HOW TO AVOID PUDDLES OF PEE PROFESSIONALS IN THE WRITING WORLD

The internet is a glorious place. It's full of gifs, chats, meetups, livestreams, and handy dandy tips like how to work out if you're houseplant is secretly stealing from you or how to hold a lamp.

But the internet, and the publishing world in particular, is also a super dangerous place if you approach it in the manner we secretly all want to — which is with hope and candyfloss and no small amount of belief in magic. Magic happens, magic is real sure, but so are professional puddles of pee and we all must be aware of them!

So what/who is a puddle of pee? People or organisations seeking to take your cash/gummy bears/love but not necessarily give you anything in return. These peeps target the lonely, hard working, writers a) because they hope that all that writing, staying up late, and caffeine induced haze will impair judgement and b) because they can. So how do we avoid these pee puddles? Easy! We band together and do the following:
Bullet Pointrefer to sites like Writers Beware on a regular basis learning from the accidental mistakes of other unfortunate souls and allowing a moment of silence for our fallen comrades Bullet Pointask all hired professionals relevant questions; not just what kind of tea they like or why they think nobody has made edible shampoo yet, but real questions like what kind of work they do, how much will this cost, and what are their opinions of snapchat? Bullet Pointmemorise the following phrase "I am a writer and while I do believe in magic, funny cat gifs, and meeting people online, you sir will receive no interest from me until I have done the appropriate amount of online stalking research!" Bullet Pointlisten to what the people are saying, if your writerly friends give a person or organisation or agency a great recommendation then maybe this place or person is actually a fountain of wisdom and not a puddle of pee; likewise if everyone is being super quiet about a group or person then maybe they are not the best in the entire world Bullet Point test everyone using the following gif, you get to decide what response constitutes a pass:

Bullet Point Don't be intimidated into agreeing to something online, people can be super pushy on the internet because you aren't sitting next to them raising one eyebrow and saying "really??" as you tilt your head but that is no reason to buckle under the weight of their tweets

How do you avoid puddles of pee in an otherwise idyllic and fabulous online writerly community? There are so many fabulous fountains of wisdom out there too what great resources have you come across?