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Topic: Discussion Split from Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry  (Read 6146 times)

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Offline charleypete1957

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Discussion Split from Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« on: June 09, 2015, 03:55:29 PM »
I agree with Joeyups7, and even in this forum this happens.  Yes, I've read the rules, and I've spent the last two days or so reading many pages of posts.  As often as not, some poor newbie is slapped down by a moderator or some other senior member because he somehow broke a rule, and the general attitude of many newer members is that they have to ask questions with their hat in their hand and their head down.  How many times have I read, "Sorry if this is the wrong place for this..."  Come on guys, if these folks didn't want to learn, they wouldn't have come to these forums.  No, let's not do their homework for them, and no, let's not help them hurt themselves or others.  But dang it, if you can see they really want to learn, and most of the time it's really obvious when they just want to learn, don't tell them to go off somewhere else and mindlessly pore through chemistry texts because "the answer is there."  The rules say we're here to help them learn, so let's help them.  I understand, you don't want to have to repeat things over and over, but if it's that hard to help someone, then maybe you should do something else and not be here. I'd much rather go somewhere else for help than to come in here and suffer humiliation.

Don't get me wrong, this forum is a great place, but it's not nearly as friendly as a number of other chemistry forums I've been to.  All I'm saying is let's not make it so intimidating.  Once you read the HUGE list of do nots on the rules page, you feel like you shouldn't even be here lest you get smitten.  Just my two cents' worth.



EDIT
I have split this part of a discussion on
    Chemical Forums >
    Specialty Chemistry Forums >
    Citizen Chemist (Moderator: billnotgatez) >
    The Decline of Home Chemistry
thread to this new location because I think it is
straying off the intent of the where it was originally posted.
http://www.chemicalforums.com/index.php?topic=9276.0

« Last Edit: June 10, 2015, 11:15:09 AM by billnotgatez »

Offline Borek

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Re: Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2015, 04:45:59 PM »
How many times have I read, "Sorry if this is the wrong place for this..."  Come on guys, if these folks didn't want to learn, they wouldn't have come to these forums.  No, let's not do their homework for them, and no, let's not help them hurt themselves or others.

Can you point us to these posts? Somehow I don't think they are so numerous, but if that's how people see things, I prefer to be aware of that.

Quote
Once you read the HUGE list of do nots on the rules page, you feel like you shouldn't even be here lest you get smitten.  Just my two cents' worth.

Sadly, most of these don'ts are just a common sense, but many people either don't have a common sense or assume even most obvious rules are for others.

Plus, the forum is owned and hosted in US, which means its owner has to bear in mind he can get sued way too easily if anything anywhere goes wrong. Hardly our fault :/
ChemBuddy chemical calculators - stoichiometry, pH, concentration, buffer preparation, titrations.info

Offline charleypete1957

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Re: Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2015, 10:19:18 PM »
I agree Borek.  It's a sad statement of the condition of today's sue-happy society.  Too many people are out there looking for any way they can to make a buck at someone else's expense, just as long as they don't have to work for it.  Concerning something else I just read above about a home chemist getting his lab raided...  When I built my lab and got it all stocked, I brought in the local sheriff, gave him a tour, showed him the texts I was working from, opened all my cabinets and drawers, showed him all my chemicals, and showed him I had nothing to hide.  He was very understanding, and now even the local state police know me and what I do at home behind my lab door.  Perhaps this is what we all will have to do just to keep the local busybody from turning us in with bad information.  At any rate, keep doing science! 

Offline charleypete1957

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Re: Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2015, 11:59:45 PM »
Borek, I stand corrected.  So there weren't as many instances of newbies apologizing for being in the wrong place as I thought I'd remembered, but there were a few.  In Generic Discussions, under the threads Diacetyl (2,3 butanedione), and Common elements question (food allergy related), there were apologies right off the bat.  I just think that guests, both of which these were, shouldn't have to start off with an apology.  I know I saw more, I just couldn't find them tonight. 
I started out last night under the thread Salting a Compound, also in Generic Discussions.  Another guest immediately caught a lot of flack from a global moderator simply by asking a question about steroid hormones.  I've read it over several times, I can't see what made the moderator so uptight.  This same moderator is often sarcastic, nitpicky and condescending.
Same forum, under the thread Impurities on Activated Charcoal, another guest, same moderator practically slapped him down.
Same forum, under the thread Crosslinking polymers contain double bonds, another guest caught it from a full member.
Same forum, under the aformentioned thread Diacetyl (2,3 butanedione), members Dan, kriggy and furanone were great helps.  Furanone is often helpful no matter what the moderator says, also Corribus and billnotgatez are always helpful and respectful. 
Lastly, same forum, under the thread Mystery reaction, new member asks a sincere question with plenty of supporting links, explaining that he/she is not a chemistry student, just wanting to know because he/she is trying to figure out whether or not a hoax is being perpetrated.  Again, global moderator is really ugly with this new member.  I could point these out all night.  There's entirely too much shaking the finger in the face while once again reciting the rules.  They complain about having to repeat things over and over, but they certainly don't seem to mind endlessly repeating the rules!
The point is, why should a guest, or anyone else for that matter, be subjected to this kind of treatment?  If a moderator can't be helpful, or at least courteous, he either should remain silent or not be a moderator at all.  These are our GUESTS!  I'll get off my soapbox now.

