Again, I thank you all for answering my question. I do want to point out that it was a question about etiquette, not a proposal, but perhaps it doesn't matter.
I think it's interesting the assumptions we make about people. "Not in a band." "Not a performer." Etc. I have been guilty of jumping to conclusions on many occassions, but I guess it's most obvious when people do it about you.
I don't really want to join the argument here--I didn't actually ask the question to start an argument--but aesthetics is one of my interests, and I feel compelled to note that the separation between performer/artist/writer and audience/reader has been eroding for a great deal of the last, oh, 500 years. The last 50 years has seen an exponential increase in erosion, to the point that Umberto Eco gave a talk here a year or so ago in which he basically said that the line does not exist. In virtually every area of the arts, the formerly passive consumer has insisted on becoming or been invited to become in one way or another a participant.
It's very nice and convenient for the performer/artist/writer to have a nice disciplined situation in which the performers perform toward the audience and the audience listens toward the performers and the proscenium of the stage is the dividing line between them. Convenient, and disciplined, but not real life anymore, at least not in the world of art. But then, we all play one kind or another of "old time music," whatever we choose to call it, so I guess by definition we yearn for more comfortable, more understandably defined roles for everyone.
But that's all beside the point. I do appreciate the responses and even the passion. In case some of you haven't noticed, I surrendered to the great weight of opinion and conceded the field some posts ago. Now let's argue about something that really matters, like whether flat-topped or arch-topped mandolins are better and whether mandolin players or banjo players are smarter. (The right answers are "flat-topped" and "banjo players," in case you're interested. And my Toyota Tacoma can whip your Ford F150s butt, just in case anyone wants to know.)