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Oh, Really, Guys? A Small Rant.

rant study newbies

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73 replies to this topic

#41 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 07 November 2015 - 16:19

All I know is that the kindness shown here to my newbie self when I first joined FPN is the reason I'm still here.

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#42 PaulS

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Posted 07 November 2015 - 19:26

the truth of the matter is that future beginners who might benefit from reading this thread, doubtless won't be reading it, and so the problem continues and the same questions will be repeated..............     but with a little tolerance and patience this situation can be accommodated -  in one form or another it does occur on most internet forums, so we must learn to live with it.           It really is not a problem - provided that responses are acknowledged by the questioner to show they understand courtesy and the time given to formulate a reply.

 

BUT, what I have trouble buying into is the comment that  ""it's the case that they don't know the question to ask.""  -  sorry to disagree Ruth :)     I assume we're speaking here of adults who are literate and possess average common sense.

Is it really the case that a newcomer to the world of fountain pens would not know how to formulate a question for this forum?              If someone wants/needs a fountain pen might they not be better off going to a shop selling such things and road testing a model or two in the company of a salesman, who presumably is in a better position to help?                   I hate generalizing, but would assume that FPN forum is maintained, and survives, based on a membership of folk who have a need for a greater in depth knowledge of fountain pens than simple questions such as ""which ink they should I use or what pen should I buy"". 

 

But perhaps my intolerance is showing, so let's just live with the issue and resign ourselves to the inevitable. :)

 

 



#43 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 07 November 2015 - 19:39

We do get some teenagers, and pen shops are becoming scarce.

#44 AllieFromDevon

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Posted 07 November 2015 - 19:52

 

If someone wants/needs a fountain pen might they not be better off going to a shop selling such things and road testing a model or two in the company of a salesman, who presumably is in a better position to help?

 

 

I disagree, for three reasons:

1. Not everyone is able to find such a shop in their local town. Where I live, the only shops selling fountain pens tend to be chain-store stationers like WH Smith. Their stock of fountain pens consisted of Lamy Safari at one end of the scale and Cross/Waterman/Parker pens at the other end. And I was not offered an opportunity to road test any of them.

2. Salesmen have a vested interest in making a sale and would rather sell you anything rather than see you walk away. In my view, this makes their 'help' rather biased.

3. I think it is highly unlikely that salesmen in chain-store pen departments have the range of knowledge or experience that the members on this forum have.

 

I am very grateful to the FPNrs who took the trouble to respond to my question, even though they'd probably heard it a million times before.



#45 inkstainedruth

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Posted 07 November 2015 - 20:11

@ PaulS:

That calls for the assumption that people *do* have the luxury of living near shops with knowledgeable sales help.  This is not always the case.  Using myself as an example, the nearest (dedicated)"pen shop" that I know of is an approximately 3-1/2 hour drive from where I live.  There are a couple of higher-end stationers in the Pittsburgh area, and I can tell you for a fact that for one of them you'd be lucky to find someone who is knowledgable enough to unlock the case the pens and ink bottles are in....  It's not the fault of the sales staff -- they're hired to restock and work the cash register and tell you where to find the wedding announcement cards.  The pens are only a tiny fraction of their business and I'm betting that there aren't a lot of people besides me (and possibly the members of the local pen club) even asking to look at the stuff in that case -- more customers are likely to be buy greeting cards, SF paperbacks, T shirts and novelty items.  The old-time stationers' downtown does have a pen counter (and if the guy who works that counter is there he'll do dip test swabs of the ink for you -- but he's not always there; and the selection of what's available is often hit or miss at best).  

And that assumption goes flying right out the window when it comes to vintage pens.  Most of us "pen people" have to rely on Ebay or the luck of the draw in antiques stores, unless we can get to a pen show.  If we can get to a pen show.  That leaves FPN and a few other forums, YouTube videos, and online pen retailers.  

And yeah, I'll stand by my previous statement -- some people don't *know* what they don't know.  (buy me a beer sometime and I'll tell you about the woman who had never heard of [a sort of, um famous author -- if you read Westerns, which I don't normally] and said "Who is that?").

So, I wouldn't generalize that FPN is based *only* on a membership of people who have a greater depth of knowledge.  I've been on here over 3-1/2 years and have learned a lot -- but the amount of knowledge I've gleaned is only a tiny bit of what's available.  And I've been a newbie, and asked "newbie questions".  And after 3-1/2 years I'm still asking "newbie questions" at times.  I admit that freely.  So yeah, when some new person asks the same old question about something like whether a certain ink is "safe" to use in their pen (or whatever), I'm going to answer it with the same patience (I hope) than the newbie me was given.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


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#46 dogpoet

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Posted 07 November 2015 - 20:22

We do get some teenagers, and pen shops are becoming scarce.

Absolutely.

As Ruth says, buying any pen online is going to be both frustrating and confusing if you don't know what to type into the search box.



