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Old 12-09-2011, 08:31 AM   #101 
Romad
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Originally Posted by bahamut285 View Post
I never said that we should ban somebody with bad information. I mean that we should ban somebody who, after given an education and have been informed as to what the correct information is, STILL CONSISTENTLY gives bad information, THEN they should be banned.

For example, the following hypothetical conversation:
OP #1: Hey my fish has fin rot what do I do.
Offending Person #1: ES and Melafix should fix him right up
Person #2: No, ES and Melafix will do more harm than good, I recommend AQ Salt and clean water

OP#2: Hey my fish has swim bladder disease what do I do.
Offending Person #1: I use AQ salt and some peas for that
Person #10: No, ES is better, peas are not recommended but etcetcetc.

OP#3: Hey my fish has fin rot what do I do
Offending Person #1: ES AND PEAS
Person #3: Um... we normally use AQ salt and clean water


In this circumstance I would personally PM the person after numerous offences with wrong information.

It's not such a big deal to swallow your pride and realize that you don't know how to solve a problem. Don't go off and look up something random on Google and say your word is correct. I'm not telling people to be scolded because they don't know how to answer something. If you don't know, don't post. Not only do you waste the OP's time, but you provide conflicting information within the thread when people who DO know hat they're talking about post information.

There is NO SHAME in being wrong, but going around bragging that you're an expert at typing into Google does not make you an expert.

And this is where it gets hard to determine who is "right" in any situation. What worked for person 1 didn't necessarily work for person 2. What worked for person 3 didn't work for person 2 but worked for person 1.
Having kept bettas for years, sometimes it's hard to even figure out what is wrong with a fish that is obviously in distress. The can't tell us "Hey dummy, can't you tell my stomach hurts" or "I think this spot on my head is bacterial not fungal"

We have to use common sense and do our best to figure out who has the advice based on their track record. Most people will come here and post a new thread looking for advice without ever reading the sticky threads first.

So my long winded point is, as long as someone is trying to give actual advice whether it be right or wrong, we can't ban them or slap them upside the head for trying. I'm not talking about the obvious troube makers here....

I do lurk and read these threads every morning but maybe I need to hang out here more and help out the mods. who are on this side of the forum more than the other side. The volume of posts here in these very large threads are sometimes hard to manage but we do try to keep up with it.

Thx for all of the great input here folks.
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:46 AM   #102 
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Originally Posted by BettaMiah View Post
And isn't it the owners job to go on and so some extra research and listen to other opinions? Surely it would be dumb to just listen to one person. That is the owners fault, then.
Well said Miah!
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Old 12-09-2011, 09:22 AM   #103 
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No worries, it's all a part of making the site better, so it's on topic as far as I'm concerned.

First and foremost, I'm pleased to announce the availability of the following new forums:
  • Meet the Betta Keepers
  • Member Journals
  • Other Fish
  • Finless Friends
We hope you guys enjoy them!

I've noticed a few recurring themes throughout the pages of this thread
  • Frustration with members who repeatedly disseminate misinformation
  • Frustration with consistency of moderating
  • Frustration with threads being taken off topic
Let's discuss how we can improve each.

Frustration with members who repeatedly disseminate misinformation


The team has discussed promulgating a minimum standard of care that members can suggest in the past, but decided not to because we did not want to be too utilitarian, and instead allow best practices to "rise to the top" as prevailing wisdom. However, if there are many members who don't just describe the sub optimal conditions they keep their own betta in, but actively suggest the same to others, we may need to revisit coming up with an official minimum standard of care, below which members will not be allowed to make suggestions for the sake of all of the bettas who may come to be subjected to such conditions as a result.

The trouble is, and this is a big part of the reason why we decided not to come up with an official minimum standard of care here in the first place, ideas and members' experiences with regard to what is an acceptable minimum standard of care seem to vary greatly. That said, there are presumably points on which every responsible betta owner would agree. Without going into just what those points are here, since that is a whole other thread itself, do you guys think it is feasible to come up with a minimum standard of care (i.e., not exactly ideal but at least not cruel) and then require that members not suggest doing less than those minimums to others here?

If so, then we can hash out what the minimum standard of care should be in another thread, and then require that members not suggest less than those minimums. Of course, members would always be allowed to advocate for better care than whatever minimum we establish, but having a minimum would seem to at least prevent visitors from receiving patently bad advice.

What does everyone think?
A minimum standard of care is doable. I can only forsee slight differences of opinion on tank sizes, which at the end of the day most agree that if a tank size is small water changes must be kept high.

