Recently I joined a couple of Facebook Woodworking Groups. It seemed a source of information and a venue to share, maybe pick up some tricks, tips, and solutions to problems in the trade. As you may know, these groups have thousands of members, from professionals to newbies and everything in-between. Anyone can post a question and ‘unfortunately’ anyone can offer an answer. Aye, there’s the rub, as Shakespeare said so well in Hamlet’s famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy. Many times, the answers in these groups are completely wrong. It frustrates me almost as much as Hamlet. The administrators of some FB groups do not allow wrong answers to be corrected (even by professionals) or you may be removed from the group for starting a war of words.
On occasion, I have commented on a question or problem that doesn’t have an easy answer. So, I share a solution my years of experience has taught me. I really felt I was doing the questioner a favor by saving them the frustration of the trial and error method in their quest for woodworking expertise. Usually, someone else will immediately attack my answer and insult me. And if I attempt to explain my original comment further for the understanding of the new person a flood of rude, bizarre comments come at me as if I were a criminal. It has been a shocking learning curve for me in the world of anonymous commenters.
This is an example of what has happened to me: A person posted a photo and told how he accidently sprayed WD 40 (which contains silicone) on a finish sanded project that was still raw wood. After it dried he sprayed lacquer over the WD 40 and had the worst case of fisheye I have ever seen. He didn’t know why it looked that way. He didn’t know what fisheye is and wondered if he could fix it or just had to scrap the entire project.
When I saw the photo, memories came back to my mind of the first time I encountered fisheye and did not know it had a name and all the trouble I had fixing it many years ago. My heart went out to the guy. So as briefly as I could, yet as informative as possible I commented how to fix it with cleaning, sanding, shellac, and lacquer. Also about getting rid of contaminated (liquid silicone) sandpaper, rags, etc. and why I do not use “fisheye eliminator”. Honestly, I felt it would probably help lots of those in the FB group that would read it and hadn’t known about this problem. I’m sure as you read this you know the next part.
The next day there were many comments explaining how to fix the guy’s problem and I assure you they were all wrong because I’ve tried them all. As I read through the other comments I felt so sorry for the guy with the fisheye problem. How was he to know which was correct or who to trust?
Those very wrong and troubling answers to comments are why I’m writing this blog. Those groups seem like a good idea, but a wrong answer is worse than no answer. Some of the commenters obviously were beginners at best with no experience whatsoever. Sadly, some just wanted to argue and mislead. It is a true case of the blind leading the blind. I checked on the FB support page and found this is all you need to do to start a group:
To create a group:
- Click in the top right of Facebook and select Create Group
- Select your group preferences, enter your group name, add group members and then choose the privacy setting for your group
- Click Create
Once you create your group, you personalize it by uploading a cover photo and adding a description.
Very interesting way to gather a group of people interested in the same topic, but not a way to find an answer to save yourself hours of work, or save your entire project. If you have a problem with your woodworking project, ask someone you trust and know with expertise in the field. When you find the solution, share it with friends that know you. Respect each other and share common decency online just like you would face to face. Maybe I’m old school, but the overt rudeness with online groups is unfortunate and sad. My own FB page is much like my real life dealings. I’m happy to say in the over 45 years I’ve been in business my personal experience with woodworkers face to face has been very rewarding. Facebook Groups … not so much.