An Open Letter

EulersK

Arachnonomicon
Staff member
Joined
Feb 22, 2013
Messages
3,290
This forum is an absolutely amazing source of information. You couldn’t get more accurate information if you went to a convention, let alone trying to do research on your own online. As we know, the internet is filled with absolutely terrible advice. There is much, much more bad advice than there is good. We live in an age where you can literally talk to your phone and say “What humidity does an Avicularia need?” and end up with one piece of good advice and ten care sheets. But how would a new user know that any of it was bad advice? That is doing research, and it ended poorly.

That is why it saddens me to see what’s been going on here lately. Just in the past two weeks, we’ve had several new users come on here asking for advice (some before even buying the spider) only to be berated. Another user brought up his Poecilotheria and was almost immediately hounded about what species he’s owned and for how long, even though he showed no signs of being a beginner. Most of us have a passion for these creatures – many of us treat it like a part-time job. I get it. But this is not how we cultivate this hobby.

A person buys an Avicularia from a pet store, follows care sheets, comes to us when the spider is curling, and is promptly harassed because they didn’t perform the research and weed out the terrible advice first. The spider dies, they leave the forums (because why wouldn’t they?), and we’ve lost a potentially great hobbyist. What, exactly, is the point of lecturing? If the goal is to teach them a lesson, then that’s not the way to do it. I wouldn’t consider myself a beginner at this point, and yet my smartphone is still in hand at any expo to quick Google an unfamiliar species. That’s the lesson that needs to be conveyed – that this hobby will force you to do research constantly. What’s going on here is akin to a student showing up for a math class and being berated for not knowing algebra. Should they know it? Yes, but yelling at them will solve precisely nothing.

Every time a question is asked, it is wholly unneeded to start drilling the asker on what species they’ve kept and for how long. I understand the goal there; to find out their experience level. But really, does it matter? Help them with the matter at hand and, shockingly, they’ll open up. A question about substrate will quickly turn into suggestions on different substrates to try. That is how education works… it’s a branching path. Just like with all hobbies, there is a certain taboo in being a ‘newbie’ (a term I despise because of the connotations). Because of that taboo, they are immediately put on the defensive and feel as if they need to explain their actions, which is then perceived by this community as arguing.

Another user on here recently said that many people expect a hobbyist to have a degree in biology before even buying a spider. I’m paraphrasing of course, but that is spot on. More often than not, a new hobbyist already has done research and was misguided by caresheets. But how would they know that this information is garbage? You can find literally hundreds of caresheets online, and only a handful of truthful advice. All I’m asking is that there is a certain amount of caring and sympathy towards the keeper, not just the spider.

To be clear, I’m not talking about the posters asking what’s wrong with their spider without providing any information or pictures. I’m talking about the posters that clearly have good intentions and have been led astray.

I love this hobby, and I love these forums. We’re a great source for “no nonsense” advice, but that doesn’t mean that the new hobbyist should walk away feeling beaten. Of course not all users act the way I’ve described, but enough to warrant me posting this. Please, just be nicer to new hobbyists.

For the record, I’ve put this in the Tarantula Chat section because this doesn’t seem to be an issue in any other subforum.
 

Sarkhan42

Arachnodemon
Joined
Dec 29, 2015
Messages
735
It needed to be said. And I could not have put it better than you did, bravo, bravo. This is the way we're going to have this hobby grow.
 

Vanessa

Grammostola Groupie
Arachnosupporter
Joined
Mar 12, 2016
Messages
2,374
I have always found that people react much more positively to being given an explanation of why you are giving them the advice that you are instead of just giving a one liner and expecting someone to just do as you tell them. People have no clue who anyone is on this forum and who they are getting good advice from, so don't expect them to just do as you tell them and be done with it.
When people understand the 'why' in addition to the 'what', they are better equipped to understand other aspects of this hobby down the road. So, take the time to explain why you are giving the advice you are instead of barking commands at them, please. If you feel that is beneath you, please remember that none of us started in this hobby knowing everything and, if you are completely honest, none of us know everything there is to know even after years of experience under our belts.
 

elysium

Arachnosquire
Joined
Nov 7, 2015
Messages
69
Agree. Thanks for taking the time to put it in a thread. Just today I got frustrated reading about the "welcome" the new guy got when asking about advice on his regalis. Granted it`s not the best starter species, it was still clear he meant well and wanted to learn more, and was obviously reserved about disclosing it was his first T for fear of getting scolded. Yet he got scorned for it, nonetheless. I appreciate wisdom, but I don`t appreciate folks dropping wisdom from their high horse.
 

Hellblazer

Arachnosquire
Joined
May 13, 2016
Messages
134
Great post. Chasing new people away doesn't help the hobby, and also the fact that someone is new to the boards doesn't always mean they are new keepers. I've been keeping Ts for about 15 years off and on, but only recently signed up here. I haven't posted any questions yet, but if I had asked something about one of my OW species and some teenager demanded to know my experience level first thing, I probably wouldn't have come back.:D
 

BorisTheSpider

Overly Complicated
Old Timer
Joined
May 26, 2009
Messages
489
This is true of almost every forum that you come across . You have lots of people asking question , lots people answering those questions and a few experts who there to make sure that everybody knows that they are experts . That's why the Good Lord gave us pedestals , so that people can climb up on them and rudely expound their vast knowledge .
 

bryverine

Arachnoangel
Joined
Apr 18, 2012
Messages
894
Yes, I agree it's not necessarily "nice" the way new people have been asked about their experience. Now I do not agree that people should be put down and spat on, but I'm going to offer another perspective.
Again, before you read the rest, I do NOT agree with putting people down for something they though they knew or were even told was correct. Also, some of these situations could certainly have been handled better.

Now!

People need to understand the gravity of the situation when they get something that at the very least can put them in great danger. I'm also going to assume they have people or other animals they live with too.

If we're too afraid that we'll hurt everyone's feel goods, that's not helping them either.
 

EulersK

Arachnonomicon
Staff member
Joined
Feb 22, 2013
Messages
3,290
People need to understand the gravity of the situation when they get something that at the very least can put them in great danger. I'm also going to assume they have people or other animals they live with too.

If we're too afraid that we'll hurt everyone's feel goods, that's not helping them either.
I absolutely agree. As you said, there is a way to tell people about their species without berating them. From their perspective, how dangerous could an OBT be? It was purchased very easily for very cheap.
 

gypsy cola

Arachnoknight
Joined
Jan 16, 2014
Messages
195
I can understand where some people come from. Some members have been keeping these T's for years and still sweat a little when doing maintenance with OW species. These T's can be high pressure. A mistake by a person who is inexperienced can make us all look bad. All of these members have posted about how to properly care for these animals and what to watch out for. Majority of the new posts are the same questions. Avic death curl, beginner recommendations, ready for an OW, is this enclosure good enough, Petco, etc. Taking 30 seconds to do a simple search or even browsing the first 2 pages of Tarantula Chat or Questions can resolve mot issues or concerns.

I work internal corporate IT. All new employees are trained how to set up certain things and have documents for refernce. Pretty straight forward stuff. It can feel tiring repeating the same thing over and over again for something that is basic sense. I am not talking about complex things like repairing an .ost file. Just basic company policy why something is enforced.

I understand how off putting it can be to join this forum. Everyone can appear elitist and intimidating. With tarantula care being horribly wrong or vague... One will panic and post without checking.

I have been guilty of being snobby in this forum. Some members just need to remember to have a gentler touch, including myself. These members have good intentions.
 

Hellblazer

Arachnosquire
Joined
May 13, 2016
Messages
134
People need to understand the gravity of the situation when they get something that at the very least can put them in great danger. I'm also going to assume they have people or other animals they live with too.

