[Tweeters] Re: Four-letter codes

Wayne C. Weber contopus at telus.net
Tue Jul 12 14:49:23 PDT 2005


I am in 100% agreement with Burt on this one. Most birders do not know,
and should not be expected to learn, 4-letter codes for bird species.

Using such codes on TWEETERS, when most of the subscribers are
not familiar with them, does not facilitate communication; it hinders it.

Most other birding E-mail groups either prohibit the use of 4-letter codes,
or at least strongly discourage them. I believe they should also be
strongly discouraged on TWEETERS.

What I would suggest is:

4-letter codes should never be used in the subject line.

If codes are used in the body of the message, the species name should be
spelled out in full the first time a code is used. For a species with a long
like Black-backed Woodpecker, I agree that it is tedious to spell out the
in full several times in one message. However, instead of using a code,
"birds" or "woodpeckers" can be used to refer to the birds once the species
has first been identified.

Using codes when posting a long list of species should be an absolute no-no.
I think that this is only common sense.

Does this sound like a reasonable policy? I hope so.

Wayne C. Weber
Delta, BC
contopus at telus.net

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Guttman, Burt" <GuttmanB at evergreen.edu>
To: <tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, July 12, 2005 2:17 PM
Subject: RE: [Tweeters] Re: Four-letter codes

Several nice people have given me sources that list all the four-letter
codes, so I can learn them.  They miss the point:  It is not worth my time
to learn them!  I hate the damned things.  If they are useful to you
personally, for your journal writing or for banding, go ahead and use them,
but please don't impose them on me or on others who have no use for them.
They strike me as a bit of intellectual pretension and flumgummery, as being
the secret password needed to become part of some exclusive, superior little
clique.  "Tonight, mes amis, let us only speak French, with Parisian

Several people have suggested the compromise that a user should write out
the name of the bird in normal English first.  That would probably be the
criterion for getting along on this issue.  Fine.  Just so I don't have to
think more than a millisecond before understanding what you're talking

Burt Guttman
The Evergreen State College
Olympia, WA 98505      guttmanb at evergreen.edu
Home:  7334 Holmes Island Road S. E., Olympia, 98503

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