Survey Says: 2/3 Apathy

by S.C. Torrington on March 28, 2007

sucata09-196I belong to an online homeschool support group with a membership approaching 300. The Yahoo group has a virtual format, no real world activities, just oodles of info posted primarily by its Moderator. I know it must take a fair amount of time and effort for her to compile all these resources, even if they’re just cut-and-paste from other sites and emails.

I’ve occasionally posted local events on various Yahoo homeschoolers sites, but being the petty bitch that I am, I stopped wasting my time. I used to think that you could motivate others through example:

“Look, I’m gonna share a few ideas from which your family may benefit. And then, here’s the tricky part—YOU share a few ideas, too.”

But rarely was my gifting of info reciprocated or even acknowledged. I know, I know, a REAL gift doesn’t need acknowledgement. So, okay, my posts AREN’T really gifts. They were meant as a catalyst, an example, a single candle held up against the cursed darkness. My goal was to get the ball rolling, do my share, the whole “it takes a village” bullshit.

But what I think happens is, instead of inspiring other Moms to follow your example, it encourages those who do little by nature, to do nothing. Maybe these women just aren’t interested in finding new ideas for their family. But if they are, they’ll ask for help finding what they want, not search on their own. And if they DO independently stumble across anything of interest, they don’t post it. At that point, what’s in it for them?

And if you’re the type of person who instinctively shares what you know, you’ll do it without prompting like the Moderator of this large Yahoo group. Every day she sacrifices hours of her AND her family’s time on the alter of cosmic community service.

So when this Moderator needed to post yet ANOTHER request for responses to three simple, multiple choice surveys that have already run for over two months, I feel the frustration for her, since I doubt she’d concede her disappointment. None of the questions (your county, your children’s ages and gender) are gonna endanger your kids or put you on some government watch list. Believe me, your kids are always in danger in some way, shape or form and we’re all on somebody’s watch list somewhere.

Of the almost 300 members, only about 100 have taken the survey. So you gotta wonder, what’s the deal with the other two-thirds? Surely these women must enjoy all that the Moderator offers, or they’d have left the group by now. (Unless they’re too lazy to do even that.) Yet when asked for their help via three one-click answers to questions designed to benefit the group, the majority of the members remain silent.

Why is that?

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