Thursday, December 31, 2009

Exactly what are we trying to do here?

I tend to hang out in a few forums that concentrate on things I'm interested in. Most of the time, forum members are very friendly and helpful. But there is something I see happening kind of frequently that rather irritates me. It's not something purposefully mean or unhelpful, but it turns out that way. Here's an example...

A couple days ago a fellow on a traditional archery forum asked for information on using water-based acrylic craft paints for crowns and cresting on wood arrows. As I write this he has gotten seventeen responses to his question. Exactly one of those responses has addressed his question... ONE! All the other responses are from those individuals who use different materials for crowns or cresting and are essentially trying to talk him into using what the responder thinks is better.

Now, I can understand this kind of response when someone is seeking information on what they can or should use. If what he'd decided to use was dangerous or obviously won't work, I can see how that would also justify the kind of responses he got. But this fellow has already decided on something and just needs information. Yet only one person saw fit to help him with information applicable to his search.
I've seen this same phenomenon in other posts, too. Let's say someone asks what epoxy they can use for gluing on tips. He'll get a few posts with good information but he'll also get a whole bunch essentially castigating him for the decision to use epoxy and extolling the virtues of various other glues. But that wasn't the question!
Are people just naturally superior about how they do things and feel they need to convert the world to their particular path? Or do people just like to see their writing on the internet for no better reason than to increase the number of their posts?

Okay. That's my soapbox for the day. If you read this and are offended by it, I essentially offer no apologies because you're likely one of those individuals I'm ranting about. But if this has made you sit back with a thoughtful look on your face, that's a good thing (to my mind).

Thanks for reading!