Is This A DIY Forum or Not

aloha2009June 4, 2012

Though many of you have been VERY helpful, I can't help but be put off by some of the arrogance I have read both first and second hand on this forum. I've read threads from those trying to help, belittled for their input. It is deplorable the way some of you come across. I've never been to any of the other forums where others are berated at all. This forum it is rampant.

Other forums are much, much kinder and seem to understand the purpose of these forums - to exchange information and ideas. Many come here trying to DIY or get a second opinion regarding their design. Not everyone needs nor wants to hire a landscape designer/architect for their projects. You can't be treating your customers with this kind of attitude or you'd have none.

Those that practice basic kindness will likely nod their head in agreement. Sadly those of you that need to "button up" and say nothing or choose your words, likely won't even read this.

This could be a great forum, if those that really want to help were the only ones allowed.

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What ARE you talking about? Can I assume that you are talking about me being the most recent respondent to your inquiry?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 7:52PM
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I've been reading through a bunch of these threads and I have noticed 2 things....some people go out of their way to be helpful and I am amazed at the work ppl put in to strangers problems/landscape. This part I really like. The part I don't like is exactly what you are talking about. Some of the posters are down right mean. Especially when it comes to DIYers. Not everyone can afford to/wants to hire a professional which is the point of these threads (or so I thought). It makes me completely afraid to post in this section to be honest.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 9:28PM
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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

At the heading under Landscape Design :
This forum is provided for the discussion of the technical and aesthetic issues involved in landscape and garden design.

It doesn't specifically stipulate that it is a DIY forum or not.

This particular forum over the years has attracted landscape design professionals and avid seasoned gardeners with years of technical and aesthetic experience which enriches this community.
If one of the long time professional members recommends that a design professional be brought into a project it is because they are speaking from years of experience that a lay person may not understand or want to hear. Usually it is because they want to save money ( no harm in that) but at the expense of safety , proper construction techniques or lack of aesthetics. .. all of these things are usually not what the poster wants to hear. They are looking for some kind of validation or a quick inexpensive fix that has no narrative with their surrounding architecture.

Sometimes it is better to cut to the chase by not sugar coating an answer in order to get the point across.

The nature of Landscape Design is one that combines art, construction technologies and the earth sciences.
Because of the nature of the beast the subject matter can be challenging, often requiring a higher level of education ( BA is common @ 5 years for Land Arch and another 2 years for a MA then another 2 years of internship. ) to fully understand the technicalities and complexities of the subject.

In North America the field often requires licensing due to the safety issues that must past local and state code requirements.
Most lay people do not have the educational background, years of skill or the technical prerequisites to adequately address the implementation of a landscape design project.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 10:13PM
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I've noticed this nastiness since I've come to this forum over a year ago. The only reason I come back is for the constructive criticism of some. I thank those that help, and ignore the nastiness.

I wasn't referring to honest, constructive criticism. I personally welcome that. My motto is "I don't always like what I hear but I prefer hearing it opposed to making costly mistakes (function, time and $'s).

Being direct would be acceptable. Character assassination is not. I'm not going to be specific as to the ones that I feel have been repeatedly ridiculed. You can have all the formal education there is but who wants to be around a self righteous arrogant person? With that much education, I would have hoped that one would have learned basic manners by then.

I just ask for more civility that NO ONE feels weary about posting their questions EVER. If you don't want to take time out of your day to give constructive critiquing, do something else. You have the option to not respond.

"Talk" with others in this thread if you like, but I choose to step away and not respond anymore to this thread.

