Ten tips for dealing with other collectors on social networking sites

Well this post may come across as a little patronising to some – who am I to tell you guys how to deal with other collectors? Well I don’t have all of the answers but I do spend a lot of time on forums and Facebook and what I do know is that there are regular bust-ups that really could have been been avoided with simple manners and courtesy. I pride myself on making an effort with people and I get my best results by putting myself in their shoes – treat people how you would like to be treated yourself. Sounds corny right? Well it is but unfortunately we often disregard this pearl of wisdom. We love the figures but we don’t collect in a vacuum – we engage with other collectors.

After more than a year on the forums I’m yet to have anything more than a disagreement, I believe this stems from my working in a very stressful environment where a simple miss-communication can bring the bricks and mortar of work relationships tumbling down. Don’t get me wrong – there is a time and a place for stern words and maybe even anger but really we all love vintage star wars collecting and just want to get along with minimal stress . So let’s see what are some of the minor things we can change to bring us a bit closer to this goal.

1. When you post a query on a forum or a group (for example ‘How do I identify a PBP Luke Hoth’) make an effort to say hello or to at least sound friendly and for god sakes thank people that took their time to respond to you! This may look like I’m teaching my grandmother to suck eggs but I am amazed how people phrase their questions and how people often make no effort to be grateful. Getting a response is a privilege not an entitlement.

2. Try not to take differences in opinion so personally. I know this is difficult, we are all emotionally invested in our opinions/collecting stlyes etc etc. But at the end of the day when my opinion is being criticised, it is not necessarily an attack on me as a person. This is something I have to deal with daily at my work and I wouldn’t survive without thick skin. If you are anything like me you might change your opinions regularly anyway. So take it easy guys and try to be objective!

3. Speak respectfully with each other! If you don’t agree with someone, there is no need to shoot them down or to be brutal. Argue your point with logic, not insults. For me this is one of the true signs of an intelligent person. And just a quick tip, it screams anger when you capitalise words during a debate and underlining words stinks of condescension.

4. Don’t blast someone if you feel that their question/statement is ‘stupid.’ Not everyone is gifted with the same levels of intelligence and not everyone is as knowledgeable as others. I cringe when I think back to some of my early posts. Actually I cringe when I read my current posts!

5. Do some research before you ask a question. Okay you might be new to the game but you can still do a quick google search before you post a query and if you can’t find the answer, more experienced forum members will respect you more for at least showing you did some research yourself. Laziness is not well tolerated in the forums and groups.

 6. Have some appreciation for what the old guard has done for our hobby – those guys that hounded ex-Kenner employees for their treasures or those that studied the figures meticulously to identify variations. You don’t need to treat them like gods, just have some respect. We’d be no-where if it wasn’t for them.

7. Don’t pretend to be more knowledgeable than you are. This feigning gets called out pretty quickly. There’s nothing wrong with lacking knowledge in a certain area. I love it actually as it gives me something more to learn and explore.

8. If you have a for sale thread, respond to queries and offers – even if it is not something that advances your sales. Respect that people have made an effort to contact you for whatever reason. I once had a seller not respond to my decent offer but then they contacted me a month later saying they would accept my offer (obviously they couldn’t sell the item). I refused to buy it on principle.

9. Make an effort to re-read your post/comment for grammar errors/typos. And capitalise! People will respect that you have made an effort to make your post look professional and comprehensible. It sounds a bit superficial but I often get turned off by posts that look like they were written by a drunk five year old.

10. My final piece of advice is to listen to the moderators/admins! They do their best to keep the forums chugging along so we need to respect them, even if we don’t always agree. I doubt any of the moderators/admins get paid so appreciate that they are sacrificing their precious time to make our social cyber spaces better.

So those are my thoughts. I in no way think my list is exhaustive or that I’m 100 percent correct. I’d love to hear what you guys think? What are your top tens?

Thanks for reading. Play nice and stay cool.

Christian