Providing this document is kept free of opinions, and factual statements are presented in a neutral manner - this document will suceed in being information whilst avoid being tyrannical/utalitariun.

Can a standard of care cover diseases? Yes. We have the outline for one in disease stickies.

So from my point of view, I'm happy for you to create the minimum standard of care thread so we can discuss how and what to include.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Administrator View Post
Frustration with consistency of moderating

As others have pointed out, it is impossible for members of the team to proactively read/scan every post here for issues. If one member's problematic post is edited or removed, but another post with the same issue is not, it's almost certainly because one post was reported and the other was not brought to the team's attention. We depend on members to bring posts that need to be addressed to our attention by hitting the report button.

Do you guys think it would be helpful if we added a blurb at the top of each page of each thread reminding members to report posts that are rude, contain profanity, or are nonsensical?
Helpful? No. New members don't even read the stickies, and it seems the majority of members disregard or don't recognise the option to report. Whether this is through technical incompetence or just a feature that most miss.

If what you are saying is that we will see more effective and efficient moderation by use of this report feature, than I recommend a sticky on how to, perhaps a category and template so that it is easy on mods to understand a situation.

But above all there are two sides to a story.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Administrator View Post
Frustration with threads being taken off topic

While we certainly don't want to see two members begin discussing something off topic in another member's substantive thread, I'm not sure it's good for the OP (original poster) of a thread to take their thread off topic, either. While a thread a member may create asking for advice is of course for their benefit first and foremost, the idea is that it will also serve to educate others. For that reason, if, as in the example given by a member, an OP has to wait days to determine the efficacy of a medication, I think such a thread should simply go days without posts other than updates from the OP or suggestions from other members, and not be filled with discussion about, say, cat pictures during that time.

We want members to enjoy their participation here, but the site is meant to be a helpful, educational resource first and foremost. I think we'd find the community would attract even more knowledgeable, helpful, mature betta fish keepers if the off topic discussion was reserved for the Lounge so that substantive betta related discussions stayed substantive.

That said, this isn't anyone's workplace or school, and posts don't have to and shouldn't be devoid of "color" (as in delivery, not visual color), humor, playfulness, smileys, etc. What I'm trying to say is that I think posts in substantive threads ought not to go on unrelated tangents. Even when a subject you'd like to bring up in a post is related, if bringing it up would overshadow the original topic of the thread then it's best to start a new thread about it and simply post a link to it in the original thread.

If you guys like the idea of adding a blurb about reporting posts as described above, do you think we should list off topic as a reason as well?

The team is discussing other suggestions members have made in this thread, too, but I thought I'd start by putting the above on the table.

Thanks for helping us make this the best community it can be, everyone.
Yes, since we seem to be focusing on the reporting tool I think it would be wise to ensure that the categories encompass all possible subjects. This will not only make mods jobs easier, but also simplified enough that the end user can easily select which subject is most suitable.

With that said, what is the decision on repeat offenders? As stated previously, a case by case basis is unjust.

Additionally, what time period will we be looking at for this trial? My concern is that if the report tool is not utilised and things continue as they have been, we will continue to lose valuable members. At what point do we re-evaluate and look at alternatives if necessary.

Last edited by Banicks; 12-09-2011 at 09:24 AM.
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Old 12-09-2011, 09:48 AM   #104 
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I haven't read through all of the 11 pages but:

-Have it where foul language is automatically replaced with other words. It will save time for the mods to do other things since the foul language is SUCH A HUGE deal on this board.

-Not allowing mods to delete posts because they just feel like it. I've had a post deleted out of a topic because it was a suggestion besides the question that was asked originally. There was nothing offensive in the post, but my post was relevant. I feel like if the mods aren't going to use better judgement then that, then they shouldn't have the ability to do so.
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Old 12-09-2011, 10:51 AM   #105 
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I agree with the taking posts off topic part. I particularly like what you said about keeping posts substantive because I feel that's what has been lacking. If I want to see a discussion about a cute cat picture I'll go to LOLcats.com. This is a betta forum, and bettas should be the first and foremost discussion topic.

I'd be opening to discussing a minimum standard of care and I'd like to clarify that it shouldn't mean that the forum will jump down the throat of someone who doesn't prescribe to that standard. It would mean 1) more clarity on the information given. You can have 12 posters giving an OP 12 different versions of information and completely overwhelm them. I also think that a minimum standard would help keep certain members from bashing other members simply for speaking out against what they perceive as bad care (in a polite, educational way).