Bottom line, this forum would be so much better, if this nastiness abated.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 11:32PM
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I do know what Landscape Design involves and I'm pretty sure the OP does too. The point of this thread wasn't to list the the accomplishments/formal training of a 'professional'. Ironically I dated and lived with a Landscape Architect while I was in Grad School so I know exactly how much education/formal training it requires to be a 'professional'. My degrees are in Education and Children's Psych. You won't find me belittling the playground moms while discussing our children's behavior's at the playground.
Many of the threads that I am referring w/nasty or snide remarks did not offer constructive criticism and I couldn't figure out why the person even bothered to respond (other than to be snarky).
Regardless, I think the entire point to the OP's thread is lost bc the posters that do the snarking aren't going to 'get it' (sadly).
To the many that do offer their help and do so in a professional yet kind manner: Thank You!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 8:26AM
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feijoas(New Zealand)

I'm going to put in a word for the regulars, before anyone else decides to 'have a go'.
While there's been a few unpleasant spats, I think they're mostly between regulars, not innocent passersby...
As far as I know, this isn't a DIY forum and I imagine if there's expectations that it is, then that could frustrate those posters.
I like the more complex discussions on this forum, they balance out the other stuff a bit.
I'm a bit confused that there seems to be an assumption that people should be able to get all the advice they need, for free and in total agreement with their ideas, whatever they are.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 9:02AM
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Brad Edwards

I agree with feijoas, I post and if somebody helps its cool, if not no biggy. Most of it is very unusual and I am just hoping somebody has a quick link to a picture or idea. I may come across like many that I am expecting help, but really don't.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 10:54AM
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Give a man a fish or teach a man to fish?

I have expertise of an extreme sort in a field no one else here likely has.
I participate in forums where laypeople ask questions- questions that are often so far out of left field and irrelevant and born out of ignorance you cannot imagine.
When I answer these questions I always try to come from a place of explanation and teaching so that they might understand the reasoning behind what might at first glance feel like an arbitrary decision.
I also suggest where they might further their education.

I would never say (or even think!) that they are unable to "fully understand the technicalities and complexities of the subject."
That is IMO condescension of the highest order.
It is about tone and frankly that tone is offensive.

You are not smarter than I am.
You are more educated.
No one was born knowing things.
Everyone was born ignorant and learned either through study or experience.
Yes, there was a time when even you, Designer Extraordinaire, did not know the difference between crabgrass and liriope.
There was.

This is a message board that we participate in for fun or relaxation. If anyone does not enjoy being here and helping folks in various aspects of gardening, then don't.
I'm sure there are pro boards galore where you can ridicule homeowners and their pathetic attempts to beautify their homes. Trade photos of dinky tree rings and foundation plants and gravel mulch.
But a little stepping back and remembering when you were a young person hungry for knowledge and wanting to understand would go a very long way for some.

It takes no longer to type a couple of sentences of helpful explanation and theory than it does to type brusque sentences of less than helpful text. There is always something nice to say about someone's attempts even if it is only "I can tell you have worked very hard on this and I applaud your efforts so far."

What is a job for a professional designer is the heart of someone's life- their home.
A home that we love and that we want to show off to its best potential. We try, we read, we labor, and we redo in an attempt to capture the look that expresses the love for our homes that is in our hearts.
Sometimes we reach out to those better educated for opinions. We do so knowing full well that our attempts may have been misguided and we are ready to hear that as long as it is expressed with a smidgen of kindness.
Not condescension and haughtiness.

I speak to no one in particular with no specific thread, poster, or topic in mind.
But I do understand the feeling which the original poster expressed and again, to me, it is about tone.
There are 100 ways to say the same thing- you can say it kindly or you can say it otherwise. You can take the opportunity to teach or you can belittle in order to feel like the big fish in a pond of minnows.

I hope that I have not offended anyone- that was certainly not my intention. But I do understand the feelings aloha2009 expressed.
Anyone who reads this forum regularly likely does as well.
It's a tough room to walk into.


    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 11:33AM
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Many come here trying to DIY or get a second opinion regarding their design.

Does this have anything to do with the ongoing posts you've made for over 3 years asking for opinions of your patio? The threads that were killed when it was made known that you've been dragging this out for 3 years?

Feb 21, 2011

Jun 18, 2011

Mar 28, 2012

Not everyone needs nor wants to hire a landscape designer/architect for their projects.

