It might be a troll…and a deliberate lie

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If you’re an experienced cichlidophile, no need to read further. This post won’t help you much because you probably already know this. If you’re new to fish keeping and cichlids, keep reading.

Online resources for fish keeping are plentiful. The beauty of them is that they’re easy to access and free. The ugly part is that they’re rife with bad information put there by bad people. Sure, people make mistakes and sometimes put up information that they honestly believe is correct but isn’t. That’s not the people this post is about. No, this post is about those who purposely put up incorrect information for no reason other than to be an irritant or cause other people problems. In the social media world, they’re called trolls and they come in many flavors.

If you regularly tune in to Facebook (FB) and have joined cichlid groups, you’ve encountered them and may not know it. They’re there and they’re more than happy to wreck your fish keeping experience. In fact, the optimal word here is “experience”. They’ll tell you they’ve done this or that and it worked, when in reality they probably don’t keep fish and never have. If you’ve ever heard the saying “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” believe it. It usually applies to the fish keeping world.

As I posted before, I’m a member of numerous FB cichlid groups because it helps me stay current on what fellow cichlidophiles are doing along with what’s going on in the hobby. If you’re on FB, I encourage you to join some of these groups. For the most part, they’re quite helpful and informative. But beware. The novices who think they’re experts are there and so are the trolls.

If you join some of these groups and follow them regularly, you’ll pretty quickly determine who you can trust. Most group admins do an admirable job of policing their groups, but the admins aren’t online or even watching their groups 24 hours a day, every day of the week. Often times the bad advice will fester before someone in the know spots it and takes care of it.

At the end of the day, a hefty dose of skepticism is your best defense against bad advice, until you learn who you can truly trust. In fact, your best bet is to rely on consensus before using any advice, either getting the same information from numerous members of the group or corroborating the information with outside resources.

Trolls are there and they’re happy to assist you. Don’t let them.

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