Presence of RSPB experts on these forums

Good morning RSPB,

A user recently posted a request for the presence of RSPB experts on these forums (see HAZY's comment on page 4 of my (OP) 'Avian whodunnit' thread).

I agree that this would be helpful, particularly with requests for ID and for practical advice regarding helping wildlife in distress.

I'm sure I'm not alone in trying to share some of my (limited) knowledge with those who might know less than me, just as I'm happy to learn from those who know more.

But some 'official' presence on the forums would, I think, be a plus, both for regular forum users and for newcomers looking for help.

To illustrate the problem, I checked my own profile this morning and see that I'm in the top 1 per cent of forum posters. Now, however you work out your metrics, something's wrong there, as while I've never been known to mix up stools and boot polish, until I've had my second coffee I frequently confuse my elbow and my ***.

Any chance of you setting up a rota for monitoring and responding to posts where necessary? In my experience, we're not looking at significant volume here...

Best regards -

Dave CH

  • Sadly for various reasons, that I won’t go into detail here. But there used to be regular posts by the moderators up-to a few years ago, but sadly not now and the reason is of which I won’t go into any big details of which I do know a little about at the RSPB, but of which I’ll just say in one word! Cuts!

    Regards,

    Ian.

  • I understand the issue with cuts, Thomo. I'm hoping, though, that---given the size of the Society---a rota would be a workable approach.

    Let's see -
    Dave
  • It’s really difficult for the RSPB at this present time. On one occasion about 3-4 years ago when there where major problems with a previous upgrade to this forum and a number of members sadly left this forum and I emailed the RSPB’s CEO Mike Clarke on that occasion and despite having a pleasant email from Mike Clarke, nothing really changed and at that period we got to know the Moderators very well including the senior moderator Mrs T(Claire) who is greatly missed, but Mrs T has now retired. But despite that nothing much changed such as this latest upgrade which has been pretty poor and nothing much has changed despite members concerns and I can’t sadly see anything much changing at all considering what I’ve seen happen on these forums and I’ve seen how the RSPB works and I can’t see anything changing much on these forums at least in the near future. But I’ve been a member of the RSPB since about 1971 and a member of these forums since it’s launch of which seems for years and I will continue to do so on both accounts.

    Regards,

    Ian.

  • I don't doubt an official presence would be ideal if it were possible. However, the Community is just that - an unofficial community of interested parties. While it might offer good friendly advice, it is not really the place to go for official RSPB advice or opinions. The main website is where people should look for that. They still say they will give advice and have experts ID stuff there (although I have never tried it to see how efficient is or isn't). I suppose you could argue those people could occasionally pop in and check for questions (although they would probably miss any not in the correct forums). I do think, it isn't clear what the community is for and how it differs from the main website and it would be helpful to address that. I would add that I don't think I have ever seen anyone referred to the advice pages on the main website from the Community (I know I haven't done it). With fewer experts in the community, perhaps that should now be done more often as well as offering what help we can.

    __________

    Nige   Flickr

  • In reply to Nigel O:

    I don’t know how long you have been a member of this forum. But the moderators where always posting regularly and all of the members got to know them well, although of course never meeting any of them and the one moderator I do miss who was in charge until she retired and is a big miss, was Mrs T(Claire). But for various reasons with cuts being made generally at the RSPB, the moderators only post on forum very infrequently now. When I first joined this forum, just after it launched, the Moderators lead by Mrs T would not just post Monday-Friday but at weekends and also well into the evening and where quick off the mark if any alerts by any of the members was activated and Mrs T would also have informal quizzes and polls and it was nice seeing the moderators been an active part of this forum. But for reasons I won’t go into cuts had to be made at the RSPB, you might know about this, but I won’t go into the detail about this. But sadly at present it’s not same on this forum now, but I’ll continue been a life member of the RSPB and. also a member of this forum. And I just hope this forum might be one day again like it used to be.

    Regards,

    Ian.

  • In reply to Nigel O:

    Good points and good advice, Nigel.

    But I think you might be describing what the Community is intended to be rather than what it actually is, for a significant number of one-off or occasional posters at least.

    What to do? I'll take a look at the advice pages you mention, consider updating my profile and using a signature to indicate that I'm a bit thick (so don't trust me), and---of course---wait for someone from the Society to answer this particular thread.

    Dave

  • This seems to be the link to official help www.rspb.org.uk/.../ so maybe we should it more often.
    I believe the forums were originally set up for following Ospreys & evolved from there, but not sure! I do believe they think we are not useful & are quietly hoping we'll all give up & then they can leave it to facebook & twitter which cost them nothing.

    Best wishes

    Hazel in the Gironde estuary, France

  • Thanks for the link, Hazel.

    While I can see your point, it's hard for me to see the cost connected with maintaining these forums, particularly given that moderation (which would be, potentially, a signficant cost) seems so light...

    Best regards -
    Dave
  • In reply to Dave - CH:

    Dave - CH said:
    But I think you might be describing what the Community is intended to be rather than what it actually is, for a significant number of one-off or occasional posters at least.

    Yes, I am aware of that which is why I also suggested more clarity in the definition of the Community. In the past, there was moderation, so it wasn't necessarily an issue that people went to the wrong place. Now it is an issue. Apart from that,  

    a) I'm not suggesting we don't answer anything. I'm just suggesting that due to the lack of official experts (incl. moderators) combined with fewer experienced users (for want of a better term) that re-direction might be something we should now consider in an answer, as we can no longer have the luxury of relying on the hope that someone will know the answer.

    b) if people ask something in the wrong place or to the wrong people, however well-intended, shouldn't they be re-directed to the right people in the right place? 

    Obviously, your call for moderators to be re-instated would resolve the issue, but I'm not convinced that will happen anytime soon, so I offered an alternative for people to think about and that can be implemented immediately by anyone who wants to, however far from ideal it may be.

    __________

    Nige   Flickr

  • Unfortunately, as someone else has said, i think these types of Forum will gradually fade away. Facebook seems to be the way most places are going and concentrating on.
    I help run a couple BBQ groups which have online forums and FB pages/groups. Hardly anyone posts on the forums anymore. It is far to easy to just go to one place for everything.
    There are quite a few 'unofficial' FB groups for various locations but not one just from the Official RSPB itself.
    Also moderating FB alone would take up quite a lot of time given there would be quite a few thousand members if they did go down that route