Share this content

If you haven't got anything nice to say ....

Should we refrain from replying to posts we don't think appropriate?

Didn't find your answer?

There are numerous examples including the Australian one today. Someone thinks a question inappropriate, requires professional advice, is from a freeloader, or whatever, others pile in, and there's a good chance the questioner gets upset and either leaves, or suggests this forum is full of trolls and toxic accountants and the whole thing descends (or ascends whichever way you look at it) into a  maelstom of argument and [***] taking.

Would it be better if we simply ignored these posts? Seems like more time is spent going round in circles on this than discussing our thrilling accounting and tax conundrums. The blatantly stupid ones should remain fair game of course!

That said, the real solution is in the hands of the site owners.

 

Replies (105)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

Replying to Arthur Putey:
Jason Croke
By Jason Croke
03rd Mar 2021 16:54

Not a bad idea, any sort of social media platform is going to attract a variety of users, some will want to spam it with bitcoin links, others to wind up or take advantage and others genuinely wanting an answer to a problem.

You either embrace them and the traffic they bring to the website or you exclude them which then disturbs the income model for the website.

Often you get a sense that people have done zero research and they just want to be spoon fed answers, so it might be that to post a question they perhaps first have to register and read 2-3 articles (some newspapers so this on their websites, you click a poll to register the visit and then you can read the news item), point being is it if requires people to read an article on corporation tax or allowances before they post, it reduces the spoon feeders without dissuading those who have a question to ask.

I doubt there will ever be a solution, but as Bill & Ted would say, "be excellent to one another and party on!"

Thanks (1)
avatar
By Tax Dragon
03rd Mar 2021 15:59

Basic example:

There was a thread asking about the CGT base cost of property. Half had been inherited from mum, half gifted by dad, or some such. (These half-and-half threads seem to come up a lot.)

As asked, the answer was straightforward - probate value of mum's half plus value of dad's half when he gifted.

Except... whole property had been nan's, had passed to mum and mum had left it half to dad and half to OP's wife. Dad had made his gift within two year's of mum's passing. I let the thread wander, some saying "get an accountant", some trying to be helpful and giving the answer to the question.

Now, if dad had a half-decent tax advisor, or even solicitor, making a gift within two years of mum's death would I reckon have been achieved by deed of variation, to trust for himself with remainder to daughter. Suddenly it's a whole different tax analysis.

I had to step in (just too much potential misdirection, in my view) to ask whether there was a deed of variation. Fundamental to the tax treatment. I suggested that it would be to the OP's benefit to find out.

Now I might not have remembered it quite right. But my point is that the OP's question was easy. It had an easy answer. The answer was given. But that answer may have been completely irrelevant to the actual facts, depending on whether there had been a DoV and trust.

I don't really know where I'm going with all this. I guess I think some people could benefit from paying for professional help. [That includes us accountants etc, by the way, when matters arise that we are not equipped to deal with. (Basic example: We've had a few questions where OPs seem to think that PRR excludes the gain up to the point of moving out, so there's a rebasing effect. It could work like that, but it doesn't. There was one this week I think from an accountant.)]

A lot of such people, rather than taking advice, pose questions in here. I reckon, as in my first case above, a fair few of those questions miss out points that professional assistance would unearth - which points might have very advantageous consequences. (In short, as I am wont to say, they are the "wrong questions".)

That a significant percentage of such querists react to being advised that they could benefit from paying for help, however sweetly it's said, is for me a side issue - I'm sure many just do it for effect. The issue for me is that there's a difference between, say, discussing budget announcements, or the meaning of control, or whether trading allowance is apportioned, or whatever 'general' issue, and determining the treatment in a specific case. Forums are (IMHO) great for the general. They are (IMHO) absolutely hopeless for the specific. (And there's a fair few of us respondents don't seem able to tell one from the other, but that's another thread :-))

I rest.

Thanks (3)
Replying to Tax Dragon:
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
03rd Mar 2021 16:07

Cup of tea and a biscuit?

Thanks (0)
Replying to Arthur Putey:
avatar
By Tax Dragon
03rd Mar 2021 16:16

Sounds great. June 22nd?

Thanks (0)
Replying to Tax Dragon:
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
04th Mar 2021 14:09

Your treat? That way you can consider the disallowable elements of the cost of entertaining me, while I make sweeping generalisations.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Arthur Putey:
avatar
By Tax Dragon
04th Mar 2021 14:54

I'll put it down to training. Of the two of us, you are the acknowledged entertainer.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Arthur Putey:
Avatar
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
03rd Mar 2021 16:59

TD's right, y'know. Were there a professional meter ticking, the OPs wouldn't sit back letting the forum wear itself out going up the garden path. Rather, they'd remember up-front that there was a game-changing DoV or trust.

But the forum certainly displays a keenness to answer all-comers' questions, regardless of any such fundamental omissions, so in the interests of better communication I shall issue the cautionary tale of our visit to the Covid-jab centre this morning.

Upon arrival, and after an hour's enforced wait in a sectioned-off car park because Mrs Sorry and I had arrived way too early for our appointed slot, one of the gate-security guys released us to the main car park. There three or four car-park attendants waved their arms diligently in an effort to get us to park on the exact spot they wanted. Two masked receptionists instructed us to don our masks, alight our car, and go stand in the queue by the entrance, which we duly did. Now I must emphasise that at no time did any of those 7 or so people ask us whether one or both of us were being jabbed, and when eventually we reached the head of the queue they seemed genuinely surprised to learn that I'd already had my jab last week. How dare I get out of the car? Shoo!

See what I mean? If I'd been paying, I'd have volunteered that essential snippet of information much earlier. But I wasn't; so I didn't. Instead, I let them carry on in their merry way.

Thanks (0)
Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
RLI
By lionofludesch
03rd Mar 2021 17:03

I'msorryIhaven'taclue wrote:

Upon arrival, and after an hour's enforced wait in a sectioned-off car park because Mrs Sorry and I had arrived way too early for our appointed slot, one of the gate-security guys released us to the main car park. There three or four car-park attendants waved their arms diligently in an effort to get us to park on the exact spot they wanted. Two masked receptionists instructed us to don our masks, alight our car, and go stand in the queue by the entrance, which we duly did. Now I must emphasise that at no time did any of those 7 or so people ask us whether one or both of us were being jabbed, and when eventually we reached the head of the queue they seemed genuinely surprised to learn that I'd already had my jab last week. How dare I get out of the car? Shoo!

Interesting.

Probably the parking arrangements are different at your venue but I eschewed the official car park after being tipped off that it was totally inadequate and parked on the side of Ferrybridge Road, fifty yards from the venue. I went into the venue, queued behind three folk, collected a raffle ticket and a QR code, sat in a waiting area for less than five minutes, got my number called, had the jag, sat in a waiting area for 15 minutes and went home. The whole thing took less than half an hour and I was back at the car before my official appointment time.

A couple of weeks later, it was Mrs Lion's turn and I parked in pretty much the same place. She went in on her own and she was in there for a few minutes more than me. I didn't go in with her - it's pointless social mixing, is it not ?

What bothers me is that I never checked to see whether I'd won the raffle.

Thanks (1)
Replying to lionofludesch:
Avatar
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
03rd Mar 2021 17:52

Heh heh, first prize a luxury holiday for two in Costa del Pontins.

Well your experience mirrors mine last week at the local town hall, where the car parking was haphazard but free that day and I was in and out for my jab in no time. And, as an added bonus, I scored the Pfizer-BionTech vaccine.

But today we had to travel a long way to the Bath and West Showground - not even our county - where all that practice at shepherding livestock from one pen to the next was evidently put into use processing patients. So, because we were extremely early, we were put firstly into waiting area 4 (marked out by a series of cones and a plastic gate in a side car-park) before eventually being promoted all the way up to the car park proper with the four parking marshals. And no stretching your legs or getting out of your car for a smoke / coffee / wee once you're in past the security gate. All very regimented.

