Hear, hear Simon! Precisely the point I was trying to make in my first post
on the topic (although I do apologise for the long winded email, and
therefore understand if my message was lost!). What a wonderful conversation
this is turning out to be! It is fantastic to see that so many people have
thoughts on this, and am really pleased with what people are putting
Yes, thus far the focus has been on Rare Bird Alerts, but I think there is
far more to it than that. I think there is a real opportunity here to put
something together that serves more than just a real-time alert system. A
central website that provides information on how to get into birding, advice
on binoculars, where you can find birds, maps, lists, the ability to join
discussion groups, share your lists, announce upcoming events, upload
surveys etc etc.
I can understand that many people are going to respond by saying that we
don't need it - and perhaps those people don't. But consider this:
Bird research and conservation relies very heavily on the commitment of
volunteer birders. Organisations such as BOCA and BA also rely on annual
financial membership from the same people. To date, the means we have to
communicate have been sufficient to gather the information required on
birding. However, the next generation of birders are currently growing up
with mobile phones, laptop computers, the internet, Twitter, Facebook,
Playstations, X-Box etc etc. How is birding going to compete against all of
that? These users will come to expect a certain standard of how the
information is presented to them, which means that we need to create
something that meets those expectations, yet still retains all of the
features and content we currently have.
I am not advocating that we redesign everything just for the sake of future
generations. I am taking on board everyone's comments, especially those who
are saying that we don't need such a system. To me, this just highlights the
fact that we need to use the new technology (the internet) in such a way as
to cater for the current users, and for future generations.
I think there are enough people interested in this to perhaps think about
taking this 'offline' (that is, take the discussion out of this forum).
Would anyone be interested in forming a group to discuss some ideas? Perhaps
we could put something together as a group, and then report back to the
Birding-Aus website for comment? I would really like to get the
administrators/moderators of the current suite of websites involved as well.
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