Why is there so much poor information about bonsai on the Internet?

Bonsai Nut

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Every time I do a Google search for bonsai on the Internet (or bonsai stores, or bonsai shopping), about 3/4 of the results are junk. Forget mallsai - many of the trees I see don't even TRY to be bonsai; they are simply seedlings stuck in Chinese pots. Supplies are junk - cheapo gardening tools. Information is the most general bland gardening info that would quickly get you into trouble if you followed it blindly.

It almost makes me wish there was a national bonsai association "seal of approval" or something similar, that could be given to retailers and sites that at least "try" to support real bonsai art. Sticks in pots need not apply.
 

Kevster

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Ugh... I so agree!!! Quality of stock these places carry is horrible. I've been looking for a nice pre-bonsai and I wouldn't buy anything these places grow. It all looks like cuttings shoved in a pot. There are very few good places to shop from.
 

rockm

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Because the web is a very poor place to find much of anything that's accurate. That's not to say the accurate informaiton isn't here, it just takes some doing to find it. Same with just about anything else online. The greatest strength of the Internet--its vast diversity--is also its greatest weakness. It's all just information that is unfiltered. It's best to remember that in whatever you're looking for online...
 

Dav4

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Every time I do a Google search for bonsai on the Internet (or bonsai stores, or bonsai shopping), about 3/4 of the results are junk. Forget mallsai - many of the trees I see don't even TRY to be bonsai; they are simply seedlings stuck in Chinese pots. Supplies are junk - cheapo gardening tools. Information is the most general bland gardening info that would quickly get you into trouble if you followed it blindly.
People want to make a fast buck...period.
 

jk_lewis

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Rockm is SO right. The I'net in general is the LOWEST common denominator of useful information. Any body can post any thing here with no peer review, no editing, no fact checking. Unless you KNOW the source you should take every bit of information given to you over the I'net with several large grains of salt.

It's a bit like searching for trees at a nursery, you may look at 200 trees before you find one that is even worth considering. A Google search requires the same amount of careful culling and consideration before you accept what you read.

If I were a teacher, for instance, I would NEVER accept a paper that gave Wikipedia as a reference note, though for quick-and-dirty information, it is quite valuable. But again, anyone can start an article and anyone can edit one and in the socio-economic areas, there often is a lot of info planted there by various special interests until it gets culled out by the keepers of the site.

Rumor mongers love the I'net.
 

Ang3lfir3

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Any body can post any thing here with no peer review, no editing, no fact checking.
Which is a good thing ... I know that freaks the old foghies out but it is!
It's a bit like searching for trees at a nursery, you may look at 200 trees before you find one that is even worth considering. A Google search requires the same amount of careful culling and consideration before you accept what you read.
Yup!! as with many things in life worth doing..... gotta use ur head
Rumor mongers love the I'net.
are you spreading rumors about the internet on the internet??? that is soooo Meta!
 

Ang3lfir3

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Every time I do a Google search for bonsai on the Internet (or bonsai stores, or bonsai shopping), about 3/4 of the results are junk. Forget mallsai - many of the trees I see don't even TRY to be bonsai; they are simply seedlings stuck in Chinese pots. Supplies are junk - cheapo gardening tools. Information is the most general bland gardening info that would quickly get you into trouble if you followed it blindly.

It almost makes me wish there was a national bonsai association "seal of approval" or something similar, that could be given to retailers and sites that at least "try" to support real bonsai art. Sticks in pots need not apply.

As to the trees? well you don't honestly find much because most bonsai dealers have learned that internet sales are a pain in the arse ... if people want good material they will contact the known nursery and ask for images of specific types of material in specific price ranges.... it is not worth it to most of them to deal with selling anything more than that.... There are the rare few who do deal with internet sales.... and they are the exception... (maybe 5 if you try hard)

as to horticulture information.... as you are well aware forums are the best places to look.... especially those ones with all those nutty bonsai people...there are a few other sources but forums are usually pretty up to date...

Getting some endorsement from ABS might be kind of nice actually but I think it would have more to do with offering "advanced" material ...
 

