No doubt about it! Internet is great if you are a RVer. We follow many online forums, blogs, newsletters, and social media sites for maintenance tips, campground referrals, and all kinds of RV life information. There is only one problem. Civility. Why does the nicest and most helpful motorhome suddenly become enraged when posting on the internet? Maybe we could all use a few tips for using VR websites with civility.
One of the reasons for joining an online VR group is the community. Reading about other “VR road warriors” can be informative and encouraging. Learning how other people are making their VR dreams come true can inspire our own VR journey. The feeling that “we’re all in this together” makes unexpected problems more manageable, especially when others offer good advice, words of sympathy, or even empathy, like, “This happened to us too.” “Do not abandon.” “You’ll be fine! “Keep moving down the road.”
The rules of online engagement are hazy at best. Yes, there is usually a moderator who silences profanity or illegal activity. Other than that, participating online is pretty much a Wild West proposition, take no prisoners, toughen up or shut up. I am for the free exchange of ideas and opinions. I just wish these could be expressed with more grace.
As a writer, I know words can be your friend or your foe. Words alone, even carefully crafted words, often do not clearly convey real feelings or intended meaning. Tone of voice, facial expression and body language are important. These crucial elements for communication are impossible to see when the screen of the iPad, computer or mobile phone is limited to simple words.
For example, someone replied to a recent question on the forum: “We had this same question over and over again! Look it up! I’m sure you’ve heard of Google!”
Knowing that only words are limited when communicating online should make us all more careful about the words we choose. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case. How can I know? Because I see more and more messages like this:
“Please be nice. I’m new to this.
“Excuse me, please, if this has been requested in the past…”
“I’m not asking any more questions about this post because I’m sick of being ashamed. Excuse me for not knowing! I’m new to this!”
Too bad for the community, huh?
What to do?
First of all, if a question or comment annoys you, think before You post. Remember: you are not obligatory give voice to your opinion. You are free to move. (And take that snark with you, please.)
Second, if you have a useful answer, state it objectively. No need to question the motive or IQ of the one asking the query.
Finally, remember that you too were once a “beginner”. You also had questions. Put yourself in the shoes of other RVers before you feel inclined to judge. Use grace. Civility.
Hope for all of us
The following post summarizes what I tried to say. Take a look and also consider the tips.
This forum is an exchange of ideas, questions, thoughts, etc. What good would this platform be if we said, “Look at it first. If there is no answer, then ask. Good God, there would be no communication for weeks or even months!
When we started our RV journey several years ago, I asked the dreaded question, diesel vs. gasoline. People have been kind enough to respond even though it’s been asked in every possible way for probably the last 20 years. What I mean is that most of us are an inviting group and we don’t mind repeated questions. We just smile, understand that the person asking is very new and try to help as much as possible.
Comments? Please sound below, kindly, of course.
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