Impossibility Of Meaningful Discourse

Mr. Kgnao

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I'll preface this by conceding that internet boards can deteriorate quickly, and the line dividing a heated disagreement and flame war is not something easily divined, but it seems increasingly clear to me that, in erring on the side of caution, vigorous debate is actively shunned on these boards.

Our posts are more or less predetermined for us through some kind of fishkeeping forum squeeze theorem which only allows room to incessantly repeat the same tired comments and relive the same insipid, unresolvable, agree to disagree, quasi-arguments.

How many threads on this forum are of the type: "can you keep neons in a 10" "no you need a 20 long" "I think you could do it in a 20" "I disagree" "well okay then". Plug in whatever variables you wish for neons and 10/20 and you have the vast majority of arguments on this board. No on ever gets anywhere because the second someone throws down a 'j'accuse' (while we're on it, could you google a foreign word or phrase to see if it's a coinage commonly used in the English language before summarily deleting it please), and debate starts to intensify and thesis threatens to meet antithesis at a point of synthesis, the thread is deleted and that's that.

It seems every thread I've been a part of that's begun to pique my interest, which is depressingly few, has been deleted. Yet every "my b3tta has t3h sicks" "learn the nitrogen cycle" page, which is really just inefficient google, seems to live forever.

I fully appreciate the necessary and far too often thankless role that moderators play, but can't we have just a little bit of peril?
 

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I am fairly new. I didn’t realize the moderator censors comments.... Bummer.......people so afraid of offending these days, I agree can stifle a good debate.
 

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Debates are good and healthy but most the “debates” I’ve come across are about stubborn people refusing to acknowledge the cause and obvious solution to their problems. I’d like to see a few more threads and debates that are supported with scientific evidence rather than “because this website says so”.

I’ve personally been singled out a couple times while taking part in debates and found myself at the tail end of someone’s verbal abuse. More amusing than offensive really. The mods came through and cleaned things up, probably slapped a few wrists as wells.
 

david1978

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Yea I got yelled at a few times. A mod showed up at my house and paddled me once. But seriously most of these debates have been debated so many times it gets old. There's 3 websites I turn to as the most knowledgeable at least to me as well as the wisdom of the old fish keepers. For the most part this is a beginners forum as far as the people asking for help so "best" practices are the way to go.
 
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Mr. Kgnao

Mr. Kgnao

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Demeter said:
Debates are good and healthy but most the “debates” I’ve come across are about stubborn people refusing to acknowledge the cause and obvious solution to their problems. I’d like to see a few more threads and debates that are supported with scientific evidence rather than “because this website says so”.

I’ve personally been singled out a couple times while taking part in debates and found myself at the tail end of someone’s verbal abuse. More ammusing than offensive really. The mods came through and cleaned things up, probably slapped a few wrists as wells.
One of my biggest grievances is the amount of "fish keeping wisdom" which is really just "I googled it and this is what seriously fish says". The potency of the woozle effect in this hobby is incredible. I'm convinced that if you snuck the right info onto a site that comes up towards the top of the page of google results, it would relatively quickly become common knowledge that synodontis catfish only eat Sno-Caps nonpareils, and anyone who dares try flake food is a menace.
 

Lucy

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Mr. Kgnao Is there a particular thread that was deleted that you are referring to?
 

bitseriously

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I’m siding with the mods in this. I think they do a great job of keeping things civil. Not every reader here is age of majority, or has thick enough skin to handle a flame war. You never know who’s on the other side of a username.
 

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This is why I avoid stocking threads and talking about my own stocking

If you think about it, 20 long is not nearly enough for tetras. They have a whole stream/river in nature. They probably swim at minimum several meters in all directions. Everyone should have 500 gallon tanks at home, no?

For other topics that invite disagreement, I usually argue my point and try to give scientific evidence when possible, but few things are more debatable than stocking. I haven't seen threads deleted, probably because I don't pay attention, but I think leaving them up could be a help to future readers
 

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Demeter said:
Debates are good and healthy but most the “debates” I’ve come across are about stubborn people refusing to acknowledge the cause and obvious solution to their problems. I’d like to see a few more threads and debates that are supported with scientific evidence rather than “because this website says so”.