This is how the story used to go on this forum.....
OP-- *shows picture of new fish in .5 gallon unheated tank*
Person 1-- Cute fish, but did you know that tank is too small and without a heater your fish will probably not be very happy?
OP--Really because the pet store employee told me x, y, z
Person 2-- Yeah pet store employees aren't known for their knowledge of bettas.
.... etc, continuing polite thread about opinions on tank size, etc.


Now it goes more like
OP *shows picture of fish in .5 gallon tank*
Person 1 "You know that tank is a little small and should probably have a heater"
Person 2 "There's many different ways to keep fish.. you shouldn't be so rude"
Person 3 "Yeah why are you being so rude, I kept my fish in an unheated .5 gallon bowl and he lived for 2 years"

etc, continuing thread on how their fish survived under LESS than minimum care and how that should be "good enough"

Unfortunately I don't think a blurb at the top of the post will remind members to not take things off topic. As has been stated here some people have differing views about what is and is not off topic so it would be up to the staff to decide on a case by case basis.


As far as the language goes. PLEASE don't put up a filter. Those things are completely obnoxious and just plain tacky. Not only is it frustrating to see "Charles ****ens" when speaking about an author but it is equally frustrating to see words like "bummy" and "shoot' when you know what the poster intended them to say. I for one will take up a crusade of reporting bad language if it means we can stay away from such filters. I think you said before that you thought posters should have enough wherewithal to edit themselves and I whole heartedly agree.



Also.. I'm seeing a lot of animosity towards the mods based on feelings of inequality on actions taken but what members are failing to realize is that we don't see the reasoning behind the action, just the action, so jumping to conclusions that something was posted or deleted "for no apparent reason" is kind of baseless and should probably be taken up with the mod on through a private PM.
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Old 12-09-2011, 11:16 AM   #106 
Mike
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Hi Banicks,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Banicks View Post
Helpful? No. New members don't even read the stickies, and it seems the majority of members disregard or don't recognise the option to report. Whether this is through technical incompetence or just a feature that most miss.

If what you are saying is that we will see more effective and efficient moderation by use of this report feature, than I recommend a sticky on how to, perhaps a category and template so that it is easy on mods to understand a situation.

But above all there are two sides to a story.
Sorry, perhaps I wasn't clear; I was not talking about simply adding a sticky that asks members to use the report button. I was talking about adding a prominent notice that appears on each page of each thread that reminds members to use the report button and shows them what it looks like, much like the way the link to the rules appears on each page of each thread. This way, members wouldn't have to visit any other page to read the reminder to report problematic posts, as it would be staring them in the face.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Banicks
With that said, what is the decision on repeat offenders? As stated previously, a case by case basis is unjust.
Like I said, we don't make a conscious decision to let one member "get away with" something we address in another member's post. Instead, that is usually a result of our attention being called to one post but not the other. If similar issues are reported in similar posts, we will handle them similarly. As far as what actions we may take with members when there are issues with their posts, we take their attitude, willingness to correct whatever problem we contacted them about, past issues, etc. into account when deciding what to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Banick
Additionally, what time period will we be looking at for this trial? My concern is that if the report tool is not utilised and things continue as they have been, we will continue to lose valuable members. At what point do we re-evaluate and look at alternatives if necessary.
My hope is that adding a blurb to each page about the report tool as I described will result in its greater utilization, and more reports and fewer issues here as a result. As problematic members are reported and dealt with, there will be fewer problematic members going forward.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelicScars View Post
I haven't read through all of the 11 pages but:

-Have it where foul language is automatically replaced with other words. It will save time for the mods to do other things since the foul language is SUCH A HUGE deal on this board.

-Not allowing mods to delete posts because they just feel like it. I've had a post deleted out of a topic because it was a suggestion besides the question that was asked originally. There was nothing offensive in the post, but my post was relevant. I feel like if the mods aren't going to use better judgement then that, then they shouldn't have the ability to do so.
The great majority of members are able to choose words other than profanity after the first time we have ask them not to use it, so I don't feel there is a need for an automatic filter when members can simply exercise a little restraint.

I apologize if a post of yours was removed when it shouldn't have been, but if that happened then it is definitely an exception and not the rule. It is usually the case that moderator action is the result of a discussion among several moderators, and careful attention is paid to ensuring nothing is removed from a thread that shouldn't be. While we need members to respect moderators' decisions so that we can have an orderly forum, you are always welcome to pm me with any concerns you may have.

