Indeed that was a major reason that comment opportunity was made
available, a place for personal comments. Since it is not listed as
such, most eBirders do not realize that aspect and many are putting
comments they expect anyone viewing the checklist ought to know.
Until recently your personal checklists were not easily attained by
anybody who wanted to see them. Then the change was made that they
could be found by simply going to the species maps. That change has led
to a productive discussion that might result in giving the submitter an
option for public or private comments ... or something like that.
On 1/18/2013 12:06 PM, Bonnie Dundas wrote:
> Hi Ian,
> I have kept bird journals for many years. When E-bird first came
> about, one of the aspects I liked was that the comment section WAS
> personal and no one else could read it. That was emphasized to me at
> the time - that it would be like keeping my journal except that the
> number of species and number of individuals (and other impersonal
> information) would be shared. In fact, at that time, I was told that
> only administrators would be able to read the comment section, so
> there have been some changes already that I was not aware of. Some of
> my journal is personal and I would not want to share it with the
> general birding public.
> Just my opinion.
> Bonnie Dundas
> -----Original Message----- From: Ian A. Worley
> Sent: Friday, January 18, 2013 5:37 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [VTBIRD] Important little known fact for eBirders
> Hello all of you who submit checklists to eBird.
> As an eBird reviewer I see many checklists. And I note a
> misunderstanding about one entry line when submitting a checklist.
> When you are submitting a checklist there is the page that asks for
> Observation Date and Type, for Start Time and Duration, etc. The last
> entry line is "Comments."
> It is this "Comments" opportunity that is misunderstood. Most people
> enter comments here that apply to the whole birding event that created
> the checklist being submitted. So there are comments such as: "Rainy
> and foggy, viewing difficult." "Remained on the trail." "Christmas
> Bird Count for Sector 7." "Observers included exceptional birders
> including David Sibley." "Identifications verified by Sam and Sarah
> Ridley who helped me immensely." "Bird counts were all gross
> estimates." "Data collected with standardized UVM Grassland Bird survey
> protocols." "Nocturnal bird count from dormitory roof." "Celebrating
> Meg's birthday: Jane, Ralph, Izzy, Sapari, and Bo the Beagle."
> "All-night search for Sedge Wren." And so on.
> This "Comments" opportunity is, in fact, the only place where you can
> enter comments that refer to the whole event.
> The problem is this -- The only people who can see the comments are you
> the submitter and eBird administrators, eBird reviewers, and eBird
> approved researchers. No one else can. When someone views a checklist
> when finding it on an eBird map (via "Explore Data ....Range and Point
> Maps") the comments are absent. If someone posts a link to a checklist,
> or sends you the link, on the checklist you are looking at the comments
> are absent. So you never get to know what the submitter thinks you
> should or might want to know when looking over the birds on the
> Soooo ..... most of us put comments in this entry box with the
> reasonable and unquestioned expectation that anyone viewing the
> checklist will be seeing the comments. This becomes significant if we
> write something there that is particularly important or helpful in
> understanding the bird observations being reported. But, in fact, most
> users will never see the comments. Awk!!!
> While this restriction might be changed sometime in the future, at
> present the restriction continues in place.
> A poor but possible solution could be to take those comments that would
> logically (it seems) to go in the general information about the
> checklist and place them in the comments box for one of the species
> included in the checklist. That way, at least, everyone viewing the
> checklist could see them.
> Good winter birding to all ......