Do the multiple landscapers or contractors you've had bid on your patio for the last 3 years know this? If not, I strongly urge you to please show them your above statement.

You can't be treating your customers with this kind of attitude or you'd have none.

To my knowledge from reading your posts, you're still "too undecided to hire a pro." So I'm not sure whether you would qualify as being a client, or just an individual who hems and haws and wastes time and resources that working professionals could otherwise be devoting to customers who will actually pay them for their time and expertise.

This could be a great forum, if those that really want to help were the only ones allowed.

This is a public forum. As with anything of a public nature, there will be those that you disagree with and those that you agree with. Deciding who is "allowed" and "not allowed" runs contrary to the purpose of this forum being "to exchange information and ideas", which, ironically, Aloha2009, were your very words in your original post.

But, to answer your question - which I found to really be a thinly veiled guise to rant at the regular posters for calling you out - this forum, to my knowledge, is called Landscape Design.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 11:38AM
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Brad Edwards

Pretty spot on Czech. I mean grow some skin~ Roll Tide

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 3:36PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

I think Aloha's is a fair question.

But DD's answer was bang on in terms of going to the forum description, which makes it clear that the answer is actually "no." It is a discussion forum, not an advice forum. Advice happens, and discussion arises from it, but that doesn't mean it is an advice forum, whether for DIYers or anyone else.

I have been pondering the DIY/professional divide a bit lately myself, and have concluded that perhaps, professionals don't get DIYers much more often than DIYers don't get professionals. Laypeople understand landscape designers just as we understand lawyers or doctors or roofers. But try to get doctors to understand a layperson, especially one who is going to try to manage a medical condition by some method other than what the doctor suggests? Not a pretty picture.

HOWEVER, the snark on the forum has, to my mind, a completely different genesis than the DIY/professional divide. I have, ad nauseum it feels like, explained the reason for the critique and bluntness that occurs here on the basis of the nature of landscape design - most recently on the Home Dec forum, where people are just aghast at how "mean" this forum is compared to their "nice" forum. I've said, in a nutshell, that it has to be that way because the result of a bad landscaping decision can be a lot worse than the result of a wrong paint or drapery selection.

But this question makes me ponder further, and I've concluded that the snark exists not because of the DIY/pro divide, but for another reason that I feel quite acutely sometimes as a layperson, and the professionals here probably feel it all the more so. The reason is that some people use this forum INSTEAD of hiring a professional and - warning, strong word here - abuse the forum.

This is when you face something you don't know how to do and you need some information. If it were cooking, you would LOOK IT UP. You might use the internet, or you might BUY A BOOK. If it were plumbing, you would HIRE A PLUMBER. But somehow, if it is landscaping, people feel quite good about just typing in a question and expecting "the internet" to spit out the answer. Being "the internet" in this case can be quite time consuming, and rather thankless - literally. The number of posts where OPs do not bother to come back with a thank you after considerable effort has been put into answering them is quite discouraging. They act as if they are paying us to answer their questions, which of course they would be doing if they had hired someone. But I haven't ever received a pay cheque here! (True, no one can abuse you in this situation without you being somewhat complicit. But when you come for discussion, you are somewhat vulnerable to being drawn into a situation in which your time is not valued.)

This, Aloha, is not the same as doing it yourself.

DIYers want coaching, support, insight, and help when stuck. The type of person I am talking about, however, expects SERVICE and treats the forum like a SERVICE. SERVICE is what you pay for on the ground, and those are the people who are, I think, often told they should hire a professional.

That advice gets given for other reasons too. For example, sometimes a person's evident design capacity and the challenge or potential of their site looks like a bad match.

But it is most often the person who treats the forum as a service who gets snark.

