One of my primary motivators for building this website (the original version was a Tumblr blog) was frustration. The frustration stemmed from the sheer amount of repeated questions that we would see over and over again within the misprint community. All of the answers were so basic! Why couldn't people understand? My thoughts were that if I could build an easy to understand beginner's guide then we wouldn't repeatedly see all the same newb questions and as a result, less frustration! Wishful thinking eh?
As admins of the Misprints and Rarities Facebook Group, my compatriots and I have put a considerable amount of time and energy into both directly helping folks out as well as creating resources for them to help themselves. Other prominent and active members of the community have done the same. Despite our best efforts, there is still a steady stream of people who think a card shifted 1mm is miscut, can't identify NFC (or even know what it means), or wonder why their foil cutline wasn't approved. Can't you see it? It's right there in the group rules! Why are you emailing me about your 'miscut' that's not even off-centered? I covered that in the beginner's guide! UGH!
Is it laziness? Is it ignorance? Is is plain stupidity? Worse yet, did I not explain it correctly? Could I have made it easier to understand? Is my expertise bias clouding my perspective? It's probably all of the above and then some. Knowing that doesn't seem to help the frustration though! As passionate collectors, there's only so much we can take! RAAAGGGEEEEE! FRUSTRATION! SMASH FACE ON DESK!...ok sorry. Got a bit carried away there.
Like it or not, frustration is a natural reaction. I don't know if anyone in the misprint community has reached a level of zen where they don't get at least a little bit bothered when someone asks a question that was answered 2 comments up in a thread or gets angry at YOU for declining their post even though it's clearly laid out in the rules. I'm sure you get the point now. I'll stop kicking this horse with this segue; What we do with that frustration is IMPORTANT.
The misprint community has a variety of reputations, not all of which are overwhelmingly positive. I'd like to say the the frustration is the cause, but the reality of it is how fellow community members let that frustration influence their actions. It may not seem like it, but even being a little bit of a jerk has consequences for the misprint community. I often wonder how many potential misprint collectors have been deterred from the hobby when they met an unwelcome reception to what they felt was a reasonable question or when they wanted to share something they thought was cool. It's sad to think about, and I've seen it happen.
So you're still frustrated. What do you do? Never fear! I present you with these simple options of what to do when your goat has been gotten:
- Politely direct the question asker to the already existing resources that answers their questions. The key word is 'politely.' It's really not that difficult to be courteous. You don't have to bend over backwards with overwhelming kindness, but just don't be an ass. It really doesn't take much energy. Sometimes it can even feel good to help others. Don't feel like expending that tiny bit of extra energy? Try the next strategies.
- Ignore it. Let it slide. Roll your eyes and move on. It turns out that you don't HAVE to let the internet know how you feel. If you're not going to add anything constructive to the conversation, then don't say anything. Over time you'll hopefully develop a thicker skin or at least desensitize yourself to the newbs.
- Channel the frustration into something productive. Build a website, write a blog, make some Youtube videos (see a pattern here?), make a Facebook group for people that share your feelings, go to the gym, play with the dog, or really just anything else. Emotions generate energy, which you can utilize to your advantage.
Personally, I employ each of the above strategies. When I choose each one is context specific and/or based on my mood. I've often considered how much leniency to afford the folks who come seeking help. How much energy should I expect people to put in before I put energy in myself? That's a question that we each have to answer for ourselves.
I have a few thoughts left to leave you with. The first is don't let the visible newbness get you down. It's very easy to color our perceptions based on the content that is most visible. Constantly seeing the same annoying questions over and over again can lead you to believe that nobody is listening. Keep in mind what you're not seeing are the people who actually learned something from your efforts. They're out there and there are probably more of them than you think. If you're one of the folks who have been helped out by the misprint community, say thanks! Showing appreciation for our efforts can go a long way.
That's it for now! I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Have any advice or other strategies to share? Comment below or send me an email. Thanks for reading!