Topic: Our Forum

Can't We Stop The Sarcasm

Posted by Markitek on 500 Points
I've been part of this site almost from the beginning. I started writing for Ann back in her ClickZ days, and followed her when she came here. I've answered a fair number of questions (as much as a busy workload allows). I've written a fair number of articles here (in fact, mine was the Editor's Choice for best article back in, I think it was, 05). I've been a Marketer for thirty plus years and have been a consultant for 20 of those.

And I am driven to anger by the incredibly sarcastic and disrespectul answers given by folks here to what are, in general, sincere and serious questions (despite them being either poorly expressed in English or not particularly interesting).

Folks: do you agree with me that some standard of behavior, of civility, of respect has to be imposed on this forum? Some set of guidelines that prevents the posting of responses that have as their intention ridicule and mockery of the poster? And if so, let's collect some ideas about what those standard might be, and how they might be enforced.

Phil . . . I'm particularly intested in your answer to this.
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  • Posted by Markitek on Author
    Now that both sides have been heard on this, I hope to get others who will offer constructive notions. Perhaps the MP team can set up a flagging system, where answers that are disrespectful can be tagged for removal.
  • Posted by Markitek on Author
    You paint the other parts of the picture well . . . I agree most of the comments here are well intentioned and respectful.
  • Posted by telemoxie on Accepted
    let's try and look at both sides of the issue.

    maybe some comments are questionable. Maybe they can and should be flagged for review by others...

    But certainly some comments are exceptional. If we put a procedure in place to flag questionable comments, can we also find a way to flag those comments which are well worth reading?
  • Posted by Chris Blackman on Accepted
    I guess that if anyone on this forum could honestly say they were completely innocent of the behaviours alleged by Markitek, then let them cast the first stone.

    Some of the more seasoned marketers responding through KHE might, sometimes, get a little frustrated with the lack of thought exhibited by a question asker. And we all know it's tough to come up with a "unique catchy name and tagline for my new business opening next week so we need something fast". It's easy to think out loud on the forum whether people asking that kind of question are truly well advised to consider entering into their own business at all.

    Maybe that's the time to stand back and ask yourself, as an expert, whether your contribution is going to add any value to either the question asker, or other readers of the forum.

    What I think we would want to avoid, as self-proclaimed leaders in our field, is that less experienced or brand-new participants here might feel afraid to ask a question for fear of being publicly humiliated by one or more respondents. Who here has been unable to forget their first "dumb question" at school, and their treatment at the hands of some merciless bully-jerk teacher. I saw it happen time after time, and it quickly resulted in fellow students not asking questions any more.

    This question is number 31086 on the forum. Since the inception of MarketingProfs KHE, we've provided an incredible quantum of advice to a huge number of people, many of whom were newbies, students and wannabes, some of whom fell into the category of 'drive-by askers' who registered, asked a poorly-framed question, and never participated in the thread discussion they had provoked.

    Did we help them? Maybe.

    Why didn't they come back again? Who knows. But maybe the tone or quality of our answers were sometimes partly to blame.

    I don't want to have anything to do with a community where bullies rule. My time is far too valuable for that - and I don't want to become tainted by association.

    But I would also like to think that through our collaboration on this forum, even we 'experts' can learn not just about marketing, but we can also each learn to become a better mensch.

    I saw a young man last night wearing a T-shirt with the slogan 'Sarcasm is just another service I provide.' Très Gen Y, I know, and I thought it funny at the time.

    But if sarcasm becomes the MAIN service you provide, at what point should you start to look at getting out of the sarcasm business?

    In any community there are rules and certain conduct is expected. Those who fail to live up to the community's expectations may be penalised in some way. Shelley has pointed out the rules.

    My mother used to say if she couldn't find something nice to say, she wouldn't say anything at all. That approach simply doesn't work on a forum where people are asking for frank, honest advice about something. But it is usually possible to say something constructive in a way that plays the ball, not the man.

    I know I have occasionally typed a response to a question here, and before submitting it, I have decided my input added nothing of new value to the discussion, and deleted it instead.

