Where’s the support?

Bittenfox

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I have not been on this forum for long, but a good portion of my general questions and posts with my excited victories are met with judgements and harsh criticism. I guess I feel that one should ask me questions instead of assuming things. I wanted to share in some Bonsai-nerdiness with like-minded people on this forum. I didn’t sign up to be burned at the stake because I am new and do things differently.
Is there a specific area, on this forum, where Bonsai people are NICE? Just want some support in my newest hobby.
 

Bonsai Nut

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I think the majority of people on this site are nice, particularly if you get the chance to meet them in real life. However the Internet being the Internet, people argue, posture, flame, and sometimes just have a bad day and want to take it out on someone. And if you happen to have a different opinion about the perfect soil mix... prepare to mix it up :)

There is a section for "new to bonsai" where I believe people are more forgiving, in general. Also, if you find that one person in particular annoys you, simply hit the "ignore" button and you will never see their posts again. You can always go back and "un-ignore" them in the future.
 

Bonsai Nut

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Also... don't get me wrong when I say this... bonsai is an art form that naturally invites critique. To develop really good trees usually requires a combination of time, technique and vision. I am not aware of anyone who one day picks up a tree at Home Depot and the next day becomes an accomplished bonsai master. There is a huge difference between being someone who loves plants and has a green thumb, and someone who can develop and maintain top bonsai.

Now I love my baby trees from seed :) In fact, even now we are having a six-year contest to see who can grow the best Japanese black pine bonsai from seed. However I have many trees that are in the seedling stage, or the early grow-out or development stage, and they are not bonsai. They are simply plants that make me happy and that I have a vision for. Call them "sticks in pots". Now if I show up on this site with one of my sticks in a pot, and start talking about it, I can guarantee you that the first thing that is going to happen is that people are going to start to critique it and let me know all the things that I need to do to make it a nice bonsai tree... even though I have been doing this for 30 years and am probably just as aware of all of the material's flaws as they are. :) It's ok though... because I recognize their criticisms for what they are, and in the majority of cases I agree with them!

However when first starting out you may not always understand the short-comings of your trees. You may feel that criticisms of your trees are actually attacks on YOU (the grower). You may feel defensive... I know that when starting out I did. Just let it go and read the comments. Seek to UNDERSTAND them before you judge them. And if someone with lots of experience critiques your trees, learn to value their input. Whether you do something about it or not is strictly up to you. But rarely are people posting just to score ego points. Usually they are posting to share their thoughts, and usually it comes from a place of trying to help.
 
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zanduh

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Was the thread where people were rude you deleted? I see only good feedback unless someone is PM’ing you insults.

Generally this forum seems very kind to newbies. If there’s fighting it seems to be among the much more tenured members duking it out over a battleground topic based on which master or lack their of they studied under.
 

JesusFreak

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You have to learn who to take advice from and who to ignore. I was told very quickly that is the case on this board, regardless of their level of experience.
 

leatherback

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You have to learn who to take advice from and who to ignore.
really? i find that pretty much all members have their inspirational moments.
(Then again, I am quite against wholesale ignoring of people. I find it very disrespectfull)
 

Michael P

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My experience on this forum improved greatly after I put a very few members on "ignore". Don't do it immediately if you dislike one post. But if a pattern develops, ignore that member. When I first joined I was surprised at the occasional rude behavior, some of it directed at new people.

I am a moderator on an unrelated forum, and we would not tolerate some of the behavior I see here. I called out a few people, then ignored them. Let's face it, you can't like everyone.
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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Some people make personal attacks, it's what they do.
People can call my trees shitty, I don't care. I'd probably agree.
But personal assaults when uncalled for, are a big no in my book. However, I do have to note that we Europeans sometimes don't sugar coat stuff as much as Americans do and that it can look like an attack.

As for support.. We do long term projects here. Decade-long. I get it when people stop saying you're on the right path after the first few comments. I mean, the next point in development is five years in the future. It's not an art class where you produce a sketch every lesson and improve within minutes.