I’ve personally been singled out a couple times while taking part in debates and found myself at the tail end of someone’s verbal abuse. More ammusing than offensive really. The mods came through and cleaned things up, probably slapped a few wrists as wells.
So true! Sometimes online I'll be like "Okay so you do know you can't keep a betta in a mason jar right?" And then they will pull up a video of some idiot doing it and then get all upset when I'm like "Okay well they are wrong, and that's cruel to the fish okay?"
 
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Mr. Kgnao

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Lucy said:
Mr. Kgnao Is there a particular thread that was deleted that you are referring to?
This has been a frustration bubbling under the surface for some time, but what finally provided the impetus to create this admittedly whiny, self-congratulatory thread was a sense of guilt over another thread, not mine, with a title like "Military History" or something in that vein which seems to have disappeared after I offended another user with my supposed "America bashing".

There is a bigger issue though, the sense of reticence I feel to correct patently bad information being passed around, because I'm not sure how to phrase that great principle of Wittgenstein's, "Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen.", in a way that couldn't possibly be construed as offensive.

Also, shame on you for responding in such a prompt, courteous, and magnanimous manner. Making me look like a jerk. Next time I'd appreciated it if you would at least humor me a little and come in birds flippin' and shade throwin'.
 

david1978

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Would you mind dumbing down your post for the rest of us? I hate googling long words.
 

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Seems to me people don't like to hear facts. I hate absolutes like can't, won't, needs, etc., because it's usually an emotional response, not a rational one. I've been accused of being a troll and even purposefully controversial for disagreeing with the norm, which is amusing since I would never say even 1/3 of the things some say here to a person face-to-face. I want to give advice that's reasonable, not emotional and opinion-based. If I appear disagreeable, it's because I care. I want people to enjoy this hobby, not throw money away when they already have a suitable setup. End of my kind-of-sort-of rant.
 

Lucy

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Well, you presented the topic being deleted was fish related. Sorry you don't care for my simple inquiry so that I could review it.
Thanks for the attack.

Now that it's been clarified that it was not about fish.

Forum Rules:
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Discussion and debating is encouraged but rudeness, insulting posts, inflammatory posts or personal attacks will not be tolerated. Controversial posts such as, but not limited to, politics and religion are not allowed. Above all, be respectful of your fellow members.

Hot topic discussions outside of fish keeping are not allowed. They tend to go downhill quickly. There are many forums on the internet where this type of discussion is more suited.

Anyone subscribed to that thread should have gotten an alert that it was under moderation review.
 

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scarface said:
Seems to me people don't like to hear facts. I hate absolutes like can't, won't, needs, etc., because it's usually an emotional response, not a rational one. I've been accused of being a troll and even purposefully controversial for disagreeing with the norm, which is amusing since I would never say even 1/3 of the things some say here to a person face-to-face. I want to give advice that's reasonable, not emotional and opinion-based. If I appear disagreeable, it's because I care. I want people to enjoy this hobby, not throw money away when they already have a suitable setup. End of my kind-of-sort-of rant.
I agree, I was debating politics once, and I gave the truth, and facts, and guess what? "Look! A Russian Troll!"
 
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Mr. Kgnao

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david1978 said:
Would you mind dumbing down your post for the rest of us? I hate googling long words.
Hey man, I paid good money for this thesaurus and I'm going to use it. I mean, I intend to apply it.

Lucy said:
Well, you presented the topic being deleted was fish related. Sorry you don't care for my simple inquiry so that I could review it.
Thanks for the attack.

Now that it's been clarified that it was not about fish.

Forum Rules:
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Discussion and debating is encouraged but rudeness, insulting posts, inflammatory posts or personal attacks will not be tolerated. Controversial posts such as, but not limited to, politics and religion are not allowed. Above all, be respectful of your fellow members.

Hot topic discussions outside of fish keeping are now allowed. They tend to go downhill quickly. There are many forums on the internet where this type of discussion is more suited.

