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Old 11-01-2004, 08:16 PM   #1
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How to properly speak to newbies.

I designed this post because I realized that although there are many knowledgable aquarists on this forum, sometimes their etiquette is lacking.
1. Do not FOCUS on the negative. Try to encourage positive thought, Instead of saying you did this and this wrong, tell them what they can do to remedy the problem.
2. Do not use technical terms. Did you know what GAC or a denitrator was when you started?
3. Do not mention price unless it is specifically asked of you. This is how I was almost scared out of the hobby.
4. Do not get personal. This is just basic etiquette and is true everywhere on the internet.

If you follow these rules I think this site can accomplish what it set out to do in the fist place. Get more people interested in the hobby of aquatic life.

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
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Old 11-01-2004, 08:22 PM   #2
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goo points!
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Old 11-01-2004, 08:40 PM   #3
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I think that using technical terms is not a bad thing. People learn the jargon and terms by hearing them and having them explained to them. The nice feature at AA where the terms get highlighted and a mouseover has a small definition is quite helpful. If a more in-depth answer is needed, all someone needs to do is ask.

As far as dollar amounts....I sure wish someone would have let me know what I was in for expense wise. I would have definitely made some different decisions along the way. It is not wrong to let people know before hand what kind of money is involved. It is better that, then someone spending a good bit of money, but it not being enough to set things up properly, and then they have nothing but problems and a lot of wasted dollars when they quit.
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Old 11-01-2004, 09:05 PM   #4
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some great points to bring up... I spend more time at www.reptileadvice.com then I do here but one thing that can happen at either of the sites is people lose patience... Actually I started a topic about that a long time ago... Occasionally there are those stubborn beginners that do not listen at all but most of the time people come to these sites to learn. Most of the time we have some great friendly conversations but something happens in these hobbies. After seeing things done wrong, animals mistreated, mis-information, and a huge number of other frustrating things, people get a little bitter and frustrated and sometimes take it out on the new person that really hasn't a clue. I wont give any specifics but I've participated in conversations here and on the other sites where someone comes in looking for help, explains the situation, and the first things they get to hear are "HEY, you did that wrong" or "Stop doing that". Sometimes it takes a little straightforward ranting to get through to someone but most often it takes a little explaining. Sometimes I think people get sick of explaining the same things over and over again, which is understandable, but that's just something that needs to be done. Those same old mistakes are going to be made over, and over, and over, and over again.
I got into an almost heated discussion on UV lighting and I got a few people frustrated before I finally got them to understand that all I wanted was an explanation. When we started the conversation all I got was " you need to" or "you don't need to". I'd ask, very carefully explaining myself, why and asked for details and all they could say at first was they were succesful doing things that way. I needed those facts so I would know I wasn't misinformed and not only that if I was faced with the question myself, now I can give a similar explanation instead of a yes or no answer. Anyway, what I'm getting at in my mind is again "patience". I think we sometimes don't want to take the time to explain something we've already explained. I think when people become a little stressed, frustrated, whatever, and then reply to posts in that way you really run the risk of either turning someone away from the hobby altogether or just from seeking help from us. That's what worries me the most is that someone could come here for example asking questions about their betta and mention the little bowl it's in. It's a bit difficult to not just blurt out what you're thinking but if you do just blurt something out that person might just ignore us all and it probably wouldnt be long til the fish died. Anyway, how many of you actually had the patience to read all of this rambling? I really do that tooooo often but I have semi-complicated thoughts in my head and I try to make sure people understand what I'm rambling about...
Anyway, I think Seafan's #1 and #4 points are the most important.
All that said, yes I guess I am still talking , this is a great site and I love the people here. If you are ever stressed and don't feel you can hanlde a conversation too well, come back to it later. One good thing about the number of experienced and helpful people here is if you don't answer it someone else will soon enough. Of course, don't take that as "you're not needed" or anything like that. I think you get the idea though... Ok, I'm done...

for now...
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Old 11-01-2004, 09:17 PM   #5
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I think we overall have a very friendly crowd here and the new people that stick around find this out and seem to adapt the same habits.
Take a look at a few of the other forums, newbies are treated with much more respect here than the other forums I checked out.
I think most of us try to be nice and the site is getting the reputation as a friendly place.
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Old 11-01-2004, 10:05 PM   #6
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Thanks, Seafan! As a newbie, I get a little discouraged by partaking in conversational topics that seem to be over my head. Technical terms are a good thing as long as the layman term can accomodate, or a brief explanation accompany the message. Sometimes you learn more by observing but you probably will learn a lot more by participating in the topics. Condescending remarks will more than likely turn someone off the site or have them become disgruntled. Thanks for an overview of "your rules!"
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Old 11-01-2004, 11:09 PM   #7
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We were all newbies at one point in time and for myself I would rather have someone be blunt(not mean) than to beat around the bush. As far as being technical isn't that what saltwater is? If something is not understood then ask about it. I have read a lot of things on here that I didn't understand. I researched these things myself and now I know what they are. Doing the research yourself is the very best way to learn it. I feel that I have been treated with repect from the beginning on this site.
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Old 11-02-2004, 08:49 AM   #8
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As a recent newbie here and a frequenter of many message boards of varying topics, I can say that this is the most friendly and helpful I've seen yet. Thanks to everyone here, I'm now going on week 3 with my LR and things are going very smooth.
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Old 11-02-2004, 09:07 AM   #9
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Hi guys, I am very much a newbie, awaiting my stand and canopy for 75 gallon, should be here Friday...yeah!
Anyway, I think that the information here is great. Some is very much over my head, but so were things in 6 grade when I was in 2nd, haha!