To make matters worse, Mrs I'msorry only drew silver with an Oxford-AstraZeneca dose; which made the journey home seem even longer.

Thanks (0)
Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
03rd Mar 2021 17:59

I'msorryIhaven'taclue wrote:

Heh heh, first prize a luxury holiday for two in Costa del Pontins.


But only if you don't have a traveller's surname or an Irish accent
Thanks (0)
Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
RLI
By lionofludesch
03rd Mar 2021 18:15

I'msorryIhaven'taclue wrote:

Heh heh, first prize a luxury holiday for two in Costa del Pontins.

Well your experience mirrors mine last week at the local town hall, where the car parking was haphazard but free that day and I was in and out for my jab in no time. And, as an added bonus, I scored the Pfizer-BionTech vaccine.

But today we had to travel a long way to the Bath and West Showground - not even our county - where all that practice at shepherding livestock from one pen to the next was evidently put into use processing patients. So, because we were extremely early, we were put firstly into waiting area 4 (marked out by a series of cones and a plastic gate in a side car-park) before eventually being promoted all the way up to the car park proper with the four parking marshals. And no stretching your legs or getting out of your car for a smoke / coffee / wee once you're in past the security gate. All very regimented.

To make matters worse, Mrs I'msorry only drew silver with an Oxford-AstraZeneca dose; which made the journey home seem even longer.

Yes, I got Pfizer, as did Mrs Lion. Time will tell whether that's a good deal or not.

Strangely, a couple we know went together, the wife got Pfizer and the husband AZ, which I thought was a bit weird.

Thanks (0)
Replying to lionofludesch:
avatar
By jane
03rd Mar 2021 19:29

That could be in accordance with the answers they gave to the questions asked....

Thanks (1)
Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
03rd Mar 2021 17:58

You could have had a 2nd (first) dose, just to be sure. Now if Aweb were a doctors site and a member of the public popped up and asked "Should I have one dose of each vaccine in case the Pfizer one isn't very good?" .......

Or better still "I am self employed, if I am already at the depot and I use the van to go to the vaccination centre on my way home, what parts of the journey are considered private ....."

Thanks (0)
Replying to Arthur Putey:
Avatar
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
03rd Mar 2021 18:51

Ahha you're not allowed to mix your drinks that way, so are issued with a card confirming the date and flavour of your initial jab.

That may not apply to van drivers. Or would-be Australians.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Tax Dragon:
By SteveHa
03rd Mar 2021 18:07

TD, I'm in a lot of agreement with what you say, and perhaps I'm guilty of giving a black and white answer to what is, when asked, a black and white question, without bothering to dig beneath the sheets and see what's lurking there.

Having said that, answering in depth questions here doesn't put bread on the table. If a poster is too bone idle to properly frame their question, why should I go out of my way to frame a complex response, or to even try to dig the correct question out?

Thanks (2)
Replying to SteveHa:
RLI
By lionofludesch
03rd Mar 2021 18:17

SteveHa wrote:

TD, I'm in a lot of agreement with what you say, and perhaps I'm guilty of giving a black and white answer to what is, when asked, a black and white question, without bothering to dig beneath the sheets and see what's lurking there.

Having said that, answering in depth questions here doesn't put bread on the table. If a poster is too bone idle to properly frame their question, why should I go out of my way to frame a complex response, or to even try to dig the correct question out?

We actually make a lot of posts trying to get relevant information from OPs. Some seem to resent it in a whaddyerwannaknawthatfor way.

Thanks (0)
Replying to SteveHa:
avatar
By Tax Dragon
03rd Mar 2021 19:47

SteveHa wrote:

If a poster is too bone idle to properly frame their question....

It's not necessarily bone idleness. It's often basic ignorance. As in my example 1. As in Wanderer's example below. These querists (including I suggest the one Wanderer mentions) need paid for advice.

