Amadan's picture

Etiquette again

Perhaps we need some guidelines on the posting of humorous asides, banter, and occasional "tiffs" between users.
I've sadly irritated a user whose skills I greatly respect, by indulging in an exchange in a particular post that had (I admit) nothing to do with the actual post. However, in my defence, the specimen had been identified, and there was no indelicacy or offensive content.
Since iSPot doesn't have a "message board", this seems acceptable to me, but I have apologised on the post itself.
I've noted that people have been becoming irritated by some recent changes to the site: the quizzes (I keep meaning to try one) and associations in particular. I guess that the sort of people who use the site "seriously" are mostly quite keen on the scientific aspect, and possibly have less tolerance of the occasional flippancy on what they see as an academic resource.
But there needs to be room for us all, I think. Some guidance from On High would be welcome.



Rachy Ramone's picture

Guilty as charged

Umm, well, I have to agree with Graeme, *shamefaced* this is not a chat site, and you must admit, we did get a bit carried away on that post.

*guilty laugh*

I think the occasional quick riposte goes down quite well, and I think it is more than acceptable to project the message that serious botanists can still have a sense of humour.

But maybe not quite as much as we did on that post!

It's far more my fault than yours: I shouldn't worry too much about it. Far better to be gently pulled up for it, than for there to be a repressive regime of moderators monitoring every comment, eh?

We can be as flippant as we like on these forums. ("...and we will...")

Rachy Ramone

How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
Field Guides for Budding Botanists:

Ray Turner's picture

Huff and Puff

Having read the above two post of course I was just forced to go and find the aforementioned (not) Obs.

I would think super-intelligent Hooloovoo would know instantly about the particular plant in question, being super-intelligent, so would therefore be very relevant to the discussion.

Some entities may well be from Arkintoofle Minor and so not fully comprehensive of this. Though they would have arrived before us of course.



Rachy Ramone's picture


So glad to see that I am far from being the weirdest person on this site!

Rachy Ramone

How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
Field Guides for Budding Botanists:

John Bratton's picture

Isn't anyone going to give us

Isn't anyone going to give us the link? It is clearly worth reading.

Rachy Ramone's picture

Oh all right...

... but only if you promise to use it as a serious study aid to show you what is frivolous and NOT to be encouraged on iSpot:

*mock serious face*

Rachy Ramone

How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
Field Guides for Budding Botanists:

Amadan's picture

It's a serious point -

In a way, anyway.
Part of my interest in the "correct" etiquette or permitted level of banter is that, in many work places and scenarios; there is an apparent desire by some to remove all joy from everyday life. I was once, when working for a certain client, passing an idle moment with a member of staff discussing a football game: we were both told off for talking! This attitude seems infectious.
So it seems important that iSpot has "space" for some frivolity and non-scientific interaction, as long as the serious business of identifying observations is pursued with vigour.
I don't want to have to descent to the inanity of the purely social networking web sites (shivers inwardly) in order to have a little light relief.

Rachy Ramone's picture


... research has shown that people working in offices - presumably at "cubicle" level - waste up to 70% of their time at a compooter in non-work stuff, ie social networking (*theatrical shudder*) tweeting ("pff!") and texting.

In my opinion, this is "slacking" at best: and truthfully, I see it as "stealing from your employer" . I would not do it.

I appreciate the point about not draining all joy from everyday life, and anyone telling off two grown adults for talking would seem to be in the wrong job... but I have to say that would not fancy being a manager these days, as people seem to expect to be allowed to waste half the day (or more, according to the statistic) on social media etc.

We haven't had any input from iSpot on this thread as yet, but I would foresee that any response would be along the lines of them expecting us to behave like grown-ups, self-policing etc, room for a little bit of light humour, sensible enough to realise when it's gone too far etc.

And look, it works!

I would suggest that anyone interested in this as a serious question should go back a year or more, and go through a few pages of Observations. They are markedly shorter of comments than they are now, and the comments are much less helpful, informative, and certainly with much less humour. There are also a lot more Obs with no confirmed ID on them, or with just one or two agreements: I think these are all reflections of the fact that there are a lot more of us iSpotters now, and we are learning and growing with the site.

So in answer to Amadan's original question: in my opinion, I don't think there needs to be any set "rule" about how much banter is allowed/permitted/encouraged/tolerated.

As grown-ups, we can see for ourselves how much/little we can say before someone pulls us up for it.

It's then up to us to behave reasonably, which then encourages others to follow suit.

The very fact that no-one responded with "don't be such a grumpy old so-and-so!" is a sign that those of us being frivolous on that particular Obs acknowledged that we were getting a little carried away. ("oops!")

I am sure that part of the iSpot mission statement is to encourage us all to find and share the joy of knowledge: but to remember that other people are using the site as well, and they may not have quite the same priorities as ourselves.

The quiz thing was a bit of an own-goal: the facility appeared before any notification or warning, so people who tried it found they were stuck with the gold stars, and were frustrated by the shortcomings in the programming. If it had been offered as a trial version, something to try out, I am sure it would have been received with a lot more enthusiasm.

I won't comment on the associations! In this case, yes, I am guilty of being one of those who were massively irritated by it. Again, now that it's settled down, people have stopped overloading the Plants section with bug pics, and all is well - I just ignore the associations carousel, and it no longer bothers me, apart from taking a long time to load.

Rachy Ramone

How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
Field Guides for Budding Botanists: