I abhor clubs, cliques and societies which exclude any individual or any section of society, and if MWI was anything 'like a gated community' then I would politely withdraw and allow the thing to fester in its own juice. The fact that it is a wide-ranging mix of voices free to voice a variety of opinions is a big part of what makes MWI lively and interesting on a daily basis. We've had some shockingly contrasting responses to identical recordings from different reviewers, but that only serves as evidence of a complete openness to subjective response and an entire lack of that pack mentality which is suggested by the original comment.
As for reviewer profiles go I can say little, as I don't really know any of my colleagues on MWI. Len kindly took me to lunch once where I also met Patrick Waller, but I would hardly call that a coven of polite and self-congratulating bullies. I would love to be retired and well-to-do but, packed into our tiny flat in The Hague and struggling to keep abreast of rising health insurance costs here in the Netherlands (count yourselves SO fortunate in the UK!) doesn't make me feel particularly superior. I am indeed white and middle-aged, but don't have the time, inclination or energy to be reactionary.
The fact is, if we reviewers were to write rubbish, churn out pretentious nonsense or keep pedalling palpably biased opinions then we'd be exposed in no time, and be of no use to anyone.
If I sound defensive of MWI then that is because I sincerely want to defend it against this kind of easy sniping. If there are articles which sound self-congratulatory then, measured against the achievements of the site I would say these are justifiable. If there is the occasional voice of dissent with regard to a review and a clash of opinions then where is the harm? Name me a section of the creative or scientific community which wouldn't respond with articulate and at times robust defence against criticism.
None of us are perfect and none of us are right every time all of the time, but to those who would carp from the sidelines I would say 'build your own website then...', or indeed, get involved and start contributing if you believe things can be done better.
I for one think very highly indeed of MWI and am proud to be counted as one of its humble scribes.
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