Helping people on GPF! My rant!

Discussion in 'Illness and Disease' started by Mmathis, Aug 23, 2018.

  1. Mmathis

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Messages:
    9,573
    Likes Received:
    5,411
    Location:
    NW Louisiana -- zone 8b
    Somewhere we have a “sticky” posted that states basic information that we request at the beginning of an illness-type post. I think that maybe we would be providing a better service if we stuck to asking these basic questions only, initially — until satisfied that we have all of the pertinent info. But, of course , we can only work off the information provided to us by an OP — accurate info, that needs to actually answer and address the questions we ask. If we don’t get those questions answered.....well it only complicates our advice.

    We can’t perform a physical exam on someone’s pond, so we can only go by the info we are given. It needs to be accurate and concise.

    And every situation is going to be different and require needing slightly different information. And we all know that BASIC WATER QUALITY is going to be at the root of most pond/fish issues.

    It would also be helpful if members would refrain from posting anything not directly related to the issue at hand. We have many very knowledgeable and experienced people on GPF! It really doesn’t help (and I’m making this up, of course) if someone has a sick fish....and we go off talking about how Grandma used molasses to cure her warts.

    If we are jumping all over the place — or if the OP isn’t being forthcoming — we end up with a lot of confusion and mixed information.

    We have to remember that most of the folks who come here with a problem.....are most likely newbies. Or are folks who have never done or thought about researching the how-to’s and why’s of pond ownership. They are doing what “someone else” told them to do. A lot of people come here because they purchased a house with a pond and are clueless until a problem arises. So we can’t assume that they actually know what they are doing. And we can’t assume that they know and understand what WE are talking about.

    Sorry, if this makes some members angry. It’s not directed at anyone in particular. And it’s as much directed at people who come on to post a problem as it is to our members who are trying to help. WE ALL WANT TO HELP! Please! Stick to the problem at hand and ask pertinent questions. Then, if you notice that an OP has been asked a specific question (there is a reason for asking that question), but they fail to answer it or only partially answer it, then maybe support the member who asked the question and let the OP know that we really need them to answer the question. Don’t go off on some other topic so that the issues at hand become clouded, derailed and hi-jacked. This is confusing to the OP.

    Oh, and this is slightly off-topic, but if you notice that an OP has started a thread, but they aren’t getting any responses.....or maybe only one person is popping in to help..... TAKE A LOOK AT THE TOPIC THEY HAVE POSTED UNDER! If the TOPIC doesn’t match the content PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE hit that “report” button on that original post. Then just ask one of the mods/admins to MOVE the thread to a more appropriate topic! For example, a sick fish that is posted under “Garden pond talk” or “Newbies” would be better moved to “illnesses.” This way the OP’s question has a better chance of being seen and followed by the appropriate group of GPF members. I do this all the time, and Becky has given approval, so “reporting” is an OK thing to do.
     
    Mmathis, Aug 23, 2018
    #1
    1. Advertisements

  2. Mmathis

    MitchM

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2012
    Messages:
    6,715
    Likes Received:
    6,681
    Location:
    Water Valley, Alberta
    It's a valid rant.:)
    I think so much of the confusion could be averted if only pet stores sold a bottle of ammonia and a water testing kit, instead of "sacrificial fish" and "beneficial bacteria".
    A little education of the nitrogen cycle would go a long way.

    I have a motto - if you can master your water quality, you are guaranteed to have a healthy pond with healthy inhabitants.

    .
     
    MitchM, Aug 24, 2018
    #2
    Mmathis likes this.
    1. Advertisements

  3. Mmathis

    sissy sissy

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    Messages:
    31,065
    Likes Received:
    14,158
    Location:
    Axton virginia
    I think the hardest is when someone moves into a home with a pond and have no idea what to do .Why do people sell a home and not provide info for new owner .Foreclosed I can understand but sellers of homes need to think about what they are doing to the new owners ..I have never trusted pond stores fully because they are out there to sell something .There is no miracle cure .You have to understand also that most new people are in a panic and only want help and do not even know where to post ,they just want an answer and now .They do not know we need the info on the pond if they are new to all this stuff .
     
    sissy, Aug 24, 2018
    #3
    Mmathis likes this.
  4. Mmathis

    sweetbeats

    Joined:
    May 14, 2016
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    47
    The newbie perspective:

    Its tough, because seasoned folks DO have SO much good info to share, and that must surely be often juxtaposed with the train wreck that comes when the newbie posts...we don't often get on Google and search for help because everything is A-OK...no, rather there is some crisis, and possibly multi-headed.

