Date: 12/29/18 10:21 pm
From: Hendrik Herlyn <hhactitis...>
Subject: [obol] Everybody take a deep breath!
Hi all,

I usually tend to stay out of these kinds of discussions, but, in the
fashion of the children's game "Chinese Whispers," this thread about
"Timing of posting of CBC results" has taken on a completely unintended
life of its own, and I feel compelled to add a few clarifying statements,
since the topic is still being brought up.

It all started with Oscar writing a personal message to Joel Geier a couple
of days ago, expressing his puzzlement about the fact that Joel had
forwarded the eBird report about a Northern Mockingbird and a Common
Yellowthroat found by two young birders on the Dallas CBC before the kids
had even returned home from the countdown and had a chance to post about
their exciting findings to the local listservs. At the time, Oscar did not
consider the fact that by posting the sightings to eBird in real time, the
rare bird alerts had already gone out to those who subscribe to them - he
was thinking in the more old-fashioned terms of informing all members of
OBOL and the Midvalley group via a post after the fact. And again, his note
was only sent to Joel.

Alas, Joel took Oscar's email rather personal and responded to him with
unnecessary expletives, followed by a post to Midvalley Birding about "an
individual" questioning his practice of forwarding eBird reports to the
group. That was NOT Oscar's intention - he did not criticize the general
practice of forwarding eBird reports of rare birds, he only wondered about
the timing of this one specific instance. After all, by the time that RBA
was forwarded by Joel, it was already dark outside and nobody could have
chased the mockingbird that evening. If the original finders had chosen to
do so, there would have been plenty of time to put out a post to everybody
after returning from the CBC countdown.

At no time did Oscar talk about spoiling the suspense at a CBC countdown.
He was only concerned about robbing a couple of eager young birders of the
opportunity to be the first to post about their discovery to the local
groups (regardless whether this was a CBC or just a regular birding outing)
- and again, his concerns were only sent to Joel in private. Once Joel put
the topic out on a public forum, a few others misinterpreted the original
content and it became a discussion about the protocol of early notification
of rarities seen at a CBC, as well as general eBird rare bird alert issues
- which, again, was absolutely not what Oscar had originally been talking
about! And now this has turned into yet another shit storm on the Internet,
with accusations and bad feelings on many sides. Totally unintended, and
vastly misconstrued.

As much too often recently, this once again illustrates the inherent
dangers of digital communication, and of not fully reading the entire
content of a message before jumping into the fray!

Let's put this silliness behind us and concentrate on another good year of
birding ahead - and enjoy the remaining CBCs of this season, without
worrying about eBird reports and other modern-day trappings!

Good birding, and a Happy New Year to you all


Hendrik G. Herlyn
Corvallis, OR

*"Nature is not a place to visit. It is home." -- Gary Snyder*

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