    Perhaps that is advice we could all use from time to time.
  • Posted by Markitek on Author
    I'm glad to hear that a) I'm not a voice crying in a hypersensitive wilderness and b) others care about this as I do. And now that my blood is just simmering instead of boiling, I'd also like to add that my complaint was against a very few . . . but it only takes one or two to ratchet down the quality of the exchange.

    I'll keep this open through next week and see if we can't generate some more good ideas.

    Thanks to everyone for their thoughtful contributions so far.

    And to those who enjoy giving the smarmy answer . . . look at what's being said here and try and understand that those kinds of answers do impact the group, do upset more than just cranky old Mike.
  • Posted by Gary Bloomer on Accepted
    Dear All,

    An interesting debate, that's for sure.

    First of all, am I guilty of being sarcastic? Yes. And I'll do more to be less so in future. I'll continue to tell the truth, but sure, I'll be more mindful of people's feelings.

    Have I upset a few people. Probably. But of the 800 plus questions I've answered since I joined in May 2009 the best part of 75 percent of those answers have been accepted and I've received lots of e-mails from people I've never heard of thanking me for my opinion or for my contribution.

    As a fairly new contributor, these messages mean the world to me, they really do.

    Have I ever set out with the INTENTION of upsetting anyone.

    Never. Not once. I have a zero tolerance for bullies and although my opinion might at times sound harsh it is, never the less, grounded in reality and in being truthful.

    When people enter the world of business thinking or expecting that their every move will make them rich or that every idea they have will be brilliant they're living in a dream world and, harsh or not, I believe it's the duty of every contributor to firmly but politely offer firm, sound advice—whether the questioner wants to hear it or not.

    Just because questioners are getting advice and opinion for free does not mean the quality of the response they gain ought to be cheap or at all unhelpful. But yes, civility and openness DO help, as does the realization on the part of the questioner that when they ask a question, badly written though it may be, they need to be prepared to hear what they are not expecting to hear.

    Have I ever followed up OFF FORUM with someone who I've upset?


    And I do this because civility is a good thing to exercise and
    it's good business.

    But as Phil points out, it makes no sense to butter things up
    and pat people on the head and say "Sure, your lame ass (sorry,
    I meant brilliant cash cow) idea will work perfectly!" when contributors know full well it will end in tears and pain.

    At heart, Michael's right: some degree of self censorship MAY be helpful. And yes, I've rewritten entire posts before now when, having re-read them I've realized I've gone perhaps a little too far.

    Sometimes, I write to be funny, although yes, my jokes fall flat every now and again and yes, I know my posts are often long.

    Do I EXPECT every questioner to LIKE my answers? No and I know that that's NOT what Michael's suggesting. But let's be honest here: if the people posting questions don't LIKE the answers they're given, I'd suggest that their reaction (or their over reaction as the case may be) may often say just as much about them as the tone of the forum contributor says about them. If you see what I mean.

    I answer posts on this forum to HELP people (if I can). I always try to see things from the questioner's view point; I sometimes fail to see their view, true, but I always try to think "What does this person need?"

    If I feel the questioner needs a kick up the backside, I'm NOT going to candy coat my opinion. I'll be polite and I'll be honest,
    but I won't lie to people and tell them everything's going to be
    just peachy when I just KNOW it will all end in tears.

    But if I thought for even one minute that my overall contribution to this site wasn't helping people, you'd not hear from me again.

    I like the idea of posts being flagged as possible needing more sensitivity, But as Phil mentions, an issue of censorship comes up here. I think ALL contributors need to think a little more BEFORE the post—myself included, and I think it's incumbent on contributors to re-read their own stuff and, once they've re-read and thought things through a little more—to contact KHE moderators and request that a post be removed so that the contributor can then re-post something a little less harsh, should they think it's necessary, warranted, or helpful to the questioner.

    I also think questioners ought to be screened a little more, that perhaps KHE staff could insist that questions have more detail and that the questioner include an e-mail address as a mandatory part of posting a question. At least then forum contributors would have more to go on, question wise, and have the ability to follow up with a questioner off forum should they choose to.

    Just my two cents' worth.

    Gary B.

  • Posted by mgoodman on Accepted
    It's interesting (at least to me) that I have not noticed any significant degree of sarcasm and was somewhat surprised to read the original post. Is there an occasional touch of sarcasm? I suppose, but not to the point of bothering me.

    Are Phil and Gary very direct and clear when they think a question reflects unclear thinking or unreasonable requests? Yes, and I think that's probably appropriate.

    I try to remind myself that people wouldn't ask questions if they knew the answers, and then offer my best shot at an answer that will be helpful to them. But there are times when a question is so absurd as to beg for someone to tell the emperor that he's naked. And I've done that too. And there are times that I've intentionally ignored a question because I don't think I can be helpful without hurting some feelings.

    I think we do pretty well as a group, and I'd be very much opposed to any form of imposed censorship as long as the overall system seems to be working. From where I sit, it's a case of "if it ain't broke don't fix it."

  • Posted by Gary Bloomer on Member
    Hey All,

    I've been involved in design and marketing for 25 years and I've seen, heard, read, and experienced a lot of things in the industry: some of them good, some of them bad, some of them idiotic, and some of them just completely beyond redemption.

    As Michael G. points out I'm often "direct". For this I make no apology. None.

    I learned this from my Dad. As far as he was concerned, life was too short to fart around.

    If he had something to say, it got said. If he had something on his mind, you knew about it. If you asked for his advice, he gave it. And if you didn't like what you heard, that was your problem, not his. He passed away almost five years ago and I miss him more than I care to admit.

    Certain people didn't like this approach with my Dad and many people don't like it coming from me.

    But you know what? Tough. Much like Michael G., I'll avoid questions where the questioner (to my mind) doesn't appear to know their ass from their elbow. I mean really, what's the point?

    And yes, I'll call people "dearie" or "my dear chap" or whatever
    for three reasons: 1., because I'm British, and 2., because I've been addressing people like that in letters for almost 30 years,
    and 3., and because one of my copywriting mentors is Neil French.

    Do I suffer fools gladly? Alas (for them) I do not. Does my persona sometimes come across as intellectual thug meets evil genius?

    Yes, I suppose it does.

    Have I had bigger blokes than me actually step out of my way when I've been walking down the street? Yes, I have. But I rescue spiders from the bathtub with a yogurt pot and a postcard so that I can dump them outside "Fly! Be free!" and honestly, I'm pretty non confrontational.

    Will I go out of my way to help a little old lady across the street and do I coo at chubby babies and giggle at all the puppy belly pinkness on YouTube? Yes, I do.

    Why? Because at heart, I'm a big softy. I'm also incredibly passionate about what I do and about what I know. And the things I know and do the best are marketing and graphic design.

    But I am no guru.

    In the past when I've employed diplomacy in marketing and design situations I've actually had someone DEMAND that I tell them what I think. (This happened way before I got involved on this forum and the person involved is not likely to read this. But even if they do read it, screw 'em!)

    In this particular scenario I used every fiber of my being to put forward the opinion that perhaps another direction would be worth pursuing in this, but this guy wouldn't let his point go.

    His exact words were "Well, if you don't like it, just say so. Come on. Just say it!" So I said "OK. I don't like it."

    His response was, and I quote "Well! I'm insulted!" And then he went off on some piss poor lecture about him knowing about design (when he didn't) and so on.

    So, now you know. Damned if I do, damned if I don't.

    Of the questions I've answered on this forum I think I've had negative responses from three people: a Canadian real estate agent, an astrologer, and someone else: I forget who. That's
    about a third of a percent of the total number of people I've responded to.

    Am I proud of the fact that I've upset anyone? Good Lord no!

    In fact, I'm mortified. But you know what? As with the chap I mentioned earlier, there will always—ALWAYS be someone who takes offense where none was intended. I can bloody well guarantee it.

    I wrote to the astrologer to clarify my position, to smooth things over. Did it work? I'm not sure. As for the Canadian real estate agent? Although I wrote a response, I didn't send it.

    Why? Some inner voice told me not to bother. It is what it is.
    A few years ago a sage old trustee of a non profit I've been involved with for ten years gave me a great piece of advice.

    We were chatting one day off to one side as a group of other trustees were discussing an important issue.

    He asked me a question, I forget now what it was, and I mentioned that I knew that I was the lowest person on the totem pole in that situation and it was then that he gave me this:

    He said: "Gary, none of these people put their pants on any differently than you or I. When you get the chance to chip in your two cents' worth, you speak your mind!"

