|To:||"'muriel story'" <>, "'canberrabirds chatline'" <>|
|Subject:||questions and answers on the cog chatline|
|From:||"Philip Veerman" <>|
|Date:||Fri, 20 Jul 2012 16:22:14 +1000|
Thanks for the comment about: "the well thought-out questions that less- and more-experienced birders send to the chatline. We have had some excellent recent conversations as examples." Yes indeed. I support that you "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." Three points in that sequence. That surely is a main use of this facility. I suspect few participants would dispute that the chatline is and always has been very well run to facilitate this.
Another great example is the odd Cockatoo photos posted today. The idea put up by Denis in reply is truly fascinating and I wonder what could really be the story behind that bird. On that one I have no ideas to add. I think an expert like Joe Forshaw should be asked to help.
Sometimes I think it is sad that some people feel reluctant to either ask or send their responses for all to see. Julian's photos of the harrier this week are a good example. I replied to the list (admittedly quickly) because - a) I am confident of the answer & b) no one else had. But it left me wondering if there were any other insights from others who could know some other points. I just assumed there was no disagreement with what I had sent, so no one else felt a need to respond. I don't know if I am right to think that. Curiosity about this lead me to ask Julian if anyone else answered. Some had but only to him. I was curious mainly because I can't imagine what is special about me (in this case). It is nice to see messages of agreement too. I often (several recently) send a message in to the list to say I agree with an advice that for example Mark Clayton has sent in, and maybe adding another point if I thought it useful. Agreement adds to the conviviality of the list. (Although we don't want 50 me-too yes messages either). Partly because at other times I will have a different opinion.
I am not aware of any supercilious comment about one's birding nous having being made on this list, although there has sadly been allegations of that fear having being promulgated. Simply answering a question that a something is a whatever certainly should not ever be taken as reflecting (negatively) on a person's knowledge. It is simply an answer to a question. No one expects everyone to know it all.
I would also add that the concern is nothing unique to an email chatline. I joined the Bird Observers Club in 1970 when I was 13. I came up with lots of good and truly wonky identifications then, to ask more knowledgeable people about. At that time there was no emails, just meetings, outings and if I was really lucky some tiny out of focus speck of a bird on a 35 mm colour slide to show. Concerns about being right or wrong and being shown to be so, were the same then. It is just a learning process.
Oh yes I have read Mark's inspirational contribution to your message also....... I also notice that as he usually does, Geoffrey's little vignette puts it into context. Thanks for that. I think this reply to you (Muriel) addresses whatever is useful for me to mention on the issue.
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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