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marinelife's avatar

How do you feel when a Fluther neophyte publicly announces they are leaving?

Asked by marinelife (62276points) July 18th, 2008

Recently, the collective has taken it on the chin from newcomers who have called us things ranging from “The uninformed criticism, dissing and disrespect is why I generally avoid online foums (sic) and this feels like more of the same at first glance. Charming.” to “obviously this is not the place for open-minded discussion, so I will leave, never to bother you again with my silly responses.” and “this is not the place for me. Goodbye.”

Are we unwelcoming or are these isolated instances in which the newcomer did not give the site a chance or jumped in too strong at the beginning?

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21 Answers

sferik's avatar

I think a good general rule for dealing with newcomers is, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

If someone asks a stupid question, just ignore it. If you think it should be removed, flag it, and let the moderators exercise their judgment.

Having a perpetual stream of new users is an important part of keeping the collective healthy and interesting. We shouldn’t be scaring them away just because they’re not fully assimilated into the community on their first day.

Allie's avatar

It’s a pity that they have to publicly announce it to the rest of us who enjoy Fluther. People leave sites all the time and don’t feel the need to tell everyone about it. In some cases, when I see someone whining (c’mon.. we all know that’s exactly what it is), it makes me not feel so bad that they chose to leave. I feel like I try to be nice to everyone, but I guess on Fluther, just as in real life, you cannot please everyone.

Sorry if this was a bit bitchy.

dragonflyfaith's avatar

As a newcomer myself, I think it’s them and not the site. No one has been rude or snarky to me unless I said something that deserved it and even so it was said tactfully. I think if they can’t handle the debate of a question then they shouldn’t be answering to begin with. If there’s a question that I know I’m going to get overheated on, I stay out of it.

Besides if the question is dumb, why can’t we have a little fun?

robmandu's avatar

“Some people are determined to deliberately misunderstand much of what they encounter in life. Sometimes I have a hard time realizing that that’s their problem, not mine.”

Jason Kottke

I’ve over-used that quote of late. But only because I like it.

monsoon's avatar

Unlike many forums (though calling fluther a forum is a stretch), this collective is created by it’s members. This is a perfect example of that, and, in a good way, the things that are great about fluther.

People who should be a part of what the community want themselves to be will stay, and people who shouldn’t, don’t.

tinyfaery's avatar

@Allie No offense. I like you. And I feel like its just that attitude that the newbies are referring to.

Maybe they are publicly announcing it because they truly thought this would be a place different than the others (I really have nothing to compare it to. I’ve never been on any site like this.), or because they were disappointed by what they found here. If I had heard great things about this place, and then came in in on a day like this, I’d be disappointed and want everyone to know it as well.

I consider myself fairly new; I’ve been here less than 2 months now. I’m enjoying conversing with all of you, and learning new ideas and perspectives; I am also dismayed and annoyed by those very same things. The drama here is nothing compared with what I deal with in my work. Fluther is summer camp to me.

marinelife's avatar

I asked the question because it is something I have been questioning of late with some of these occurrences. People will leave and people will whine no matter what, but I feel when I have analyzed it objectively that we do need to consider what sferik has suggested.

I agree with him about not saying anything really snarky. I agree with flagging questions.

I do not agree we should totally ignore things, just that we should perhaps moderate our tone somewhat and hold off on the barbs at least for someone’s first week.

I think it was helpful to me to read comments and suggestions from long-time Flutherers when I joined though.

PupnTaco's avatar

Open discussion should be just that. I make an effort to hear what people have to say, but if they make a crappy first impression, that’s all we have to respond to.

What do I think about public “I’m leaving and I’m taking my crayons with me” announcements? <pshhhhhh> with a roll of the eyes.

Allie's avatar

tinafaery: None taken. I like you, too. And sorry if I scared off anyone. I’m really quite nice. =)

I think some of the comments in Marinas original question could have been phrased better. “Uninformed criticism, dissing and disrespect” isn’t what I aim for either and when I read “obviously this is not the place for open-minded discussion” it made me feel a bit sad because that is exactly what I think Fluther is. (There are sooo many educated, well-informed, bright people here who make stellar contributions. Newbies included.) Those are two very passionate but negative comments. If you say something negative or in a negative way, you’re going to get negative responses.

marinelife's avatar

@Allie Good point, and I actually think that is what happened in both of those particular cases.

Is that adorable new avatar a seahorse? I like.

wildflower's avatar

I think these outbursts/public leaving messages are either a cry for someone to convince them to stay or a you-upset-me-so-now-I’ll-upset-you-with-a-dramatic-exit

Allie's avatar

Marina: It is a seahorse. In some seaweed. And thanks!

scamp's avatar

@PupnTaco Well said my friend! I think we should just be ourselves. To survive any internet community, one has to grow a thick skin, or they would never find a place they would feel comfortable. If one is going to post something controversial, they should be prepared for the fallout from it. One of the things I love about fluther is the freedom of expression we have here. We may not always agree with each other, but we do a pretty good job at letting bygones be bygones, and moving forward.