Bone idle questions... ignore 'em completely. I've paid my Aweb subscription - many is the time I've put more effort into a response than the OP did into the question. Can't be bothered with that anymore.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Tax Dragon:
avatar
By Wanderer
03rd Mar 2021 18:17

Tax Dragon wrote:

Now I might not have remembered it quite right. But my point is that the OP's question was easy. It had an easy answer. The answer was given. But that answer may have been completely irrelevant to the actual facts, ....

Similar but simpler case there was a thread today asking what date should be put on an Option to Tax application.
Could have answered the question BUT a simple bit of probing revealed that the OP shouldn't be anywhere near an OTT! Saved them some work & maybe a PI claim.
Thanks (0)
Replying to Wanderer:
avatar
By Tax Dragon
03rd Mar 2021 19:52

Perfect example, not only of the "wrong question" issue, but also of accountants sometimes being the ones guilty of acting in ignorance to save the cost of buying in some specialism. I'm guessing the sums weren't trivial, either.

Thanks (0)
My photo
By Matrix
03rd Mar 2021 16:52

Yes members can choose to ignore but this site would be nothing without the responders who take the time to help.

I don’t agree with some of the delivery but there is a pattern with lay people expecting the world. When one of the most helpful, long standing posters swears, as has just happened on another thread, then I think there is an issue with the purpose of the site which needs addressing.

Thanks (1)
Red Leader
By Red Leader
03rd Mar 2021 17:12

I'm just impressed that Arthur got [***] into his question and it got past the censor. How do you manage that?

*** = p i s s

Thanks (0)
Replying to Red Leader:
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
03rd Mar 2021 18:02

Buggerd if I know

Thanks (0)
Replying to Arthur Putey:
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
03rd Mar 2021 18:04

Sorry kids, I expected that to be redacted too! Last time it put [****] after the bad word, this time nothing. Maybe its a reward for excessive posting.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Arthur Putey:
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
03rd Mar 2021 18:05

Caught by my own typo!

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Mr_awol
03rd Mar 2021 19:05

If site admin had any intention of enforcing the rules then it would be quite easy to ignore the freeloading abuses of anon, safe in the knowledge that they’d be sorted out.

Unfortunately that doesn’t look
Like it will happen anytime soon, and as such I do not agree that such a passive will lead to an improvement in the forum - on the contrary I feel
It would assist the continued demise in standards

Thanks (0)
Replying to Mr_awol:
avatar
By Tax Dragon
03rd Mar 2021 19:40

Non-passive hasn't worked very well.

Though I prefer to think of it as active passivity. Actively choosing to say nothing.

Thanks (1)
Replying to Tax Dragon:
avatar
By Mr_awol
05th Mar 2021 10:30

Tax Dragon wrote:

Non-passive hasn't worked very well.

Though I prefer to think of it as active passivity. Actively choosing to say nothing.

Difficult to tell if it has worked well (or indeed at all). It is possible that it would have been even worse if everyone turned the other cheek. I'd say it depends on whether the 'offenders' would always have been one-hit wonders, whether they could have been 'reformed' and whether they have/had any value. It also depends on whether admins inaction has contributed to the departure of anyone, and whether those departees have/had any value.

We are told (by freeloading anon abusers mainly) that we are rude and unprofessional and they wont darken our doors again. That's often a positive thing, but doesn't prevent future repeats be new or the same persons. If we'd all simply ignored them then they may have thought we were rude and unprofessional for not replying and the effect may or may not have been different. In practice however it's likely that someone would have replied.

If they get their answer then I'd say they are certainly more likely to come back next time they have a query. If they are allowed to continue abusing anon then we may never know.

Whether it does actually drive people away is debateable of course. Whether it is worthy of debate is another matter.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Mr_awol:
avatar
By Tax Dragon
05th Mar 2021 12:14

I reckon if NOONE EVER responded to .Anon (other than queries that were, say, AML-sensitive or concerned mental health or similar), then .Anon would have effed off by now.

