Why are Naturalists so Argumentative on Social Media?

When supposed nature lovers take every opportunity to cut someone down, it turns me off.

Image by Christiane from Pixabay 

Over the last few years, I’ve noticed a trend on social media. The trend is nastiness. And I’ve noticed it in the most unlikely of places: nature groups!

I’m an environmental educator, formally trained with a master’s degree in natural resources. I have my areas of expertise – but I certainly do not know everything!

However, there are some people who just can’t wait to point out something they feel is “wrong” in someone’s post. Take, for example, this morning, I saw a post on robins’ arrivals in Wisconsin. Someone was happy to see them, took a picture, and posted it. Innocent enough, right?!

Unfortunately, the poster got bombarded with critiques about how not all robins migrate and how they were probably here all winter. There was even a reply with a lengthy response about how we don’t even have spring in our state. Ridiculous!

I felt bad for the poster who was just putting a nice photo up for view. I’ve been in her shoes.

Why do people feel the need to correct or criticize when there are no good reasons to do so?

It makes them feel good I suppose. Do they think they know something the poster does not? Do they want to one-up them? I wrote a whole post about one-up-manship last year.

It seems that many naturalist groups on the internet have know-it-alls in them. And they hide behind their screens to let it all out. They will tell you what they know or think you should know even if you don’t ask. I’ve experienced this with gardening groups, fungi identification groups, and naturalist groups. What makes nature lovers so nasty?

I’ve left most of the groups that I thought had too much nastiness going on. I just don’t need it – especially on a topic like nature. I am awed by nature and love to learn about nature but I don’t need what I’ve seen in these groups to happen to me. In some cases, I experienced unnecessary nastiness, and in others, I just left the group because I saw it happening to others.

Unfortunately, I think we live in a culture of correcting others right now. I’ve seen it happen in classrooms, and on prairies while giving an educational tour. I’m all for having the right information but to act like one knows better than the presenter or teacher in front of their audience is just plain rudeness.

I wish we would all consider the feelings of the person we criticize. Would you want to be on the receiving end of negative and no-it-all comments? I think not.

A post about a robin in Wisconsin in February is just that. Appreciate the poster’s enthusiasm for nature. Smile and keep your comments to yourself. We all would be grateful if you did.

2 thoughts

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s