Aloha, I am not going to attack you for the nature of the questions you have asked, because I don't think that a three-year planning period is inherently wrong - for a DIY project being done by a certain type of person. Nor do I think there is anything inherently wrong with the questions you have asked. However, I have gotten frustrated by the way you treat the answers you get, which is why I think you have gotten snark. There is even nothing inherently wrong with rejecting the answers you get. I almost can't put my finger on what it is about your threads... the closest I can come is that you don't want to hear the obvious answer, which is fair enough, but then it seems like you expect US to make the compromises required to avoid the obvious solution, rather than making that compromise yourself. For me the most obvious example is the wall, which to me is just the elephant in the room here - and I've been very frank on your threads about it so I won't mince words here. If you want an elegant design for that yard, the wall needs to be amended. But you won't touch the wall. So now you are coming back with question after question after question, many of which have a really easy answer "CHANGE THE WALL." But since you don't want to change the wall, hours and hours and hours of OUR time seem to be required to figure out what you should do instead.

It is my opinion that if you let a good designer loose on the site with permission to change the wall, you would quickly get a design you are happy with - and it would be at your expense, not at mine (my time, in this case. I know no one forces me to read your threads, but I'm here, and I do, and I try to help).

To be fair, Aloha's question arose for threads other than her own. Having seen at least as much snark as Aloha has over the years, and likely dispensed some myself, I think it is fair to say that the snark in almost all cases has some rationale. It does not come out of thin air. Sometimes it arises from one thread and is dispensed on another, but usually only if it is aimed at another regular poster. And if you can't see the rationale, it might be worth it to ask people who have answered a thousand questions on this forum, and read at least a thousand more, why they say what they do, rather than passing judgement in such uncompromising terms.

Yes, it's a tough room. Imagine the quality if it were not.

Karin L

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 10:37PM
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I will only add to karinl's great post that if one is feeling disgusted with a poster, perhaps walking away is better than posting something akin to a child stomping their foot and picking up their toys and going home.
Rude person knows who rude person is.

No one should ever come here thinking a design will be provided to them for free. It's not a "post your specs and we'll do a design" forum- it's for discussion.

That said, many, many, many of the very extensive replies I've seen here deserve payment- you guys should get a Paypal "Donate" button like they have on many software developer forums- if somebody helps you solve an issue you toss them $20 for their time.

I very often wonder what motivates someone to spend that much time and thought in helping a stranger think about their design- it has to be because you enjoy the process because frankly there is no other reason to be here.

And if it isn't enjoyable- don't do it.
If you find yourself posting gruff "whatever" type responses perhaps it is time to take a break from the forums.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 8:21AM
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Just sayin'....snark is entertaining!

*iLurk* but I'm learning so much.
Thank you, ALL.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 10:52AM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake, F

I'll throw in my 2 cents here:

I only recently found GardenWeb (and relatively new to gardening in general) and so I'm still bouncing around the various forums trying to figure which ones are 'for me' and learning what I can. I stopped into this forum with pretty much the exact same question as the thread title rolling in my head. My answer came in the above quoted forum description. It's a place to discuss 'issues' with landscaping. Being a DIYer, yes, I can use this forum as a resource. I repeat, 'a resource'. I can come here, read some discussions between landscapers and learn from them. If I someday run into an issue that I can not solve, I might actually post a question. But that doesn't appear to be what others are doing here...

The internet is a wonderful source of free information, if you are willing to do the 'legwork' and find the information. The problem is that many people are lazy, even when it comes to sitting in front of a computer staring at a screen. Many people don't want to do the research, they don't want to find things out themselves. They are not DIYers. They are DIFMs (Do It For Me), and they're everywhere, not just on garden forums. A lot of questions can be answered in 15 minutes of research, but instead people come to places like this forum and ask questions that those who are knowledgeable find just insulting, and they respond in kind.

Look at the first dozen threads in this forum. Many aren't looking to solve an issue, they're wanting someone to provide the plan for them. They don't even have an idea of where they want to go. How can a professional landscaper, with years of knowledge and experience help someone who can not even provide basic information?