That's an example of how active silence could work. Now, some regular contributors might like the ability to hide behind .Anon on occasion. So they might have ulterior motives for responding to .Anon on other occasions.

The reality is that the NOONE EVER state of play will never exist. And similarly with all the other issues. So, we all just have to choose our own behaviours, and be responsible therefor. (Which finally brings us back to Arthur's question: https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/if-you-havent-got-anything-n...)

Thanks (0)
Replying to Tax Dragon:
avatar
By Tax Dragon
05th Mar 2021 12:25

Tax Dragon wrote:

(Which finally brings us back to Arthur's question: https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/if-you-havent-got-anything-n...)

The best answer to which that I have seen is alialdabawi's post on this thread: https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/dormant-or-trading-for-a-lim...

Thanks (0)
Replying to Tax Dragon:
avatar
By Paul Crowley
05th Mar 2021 18:44

Good polite post
Op admitted that she could not be bothered to read it

Thanks (0)
Replying to Paul Crowley:
avatar
By Mr_awol
06th Mar 2021 01:14

And that’s the problem. These area holes don’t give a shot and don’t respect the posters from whom
They demand free assistance. As such I’m not sure why we should ‘Play nice’ with them

Thanks (0)
avatar
By johnhemming
03rd Mar 2021 19:20

As any fule kno:
I am not an accountant

However, I have sympathy with accountants who are asked to advise on complex aspects of tax law without someone being paid.

When my band is playing jazz it is reasonable to expect to be paid. When I write tax software for each user, however, I don't mind that from time to time (at the moment all the time) I don't get paid. That is because the marginal cost of an additional client is tending towards zero and it is good marketing and in any event it takes me away from studying the markets which is actually a good thing.

However, it is unreasonable on a forum for accountants to expect accountants to work for nothing. That ignores the fact that advice is fact specific.

Thanks (0)
Replying to johnhemming:
Maytuna
By DJKL
03rd Mar 2021 21:23

At least with the jazz you can make it up as you go along.

Thanks (2)
Sparkly Orange
By Sparkly
04th Mar 2021 02:54

I was one of the responders that you may be referring to here in relation to the "Aus" post. You were one too and didn't answer the OP's question fully either. I would not normally have responded in the way that I did, but when another Aweb member had suggested that it was complex and not quite the right place to be asking etc the OP responded to ask "Ok, so what is this forum for asking about?" I responded to that and elaborated, I didn't call the OP any names, and I didn't offer any other personal insults. However, I stand by my assertion that bespoke advice has a value and therefore someone seeking that advice should expect to pay for it, and not expect to get it for free, from a forum, just as I would not expect free service, consulting a solicitor or another personal service, or indeed buying goods. I also don't just comment negatively on posts, if I think I can possibly help then I post that too. I've been here for a few years and as an example from just last week shows I did just that - it may not have been the right answer but I tried, I could see that they had researched case law etc (entirely different to the "Aus" free advice seeker) https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/paramedic-training-costs.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Sparkly:
Avatar
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
04th Mar 2021 12:26

The "Aus" post has gone walkabout!

Thanks (0)
Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
By Paul D Utherone
04th Mar 2021 13:57

I'msorryIhaven'taclue wrote:

The "Aus" post has gone walkabout!


Aaaaaw, and I had given a response (sort of) and it wasn't "pay for advice you cheapskate"!
Thanks (0)
Replying to Paul D Utherone:
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
04th Mar 2021 14:11

I'msorryIhaven'taclue

I like your new name

Thanks (0)
Replying to Arthur Putey:
Avatar
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
04th Mar 2021 14:32

Let's see a plaintiff get that on the claim form!

You could change yours to Arthur Ascii.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Paul D Utherone:
avatar
By Tax Dragon
04th Mar 2021 15:08

I'd seen it was closed. Only just realised it's been deleted.

I don't see the merit of the deletion. (Quite apart from the fact that it sparked Arthur into starting this thread, which now looks a bit random.)