    So there you have it. To my mind, good advice is a rare commodity these days. Me? I'll take whatever I can get.

    Stay passionate.

    Gary B.

  • Posted by Jay Hamilton-Roth on Accepted
    I think that we all do our best that moment when we answer a question. My best today might not be as good as yesterday's. Or my best today may reflect what side of the bed I got up on. Or my thoughts were influenced by what others wrote before me.

    We're all different. Each one of us has unique experiences. But we all choose to spend some of our precious time reading and responding to questions because we want to help. We all know that what we write is visible for all to see, so we hopefully self-censor ourselves appropriately.

    When someone asks a question, I enjoy thinking about my answer, and the collective responses from others. Not just the words, but the bigger view. Sometimes I sense (rightly or wrongly) that someone just wants an answer to a question, sometimes I sense that they really have a deeper question that I try to answer (or at least, point out the problems that I see). The question may even touch an emotional (or passionate) nerve, something that I wished I knew or something that I wished I could've done over, and then I try to spend more time mentoring and less time answering the question at hand.

    I think that the guidelines that exist are sufficient. If someone becomes truly intolerable, we can ban them. If someone is having a bad day responding, we cut them slack (or can send them a private email). I think that the combination our of respective voices, knowledge, spirit creates a great synergy. Like any gathering, sometimes feelings are hurt. But we have perspective from being around KHE for awhile. New people coming to visit may not have such perspective, so I do think it's important to cut new questioners a bit more slack and gently guide them to the various libraries of information that we all have access to. Perhaps having a FAQ for some common information would be helpful to us all.

    I also want to second Shelley's comment: my fellow experts are a great bunch of people. I feel lucky to be able to learn from you all daily. Thanks for sharing a part of your experiences with me.
  • Posted by mgoodman on Moderator
    Not so fast, Phil. Just because 95% of the complaints have been about your posts there is no reason to change your behavior. It's possible -- maybe likely -- that people who didn't want strong medicine complain more frequently than people who do. It's THEIR problem, not yours.

    While I occasionally wince at your comments, I almost always realize that you're giving your best advice and telling people what most of us are thinking. That's not such a bad thing. If it were, you would not have racked up 80,000 expert points and landed in the top 10 in something under 5 years on the KHE.

    I don't think Shelley was suggesting that what you are doing should be changed. Rather it says (to me, at least) that your style of "tough love" is getting through to folks and making your point better than most of us make ours.

    The goal shouldn't be to minimize complaints. It should be to provide real value to the people who come here for help. Anyone who doesn't like the advice they're given, or who doesn't like to read the advice given to others, can tune out if they want. If your postings become a problem, I'm sure Shelley (or one of the other MarketingProfs police) will say something to you in a private email.
  • Posted by Markitek on Author
    There's a gulf between straightforward and sarcastic. Between candid and caustic. I suppose you either recognize that gulf or you don't. So be it.

    And somehow, interestingly enough, this has turned into a referendum on Phil. While it was his "turn out the lights and go to dinner" remark that fired me up to start this (which is why I mentioned him by name), I didn't intend for my comments to be focused on him alone, because he is not the only practitioner of Serial Sarcasm.

    I also disagree with the "just being honest" argrument, because honesty is a content issue, and I'm talking about form here. Not about what's said, but about how it's said. You know: there are many ways to skin a cat. A sharp, refined knife does a clean job. A blunt knife creates a mess (God what an awful analogy).

    It seems to me, that if we choose to answer a question we should provide the best quality content AND form.

    People come here with issues: some of them naive and some of them not. I can tell, as can many others, by someone's question that they know little about Marketing. I can also tell, again as many others can, when an answer displays the same thing.

    Keep in mind as well that a good answer to a stupid question may not help the questioner, but it may help someone else who uses this forum as a research tool.

    My view: sarcasm is just showing off: if I can mangle Edward Albee, it's just "taking what's left of your wits out for a walk." It's purpose is to display personal cleverness . . . indeed, it may be that the intent is to get people to say "Wow, did he say that?" A kind of Glenn Beck/Keith Olbermann approach where many things are said just to see the look on people's faces.

