Getting advice on forums

It would be fair to say that the vast majority of contributors on specialist forums are very knowledgeable and well-intentioned.  Based on their own experiences they post answers to questions from other forum members in a sincere attempt to help solve problems. The person asking the question is generally looking for practical advice on an unusual issue, or perhaps concern about being ripped off by an unscrupulous repairer.

Frequently, the advice provided by other members is excellent, practical, but also free. However, the problem is that over time, the most vocal individuals assume positions of dominance across various topics, regardless of whether they actually have the skills and experience relevant to the topic. So it pays to check other post by the same contributor to assess the relevance and quality of their advice.

The same applies to administrators/moderators who may excellent administrative abilities but it is equally important for them to possess the qualities of open-mindedness toward the experience of others and sufficient practical knowledge and/or technical backup to be able to differentiate between correct and incorrect advice. The point is that most advice provided on a forum or blog is valid especially when moderated by genuine experts, even if they are “only” other members who patently have the relevant experience.

It must be said that in the case of the Graeme Cooper forum/blog, all content is checked and approved by the technical experts before it is posted. There have been occasional arguments about what may or may not be posted but this is generally confined to situations where the writer has engineered his own solution that works, but is not an “approved” procedure. That is only fair as the workshop must not be considered responsible for non-standard “fixes.”