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Old 02-24-03, 02:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Talking Have Experience? (another rant)

OK, time to address another one of my pet peaves. why? cause I can Ya'll can aggree, disagree, ignore it, whatever, but this drives me nuts!

Issue: People with no experience whatsoever giving advice!!!

For years i have seen this. I remember on the KS venomous forum when some 15 year old kid posted a care sheet on Black mambas and he had never even SEEN ONE! HE had never had a venomous. He had no experience. He regurged what he read somewhere! We see it constantly. Some kid (I use the term loosley, no offense to younger members) who has only had 2 corn snakes and a ball python giving breeding tips on Retics. Come on people. You do not have to reply to posts just because they are there. If you dont have experience and dont know the answer, that is fine. If you dont have personal experience, but read a great deal about them, that is fine. Just say it as "I have read that this is how you do it" or "In the book "Anyherpbook" it says to do it this way". Dont try to pass off someone elses experience or literature as your own. Don't regurgitate what you heard some guy say in a pet shop while you were buying feeders. On every one of these forum sites, there is a tremendous amount highly experienced people. There is no need for inexperienced and/or uneducated keepers to offer partial quotes or misinformation. Now I am not saying, dont post. But if you really don't know what you are talking about, the qualify your statements so that the person needing advice KNOWS that you are not an expert.

Example: Someone makes a post asking about caring for Vine Snakes. For the sake of argument, you have never had one or even really worked with them. Don't post a long paragraph about keeping them at a certain humdity level, cage decorations, temp variations and feeding habits. If you have some knowledge share! But at least qualify it. Such as "these guys come from a fairly humid environment so a higher humidity level maybe benificial" or "In Mr. Soandso's article, he suggested these temps" or even "I have heard several meople comment they are difficult to get feeding on rodents". These are all fine. Youa re not pretending to be an expert.

Another issue: NOT EVERYTHING ON THE INTERNET IS RIGHT!

Jeez this one drives me bonkers! "I know what I am doing, I read it on the internet". ANYONE can make a web page now! There are no qualifications to put up a care sheet. You have to remember that when yo uread a site, these are opinions usually. And opinions are like tater-holes! Right now I could put up a care sheet for Bearded Dragons and say that you should hold them under water until they stop kicking in order to help them shed. I guaruntee that within a couple weeks, i would get angry emails about how I killed thier lizard (or they would go by another one and try it again). "But this came from a breeder" Who cares? i have had herps get loose and breed! No offense to anyone, but very few "breeders" impress me. That by no means says that they do not know what they are doing or that they dont have great info to present, but every person with a pair of ANYTHING is calling themselves breeders now. So I take that term with a grain of salt. The internet is the single best resource int he world for information. I just try to read everything I can find and that tends to weed out some of the idiots. Forum sites are probably the best resource because it brings experts to you. But again, when people with no experience post hear-say or assumptions, it makes it difficult to navigate through to find good information.

If you know something, post it. If you don't, that is fine. You notice I am rarely on the Colubrid forums. I have only kept a little over 100 colubrids, so I don't consider myself an expert on them and only comment on threads that I have relevant information or to ask a question or to make an observation. Many seasoned herpers have little tolerance for newbies getting too big for their britches and trying to pass off someone elses experience as their own. We all started out as newbies, noone has to prove themselves by hundreds of posts about subjects you don't know. Many of us worked through this hobby for years to gain the knowledge and reputation we carry. But we all started in the same place. There is no shame in not knowing an answer. live, learn and grow.
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Old 02-24-03, 02:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hey I totally agree with you man, the point you forgot to mention was that misinformation could lead to the possible death or injury of an animal, and that would be really unfortunate. One thing I thought was a little unfair was the use of the term kids. This is because, hey, we can admit it, some "kids" are smarter then those older then them, just thought it was something to be pointed out.
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Old 02-24-03, 02:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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chears I'l drink to that
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Old 02-24-03, 02:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Not to mention that adults occasionally give false information as well...
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Old 02-24-03, 03:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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You are absolutely correct. People of all ages give misinformation and are guilty of "talking above their experience". That is why i also used the term newbie. In my mond, i have met people in their 50's that i still consider "kids". By the same token, I trained a 15 year old "Kid" venomous handling and husbandry. Why? Because he is one of the smartest herpers I have met. Only 15 and he is a sophmore in college studying herpetology and doing a great deal of field work. As far as biolog and natural history, this kid was amazing. But he did not pretend to know venomous handling because he read an internet article. That made me respect him more.
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Old 02-24-03, 03:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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As i have previously stated in a n other thread .. IMO, in order to find a response to your question, u must know the answer bofore hand .. lol