If we're too afraid that we'll hurt everyone's feel goods, that's not helping them either.
You're right, people need to understand that they need to be responsible keeping venomous animals, and some people just need to be a little more thick skinned. Rudely assuming that someone is a clueless idiot before all the details are known isn't necessary though.
 

Garth Vader

Arachnobaron
Arachnosupporter
Joined
Jun 25, 2016
Messages
436
Thanks for this post @EulersK. You're definitely one of the helpful ones!

I am new to the hobby and the forum and posted a classic newbie "hey I got a T and heres my Petco setup". Most people were helpful (or I wouldn't still be here). There were some terse responses which I took with a grain of salt, recognizing my lack of knowledge and honestly, I also assumed that like most Internet forums, there are people who lack some social graces and things often just don't come across well so I didn't take it personally. First rule of Internet forums- don't take it personally!!! I'm older and not afraid to admit what I don't know so it didn't bother me, but if I were a lot younger and less confident then it would be another matter. I definitely got the lectures about not knowing a lot about biology, not knowing they are species not breeds, etc and I am learning quickly from this board and from other reading. Don't assume everyone is a blabbering idiot because they don't know very much about Ts. Some of us are very well educated (in other fields) and well meaning, doing the best we can and simply didn't know better before coming here.

Thanks to everyone who has been kind and helpful to me and to other new users. I've picked up a brand new hobby thanks to this board and it's brought a lot of joy to my life! And I think my Ts will have good lives too, so everybody wins.
 

magicmed

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jun 4, 2016
Messages
403
Great post buddy! 100% accurate, loved it. You can't grow a hobby without educating new people :)

I was lucky enough to come here and ask questions before I got my first T and I'm very glad I did. At first I was apprehensive about posting advice threads, but I bit my ego and I believe that's the feeling you're trying to avoid. The boards should be a friendly and open place to discuss T. Especially when someone has been following info they believe is right, but notices the health of the T slipping so they come here.
 
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shining

Arachnodemon
Joined
Jul 15, 2011
Messages
755
I'm offended, I was never berated by anyone for choosing a P. murinus and an A. geniculata as my first two Ts. Someone, quick, question my intelligence quotient and experience with animals!!!!
 

cold blood

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 19, 2014
Messages
11,872
I'm offended, I was never berated by anyone for choosing a P. murinus and an A. geniculata as my first two Ts. Someone, quick, question my intelligence quotient and experience with animals!!!!
Soooo, what's your experience with OW's??:astonished:
 

BorisTheSpider

Overly Complicated
Old Timer
Joined
May 26, 2009
Messages
489
I'm offended, I was never berated by anyone for choosing a P. murinus and an A. geniculata as my first two Ts. Someone, quick, question my intelligence quotient and experience with animals!!!!
I'm not questioning your knowledge of Ts , but I will say do you enough about the movie The Shining to call yourself shining ?
 

Chris LXXIX

ArachnoGod
Active Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2014
Messages
5,689
You know what IMO (from my personal, Italian, point of view) the "crap that needs to stop is?" Really is?
The myth that depicts this site as an elite one, unfriendly to newcomers. This is false.

This is an epic bull -- you know what to add. I remember the words of a user, which I wouldn't name, that, after the help & info received, he said, more or less: "If you get used to blunt comments, all you can learn about is incredible".

This is what matters, if you ask me.
 

shining

Arachnodemon
Joined
Jul 15, 2011
Messages
755
Soooo, what's your experience with OW's??:astonished:
Ummmh.. I've done a ton of research and I've watched every youtube video. By the way, my obt keeps putting it's front legs up and whistling at me, does it want a hug? Also, what's OW?

I'm not questioning your knowledge of Ts , but I will say do you enough about the movie The Shining to call yourself shining ?
The book, the movie, the TV series and the band, I'm bout dat life.
 

WhitenerJ

Arachnosquire
Joined
May 6, 2016
Messages
66
I know one person (Name starts with a V) in particular your referring to. He almost ran me off but I stuck with it and try to help others with what I have learned. There are a lot of good people here but some are jerks and will run you off.
 
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