The ultimate mission of this site is to educate reptile keepers in the care and husbandry of their animals. Or, it might be more accurate to say our mission is to provide the information that reptile keepers need to educate themselves on the care of their animals.
Our membership spans the spectrum of first-time owners who got their snake the other day, to keepers with decades of experience breeding hundreds and hundreds of animals. Most of us fall somewhere between those two extremes. We're ALL here to learn, and many of us also take great satisfaction and even joy in passing on what we know to others looking for help.
We strive to provide an open-minded atmosphere where different methods and approaches to the same goals can be discussed and offered up as viable options. The GOAL is to have healthy, thriving animals who are as content in their world as we can make them. The methods for arriving at that goal are varied, and sometimes changing and evolving as we all learn more. Each and every method carries its own set of risks and benefits.
The first and foremost responsibility of every single member of this site is to be willing to educate themselves on exactly what those risks and benefits are. Asking questions is a great start...but you also must be willing to seek out multiple answers to the same questions. You must be willing to evaluate how certain actions will affect your pet(s) and what risks you may be accepting by the choices you make. You must be willing to learn the signs to look for that your animal is in distress or simply not comfortable with the husbandry choices you've made.
The other side of that coin of responsibility falls on the shoulders of all of us who want to share our knowledge and experience. We need to remember that many, many people reading our words are brand new in the hobby and will not have the same foundation of basic knowledge that we may be speaking from. And if we're building an elaborate "castle" of advanced husbandry methods, it is essential that we make it clearly understood that we're discussing ADVANCED techniques that should not be attempted without a very solid foundation and "ground floor" level understanding of basic husbandry and knowing your animals.
The bulk of our threads are made of up foundational husbandry. But we do have enough advanced members who are interested in learning more. We have members who are constantly on the "cutting edge" of keeping and breeding...members who feel confident enough in their knowledge and skills to take some risks to try new things and push the envelopes of husbandry and breeding. It's exciting to read about these things. BUT...the burden of responsibility is a serious one...and the members who wish to take our education to this level need to realize how much influence they actually have, especially over impressionable, young or new members.
If you truly care about helping others...if you truly care about the well being of the snake bought at PetSmart the other day...or the handful of juvi snakes collected in the last year by a new hobbiest that wants to breed soon....then please, PLEASE, remember that your words carry great influence. Don't just boast about the latest achievement in "out-of-the-box" husbandry....but TEACH about it. Explain the risks involved...explain the differences between normal procedures and the exceptions to the rules...explain how to recognize those.
You don't even have to be willing to type that sort of lesson out over and over again. If you have a particular technique that goes above and beyond our basic foundational care...type out a thread that EDUCATES the members in detail about your methods, including all the risks and warning signs, etc. And then...when you boast about new achievements or just chat in threads about various alternatives, you can always link back to that original teaching thread, so new members can find the information they NEED to make informed choices about how to care for and raise their animals.
Last edited by JLC; 03-07-2008 at 01:50 PM.
Reason: fixed typo
"True self control is waiting for the movie to start to eat your popcorn."
"Why would the movie eat my popcorn???"
Re: Responsible Education -- Two Sides of the Coin
Wow; very impressive. I'm one of the people just starting out. I have had him one week and he has already contracted a respiratory infection and is in shed. If it were not for the people in this forum I don't know what I would have done. I have spoken to breeders by phone, a vet in person, and different people on this forum and find varying opinions on the same topics. So I very much agree that both people giving and receiving information have a responsibility. I would never take one persons advice without further research. No matter how good some ones intentions are they may inadvertently give the wrong advice because of extenuating circumstances or miscommunication. On the flip side of the coin as time goes by and I learn more and more I would never want to give out advice unless it is founded in experience and research. If someone accidentally goes through a red light and kills someone the result is unfortunately the some as if it had been done purposely. I know this is an extreme simile but I would never want to give advice that would harm someones pet. So thank you very much for this reminder to have a presence of mindful responsibility when using this forum.