#47 haruka337

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Posted 07 November 2015 - 20:40

That was very funny. Are you saying your pen is yay big, or yay, it's big? hehehe

 

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#48 PaulS

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Posted 07 November 2015 - 22:08

o.k., so some of you live out in the sticks - point taken :) - I wasn't being entirely serious, perhaps a little contentious in order to generate some response.                I'm fortunate and live in the London area (U.K.), so maybe I'm more privileged than some here, and am fortunate too in that the WES London exhibition occurs once a year          Having said that, I've yet to walk into a pen shop of any description and request a demonstration of their wares - I'm a collector more than a scribbler, and come from an age where common sense ruled and we took responsibility for our thoughts and actions, plus I don't purchase new pens.

My buying is limited to ebay, antiques fairs, and charity/o.p's shops, and my pens, almost without exception, are probably at least 40 years old, but am sure that if I did buy new pens of value then I'd certainly ask for a demonstration.

If you're going to spend big bucks on a pen then wouldn't it make sense to make an effort to trial one or two potential models?

If you simply want a reliable pen that leaks ink in all the right directions - will write without fail each time the cap comes off - and isn't going to cost an arm and a leg - then buy a pre-owned Parker Vector or similar - from an o.p.'s shop and fill with almost any ink brand you choose.   It will do what it says on the can  -  it will write and not let you down........................   and I didn't have to ask the FPN for that information  -  had the pen not worked it would have been given the elbow and I'd have tried another cheapy, and so on   -  learning about f.p. in the process.

 

Presumably few of us would spend big money, on line, on a pen that we'd never held or tested, or that had been recommended by someone whose writing habits might well be vastly different to our own.              Internet advertising must surely provide a lot of info on current models with which to make some sort of initial selection, after which refining may well be helped by the experts on FPN.

 

Quote  ............"So, I wouldn't generalize that FPN is based *only* on a membership of people who have a greater depth of knowledge."

Knowing that you'd want to be fair to me Ruth :)   -  wasn't aware that I'd used the word 'only'...........    my inference was that membership is based on most folk not being beginners. 

 

But thanks to those folk who did reply, and as has been repeated several times.........." with a little tolerance and patience this situation can be accommodated" - and to remind us of Randall's original comments.........    "Do some research on the threads - read a few reviews, and ask well formulated questions." 



#49 dcwaites

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Posted 07 November 2015 - 22:09

I work on a computer help desk for a large (very) government department with about 150,000 users. I get to talk to a wide range of people with a wide range of computer experience.

There are only two types of client I get impatient with -- those who decide they are "too old" to understand computers (and are a decade younger than me); and those who know a little jargon and end up taking longer in the end because they are trying to imply they know more than me (no you don't because you haven't spent 40 years in the IT area).

The rest are deserving of my patience, understanding and clarity of communication (and the occasional joke). These are people who are doing jobs I could never be able to do, who know more about things I could never understand. Just because I know more about one tiny area of life (computers) does not make me superior in any way to my clients. I have looked after little old ladies in their 80's, who have gone back to work after their husbands died, who are doing jobs I never could.

 

I try to bring the above experience to my answers on the FPN. If I see an appropriate answer has been given to a newbie's question, I might just leave it, or I might expand or back up with my experences. It it hasn't been answered, then I'll try to give an appropriate answer.

Ignorance is not a crime, and recognising that you are ignorant in a field and then trying to remedy that ignorance by asking a question (no matter how badly articulated) is praisworthy.

 

OTOH, I am a member of a particular forum where it is expected you have some degree of technical knowledge, and any member who asks a question that could have been solved by a simple search (and that forum has a very good search engine) is spanked and pointed to the appropriate area. But that is another forum with a very specialised membership.

 

However, the concept of newbies' topics that people are directed to first in some cases is a good idea. I am currently (albeit slowly) trying to update my newbies' guide to inks. Perhaps others could take on other general topics, and perhaps they could all be gathered in one area.


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And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices.”

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#50 FountainPages

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Posted 07 November 2015 - 22:35

My own feelings on this are...We were all newbies at one time, all with not enough experience to ask the correct or appropriate questions and certainly without the knowledge to understand  the anwsers given. Growing pains, please bear with them.


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#51 tryphon

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Posted 07 November 2015 - 22:54

Interesting! On my pen site we have a board dedicated to newbies...and yet, nobody posts anything on it. I have given it a lot of thought: perhaps newbies do not want to admit that they are ... newbies. The board is quiescent: no posts. I am planning to re-purpose it. Still it has been quite a disappointment....


Edited by tryphon, 07 November 2015 - 22:55.


#52 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 07 November 2015 - 23:11

Didn't even know it was there, but there are posts.

#53 tryphon

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Posted 07 November 2015 - 23:24

Didn't even know it was there, but there are posts.

Yes, but mostly mine....

I do not understand: it's made for newbies: ask away, share your experiences with other newbies. Ask the experts: it is a VERY friendly website. No quarreling, easy going... and very quiet!!!



