Most of you out there that read this on a daily basis have never met me. We've never worked together, shaken hands, or even been in the same room together. We might have emailed, but probably not. However many people seem to trust the advice that I put on regularly in forums at SQLServerCentral and other places.
And I'm not the only one. There are quite a few people in the SQL world whose advice is trusted, but not universally. How is that trust earned? How can you earn the trust of others? There is no secret, and it's the same way you do it every day in your life.
Why do I trust Paul Randal for SQL advice? It's not because he used to work for Microsoft. It's not because he was a PM for the SQL Server development team. It's not because he speaks at conferences. It's because he doesn't steer me wrong, he's open, honest, and helpful in the SQL world. If I ask a question, Paul answers openly, professionally, and politely. If I double check his answers, and I have, they're right.
He's earned my trust by doing a good job for me. That's also how I ended up writing this editorial, having a successful site, and getting paid by various companies as a DBA. I've earned the trust of my employers, partners, and readers over time. Most other successful writers, posters, and MVPs have done it the same way, with hard work, over time. I trust other people as well, but it's because they've earned that privilege from me.
I wish I could say there is a shortcut, but there isn't. Gaining trust online is the same as gaining trust in the real world. It's how news writers and anchors have earned it from the public for years, and how children have earned it from their parents for generations. You do open, honest, dependable work for someone and they learn to count on you.
They learn to trust that you will come through for them.
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