Personally, I have issues with dealing with critique. I'm too full of myself to accept what others think sometimes. This leaves me two options: take the risk, bite the bullet and go for it.. Or post nothing.
Or I can go to reddit where everybody is nice but not really helpful in the ways that matter.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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I have not been on this forum for long, but a good portion of my general questions and posts with my excited victories are met with judgements and harsh criticism. I guess I feel that one should ask me questions instead of assuming things. I wanted to share in some Bonsai-nerdiness with like-minded people on this forum. I didn’t sign up to be burned at the stake because I am new and do things differently.
Is there a specific area, on this forum, where Bonsai people are NICE? Just want some support in my newest hobby.

Sorry, I was not trying to be harsh, I was just offering some perspective.
 
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I had a couple responses that took a couple reads to realize maybe English isn't a first language or just grammatical misunderstandings that seem short or rude.
I have seen a couple comments along the lines of "you wasted your time and money on that" like every tree needs to be competition quality. That bummed me out at first and felt a bit "Gate keeper" like. I don't have any bonsai nurseries around me so I'm limited to landscape nurseries. I almost threw my hands up at one point and went "well I guess I don't get to enjoy this".

I learned a lot about what not to do from my first box store crappy trees. It was still good practice and in retrospect very low risk because the material was useless and I didn't mess up something I'll regret.
 

leatherback

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"you wasted your time and money on that"
interesting that you read that as
every tree needs to be competition quality
I hear that argument more often.

Instead, I always read it as: You would be able to get a better bonsai if you had invested your time in finding better material for that sort of money.

I am not convinced it is
maybe English isn't a first language or just grammatical misunderstandings

I sometimes also wonder whether there are people looking at posts assuming people being helpfull, and taking messages that way. Or people reading posts assuming the other person is trying to put someone down / hurt someone, and taking the messages that way. And of course, some countries need more honey around their mouth than others.

Ah well. What do I know. A few dozen people on this forum have me on ignore I think. Never understood why.
 

HorseloverFat

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Surprisingly, a whackjob like myself is normally a confrontation magnet..

But here, all have been very polite to me. And I have tried to be polite to all.

You can only control what YOU do. ;)

So that is my advice, perpetuate understanding/politeness... reciprocate.. and if there is no positivity there... fabricate.

It’ll catch on.

🤓
 

coh

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@Bittenfox , I don't know...I scanned through your 2 threads and didn't see anything that seemed harsh. Not sure what you are expecting from people.

There are many facebook bonsai groups, some geared toward beginners. Maybe you'd find something more to your liking there.

BTW...given your situation (based on the "Rogue" thread), the best course of action for you right now would probably be to acquire some tropical plants that are already somewhat established. I know you have the scheff, there are many ficus varieties that could do well if you can provide enough light through the winter. The seeds I think will turn out to be more trouble than they are worth if you can't even put the resulting plants outside during the summer.
 

JesusFreak

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Now I will say this...as much as there’s negative vibes and snarky remarks, there’s also much more encouragement and help. I actually brag to my fiancé and close family about how helpful this forum is. @Leo in N E Illinois literally took about 2-3 hours to help me with a tree I’m trying to develop. He’s not the only one. When I first started @Shibui was doing the same thing. It’s this kind of brotherhood and community that makes me want to get better. I hope one day I’m at a level that I will take someone under my wing and teach them. Comments can come off as “hey I know this and I know that, you need to learn this and that”. But for the most part that’s not the take I get from the board as a whole. People gonna act like people at the end of the day
 

Brad in GR

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I’m still a beginner (year 4 deep dive).

This forum is the key cog in my knowledge machine. It has pointed me in the right direction in so many ways. From the members providing feedback, to how to collect properly, to bonsai pots and their value/worth/how to best obtain, to techniques on air layering, pruning, root work, and timing of those techniques... to any species you can think of having a thread related to it...

Stick it out. Absorb the minor body blows to your psyche and keep learning. Haven’t found much harshness in commentary and I have posted some humble stuff.

I do find that I see my posts from even a year ago and recognize how much this forum has taught me.

Also allows cool connections to people in your zone who have the best insight on how your trees will react.

And you get insight from people who have been doing this long before images from smartphones and Reddit even existed. Finest resource for bonsai knowledge on the web IMO.
 

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