    So the newbie gets easily bent out of shape because she/he is already under duress...clear and uni-linear direction (when possible) is probably a very good thing.

    And no, the newbie doesn't usually spend some time doing due diligence in researching the problem and proper actions first...hard to do because the guidance one gets from an internet search engine is broad and varied...leading to more confusion. No we come screaming in here, again like a train wreck needing spoon fed the basics that you all (seasoned folks) *must* get tired of repeating over and over again...

    And with that I must say that, relative to my recent experience, everybody that has posted on a recent thread I started, as a train-wreck newbie, has been informative, kind, patient, responsive and even empathetic. The instances where the topic has started to drift have been community corrected. My circumstances aren't simple, my knowledge is light, and YES it is true you all only get part of the picture...I as a newbie can only share what I know and understand (which is limited), and will only share what I think might be relative or important because I don't want to waste your time with a novel of irrelevancy resulting in a dilution of the important facts, or risk embarrasing myself with an ocean of drivel.

    And yes I'm one of those people that bought a house knowing it had a pond, but didn't know it came with fish until after we took possession...one of several surprises good and not so good left by the previous owner...we adopted a s**t ton of fleas as well that we weren't expecting either. :D

    Anyway, please accept my appreciation.
     
    sweetbeats, Aug 24, 2018
    #4
    addy1, Becky, sissy and 1 other person like this.
  5. Mmathis

    sissy sissy

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    Messages:
    31,065
    Likes Received:
    14,158
    Location:
    Axton virginia
    Never understand owners of houses with ponds that sell ,do they not care that those are living creatures and that the new owners may like some info .I know it can be scary and would not want to be in a new owners shoe's
     
    sissy, Aug 24, 2018
    #5
    Mmathis likes this.
  6. Mmathis

    Lisak1

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2013
    Messages:
    6,540
    Likes Received:
    7,345
    Location:
    Northern IL
    Well said @Mmathis . I've often wished the forum could have a "You have a problem? Fill out this form" requirement for 1st time posters needing help. It's so true that the full story can take many many posts to uncover - mainly because new pond owners don't really have a good grasp on what information might be needed. How many times have we heard "all the test results were normal" - gah!

    @sweetbeats Let me add that I appreciate you sticking with the forum. Everyone here can attest to the number of posters who come "screaming in like a train wreck" (perfect analogy!) and then either get offended when they get advice they don't want to hear (usually "you have too many fish") or they simply ghost us and are never heard from again. You have responded to a difficult situation with clarity and persistence - you WILL get this problem resolved. And I do feel for people who are handed a pond when they buy a house. We spent a full year researching pond building and pond care and pond equipment before we ever even put a shovel in the ground - I can't imagine taking on a pond when you don't even really know how all the parts function - OR if the pond was even built right to begin with.

    This is such a fun and lively forum - kudos to @Ian and @Becky for this awesome community!
     
    Lisak1, Aug 24, 2018
    #6
    addy1, sissy, Becky and 1 other person like this.
  7. Mmathis

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Messages:
    9,573
    Likes Received:
    5,411
    Location:
    NW Louisiana -- zone 8b
    My point, however, is that we need to be consistent when we give advice. First and most important is that we need to be consistent with the questions we ask. We should stay on-topic. And we need to be consistent when it comes to expecting an OP to provide pertinent information.
     
    Mmathis, Aug 24, 2018
    #7
    bettasngoldfish and MitchM like this.
  8. Mmathis

    Lisak1

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2013
    Messages:
    6,540
    Likes Received:
    7,345
    Location:
    Northern IL
    Amen.
     