Anyone subscribed to that thread should have gotten an alert that it was under moderation review.
Whoa, just so we're clear here, that last part of my post was sarcasm. I genuinely appreciate the concern you showed.

scarface said:
Seems to me people don't like to hear facts. I hate absolutes like can't, won't, needs, etc., because it's usually an emotional response, not a rational one. I've been accused of being a troll and even purposefully controversial for disagreeing with the norm, which is amusing since I would never say even 1/3 of the things some say here to a person face-to-face. I want to give advice that's reasonable, not emotional and opinion-based. If I appear disagreeable, it's because I care. I want people to enjoy this hobby, not throw money away when they already have a suitable setup. End of my kind-of-sort-of rant.
I'm not going to lie, there are quite a few threads where I'm just waiting for Al Pacino to show up and set the record straight.
 

Lucy

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Mr. Kgnao said:
Whoa, just so we're clear here, that last part of my post was sarcasm. I genuinely appreciate the concern you showed.
Whoosh.....yeah, right over my head.
 

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I agree.
As long as people aren’t personally attacking others I don’t really see a reason for censoring debate. Disagreement is necessary for progress, and while people might not always respond well to hearing the opinions of others that contradict their own, I believe that having more access to polarizing perspectives would be beneficial to us all.
 

david1978

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Really the only threads I have seen deleted or posts censored were ones that had no meaningful outcome or they were directed at a particular member. I have never seen normal discussions censored or deleted.
 

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The mods on here have never censored me, and I’ve posted on here a more than reasonable amount.

Any group or forum will have opinions that seem to systematically coincide, so pick your poison I suppose. I personally have found this forum to be loaded with great threads, information, and knowledgeable people. Much more so than others I’ve experienced. I’ve also met a lot of great people on here, not just their knowledge, but friendship as well.
 

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I'm all encouraging of respectful discussion and debate, it's what gives us the opportunity to learn and grow.

Unfortunately, there are just some topics that are not suitable for Fishlore. History has proven Einstein's "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results."

It doesn't matter how many times we've tried to allow a civil and mature discussion about some topics (typically non-fish related), discussion turns to a disrespectful argument between two or three protagonists, and the argument then becomes personal. Disdain, derision and belittlement ensues, and the mods are faced with a massive cleanup task.

The smartest approach is to remove it before it happens. Before we get inundated with reports of abusive behaviour and before we have to issue warnings (or worse). To quote your eloquent title, I would argue the affirmative, there is an inherent impossibility to meaningful discourse on an open forum.

The mod team doesn't actively censor posts/threads, in fact, we very rarely need to edit a post (save for merging back-to-back posts), but we do have an obligation to keep it safe for the whole community; remember, unlike other forums, Fishlore's minimum age is 13, which presents different considerations to those of other forums.

Quod est necessarium est licitum, “That which is necessary is legal" [sorry, love that episode of TBBT]
 
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Mr. Kgnao

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ryanr said:
The mod team doesn't actively censor posts/threads, in fact, we very rarely need to edit a post (save for merging back-to-back posts), but we do have an obligation to keep it safe for the whole community; remember, unlike other forums, Fishlore's minimum age is 13, which presents different considerations to those of other forums.
Oh yeah, thanks for that, I honestly did mean to go back and fix that, I just... didn't. But I was going to I swear.
 

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One of the many things I appreciate about this forum is the fact that rude behavior is not allowed and even when it has to be moderated by the mods it is still done with kindness. I made a few mistakes when I first joined and the action taken was done in a gentle way. I will admit that I didn't step very far over the line though so didn't need a stern warning.

I have to admit I don't have very thick skin so can't handle strong debate very well. I do my best to avoid it up to and including just not posting something that might draw any kind of conflict.

I try to think through all responses I make to hopefully prevent any one taking my words out of context. If I think something I say might be taken the wrong way I add more to it clarifying what I am saying so there is no doubt.

I guess I must not be paying close attention because I've not noticed threads being deleted or closed unless requested by the person that started the thread. I have seen threads merged to keep all the posts in one thread and appreciate that action since it makes it easier to follow along with the problem and the answers posted to hopefully fix the problem.

I must admit that I don't usually open any of the threads that venture away from fish keeping. That may be why I'm not seeing what you are seeing.
 