I would imagine people saying, "This is my yard, give me ideas on what to do" come across as quite rude to people who get paid to do just that. So you have to ask yourself, are the snarky comments really unwarranted? Personally, I don't think so.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 12:41PM
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melle_sacto(Z9/Sunset 14 CA)

I've mainly lurked and on for several years...enjoying the advice, the dilemmas, even the snark ;-)

When I finally posted about my own landscaping dilemma, I was definitely expecting some unflattering comments, but I felt everyone was genuinely thoughtful and VERY helpful. I have a much better plan for what I want to do to finish our front yard, and I hope to follow up with some DIY after photos.

I think this forum has a place for both professional AND DIY, but sometimes the quality of response that a poster receives is proportional to the level of thought they gave their question (and how willing they are to actually consider the answers).

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 2:36PM
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Long-time lurker, and first-time poster on this forum. I enjoy the professional insights and honesty. Just told my son last night that if I had a landscaper or nursery provide a landscape plan for me, I'd be sure to post it here before signing to get HONEST feedback from talented people who aren't trying to sell me something.

OTOH, I did an update to my front landscaping last year. It's 30 years old, I lost some trees, and was left with a big flat bed that I didn't feel was the right shape even before the tree loss. But I also knew I didn't want to spend enough $ at the time to have anyone here waste their time on "what to do?" I didn't want to hear the well-justified criticisms when I wasn't going to step up to the plate and fix issues.

Bottom line - I enjoy reading this forum, have learned a lot, and if I ever really want/need an unbiased and honest professional opinion, I'll be posting here. Thanks to the many talented posters.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 4:53PM
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Regardless of how dry and mature my firewood is or whether it is apple maple or oak over time the chimney gathers creosote and has to be swept, it comes back though and we have to do it again. This forum clogs up in the same way and periodically we have one of these "too green" "wrong type of wood" threads, some people drop away and others come in just for the bun fight but eventually we clear out the flue until the next time.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 5:03PM
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Is this question that different from the opposing question which is "why are so many of the questioners on this forum so rude?" On the home decorating forum, posters never forget to thank the responders for advice. They never outright disagree with a responder, just politely suggest alternatives.

On this forum, a lot of incredibly valuable advice is regularly ignored or disagreed with. The main reason for disagreeing with the advice is usually the price tag. That is so impolite. If the price tag doesn't work, one could be respectful and ask for cheaper alternatives. Sometimes houses require certain work and there aren't cheaper alternatives without risking the integrity of the house (My house needs a new roof; its going to cost a lot. I can't prolong repairing it because its going to leak and ruin everything in my house and end up costing a lot more.)

Note to people posting questions - the professionals here DONT have paypal accounts. They are not charging you for the advice they regularly charge hundreds of dollars for, and the reason is because they LOVE everything about gardening, landscaping and designing. They are not asking you to thank them, but could you at the very least be polite enough to respond in a friendly (not oppositional) way? If you don't agree with the advice, is it possible to post, 'humm, i never thought of it that way, what about this and this and this?' Rather than, 'no. thats not a possibility.'

@greenhaven garden I also have a degree in child psych. While I might not belittle moms on the playground, if someone asked me on the internet if their 2 year old boy has ADD, I certainly would inform them that a 2 year old can not be diagnosed with ADD. And when they replied I did not understand the situation and that they were going to eliminate milk products and put them on a vegetarian diet to control the behavior, i certainly would inform them about the research, and professional experience I had that indicates that the selected course of action is probably not going to help, and probably will hurt their child.
Not saying one person's individual landscape is as valuable as a child, but certainly our collective environment deserves a little value.

Let me add, there is a really valuable collection of people giving and responding on LD forum right now. I am not counting myself as one of them, because I personally am returning to lurking, mainly because after the repeated rudeness by questioners( who can't even take the time to research the questions they are asking which would require them to only search THIS website most of the time!!) I seem unable to resist the snarky response. But given that breadth and width of knowledge on this forum is starting to return, its sad to see the tsunami of "Helpme" posts flood that valuable information away. In the tsunami of posts, there are probably many very polite, responsive posters who would be willing to receive the great advice they get on the forum. But those willing and receptive posters get washed away by the flood also. in the meantime...

