I have been lurking here for some months prior to my registration. Shortly after my registration, I purchased my FJ. While I see a tiny bit of 'keyboard commando' behavior here, it is only a tiny fraction of what we all see on many other Internet forums. I love the 'family/brotherhood' attitude I see here, and have been most appreciative of the positive, respectful, responses to my queries in my search to gather knowledge about the FJ both before and after its purchase.
(Now you knew this was coming!) HOWEVER, as an experienced forum owner and host (>400K posts on one of my forums), there is one all too common response on this forum that irks me. I don't know if the all too common, insultingly terse, "This has been discussed. Use the Search Function.
" response is a forum policy or just a way of insulting new forum participants as a form of self aggrandizement. I do know that I will NOT slap someone in the face by using that response myself.
One of the primary rules for successful and respectful interactions within a forum is to treat other posters as if you were standing face to face. Now I know that if someone walked up to me in WalMart and asked me how the product XYZ I was standing next to performed, or how to use product XYZ, I would give them one of three responses:
1. I don't know.
2. This is my experience with XYZ products....
3. We need to find and ask Mr. John Doe, because he knows far more about it than I do. I see him over there, so let's go ask him.
But I can't imagine telling that person to essentially 'shut up and go find out on your own'! For one thing, the person has just asked me for my help. If I heard him ask someone else, I would NOT butt into their conversation and tell him to to find the information without any aid! For another, I don't KNOW this person, but they could have something quite valuable to offer me in return for my civility and respect. Yet I see this happening time and time again within these pages.
There is a downside to this type of response. First, new comers are made to feel unwelcome. Second, those who DESIRE to help the newbies may tend to feel as if they would be violating some unwritten code or policy if they respond in a more positive manner by trying to aid the person. There are also unseen lurkers, guests, and members who are thinking 'I'd like to read the answer to that question!", but are then disappointed when the terse command cuts off further discussion on the matter.
Finally, there is one very powerful effect of such a response to a query: IT LIMITS THE FORUM'S KNOWLEDGE BASE! Our knowledge base is ever changing. What was discussed about XYZ issue, product, or process a month ago, six months ago, or a year ago may be erroneous, inaccurate, inconclusive, or OUT DATED. New members, who may hold greater expertise in specific areas, are unlikely to go back and update every misconception or error within a data base of hundreds of thousands of posts. So admonitions to 'use the search function' are literally self limiting
I attribute my success over the last 35 years of founding and owning a service business (and thereby my ability to afford 'toys' like the FJ....I don't really 'need' it) to the fact that I was taught to help others when I can, treat people with respect unless they punch me in the nose, and to continue to LEARN.
If I cut someone off that asks a question while standing in a group, I may FAIL TO LEARN. They might be asking a leading question in order to determine how much I know or what I need. If I don't know the answer, they just might reveal that they know far more than I had guessed. For instance, if someone asks 'how do you feel about XYZ fog lights' and I respond with 'go do a search, it has been discussed', we might miss out on the followup: "Oh? Well if you like them I know where you can buy them at one fourth the usual price."
For instance, within an appropriate thread concerning compressed air and CO2 gas bottles for the trail, I asked about a comparison with Nitrogen. I was seeking some feedback from those within that particular thread that appeared a bit more knowledgeable than some of the BS I had read in other threads. I got the dreaded 'go do a search...been discussed' response'. Just out of curiosity, I did do such a search, and got nearly thirty threads with nearly 1,000 posts to sift through. So, someone was so stingy (or wanted to appear so superiorly well-informed) that they dismissed my query without a scrap of information. If they knew so much, why didn't they post a link to something that they undoubtedly participated within as they built an error free, perfect, database? Hmmmm....
So, just to set the tone for my own membership, I swear not to show such disrespect for the needs of those I might meet on the trail one day. Otherwise, they might kick my ugly old hairy butt. Instead, I will attempt to do a search for the inexperienced, or the person that is short on time, and provide them with links to pertinent information if I can't supply an answer out of my own knowledge or experience.
Speaking of 'on the trail', just how would everyone in this forum react if they were high centered and watched 1,000 FJs pass them with nothing more than 'you can find out how to get off that rock if you look in the right place'. Thankfully, in the last 45 years, I've only run into a couple of off roaders like that. They were drunk at the time and real apologetic the next day.
Enjoy your FJ! And even more importantly, enjoy SHARING the experience and your knowledge with other FJers!
And yes, us old FJ40 owners ALWAYS waved! Sometimes we even pulled over to the side of the road to share our experiences and satisfaction with the 'perfect' 4wd vehicle.
But I expect to enjoy my FJ Cruiser even MORE!