Is the civility gone? - Posted by John Behle

Posted by phil fernandez on April 24, 2006 at 20:21:17:

JT didn;t attack you yesterday. What you need is tougher skin if you are going to survive the real estate business. Rejection is common in our business. If you are not being rejected enough, your offers are too high.

Hey. We’re all here to help you. Just keep the attitude in check and you’ll do well here.

JT, in my opinion is one of the top creative minds in real estate. Why do you bash him.

Is the civility gone? - Posted by John Behle

Posted by John Behle on April 23, 2006 at 18:37:45:

Many on this site seem to have lost sight of what works and what doesn?t. Not just right/wrong, but what works. The value of this forum and community are declining because of it. People have left and more will. The level of education is declining. A resource is at jeopardy.

The spirit of helpfulness has nearly been stamped out. Some first time posters are slapped down so hard with rude comments they leave. Instead of gently pointing something out, they just get stamped on. Someone asks a question and they are called stupid or heaven forbid, they post in all caps and are blown away by the next poster. Not to say people shouldn?t pause before they post, but where has the civility gone?

A ?demand mentality?. More and more people come on to the board and demand answers to their questions. Then, if they don?t get it, they are mad. If they don?t get the answer they want they insult the person who provided an answer. They ask a public question then slap someone providing an answer with a comment like ?I didn?t ask your opinion?. Sometimes the questions are so demanding or even rude that people ignore them just for their tone. Instead of appreciating responses, they criticize that they weren?t longer or more specific. Yah, that works. That makes people want to help even more.

When did this turn from a library of resources and group of friends helping each other to the ?I deserve answers!? mentality. Gurus and experienced investors take their time and provide answers, yet increasingly the responses are rude and negative. Anyone notice how many have been driven away? Anyone care? Personally I have lost interest many times over the types of responses and lack of appreciation. Sometimes a helpful post is attacked by someone looking for a fight. Funny thing. Post short responses and get criticized. Post long responses and get accused of selling something. Post an excerpt from an out of print book you have written and get accused of being someone out to get money. People even post questions demanding a specific person respond and that better be promptly.

I don?t think there are many posters here that want to be worshiped but few want to be horsewhipped. A long, intensive, time exacting response gets ignored. Few bother to read the archives. Few research before asking the same question over and over and over. So, for someone providing answers, there is a tendency to save time and post shorter answers. But, be it a long response or a short one, there is such a lack of appreciation these days that it feels like a waste of time. Then, when someone turns it into a fight, it takes great determination to want to come back.

Occasionally someone points to a post that the person asking the question could have easily found and they become offended. The expectation is that the poster has to retype or repost their responses every week or even every day to new people. So few people bother to read the articles or search through hundreds of thousands of posts. There is more information in these forums and the archives than any home study course out there, yet few avail themselves of it.

And, if someone disagrees with something it becomes a slander fest. A poster a couple months ago shared with me he would never be back (I?m definitely not talking about ?equity hunter?). He expressed a different point of view than I had and our conversation was civil. Yet others became downright nasty. When two people agree, no one learns anything. Differing point of views can educate. Yet, posting these days is just opening yourself up to the webs equivalent of a ?drive by slandering?.

So many people are gone. So many friends. Many people who contributed so freely of their time and expertise and loved helping people. I would suspect the majority got tired of the declining civility. Several have said that. Someone contributes for years and years and somebody who cares little about the community jumps into the crowd throwing punches.

My guess is it?s mostly a couple people. Even as few as one with multiple names and/or personalities. Probably a competitor. But folks. They are winning. Over time, they have been allowed to drive off many, many people.

I?m not talking any specific posts or specific people - just the tone, content and basic civility of this forum. Sure, the latest posts today, bring it to the surface, but after watching and contributing to this forum for 8 years, my post is related to the entire content. Not just this one day, but the attitude, the atmosphere, the climate. An extremely valuable resource is being abused and neglected.

Re: Is the civility gone? - Posted by Chris in FL

Posted by Chris in FL on April 25, 2006 at 13:51:34:

John, The civility is not gone. The anonymity of internet response makes it too easy for a few bad apples to splash their negativity around. However, for every loud criticizer there are hundreds of good people quietly enjoying good information, learning for free, and appreciating other good people who are kind enough to share their time and knowledge (such as yourself and Ed Garcia). So, to John Behle, Ed Garcia, and others, don’t let a few bad apples keep you from helping the rest of us. CRE Online still rocks! Best wishes!

