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Online Discussion

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This page has changed considerably since Dave Cushman originally wrote it. In those days, there were many facilities that were useful ways to keep up to date and share ideas. They provided a platform for the discussion of many topics, where beekeepers from all over the world gave useful input and suggestions. Many academics and established beekeepers contributed to these discussion groups and give much help, encouragement and stimulation to others of all interests and abilities. Dave was always selective in what he visited and contributed to, as he felt the quality of discussion varied considerably and he commented to me on several occasions that in general, they were declining.

For several years, I was the senior moderator of a forum, so I know a little about how they work. In general, I believe they have a place in beekeeping and a good facility is very useful, but the overall quality will depend on the questions asked and the soundness of the answers. I support the principle of someone asking a question and others answering, providing it is done in a friendly manner, but unfortunately, this isn't always the case. It should be understood by all that no question is ever "stupid", although I have seen beginners ask the usual elementary questions that beginners are concerned about, then been shot down by those who were asking similar questions just a short time before. It's amazing how "clever" some people can become after a very short time, but it's similar to the local BKA!

Online discussion facilities can be compared to newspapers, where they appeal to different audiences. There are some that suit you and some that don't. Like newspapers, those who have the highest number of readers may not provide the best quality of information. Have a look at whatever is available and make your mind up which one(s) to support by the quality of the questions and the answers and the manner in which they are given. If posters are argumentative and the moderators don't deal with it, or contribute to unpleasantness themselves, then find another. If you don't like what is there the best thing is to leave it and go where you are welcome and can have some sensible discussion with sensible people. There can sometimes be perpetual moaners and they can be tiresome. Don't abandon the online community just because you have had one bad experience, but you may improve the quality of your own enjoyment by walking away and joining something else.

It may take a little time to get used to the culture of an online facility, but overall I think the good facilities are worth supporting, as you can often pick up little gems you may not find in books.

Roger Patterson.

Page created pre-2011

Page updated 20/11/2022