If Your Going To Reply To A Post...

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Sarcasm Included, Jan 28, 2017.

  1. Sarcasm IncludedWell Known MemberMember

    please do so politely and with forethought.

    I keep reading posts especially in the beginner section, where the replies don't answer the question asked and simply state things like "Your overstocked and need to rehome the fish", "X fish needs a minimum of 20 gallons you need a bigger tank", or "You need to buy Seachem Prime and X and X".

    Overstocking: We all know that pet shops mostly give poor advice and this creates lots of problems with new users, but the beginner doesn't know and they just dropped a bunch of money on a fish. The fact that they are coming here means they are reaching out. The best response I have seen from the community has been "You have some stocking issues if you would like to discuss them let me know" after they answered the problem asked. It is great that everyone wants to help, but I am asking that you think about how you are presenting yourself. If your going to tell someone that they are overstocked or that the fish requires a bigger tank, explain it fully as to why they need a bigger tank and what problems it will cause them if they keep the fish in the tank. Things like "While he may fit in the tank, it doesn't allow them to swim very well and shortens their life span." "Mollies produce lots of waste and can become very aggressive as they grow, causing stress and illness to all your fish".

    Suggesting products: I won't argue that Prime is a great product, as I have it on my shelf, but if your going to suggest it explain why and don't just tell them to buy it. Prime has many selling features, mostly that despite being one of the best on the market, it is also the cheapest per use outside of getting sodium thiosulfate and making your own. Stability and TSS, you should explain their use so they use it properly and why you are suggesting it so they understand how it fits in setting up nitrogen cycle. Convince them of the value of the product and don't just order them to get it. This includes API master kit because frankly Nutrafin has a comparable kit for the same cost, or you can buy the big kit for 99 bucks and test even more. Tell them why it is better than strips, long term lower cost and better accuracy. If your suggesting a bigger tank, tell them about getting the dollar per gallon, or how you DIY the lid and lights, get cheaper heaters and filters online. In other words if your going to suggest a bigger tank, offer up options or your assistance.

    Your problem may not be theirs: One of the greatest things about this forum is that so many new people want to give back the help that they received to beginners. I am suggesting that when you do this, that you consider that you may be giving the wrong advice, tell them that it is your experience that... It will also make them feel a thousand times better to know that others have had the same problem and that they didn't just mess up and they are all alone in this. So, tell them a little about yourself and you will help them, make them feel better, and most likely keep them as a member.

    This is a great site and many people are here to help others, but the quality of your posts should out weigh volume. Helping one person right is better than marginally helping several.

    Rant over...maybe

    Last edited: Jan 28, 2017
  2. Al913Fishlore VIPMember

    I think that you should respond to the person's problem and then in a paragraph below mention stocking problem and other stuff!

  3. SandraKayeNew MemberMember

    I totally agree. I'm pretty new to this forum and so far, I've seen a lot of what you mentioned. It's really discouraging.

  4. FahnFishlore VIPMember

    Unless I'm in a hurry I always try to explain my reasoning. I never intend to sound rude or insensitive.
  5. NavigatorBlackFishlore VIPMember

    We all have our guilty moments, and I have messed up a few. But I think it is important to clearly state why you say what you do. People don't want announcements, they want to learn. If you know something useful they don't, I think we're all ahead if we detail a bit. It helps the answerer focus, and gives the questioners reasons why. We often disagree after all, and if we say why, they can dig through and make there own sense of it with something to go on.
    If Louise says "do A" and Henry says "do B", having a "because" sitting there is very helpful.

    As far as product recommendations go, it sometimes reads like people are here to sell competing products. I could be completely wrong, but the product endorsements are so detailed when they come up against each other. People have to make a living and all, but it's making me kind of skeptical of some posts. There is some very fierce brand loyalty here, to brands that international, non US posters may not have access to. I think that gets forgotten a lot.

    For all the bumps though, it's a smart forum.
  6. FahnFishlore VIPMember

    Prime and Stability tho... B)
  7. BluMan1914Well Known MemberMember

    @Sarcasm Included..love this post. If I was new in the hobhy and came to this forum, I too would be confused as all get out. There is a lot of conflucting advise given. A lot of it given by some of the newer people that joined the forum. In addition to what you mentioned, I would like to add that when answering a question, people should state that it's just a recommendation or a suggestion. This is very important because everyone's situation on how they can use the information is different.