Offline billnotgatez

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Re: Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2015, 03:01:41 AM »
@charleypete1957
Quote
Yes, I've read the rules
Could you please reread the rules and contemplate them.
I do not need you to respond back except to say you have done this request.
I just want you to reread them and think more deeply than just a quick skim.

Specifically, I would like you to think about the sentence (emphasis is mine)
Quote
Our main goal is to help you learn chemistry, regardless of whether you are at school or whether you are treating chemistry as a hobby.
and the sentences
Quote
4.1. You will probably be answered with another question.
Chemical Forums members subscribe to the Socratic Method of learning, whereby students can ask a question and learn the answer for themselves from the gentle prodding and questioning by forum staff and regulars.
, but also read the rest.

Just say you have done this, so we know you might be on the same page with us for further discussion.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2015, 04:10:32 AM by billnotgatez »

Offline Corribus

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Re: Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2015, 07:20:14 AM »
For what it's worth, asking people to show work is as much about helping us help them. There are two types of violators to the "need to show work policy". The first just wants to get answers to their homework problems. These types are fairly easy to spot. Then you have those who probably do want to learn something, but have such a poor starting point that they don't even know how to properly ask their question - or they don't realize that showing work helps us identify their trouble spot. So, it is helpful if the poster tried to answer their own question first, so we can evaluate what their level of knowledge and understanding is, before we dive in and try to help them. This is true even for solving straightforward problems. If someone is trying to solve a basic stoichiometry problem comes in and says, "I have this problem to solve, I'm getting the wrong answer, *delete me*", it's impossible for us know what part of the problem they're having trouble with. However if they show work, we can follow the calculation and identify exactly what step of the calculation is tripping them up.
What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were like a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?  - Richard P. Feynman

Offline charleypete1957

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Re: Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2015, 09:02:40 AM »
billnotgatez, I have reread the rules per your request.  I often read the rules again, especially when it's  been a while since I was last here.  Every forum is different, and each has their own set of rules and standards, so it's always a good idea.
The problem is not with the rules.  The rules are what they are, and they're quite necessary with which to conduct a civilized and orderly conversation on any particular topic.  The rules say be nice...they also say don't be rude or hurtful.  More than a couple of times, in one single forum, I've seen the hackles of guests raised because they weren't treated nice by a moderator.  I don't have a problem with the rules at all.  And speaking of rules, the moderator seems to delight in informing a newbie that he/she needs to properly format his/her chemical formulas with the proper super and subscripts.  Not a problem there, it needs to be done.  But certain regular member posters NEVER format their chemical formulas, and I've not seen a word about that to them.  So if the rules are so almighty important, then let's see them enforced across the board, not just waved in the face of newbies. 
All I'm saying here is that we should treat our guests and newbies a little kinder than what I've seen.  The rules are the rules, and they're very necessary, nobody is arguing that.  I'm just agreeing with others in this thread about the treatment of newcomers by those who are more experienced.  If we scare them all away then we're not going to ever increase the numbers of home chemists and scientists because they will feel they've got no place to turn to when they need help.  Just my two cents' worth.

Offline billnotgatez

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Discussion Split from The Decline of Home Chemistry Thread
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2015, 11:03:27 AM »
As noted below I have split a part of a discussion on
    Chemical Forums >
    Specialty Chemistry Forums >
    Citizen Chemist (Moderator: billnotgatez) >
    The Decline of Home Chemistry
thread to this new location because I think it is
straying off the intent of the where it was originally posted.
http://www.chemicalforums.com/index.php?topic=9276.0

« Last Edit: June 10, 2015, 11:16:58 AM by billnotgatez »

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