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Criticisms on Robyn's Web Pages

Last Updated: 3/16/09

Criticisms About My Web Pages and My Response

While most of the e-mails that I have received regarding my web pages have been positive, I also occasionally receive criticisms. In most cases, I can alter my page(s) to correct the complaint. In the few cases where something in the content of my pages was questioned, I added the alternate view or changed the information to reflect a truth of which I was not previously aware. Most of the complaints have regarded the look of my web pages. For example, one of the first complaints was that the pages were too long. That was when I had only nine web pages and some were more than 30 WordPerfect pages long! I eventually corrected that by increasing the number of pages. Another example is that someone mentioned that Latin or scientific names should be italicized. While I knew this, I did not know how to do so using HTML code. I never found the correct code but was able to use the "cite" command (which is for book titles, etc.) to make the Latin names appear italicized. I do not use any programs that assist with web page creation. I write all my pages using HTML code myself. Here are a few of the criticisms that I have yet to correct. As my web pages become more well known, I have gotten more complaints.

1. The colors on the pages are too bright and blinding or hard to read.
I like the bright colors but can understand that they might be difficult to read for too long at a time. Of course, I read my pages off of WordPerfect where there is no color. If you are interested in an entire page, you could print it out without color. I often do this when visiting other people's sites. Also, I aim to use color combinations that are supposed to appear visible for all computers but they truly do not always turn out that way. Older monitors may not be able to discern the background and foreground colors. If there is a page that you cannot read, let me know which one. I will either change the colors or e-mail you the text from that page. I have changed pages on occasion but considering I have over 200 URL's now, it is no easy task updating my site.

2. There should be thumbnail pictures and/or more large pictures on the page itself.
One of the things that bothers me most about other people's sites is waiting for pictures to load. Therefore, I kept the number of photos on my pages low and instead had links via text. While thumbnails are nice, they do take up more space on the system (UMBC only gives me so much room); take time to load; take time for me to shrink the pictures, add them in, and check them; I do not know all the proper HTML code; and I believe my textual descriptions are adequate for the viewer to decide whether to load up the entire photo. Sometimes one cannot make out the thumbnail photos anyway.

3. No one cares about your pets so just take them off of the web pages.
Well, the detailed information is also for my own benefit. If I want to know a pet's birthday or when I got him or her, I check my web page. If you are not interested in my animals then just do not visit those pages. In some cases, viewers enjoy reading about some of the trials and tribulations of my animals. Their animals may be going through the same thing. Some of my relatives say some of my pages are too "sappy" but if you don't like them, then don't visit!

4. The pages just are not visually appealing. They are ugly.
To make the pictures beautiful would require that I learn a lot more HTML code and spend a lot more time on my pages. The goal of my pages is more to disperse information than to visually appeal to someone. In many cases, all those beautiful pages that you see on the internet were made by a team of web-page-making professionals. As a trade off, many of those pages do not contain much textual information. I am just one person without vast quantities of computer skills. Also, remember that fancy pages take a really long time to load!

5. Latin names are not included with every animal that is discussed.
If I know the Latin name, I include it. All of the fish that have their own pages include Latin names and most of the insects.

6. Someone told me that most of the information on my web pages is trite or completely wrong. They also wanted me to take my site off-line to prevent the spread of misinformation. What is trite or insignificant to one person may be important to another so that statement does not bother me. I am bothered when the information on my pages is in question. No examples of wrong information were given. Most of the information on my pages comes from published books, well known and respected web sites and newsgroups, and other experienced aquarists' and ponders' advise. When I provide my opinion on something, I always provide any other opinions that I am aware of even if I do not agree. I encourage people to visit other sites and include links to many of them. Please, if anything on my site is wrong, tell me specifically what it is so that I can fix it. The last thing that I want to do is to provide false information or advise.

7. One person who has a pond web site has a link to my page. They say my site is large but that there is nothing original on my site, that I stole everything. While it is true that the majority of my site contains information that can be found elsewhere, I do have a few original ideas including things relating to my personal ponds and other animals. I intended to gather information from books, magazines, newsletters, the internet, etc. relating to animals, fish, and ponds and to put it all together in my words, in one place, with my opinions added from my experiences so that it is easy to understand. Again, if you do not like my site, do not visit.

8. A complaint in my guestbook said that my web site had too many "me, mine, my" in it. They wanted my site to be professional and have nothing personal in it. But, it is my web site so I can put whatever I want in it (as long as it is moral, legal, and not plagiarized). My site is NOT a professional web site. I am NOT an expert.

9. Another guestbook entrant said I should not put up information if I had not thoroughly researched it and have tons of experience with it. They were specifically talking about my turtle pages since I have never owned a turtle. I put up information that I believe is true and makes sense from the research I have done. I will always change incorrect information and do not wish to mislead anyone. Again, I am NOT an expert. Do not expect me to be.

Please feel free to send criticisms. Explain what you hated so I can maybe fix it. Do not just say, "I hate your web site."

I get the most hate mail regarding my AquaBabies pages. Here is an example from 10/13/04. I did not fix the grammar.
"who do you think you are? You are about as much of an expert as the person who invented the aquababy. Have you ever sat down and spoken with the creator of the aquababy I have she is a very intelligent person. Why would you put up a website destroying someone else's dream. In my opinion as you so put it YOU ARE A RETARD FOR CREATING THIS WEBSITE."
My response is I bet this is the creator writing me or a close friend. Also, I never said I was retarded (stupid yes). I am somewhat self-deprecating but would never use that word on my site as I have known some great people with Down syndrome, and think it is inappropriate to demean them or myself by using that word. I do not think that a good dream entails encapsulating aquatic animals in tiny cubes but maybe that is just me. I aspire to better dreams than that. Of course, mine do not come true.

Here is another hate e-mail from Ellen on 4/15/07. She spelled Schmoozer wrong. I replied to her criticism on my dog page.
"When I began reading your account of the life of your poor little dog I thought that you were joking about how he was treated. Then when I realized, after reading about the shock collar that you used on him, that you were serious. It always amazes me how people keep animals that they seem to have such little regard for. The saddest part of your recounting of his life was, even though you knew that he was dying, you didn't even spend his last hours on earth trying to comfort him, sit by him or hold him in your arms, but chose instead to leave him alone on a cold night with a plastic bag under him so his urine wouldn't get on the floor after he died. And although your mother heard his cries, ignored him just as you did. There seems to be a terrible lack of compassion on your part for the animals that you want people to believe that you care for. I sincerely hope that you limit your pet ownership to fish, although I'm relatively sure you don't do much better for them than you did for your little dog. I would be ashamed to write the account of your treatment of Shmoozer if I were you. And by the way, try wearing a shock collar yourself and see how it feels. It's cruel and sadistic to treat any animal in that manner."

One of my favorite criticisms is this one from my pond poll list of comments (no dates with them):
"This site is the worst I have ever seen!!! I have a cousin who works with the internet, and I will report you. I hope he shuts this down, and I bet all those awards are fake!!!!!!!!!!!"
Sorry, the awards were all given to me; none of them are important awards!

From Peter on 1/27/09 (grammar not corrected but spaces removed):
I have just bought a 3 barrel water feature that I'd like to have fish etc in. But no your site is a pain for a novice like me.
just a one page listing suggested needs would have been quite adequate."

Ok, I'll put all my pages on to a single page and see how that goes over! I referred him to my tub pond page and offered to help and got no response.

I have a guestbook on my Homepage and you can contact me as well with your comments and suggestions. Criticisms are welcome as well. That is how I know to make corrections to my pages.

Back to the comments index.

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