    It's more important that people do their own research when they get advice.
  8. NavigatorBlackFishlore VIPMember

    This is confusing for newcomers who want yes and no questions, but we are sometimes wrong. As long as we admit that possibility to ourselves, we can admit it to others. If someone politely disagrees with me, and explains why, I like that. I learn from it.
    Sometimes, I accept it. Or not. It depends on the reasons offered. We all have different experience, different levels of curiosity, different degrees of skepticism, and different mentors in the hobby.
    I don't see this as an answer forum. It's discussion. If you don't learn here, why bother reading here? The questions and answers here make you think, and that is part of the fun of the hobby.
  9. MJB56New MemberMember

    As another newcomer who has been keeping fish off and on since the late '60s, I've got to say that my experience of this forum is that the attitude of most of the replies is both very patient and helpful compared to other forums I've participated in. So I really appreciate the site "attitude." Which is why I've joined another one (this one). So this is a thank you I guess to the forum members.

    And the "patience" comment is particularly true in light of the multiple threads on similar or identical topics - and the way forum members will refer an inquiry to an earlier thread rather than railing on the duplication. That's pretty unique in a sophisticated forum I think.

    Don't want this to sound like a love letter, but ...
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 28, 2017
  10. MommaWildeWell Known MemberMember

    I love this this forum. Without this forum I would have failed at fishkeeping because I knew nothing and there is no other source as valuable as this one that I have found. Thank you for reminding us all to be/stay caring, helpful and to the point with our posts.
  11. bizaliz3Fishlore LegendMember

    Lots of good points...i just want the point out, though, that the reason for saying "you have stocking issues if you'd like to discuss them" is because not everybody wants to hear it. And if they ask a question unrelated to stocking and everybody jumps on their stocking it can put them on the defensive or chase them away. I don't see anything wrong with giving them the opportunity to ask for the advice rather than forcing it on them. As much as we would all like to!!!
  12. Al913Fishlore VIPMember

    Well it helps when you state something and the OP ask more about it and then we can explain! You got to realise this forum and the many out there is the researching part. Can't tell you how much wrong information yuo get out there if you just look at websites! When I first started I just used websites and searched "how to keep fish" and other stuff. It was only until a came to forums that I wished I had learned about them when I first started my own tank!

    Fishlore does have a book lit though, and sometimes I recommend people to read it to get the gist of the hobby...here is the book lit: 
  13. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Nice reminder SI,
    A couple of points I'll make, having been here for a long time:
    - Product 'endorsements' : I wouldn't say we, as a community, actively promote a particular brand, except where there really is no substitute. What we do promote/recommend are products that have proven themselves to work. E.g. Prime as a water conditioner, there are others out there, but pound for pound, there is nothing comparable (unless you go to the AquaVitro line). API master kit, it's the most common, and we all know how it works, so it makes it easier if we're all on the same page.
    I'm a huge brand snob, and actively recommend particular brands because I'm familiar with them, and very comfortable with them, and extremely happy with them, they've never let me down.
    What we won't tolerate here is brand 'bashing', whether it's equipment, products, stores.

    - New members : a new member to Fishlore is not necessarily inexperienced. It's easy to discount a new member's advice, but who knows, they may have been in the hobby for 20+ years and only just found Fishlore. I have more than 12,600 posts here, but that doesn't mean my advice should carry more weight than someone with <100 posts.

    - Conflicting advice : it's always bound to happen, that's what a forum is for. For people to come together and discuss their experiences. It's the first rule of Fishlore, discussion and debate are encouraged, but rudeness/flaming etc will not be tolerated. Everyone's advice should be taken as it is, evaluated, and the OP should make an educated decision. If you're going to disagree, do so respectfully, and explain why, it could be experience, or something else.

    What I would encourage all members to do is avoid giving 'guarantees'. Rather, statements like 'in my experience, when x and y, I did z, and it worked for me', is a better way to address things.

