The Good Intentions Behind PMC: A Discussion with the Admins
by Owen Murray
While I was writing my original article about PMC, the possibility of the group finding it was always in the back of my mind. Despite my issues with PMC, I do like the group and I hoped the reaction wouldn’t be harsh. Turns out this was wishful thinking.
But amid the memes and trollish attacks, there were a few heartfelt comments that made me realize that there are some people who have a far more positive experience in PMC than I do; people who really valued the community and felt a deep connection to the group. While I my original article accurately represents how I and many other people feel about PMC, I felt like it was necessary to speak with some of PMC’s many hardworking admins to get another perspective.
Jose, Mitchel, and Elisa have all been admins since 2016 and have watched PMC grow from a group of about a few hundred members to the 55,000 strong group it is today. They work on a team of 7 admins and more than 20 moderators. Moderating a group of PMC’s size is no small task. The results aren’t perfect, but the work the admins do sets PMC apart from the no-holds-barred /mu on 4chan, or other Facebook pages like <implying we can discuss music, and Death Grips Snitchposting (formerly Death Grips Trashposting). The admins have seen PMC go through a lot of ups and downs, but have stuck with it nonetheless.
Jose told me “during early 2018 the group was going through a lot. The group was getting a lot of new members and a lot of them were racist, homophobic, and transphobic. It took a lot from the mod team to get everything together.”
The admins I spoke with agree that the group has come a long way since then, but it will likely never be perfect. For example, in a recent post, a group member shared a very personal story about a negative experience she had with experimental hip hop artist JPEGMAFIA. She called him out for lying to her about his relationship status and being generally dishonest, self-centered, and manipulative. Admins had to shut down the comment section on the post and banned about 30 people because who responded to the story tastelessly.
Mods and admins have learned to be on the lookout for certain posts that are harmless or even positive on their own, but will elicit toxic responses.
“There’s always the tough situation when people post benign threads asking for recs from queer artists or people of color and it can be taxing to watch those responses,” Mitchel said.
All of the admins I spoke with said part of what makes moderating the group difficult is finding a balance between shitposting and dry musical discussion.
“It’s kind of a no-win situation for us because the target audience for this kind of group is a more shitposty crowd…We don’t always keep the balance and some mods have different ideas of what the balance is,” Mitchel said.
When it comes to more dry discussion about music, Elisa believes that PMC is still a good place to get recommendations and expand tastes.
“It does motivate me to push my boundaries a lot more. Like when someone posts about some classical music I get interested and want to check it out...I started off liking lots of noise pop. I still like it but I have branched out to a lot of different stuff.” she said.
Of course, there is always room for improvement.
“If you don’t have certain artists [on your chart] you’re a pleb, but if you have too many of them you’re also a pleb so where’s the line? I wish people would more give constructive criticism about where to go next with their music, rather than just ‘haha, you have Radiohead on your chart, everyone else has Radiohead too,’” Elisa said.
Mods are also working to make the chronically male-dominated group more welcoming to people of all genders and gender identities.
“As admins, for every male, we try to add a female or non-binary person. We like to have the idea that anybody can join because anybody can like music. We want to make people feel comfortable knowing there is someone like them in the mod team as well,” Elisa said.
There’s no doubt that PMC isn’t perfect. Every admin I spoke with used the phrase “we are only human” and “it’s always a work in progress” to describe the work that they do. Nonetheless, they see the potential in PMC and are dedicated to making it a more inclusive and productive community.
“Honestly, I really like the community. I really like the mods and the admins,” Jose told me. He described the ideal PMC as “a community where people can post discussion and shitpost without any racism, homophobia, or transphobia. A place where people can talk about LGBTQ and POC artists without worrying.”
I will probably always be aggravated by the edgy Shitposters and the snobs, but I definitely have a greater appreciation for what the PMC admins are doing to create a more inclusive space and generate quality discussion. Despite its outward flaws, the good intentions behind PMC are stronger than I thought.