1fish2fish, thanks for weighing in. I hit preview before posting and saw that you replied after I began writing this post, so I just wanted to say that I appreciate your input and will of course take it into account as well.
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Old 12-09-2011, 11:21 AM   #107 
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Originally Posted by 1fish2fish View Post
I'd be opening to discussing a minimum standard of care and I'd like to clarify that it shouldn't mean that the forum will jump down the throat of someone who doesn't prescribe to that standard. It would mean 1) more clarity on the information given. You can have 12 posters giving an OP 12 different versions of information and completely overwhelm them. I also think that a minimum standard would help keep certain members from bashing other members simply for speaking out against what they perceive as bad care (in a polite, educational way).
This is something I had lots of issues with when I first joined fish forums. I lost my Carnage to something as simple as Ich because I asked for help on how to cure and what to use. I was told everything from temp changes to Epsom salt and back to aquarium salt. Some people suggested medications from the store, but no one had a brand to offer advice on. I am sure I lost Carnage not from the Ich but from the stress of the 10 million things people told me to do, and trying everything I could to help him. As a new fish owner (and a $80 Betta) I was desperate to do something that would help him. I didn't know who to trust or what advice to use! It got to the point where I had to speak up and say "You guys MAY be used to all this and it may make sense, but I am NEW and you're overwhelming me. Because of the 25 different responses I got, I trusted them all and now I am so lost and confused and Carnage payed the price". New members or those new to Bettas are more sensitive to Betta loss than those who have been around the species for a while. After a bit, you start to get used to the fact that Bettas die. But when your new, it never crosses your mind that you could lose your new friend in a short time. To me, it was like being tossed in an OR with a small child and being told to do brain surgery with no experience... and having 30 doctors shout at you what to do to save the child... all with different opinions. I'm all for standards of care on this forum. When I joined, 2.5g was the minimum, I had to defend myself many times for using 1.5g tanks. Now, anything goes. I kinda feel the sensitivity to new members feelings are trumping the well being of Bettas. I kinda feel like it's to the point where I just tell people what they want to hear, or I'll be jumped on for suggesting a better care.
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Old 12-09-2011, 01:08 PM   #108 
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how about we add a thread for people who are really new to betta fish, are dont know how to care for them correctly so they can do things like ask what to buy for a their betta fish so that their fish wont be abused?
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Old 12-09-2011, 02:34 PM   #109 
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I will admit that I have a problem remembering to be "nice" to new members. I forget to say "Welcome to the forum", or even, "what a cute fish". I tend to just dish out the information and move on. It is not that I don't care about the person, but when you have seen basically the same post 100 times and you know the information is in a sticky above them, you just kind of skip wining and dining.

Sometimes I post pictures of my tanks as examples of how beautiful and happy they are as I feel that can be good encouragement for someone to want to spend a little more. So maybe we could have another contest, one where people submit a picture of their tank every month, listing everything they put into it (sub, lighting, heater, filter, plants, etc), and then members can vote on what they think is the best tank. New members could then get ideas for their tanks, and even then recreate the tanks they see and like. The winner(s) for that month would be archived for members to go back and look at, but not actually post in. It would be a nice clean sticky, instead of the " please Post Pics of your bettas home here!" thread which is pretty much impossible to look through at this point.

The sign up would look something like this:

Tank size: 2.5 gallons
Heater: Hagen 25watt
Filter: Hagen Aquaclear Mini
Substrate: Topfin Gravel
Plants: 2 silk, live: anacharis, java moss
Lighting: 6500K florescent bulb
Number of Bettas: 1
Other tank mates: ghost shrimp
Decorations: Ceramic coffee mug
How long has it been set up: apprx. 6 months



*insert actual picture here, not a cartoon like the above example!*


And of course the grand prize would be another title under their username that says "Tank of the Month Winner". Anyone else think this would be fun?
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Old 12-09-2011, 03:01 PM   #110 
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While the tank idea is a good one, I think everyone will find it frustrating after all the 10 gallon tanks which are decked right out win every month. Bettas, being such versatile fish can live in tanks as small as 1 gallon (provided its cleaned regularly). With a contest as a tank one, while it would give people ideas and stuff, it would create conflict when someone with a 2 gal doesn't win and people start telling them to upgrade and blah blah blah. Some people keep their bettas in wide vases with a heater, the fish is just as happy as one in a cycled 10 gallon.
Know what I mean??
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