#54 TSherbs

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Posted 07 November 2015 - 23:43

I don't have time to read all the posts on this thread, so surely not also to conduct a search of all prior threads on "newbies" and "complaints".

 

I love the threads where someone asks a short question, and after 5 or so answers, the gamut of reply is over. My kinda thread.



#55 FOUR X FOUR

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Posted 07 November 2015 - 23:57

I have a platinum preppy and a Visconti Wall Street. What should my next pen be? Sorry if this has been asked before. Thanking every one in advance

#56 sandy101

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 00:15

 The board is quiescent: no posts.

 

The description of this board says it is the first stop - so it stands to reason that as a newbie, or anyone else would start here, because that's what the board says. And new folk coming to the site would notice that this is where most people post their first posts. That's certainly how I interpreted the site.

 

As far as people posting questions - just post and if the question isn't clear enough, I'm sure (as a collective group) someone will be able to tease out an answer. People who ask questions, are showing that they are willing to learn, and I'm reluctant to criticise anyone for asking. In addition, not everyone's first language here is English, and doing something in a second or third language can be quite difficult and it is quite easy to miss out details that native speakers would think would be obvious.

 

So, I'm much rather see people at their best (and sometimes answering with a question can lead to more information) rather than their worst.  



#57 httpmom

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 00:33

If someone wants/needs a fountain pen might they not be better off going to a shop selling such things and road testing a model or two in the company of a salesman, who presumably is in a better position to help?


Even living in The San Francisco Bay Area, I would have to drive at least an hour in any direction to find a pen shop and had I, for example, brought in my old Sheaffer school pen (which got me re-interested in FPs to begin with) I doubt anyone would have been able to advise me on proper cleaning and finding cartridges to fill it. Also I would have had to do a bit of serious research on where to actually find said shop. It seems easier and cheaper to ask questions on an expert forum. It is 2015 after all. I do most of my pen (and other)shopping on line. I also do all my pen research on line...but that's just me, perhaps.

Also, I joined this forum the very day I uncovered my 55 year old school pen in the attic, so I was pretty much a virgin in the question department. So I am very grateful for the help and knowledge I have gained since then from members who were kind regarding my stupid questions.

PS It's why I LOVE The San Francisco Pen Show...it's all in one beautiful place.

Note: I would guess that a fair number of young folks have never held or even seen a FP because they did not grow up with this tool. I know this because I am often asked about my pens when I use them in public. I enjoy introducing them to the topic and if they're especially keen, I give them one of the Preppy pens I keep in my purse.

Edited by httpmom, 08 November 2015 - 01:02.

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#58 BoBoJones

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 00:44

Even living in The San Francisco Bay Area, I would have to drive at least an hour in any direction to find a pen shop and had I, for example, brought in my old Sheaffer school pen (which got me re-interested in FPs to begin with) I doubt anyone would have been able to advise me on proper cleaning and finding cartridges to fill it. Also I would have had to do a bit of serious research on where to actually find said shop. It seems easier and cheaper to ask questions on an expert forum. It is 2015 after all. I do most of my pen (and other)shopping on line. I also do all my pen research on line...but that's just me, perhaps.PS It's why I LOVE The San Francisco Pen Show...it's all in one beautiful place.


You have to consider that the adviice here has bias depending on what the advisors like. You might find that what they like doesn't work for you. Trying out pens is part of the interest, though.

#59 tryphon

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 01:09

Even living in The San Francisco Bay Area, I would have to drive at least an hour in any direction to find a pen shop and had I, for example, brought in my old Sheaffer school pen (which got me re-interested in FPs to begin with) I doubt anyone would have been able to advise me on proper cleaning and finding cartridges to fill it. Also I would have had to do a bit of serious research on where to actually find said shop. It seems easier and cheaper to ask questions on an expert forum. It is 2015 after all. I do most of my pen (and other)shopping on line. I also do all my pen research on line...but that's just me, perhaps.

Also, I joined this forum the very day I uncovered my 55 year old school pen in the attic, so I was pretty much a virgin in the question department. So I am very grateful for the help and knowledge I have gained since then from members who were kind regarding my stupid questions.

PS It's why I LOVE The San Francisco Pen Show...it's all in one beautiful place.

Note: I would guess that a fair number of young folks have never held or even seen a FP because they did not grow up with this tool. I know this because I am often asked about my pens when I use them in public. I enjoy introducing them to the topic and if they're especially keen, I give them one of the Preppy pens I keep in my purse.

Great post!!!



#60 httpmom

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 01:57

You have to consider that the adviice here has bias depending on what the advisors like. You might find that what they like doesn't work for you. Trying out pens is part of the interest, though.

Yes indeed there's nothing like a test drive, that's one of the many reason I joined a local pen club. So rewarding to try a pen you think you want and end up not liking it one bit, then trying one you would never dream of considering to find you fell in love with it. Awwwhhhh PENS!
"You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger darling.” "Forever optimistic with a theme and purpose." "My other pen is oblique and dippy."





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