This topic came up in relation to something else this month as it was assumed I stopped using forums because of something that happened recently. Truth was as I wrote in my blog probably a month ago or more I had already decided to stop using them and there are certain reasons that led to that decision.
When I originally came to the Philippines the forums were used as a source of information and I found that a lot of the information was either exhagerated or out of date. On top of that many of the moderators and admins are using the forums as a store front. Now I have no problem with someone selling me something except for the fact when they try to do it they are generally going to hit new comers before they find out the true value of things. No problem with people doing business either but if your running a forum that is supposed to be based round helping expats why are so many helping themselves? There was the Legacy scandal where I know of at least two forums that were selling pre-need plans on commission rates talking people into buying it yet block anything that showed up in a negative light either before or after. Infact one such case where they blocked someones comments on the subject purely because they had got their own agent.
Then there has been the dealings where people don’t get on which is to be expected as there are so many variants in personalities and race etc. they are in doubt likely to clash. Problem is when a moderator doesn’t get on with someone he just bans them. What’s the point of that? The forums are based round information and before someone says about flaming another person I am not talking about that I am talking about people who literally just don’t get on yet the moderators would rather ban them than just let things slide as its not directly related to the forum.
Misguided posts are another major problem as someone may ask about goats for example and get the ramblings of expats and retirees talking about everything but goats! Creating a rambling post is easy enough why don’t people realise when people are asking for help THEY WANT HELP.
The opinion of everything and knowledge of nothing is another major problem because you will get everyone and their dog offer you advice on a subject and how bad an idea it is yet if you asked any of them do they or have they done it before? The majority would answer no.. How can you offer advice without actually knowing yourself.. experience is what is needed in the Philippines not opinions.
The majority of the regular forum users are retired which is fine except when they are giving opinions on business for example where they have a fixed pension and no interest in doing business here. It just fills up with negative posts and the people who asked the original questions end up wondering if the business is viable yet they haven’t even spoken to someone who is operating a venture.
The splits in membership have been caused by the constant negative flow or random chat which results in the majority of business operators and newcomers not existing on a pension either staying quiet or emailing in private (I get a lot of emails from people about things).
Do I have an issue with expats here? No.. Do I have an issue with retirees? No.. the problem is purely what is stated above that the forums don’t work properly and I can’t see that changing on top of that its the same questions year in year out if people started going through the archieves there answers are already there but it would help if there wasn’t so many negative and random posts as filtering out the junk takes ages out of about 40 replies only 3 may be of use.
Now the social aspects and business are different as I like meeting people and I like helping people I have an ever increasing network that could benefit many but most of what I do and know I don’t openly share as its not relevant to everyone and on top of that a lot of the people I am connected with prefer not to be known publically. Not because they have any legal issues etc. But as someone recently said to me they see about 3% of the expats as good. The rest would steal your business or are a waste of time which I think is an overstatement but he has been here nearly 20 years so I can understand his thoughts as he has survived and developed businesses here over that time. The other issue of that being there is a lot of Sexpats here, low income retirees and scammers/con artists. But at the same time there are people looking to live, work and retire here. The problem is the community is so splintered it doesn’t function as one and in reality is split into business,retiree,sexpat,expats although I have met all four groups at some point they generally are like trying to mix oil and water. Business people don’t like mixing with retirees because they have opposite views same with sexpats and expats. All these reasons get back to why forums don’t work.
I have spent years in companies that play against each other and will have managers cover their backs by sacrificing someone for something the manager did. Its a dog eat dog world, but in reality I learned that its better to sit on the fence on it all unless needed I have met lots of people from all walks of life and beliefs in the Philippines and its simply that I am not here to judge there is no point. What most people get upto is none of my business and I try to keep things seperate I do have friends here and I do socialise but at the same time you do get fair weather friends who will sit and have beer with you and tomorrow will be trying to stick knives in your back. Next time you see them they will pretend that they haven’t done anything. That is one of the problems people face everyday here. Who are real friends? who can you rely on and who can you trust. You won’t get that from a forum but you will get it from experience, I choose to write a blog because its more of an information database and personal to what I do and see. Its not distorted except sometimes the way my eyes see it but even then if I find I have done something wrong I am willing to put it right.
I am approachable and I will help anyone. I do business here and we survive on it, I am willing to help others develop and I am looking to develop more business myself. Its about time a lot of people looked at themselves and decided what they bring to the table as real friendships and trust can be built.