Although I don't read all the messages posted in the message board I have never had the impression that critics are "attacked for dissent". Obviously every reviewer has the right to defend what he has written and his assessment of a particular recording. And if his colleagues feel that he is unjustly criticized they have the right to support him. But that doesn't mean that criticism is not considered legitimate. Even the reviewers of MWI sometimes strongly disagree about a particular performance.
It is rather surprising that M.A. who probably doesn't know any of the reviewers personally claims to know exactly what they are like. I, as one of the reviewers, don't know, unless MWI has published their profiles. Even if that is the case, I have mostly no idea of what their "world view" might be. I doubt that the majority shares the same world view. It also seems to me mostly rather irrelevant. I am surprised that we as reviewers are accused of being "reactionary". Maybe I don't get what M.A. means, but the use of
"Sir" is hardly reactionary, unless you believe that being polite is reactionary.
The main thing is that I wonder whether the identity of the reviewers really matters. Let's assume that they are mostly "ethnically white, middle-aged or retired, male, well-to-do" - so what? Would a different skin colour or gender result in a different assessment of a musical performance? Only age could be a meaningful factor, as with age comes experience in having heard many performances of a piece and being aware of developments in interpretation.
Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion on MusicWeb. Is it too self-congratulatory? What is wrong with publishing messages of music lovers who have the experience that this site has made them discover unknown repertoire or recordings on labels which don't belong to the mainstream? That is MWI's main 'raison d'Ítre'. If the large majority of the readers is satisfied with what this site has to offer it must do a pretty good job.
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