Date: 10/27/19 9:47 pm
From: Evan Centanni <evan...>
Subject: [obol] Re: People enjoy birding and contribute in different ways
Add me to the list of people who feel that any criticism of others' use
of eBird comments should be kept strictly respectful and constructive,
and that adding potentially extraneous information to a comment
doesn't warrant outrage. I would think our community has better things
than that to get worked up about.

It's also no surprise to me that, as has been repeatedly stated at
this point, the team that runs eBird doesn't think this kind of thing
is particularly a problem. That's pretty consistent with the spirit of
playful enthusiasm that they use to promote the platform. If we're
participating in eBird for the science, then let's listen to the
scientists. If we're doing it for other birders, then let's let other
birders be other birders.


Evan Centanni

On 10/25/2019 4:29 PM, Jennifer Hayduk wrote:

Complaining about someone's comments on their own personal checklist,
then posting them, is mean and petty whether or not it was intended to
humiliate anyone. I can't speak for others, but this is exactly the
kind of behavior that turns me off from actively participating here.
eBird is voluntary, sightings are personal, live and let note.
For what it's worth I found the particular comments of the phainopepla
sighting detailed, useful, and interesting. I especially appreciate
the notes on what it was eating. And "fartapepsis" IS funny. Keep at
it Courtney.

Jen HaydukWaldport
On Fri, Oct 25, 2019 at 10:51 AM Joshua Galpern <jgalpern17...>

Hi all, I don't believe that Oscar and others are trying to
personally humiliate people. However, I see how Caleb and Courtney
might take this as a personal attack. I think that we as obol-ers
need to work on less blaming, and more working out ways that we
can get along, despite our different ways of going about
birdwatching. I would like to attempt to interperate the term
"stupid comments": I think some, if not many of us would like to
see the ebird comment sections used for commenting, instead of
lengthy storytelling. After all, we are all here to learn about
birds, and enjoy birding.
Peace, love, and positivity,Josh

On Fri, Oct 25, 2019, 10:17 AM Audrey Addison <audrey.e.addison...>

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...>

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...>

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

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

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

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

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!


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, OregonSent 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...>

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...>

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
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
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
Good birding and warmest wishes to all,Caleb

My Birding Blog: 🐦

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