Message Number: YG1903 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-03-30 23:45:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Problem on the FHL

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., Sukie Crandall <sukiecrandall@t...>
> >I've had a couple of complaints from people who's posts went
> >unanswered. In each case they were pretty common ferret questions
> >I assume everyone felt someone else would get it.
> >
> >If you've posted and haven't recieved an answer, please post again
> >and I apologize. I'm trying to come up with some way to make sure
> >each and every post gets an answer.

Let's put this one in perspective. Today, I received 52 individual
pieces of ferret-related email - from my web site at, from my personal email addresses at the AFIP
and at home, and those addressed on the FHL. Unfortunately, there is
no way to conceivably handle this amount of mail, plus have a
personal and professional life as well. (Tonite, being Friday night,
it's video night at the Williams hacienda - watched "Wonder Boys" -
hihly recommend it. Now Mama's asleep on the couch and I an quietly
typing in the den.)

The key is, if at first you don't succeed, try again, and again. If
your question doesn't get answered on the list, send it directly to a
couple of people - everyone's address is posted on the list. First
time around, I concentrate on urgent needs, questions that I have
ready information on, and of course, those that engender short direct
answers. That way I can answer the most in a short period of time.
I probably don't get to about 30 percent or more, but this number
drops significantly if it is repeated within a couple of days, and I
never miss a third try, even if I don't have an answer. I'm sure the
other vets on the list have a similar system. I don't delete
unanswered mail - I might have an opportunity to answer the next
night, or the following.

Unfortunately, the sheer volume of correspondence incurred by vets
and knowledgeable laypersons on this list is not readily apparent to
people who post infrequently. A relatively contemporaneous response
certainly seems reasonable, and to an extent, it is. Something else
that isn't readily apparent is the admnistrative traffic and
discussion between moderators that occurs on this list - we generally
reach consensus regarding posts, and of course if anyone needs to be
removed, it engenders very detailed discussion. The amount of work
that Chris does behind the scene is also not apparent - fielding
inquiries from people who want to switch to digests, etc. Or the
photos that are retouched, files posted, etc.

This is not to say that anyone on this list, from the moderators, to
the vets, to the people who routinely take time to answer questions
or post pithy inquiries, begrudges the time that they spend here.
Everyone on this list is here for the love of ferrets, and the
feeling of community. There is no other reason that I see to do it.

But to post twice and then sign off because of a lack of personal
interaction is being a bit on the hasty side. If you have a pressing
issue, be persistent. In a chorus, individual voices don't often
stand out.

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
Join the Ferret Health List at