Join Date: May 2013
Location: Left Coast, Canada
When someone presents symptoms of a possible problem I've found a lot of guess work goes on in forums. Some of it coming from other members who did the same thing and are just passing on third-hand information. Most answers come from personal experiences but can be so varied the OP is left with lots of things to try. They will hopefully stumble across the proper fix for their particular instance.
That's what most forums are. Members with common interests relaying experiences and passing on pertinent information they feel is relevant for the discussion. If they all lived closer they'd be doing the same thing over a beer in someones garage.
When it comes to professionals, the "Ask Me" type of on-line services are good for inquiries which are common problems and are a good resource for basic information if you read their FAQ's. Keep in mind that many questions here and in those business forums come from end users who know very little about the subject and many times don't even ask an informed intelligent question. Also keep in mind you get what you pay for. With access to a knowledgeable technician at $5 a pop I could have a discussion including 18 questions and answers before I get to the cost of 1 hour of shop labour. There's not much I couldn't fix with that level of interaction with a fully trained tech. Hell, I've repaired a few appliances around the house simply with the help of free information in their FAQ sections. In reality, not much different than what you can get out of a good shop manual.
The problem with these Ask Me type forums is you really don't know the background of the person providing the service. Like any other internet interaction the people on the ends are in the clouds. Whether a forum or a business they can disappear over night. Because of that there is quite a bit of fraud that occurs and there's really nothing you can do about it.
For lots of problems these forums are a good place to get some suggestions to try things you are comfortable with depending on each of our own past experiences and abilities. Again though, you get what you pay for. You aren't going to get your motorcycle transmission or washing machine electronics repaired for $5. For almost any mechanical technical problems you will have to add either the labour or more cash to the equation. We all need to know our limitations and leave the serious stuff to the professionals. I bet they wish they could charge a higher rate for work they get that the owner had a shot at first and messed up.
By the way I will add a personal peeve on this matter. Far too many people pose questions on the buddy forums and get plenty of good information they can use then you never hear from them again. No updates. No indication of what if anything solved their problems. Not even a basic thanks for the suggestions. Nada. No manners.
Not all those who wander are lost.
Last edited by 53canuck; 12-11-2015 at 09:31 AM.