    But that's not what we're here for.
  • Posted by SteveByrneMarketing on Accepted
    ditto to what Randall said.
  • Posted by Gary Bloomer on Member
    Dear All,

    The thing I respect and admire most about this forum is its differing personalities, many of whom positively LEAP off the screen. Oh that my own humble contributions were deemed worthy.

    So Phil, please: to thine own self be true.

    Sarcasm is said to be the lowest form of wit. Au contraire mon frere, au contraire.

    The best of comedic observation is FOUNDED in sarcasm. To invent or employ a pithy retort—sarcastic, comedic, or otherwise—takes rather more linguistic skill, insight, wit, editorial acumen, and, let's be honest here—balls than many (often lesser) writers may ever aspire to. Rather than think "Did so and so really say that?" might it not sometimes be better to think "Damn! I wish I'D said that!"

    Does this EXCUSE or JUSTIFY the use or abuse of sarcasm to bully or harass?

    No. Never.

    But to a certain degree, it MAY defend sarcasm's use to inject elements of realism into life where pompous self importance takes the helm and points the bows directly at the ice floe while steaming all ahead full, into the dark and potential doom.

    Often, pithy retorts—sarcastic or otherwise, cut through the linguistic BS that shrouds and fogs far too much of the world of marketing with its synergies and value adds that shift the paradigms that cause multifaceted core competencies to leverage organically evolved quantum leaps.

    Come again?

    David Ogilvy. Rosser Reeves. Mark Twain. Groucho Marx. Frank Zappa. George Bernard Shaw. Oscar Wilde. Victor Borge. Jane Austen. Winston Churchil. John Cleese. Rowan Atkinson. Stephen Fry. Hugh Laurie. Woody Allen. Douglas Adams. Peter Cook. And Dudley Moore would, I'm sure, all have much to say on this issue.

    Although sarcasm may be unwelcome at certain doors, it's arrival, along with its close cousins irony and cynicism can, I think, sometimes add what may (from time to time) be much needed zest, realism, levity, and openness to a conversation.

    But it's my contention that the "sometimes" in question in the paragraph above MUST ALWAYS be at the editorial discretion of the originator, so that the questioner—no matter how much of an idiot they may clearly be—might at least retain SOME element of intelligence or business acumen.

    I'm saying this because there certain half-witted questions (on
    this forum or elsewhere) that practically BEG for some pithy, Basil Fawlty-style retort. Every now and again it's just TOO tempting to
    ignore the emperor in all his or her nudity.

    The comedian Ron White (who, I'll admit, may not be everyone's cup of tea) argues that there are cures for all kinds of conditions and diseases but that sadly, there's no cure for stupid.

    "Stupid," says Ron, "is forever!"

    Although stupidity is NOT a felony, in certain cases sarcasm can
    (and perhaps ought) to be used to treat stupidity as a marketing misdemeanor.

    And yes, I agree that questioners who shoot the messenger DO
    say more about themselves than they say about the responses
    they receive.

    Again, just my humble two cents worth. I hasten to add that none of
    this is intended to start another firestorm of disagreement. I just want
    to express my opinion.

    Gary B.

  • Posted by telemoxie on Member
    you have brought up the subject of “ sincere and serious questions" which are written in poor English.

    Time and time again, well-educated and sincere and serious people from other countries ask how they can do business in the United States. Often there are a dozen or more serious grammatical errors in their brief posting.

    I have tried to gently persuade them to hire an editor if they intend to sell professional services to companies in the United States. It seems unlikely to me that United States companies will outsource marketing work to those who are apparently unable to compose a proper paragraph.

    I agree that we should be civil and that we should be respectful of others. I have personally attempted to be as gentle as I can while letting people know that those who wish to sell in the United States need to be able to spell and to punctuate (and should not write run on sentences like this one).

    Am I being overly critical?

    Should we abandon constructive criticism so that we don't hurt anyone's feelings?
  • Posted by Markitek on Author
    I'm looking back at Gary's thoughtful responses, especially at the part where he refers to them as two cents worth. Dems two mighty big pennies!

    I must say though that I think using comedians as your model for how we should interact with questioners is itself, well, questionable. (Have you ever heard Gilbert Gottfried tell his version of The Aristocrats?)

