Editing of posts
I got a private message from a forum member suggesting that I was "unfairly" editing my own post, and editing the quote of it on his post.
He felt I should have left my mistake there.
Even though in hindsight, it should have been removed.
Here was my response.
I allow everybody to edit their own posts, and “anytime” someone asks me to go back and remove or edit, whether the post is fourteen years old or ten seconds old I do it for them. There are plenty of mistakes and things written in haste.
Why have junk. That’s what editing is for.
Since I am a plumber, and many of the “experts” are plumbers, I remove information about buying online, which does not support the people answering the questions. If you need a site to recommend the cheapest prices, then this isn’t for you.
I’m in favor of supporting local business, and paying local sales taxes.
I support the plumbers and electricians that are trying to survive in this economy. They provide advice and service, and deserve a living wage and should be compensated for their education.
I’m in plenty of trouble right now with the trades, because they think , I’m “giving away the store”. I have many complaints from plumbers saying I’m giving away trade secrets, and they are right. I just want to see the work done right, whether it’s by a plumber or by a homeowner.
I've spent hours every day helping people that I don’t know, and with no compensation. I answer phone calls from around the country, and so does my son. We will walk people through their problems and give advice, for free.
What I forgot to say, is that often my editing includes spell check, correcting plumbing terms, adding photos, sometimes taking their photo and enhancing it. Adding links that make sense which adds value to the post. Sometimes I modify the title, which with this software, enables five links at the bottom of the page that may also have information that would be helpful. Frankly, "all" of this just adds value to the entire discussion. Some of my "edits" are going back on old posts and fixing dead links. On the Internet, things are constantly changing. It's not uncommon for a good link to point to a missing page in a few years.
Thanks for all the hard work, for free. A lot of people have learned a lot from your generosity.
Criticism is easy, but what you do isn't.
As for "giving away trade secrets" -- the Internet is a new disruptive technology, and throwing a wrench into the gears isn't going to stop it...
A "mistake" does NOT have to be "forever". I was talking to a publisher friend and he told me about a "professional" book they printed, and after it was done they had 35 pages of "errata" that the writer had to append to the book to correct "mistakes and omissions". So it doesn't just happen to guys writing on the Internet. I try not to be pedantic, unless the writer has done, or written, something to be worthy of the criticism. And then I will unleash both barrels. Sometimes seriously and sometimes in jest.
Just this week alone, I've been asked by two big users of the site, to edit other peoples posts and/or remove them.
I maybe removed about 30 posts in the process.
Those were posts I had nothing to do with, in fact I wasn't even aware of them. They hadn't made my radar screen.
The one post of mine that got me in trouble, was saying that a 4x3 closet flange would work for a 1920's toilet. I thought about that one, and figured it would be safer to tell the homeowner to pick up whatever flange was going to use and try with the toilet on hand. I though that was a pretty tame response.
I even posted a picture showing how I had installed a 4" replacement flange on a 1920's home.
I thought this was pretty cool.
I moved a 14" rough into a 12" rough.
Along with all the other things you have mentioned here, the fact that you own this site answers that question. And, I would be shocked to ever learn you had actually ever done anything "unfairly" such as doctoring a post to either make yourself look better than someone else or to make anyone else look bad. At the same time, and as a former moderator at another and very large site, I would hope your moderators here know it is never okay to edit anyone's post but their own without first getting permission from the forum member who made the post.
Originally Posted by Terry
Fight the good fight and keep up the good work, Mr. Terry! I believe you have one of the best forums on the 'net.
quote; I would hope your moderators here know it is never okay to edit anyone's post but their own without first getting permission from the forum member who made the post.
Does that mean "bad advice" should be propogated, or that the entire posting should be deleted and let them try again and do it "right" the second time? I would opt for the second option. but as for the posting that was called into question, closet flanges have been a "universal size" since they were created, so it is ridiculous to say that they would not fit a 1920s toilet. The only difference between a 4" flange and a 4x3 flange is how the attach to the pipe. Either one has an opening larger than most toilets., regardless of their age. However, I have never seen a 1920s home which did NOT have a 4" cast iron or lead closet bend.
Okay, I've edited some more threads. It seems there is a website that people here have linked to, and they don't like it. When you type in their web site address, it will star out now. I hope that makes them happy. I can't say what their web site name is now, but it was something like www.plumbingtips.com
but not plumbingtips.com
See...........it's already getting fuzzy what was on the lawyers letter.
The moderating I have done was on sites that are much different than this one, but in principle, I agree with you there. If nothing more than a simple opinion has been posted, moderators and/or others can voice contrasting opinions and let readers decide from there. But if anyone at all, including myself, posts something that truly is bad information that could lead to actual damage, harm or injury, remove the post from public view and work with its author, if possible, to get the bad information out of there or corrected and then bring the post back out for all to see.
Originally Posted by hj
Terry, you are doing an amazing job with this site, and have done so for years. You really have learned a whole new profession, kind of inadvertently, I guess.
Your site. Your rules. I accept them. I accept my posts occasionally being edited. If I decide I want to enable people in East Tinyville to find a good price from a good online dealer, I'll start my own site that does that. (And I will have 3 viewers instead of your hundreds of thousands -- the number of views on here is truly astounding.)
Don't let some ingrate-malcontents give you the slightest concern. How many thousands and thousands of people, like myself initially, simply come here, research their problem and the expert answers, and proceed on their own without ever having the need to bother you or the opportunity to say "Thank you."
And there are many more, like me, who wish you had an outpost in my area. Because the fact is, not every professional in any business is honest. And you are. And that's something to be proud of, although I suspect that you just consider it normal.
As the guy who got the $800 quotation in New York just for the labor to install a Carlyle II (not from my regular plumber), I have one message for the guys in the trades who are objecting to the advice you provide: Screw You, Thieves! The only reason the Handi-hacks (and for that matter DIYs) exist is because some professionals continue to price some simple services at a non-competitive level.
This site has made you one of the best-known and most-respected plumbers in the United States and Canada. And the reason why is the central concept that I probably should have just articulated before EDITING this post, and it is this:
Complete knowledge of and transparency as to "trade secrets" should make consumers APPRECIATE and VALUE your services EVEN MORE. That is, the more we know, the more we should appreciate the value of what you know and can do. As I do. Hiding the ball just makes people suspicious that they are being ripped off...and sometimes they are.
And the reality is: there really are no trade secrets. Anybody can find the information they need anywhere out there on the web or at the library. They just have to look for it. Sometimes they have to look for it hard. What there IS, however, is expertise and knowledge born of experience. That's worth something. (Heck, anything I do as an attorney anyone can figure out how to do if they put enough time in. But what is worth something in my profession is someone who knows how to do a particular thing well; and those experts are worth the extra money per hour. A consumer of legal services could pay for 20 hours of some young lawyer researching and trying to figure out the contours of an answer to a problem in an area she don't know, or he can spend an hour on the phone with a friend of mine who knows that area backwards and forwards; even at a high hourly rate, the friend is a much better value. Same in your profession.) And I'm happy to pay a fair price for that expertise, and extremely grateful when it is offered for free on here.
Speaking of legal services, I'm always happy to return the favor the next time some dufus has a lawyer send you some stupid letter, just as long as I don't have to do anything that would constitute practicing law in your jurisdiction, where I am not licensed. Just email me at the address in my profile.
(So glad I could EDIT this, as I often do with my posts...)
Information yes. Skills, no. Those take experience. As for pricing most price based on their cost of doing business.
I have been a member of this forum for quite a while and it has always been cool.I do not post much any more but I will check it all the time.