New Tone on the Seed Exchange Forum

poisondartfrogDecember 27, 2010

I have always liked the way new folks were embraced on the Seed Exchange Forum-that's why I stayed around even though I probably did not follow all of the protocols the first couple of times I posted. It can take a bit to get acclimated and learn the "rules" here, but everyone was nice to me in spite of my ignorance.

New traders bring different seeds, different experiences, different personalities and reinvigorate the community.

With very few exeptions they are a good thing.

Recently I have noticed that once a new person posts on the exchange they are almost immediately called out, chastised for perceived shortcomings and labeled as a risk. Once in a while a veteran who recognizes someone unscrupulous who has reinvented themselves does it: that is a valuable service and is not the problem.

Discouraging people who are brand new to the point that they never return and leave with a negative impression of this community because they are unfairly labeled or treated rudely is a problem. If someone new turns out not to be an ethical trader they will reveal themselves and the affected members can alert everyone.

A bit of gentle probing and helpful direction is always in order and should be all that is necessary unless a member has direct knowledge of an issue.

I am at a loss to explain this new tone the Forum has taken on but if I were new here I would probably just move on.

Please, do not post anything here pertaining to individuals or so controversial the post has to be pulled. There is an epidemic of pulled posts here, which I think is another symptom of our dysfunction.

What can we do to fix this?

Alana

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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

I know exactly what you mean Alana, and have been upset by some things I've recently read. When I joined GW, I wasn't just new here, but was new to computers, and had never been a part of a forum site. I was 'lost' and couldn't even find my own Member Page. I too remember the kindness of members who helped me and emailed me with lots of tips and hints. I think if everyone would try and remember just what it was like to be a newbie here, that they would understand that getting all set up correctly to trade, and making a trade post, isn't maybe all that easy for some new members.

New traders bring different seeds, different experiences, different personalities and reinvigorate the community.
I so agree!

What can we do to fix this?
Just continue to try and help our newbies in any way possible.
Maybe make a few Seeds for Postage offers, just for newbies?
I plan to make some later, like I did last year where the better one was set up, the more packs of seeds one got to pick...remember those? It encouraged newbies to get set up or to ask questions about 'how to' get set up.

Right now GW is still having major problems. I just found out I can't update my blurb, or my birthday. I saw another (veteran) member with no email link on her Member Page, so I am sure the GW problems just made it disappear. My Member Page blurb disappeared twice.

I look forward to hearing other's suggestions.

Sue...rbb

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 4:54PM
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littleonefb(zone 5, MA)

Alana,

I couldn't agree with you more about the tone the forum has taken with some newbie threads.

As Sue said, trying to help out the newbies the best we can is something we can do to help.

I really think that part of the problem is the link to the "rules" doesn't work and hasn't worked for so long now.

When I think back, more than 8 years now, when I joined and wanted to be part of the seed exchange forum, the first thing I did was look at the forum change for info on what to do.

The links worked then and the info was available.

What I wouldn't have first done was to look at the threads for a thread to tell me what to do, how to post, what the rules are and I'm not sure, when I think about it, if I would have actually believed the thread that we have running and keep bumping up all the time that is written with all the rules.

Reason being that it is written by "just another member" and not the "real" thing posted as part of the info from the site owners.

I know Sue, and I agree with having the thread there. I've even reposted it when it hit 150 posts, and it's important to have it there because it is all we have for the rules and stuff.

I just wonder if the thread itself is something that some members might ignore because it is just written by another member and not the "site owners".

Another problem with the thread is that it gets lost on the page very easily and quickly with other posts being added and ends up lost on back pages.

If there was a way to post the thread title in red or another color so that it would stand out all the time, that would help to have it noticed and maybe read.

As for the actual posts that have been showing up on newbie threads, many of them have been mean spirited and cruel, something that really shocked me to see.
It is something in all the years I have been on this forum, have never seen before.

When I've spotted them, I've tried my best to diffuse the posts and calm things down. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

I hate to see threads deleted, but ti does show that "the powers to be" are watching the site and the forums and making judgement calls that have been good when a thread is deleted.

And yes, if I where a newbie and got attacked like that, I'd be history too.

GW is still having some big time problems.

For a while I was able to get my zone info to stay, but in the past few days it's gone.
I can't get a blurb to stay either, my birthdate is wrong and no matter what I do I can't log out of GW even if my computer is shut down for more than 12 hours.
It's a pain to always be logged in as my hubby is a member as well and hasn't been able to log in with his user name because mine is always there.

I have been sending info about the problem through the contact us link and the response has been they are working to fix the bugs and, in my case, they can't figure out why I am permanently logged in and gave me a link to use so hubby can log in and then I can change it for me.

So I've held off on posting a huge trade list too.

The only suggestions I have is this.

Keep an eye on the forum and when we see newbies posting, check the thread to be sure that there are no "wrong type of posts" on the thread.

If there are than we need to diffuse them if we can, welcome the newbie and direct them to the info thread on the rules of the forum, remind those inappropriate posters that there are some glitches with the forum right now and that is why certain info is missing from member pages.

Most of all Alana and Sue, it looks like the 3 of us need to be a kind of welcome wagon to the newbies for now, until things settle down and return to the normal that they have been in the past.

Kindness can go a long way, welcoming a newbie can go a long way, helping out with info can go a long way.

Fran

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 1:25AM
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poisondartfrog

Thank you Sue and Fran. I have been putting aside some seeds for new member offers that I will make once I am through with my Patty project.
I have noticed some people trying to intercede and take the edge off the ugly posts that are made. It is just too bad that the first response is often the unpleasant one and first impressions are hard to overcome.
There are some exceptionally fine people here who just happen to be great gardeners willing to share. It would be sad to see the forum deteriorate because the membership is uncomfortable.
We all rely on Sue to keep our house in order. Fran, you are right. More of us need to step up and help out, particulary right now. I'll do better, too.
Alana

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 10:15AM
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poisondartfrog

That's particularly. Sheesh!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 10:20AM
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kmpsmom

Wow! Thanks to Sue, Alana and Fran for posting this. I love to help newbies out, particularly since I was the beneficiary of so much generosity when I first came on board almost 4 years ago. While I agree that we need to have patience, I am losing patience with the people who instead of being grateful for what someone might willingly send them, asks for things that would most usually require a return trade. But on the flip side, I do see a "nasty" tone that gets used before there is any confirmation of wrongdoing. I'd much rather get burned because I gave too much then not ever be generous.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2011 at 2:36PM
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