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I am offended that I haven't yet been censored! (though some posts have been merged for me and one spelling mistake that I made but pointed out I didn't know how to edit) guess I'm going to have to step up my game! Challenge accepted....
 

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Ronniethewitch said:
I am offended that I haven't yet been censored! (though some posts have been merged for me and one spelling mistake that I made but pointed out I didn't know how to edit) guess I'm going to have to step up my game! Challenge accepted....
You better watch. Lucy will come come to your house and give you a paddling.
 

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Ronniethewitch said:
I get excused maybe because I live too far away??? England is a fair bit of distance for a little paddling..
I think it is funny when people think they are out of reach ..
Why do you think they call it 'the LONG arm of the law ' !!
I have learned to be one of the ones OP complains about .I gots a little knowledge but for the most part if some one wants to steer the ship off in a different direction and no one else speaks up so be it .I usually stop posting on that thread .Just did it last night again ? Hope they are alright and get some good info from some one ...
 

Ronniethewitch

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Mr. Kgnao said:
One of my biggest grievances is the amount of "fish keeping wisdom" which is really just "I googled it and this is what seriously fish says". The potency of the woozle effect in this hobby is incredible. I'm convinced that if you snuck the right info onto a site that comes up towards the top of the page of google results, it would relatively quickly become common knowledge that synodontis catfish only eat Sno-Caps nonpareils, and anyone who dares try flake food is a menace.
Pardon my ignorance....I had to google the 'woozle effect'. Fantastic description!

But I do believe that a large number of people who first come here are actually beginners. We found the forum because we were looking things up on google and this site came up most often - certainly that was the case for me. There are many long term aquarists here who give best practice answers that they might not even use anymore themselves once they were more experienced and understood the consequences of certain basic actions . They do this simply because their answers create a basis of knowledge that a beginner can build upon.

That's where the arguments come. The ones that seem to be the same over and over....because once someone understands that we are water keepers first than we can play around with some of the 'rules' that we were first given as beginners. But when you consider that a 13yr old child could be reading what you say and taking it as gospel, or worse still has come for help and can't decipher which side of the 'argument' is more valid, so is no better off for having asked the question...then those good practice answers are the way forward. 'Thus the moderators must step in and 'clean it up' as it has been so eloquently described.

I love a good debate though! so if you are ever in the mood for one just pick a subject and message me I will happily take the arbitrary position and we can duel!
 

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Mr. Kgnao, thanks for starting this very interesting thread. I've been a member here for a few months and was starting to think I was the only one who felt this way. After several dozen threads in which I found myself growing increasingly irritated by a conversation in which another member asked a question, and then vehemently defended why their opinion, although wrong, should be correct...I found myself ready to throw in the towel.

People here are so terrified by the prospect of offending someone that they will agree with almost any nonsensical gibberish in an effort to remain polite, rather than simply tell someone else that they are wrong.

A high point of my own descent into disgruntlement came when I made a post in jest, which contained a quote that included some choice not-for-primetime language. I hasten to add that I never used any profanity...I replaced all the nastiness with a string of assorted keyboard symbols in the time-honoured comic-strip tradition of swearing-without-swearing. This string of characters is recognized everywhere, and appears in lieu of profanity in comics for kids...but it was too much for Fishlore, and was hastily deleted. I guess we have some members who are comic-strip characters and whose delicate imaginary sensibilities would have been traumatized...

I came here hopefully to learn some of the new methods, techniques and technologies of modern-day aquaristics. I quickly became aware that Fishlore is, as david1978 commented, largely a beginners' site. That in itself is okay, except for the fact that a significant percentage of those beginners have carefully read the label of every patent-medicine bottle in their LFS and now know everything. One member who responded in a thread with a statement which was patently incorrect...and who was corrected by several different people... took offense to the manner in which I disputed her claim. Several private exchanges later, this member ceased to communicate with me (thankfully...) and seems to have since then been absent from Fishlore.

Honestly, if being told that you are wrong is so stressful, you should really either stop making so many mis-statements...or else refrain from commenting on a topic if you are simply guessing.

