First and foremost, the comments section should be used to ID the bird in question. Plumage characteristics supported by behavior and song description should be the FIRST thing described. That gives the reviewer the information needed to make a decision on validation or invalidation to the public database of a rare bird.
All to often I get comments like "Perched in a tree" or "Flew away" or some other comment that has nothing to do with the identification of the reported species. These are frustrating and unhelpful by themselves, but it is my volunteer job to reach out and persuade the observer to put in more detail about why and how he/she came to the conclusion of proposed bird ID.
While I donít condone using the eBird comments as a personal diary of sorts, I don't see any reason why they should be omitted if they are not offensive and not obscene. Put them AFTER the plumage characteristics and reason for identification, pretty please. FYI, Courtney already does this after taking that suggestion to heart from her local county eBird reviewer. To be honest, with a couple hundred records in my queue from the 4 counties that I review, I don't have time to read poetry....even from a friend. Get the ID facts from the comments, make an inquiry if I have to, and then validate or invalidate and move on....
And I do think this is a pertinent topic for OBOL, especially as long as the moderator is forwarding the Oregon eRBA to the listserv. The observers that have come forward to defend themselves are out there finding and/or refinding rare birds. Those sightings and subsequent comments make it to OBOL with the eRBA.
And yes, there are eBird listserves where these types of discussions can be made, but they are for among the eBird Reviewers only....not the general public. There might be a place on the eBird website where discussion can occur and questions can be asked by the general public, but no listserv group as it were.
Coos/Curry/Grant/Harney eBird Reviewer