Too Much Info?

TedsTank

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After reviewing the posts this morning, I noticed a MOD requested that we stick to the question that was asked by the OP.
I agree, big time on this.

We often change the subject rather than help on the question. I have often noticed that we also bombard the OP with way too much info for a beginner. Our intensions are are good and we want the best for the OP, but sometimes too much for them to absorb in one shot.

There are also times that the OP doesn't want to listen to advice or doesn't understand what is being said, based on what they have "heard" or read somewhaere else. Please everyone, be careful that your responses cannot be construed as rude or sharp, or based on how much you "think" you know.
When answering a question for an OP, one or two good responses should be sufficient to help guide someone in the right direction. I know we all have different techniques but they can all be quite confusing and sound contradictory at times, when everyone jumps in.

I am noticing this more and more in the last few months and seems we are battling who here is the smartest rather than how can I help. The point being, if there is a good answer for help, maybe agree with that answer but too much doesn't always help.

Sorry all, but I always review all the posts before I pick some to help with and I believe we need to watch our attitudes or how our posts can be percieved. If our advice isn't accepted the OP will be back for more help, and can guide them further on the road to success. Their (OP) decision of course can cause fish deaths (which we try to help them avoid) but most of us have "been there and done that".

If one of us has a new theory or new technique, start a new post for info, but don't interject it into someone elses post asking for basic help.
 

LyndaB

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Your post was an eye opener. You have many valid points and I'm glad that you took the time to create this thread. Thank you for that.

When answering a question for an OP, one or two good responses should be sufficient to help guide someone in the right direction. I know we all have different techniques but they can all be quite confusing and sound contradictory at times, when everyone jumps in.
I did want to ask you about this, though. I recently posted a thread asking about stocking my 30 gallon tank. I know that I was grateful that many people came on to add their : even after the choice in fish species was pretty much settled. They wanted to share their experience with these species. Actually, I don't think I would've felt as comfortable with just a couple of answers. It felt like more of a confirmation that I was headed down the right path when many people got involved.

Do you believe that for every question asked there are really only one or two true answers? If so, could you give me an example of one of those questions? I'd love to understand more of where you're coming from. x
 

ryanr

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Very nicely said Ted. - I too have noticed some 'hostility' creeping in this week in particular.... Maybe the heat is getting to people over there in ol' US of A, but there has been some crabby posts... anyway, that's going OT.

Ummm to kinda answer Lyndas question. I think what Ted is suggesting is that for certain problems, a couple of posts should be sufficient to help the OP on their way. E.g. how to deal with ich, 2 posts suggesting raising water temps etc etc should be enough to get the OP on their way to deal with it. (I see a lot of posts where OP has acknowledged the 1st reply and moved on, and yet, 30 replies later, there are still some users replying.)

This will sound harsh, but when we have so many common problems (disease, cycle etc), 2 reply posts should be enough, especially given the search feature. If the OP had searched the forum first, they probably wouldn't have needed to post a new thread. (we're all guilty I know :whistling

On the flip side, stocking questions will always attract more posts, as people have many opinions.

Hope that makes sense.
 
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TedsTank

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No I don't believe there is only one or two answers (this is based on "what has worked for me".....but too many will certainly confuse someone asking for help, as we all are different in our techniques. The Op has the option to continue with further questions.

I've seen many posts where we are actually correcting eachother and not giving a simple answer (many of them should be)

Yes, I agree on stocking questions....as my last post to help was "what kind of fish do you like?"...there is almost no answer...thats where we should encourage folks to go to a fishstore (don't buy yet) and online and make a list of what you would like....then we can jump in and help within the OP's favorite or desired fish. (back to the research, research, research.) I do remember way back and starting a community tank...I wanted everything pretty....what a disaster!!
 

jetajockey

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I'm guilty of this myself from time to time. I really don't try to play devils advocate but more importantly put an alternative/differing view when applicable. On certain things there is a general consensus, but all in all it is mostly personal preferences and conjecture, its advice and suggestions, not gospel.

I think that at best we should hope to give the question asker more knowledge and the ability to make a better experienced and thought out decision if they choose to apply it. Just my 2cents, Take care!
 
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TedsTank

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Great replies!!!!

