questions and answers on the cog chatline

To: "'muriel story'" <>, "'canberrabirds chatline'" <>
Subject: questions and answers on the cog chatline
From: "Mark Clayton" <>
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2012 11:12:22 +1000

Bravo, well said Muriel.


Several years ago I had several such concerns put to me as a senior member of COG (not a committee member) by various COG members and former members, the former members stating they would not rejoin the group while one member in particular was still involved in the group. I brought the matter up with the then committee but I ended up being vilified by them as I had dared to publish an email sent to me by a member stating that I was only stirring up trouble and that there was no problem with “abusive” people on the chat line. I did send copies of emails I received from members and others supporting what I was saying to the committee at the time. I was totally and utterly appalled at the committee’s response.  As a result of this I confess I did at the time stop replying to queries on the chat line and only sent my reply to the person asking the question.


One of the main concerns expressed by several members was that they thought that the chat line was not being properly moderated, something that I totally agree with. I still don’t think it is being properly supervised and obviously Muriel, so do you.


It was also because of something else written relatively recently on the chat line that caused me to resign from this year’s committee and stop working on several important COG projects, several of which I am one of the very few people who could answer questions on localities recorded during Steve Wilson’s time as the “official bird recorder” locally. I have lived in Canberra for nearly 60 years and do have a fair knowledge of what has happened locally over most of that time. I am a foundation member of the group but am seriously questioning whether I will rejoin COG again.


I also know that there are still a lot of people who feel the same as you do so something has to be done by the committee to sort this out.


I shall now await the abusive emails from one member in particular!




From: muriel story [
Sent: Friday, 20 July 2012 10:00 AM
To: canberrabirds chatline
Subject: [canberrabirds] questions and answers on the cog chatline



I value the well thought-out questions that less- and more-experienced birders send to the chatline. We have had some excellent recent conversations as examples.


Puzzles come up time and again in the field especially when one is birding solo. It's very valuable to solve an obstinate puzzle, and also to see the questions others raise, and to read the replies they receive. It draws things into a clear context to hear all the different or converging views and to learn of the resources we can use to help in our own research. 


However, the thought of receiving supercilious comment about one's birding nous is enough to deter many of us from venturing onto the chatline to resolve doubts.


 Similar insecurities mean that many replies are not returned to the chatline but only to the one querying. This deprives other readers from gaining new knowledge and insights.


At the risk of putting myself in the firing line, I encourage all birders with an i.d. problem to think through it as best they can and, if they cannot find a solution, to put a clear question on-line.  I also encourage those who reply to send their corro to the chatline as well as to the enquirer.


Those who find the questions tedious may simply ignore them.










Muriel Story Edwards


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