    Telemoxie, I'm with you a hundred percent . . . although it must be said that many in the international community ask questions not related to penetrating the English-speaking marketplace. But maybe I can use it to illustrate where I'm coming from. In the scenario you describe, let me share two ways of offering the advice you shared.

    "Communicating to a marketplace requires significant language skills. I'm going to strongly suggest that you ensure you have native English-speaking promotion and marketing support. While I applaud your efforts to communicate in English, your skills are not strong enough to communicate with your English-speaking marketplace."


    "I don't mean to insult you, just trying to be frank, but even Frankenstein's monster had better command of the language than you do. if you intend to communicate with English speakers with this kind of writing you might as well shut down your business and and go home ."

    Both say the same things. But in very different ways. And, by the way, the polite version is shorter than the rude one.
  • Posted by NovaHammer on Accepted
    "There's a gulf between straightforward and sarcastic. Between candid and caustic. I suppose you either recognize that gulf or you don't. So be it."

    In person I'm a different than the image I present on screen or paper. You fast typers are perhaps more real in this acerbic sense of style (says the ADD boomer) has been my curse and blessing.

    Not 'moderating' 95% of your negative feedback doesn't seem like a formula for success MP, in fact it reminds me of the phrase 'Conspiracy of Complacency' used to describe the Flying Culture that permitted a B52 Bomber to be crashed by a Hot Dogging Base Commander because no one spoke up, at any level, any time he stepped on toes and pushed the rules envelope. I don't want this resource to crash and burn.

    My MP etiquette pet peeve is not anti-business but pro free speech.

    I learn tons here and am most disappointed when an answer to an interesting question is denied me and others with the words....I've got lots of experience in this field ... contact me off line!!

    The Trolling irks me.
    MP please do not feed the Trolls - in the General Forum.

    Hugs and kisses to all.
  • Posted by Gary Bloomer on Member
    Hey Michael F.

    Big pennies, small change: it's all just opinion.

    True enough, using comedians as a representation may, I'll admit,
    be an error of judgement, and that error is mine.

    However, using the comedic observation of Ron White was meant metaphorically, not as a true model for how anyone ought to interact with questioners. One look at the clowns on Wall Street and Madison Avenue ought to be enough to put that to rest.

    And as to Phil's last point above (Hi Phil), sometimes, just coming out and telling a questioner flat out that they're an idiot may, in fact, be the kindest thing to do.

    Not always, sure. But sometimes.

    True story for you: The now deceased husband of a former colleague of mine in the UK used to have a tiny, tiny sign in the living room window of their home.

    Their house was in a beautiful, picture-postcard "yee olde" English village and the village was often used as a backdrop for BBC Dickensian television plays.

    The village therefore drew thousands of tourists, many of whom had no shame and would prove their point by blatantly trespassing and walking up garden paths to peer into windows.

    The wee sign appeared as a final straw when one of their neighbours—who had a half stable door as their kitchen door—one morning found a total stranger hanging over the lower half of her door while cooing at some unseen accomplice that "Ooh, they've got a fridge in this one!"

    The aforementioned sign was spotted by a neighbour. It was
    half the size of a cigarette packet and its message was clear but informative. It said: "Thank you for looking in my living room window. Now f___ off!"

    Again, I NEVER set out to be overtly sarcastic. Sometimes I am,
    yes and when I am it's meant with comedic intent. But most of the time, I do my best to be genuinely helpful.

    To quote Roy H. Williams, author of the Wizard of Ads books
    sometimes, "the risk of insult is the price of clarity".



  • Posted by Markitek on Author
    Gary, I meant that good naturedly. I hope you saw that. Apologies if I failed to communicate the good feeling behind it.

    Phil and Shelley . . . I wrote that myself, yes, but I did base it on Phil's language to make my point. I don't think it rises to the level of character assasination, but I apologize for the offense, since it was not intended. I did however intend to use that language to make my point.

    Not to rake a dead horse over the coals, but is it worth noting that the emotional reaction to my, let's call it, parody (a fraternal twin of sarcasm) is perhaps akin to what quiestioners feel when they receive a sarcastic answer from one of us?

    My intent was to share my strong, personal feelings about etiquette and approach to the answers we offer, and then to open it up to the others to comment. If it's starting to become a flame throwing contest, I'll close it down.

    Shelley, is there some way for me to increase the points offered on this so I can give all those who took the time to put their minds to this a bigger number of points each?
  • Posted on Accepted
    Hey everyone,

    I’ve been reading your interactions over the weekend and I’d like to approach this conversation as an outsider because all of the reactions so far have been from those who participate as experts...not from those on the receiving end of the expertise.

    Honestly, what I see/read on the KHE isn’t so much sarcasm as it is an “us versus them” stance. I know it’s what has kept me away from the KHE for many years. And, recently, it is also what has caused some of the feedback I have personally received regarding the KHE on Twitter and via e-mail in the past four months.

    Just look back to how people reacted to me when I first introduced wasn’t with acceptance or grace. It was with demands of knowing my expertise, to prove myself and to know what my intentions were. Sure, did I step in at a bad time when you were all discussing the forum? Yep, I did. Did I come back after that initial greeting? Not so much. And there’s a reason why...

    My point: You might be an expert in a certain area, but people don’t want to be made to feel as though they aren’t.

    Having been in marketing for over 15 years and an adjunct professor for seven, I guess you could say I know a thing or two about marketing. But the most important thing I know about marketing isn’t marcom or branding or SEO or PR or product marketing or research. Nope. The most important thing about marketing I know is that at the end of the day it’s about people.

    I know I am truly an outsider here compared to you all and I am sure I’ll receive some ‘expert comments,’ but I’ll ask you to do this first...take a step back and wear a different hat this time. Think about it as if you are the one who is maybe a good or talented marketer, but just needs help moving in the right direction. Would you like it if someone were to respond in a demanding and/or elitist manner? Would you come back if that happened?

    [Getting on my flak jacket on now... ;-) ]
  • Posted by Gary Bloomer on Member
    Two last points and then I'm REALLY done.

    Michael F., yes, I saw your good natured intent. I just wanted to clarify for, well, for the sake of clarity.

    Beth, I've no clue what was going on when you first came on board. I've only been contributing since April this year and to the best of my recollection, no one's said "Who the hell's the Bloomer bloke?"

    I'm just some bald bloke who knows a teeny bit about marketing. You are, of course, bang on. Without people marketing is SOL. Of the two,
    I be honest and say I think I know more about people than I do about marketing. All I attempt to do (sometimes lamely I know) is to connect one with the other.

    From my standpoint I'll continue to call it the way I see it, because I think to do otherwise can sometimes do more harm than good.

    However, I WILL take more time to think before firing off something that has potential to be taken the wrong way.

    "And they all lived happily ever after. The End"
  • Posted on Moderator
    Gary, it's water under the bridge.

    But I'll babble like a brook some more...

    Having been invovled in communities for the past 5 years (personally and professionally) I know that every one takes on a different persona...just like the KHE has.

    I think to the outside world, the KHE is, well, just not such a warm and fuzzy place to hang out. Yes, yes, I is serious business and the consultants who have made the KHE their home do so because they garner, hopefully, business from providing expert and professional advice. I get it.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that no one is an expert in everything marketing. Heck, in today's marketing world even Philip Kotler is no longer a marketing least not until he wraps his head around social media completely (which is he is doing) and how it is affecting marketing as we know it. From that perspective, I think a step back might be in order...

    BTW, I did say "Who the hell's the Bloomer bloke," but no one had an answer because it wasn't a marketing question... ;-) (I jest!)

    And thanks for hanging out with me on Twitter, I have enjoyed our conversations there! :)
  • Posted on Moderator
    Phil, hmmm, perhaps you could have addressed me too? I am here, you know. :)

  • Posted by Gary Bloomer on Member
    Phil and Beth, (and indeed, one and all)

    I like your combined thinking and perhaps Beth's points
    NEED to be separate threads.

    As to the KHE not being a warm and fuzzy place? Perhaps sometimes, yes. But not all the time.

    Yes Beth, at first, I was a little apprehensive about chipping in ANY contributions on the KHE. All those names in that orange box with their huge number of points and there I was with BUGGER ALL in terms of equity. BUT ... everyone's got to start SOMEWHERE.

