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Taking but not giving


Has anyone noticed there are certain people on this site who take but never give back? Its almost as if they use this globally free resource to do all their pieces of work for them, anything out of my comfort zone I'll get others to supply their work and ask to copy it instead.
Juliet LeFevre

25 Responses

  1. solution
    Easyway to solve this is to identify the people who are doing this and don’t answer back to the questions that they are asking.

  2. Perspective
    I agree to a certain degree there do seem to be some individuals who ask many questions, without answering other’s frequently.
    However, I disagree with part of the statement “Anything out of my comfort zone”. From a personal perspective I often ask questions that I have existing material/info: for, and just want to add to it/re-energise it.
    It’s such a shame that still in an industry which is about helping others to develop, supporting people in areas they may not be confident in etc… we become so wound up that some people ask more than they give.
    I have to also add that much of the material out there is re-written and tweaked anyway, and anyone that professes to “Original” material really isn’t being honest, so do any of us truly own anything we write/offer in TrainingZone? As most of it originates from someone/somewhere else/an existing concept or theory that we have built on?
    If it bothers you that much Juliet I would take on-board one of the answers below, don’t supply material to the individuals you feel are not giving back, I do understand your frustrations though Juliet.

  3. Taking and not giving
    I think one of the great ideas about posting onto a site like this (as opposed to responding to someone by email) is that everyone can see the contributions.
    Maybe the people who aren’t seen to be ‘giving’ are new at the training game and don’t feel they have anything new or original to give? Just a thought….

  4. A Different Perspective
    Buffy wrote: “It’s such a shame that still in an industry which is about helping others to develop, supporting people in areas they may not be confident in etc… we become so wound up that some people ask more than they give.”

    For me Buffy, what I think is the real shame is that in order for this community to thrive it requires people to not only ask questions but also for participants to be prepared to suggest and give answers and keep a balance between these areas. Because without the latter the former is useless. It’s really up to the individual at the end of the day, there are no rules or regulations as regards this issue. Personally I am inclined to skim over consistent posters who rarely if ever put something back into the pot, and as you have already stated, the advice given by Stuart Farmer is I believe sound. And experience is not the only driver for input on this forum, often it’s simply about sparing the time to give a view or opinion based on your thoughts and common sense.

    Buffy continued: “I have to also add that much of the material out there is re-written and tweaked anyway, and anyone that professes to “Original” material really isn’t being honest, so do any of us truly own anything we write/offer in TrainingZone?”

    Could you point me to the section in this thread where this claim is being made for submitted ideas being original material, because I have read it 3 times and can’t find it?

    Whilst I agree Buffy that many concepts and models might in part be derived from earlier theories and approaches that however does not mean that the developer has not added something new or innovative or even something nobody else has ever considered. It is this new spin, new approach or new angle which as you have said your self can add to your own approaches and re-energise them. That is the ‘original’ material I believe we often get when people share ideas or approaches.

    If it were actually true that people don’t have any ‘original’ material one wonders why we all bother asking to share it!

  5. call me old fashioned but…
    I don’t object so much to people who ask rather than answering, but I do feel a tad hurt by people who get answers and do not have the common courtesy to say “Thank you”


  6. It’s the same in life
    Hi Juliet

    If this is the case, it reflects real life – there are takers and givers!

    I agree with Rus, I’m happy to give answers and info, but I do value a thankyou – costs nothing. It’s a bit like when you let someone out in traffic and they don’t say thanks – very frustrating and makes you not let the next person out!


  7. Name
    I hadn’t noticed. Why not name them? A post like this is bound to stir things up, might as well do it properly.

    I’m more a lurker than a giver or taker – often I don’t post as I’m fairly new to training & intimidated by the experts on here who answer all the questions posted much more comprehensively than I could.

  8. Is that the point?
    I think it’s ridiculous to expect everyone on the site to ask questions and give answers equally.
    Many people asking questions are new to the field and are asking for support – usually generously supplied by users with more expertise.
    Do we really want novices giving less than helpful or well informed advice? Wouldn’t that make this feature less useful for everyone?
    I do try to contribute answers where I feel I have useful experience or information to give – but often other people have made similar points before me – and I don’t see the point of making more or less duplicate contributions. So maybe my name doesn’t appear too often.
    I have asked questions too – and been grateful to receive information and advice.
    If you really don’t want to help people unless you get some sort of equal return – don’t respond to their queries.
    Fortunately i think there are more than enough experienced and generous people out there who are happy to lend a helping hand when they can.

  9. Sharing rather than giving and taking

    Have to agree with Cathy.

    Is it not about sharing ideas and experiences and learning from others, rather than just giving and taking.

    Is it possible that raising an issue like this will prevent people from asking questions in the future.


  10. Actually
    “I think it’s ridiculous to expect everyone on the site to ask questions and give answers equally.”

    So do I, that’s why I would (and did) suggest a balance has to be maintained, not necessarily dead centre.

    “Is it possible that raising an issue like this will prevent people from asking questions in the future.”

    In a word; No, only (I believe) closure of their membership to Trainingzone could prevent them from asking questions.