I live in the North, and am forced to deal with more than my fair share of snowflakes (the natural variety). Sadly, there is another species by that name that makes me think that Fishlore isn't going to fulfill the role I had envisioned for it when I joined.
 

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I'm one of the do as I say not as I do people. Lol. But after 20 some years I have learned how far I can bend the rules with my particular water chemistry. Don't get me wrong there is a wealth of knowledge in advanced aquatics on here. You just have to learn who those people are and who is just blowing smoke with googled answers .
 

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None of this is any different on the smart guys advanced forums ..It is how people are hardwired. Ask me how I know ? I have been a member on almost if not every major fish forum .They repeat what the smartest guy says or who ever they worship !
jjohnwm said:
.

I live in the North, and am forced to deal with more than my fair share of snowflakes (the natural variety). Sadly, there is another species by that name that makes me think that Fishlore isn't going to fulfill the role I had envisioned for it when I joined.
 

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jjohnwm said:
Mr. Kgnao, thanks for starting this very interesting thread. I've been a member here for a few months and was starting to think I was the only one who felt this way. After several dozen threads in which I found myself growing increasingly irritated by a conversation in which another member asked a question, and then vehemently defended why their opinion, although wrong, should be correct...I found myself ready to throw in the towel.

People here are so terrified by the prospect of offending someone that they will agree with almost any nonsensical gibberish in an effort to remain polite, rather than simply tell someone else that they are wrong.

A high point of my own descent into disgruntlement came when I made a post in jest, which contained a quote that included some choice not-for-primetime language. I hasten to add that I never used any profanity...I replaced all the nastiness with a string of assorted keyboard symbols in the time-honoured comic-strip tradition of swearing-without-swearing. This string of &*$%#*^$#%@% is recognized everywhere, and appears in lieu of profanity in comics for kids...but it was too much for Fishlore, and was hastily deleted. I guess we have some members who are comic-strip characters and whose delicate imaginary sensibilities would have been traumatized...

I came here hopefully to learn some of the new methods, techniques and technologies of modern-day aquaristics. I quickly became aware that Fishlore is, as david1978 commented, largely a beginners' site. That in itself is okay, except for the fact that a significant percentage of those beginners have carefully read the label of every patent-medicine bottle in their LFS and now know everything. One member who responded in a thread with a statement which was patently incorrect...and who was corrected by several different people... took offense to the manner in which I disputed her claim. Several private exchanges later, this member ceased to communicate with me (thankfully...) and seems to have since then been absent from Fishlore.

Honestly, if being told that you are wrong is so stressful, you should really either stop making so many mis-statements...or else refrain from commenting on a topic if you are simply guessing.

I live in the North, and am forced to deal with more than my fair share of snowflakes (the natural variety). Sadly, there is another species by that name that makes me think that Fishlore isn't going to fulfill the role I had envisioned for it when I joined.

Aww... that's just so depressing a point of view. You gotta let the sun shine buddy. We all come as beginners but there are some fantastic folk on here with decades of experience who can go deeper into things if you just ask.

I haven't personally been attacked but I did witness it a few months back quite a lot and it seems to have stopped altogether these days.... which I guess really means the mods are doing a good job, yes? I hope you stay and argue, or rather debate, some more. We have to keep it interesting don't we?
 

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The one thing I find almost hilarious is one member can be helping and if the op asks for clarification or the next step most members will give the answer the person helping them would of given.
 

david1978

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jjohnwm said:
Mr. Kgnao, thanks for starting this very interesting thread. I've been a member here for a few months and was starting to think I was the only one who felt this way. After several dozen threads in which I found myself growing increasingly irritated by a conversation in which another member asked a question, and then vehemently defended why their opinion, although wrong, should be correct...I found myself ready to throw in the towel.

People here are so terrified by the prospect of offending someone that they will agree with almost any nonsensical gibberish in an effort to remain polite, rather than simply tell someone else that they are wrong.

