“All you gotta do is just…”

I received an email from a commenter yesterday, which I reproduce in its entirety…


Is it my imagination or is the site becoming one long “let’s all tell Joel what/when/how/why/where to do stuff”?

I mean, the occasional tip or suggestion is perhaps appreciated, but lately it seems to be “competition piling-on”.

And I apologize for my part therein.



And as much as I appreciate the thought, I have to disagree. Fact is, I love all the discussion and suggestions and even the occasional polite dispute. In fact I said to a neighbor just the other day that the percentage of genuinely useful suggestions is surprisingly high.

Let me take you back, back through the foggy mists of time to May 2017, when my Season of Construction was only beginning. I put poles in the ground for a new woodshed, and didn’t get them right.

Okay, I was tired and maybe a little dehydrated and not thinking straight. I’d have come up with the solution to the problem my earlier carelessness caused eventually, and maybe even before doing something destructive. But if you read the comments in that post, you’ll recall that readers led me directly to the solution, which was very simple to implement. I don’t depend on such suggestions, I’m on my own here. But when they come, I do read them respectfully. And sometimes they contain the solution to a real problem – or at least a better solution than the one I’m busily using to screw up my life.

I don’t deny that sometimes suggestions get a little, er, basic. I don’t need to be told that fire is hot and ice is cold, we’ve got lots of both. I was a dealership mechanic, for god’s sake – I know that engines need fuel and air and fire and compression. But readers don’t necessarily know my background, so I’m not offended by suggestions that seem to assume Uncle Joel fell out of his mama just last Tuesday. There’s lots of things I don’t know. Lots of things. On some subjects, really basic things.

So, all in all, the comments are a major reason I keep doing this blog. I love the comments, appreciate the suggestions, and wish they came from a bigger pool of commenters. You lurkers, don’t be afraid to chime in when you see Uncle Joel running toward that brick wall.

Thanks to all. You guys are awesome.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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12 Responses to “All you gotta do is just…”

  1. Claire says:

    Oh, thank you for that, Joel. I’ve also noticed what appear to be “helpfulness pile-ons” and I know I’ve participated in them. Just recently I started noticing so many of them I got worried you might be tempted either to blow your stack or cut off comments entirely.

    I love your blog and its comments. I’m glad even the excess help is okay by you.

  2. Kentucky says:

    And the flood gates open . . .

    😉 😉 😉

  3. feralfae says:

    ^LOL, I thought the flood gates opened a while ago with all the flooding. 🙂

  4. MJR says:

    What Claire said…

  5. terrapod says:

    In the inimitable words of Mork – What! You have nuclear power plants and don’t have “Nukaway spill cleaner”!!!! How have you e-v-e-r survived???

  6. coloradohermit says:

    It’s good to know that Joel appreciates the comments and input. I like the comments and quite a few times I’ve benefited from inputs people have offered, even if it was something that Joel and the rest of the world already knew. Even some of the things that I’ll never ever need to know are kind of fascinating as to why anyone would need or want to know that. Always interesting at any rate.

  7. John says:

    What MJR said…

  8. Ben C says:

    Before racing for that wall, I would suggest putting a helmet on your head and duct taping a pillow to your backside. Keep from cutting the scalp and give you a little cushion to land on after you bounce off!

    Now back to lurking.

  9. Zelda says:

    There’s so much practical experience among the blog commentators that I have learned so much from. People who have done lots of Stuff and are willing to take the time to tell us about it. I love all the advice and suggestions, glad Joel enjoys the input too as I would be sad not to see it here.

  10. bmq215 says:

    Glad to hear this, I’ve thought the same thing a time or two.

    Ben C’s suggestion is a good one but I’d also suggest taking a look to the left and right. Brick walls often have edges and if you’re clever about it you can sometimes run past the wall instead of into it…

  11. Brass says:

    Yep, have to say I was just recently noticing the “obvious advice” trend. Good to know you’re able to live your own life and still get some useful tidbits from the peanut gallery. I’m glad the readership base has such a diverse knowledge base, though. It’s like having a Popular Mechanics Encyclopedia o’ Experienced People at your fingertips.

  12. Tennessee Budd says:

    Like you, Joel, I’m one who is willing to listen to advice, even when I’m liable not to use it, because now & then there’s a gem in there. It used to annoy me when people went over the basics of something I already know, but folks don’t know everywhere I’ve been & what I know or don’t. Worse yet, sometimes when someone is going over those things “everybody knows”, I think “oh, shit, I completely forgot that.”
    Along similar lines, as I get older, I realize more & more that external memory is not just for computers; I write myself notes if I need to remember something. I’ve been known to go to town & get things I needed, only to get home & find I didn’t get the Main Thing for which I went to town in the first place.

To the stake with the heretic!