    One idea that has occurred to me; it might be a good idea prior to listing a question to undertake some personal research via Google (or similar) and sort the wheat from the chaff, then publish your initial findings; url’s and short summary, together with the question? It would at least indicate some attempt at self development, be a productive first step and also supply a useful resource for everybody else, just a thought.

  11. Taking but not giving?
    I think there are three main types of posting:
    1. The seeking of views – like this thread; great for anyone to chip in whatever their level of experience.
    2. Legitimate ‘Help me’ questions – those seeking assistance where sometimes it is easier for an ‘expert’, or ‘old hand’, to reply. These are of three types: straightforward factual answers (or where to go to find more info or resources); the more common and complex ‘how to think about it’ answers; and advice-giving.
    3. Lazy ‘Help me’ questions – where someone wants spoon feeding (Mike Morrison posted some useful points on this recently on another site and made me think again about how I respond to these. In future, I shall do more to help the person to help themselves and less just giving an answer. Just like I do when I am training). Garry’s idea of people posting their own, formative research findings would be a useful suggestion to bat back in response to this type of question in particular.

    The upshot of all this is that I think some postings are for debate and some are about give and take. I know I was given a lot support, answers and advice when I got started (before this type of forum existed). I think it is only fair that I now put a bit back.
    Maybe at any one point in time there are givers and takers. But, hopefully, amongst today’s takers are some of tomorrow’s givers. I guess that is my optimistic, seed-sowing philosophy.

  12. a bit of courtesy naever went amiss
    Hear, Hear! To those who said that a thankyou is really the least you might expect.

  13. Givers, takers & lurkers
    I find this a rather unnecessary discussion personally.

    I much prefer blame-free cultures, am happy to give where appropriate, acknowledge useful information provided and generally enjoy this virtual community.

    Keeping a balance sheet of contributions smacks of St Peter and the Pearly Gates and I’d rather listen to my own conscience any day!

    Listen to Huddie Leadbetter’s “There’s a Man going round takin’ names”, an unsettling folk song for an unsettling idea.

  14. King of Names (Song Title)
    It’s a great song, and to my eternal shame I have it on a Peter, Paul and Mary LP. Peter Yarrow is often mistakenly attributed as the author of that song, which he wasn’t.

    There’s a great verse in it that goes:

    “An’ he took that liar’s name, takin’ names,
    He took that liar’s name, takin’ names.
    He took that liar’s name,
    His tongue got twisted and it died in shame,
    There’s a man goin’ ’round takin’ names.”

  15. Bigger issues
    >>>I find this a rather unnecessary discussion personally.>>>

    I’m the thread orginator so I guess this is one for me.

    Fisrtly I am a reflector, I often think what is the purpose of this site? And secondly does the fact that its free undermine my living – I am a freelance trainer. As Graham says free forums didnt exist years ago, furthermore much of the advice and knowledge on this site is a saleable commodity does the fact that others are willing to ‘give it away’ for free undermine my living? Its a consideration for me, it might not be for you. However I have seen in other fields ie. IT, entertainment, where free forums are offering access to skills and knowledge and rates are being driven down and down – look at software – you can gets lots for free.
    So there’s the reason for the question and its necessity.
    Here’s another just because someone sets themselves up as a forum moderator and owner they then become a self appointed dictator of taste in their own land. They have the ability to censor posts and control the message on their forums – when using ‘private’ forums on the net we should not forget that someone, somewhere is able to censor all messages should they dislike them. For those who say this isnt a concern simply look eastward.
    He who controls communication controls the message and therefore the populous. Its not 1984 you might say…I’m afraid I’ve seen it happen on other forums.

    The growth of online forums and their impact on the way we work and livelihoods is yet to be understood, those who soak it up and welcome with open arms ‘open’ communication would do well to look at call centre forums where SE Asian call centres are all too willing to use free western knowledge to the demise of UK jobs.

    Politics – you betcha!

  16. Bigger issues
    Juliet, thanks for clarifying your purpose in raising the initial smaller issue.

    My own view of the site’s purpose is that it acts as a medium for the mutual exchange of information and for encouraging debate on all matters relating to training.

    I wouldn’t want to put a set of percentages on what constitutes “mutual” as my assumption is that people will give what they can, based on their expertise and experience, to other like-minded people. Similarly, forum colleagues will take what they find useful and I do agree that this should always be acknowledged. I’m happy to live with any naivety this position represents.

    Beyond that lie levels of concern that seem a tad weighty for a forum like this but realise that I may need to change my spectacles from polaroid to paranoid and check out other fora.

  17. What is Balance?
    Well talk about a thread containing the big contributors!

    First things first. Helen – well done for pitching in. While it may feel like you lack the experience of others here, you have a valid view. Please feel free to share it. Unlike the old UKHRD when postings became very personal at least TZ remains (on the whole) a lot more professional and you are less likely to be cut down with a machete!

    Balance is a personal thing as Garry points out. If you contribute on the basis of if I have a penny and you have a penny and we exchange then that is fair – then on any forum you will be deeply disappointed.

    As Eddie pointed out the other thread focused on the nature of people rather than balance. People are here for different reasons – some commercial, some maternal/ paternal in nature. Providing your needs are being met then what is the problem?

    Will some people stop asking questions? They will only stop if they believe they will be ridiculed for asking the question. We see many posters that have poorly formed questions not getting any answers. How does the saying go – the success of my behaviour is measurable by the action and reaction I get from others.

    Posters that say I have this problem, I have looked for xyz, appear to have hit a bit of a dead-end will always get help. As animals, humans are pack animals and we like to and indeed need to help others. It is in built, when asking for help though we need to ensure the request is genuine otherwise the ‘bull’ filter kicks in!

    If you give expecting a reward for your contribution then it is easy to become disappointed and at odds with the ‘community’, I have found that with no real expectation of reward, that recognition and positive feedback occurs and is both a surprise and welcomed.

    A thank you goes a long way as a reward to people that do contribute to helping YOU solve your challenge. I often get a personal email thanking me for the advice given – I am sure you get this too.


  18. free information?
    John Hughes…..

    “change my spectacles from polaroid to paranoid…”


    Can I use it?…..
    Hmmmmm this is a free forum so I will

    Thanks John


  19. New Trainer
    I’ve been associated with Training since the last 6 months. I came across this site by accident and registered as it seemed very helpful to me. I have neither asked questions , nor have I responded to anyone’s queries simply because I dont think I have the necessary experience to answer the questions asked. I find this site very useful and the questions-answers very informative and related to the issues I face in Training. Now that Juliet has brought up this point, should I dis-continue using this site just because I’m not participating? If this site is helping me be a more effective trainer then isnt that the whole purpose of having a site like this?

  20. Free Advertising
    I don’t really mind contributing to folks if I think there’s something I can help with.

    The forum allows contributors to raise (or occasionally lower) their profile within the L&D community.

    I took up training to help people – and I don’t mind doing that when I can.

    Some folk need more help than others – so what? When I’ve asked for help on here – it has always been forthcoming, so why should I refuse it to someone who asks more often than I do.

    Many people are afraid to express their views for fear of ridicule why should they be forced to do so?

    We shouldn’t always spoon feed answers, and I think it would be cool if more people did contribute – it’s rare that I see people “flamed” in professional fora, so they don’t need to worry.

    But this is a voluntary effort for “givers” and “takers” alike – if you feel someone is taking the mick, then don’t help them. But I can’t help thinking that no-one would survive in this profession if they only used material supplied in this and other fora.

  21. Don’t keep score
    As a trainer, I was born to teach, to enable, to empower – I don’t look on it as a debt that needs to be repaid, but simply as a function of who I am. I don’t mean to sound holier than thou, but in my experience, it is only wise to keep score in competitions. This is not one of those.

    Whoever it was (Pete, maybe?) who asked whether he should stop using the site because he had never contributed… you stick around, mate – there’s room enough for all shapes and sizes here!

  22. Have noticed “givers” but not takers
    No – I hadn’t noticed any particular “takers”. But I have noticed some people who contribute a lot. Most of thesae include a link with info about themselves and a photo. I like this – it makes them feel much more like real people, members of a real community.

    I’ve not thought much about “thank yous”, although it is noice to receive these. I have from time to time offered to send people items on request (eg presentations) and have occasionally been asked to do so. I would estimate that around 50% of those to whom I send them actually acknowledge/thank me, the others don’t. I do sometimes wonder about the latter – did they not like what I sent? Do they think it’s rubbish, and/or I’m an idiot? Does this matter?

    I was rather surprised at the notion that by making a contribution one is giving away ideas that might be sold. In fact I have difficulty with the whole idea of “intellectual capital”. I appreciate that we all have to make a living and indeed have earned some (rather small) royalties through book sales. On the other hand where do ideas come from? If I “have” an idea does that make it “mine”? I tend to see myself as a channel or route for ideas to come into the world and therefore I have a responsibility to give them a good entry/birth. Parents don’t own their children. I prefer to think of any remuneration to be for the time I spent creating conditions for the idea to come to me and also for disseminating it – not for the idea itself.

    I also think that what goes around comes around and if you are “generous” with “giving things away” then you will be rewarded in an appropriate way, at an appropriate time.

    Coming back to “any answers”, my greater concern is about those who ask questions but don’t say anything about who they are – no membership details, let alone a photo. As I said earlier, I like to read peoples’ bio data and also see their photos. For me this makes the whole thing feel more like a human conversation within a community. Some of the people who post often, with their photos, feel like members of an extended family, though I have only ever actually met one of you (Graham) face-to-face, and of course I don’t always agree with what you say. But I like to SEE you saying it.

  23. It’s what we do !
    I don’t have a problem with some taking more than giving – we ARE educators after all. I also feel privileged that some leading lights in L&D take the time to write.

    My plea is to those in the category of too lazy to find ideas – USE THE SEARCH BOX BEFORE ASKING ! As others have mentioned, typically I ignore questions where I know the answer can be easily found somewhere in TZ or other well-known sites.


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