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 Post subject: My, the forum member's, attitude
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 8:51 pm 
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Dear members,

Something is bothering me.

This forum is a PR front to the whole world for SANParks and nature conservation. We, the members, all express a love for the parks and wish to ensure that they are conserved for eternity.

SANParks' Vision - National parks will be the pride and joy of all South Africans and of the world.

For SANParks to receive the support to continue with their vision, they need the support from all the citizens of the country and tourists from all over the world.

Everyone has to make that first visit to fall in love with the parks. It takes time to learn to appreciate everything the parks offer. It takes time to grow in one's love for the wild and look deeper into nature than just to visit to search for lions.

Is it not unfair to expect every person that visits the parks to be a 'purist' right from the start?

I sometimes wonder what message we send out here at times with our harsh criticisms of those who are not behaving according to our standards of what define true nature lovers. Some of us display a fair amount of arrogance. Is that encouraging others to want to visit a park to find out what it is all about? Are we not sounding elitist at times? And do we have a right to? Are we sure we are not being intimidating?

Are we really aiding SANParks to achieve and maintain their vision with such posts?

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It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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 Post subject: Re: My, the forum member's, attitude
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 9:12 pm 
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Dear Deebs,
I am not posting this as a mod, but as a member of this beloved forum...
It has been bothering for a long time too.
I have to confess that I certainly did not realise how truly I am a nature lover until my first visit to KNP....if I had read some of the comments on this forum before my first visit there, might it not be that I would never have made it ?
If one person intending to visit, is deterred by what we post here, we should seriously reconsider.

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 Post subject: Re: My, the forum member's, attitude
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 9:30 pm 
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As a person who DID read the forum before my visit....most of the posts here further inspired me to visit. The stunning photographs, the wonderful stories...the passion of the members & the Mods all added to my burning desire to go there.
In order to have balance, to make changes, there has to be the negative as well as the positive.
So that this forum does not become one sided and tip the scale to the negative too much...maybe we all should take a second look at our post before we submit it.
Is this post ultimately going to be beneficial...to the animals...to the park...to the visitors? Some of us just want to blow off steam, in which case there are avenues to take to do that.
We all have a tremendous passion for these parks, that is certain...sometimes that can get the best of us.

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 Post subject: Re: My, the forum member's, attitude
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 10:55 pm 
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I visited KNP (and Bontebok and Table Montain/Cape Point) before discovering the forum.

However its probably because of the forum that I keep going back.

It's definitely because of the forum that I have discovered parts of the KNP that I wouldn't have known about and the forum has given me confidence to enjoy it.

Does that sound strange?

I've learnt so much about the way to do things properly so that I'm not spending my precious time worrying about whether or not I'm allowed to do things - like get out of my car. I know I can't so I don't.

Yes we can be a little harsh and we definitely can come over as holier than thou but I think on the whole the forum members give out sound and useful advice and that we are a good shop window for SANParks.

And to be honest DB, SANParks are not perfect, no organisation is. It is staffed by humans and mistakes and oversights will be made. This forum would lose some of its usefulness if we all pretended that everything was 100% as we like it, like some kind of Stepford clones. Life isn't like that and I think we as a forum would lose credibility if we pretended it is.

Having read almost a year's worth of posts for the FAC recently I saw so much good and positive on this forum.

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 Post subject: Re: My, the forum member's, attitude
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:17 am 
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I have to agree with this post. I won't mention names but a certain game guide and his photographic friend, who are both forumites, were very rude to us on a game drive recently. They were very informative, yet while burrying us in some fantastic facts they were incredibly arrogant about their knowledge. In fact one american man said innocently that a bird spotted looked like a kite, which was met very aggressively by the guide..."It's not a kite, It's a juvenile Wahlberg's eagle".

It was rather embarrasing actually. Similar things happen on the forum, that I really do love, from time to time.

Thanks to everyone for allowing people to have a window into this fantastic world we all love... I hope that the few that don't learn how to open that window a little more and a little more gently. :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: My, the forum member's, attitude
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 5:53 am 
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Well said DB.

I often feel that way too.

Being one of those lucky souls to have visited our parks since birth, it should be easy to have my rules of how people should behave, this is how we did conservation in the past and this is how it should remain.

Lucky for me there are two things that help me out of this view - the fact that I am young of heart. I can still remember what it was like to be a kid in the park, the freedom we had to enjoy things without the 1001 rules of modern day life limiting our joy of it, and secondly introducing my daughter to nature and experiencing, through her, all things new.

Because of this, part of my love of the parks are new visitors, to see what effect this beautiful piece of nature has on them. The thrill of them experiencing it without the limitations that many of us have of this is how it should be done, opens ones eyes to what nature really is, and how small our role in it is.


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 Post subject: Re: My, the forum member's, attitude
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 7:19 am 
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So true, DB it's been bothering me as well.
We all make mistakes on our first visit to a park, boy I made them too! Do people really zoom part you at 50km/h while you are doing 20 just to annoy everyone else or is it possible that they just don't know any better?
How great will it be if we could welcome visitors and teach them the ropes in the same way we welcome newbies to the forum. I think MM once remarked about the pleasure of watching new 'mites grow and evolve. I'm sure many more visitors would evolve into true nature lovers with understanding and support but I often get the feeling that we have a "do as I say, don't do as I do" attitude. Why do some true nature lovers think they own the moral higher ground?
CuriousCanadian wrote:
In order to have balance, to make changes, there has to be the negative as well as the positive.

True, CC. I generally do not have a problem with what is said but rather in the way it is said. Far more good can come from the negative subjects if we stepped back and took a hard look at ourselves.

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 Post subject: Re: My, the forum member's, attitude
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:00 am 
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Hi saraf,

My intention when I started this topic was not aimed at the posts that bring up issues about SANParks. Apologies if I did not explain that clearly.

I wish to give you guys two practical examples of what I mean;

Real life one:-
My brother is thinking of buying a caravan so he can take his young family camping. He showed me one he wants to buy. It has an aircon and heater in it. My reaction: :shock: :shock: I said to him - you are going camping what the heck do you want an aircon and heater for????? All you need is a tent and a mattress to really enjoy camping!

But I had forgotten that when we first started camping, we too bought a huge caravan filled with all sorts of conveniences.

Hypothetical:-
Mr Newbie arrives on the forum and rushes to post this:
We are just back from our first real safari experience!!!

We spent a week at Skukuza, and saw a lion and three elephant. We had takeaway pizza every night, slept in late, played board games in our cottage until late. What an awesome time.


DB replies:-
You call that a safari?!?!?! :shock: Wait until you have done the Lebombo Trail like we have and slept in a tent out in the bush then you will be talking!!!

But again, I forget that my visit to KNP was not doing a trail, it was one filled with many conveniences, but it started me on the road to wanting to do that trail.

And I am not saying that this forum is not extremely helpful with wonderful thoughtful members - it is!! My concern is that just because I like it one way, does not mean Joe Soap is nutty because he likes it another :D

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It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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 Post subject: Re: My, the forum member's, attitude
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:18 am 
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I do think that this is an important post.

I believe that the forum has a major role to play in promoting the Park and fostering relationships. It is dynamic and exciting. I cannot begin to count the many benefits I have derived from this wonderful space.

In saying that, I must also say that I am no longer the same person. I have learnt, thought, developed and gained so much insight.

One of my concerns is that we treat each other with the respect we wish to bestow on nature. That includes tolerance and understanding. I would also say that our new mites have to be treated with particular care, just as a child is allowed leaway to learn and develop and also make mistakes.

I would like to see the forum become a benchmark in conservation circles. That does, however mean that we have to earn the reputation for enthusiasm and openess.

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 Post subject: Re: My, the forum member's, attitude
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 6:26 pm 
This must be the first thread ever where everyone is talking sense at the same time! :shock:

:twisted:

Wouldn't worry too much, DB! The proof is in the pudding, with membership increasing and, more importantly, a myriad of new first-time posters sharing their thoughts about EVERYTHING, not just the fun stuff! 8)


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 Post subject: Re: My, the forum member's, attitude
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 6:34 pm 
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8) :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: My, the forum member's, attitude
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 6:58 pm 
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There might be some elitism on here, but it isn't that apparent to the causual user.
Just look at the KNP page and the top 15 or so posts, or the advise area....most are new people asking for information, and a fantastic cross-section of forumites responding with great info. :clap: Even simple questions from us overseas types that haven't figured out the Saffie way of doing things (like the braai!!) are almost always answered in a positive and enlightening way.

Now, is there an attitude that borders on the superior on here? Well, sure. I think all of us have, at one time or another, caused other forumites to roll their eyes while they read our posts. Most of us have done the eye-rolling at others, too. :) It never hurts to check our preconceived notions and attitudes at the door in an effort to be civil, but this is still a great portal and "public face" of SANParks.

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 Post subject: Re: My, the forum member's, attitude
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 7:17 pm 
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An interesting topic, and one which I have often thought about.
There is so much positiveness written on this website that IMO the average visitor from overseas will actually ignore the negativeness because it is really only a handful of people who complain over and over again and always about the same topics.
Visitors who read the trip reports (and many are from overseas visitors) will see that the Park is not as bad as some make it out to be. After all why do most of us keep on going back year after year.


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 Post subject: Re: My, the forum member's, attitude
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 7:52 pm 
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I agree - the positive far outweighs the negative. 8) For each negative comment there's an avalanche of positive ones. And, I'm repeating what we all say regularly, I trust the mods to take the culprits to task like they've been doing.


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 Post subject: Re: My, the forum member's, attitude
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 8:16 pm 
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When someone is having a good moan about nothing that serious, (Like their toasted cheese taking 20 minutes to arrive), does their complaint have to stay on the forum for months? Why not just deal with it straight away and then delete it?


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