Ang3lfir3

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As an example please forgive me linking to another forum.... but the images tell the tale...

If you were too look at the online sales for Kaede Bonsai (Matt Ouwinga) you would see these seedlings: http://kaedebonsai.com/shop/

however if you look at the gallery to see bigger trees that may be for sale you would see these few trees...
http://kaedebonsai.com/gallery/bonsai-collection/

Now if you physically went to Kaede Bonsai ... you would see a different story....
http://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/t8437-kaede-bonsai-ready-for-winter-and-big-sale

if you are looking for a great shohin ..... contact Matt and have him send you images of many of the potential options... don't expect to spend $40 ( .... ohh!!! he hits on an important aspect :) )
 

tmmason10

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I would agree that the forums seem to be the most valuable source on the internet. But even then you can't take everything said at face value. Internet sales don't interest me personally I'd rather see the tree and it's current health in person, and talk to the people at the nursery. Although maybe I will pick up some of those seedlings af posted...
 

Bonsai Nut

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As an example please forgive me linking to another forum.... but the images tell the tale...

I'm glad you posted this because I would never have known. You may or may not have noticed it, but I did not have a link to Kaede Bonsai in our links section. That is because when I went to the site in the past, all I saw were seedlings. If they don't refer to more advanced stock, or don't show it on the site, I have no way of knowing it exists.

And this gets to a related point... there are two worlds of bonsai in the US. There is the public "sticks in pots" world. And there is the private "club and behind the scenes" world. I would guess that the first world is about 10x as large as the second, and it is really sad because bonsai will never grow in the US if we can't figure out a way to bridge the gap. The fact that some stores don't even bother to show their better stock on the Internet is a telling example. I know some of the best bonsai nurseries that don't even have web sites - even if they don't do Internet sales they aren't even promoting their nurseries online. And so when people come to see the public face of bonsai in this country what do they see -- Home Depot mallsai.
 

rockm

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"Any body can post any thing here with no peer review, no editing, no fact checking."

'Which is a good thing ... I know that freaks the old foghies out but it is'
It's really not. It is what it is. Neither good nor bad.

Old fogies aren't 'freaked out" by it. We're just weary of having ill-informed, ignorant or just plain dishonest Internet bonsai crappola (and crappola in general) presented as "fact." In bonsai, I can't count the times I've seen obvious worthless junk being sold as authentic bonsai with an accompanying price tag. All it takes is one look at 98 percent of the 'bonsai' sold on Ebay, or a look at some guy's YouTube video purporting to show how to repot a bonsai... Sorting through the chaff to get to the wheat is a real issue for many starting out. This kind of thing was true B4 the net, but there was much less of it and it wasn't as readily available.
 

Attila Soos

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And so when people come to see the public face of bonsai in this country what do they see -- Home Depot mallsai.

Which may be a good thing in disguise. Because one has to get his ass off the couch and do some actual person-to-person interaction if one wants quality bonsai. The truth is, that the Internet is a risky place, and there is no risk in putting up some cuttings for sale, but when it comes to valuable, or potentially priceless works, then you want safety and trust. Safety and trust is not what the Internet is about. It's just another proof that machines will never replace humans, when it comes to fine things in life.

We often forget that the Internet is just a tool. It has nothing to do with the real world, or the reality, although we may call it "virtual reality". It is virtual, but no reality whatsoever.
 

Attila Soos

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"Any body can post any thing here with no peer review, no editing, no fact checking."

'Which is a good thing ... I know that freaks the old foghies out but it is'
It's really not. It is what it is. Neither good nor bad.

Old fogies aren't 'freaked out" by it. We're just weary of having ill-informed, ignorant or just plain dishonest Internet bonsai crappola (and crappola in general) presented as "fact." In bonsai, I can't count the times I've seen obvious worthless junk being sold as authentic bonsai with an accompanying price tag. All it takes is one look at 98 percent of the 'bonsai' sold on Ebay, or a look at some guy's YouTube video purporting to show how to repot a bonsai... Sorting through the chaff to get to the wheat is a real issue for many starting out. This kind of thing was true B4 the net, but there was much less of it and it wasn't as readily available.

The good thing about this is that Internet will eventually teach people to exercise critical thinking, at a mass scale. In the past, we had our "leaders", and we regarded them as authorities. Most of the interaction was personal, so there was little room for dissent. Now, we have a shitload of data to sort through (good and bad), and we are required to turn this data (good and bad) into "information". In the process, we have to use a lot of analysis and critical thinking. So, I think that this is a good thing, since it empowers the masses, and takes away some of the control from the "authorities". The flip side is that the price of freedom is risk. Life just got riskier (just like in the jungle), and those who cannot think for themselves, will lose.

There was a time when the written word was almost automatically assumed to be true. This was the time of our grandparents. These days, the written word is cheaper than the spoken one, so you better use your judgment carefully.

By the way, this is why I use my real name on the forums, instead of calling myself XZY7977. It's my way of saying, that I stand by what I say, and take responsibility for it. I know that there are valid arguments for using screen names, but in my view, anonymity is the breeding ground for deception, and I don't want to be in that place.
 
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rockm

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"The good thing about this is that Internet will eventually teach people to exercise critical thinking, at a mass scale."

This is wishful thinking, I'm afraid. The lowest common denominator usually wins out in massive exercises. By and large herds act like herds and don't think for themselves. The theory of the "hive mind" is rather depressing. I see it supplanting individual, critical thinking. It's much easier to consult a faulty bank of data electronically than to actually go out and learn something on your own physically. Never underestimate the power of laziness.
 

Alex DeRuiter

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Angelfire, thanks for that post. I was trying to find more on Kaede since I'm somewhat close to Chicago, and now I know it really is worth the trip. Thanks :D
 

Bill S

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"The good thing about this is that Internet will eventually teach people to exercise critical thinking, at a mass scale."

This is wishful thinking, I'm afraid. The lowest common denominator usually wins out in massive exercises. By and large herds act like herds and don't think for themselves. The theory of the "hive mind" is rather depressing. I see it supplanting individual, critical thinking. It's much easier to consult a faulty bank of data electronically than to actually go out and learn something on your own physically. Never underestimate the power of laziness.

But but the internet said it was so, how can I be wrong, this is a sad thing I have seen getting worse, and when the youngin's pipe in w/ remarks re. us old fogies not getting it, I wonder who isn't getting it. Eric how do you sift out the crap, or do you not worrry about it??? Sorry is a word of hollow letters,I see to many sorries these days that are supposed to take care of someone using an easy out and getting it wrong. If this is Okay then what is the point of putting any effort into things. So using the wiki example if someone puts up crap and you use it are you responsible, or does it sound like "well I looked it up on the net, and thats what they said". Ethics and personal responsability are another thing being dragged down by ambivalence. Facts are to be facts, if you look it up it should be the same where ever you look, if you stand as a factual resource shouldn't you make sure the facts are correct before letting someone see them?? The honor system sucks and will NEVER be and should never be a standard.
 

Bill S

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Just thought of an example - Lous bonsai on the net sells indoors redwoods, I called him on it, and got you are an ice hole, who do you think you are to tell me what I can sell. Tell him I can spread the good word, his response is well I know people that grow them indoors. Ya his sucker customers, this is a case of the bonsai seller selling the masses what ever gets them a buck. Is there something wrong with this picture, sure is, but I don't know how to fix it, the net is kind of like the the ole wild wild west, hang a sidearm off your belt and hope you make it to the next stop.
 

Klytus

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I guess if you had the right search terms in the right language it colud provide hours of looking at artful potted plants in China but maybe the same results as a search in English,an horrifying prospect.
 

Mike423

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I had spoken to Matt last winter about how he overwinters (finding him by random and seeing he lived relatively close to me) and he welcomed me to visit him. I didn't know he had raw and more defined material like that until now and, I think I might try to contact him again :) He has a sweat Trident over rock he usually shares at the Midwest Bonsai society show at the Chicago Botanical garden.
 
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