I have learned to know who offeres good info and who offers irrelevent or wrong information on the site..
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Old 02-24-03, 03:51 PM   #7 (permalink)
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That's why when ever I answer a post if I can I include quotes and a bibliography with foot notes. If I did not get it from a text then I try to make it clear that I'm speaking from my experince and telling things that have worked for me.
Good post,
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Old 02-24-03, 03:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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But newbies to the hobby or the site may have difficulty differentiating. After all, on the internet, we are all faceless, ageless, and genderless. On the internet you can be whoever or whatever you want. I could be a 6 year old in Alaska who has never seen a herp or i could be a 65 year old PHD having discovered 30 new species of herps and doing field research in Tanzania. You never know. But often their are clues to give it away. Like the people themselves. Often they will say that they have only worked with 2 certain species and then immediately proceed to offer breeding tips for a totally unrelated species.

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As i have previously stated in a n other thread .. IMO, in order to find a response to your question, u must know the answer bofore hand
Well Put.
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Old 02-24-03, 04:56 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Very good points. One thought I've had is that just because some one has been keeping herps for say, 12 years, that doesn't mean that they know more than another person who has only been keeping herps for 3 years. In some people's cases, they could keep herps for 100 years and still not learn a thing. On the flip side of that is the keeper who only has a few years under his/her belt but can and will take in information quicker and have a few original thoughts and observations.

Interesting thread. Just though I'd point out that "experience" doesn't go hand in hand with knowledge in some people's cases.

Peace.
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Old 02-24-03, 06:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Good points Cranwill. I've known keepers who have had more animals die then I'll ever own.
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Old 02-24-03, 06:24 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Well stated by everyone. A great example of experience NOT being equal to knowledge is that idiot who treated mites on a skink with rubbing alcohol.

Plus I find that a certain percentage of people tend to exaggerate the level of experience they actually have. Take ALL advice with a grain of salt unless you read it in several different places or have a personal relationship with the giver and you've come to realize they know what they are talking about.
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Old 02-24-03, 07:06 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I agree...good post!

I try my best to never sound like I know more than I do, and to make a note of a statement if it's 'just my opinion'....and I like to be sure I'm getting that back!

Heather
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Old 02-24-03, 09:05 PM   #13 (permalink)
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totally agree with the bit about the internet. any **** can say that they have only used sand to keep rainbow boas on, but they fail to mention thathteyve only had it for 1 week. its so annoying when ppl say they dont need a book coz they got the internet. everyone believe what they read on the internet???? i know i dont
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Old 02-25-03, 09:12 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Great post and you make alot of great points. I really agree with the parts about the internet. I have kept alot of different snakes and work at a zoo with alot of larger snake but I can still make a website on venomus snake even though I have never owned one and have very little experience in hadleing one. People have to remember that the internet is mostly people opinions. that why you should check out several sources on the care of a certian source. If 15 people tell you to keep a snake a certian way then there is a good chance that is probably good advise.
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Old 02-25-03, 10:46 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I absolutely agree with you BW. That's why most of the advice I give people starts with the phrase "In my experience with my herps" or something like that. And if I cite something I saw on the internet i usually say "I read somewhere or saw somewhere, not sure if it's true but...." to leave it open if anyone else might know more about it. It's really important especially for newbies to understand that most people's advice is based on a collection of their own experience, gathering info in books and on the net etc BUT that each herper needs to do his own such research. Take each persons advice for what it is, one person's advice or one websites advice and nothing more. It's the collection of information that will only get bigger and more complicated as time passes that is most important. The more you read and the more questions you ask (then the more questions you will have and then even more you will ask ) you will be better able to judge when something will work for you or not.
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