    Lastly, also remember, Fishlore is a family friendly forum, and we welcome everyone, from everywhere, and as young as 13 yrs old (minimum legal age for a forum). That puts a very different spin on things. We have some teenagers here who you'd be surprised by their knowledge of the hobby, and we have adults that are brand new to the hobby with no knowledge. So we all need to respect that everyone here is at a different stage in the hobby.

    REMEMBER: You were once a beginner and new to the forum ;)

    As a community, you are all a great bunch, and get along really well. We have over 68,000 members, and nearly 2.5 million posts on the forum, and for the most part, very little moderator intervention is required.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2017
  14. Al913Fishlore VIPMember

    LOL, I'm only 16 but as you can see age doesn't matter in the hobby!

    When it comes to products usaully we recommend what is available at the store! Many people here only have a Petco or Petsmart, this is why when it comes to stocking we normally recommend fish that you can get at those stores. But once we realize what they are working with we can adjust our recommendations!

    Sometimes though, this is why we just bomb our first post on a thread with questions! Some people just ask a question of their tank but we need to know basically the whole tank information from filtration, stocking, parameters, history and other things. Can't tell you how many times someone ask a question and we all trying to give suggestions and trying to fix a problem until a few post later the OP mentioned an additional thing and that was what caused the problem :) .

    I guess this is the con with helping people online which is the fact we don't know the actual person on the other side of the screen, this is why I love it when new people post a "introduction post" where we get to know them and their experience
  15. Jefferys420Valued MemberMember

    Sorry for my ignorance but what is OP short for on fishlore
  16. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    OP = Original Poster (thread starter)
  17. authorofdarknessValued MemberMember

    It's very tricky because aquariums are like custom made cars, they have many parts and are very individual. Therefore it's hard to diagnose or advise without getting some info. It can be cumbersome but I'm sure many fish have been saved because problems that were not stated were identified through the asking of questions. I like details. I want to know why it's a problem, that way it turns into a learning experience. I expect some correction as I have just started, but I believe the people on here genuinely want to help others and that makes me happy to be here.

    Also, I must say how impressed I am at the civility in this thread, often times these sort of threads can get very very ugly but everyone has been appropriate and polite, I love it :)
  18. NHFarmerValued MemberMember

    You were the person who corrected me in a different thread when I incorrectly told someone that they needed to transfer the water from their tank in order to preserve their beneficial bacteria, and you did so in a very polite and informative way. I learned from the OLD fish books on my shelves, and sometimes it shows. :) Thanks to you, I came away with new knowledge, and you helped the OP avoid outdated misinformation - this would not have happened if you'd handled things differently, but you were definitely in teacher mode, not "You big dummy, what the heck are you saying!" mode. Your posts (at least the ones I've seen) are excellent examples of how to handle a situation when someone is giving cockeyed advice.

    I've seen some very recent posts in a different thread that were very different. Someone offered a newbie some questionable advice, and several users jumped on him - not only did they tell him he was wrong in a fairly confrontational manner, some even resorted to name calling. I very much doubt that this person learned anything from that experience - angry people tend to have a hard time paying attention to the facts.

    Great thread. I hope we can all learn from it - and then remember it when we're out in the rest of the forum... PLEASE remember it the next time I come out with something boneheaded!! :D
  19. SeyffValued MemberMember

    Very nicely worded post.

    As a new member I am very very careful to never mention anything that might cause unpleasant comments as I did see threads that went downhill.

    I keep coming back as there is a wealth of information and I would certainly like to give back by contributing.
  20. McFlyValued MemberMember

    As in just about any forum I frequent, it is commonplace to see the same questions/situations repeated over and over. I think it's prudent to have patience with these questions, as the OP has only seen it once most likely. NOT answering if you don't want to answer it again is another alternative.

    I'm one of those low post count 30+ year aquarists. Post count does not always directly relate to experience... that was a good point. Old school is not always 'outdated', and more times than not works quite well. Just sayin'.

    Good points made in this post, and in replies. It's important to remember that a forum is not the only, or most reliable source of information. In any hobby it is important to know what you are doing, in this hobby, lives are affected by everything you do, or don't do. Learn.... read books.... do research, become a competent Aquarist. Don't rely solely on forum replies.

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