I have to make a confession.
I am probably the most naive person you will ever meet. OK, maybe I like trusting better. Yes, that is it, I am the most trusting person you will ever meet. I generally extend my trust to most anyone I know whether it be in real life or on the Internet. Naturally, the moment someone lets me down or betrays me, I drop them like they're hot.
But in general, I try to be open, approachable, and helpful. In real life as well as online. I've recently run into issues on a writing forum that caused me to pause. I've mainly stuck to the forums at Nathan Bransford because everyone is just so nice and helpful. It's really the ideal community for writers if you ask me. But I recently decided to venture into another well known writing forum that will remain anonymous. My first foray there last year resulted in a bad incident where I was raked over the coals for an innocent comment. Needless to say, the situation put a bad taste in my mouth. I recently ventured back to this forum, starting out on a genre specific board, and after lurking there for a while to evaluate the other users, I started posting.
I also began looking for more beta readers and when I had difficulty finding them, I posted on the board asking for suggestions on finding beta readers. Instead of suggestions, I got a lecture about how my post count was low and users will be suspicious of me until I prove myself (essentially). I can understand this to some extent, but then in some ways, it strikes me as wrong. Perhaps I was spoiled by the welcoming and helpful quality of the users at Nathan Bransford. And maybe I am the exception, meaning that I am willing to help people regardless if they are just stopping in or if they are a long time user. If I read a plea for a beta reader and the book is in my genre and it sounds interesting, I'm going to offer to read it no matter what. I know we have to be careful who we entrust our work to, but are we so wrapped up in our writing lives and are suspicions, that extending our help to other writers has become near impossible? It just seems the policy of "sure I'll help you, but what are you going to do for me" seems to be in effect. Maybe I'm old fashioned (ok, I am) but I consider it a compliment to be asked (either directly or indirectly) to help another writer.
So what about you? What's your policy for helping others? Are you open to helping anyone or has a bad incident caused you to be more reserved in extending an offer of help?