Date: 5/7/19 6:31 am From: Mike Patterson <celata...> Subject: [obol] Re: Ebird--avoid using the "x" in checklists because...
While I also have reservations about qualitative claims for statistical differences between x's and estimates, I ALWAYS do estimates because:
a) I know how b) one needs to do complete checklists to qualify for the monthly challenge and win a pair of binoculars.
And thank you Tom for using the word "avoid" rather than "never".
Ebird was designed to capture data generated by birders, not change their behavior. Every time somebody makes a declarative statement about how we should or should not be using eBird; every time we try to turn recreational birders into our ideal of the proper data gathering machines, we frighten off people who do not see themselves as scientists. It's our job to find a way to harness that collective energy without chasing folks off.
I say this as someone who has worked with citizen scientists for more than 30 years and genuinely believes that all those folks who are out watching and enjoying birds in their own peculiar fashion are, in fact, doing science in the same way other citizens scientists like Thomas Jefferson, Charles Darwin and Teddy Roosevelt (to drop some recognizable names) were.
Whether it's meant that way or not, every time we tell eBird users they are "doing it the wrong way" we are also sending the message to many of them that they should go away.
I don't think that's a very useful message to send.