Are We Too Suspicious?

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Are We Too Suspicious?

Postby oldhousejunkie » 02 Jun 2011, 07:56

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!
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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Postby polymath » 02 Jun 2011, 08:17

Lay analyzing the behaviors of the other forum's self-annointed moderators; dilettantes, posers, self-serving opportunists. I run into them sorts regularly online and in person. If you ain't gotta a street cred, youse's opinions is meaningless. We are way way awesome better than you is or am can ever be 'cause we is experts what listens only at experts.

I learned lessons about trust and betrayal early on in childhood. Expect betrayal from any source. Trust everyone as far as one can bear suffering the consequences. A soroptomist's credo: Expect the worst, prepare equally for the best and the worst. Then one will never experience expectation disappointment.
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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Postby oldhousejunkie » 02 Jun 2011, 08:21

polymath wrote:Lay analyzing the behaviors of the other forum's self-annointed moderators; dilettantes, posers, self-serving opportunists. I run into them sorts regularly online and in person. If you ain't gotta a street cred, youse's opinions is meaningless. We are way way awesome better than you is or am can ever be 'cause we is experts what listens only at experts.

I learned lessons about trust and betrayal early on in childhood. Expect betrayal from any source. Trust everyone as far as one can bear suffering the consequences. A soroptomist's credo: Expect the worst, prepare equally for the best and the worst. Then one will never experience expectation disappointment.



Elegant, as always, Polymath. And hysterical. I think you managed to perfectly encapsulate the vibe of the forum that I referenced.

And on the subject of betrayal, you sound just like my husband. He questions the motives of everyone, which drives me insane! Of course, when he is betrayed, he burns the bridge. So you are correct that trusting is in correlation with one's ability to withstand the consequences.
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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Postby dios4vida » 02 Jun 2011, 08:26

So here's my personal opinion:

If it sounds interesting, I'll help out regardless of forum participation. I don't think that should have much to do with anything. Yeah, it's helpful to have been around. People are more willing to help when they know you (more on that later), but I don't think it should be a requirement. It does irk me when people post for help and once they get it you never hear from them again, but it won't stop me from replying.

If I see that it's one of the people I consider a virtual buddy - I've seen them around a lot, we've complained around the virtual water cooler and microwaved Peeps at the Easter party together - then I'll be more likely to venture out of my genre to help. It might not be something that really appeals to me, but I'll still give an opinion just cause I like them.

In short, I think the Bransforums have it right. Help where help is needed. Consider others' feelings and their need for critiques as well. If someone critiques you, you should critique them back. But don't make anything a requirement.
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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Postby Watcher55 » 02 Jun 2011, 08:34

dios4vida wrote:In short, I think the Bransforums have it right. Help where help is needed. Consider others' feelings and their need for critiques as well. If someone critiques you, you should critique them back. But don't make anything a requirement.


I like to think we have a sort of "Pay It Forward" environment here. Someone takes the time to turn me on to insights, critiques, advice....I'm forever grateful. I might not have opportunity to help that person, but now I'm more likely to help someone else(s) and....what goes around....
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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Postby polymath » 02 Jun 2011, 08:39

We cool, oldhousejunkie, yeah. Your comparison of your husband to me reminds me of when I showed my skepticism and cynicism openly without regard to others' feelings and opinions. I'm better now at concealing them, which makes for more pleasant interactions overall, and often makes it easier to get my way. Heh-heh-heh.

Though I should have mentioned present Bransforum company excepted when I said I run into them sorts regularly.
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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Postby sierramcconnell » 02 Jun 2011, 09:07

Regardless of post count, I like to help the little guy. How is the little guy going to be a big guy if no one ever helps them? How will they get experience if no one ever helps them when they need to be pointed in the right direction? I know some might say they get tough by learning on their own, but it's frustrating when you've exhausted all your efforts and searches and still need someone else, only to be told "you're a newb, go stand in the newb corner".

There are some people I know that have low post counts at DoA, but they've been there since 2004 or earlier. It's because they read, they don't post. It isn't that they don't know anything, it's because when they do say something, it's profound. :O

For some reason this makes me think of an old fanfiction I read by a terribly wonderful writer I knew. It may have been fanfic, but she was amazing. I'll never forget these two lines. They come up a lot:

"I don't know what to say."
"It's alright. Empty vessels make the most noise."

XD

So I think even if you have a high post count, you can still be an idiot. Post count has no bearing on your intelligence level or anything.

I don't think we're too trusting as writers, I think we just know how hard it is and we've all been at point bottom of the barrel and the highest we've ever been all in one day. So we know every dot on the spectrum, and we empathize with the person's placement, and can't help ourselves in helping them.

In a nutshell, I think we are what other people should be. KIND. HELPFUL. NICE.

Even if I, personally, tend to be a little nuts here and there. I blame that solely on the doctors and the medication they feed me. @_@

And once again I've rambled into nonsense. :D
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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Postby Doug Pardee » 02 Jun 2011, 09:21

My advice is to ignore the people who would judge you based on posting quantity. Their judgment is not to be trusted [is that irony?]

In addition to polymath's amusingly accurate representation of some of those people, there are others who live for forum interactions. In order to be someone's online BFF you need to post many times a day.

In many forums, the first few postings by a new member will raise suspicions if they are opinion postings rather than questions or providing references to facts, or if they support one person's side of an ongoing argument. Some people will jump on the newcomers, calling them trolls or sock puppets, often with no corroborating evidence. Me, I just ignore the whole thing. Online arguments are a total waste of my time.

[In the early days of what would become the Internet, there was a dedicated forum for arguments. Ah, the good old days.]
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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Postby Cookie » 02 Jun 2011, 09:28

Sierra, I completely agree with you on every count. It is ridiculous to disregard someone because of their low post count. Or, alternatively, to over-regard someone because of their high post count.

I personally, read way more than I post, mainly because a lot of the time I have nothing to add to the conversation.

Also, when looking for a critique partner, I generally look for someone who is within my genre, regardless of how old or new they are.
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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Postby polymath » 02 Jun 2011, 10:14

A fine point to add to serriamcconnell's insightful viewpoint, and Watcher55 and Doug Pardee's and, you know, you-all's, to help out when requested, as ready, willing, and able, as needed, as indicated, it's helping one's self. Sharing knowledge enhances and reinforces learning, oftentimes more than the initial knowledge imparted in the first place. Even helping a vulnerable, mobility-challenged babe in the woods has lessons to teach. The contrary membership at the other place evidently doesn't appreciate that teaching and learning is a conversation, not a groupthink popularity pageant.
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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Postby Collectonian » 02 Jun 2011, 10:55

If its the same forums I'm thinking of, then I was also told my post count (over 200) was too low for me to make a suggestion about improving the forums in the topic for suggestions. Personally find that sort of moderating (and tolerating of that sort of posting) a bad sign about the quality of the forums as a whole. It also begs the question of who decides what the arbitrary limit is for when you get to actually be a member? 50 posts? 100? 1000? And why is someone with 1000 posts whose posts are mostly comedic one-liners in joke and game threads more valuable than someone with maybe 50 in various threads on various topics that are of substance?
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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Postby Sommer Leigh » 02 Jun 2011, 11:16

I wonder if we are all talking about the same forum, because the forum I fled before finding the Bransforums also made me feel like I wasn't worth anything because of my newness.

I personally don't pay attention to post counts. Sure, I recognize names and know they've been around, but it makes no difference to me how well I know them. I look at it this way - if the person asking the question is new there is a 50/50 chance they will continue posting on the forums and "pay it forward." Or they will get their answer and leave. Either way, anyone who reads the post will learn the same information so it helps more than just the poster.

And on that note, someone who comes to the forum seeking help is a person seeking help - regardless of how many times they have posted. Why would you ever stick around a forum when you won't receive any help when you need it? Doesn't sound like much of a forum to belong to or contribute to.

I am always, constantly proud of the level of kindness we have here on the Bransforums.
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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Postby sierramcconnell » 02 Jun 2011, 11:21

There is one type of moderation of post count I find valuable. At DoA they restrict marketplace access and group order leadership based on post count, and they moderate each forum to make sure your posts have /valued content/ and are not one liners. If they are, they delete the number of posts on the count, so you can't just go around saying 'thats great' 'omg lol' to get posts. They also have 'character limits' so you can't just say 'omg lol'. It's too short.

It's very restrictive, but it's a good system. Though sometimes it steps on toes...I respect that place and have been there since 2005. The longest I've ever been on a forum ever. And I love the people there, because I know I can always ask a 'stupid newb' question (which I don't usually have much of, since all the information is right there, easily accessed through databases and forum searches) and not get attacked. They take care of those things, too.

It's a safe place.
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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Postby dios4vida » 02 Jun 2011, 11:25

Sommer Leigh wrote:I wonder if we are all talking about the same forum, because the forum I fled before finding the Bransforums also made me feel like I wasn't worth anything because of my newness.


I think so, too. I have a feeling we were all shoved out of the same place before finding our home at the Bransforums.
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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Postby sierramcconnell » 02 Jun 2011, 11:35

Reminds me of the Java programming forums. I was just learning Java, and like an idiot, I thought I might get help there.

Boy was I wrong.

They jumped on me. Belittling me and calling me names. Yelling at me /how dare I come to their forum and ask such retarded questions/ that /I should have a book/ and that /I should do my own damn homework/.

O_O

I was frazzled and scared. I talked about it in class and the guys all laughed. "Yeah, those Java programmers will eat you. They're like a secret circle. You don't poke them with a stick and ask them questions. They had to learn the hard way, YOU have to learn the hard way."

o_o

I never, EVER went back to the sun java forums ever again. It was like going out the the Himmy-Layas and looking for a Yeti. STU & PID.
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