    Lisak1, Aug 24, 2018
    #8
  9. Mmathis

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Messages:
    9,573
    Likes Received:
    5,411
    Location:
    NW Louisiana -- zone 8b
    Your appreciation is accepted. But I am hoping to educate our current newer members as well as newbies that we should ask certain questions....in order to obtain specific information about a pond set-up. Not singling your situation out, though it is the one that prompted this rant — so guess you’d call it the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    We really need to stay on-topic and focused on 1) determining what the problem is and 2) coming up with a solution. We can’t determine what the problem is if 5 people are all asking random questions and/or giving random advice — without knowing all the facts. IOW (made up scenario), an OP posts about a possible water leak..... Pretty benign. But before anyone can give this OP any advice, we need to know more about the pond set up. Also, knowing the climate is helpful, as well as how long this person has had the pond and/or noticed the problem. INFORMATION IS NEEDED! But what happens in many cases is that we start giving advice and “diagnosing the problem” before we have any or adequate information.

    Believe it or not, the “determining what the problem is” in the first place isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. Often times what an OP starts out with as a “problem” isn’t actually what’s going on. Then we turn into detectives.

    And as a newbie, you have no way of knowing what information being given to you is helpful or what is bunk — especially when the info is contradictory. Contradictory isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but then most of us on here already know and understand about “contradictions.” A newbie with a problem doesn’t know and understand this, and all they can see is that they’re getting different, conflicting advice.

    So, @sweetbeats, (and I mean nothing personal) back to your comment above: we do need to know as much information as possible. If you (in general, not “you” specifically) are a newbie, by your admission, you can’t possibly know what information will be helpful for us. That’s why we ask so many questions and even ask for pictures! YOU (specifically and in general) are never “wasting our time” by giving us information!
     
    Mmathis, Aug 24, 2018
    #9
    Stephen Noble likes this.
  10. Mmathis

    Stephen Noble

    Joined:
    May 21, 2018
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    198
    Spot on! New hobbyists sometimes ramble on about a problem because they really don’t know the precise question to ask. Our members read the post and have to interpret their prose. We all want to help but read and process things differently which sometimes leads to confusion or worse...bad advice. But, I absolutely agree, hijacking or posting just to chime in without value is harmful to the forum’s quality and credibility. I used to write an aquatic magazine Q&A and some of the questions I received were so convoluted! I wanted to respond by saying Cliff’s Notes version please!!!! One other thought, we have tremendous experience on this site; it’s simply amazing. Experts rarely, and should not agree 100% otherwise critical thinking stops. Just look at the division between those who use pond salt vs those who don’t. I would never put salt in any freshwater system but there are those who swear by it. Anyway, good topic Mmathis!
    Stephen
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2018
    Stephen Noble, Aug 24, 2018
    #10
    Somethin' Fishy, Mmathis and MitchM like this.
  11. Mmathis

    Becky Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2011
    Messages:
    2,243
    Likes Received:
    1,434
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    Becky, Aug 24, 2018
    #11
    Mmathis and Lisak1 like this.
  12. Mmathis

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Messages:
    9,573
    Likes Received:
    5,411
    Location:
    NW Louisiana -- zone 8b
    Mmathis, Aug 24, 2018
    #12
    Becky likes this.
  13. Mmathis

    Somethin' Fishy

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2018
    Messages:
    236
    Likes Received:
    428
    Location:
    Tennessee
    YES! The hi-jacked threads are somewhat tiresome.... Whether scanning a topic looking for info just to read a bunch of prattle that doesn't hit on the subject at all; or to post a question and never get a real answer.

    Q - "What type of fertilizer should I use for my water lilies?"
    A - "I like noodles!"

    :banghead: :rage: :meh:
     
    Somethin' Fishy, Aug 24, 2018
    #13
    Stephen Noble and Mmathis like this.
  14. Mmathis

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Messages:
    9,573
    Likes Received:
    5,411
    Location:
    NW Louisiana -- zone 8b
    Yes, and I’m as guilty as the next person. But it’s easy to get a thread back on topic. And the best way to teach is....by example.
     
    Mmathis, Aug 24, 2018
    #14
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.