A high point of my own descent into disgruntlement came when I made a post in jest, which contained a quote that included some choice not-for-primetime language. I hasten to add that I never used any profanity...I replaced all the nastiness with a string of assorted keyboard symbols in the time-honoured comic-strip tradition of swearing-without-swearing. This string of &*$%#*^$#%@% is recognized everywhere, and appears in lieu of profanity in comics for kids...but it was too much for Fishlore, and was hastily deleted. I guess we have some members who are comic-strip characters and whose delicate imaginary sensibilities would have been traumatized...

I came here hopefully to learn some of the new methods, techniques and technologies of modern-day aquaristics. I quickly became aware that Fishlore is, as david1978 commented, largely a beginners' site. That in itself is okay, except for the fact that a significant percentage of those beginners have carefully read the label of every patent-medicine bottle in their LFS and now know everything. One member who responded in a thread with a statement which was patently incorrect...and who was corrected by several different people... took offense to the manner in which I disputed her claim. Several private exchanges later, this member ceased to communicate with me (thankfully...) and seems to have since then been absent from Fishlore.

Honestly, if being told that you are wrong is so stressful, you should really either stop making so many mis-statements...or else refrain from commenting on a topic if you are simply guessing.

I live in the North, and am forced to deal with more than my fair share of snowflakes (the natural variety). Sadly, there is another species by that name that makes me think that Fishlore isn't going to fulfill the role I had envisioned for it when I joined.
I belong to what's considered an advanced forum. They spend more time arguing over why a 21" tank is better then a 20" tank. Or a certain fish only needs 5 instead of 6. Its unreal.
 

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david1978 said:
I belong to what's considered an advanced forum. They spend more time arguing over why a 21" tank is better then a 20" tank. Or a certain fish only needs 5 instead of 6. Its unreal.
:banghead::banghead::banghead:
SNOOZE zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
I would much rather be on a forum where censorship is actually necessary sometimes. Far more interesting!
 

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coralbandit said:
None of this is any different on the smart guys advanced forums ..It is how people are hardwired. Ask me how I know ? I have been a member on almost if not every major fish forum .They repeat what the smartest guy says or who ever they worship !
Yeah, I suppose that particular gripe is more with the nature of internet forums in general, rather than a Fishlore-specific thing.
 

Smalltownfishfriend

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jjohnwm said:
Mr. Kgnao, thanks for starting this very interesting thread. I've been a member here for a few months and was starting to think I was the only one who felt this way. After several dozen threads in which I found myself growing increasingly irritated by a conversation in which another member asked a question, and then vehemently defended why their opinion, although wrong, should be correct...I found myself ready to throw in the towel.

People here are so terrified by the prospect of offending someone that they will agree with almost any nonsensical gibberish in an effort to remain polite, rather than simply tell someone else that they are wrong.

A high point of my own descent into disgruntlement came when I made a post in jest, which contained a quote that included some choice not-for-primetime language. I hasten to add that I never used any profanity...I replaced all the nastiness with a string of assorted keyboard symbols in the time-honoured comic-strip tradition of swearing-without-swearing. This string of &*$%#*^$#%@% is recognized everywhere, and appears in lieu of profanity in comics for kids...but it was too much for Fishlore, and was hastily deleted. I guess we have some members who are comic-strip characters and whose delicate imaginary sensibilities would have been traumatized...

I came here hopefully to learn some of the new methods, techniques and technologies of modern-day aquaristics. I quickly became aware that Fishlore is, as david1978 commented, largely a beginners' site. That in itself is okay, except for the fact that a significant percentage of those beginners have carefully read the label of every patent-medicine bottle in their LFS and now know everything. One member who responded in a thread with a statement which was patently incorrect...and who was corrected by several different people... took offense to the manner in which I disputed her claim. Several private exchanges later, this member ceased to communicate with me (thankfully...) and seems to have since then been absent from Fishlore.

Honestly, if being told that you are wrong is so stressful, you should really either stop making so many mis-statements...or else refrain from commenting on a topic if you are simply guessing.

I live in the North, and am forced to deal with more than my fair share of snowflakes (the natural variety). Sadly, there is another species by that name that makes me think that Fishlore isn't going to fulfill the role I had envisioned for it when I joined.
Please don't leave. I always stalk your posts when I need a laugh!!! Lol not many people have such a good sense of humor these days!!!
 

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