Date: 10/25/19 10:17 am
From: Audrey Addison <audrey.e.addison...>
Subject: [obol] Re: People enjoy birding and contribute in different ways
Hi all,

I'm one who was disappointed to read the hurtful comments posted this
morning by Oscar. On the flip side, it warmed my heart to read Caleb's and
other's responses to the negativity. Thanks to all for those. I'm glad we
all have something different to bring to the table.


On Fri, Oct 25, 2019 at 8:53 AM Caleb Centanni <caleb...> wrote:

> Thanks to Courtney for writing! She fills in the part of the story that I
> can't: someone who has been harassed by community members for being
> different for years.
> To me, her birding, eBirding, and style of reporting has been authentic,
> beautifully human, and inspiring since long before I knew her personally,
> and continues to be.
> Let's try to move forward and create a community where we are all safe and
> loved as who we are. We will be much richer as a group for it. Hope to see
> all of you out there, on the 'meadows and the marshes' being boldly,
> unashamedly as you are.
> Warm wishes and lovely birding!
> Caleb
> On Fri, Oct 25, 2019, 8:32 AM Courtney Kelly Jett <ckjannabirds...>
> wrote:
>> Love seeing Caleb and Philip’s notes! Heartwarming and cheering :-)
>> & Perhaps unnecessary to add now, and not written so well as Caleb’s, I
>> was just drafting myself, the following :
>> Wow, what a disheartening listserve note to wake up to, Oscar and Hendryk
>> trying to publicly humiliate me, and Caleb too. I don’t know why. I’ve only
>> met you two a few times, and I was unaware of any hostility towards me, you
>> both seemed nice, let me join you birding at Willamette Park, smiled and
>> Hellos at CBCs, and Hendryk friended me on Facebook. And now, you publicly
>> attack me on OBOL, and Caleb too, without any instigation? Neither of us
>> has ever been anything but sweet to you. I feel really sad in my heart as
>> to why you chose to act this way? I hope however you are feeling about us
>> doesn’t have to continue into future.
>> You don’t have to read my ebird comments. If you don’t like them, you
>> don’t have to read them. My Alert Settings are turned off, so no one has to
>> read any of my comments ever, — when I see good birds, they don’t show up
>> on Alerts. I did this years ago because of some hostile messages I received
>> in response, some people uncomfortable with me including “journal”
>> descriptions of my birding, and emotions about my birding, etc.
>> So if you are reading my ebird comments, it means you are choosing to.
>> Why read them, if you hate them? Why choose to make yourself unhappy?
>> And other people really like our comments!
>> Just this week Caleb received a beautiful email from someone who loves
>> his comments, thanking him for the poetry in them, and how they inspired
>> her in her birding!
>> I have met several birding friends *because* they see my comments and
>> reach out that they love them and they want to meet me.
>> Other friends find my comments to be an endearing aspect of my uncommon
>> (because others often feel social pressure/expectation that maybe they
>> can’t) personality, a sign of Authenticity, and courage, that I don’t just
>> do what and how others do, in order to fit in. (“Fitting in” is not
>> Belonging.)
>> I personally love comments in checklists, and when I see people writing
>> emotive expressive comments including their joy and confusion and figuring
>> out of birding mystery, and poetical descriptions of finding or wondering
>> about a bird, or landscape, or birding with friends, etc., I enjoy these
>> comments, and I think to myself, “kindred spirit”, — I have now connected
>> with many kindred spirits through reading ebird checklists!
>> Indeed I met my best friend (besides Caleb) Matt Cahill, and we became
>> friends, *because* we stalked each other’s ebird checklists and loved each
>> other’s comments, for nearly a year !
>> Our local ebird reviewer, a friend of mine , also has asked me before to
>> edit my ebird comments, because he personally doesn’t like them in ebird,
>> but he also has come to respect my decision to include my “journal notes”
>> if I wish to, especially since he previously wrote to ebird asking what he
>> should do about me, and ebird says it’s fine for me to do. Ebird allows us
>> to also use ebird in ways that suit our own checklist wishes, besides how
>> we use it to contribute to science. Me adding comments does not affect the
>> value of my numbers submitted for science.
>> It means so much more to me to really be able to include my entire day
>> experience in my log, which also includes how I am seeing birds, and how I
>> am feeling as seeing them. I love sometimes seeing my old checklists and
>> remembering those moments, which just a list of birds doesn’t allow me to
>> do.
>> July 2018 I was permanently banned from my local listserve, COBOL,
>> because our moderator doesn’t like my writing and personality, I was
>> therefore excluded from participating in my own community. So I have a lot
>> of anxiety about writing onto OBOL either,
>> and it is so nice to have a Safe place to still express my joy of birding
>> and of birding with friends, to be me, as I am, and as feels right to my
>> soul/heart, true to myself and my spirit and my style, on ebird, in ebird
>> comments, connecting me with friends, and beautiful memories when I reread
>> them :-)
>> Again, you don’t have to agree with me about putting those comments into
>> ebird, but ebird doesn’t have rules against it, I am allowed to do it, and
