Don’t Criticize

rescue animal

Our town has an on-line bulletin board called, “Maplewood On Line.”  It has calendars of upcoming activities, advertisements and a discussion forum with hundreds of conversations going on at once.  I used to check it regularly, but unfortunately, it often gets quite negative and turns into a complaining forum and I dislike all of the negativity so I don’t read it as often as I used to.  I very rarely respond to a discussion, but will chime in once in awhile if a question is asked about something positive going on or for recommendations for places in town.

Yesterday, a local pet rescue start up, Furry Hearts Rescue, posted that they were looking for a photographer to volunteer their time to take photos of their animals for their Petfinder page.  The message was simple,

Are you a photographer, or know anyone who is? We are looking for someone with photography skills and their own quality camera to volunteer for Maplewood’s new Furry Hearts Rescue. We are setting up our Petfinder page, and need photos of our wonderful adoptable animals! Great opportunity to add a 501(c)(3) organization to your resume, and animal photos to your portfolio!
I didn’t care about the resume part or my portfolio, I just wanted to give my time to help out these animals who just need a home.  We rescued our dog and I jumped at the opportunity to help other animals get the same chance as our Emmy Lou got.  It was her photo on a rescue dog website that drew us to her!   I called up, spoke to the owner and since we both had the time, I went there and took just a few photos to start.  The big storm from yesterday knocked out power limiting how much we could do for the day.
As I followed this post on the message board, I began to get angry.  Some people were commenting negatively about their request for someone to donate their time.  I could not understand why it should bother a person if someone wanted to help out another person for free, expecting nothing in return.  This rescue is entirely run by local volunteers, and all of their funding comes from donations. Those donation goes entirely towards neutering and spaying, vaccinations, checkups etc. and materials like blankets, food bowls, toys, etc. No one is profiting from this other than the animals.
People were writing that volunteers, (like me) are “devaluing the profession.”  I finally had to “speak up’ and responded to the thread writing,
I am not sure why, if someone wants to donate their time, this should be stirring up so much negativity. If someone is asking for help and you are able to offer that help, and have the time to do it, why wouldn’t you. It makes me sad to think that people wouldn’t. The point is not to pay back kindness, but to pass it on. That is why I offered to do the photos for Furry Hearts Rescue. I expect nothing in return.
While the thread still remained negative, it started to draw out more positive comments as well – which sadly were ridiculed by more negativity and I appreciate all of the positive comments scattered in among the negative ones.  Another person has  even offered his time to take more photos and I thank him for that.
I never understand why people have to be so negative.  Honestly, it is the old mantra, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  Why did these people even feel the need to comment on this thread.  It was started out as something that could be so positive.  If you don’t want to be a part of it, stay out of it.
In the end, if this thread has done nothing else, it has spread the word and made people aware of this new rescue organization and the needs of all rescue organizations and that is a good thing.

Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

6 thoughts on “Don’t Criticize

  1. Danielle July 16, 2014 at 6:58 pm Reply

    I am at a loss, Claire! I feel the same way – and it’s not just MOL, people just bash. I have several theories, such as the possibility that people feel anonymity allows them to be cruel or (sadly) wondering if these people have so little love or joy in their lives that they need to spread their negativity on through the internet.
    I was quoted on the patch once and after an immediate negative comment, I wrote directly back to the person and all other commenters inviting them to meet me and hear what I was talking about more fully, rather than just in a sound bite. I bet you are not too surprised to find that no one took me up on my offer!

    I will paraphrase a blogger on a blog I recently read: there will always be seagulls at the beach that poop on your towel. 🙂

    Thanks as always for a fab blog post!

    • clairesinclair July 17, 2014 at 7:20 am Reply

      I received several comments on this blog and all said the same thing, the negativity is out of control. Your theory of unhappy people finding a way to make others miserable is spot on. Isn’t it funny that no one showed up to meet you in person?!?! Makes me shake my head. MOL used to be such a good forum for sharing helpful and useful information but now there is just too much hate spewing. So sad.

  2. cynthia July 16, 2014 at 8:11 pm Reply

    Geez, what is wrong with people. Are they expecting an organization that doesn’t make a profit, that engages whatever help they can get without paying, pay for a photographer. You are so generous with your time, it angers me that people not interested in being part of the solution are hating on someone who always does her best to do so. You keep doing what you do Claire, and ignore the idiots.

    • clairesinclair July 17, 2014 at 7:23 am Reply

      The problem is, there are people who are willing to be a part of the solution, but too many who “pick” on those that want to help. It is sad that people are out there intimidating others who are doing things just to help others. Makes me think they are just sad, bitter people. Thanks for responding.

  3. Helen Harvey July 16, 2014 at 10:45 pm Reply

    Hi. Helen Harvey here. I enjoy your writing and efforts to bring people together so much. Several months ago John and I took such a beating on MOL that it has really made me feel somewhat different about the town. I am appalled at the way people speak to others they don’t even know on there. On a more somewhat positive note, I have found out two things – that many of the more horrid posters don’t even live in Mapkewood, that includes Dave the administrator who will chime in with such abuse and negativity if you are not in complete agreement with his personal positions. Another thing that has been suggested to me is that the negativity is a marketing tool and used just like reality tv to get more viewership and to sell more ads. Apparently everyone lives watching bullies and train wrecks. So, the awfulness that goes on there is not truly representative of our town! Even though, I’ve tried to disassociate myself from it as far as possible. There is no freedom of thoughts or ideas or a chance to help people think differently there and even worse, MOL “bullies” encourage pitting neighbor against neighbor rather than allowing concerned (but sometimes fearful and anonymous) individuals to put it out there whether to come to a solution or just agree to disagree. Thanks for all your inspiration!

    • clairesinclair July 17, 2014 at 7:26 am Reply

      Helen – please, please don’t let them change your opinions of this town. MOL is a select group of people and doesn’t represent our town. You are so right about a lot of them not even living here. Why do they care?? I HOPE, HOPE, HOPE that the theory of negativity to drive up viewers is not true, but as I read it to my husband, the two of us came to a realization of how possible that really could be! If only there was a way to change that. MOL used to be a very helpful forum. Thank you for commenting. I appreciate you telling me this.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: