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zondag 24 november 2013

Don't contradict the locals!

"In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."

Every forum has a group of locals who spend most of their forum-time on that particular forum to share their knowledge with those who post questions. This is a good thing.

Being on the forum 24/7, they anwer most of the questions and because most of the questions are posted by people who know next to nothing about the subject, the answers of the experts are taken for granted. This is a bad thing.

It's bad because never being told that they are wrong makes the locals feel that they are right. About everything. So when you go to a forum and see someone tell a newbie that 1+1=3, and you point out that it is in fact 2, *you* are the badguy for disagreeing with the expert.

But what makes an expert an expert? Learning! If you have knowledge and someone says you are wrong, you check his claims. If you are in fact wrong, congrats, you've just fixed a bug in your knowledge! If you're right, congrats, you've fixed a bug in his knowledge!

As Mythbuster Adam Savage says: "I love being wrong because it means I'll learn something new."

So why are there so many forumusers and "experts" who will set fire to you if you dare to disagree? How will they ever learn more than they know? How will they ever become actual experts if they insist that they already know everything and are incapable of making mistakes?

If anybody out there knows of a forum where the locals have social skills and a desire to learn rather than pretend that they are brilliant, I'd love to know about it because I can't find any.