As helpers we need to have compassion to someone lost or confused...
So let us all remember not to overdo the helps at first unless requested by the OP. Really I have seen threads go on, and get so confusing that we have forgotten the OP. If I was the OP I would have given up on fish and maybe tried keeping earth worms or fruit flys...lol

Anyway I'm done...thanks for reading this post.
 

Lucy

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We see the problem arise when a simple thread turns into a debate.
It's fine to disagree or give a conflicting opinion when done so respectfully.
However, as Ted said, sometimes we see a topic get so far off of a subject it confuses the OP.

Sometimes it's best to state your opinion and move on unless the OP has addtional questions.
Many of us, myself included are guuilty of not doing this.
 

jerilovesfrogs

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well i just want to say that there are times when we do need to correct each other. if, i for example, made a suggestion to an op that was wrong, i want someone to correct me.....for the op's sake. we want people to be getting the most accurate info as possible.
 

Meenu

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As a new, confused fishkeeper, I didn't even know the right questions to ask. I saw the links to the nitrogen cycle, but didn't really understand it. The information was conflicting with what I was being told by every fish store employee I spoke with (and I spoke with a LOT).

If nobody had taken the time to steer me in the right direction, and only directly answered the questions I had, I probably would not still have a tank, because I think that as a new fishkeeper, you don't know what questions to ask. It is because people on Fishlore knew more than I did that I am where I am.
 

blkdeath75

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I disagree with the one or two posts thing. I remember when I first started posting here and when I had an issue I liked to see a lot of posts after a question I had. I would read them all and go on info based on the majority of the responses which was usually right. If I saw only a post or two nine times out of ten I would not react until there were more. I understand it is the OP's job to do a search first on the info, but I figure if they started in google and ended up here, they must have read an article somewhere and are coming to the FL forum for second opinions.....hence the more the merrier.

jmo
 

catsma_97504

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Although I do not agree with the one or two responses concept, I do believe that in our responses that we do not provide a laundry list of things that would confuse the OP.

Guidance is best received when not being overwhelmed with a 10+ step list of suggested to dos.
 
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TedsTank

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I love this!!!

What I meant by 1 or 2 responses...could be 5 or 6....usually we, 1 or 2, or 3 or 4 is to get a new keeper kicked off and into the hobby easily as unconfusing as possble. As they grow and understand more, then more "what works for me" is more, much more helpful (after setting up and having your fish actually live for an month or two...hopefully more)
The more we grow in this hobby the more fun the individual experiences are, and way more fun as debates too.

Please remember these are just my thoughts in trying to remember when I knew very little and needed help often. That was before internet and we could only ask other fishkeepers, or search issues of Tropical Fish Hobbiest.
 

sirdarksol

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Good post, Ted. I may not agree with all of it, but definitely a good one.
https://www.fishlore.com/fishforum/general-discussion/55818-giving-receiving-advice.html
My thoughts on the topic can be found in the above link.

Because I'm being referenced, I want to clarify something. I am not usually one to say "only answer the questions asked." Like with Meenu, if people had only answered the questions I asked, I wouldn't have gotten anywhere in the hobby.
In the thread in question, the member had been offered an important piece of advice, had examined it, and had discarded it, as is their right. People focused on that, rather than on the questions that were asked, and were thus angering the member and getting absolutely nowhere with helping their fish.

This topic is completely subjective. It's an art, rather than a science. We have to examine the entire thread (something that I am guilty of not doing, periodically), see where the conversation is going, and try to judge whether or not another answer is necessary, whether we should just answer the questions asked, or if more information is needed, and how best to help the member. Sometimes, more than one answer is necessary simply to get someone whose response the member understands.

Edit: One other thing I want to touch on. When the original questioner seems to be getting angry that his/her question is not being answered, getting angry back is not the way to help them. It's going to cause them to shut you out, and it's likely to get you a warning from the mods (rudeness is never allowed, not even in response to rudeness). Be polite. Let them know that you are giving them information in their best interests, and then, as Lucy said, move on. Take the conversation in the direction they want it to go. If they are actually wrong (like I was when I thought that goldfish could do okay in a tropical tank), you'll have another chance to explain it to them if you are helpful. If you're belligerent, however, they will be driven away from the forum, and away from a potential source of knowledge and help.

Now, because we don't want this to turn into an argument (these types of threads tend to do so after awhile), I'll be closing it. This was an excellent discussion, and I want to thank everyone for offering your input. Have a good day and keep on doing the good work.
 
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