Internet advice Part 2
December 20, 2009 § 4 Comments
Are you an internet adviser? Do you read blogs and respond with ‘sage’ advice? Do you answer every question, rhetorical, unasked, or implied? Do you seek out other comments on blogs/forums to give counter or ‘better’ advice? Do you feel that it is your job, nay, your social obligation to impart your astounding wisdom and unending knowledge to the ignorant masses?
Well stop it.
I know, you’re totally smart, and know everything and everyone should always listen to what you say. However, there is a time an a place. 99% of situations it is not the time, or the place.
Confused? Here’s a couple of examples where giving advise is unwarranted:
Someone puts up a guild application on the WoW guild recruitment forums. Maybe they have a few gear items, gem/enchant choices, etc that you find disagreeable. You might think this is a good time to point out the error of their ways. Guess what? It’s not.
Most likely they are aware of their own shortcomings. They probably know where they need to improve. And unless you plan on recruiting them I can guarantee they don’t want to hear anything you have to say. Especially if it’s ‘haha noob lern 2 ply”.
A blogger pours their heart out about a difficult problem they are having. They rant and rave a little bit, admit some of their faults and complain a little. You have gone through a similar situation and know exactly what they should do. So you should tell them what to do right? After all you’ve gone through the same thing and it worked for you.
First of all your situations are only similar, not identical. It’s likely that the blogger did not give all the facts because they were just venting rather that looking for advice. Offering sympathy or telling them you understand is fine, but telling them what to do usually comes out condescending at rude.
One of your guild mates excitedly tells you about how they just totally rocked an instance and won a rare gear drop. You know that the gear item in question isn’t best suited their class or spec, because six months ago when you played that class/spec those stats were totally useless. Clearly you should point out the error of their ways right?
Are you playing that class/spec right now? No? Then shut your mouth. Even if you are, pointing out their folly, especially right in that moment, robs them of their joy. If thinking about their gear mistake might give you an aneurysm if you keep it inside then point it out to an officer and let them deal with it. If you are the office, wait until their moment of joy has passed, and then ask them why they went with that piece of gear. Maybe they have a good reason you don’t know about. Point is, don’t give them advice (re: tell them what to do).
The point I’m trying to get at is that before offering your clearly wonderful opinions, consider the following:
Did this person explicitly ask for advice/help/opinions/etc? Or do I think it’s implied?
If they asked questions, are they rhetorical? (If you aren’t sure assume they are and don’t answer them.)
If you posted this entry, would you want people telling you what to do?
Are your answers painfully obvious? i.e. Will people look at your response and say, “well duh.”
I don’t want to discourage you from commenting on other people’s blogs, or even giving your advice/opinion from time to time. I’m just saying that you should think before you type. Really consider if giving advice is really appropriate. And when you do give advice, try to avoid sounding like you are telling people what to do, or criticizing what they are currently doing. Consider other people’s feelings. Sometimes people just want to vent. They want to know that they aren’t alone and want others to sympathize with them, but a lot of the time they just don’t want advice.
And other times they are just trying to apply to a guild and don’t need to be told they don’t know how to gem/enchant their gear so back the heck off.
Ok this is more ranty and less coherent so I’m gonna stop now. Just please, the next time you feel like imparting your vast wisdom, take a moment and think about whether or not it’s really appropriate to give.
“[Insert clever sign off phrase here]”