Encourage newbies; don’t attack them
On ReptileChannel.com there are online forums, which were created to bring together people who shared a common bond: a love of herps and, in the case of many, an interest in keeping them as pets.
Where there are online forums, though, there are those who must “flame” (i.e., insult other forum posters). ReptileChannel’s forums were no exception, and as they grew in popularity a handful of “problem posters” sprouted. Awash in feelings of superiority, they directed their rage at people new to the hobby who posted questions to learn about animals. The focus of their anger was often children and other beginners, and they would pounce on people who posted basic starter questions or asked the same question more than once. Eventually, because they were so disruptive and insisted on name-calling and violating other basic rules of forum etiquette, the troublemakers were banned from the forums. They remain indignant to this day.
Consider how flaming newbies online can affect the reptilekeeping hobby as a whole. Herpers should try to help other herpers — especially beginners — not hurt and ridicule them. Online forums are great places to make new friends with similar interests. It’s sad how, due to the actions of a few obnoxious individuals, open lines of friendly communication can degenerate into avenues for name-calling and hostility.
What good does it do to promote infighting among hobbyists? Even if your patience is tested, be encouraging to people who are less knowledgeable. We always need to do what we can to ensure the reptilekeeping hobby thrives, and that includes maintaining open lines of communication between hobbyists at all levels. This is especially important when those who are against the hobby look for any reason to shed a negative light upon it.
If you want to help other herp hobbyists and perhaps learn a few things yourself, join the online forums at http://Board.ReptileChannel.com.