Yes, we should welcome newcomers to the site with a friendly helpful attitude. When one becomes whiny and snarky in their first five minutes here, it sometimes becomes evident that they may not be Fluther ready. We should be gracious hosts, but the newbies should also be mannerly guests.

delirium's avatar

From my experiences with many other forums, i’ve actually found this one to be significantly more welcoming to a person who is actually interested in discourse, and not self-advertisement. Its not a popularity contest, and I feel that sometimes maybe new users fail to notice that.

Again, I have to reiterate what scamp said. This is a matter of being a guest. They shouldn’t come in expecting to rule a roost and we shouldn’t look at them as invaders. They’re invited and are expected to have good manners and be polite.

One of the joys of the internet is being able to meet incredible people from all parts of life and all different backgrounds and fundamentals. Just about my favorite thing about Fluther is the ability to communicate without resentment. We’re all so different, but at the end of the day we can all find our similarities and enjoy each other’s company.

Fluther is a constant education. If a person isn’t humble enough to be willing to learn at all times (and love it)... maybe this isn’t the place for them.

KimberlyLD's avatar

AS a Newbie….I’d like to add a little something. I really like Fluther, a good friend recommended it and by and large, I think almost all of the opinion/philosophy/information questions are interesting topics as well as food for thought even if I don’t jump in.

Almost everyone I have encountered has been warm, charming, intelligent and well spoken. That’s more than I can say for the people I interact with daily in my 3-D community.

However, in the two weeks since I have joined there have been several “private” and/or public interactions that “in person” I would have viewed as “verbal attacks”. I just choose not to deal with those people and figure without a reaction from me, they’ll go elsewhere. If they want to whine about that… that’s their prerogative. (So far, it’s seemed fairly effective.)

As an added note, I do try to stay away from the topics that I know can be explosive, which leads me to wonder, given all the amazing interactions I’ve had on Fluther, where some of the more “passionately opined contributors” are entering the collective from and if perhaps they have an ulterior motive.

As far as “as I’m taking my crayons and going”? Again, your prerogative, just make sure when you go, you only take YOUR crayons!

arnbev959's avatar

Imagine you have lived in a particular neighborhood for the past thirty years. It is a quiet neighborhood, all the houses are on the small side, you get along with all of your neighbors, everyone has a nice green lawn.
Now imagine a new family moves into the neighborhood. They throw wild parties every weekend, their friends show up on motorcycles, they let their house fall apart and they don’t mow their lawn. Where before you used to sleep with the windows open with a nice breeze blowing in and the sound of crickets chirping outside, now you sweat in a stuffy room. Maybe you’re even afraid to go outside when the new neighbors are around. Maybe you have kids and the other day you saw one of the new neighbors smoking a marijuana cigarette on their porch.

It isn’t that our community isn’t open to change—not at all. But there are things about this community that we want to preserve (we have high standards, we want real questions, not nonsense.) If a newbie asks, for example, “wat is the weather like in ur town now?” It’s our job to mock their spelling and tell them that their question does not conform to the site guidelines. If they see that this site a little more sophisticated than a site like yahoo answers and they want to stay, then great (busse may be a fine example of this). If they feel the need to announce their offense and consequently their plans for departure, then so be it.

When I was a newbie I did receive a few comments to the effect of ‘we don’t do things that way here,’ and I’m glad for it. How else can a newbie learn how the site works and what appropriate behavior here is?

Of course, we have to make sure we’re gentle in telling newbies these things. They are newbies, after all. We have to be welcoming, but at the same time make sure they understand the guidelines. Mariana gives a perfect example here.

monsoon's avatar

See, I did find her answer a bit snippy. The term “Down to earth” is one that some flutherites might familiarize themselves with. She didn’t sound informative, she sounded condescending. How fast did she have to type for the very first comment to be one of hand slapping rather than information? Answer some one’s question or don’t. That comment would have had a much better place in a private comment than the first answer to some one’s post on the first day they’ve joined fluther.

marinelife's avatar

@monsoon This question was asked two hours ago: ” Does an octopus tattoo have any special meaning?”

This was my answer: ”

This site, Tao of tattoos, says this:

“Octopus – This is an eight legged sea creature which is the subject of many myths and sea tales. The octopus can be depicted as fearful or as a passive almost feminine creature. As such it is more common for women than men to get tattooed with an octopus.”

Then, this question was asked within a few minutes by the same user, ” What is the symbolic meaning of a sun tattoo?”

The answer to the second question was on the same link as the first question. So, I gave a lengthier answer because the asker was a new user. Also, I was puzzled as to why she had not looked it up on the same site I offered the link to in the first answer. I was also puzzled about why she was asking and whether she had googled it or whether there was some other nuance to her question that was not apparent.

As you can see from my answer to the first question, “the very first comment” was not “one of hand slapping rather than information”. I would not have initially responded that way to a new person’s question. If, however, it is clear from a second or subsequent question that the questioner has not read the guidelines, more information on how the site works seems indicated to me.

Knotmyday's avatar

OK, that’s it! I’m LEAVING FLUTHER!!!! GOODBYE!!!

Knotmyday's avatar

all right, I’m back. Did I miss any good stuff?

scamp's avatar

Knotmyday , you are too funny!

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