Well said, John - Posted by J.P. Vaughan

Posted by J.P. Vaughan on April 23, 2006 at 23:45:46:

Thank you…

Re: Is the civility gone? - Posted by rick m

Posted by rick m on April 23, 2006 at 23:08:01:

I have found the articles and board invaluable and appreciate all of the people that spend their time here posting responses. I have been slapped down for asking dumb questions but I may have deserved it.

Please know that I (and I imagine we) appreciate all you do.

I have read every article on this site btw, some 2 or 3 times.

Re: Is the civility gone? - Posted by SteveOH

Posted by SteveOH on April 23, 2006 at 22:58:42:

“And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also
to them likewise.” Luke 6:31

vicar writers, I must REVISE my last post - Posted by Larry K

Posted by Larry K on April 23, 2006 at 22:45:25:

I wrote it prior to reading the series of post stemming from ?Vicar of Vagueness.? No offense to anyone, but what a bunch of trash that has nothing to do with REI. I thought there were other online message boards, which I don?t read, for such elementary mockery. Im sure that type of tone and content will drive some away. Im not speaking of the content generally, but specifically of the ones I previously mentioned. I don?t see anything wrong with posting a message concerning displeasure over a person?s line of thinking or with a consumer problem, but what is with the hostility and the name calling?
Someone put up a ?buyer beware? post concerning a specific course and that was good. Take it however you?d like. But if you?ve already made your mind up about a specific person or course, then I recommend don?t buy it, don?t read their post, and MOVE ON. Go buy some real estate and write about it on this board. I may learn something.

Well said John - Posted by Barry (FL)

Posted by Barry (FL) on April 23, 2006 at 20:26:00:

I know I haven’t been around here for awhile for many of the reasons you stated and from the looks of things, nothing’s changed very much.

Don’t you know it’s all about ME… and NOW!

For the Record, John… - Posted by Ed Croswell

Posted by Ed Croswell on April 23, 2006 at 20:11:47:

I see you take offense to my posting my thoughts. Maybe you forget the days when you were inexperienced and unsure of yourself and like Mark SDCA said, “didn’t even know WHERE to start”? I’m guessing if you ever felt that way, it was also at a time when you were younger and could afford mistakes.

Well, I’m not that young anymore and I can’t afford too many mistakes. Sure, I’ll screw up to a degree, but I need to play it relatively safe for the benefit of me and my family. So excuse me for expressing frustration over what I (and it seems others) perceive as Joe doing the “Bait and Wait” as KJ aptly titled it.

As for your cloaked reference to my response to JT, I don’t particularly enjoy being called out for rude behavior by someone I don’t know and for doing nothing more than expressing an opinion. Further, the post had nothing to do w/ JT personally, so why should I be heckled by him over it? I wonder if JT would say such a thing to me, in person, at the Convention…hmmm? Something tells me he’d bite his tongue as I believe all of these people would do as well as they sit so proud and arrogant in front of their computers happily trashing folks for expressing a contrary point of view.

Re: Is the civility gone? - Posted by Larry K

Posted by Larry K on April 23, 2006 at 19:30:46:

CREOnline is definitely a valuable resource. I came across it a year or so ago, thought it was good information, but did not take full advantage of the site. I recently revisited the site when I learned about the upcoming conference and have been enjoying reading the articles, success stories, posting questions/responses, etc. I hate that I missed it when the content was even better.

Couldn’t agree more!! NT - Posted by Matt

Posted by Matt on April 25, 2006 at 18:19:54:


Re: For the Record, John… - Posted by phil fernandez

Posted by phil fernandez on April 24, 2006 at 06:45:15:

I know JT. And he would say the same to you in person. JT is a stand up guy and won’t be biting his tongue for anyone.

Ed it’s not an issue of your contrary point of view, contrary points of view are often helpful. It’s the way you express yourself. You come across as rude and insulting.

Re: For the Record, John… - Posted by J.P. Vaughan

Posted by J.P. Vaughan on April 24, 2006 at 24:00:49:

I know JT quite well. Let me assure you, he’d say that
and more in person. He has vast experience and knowlege
in real estate and in business and in life. He “tells
it like it is.”

If you really want to learn something, try “listening.”

Re: For the Record, John… - Posted by John Behle

Posted by John Behle on April 23, 2006 at 20:45:13:

Interesting that you take it all personally and have added names and cloaked references to everything.

I clearly pointed out that my post was related to the board, the community, the climate and an attitude of hostility and lack of civility that takes place here. I glanced at the posts and I couldn’t tell you who posted what or why.

I’m talking about the attitudes here, not you. If I took exception to a partiular post, that is where I would have posted my post - as a response - not as a general observation.

I didn’t cloak any references, because I did not make any references. I didn’t post to you or about you. As I said, it was brought up by the recent posts, but not specifically directed to them. I could not say or care who said what to who. That was not the point of my post. If I wanted to criticize you or anyone in particular I would do so.

My post references months, even years of a changing attitude and I don’t know that that applies to you. This is the first post of yours I have seen and I would suspect you are fairly new. You stepped into an atmosphere that has been deteriorating. A group of posts you participated in triggered a response from me to the climate. If any particular comment of mine seemed directed towards you it wasn’t. If it struck home, that is up to you. I don’t keep track of who posts what, who insults or criticizes or anything else. But… In general, it just keeps increasing.

As to being a “newbie”, no, I can’t remember 30 years back all that clearly. But from what I do know, or remember, I do not think for a moment that I would have been anything but incredibly grateful for a resource like this. It didn’t exist back then. I had to work hard for the tidbits of information that are thrown out by the shovelful here.

As I was learning, I can’t even conceive of insulting the people I was paying for information from let alone those who gave it freely. I sat at their feet and took notes. I treasured the chance to go to lunch with one of them or have any personal reaction.

I was grateful for information, dug for more and sucked it up like a sponge. I can’t even imagine demanding answers from an educator or criticizing those they gave. I would even bite my tongue as some pompous old real estate broker would condescendingly offer their advice to the young pup.

I think it paid off too. I treasure things educators shared over lunch or sometimes even the casual comments they made. I even learned a great deal from people who had little to offer or I came to lose respect for later.

I just bristle at the current attitudes displayed here and think they are damaging to the purpose, power and future of this community. Not yours specifically. Again, as I said in my post, it was not directed to any one person, post, day or circumstance - but the general tone and things going on.

So, if you or anyone else wants to take it personally, I guess that is their choice, but that was not the purpose of the post. No one person or post was singled out or meant to be. But, if everyone looks in the mirror a little, possibly that could be helpful.

The truth is good people with a lot to contribute have been driven away. Others are hesitant to post. New people are sometimes even afraid to post at all when they see mud thrown around. Others don’t have time for it. Those with the most to contribute usually. If it’s a warm, inviting atmosphere where creative ideas and information can be exchanged, then many will participate to the benefit of all. If the critics rule, the environment will be less inviting. The only ones with the time for fighting and battles are those who have nothing else to do or just like to cause trouble. True educators will likely go away. Mostly quietly.

Re: For the Record, John… - Posted by Ed Croswell

Posted by Ed Croswell on April 24, 2006 at 24:37:19:

That’s great, JP.

I’m looking forward to hearing him call me all those names face to face.

Do you think its partly the medium? - Posted by Drew

Posted by Drew on April 24, 2006 at 14:53:34:

John, thanks for your posting. I agree, and wonder if the trend you see isn’t inevitable. Musings follow.

As you were learning, you were personally interacting with those people you took to lunch. You couldn’t conceive of insulting them, for it would have been a face-to-face interaction between two serious individuals that had invested time and commitment toward the meeting.

Contrast that with a popular medium (the Internet) that makes these interactions subject to commentary by the masses. Internet use continues to grow, exposing this board to an ever-increasing public audience. Add to that the dynamic created by seminars, infomercials and cable-TV shows (not to mention a boom market); namely, the flooding of the REI field with self-described “investors” that actually have no skin in the game. Seems like all the requisite ingredients are there for a general deterioration of public REI discussion boards, not just this one.

Your post above seems to assume that everyone here is a serious investor interested in developing professional relationships, or at least in learning. In the early days of the Internet (and this board) that may have been true, especially as the majority of posters met each other at the Convention. But, at best, boards generally have become a highly impersonal means of communicating. At worst, they are a disposible form of entertainment for trolls and self-aggrandizers.

How would you control the quality of the discussions if you were the editors?

Are the topical discussion boards (finance, mobile-home, etc) also suffering from declining quality, or is it just this general board?

Maybe CRE-Online should set up a members-only private discussion board available only to those that actually attend the convention? Hmm, not sure about that one…

Maybe some kind of credential could accompany a posters screen name, like the “Power Seller” or gold star marks on EBay, based either on longevity of CRE-Online membership, or maybe its time to implement a ratings system of some sort? Else, how is a newbie to distinguish the JTs from the Equity Hunters? It seems to me that part of the decline stems from people trying to figure out who is credible and who is not.

These are general musing. Reply or don’t as you see fit, I know we are all busy.