    The key is action, and, of course in not being put off—in not giving up. I've seen too many people stop dead when they encountered even the tiniest roadblock. When what they bloody-well ought to be doing is saying "Well if THAT won't work, let's try THIS!"

    When people lack resilience or staying power, when they lack
    the moxie to come out swinging WHEN or IF their position is challenged or questioned—harshly or nicely—then, I think, those people not only lose face but perhaps some kind or marketing Darwinism kicks in.

    Survival of the fittest is one thing but in marketing and business, as in the natural world, it's an organism's (or businesses) ability to change (and to learn and adapt as a consequence of those changes) that matters. That, and an ability or willingness to pass those changes or traits on.

    As to "us and them". Hmm?

    I can see how this feeling MIGHT be visible, but isn't it the nature of the beast? Isn't it in the nature of ALL forums where there are those in the know (so to speak), those who, if you will "get it", and who, when asked, are not shy about giving advice?

    Of those people asking the questions, my observation is that they fall into one of three groups:

    1. Those who WANT to "get it" but somehow, it eludes them and who, when they DO get it are UTTERLY DELIGHTED to have received the help they were looking for.

    2. Those who, as above, WANT to "get it" but somehow, it eludes them and who, when they DO get it are OUTRAGED to have had their "brilliance" shown up for the (sometimes) misguided and addled chain of loosely linked pies in the sky it really is.

    3. And those who THINK they've got it but who are, in reality doomed to be forever clueless REGARDLESS of the advice, opinion, wisdom, and experience they receive.

    There might well be other groups but at the moment, I can't think of them. I think it's often groups 2 and 3 that attract the most sarcasm. Perhaps to prevent offending people perhaps no open forum is right for those who are perpetually doomed to remain shrinking violets.

    But at some point, if the need or the desire to REALLY know the answer to one's question or quest is strong enough, the fear of POSSIBLY being denounced or of having one's ballon publicly burst MUST be overcome to enable one to know, either for sure, or, at the least, to be just that better equipped to adjust one's course so that one's ship might FINALLY set sail in the right direction.

    If one, as a questioner, ISN'T prepared to take that risk, and if KHE contributors are, by the same token, unwilling to get
    a better sense of the position the questioner is in, and, as a consequence, be a little gentler on the questioner, then no one wins.

    It's only by jumping in that we make a splash or leave an impression: good or bad.

    The answer, then, must be balance.

    Shelley, your point about newer contributors is one I took to heart several days ago:

    —although why anyone ought to feel intimidated by me is beyond me, really it is. I'm just some bald Brit who writes too much.

    I still don't have a clear impression of quite how my input is received, nor, in truth do I care too much about points. I'll write 700 words to answer a 25 point question just as much as I'd write 100 words for a 3,000 point question.

    But what I do my best to avoid is belittling the opinions of other contributors—no matter how new or well-established they may be.

    I don't expect everyone to agree with every opinion I put forward and as proof I've exchanged off forum e-mails with Randall, Michael G., and others to clarify points (from which I've learned a great deal).

    So why do I answer questions here? To use what knowledge I have to help other people. If I can. And Beth, thank you. I also enjoy our chats on Twitter. And may there be many more.

    Right. Now I really AM done! Thank you and goodnight.

    Gary B.
    Wilmington, DE, USA
    Follow me on @GaryBloomer
  • Posted by Markitek on Author
    Since I started this, I am in the enviable position of owning The Last Word.

    Thanks to everyone.
  • Posted by mgoodman on Moderator
    Actually ...
  • Posted on Moderator
    Gary, not exactly sure the KHE meets the definition of a forum (even though it's called that). It's more of a Q&A site or message board... "You ask, we tell." There really isn't any conversation except amongst yourselves when these types of posts come up.

    I'd like to see it become a forum or a community because that's what I personally like to belong to. Perhaps that's another discussion for another day. :)
  • Posted by Markitek on Author
    Well, OK, I overestimated my power
  • Posted by Markitek on Author
    I meant, overestimated my power to get in the last word
  • Posted on Moderator
    Gary, maybe we should ask questions first and give answers later? Might work...

    Michael, sorry about the last word thing... :)
  • Posted on Member
    i want to know that this is the good time to invest in stock exchange?

    vernon getzler

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