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 8:57PM
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I've just started coming here, but I *too* have noticed some very brusk behavior, almost bordering on smart a**. If one is a professional, he/she should behave as such~~if a cleint were standing in front of you, would you show such rudeness? It's easy on the internet since there is no personal contact, so it seems to be an acceptable behavior.

And just because you're a 'pletheora of information', professional or not, does that give rights of thoughtlessness in regard to a fellow human being making the post, almost insuating his/her question has no right to be asked? Are you one of those who has griped about customer service these days, yet come here, inconsiderate, rude, and thoughtless? Guess, you're no different huh?

As a wise man one said, 'there is no such thig as a stupid question', and the same applies to the one asking the question.

Let's play nice boys and girls, and maintain a sense of dignity, as well as being courteous. You should always think before you speak or in this case, re-read before you submit. Thank you.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 10:21PM
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hmmmmmmmm, very interestng, especially the 2 posts by sleeplessinftwayne. I don't think I have ever met a 'master gardener'(is that a degreed profession?), but it seems they have a reputation that precedes them. ;o)

Here is a link that might be useful: MG thread

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 10:43PM
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Aloha2009: I did a search under your name to investigate the nature of your post. Even though I didn't participate in any of the discussions that you started, I read through all the linked threads, as well as some that have not been linked. I thought I was going to read through threads to find that you had been attacked or belittled and I found no such instances. What I did find was a great amount of free advice generously given to you.

To be fair, I did find a little bit of recent snark. However, not only was there very valid reason for it, but you also brought it upon yourself.

I have to admit that I can now completely understand the antipathy felt about your threads, as other posters here have mentioned. You've started at least 6 different threads, all asking the same question, or different permutations thereof, on this forum. Much advice has been dispensed by regulars of the Landscape Design forum such as Karin L, Yaardvark, Catkim, Drtygrl, et cetera regarding the issues you've asked about. Much of the advice funneled down to the same point: get a professional landscaper to help you with your scope of work. Yet you ignored the advice and still came back wanting more help on the same issues. Some of the posters with whom you originally engaged subsequently warned others not to waste their time responding to you. You had frustrated them enough to that point. And yet here you are rebuking the forum for ill remarks made about your threads.

This is really not "arrogance" or "nastiness" as you would like to have people believe. This is the internet's equivalent of a big bright yellow sign that reads: "Warning, pot hole ahead. Please swerve to avoid getting stuck."

I don't know what it is about your threads when I read over them that turned me off. There is an obtuse obsessiveness coupled with conceit. There's a glib and demanding manner in which you treat this forum that borders on a sense of entitlement. You demonstrate hypocrisy when you receive very good advice from several landscape professionals on this forum, yet later admit to no intent on using one. You've griped several times about spending $300 for a landscape professional to give you a comprehensive design. I cannot outright call you a forum freeloader as I have no proof of that, but your behavior in general is indicative of one.

What happens when people who possess a little bit of taste - but no design training or education - try to tackle a large scale design solution is that they run into endless problems they don't have the knowledge to solve. They think, "I have great taste, why should I be paying someone $$$ when I can take the ideas they give me, come onto a free forum like GardenWeb and get more ideas for FREE?? What's wrong with that?"

There are several things wrong with that. Many of which you have been experiencing in the last year and which all leads to one very important point: To date, you've accomplished absolutely nothing with your patio and you have wasted time. It's evident you like to go around in circles discussing your very specific dilemmas, but with no real interest in solving them or moving forward. Furthermore, you've alienated an otherwise very generous online community not only from assisting you, but from possibly assisting others, as well. Case in point: Drtygrl's comment above about returning to lurking. That is why you have received sarcastic remarks in the form of snark most recently.