Absolutly Right! - Posted by Innovator

Posted by Innovator on April 23, 2006 at 23:38:42:


You are absolutly right on. I am faily new to the CRE board and I know of some very good knowledgable people that, because their concepts are out of the “guru” box and are not supported by them, were so abused and criticized that they all tell me I’m crazy to keep posting on CRE.

You are right, if this attitude continues the CRE board won’t be worth the effort. I’ve posted this poem before, but will add it again hoping it might inspire a little.

"Oh, the kind words we give shall in memory live
And sunshine forever impart.

Let us oft speak kind words to each other;
Kind words are sweet tones of the heart."

In a Sea of Absurdity… - Posted by Ed Croswell

Posted by Ed Croswell on April 23, 2006 at 21:00:19:

…comes some calm ,finally.

Thank you John for your well written post. I honestly had the best of intentions in posting my original thoughts and surely wasn’t planning on being so viciously attacked like I was. Seems there’s one big click at this site and God forbid, if you should write ANYTHING that doesn’t purport to genuflecting before the resident yogi’s that hold court here, you’re castigated for life apparently. I thought my post was an observant one, deserving of discussion.

Maybe more folks should just proceed on whatever the prophets here preach, or in my argument, don’t preach. I mean, its only money, right?

I’m sure Ms. Tina Johnson wishes she had done otherwise though.

Thank you again for an insightful and informative post, John.

Re: Do you think its partly the medium? - Posted by John Behle

Posted by John Behle on April 24, 2006 at 16:00:06:

Actually, it’s been amazing how the administrators have kept the quality and purpose of the board. All around the internet discussion groups turn into battlefields. Real estate has been better, but many, many of those have closed because the administrators didn’t want to spend their days with a day care. Stopping fights, cleaning up the mud and changing diapers. So most, eventually close from a disgusted administrator. Others go to registration and other methods. Personally, I will not bother with that. I always try to follow the rules, use my real name and contribute value. But, I don’t want something that is difficult to access or post to. I want to look at a glance and see if there is any topic of interest or posts by people I like to read.

CREonline has done an admirable job, but it also is helpful if the community behaves in a civil manner. Every once in a while I think we all need to step back and re-commit to making quality contributions.

It is a difficult manner of communication in some ways. I’ve had many posts I have misread or mis-interpreted and on occasion have hit the post key way too soon, without pausing to check my post, their post and whether my response was accurate, called for or influenced by being in a bad mood, etc.

Even with occasional battles, mis-understandings and even trouble makers, I still think it is the best community and resource available. I just want to see it continue that way.

As to the other forums, I don’t know. I don’t check them. I only look at this, the Cash Flow Forum and the Sheets forum.

I actually had been asked to be a moderator of another forum. They had registration, a complicated menu system, bells whistles and some kind of star system or whatever for who posted most, etc. I just didn’t have an interest in that and don’t have an inclination to have some kind of label like “green, newbie, wannabe kid” with a pink star to work my way up by a number of useless posts to the level of “superstar, mega-mind, giant” with a triple gold star.

I think you judge the content by the content and the poster by the content of their post. I do think it’s wise for someone to at least glance around for a while before insulting people who have contributed a great deal or joining in on the side of someone who has never contributed anything but chaos or controversy. Again, I am NOT refering specifically to posts from the last couple days or any one specific person.

And if someone that has given a lot has a bad day or slips up in a post, maybe there can be a little patience and respect. If a newbie asks a question and gets a kind response, maybe they’ll continue on and be a part of the community. Yet, sometimes they are slapped down.

At the same time, it’s amazing how many come with a chip on their shoulder to begin with. Tell them a bad idea is a bad idea and they go ballistic. “How dare you insult me you rude ignorant… . . . .” and then they kick someone that actually tried to help them right in the face.

Yes, it’s a different world than face to face communication or seminars. It’s much more difficult, yet this community has been wonderful compared to the horrible flame wars that ravage other areas of the internet. I wouldn’t spend a minute here if it was.

I guess part of it is a form of nostalgia. I miss the exchange group meetings of the past. Friends meeting over lunch, exchanging ideas, helping each other and putting together deals. Sure, there were egos there too. I think my first exchange package I presented was shot down in flames horribly by one of the grand egos in the group. Funny thing is his comments were wrong, but the damage was done. I did get the chance to correct him some years later on discounted cash flow calculations using a calculator he had helped create the forumlas for.

Re: In a Sea of Absurdity… - Posted by steve whitehair

Posted by steve whitehair on April 24, 2006 at 13:23:46:

Just a suggestion - you need to look into the AA section of this site. That is Archives and Articles. It will take a considerable amount of time and effort but in there you will find the full blown answers to all your questions by some of the smartest investors around. This area has helped me greatly