Thanks (0)
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
04th Mar 2021 08:52

Thank you all for contributing to this thread. An interesting mix of responses. Not quite a survey, but perhaps click Thanks if you would (hypothetically) join a closed forum if one were available elsewhere (note to site owners I am not trying to incite a mutiny here, nor will I be creating such a forum, just interested). There may well be groups on LinkedIn, Facebook even (for the less introvert among you) so if its ok to mention them here, please do, if they complement the Aweb offering.

Thanks (6)
Replying to Arthur Putey:
avatar
By Tax Dragon
04th Mar 2021 15:13

I'd join Saddos - on Aweb or elsewhere - if it'd have me.

Thanks (1)
Replying to Tax Dragon:
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
05th Mar 2021 17:51

I think we need a "Dark Aweb"

Thanks (1)
Replying to Arthur Putey:
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
06th Mar 2021 17:26

Arthur Putey wrote:

I think we need a "Dark Aweb"


"Have you got that top slicing relief calculation?"

"Maybe, what's it worth to you."

"A discussion on how much garden get PPR relief and how to get around the 30-day CGT return requirement"

"You got a deal buddy!"

Dark AWeb. Coming soon on Netflix. This time it's personal (taxation)!!!

Thanks (1)
.
By Cheshire
05th Mar 2021 15:56

John S's suggestion of 'just ignore' doesnt work.

Site increasingly being used by folk who really need an Accountant and no matter how much folk help, quiz themto get more info or just say the best advice is to get an Accountant some of the responses are just vile.

Another example today https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/dormant-or-trading-for-a-lim...

Why not just add 'no comment' ? I mean everyone who responds. Literally so such posts just get a long list of 'no comment' comments.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Cheshire:
avatar
By Tax Dragon
05th Mar 2021 17:23

IMHO, even saying "no comment" to kia2094 would have been a waste of time, and in hindsight I wish I had simply stayed off the thread you link to. (I used to try to reason with such people. But some people simply won't be reasoned with, as evidenced in kia2094's case by the self-justifying reply to alialdabawi at 13:16.)

Thanks (1)
Replying to Tax Dragon:
RLI
By lionofludesch
05th Mar 2021 17:41

Tax Dragon wrote:

IMHO, even saying "no comment" to kia2094 would have been a waste of time, and in hindsight I wish I had simply stayed off the thread you link to. (I used to try to reason with such people. But some people simply won't be reasoned with, as evidenced in kia2094's case by the self-justifying reply to alialdabawi at 13:16.)

I saw the fella coming, to be honest.

He didn't deserve my time.

Thanks (0)
Replying to lionofludesch:
.
By Cheshire
05th Mar 2021 17:48

''I saw the fella coming''

Didnt we all.

Thanks (0)
Replying to lionofludesch:
avatar
By Mr_awol
06th Mar 2021 01:25

Maybe that’s the problem. We all
See them coming and rather than bother to address it, site admin tell us to #BeKind to them, welcome them, etc.

Perhaps the issue isn’t the anon abusing freeloaders - they know no better after all. The problem is that those with the ability to help protect us, either can’t or won’t.

If John S had admitted there aren’t sufficient resources to solve the problem and sift won’t provide resources, so we’re stuck with it, I think I’d have respected that. Instead he wrote that condescending new broom nonsense which states we are the problem, and not only did he not protect us but worse still he tried to take away our right to defend ourselves.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Tax Dragon:
.
By Cheshire
05th Mar 2021 17:51

In his case, plus one or two others, I agree, he wouldve still been the same arrogant ******* but he wouldve had no information whatsoever, as opposed to the some he will choose to ignore/doesnt understand. Besides it would be funny and other such folk, seeing such responses, might then become less inclined to post in the first place.

Thanks (1)
Replying to Cheshire:
avatar
By Tax Dragon
05th Mar 2021 19:35

I might suck it and see. Paul's .Anon approach, which I think was supposed to have the effect you suggest, didn't. But "no comment" might be more generally/widely understood.

Thanks (2)

Pages

Share this content