I have a few pet peeves; the more you get to know me the more you’ll hear about them. I don’t know about your experience, but I feel there is way too much drama on Facebook groups intended for information sharing and education.
I got involved in a bit of a brouhaha yesterday. Someone posted a video of a gasping chicken and asked for advice. Her hen displayed the classic symptoms of gapeworm, so I advised her to google that for more information. Another member responded with “I honestly don’t know for sure. I would suggest go natural to try and get her to feel better”, followed by further suggestions which would have been inappropriate had the diagnosis been gapeworm. Sometimes I can let that stuff go, but clearly couldn’t with this one. I don’t know if that bird had gapeworm, but if so, no amount of ‘natural’ was going to treat an infestation of parasites in her trachea.
So I responded in what I thought was a constructive tone: “If you are not sure, why offer advice? Better to get a real diagnosis and effective treatment.” Sounded reasonable to me, but what followed was a long thread of criticism towards me, accompanied by frowning, angry and crying emojis.
I was called rude and entitled, which seemed to be attributed to me being Canadian. Geez, I thought the one thing we were known for, around the world, was being polite, sometimes even too nice. Apparently I am a ‘bad apple’ spoiling the chicken world for my fellow country folk. If that’s the case, I’ll take a hit for the team of folks interested in elevating the general knowledge and care of backyard chickens.
This all happened in a FB group with a long list of posted rules, including this one:
“Don’t offer unverified Google search answers, we encourage everyone to properly research their source of information and verify with reputable sources before offering a solution to others. Educated, researched, accurate and complete responses only.”
Oh well, I guess no one actually monitors and applies that one. Nor the one about keeping things civil.
One interesting thing about the internet is that people offer their opinions and thoughts – whether asked for or not – without any real introspection or reflection as to the end result.
I liken this phenomenon to my travels in Mexico many years ago. My mother and I would ask people on the street for directions or information, only to find out later they had sent us on a wild goose chase. The most comical situation was when we asked a group of three men for directions and they, simultaneously, all pointed in different directions!
Take-away: people have a genuine desire to help whether their actions are actually helpful. It’s better to say or do something, than nothing. That attitude has trickled over into the world of the internet. My view is if you want to be helpful, but don’t know the answer go find it or admit you don’t know. It’s not a moral weakness to not know something. Or offer empathy or a few kind words. Check in with how someone is feeling.
There are loads of ways we can be helpful without sending folks in the wrong direction. There is so much information available people don’t know how to figure out what is true or not. In attempting to care for our birds we can waste time, do the wrong things or apply the wrong treatment.
Maybe I was too blunt, but one thing for sure is I don’t want to lead folks in the wrong direction, even if my intentions are good. If you see incorrect information on my blog, let me know. I am open to learning and when imparting information I hope that it’s based on something more than just wanting to be helpful.