If you will, look up a recent thread and read through it: This One.

Read the countless blunt comments that DIY_GUY_419 received on his initial fence design. And then look at the progress that he made over a very short period of time, taking in the advice of pros on the forum. Now note the difference between that poster's attitude and yours. Think about why he not only received over a 100 posts on his project, but he also managed to complete a large phase of it.

Now, ask yourself: "Why couldn't that have been me?"

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 10:54PM
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Brad Edwards

Patty, I have noticed little rude behavior on here. Your point patty cakes about people being professional and you wouldn't do that in real life is two fold. We are getting advice for free.

It sure would help to have a 5-15 minute edit, some of us have kids, and 1000 other things rolling around us at the time of posting.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 11:01PM
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trilliumgreen(7 PNW)

I am amazed at the generosity of some regular posters with their time and energy on this forum. This forum is the most instructive place for landscape design I have found on the internet, and it is because of your participation.

I also I appreciate folks bringing their real-life questions to the forum, giving it a bit of fodder. It is at least a little scary to bare your situation to the anonymous realm of the internet. A public discussion solely among professionals would still be interesting, but as a DIY'er, I find those examples brought forward by other homeowners are easier to relate to and to get some instruction from.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 11:10PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

I personally like it that people are made to THINK here, rather than being spoon-fed most of the time. A sense of humor helps. As DIY-guy said, 'it's not brain surgery here..."
No all "responders" are professionals (certainly not I). But those who do respond take an interest. We want a good outcome for you, otherwise we would not bother.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 12:50AM
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karinl(BC Z8)

What an excellent thread this turns out to be. To Leekle2ManE I will be eternally grateful for naming the DIFM syndrome, and for saying in 4 words what I didn't quite succeed in saying in 400. Many good points were made, a lot of flues cleared, and I learned a lot. In particular I am glad to have finally completed the sentence, "this is a discussion forum, not a...." because I could never quite finish that thought.

Aloha definitely took a hit here, but it would be remiss not to mention that Aloha has been contributing to other threads recently and so is far from just demanding service. And the fact that s/he (she, I think) has not succeeded yet with her own plan actually shows how difficult it can be to make some of the decisions, compromises, and trade-offs that a successful design may, no matter how brilliant, require. Those have to be made whether you are doing a plan yourself or having someone do it for you. You can't see them once the result is in place, which is one reason, perhaps, why novices often think they COULD do their own fabulous design if they just put their minds to it.

Karin L

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 1:30AM
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I may very well be the target of this thread so let me put in my 2 cents.

Is this a DIY forum? You bet it is! But some think of only the construction as DIY. The design is also a DIY project. What I mean is that if you are to develop a plan it will be done by yourself. We can give guidance. We can walk you through the process. We may help you through some of the technical areas. We may warn of mistakes you are headed for. But the bottom line is that your design will be a DIY project.

There are times when I totally ignore a poster's question to tell them what I think they need to know. Blunt, yes. Arrogant? Maybe. And though I don't mean it that way, it might even be taken as snarky.

Most of the people who come here know that there is more to having a beautiful flower bed than scattering flower seed over their lawn. What kind of response would such a person get if they posted on a flower forum a question of what flower seed they should buy?

Someplace there is a woodworkers forum and some guy says he just got a chainsaw for his birthday and wants to build himself a new set of kitchen cabinets. Do you not find that just a little bit humorous? At least to a cabinet maker?

Yet people come here every day and think a photo and a question of what plants to buy will get them the answers they want.

If one comes here and is too lazy to learn and go through the design process, there is only so much help we can give. And if that doesn't prove satisfactory, and it probably wont, complaints on the lack of help may well get you some snarky responses.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 10:59AM
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I love everyone thinking they're the target. Hee. Carly Simon should write a song...

