nor a ticket to great musicianship. In many instances it will not be possible to ignore high-value equipment that, because it commands a high price in the gear marketplace, also offers prestige. In such cases, we will not hesitate to offer wiki articles on such equipment. Great equipment is great equipment. There is a reason certain companies are recognized as great brands - In most cases, it is because of their ongoing commitment to deliver high value to musicians. The only prohibition we apply to ourselves in this respect will be that we do not and will not write sales copy for other companies. If other companies wish to market their products, we do not contest their freedom to do so; but their freedom to do so does not exist within the content of this wiki. This is our wiki, not theirs.
- Sales Copy: Wiki article authors are not to use marketing-speak. There are to be no superlative assertions made. There should be no "best" pieces of equipment since "best", besides being superlative, is also subjective. Similarly, there should be no "worst" pieces of equipment. If the author of a wiki article describing a piece of equipment wishes to either advocate for, or voice a complaint against, a particular piece of equipment, the means for doing so is to provide a link to an external article to such a review. That review can even be a journal or blog posting on the Thermionic Studios main site. This wiki itself is to house (mostly) dispassionate, practical information and facts, not emotional responses. Judgments of great or crappy musical equipment are for the opinion pages. We have no problem describing great or crappy musical equipment as great or crappy, this wiki just isn't the main place for it.
- Rather than creating wiki articles about bad or inferior pieces of equipment and then simply, and exclusively, filling them with external links bemoaning their inferiority, our editorial policy prefers that we simply neither write nor host articles describing weak, cheap, inferior, or mediocre pieces of equipment. THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS. These exceptions will tend to be for:
- The occasional musical practice of the intentional use of inferior music equipment due to unique sonic/textural properties,
- Equipment development efforts that are so substandard that they result in almost-unusable equipment (This usually results in #1, above).
- Occasional Humor. There are cases when equipment is so shoddy, or business practices are so negligently or fraudulently over the top, they are fair game for calling out (Freekish Blues, anyone?).
- Exceptions must be vetted with the editorial staff because documentation of such exceptions MUST BE MEANINGFUL in the context of our mission. Exceptions not vetted but posted anyway will be handled at the discretion of the editorial staff.
- Wiki articles must be original work and cannot be cut-and-pastes of other works, unless such cut-and-pastes are provided as visible quotations and are properly attributed.
Of course, we reserve the right to update or change these principles and policies at our discretion. All changes will of course happen in the spirit of continuous improvement and for the purposes of providing more accurate, useful, and meaningful information.
Our Spiritual Quest
We are hard materialists, and soft spiritualists. What does that mean?
- Soft: Yes, there is matter in the universe, but there are things that are unexplained that could be spirits, and "things" and maybe there's an eternal cosmic muffin that got it all going and to whom we're all somehow connected...
- Hard: The only thing in our universe is matter, or "stuff". There has never been any independently verifiable proof of anything that exists outside the "stuff" of our universe.
- Soft: Suggests that it's an occasion of human biology that causes people to believe in "gods" and "souls". The mystical experiences can be genuinely felt, but the extrapolation of souls, and gods, and an afterlife are not.
- Hard: We all have personal and durable souls that inhabit the "shells" that are our bodies. These souls outlive our flesh. These souls are all connected to some great, eternal "cosmic muffin".
We are hard materialists, primarily because, despite many desperate searches on the part of many curious individuals, there exists no proof whatsoever for the existence of any kind of "divine realm", or "plane of transcendence". On the plus side, it also means there's no reason to believe there's a "Lake of Fire" where finite crimes are punished with infinite torture.
We are soft spiritualists, because despite our lack of belief in an afterlife, or souls, or Heaven or Hell, we recognize that individual human beings have moments of highly emotional personal transcendence - moments that can consist of different combinations of feelings of: deep personal introspection, and/or broad feelings of connection with other humans, the universe, and the Earth, and/or simply incredibly intense experiences of joy, and love.
Some call this "ecstasy", or the "divine madness". Just about every human being has experienced it, but most people experience it only for brief moments in time. Not unlike deja-vu, it is an indescribably beautiful moment of "magic" or "awe" in an otherwise mundane world. Every part of your mind, your body, and heart aches for the wonderful glimpses you've been struck with in those moments. Many suppose these experiences to be "the ultimate truth" beyond this "veil" of human existence.
Despite the very human desire to achieve an ongoing transcendent state akin to "Heaven", or "Nirvana", or "Paradise", it seems the most that human biology will allow for are these glimpses of transcendence that are disappointingly momentary, personal, and largely unshareable. There are many paths to these moments, but each path is notoriously unreliable:
- Positive: Meditation, Becoming very very very good at something, Music, Long-term extreme athletic exertion, Loud concerts
- Negative: Fever, Mental illness / brain damage, Sensory deprivation, Religious revelation*
- Contingent: Mind-altering pharmacopeia
- Accidental: Those extremely rare occasions of random, unexplained, "magical" moments of a feeling of personal transcendence that you don't even recognize as such until those moments have passed.
The constellation of these numerous paths only reinforces our conclusion that we exist in a purely physical universe; that "Spiritualism" is not the chase of a universally-sharable plane of transcendence, rather, it is the chase for a feeling of personal transcendence that results from the laborious pursuit of perfection.
Have you ever noticed that loud arena rock concerts, highly-charged wresting exhibitions, evangelical religious revivals, and certain other events all follow a roughly similar form?
All of them seem to try to get the audience / viewers / participants to an emotional place where a feeling of "transcendence" can be experienced. It happens very, very rarely, but when it happens, it can be and often is intoxicating to the point of euphoria.
This is why we love heavy music. It's the pathway WE'VE CHOSEN to help get us to those emotional times and places that could best be described as "spiritual transcendence". We want to maximize those moments of transcendence for ourselves. We hope we are able to help you maximize those moments for yourself.
Here comes the assorted and possibly hypocritical gobblety-gook.
There is no objective "best". "Best" speaks to values and therefore opinions, not facts, or reality. Individual human beings are imperfect. As imperfect beings, we have imperfect perceptions and these perceptions, imperfect as they are, are the only tools available to us to conceptualize and realize our personal, or subjective best. Every individual has his or her subjective "best". Despite its inherent fallibility, the most reliable (not necessarily the easiest!) means of arriving at a subjective best is by use of objective facts guided by a subjective lens. It is ONLY through the critical input of others that we are able to independently (and at the same time collectively) come to some reasonable conclusions about the nature of life in general. In our case, this means about music, performance, and gear. Ideally, these conclusions form and inform a positive feedback loop: We hope to use this loop to help sharpen the focus of our perceptions and mold our individually subjective lenses into a communally objective one.
- We want the this to be one of the most highly-regarded, if not the most highly-regarded Heavy Music wiki. We may never get there, but we'll keep trying!
Now that you know the above, if you are a competent writer and researcher, have an abiding love for heavy music, and heavy music gear, and want to join us in this mission, we would love to hear from you!