This morning I posted this question for my blog readers and thought that I should bring it over here for a wider opinion. As writers who are active on the World Wide Web, are we too suspicious?
As I detailed on my blog, I am an extremely trusting person. And as I think more about it, I do not impose many boundaries on my relationships whether they be online or in real life. In general, I try to be open, approachable, and helpful. I try to be this way online as well. I've recently run into issues on a writing forum that caused me to pause. I've mainly stuck to the forums at Nathan Bransford because everyone here is just so nice and helpful. After a bad experience at this other forum last year, I have steered clear of it. But recently, I ventured back there and after lurking for sometime, began to selectively post. I asked about finding beta readers, as I was having difficulty identifying some. Instead of suggestions, I got lectured about how my post count was low. In my defense, I suppose everyone's definition of "low" is subjective, but for the sake of argument, I had posted close to 50 times. In my mind, that says that I careful about what topics I post in. But apparently to them, it means I shouldn't be trusted. I was told (essentially) that users will be suspicious of me until I prove myself. I can understand this to some extent, but then in some ways, it strikes me as wrong.
Perhaps I was spoiled by the welcoming and helpful quality of the users at Nathan Bransford. And maybe I am the exception, meaning that I am willing to help people regardless if they are just stopping in or if they are a long time user. If I read a plea for a beta reader and the book is in my genre and it sounds interesting, I'm going to offer to read it no matter what. I know we have to be careful who we entrust our work to, but are we so wrapped up in our writing lives and our suspicions, that extending help to other writers has become near impossible? It just seems the policy of "sure I'll help you, but what are you going to do for me" seems to be in effect. Maybe I'm old fashioned (ok, I am) but I consider it a compliment to be asked (either directly or indirectly) to help another writer.
I would love to hear some opinions from you all. What's your policy? Has a specific incident caused you to be more reserved or are you just in general? No judgment, of course!