Anyhow, there's a reason I only focus on the construction questions and ignore the design questions (for the most part). They're pretty quick to analyze and answer, and if the poster chooses to disregard my professional advice - whatever, don't care, I'm really not personally invested, just explaining how it should be done. The design stuff? Well, all day every day I get the satisfaction of asking lots of questions, dealing with obstacles and personalities, and creating cool spaces, AND I get a check. I don't see the fun in doing it for free when I'm also fighting for my voice to be heard among the other respondents and there's no assurance the OP will do the project. So, my hat's off to the pros who do engage. Y'all are better people than me, clearly.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 12:43PM
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In the decade I've been a member of Gardenweb, this forum has always been hands down the snarkiest.

Most people are here because they like to help people solve their problems. It is much better than it was a few years ago, when some posts could ruin my whole day by just reading them (and I would never dare post on this forum!)

Some people asking for help are rude, or get upset when respondents bring up potential problems, but those are the exception. Their questions get ignored.

Some respondents are rude and belittling, but those are just trolls: ignore them too.

Are people here a little more critical than on the rest of Gardenweb? Yes. Most are just trying to help, but a few really are being mean. There are nasty people on the internet. Ignore them.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 12:37PM
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I would like to point out that those really nasty people from a few years ago are gone.

The people here now are mostly nice.

The rude posters & trolls are for the most part just passing though, so if you ignore them they'll go elsewhere.

I think this forum attracts nastiness and sometimes even seems nasty when it isn't, because it's so easy to criticize someone else's taste or assume that someone is criticizing your taste when they are actually just bringing up structural or functional problems.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 12:52PM
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I've learned thru the years that presentation is everything, whether it relates to yourself, a gift, and in this case, words. Harshness isn't necessary, and hurting feelings should always be spared. "Treat as you wish to be treated".

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 1:53AM
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Sorry about the late contribution to the conversation. I've been unable to participate. And for a while, I'm sure, it will be only sporadically. So there's no mystery, I had routine surgery followed by a sudden, mysterious and nasty (but unrelated to the surgery) illness that began the following day, and since then, complications to recuperation. I'm OK. I just hurt and can't sit and type for more than a few minutes. If anyone hasn't been sick in a while, just to let you know, doctors are still being trained in the NAZI arts.

I agree with many of the comments made in Deviant's initial response... especially that in regard to design considerations it's often best to cut to the chase and not sugar-coat the issues. It saves time, can bring clarity and is nearly a necessity in a written forum. But forthrightness about design issues does not extend to crass treatment in general conversation. Delivering a rebuke that is designed to shame and humiliate for perceived "abuse of the forum" is counter-productive. It brings an air of hostility and unfriendliness to the forum and extends the unpleasant side of its reputation. Rubbing a puppy's nose in its own feces may be a time-honored and satisfying (to the owner) training method, but it's actually ineffective. Neither will a lesson in humiliation help prevent anyone's future feaux pas. If someone perceives "abuse" why couldn't they politely state that and forego the investigative expose and lecture?

That this thread includes a debate about what the forum is supposed to be serves in one way to illustrate that it isn't well defined. While it mostly seems to hum along serving multiple purposes, there are periodic bumps in the road that seem--if better definition, ground rules and instructions were in place--otherwise entirely avoidable. To be sure, there are frustrations that come about whether one is getting advice or dispensing it. Better definition, the existence of a short and simple orientation guide of sorts would go a long way toward eliminating problems and hurt feelings before they are created.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 8:41AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

I agree with burntplants. I have never asked a question on this forum but I have on occasion attempted to help with an answer or suggestion. However, I no longer join in here after very unpleasant comments directed at me in response to my making a genuine attempt to help a poster. I've frequented GW since 2001 and I have to say that, even given the language barrier, the risk of misinterpretation in this medium and the different sense of humour, I have never been treated as unpleasantly anywhere on GW as on this forum. I should not be upset by something said by someone I do not know and who does not know me on an internet forum but it was troubling enough that I have returned this once to mention it.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 12:52PM
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