>> as long as my comments feel good and peaceful to my conscience to have on
>> my lists in the database, and peaceful also to any friend I mention in
>> them, then I am happy about my choice to include them; if I felt anxious
>> about whether I should or not, I could go back and edit something out.
>> I never write anything harmful or cruel, I am never unkind to people in
>> my comments. I am not violent or dishonest in my comments. Those, would be
>> the only “Inappropriate” or “Immature” kinds of comments.
>> I am a sweet and kind person, and Caleb is too, (we are sweet poets :-)
>> ), and we don’t deserve to be treated like Oscar and Hendryk just did to
>> us. We were not treated with dignity, which all human beings deserve. If
>> you are trying to repress or control our spirits and joy and artistic
>> creativity, may be good for you to wonder Why you want to? What makes you
>> so uncomfortable about our poetry and self-expression in ebird? What are
>> you afraid of?
>> I feel sad about what happened this morning, and I hope perhaps that in
>> reading my perspective of it, you and some other OBOL readers can be more
>> Accepting and Embracing of diversity of our birding community! I hope we
>> all can be sweetly who we are, and embrace fellow members of our community
>> in true belonging, and enjoy and appreciate what qualities and talents each
>> of us brings to our meadows and mudflats, where we should all be able to
>> participate without fear of aggression and exclusion.
>> Happy October birding!
>> Courtney
>> PS. Thank you so much Colby already for standing up for us, I woke to a
>> defense of us to read this morning before I even saw Oscar and Hendryk’s
>> comments, yours eases a lot of anxiety for me that otherwise their messages
>> would have triggered, I feel so touched in my heart by your friendship.
>> Courtney Kelly Jett, Bend, Oregon
>> Sent from a phone that is all brevity, no wit
>> Sent from a phone low on wits, high on bits
>> On Oct 25, 2019, at 8:17 AM, Philip Kline <pgeorgekline...> wrote:
>> Wonderfully said Caleb and I can say the recent comments have rubbed a
>> number of us the wrong way, so please continue and don't be discouraged by
>> the grumpiest among us. Honestly, people wonder why obol turns so many
>> people off. There are some great birders in our State that choose not to
>> participate on obol for precisely this reason.
>> Keep on doing what you do,
>> Philip Kline
>> On Fri, Oct 25, 2019, 7:49 AM Caleb Centanni <caleb...> wrote:
>>> Hi all,
>>> I respect everyone on this forum and enjoy meeting them and birding with
>>> them in the field. That's why I've been on OBOL for 4 years now, and have
>>> mostly loved getting to post because of the friendship and community and
>>> interesting perspectives I've encountered.
>>> Not everyone has this experience on OBOL. People who seem different that
>>> the average birder, for example, don't tend to fare as well. Maybe they are
>>> a 'silly' person who likes reporting Mandarin Ducks at the park, maybe
>>> they're just new and have some new ideas that not all of you are used to,
>>> maybe they like using eBird different than the Colloquial Birder
>>> Authoritied have decided one should.
>>> We have seen ten or more people basically harassed on OBOL since just
>>> the beginning of the summer for having different ideas than the norm, by
>>> many different people in our community. I myself didn't agree with most of
>>> them, but was sad to see it, because this is what keeps young people,
>>> women, and cultural diversity out of birding. All of us do what has always
>>> been done, or the community let's us know we're wrong. Apparently part of
>>> that status quo is going off at anyone we disagree with and having fun
>>> defaming them on a public forum.
>>> eBird has, in past disputes, supported the posting of whatever comments
>>> we use to document our birding experience. Many people love them, and
>>> choose the have fun with the ways we are different and enjoy how we
>>> 'humanize eBird'. If you don't feel that way, consider this: no one asked
>>> or told you to read our comments. There are plenty of other eBird lists to
>>> look at. I have fun with comments like these, and always have, even before
>>> the lists were shared with me. In 300 years, I think there will still be
>>> people who find these in the database and have a good time reading them.
>>> They will know what it was actually like when we birded, not just what we
>>> saw.
>>> However, if I keep getting negative, unnecessary comments, I'll be
>>> inclined to do as many others have done: disable my posts from the rare
>>> bird alerts and stop posting on OBOL. Then nobody will know when I see a
>>> rare bird, and that will be the community's choice. Our community excludes
>>> many good observers because of the abrasive, angry comments we make to each
>>> other.
>>> I say this all with love and hope for our Oregon birding community. If
>>> you have something to say, please consider that not everyone has the same
>>> perspective or understanding of the world as you, and at least try to have
>>> a discussion instead of ridiculing or throwing insults.
>>> I look forward to seeing you all again in the field, where you are
>>> generally all kind, thoughtful people who I respect very much.
>>> Hope you all enjoy this beautiful Autumn morning full of color, love,
>>> and avian wonder waiting to be discovered away from our keyboards.
>>> Good birding and warmest wishes to all,
>>> Caleb Centanni

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