1/ Peer editing
All articles published on OTC are reviewed and edited by at least three people in addition to the original author: 1. the editor of OTC, Ben Smith, 2. a peer with knowledge and experience of the article's topic, and 3. any person(s) represented in the article. This editorial process is intended to mimic the peer-review process used in academic and scientific communities. It may be more time consuming, but it encourages greater accuracy, greater comprehensiveness, and greater sensitivity to the possible moral implications of each piece of media.
2/ Final approval
No articles or videos are published on OTC without the final approval of any persons represented therein. Telling stories is a powerful act, and that power must be wielded with care and sensitivity. Giving final approval to the subject of all articles and videos ensures that they have granted permission for others to see and read the stories as they are. This ensures accuracy and avoids possible misunderstandings, while also respecting the members of the oldtime community. It's really just simple courtesy.
3/ In service of community needs
Traditional media is a commodity sold to customers. A media outlet gathers the trust and attention of an audience which can then be sold to advertisers. In other words, the audience is the commodity, advertisers are the customers. And as long as the systems keeps on humming, everyone's happy. This is not how we think about media. We believe that media is a service to support the wellbeing of a community. The oldtime community has values and goals that its members wish to seek through their activities. At Oldtime Central we seek to understand as clearly as possible what those values and goals are so that the media created and shared here can be helpful and interesting. Oldtime Central is really about supporting the community. That's the gold standard here.
There are so many people out in the oldtime community doing great things: organizing festivals and workshops, teaching fiddle or guitar, building archives and writing histories, pushing the music forward through research and creativity, building amazing instruments, and...playing great music. Oldtime Central aims whenever possible to support these people in what they're doing by drawing attention to their efforts and helping other community members find out about things they might want to take part in. If we can point to others in the community and help them do their thing better, we're happy.
5/ No advertising
One thing that makes the oldtime community special is its weak integration with markets. While not entirely separate from money and commerce, the spirit and practices of oldtime communities have very little to do with market activity when compared to almost every other domain of modern capitalist life. Oldtime is one area where sharing and caring have little to do with prices and sales, supply and demand. For this reason, Oldtime Central is entirely free, has no pay walls, and takes no advertising dollars. This is the only stance that seems in resonance with the spirit of the community itself. That said, producing Oldtime Central is a full-time job and requires the contributions of many, many people's time and effort. In that sense, it is not free. All this work is done in the spirit of giving, and it is assumed that community members, partners, and other institutions will value these gifts and support them both financially and otherwise. By being free, Oldtime Central can always remain available to everyone in the oldtime community. Moreover, contributions to support Oldtime Central are then not a price paid in exchange for a commodity, but a form of communication about the value of the work.
6/ Diverse & inclusive
Diversity and inclusion are also central values of oldtime communities around the world. One of the greatest things about oldtime is how open and welcoming people are everywhere, regardless of age, gender, where you come from, skill level, and pretty much anything else. In fact, for many of us it's less the oldtime community and more the oldtime family, and you don't choose family. You just accept them for how they are. In exactly that same spirit, Oldtime Central is intentional about being inclusive of men and women, young and old, beginners and master players, Americans, Europeans, Asians, and everyone else. We want everyone to feel welcome here at Oldtime Central and hear their voice reflected in its "pages".
Oldtime Central is designed to be an online commons for oldtime communities around the world. By an "online commons" we mean a central, shared meeting space where we can talk to one another, hear what's happening in other communities, share our tunes and stories. There are so many amazing oldtime communities, so many wonderful online resources, so many great musicians out there. Oldtime Central intends to be a central location for all that wealth and abundance to be displayed and discovered for the benefit of all.
8/ High quality, useful & entertaining
As you've probably already noticed, there's a lot of "intention" that runs beneath everything at Oldtime Central. We don't just create content with no idea why. We don't just do things because that's the way they're done. We write articles and produce videos with the clear intention to be useful and entertaining while maintaining high production qualities inline with modern standards. There's plenty of room in the world for content of all types, but we believe that it's important to have compassion with the reader and viewer in understanding what they want to engage with and what quality they expect in today's Internet world.