The things that I agree with the most are "don't get discouraged" and "be patient" Good things come to those that wait ~ and study!

Everyone that has given me feed back has been great! With this hobby, you have to be open minded and willing to look at all the options and figure out what is best for you, whether it is a lighting fixture or the cost of a book?!

I wish this type of forum had been available when I first started 15 years ago! We have come a long way!

The cost of things is something that is very individual. I personally agree with the direct approach, not to discourage people, but to make them aware of what is required to be successful and that is what we all want! Success! 8)
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Old 11-02-2004, 11:12 AM   #10
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also as a newbie i can say that beginers are treated awesome here. i belong to a couple of other groups and forums ( mainly astronomy and photography ) they are not as "forgiving" on the common rookie questions. this forum and the people is the finest i have seen yet

steve r
75g RR. 2x250 14k MH / 2x54 T5 act. 29g sump. ASM G1X skimmer. phosban reactor. 80lbs LS, 90lbs LR, 2x seio M620.
kole tang, bicolor angel, mandarin dragonette, ocellaris clown / BTA , cleaner shrimp, 2x peppermint shrimp, a variety of soft, SPS, and LPS corals, orange linckia star.
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Old 11-02-2004, 11:22 AM   #11
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I think those of you whom may only have experence with this board when it comes to getting info about your aquariums might be shocked at how members and even staff react to newbies on other boards. I would classify our responses here as being some of the best as far as being nondiscouraging while at the same time giving realistic information.

The whole purpose behnid the underline and alt text on things like GAC or NO or PC is that if you dont know what PC stands for you can hover your mouse over it and see that PC stands for Power Compact. If you still dont know what that means at least you have the non abrevation to work on.

There is a fine line between posting a novel and covering everything in plain simple text and posting a consice and helpful message that is of lenght that someone will realisticly sit down and read all the way thru.
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Old 11-02-2004, 11:53 AM   #12
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I agree that this is a friendly, helpful board. I've asked some really dumb questions and no one has pointed and laughed.

I also agree with the gist of Seafan's post, though not with all the details (I don't think price should be off-limits unless asked for--some of the most frustrating threads for me personally are the ones where people ask for advice, get it, and then say, "Well, I can't afford that [insert necessary basic like test kit here]. Can't I just [insert bad shortcut here]?" I do think that it's important to let new people understand that this isn't a cheap hobby. It sounds harsh, but if a person doesn't have a certain amount of disposable income, this hobby might need to wait.)

Anyway, the only time I usually see more experienced folks getting edgy is when the health of fish is at stake. Sometimes people have gotten terrible advice from the LFS and they are here because everything's going wrong and they don't know why. For those folks, a gentle first couple of posts are probably in order--if they don't get it right away, then the tone can be ramped up . . . I'm thinking about a few threads recently (I'm pretty sure they were on this board--I read reefcentral too, and might be mixing up a little) like the guy who had ordered the 4 inch deep tank. Okay, we were all (righteously) pretty much appalled and told him to send the tank back--and as far as I know he never posted again (I checked back a couple of times). Either he didn't get the answer he wanted and so he took his ball and went home--or we scared him off and now there's a hippo tang somewhere in an uncycled, 4-inch wide tank.

That paragraph switched points in the middle. Sorry. Bad English teacher.

What's the answer to that? I don't really know. But overall, I do think this is a great and helpful board and I'm so glad I found it.

Now I'm just thinking about all the help I've gotten over the past few months. Thanks, everyone! =sniff= Now I'm all farklempt.
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Old 11-02-2004, 12:11 PM   #13
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I agree on being patient with the newbies and here is a good tip for all newbies.

The only dumb question is one that isnt asked.

We are all here to help.
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Old 11-03-2004, 10:24 PM   #14
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I'd agree myself, this forum is the best for and very helpful and easy on newbies. I have done research on several other reef forums and they have not been as kind as this one. Aquarium advice is definitely named correctly! Thanks for all the help and the articles and references here!!

Equipment: 33G SW Reef tank (pic), 192W Coralife PC lighting, PHs for H2O circulation, Red Sea Berlin Classic Skimmer
Aquascaping: 3" DSB, 50lb live rock (~35 lbs home made Cement Base Rock)
Clean Up Crew: Blue Leg hermits, Cerith snails, Astrea Snails, Stomatella snails, Brittlestar, banded brittles.
Critters: Hawaiian feather duster, Coral Banded Shrimp, Emerald Crab
Corals: Open Brain Coral, Cabbage coral, 4 RBTAs, Melon mushrooms, green Zoos, yellow polyps, finger Leather, orange Zoos, Brown Zoos, Chocolate Zoos, Xenia, GSP, Kenya Tree Coral, 2 acropora SPS, blue sponge, candy cane
Fish/Inverts: Maroon Clownfish, Scooter Blenny, Coral Beauty dwarf angel, Sea Hare
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