[Tweeters] Re: Four-letter codes

Jim McCoy jfmccoy at hotmail.com
Wed Jul 13 20:55:10 PDT 2005


There are a few points that I haven't seen raised. (I'm on digest, so
forgive me if I'm repeating anything, or if I'm violating a group-wide
cease-and-desist.) Please note that I'm not debating the actual virtues of
using or avoiding banding codes.

(1) Nobody really needs to learn the banding codes. I certainly don't know
them (so much for intellectual pretension), but if I'm confronted with
something like BBWO, I spend a few seconds working it out (so much for
laziness). Sometimes you'll be stumped, but so what? You can live without
that knowledge. If there's something you're just dying to know, you can
ask, and you don't even have to be unpleasant about it.

(2) These are voluntary posts. Nobody gets paid for them, and we don't
*owe* each other good posts, although of course it's nice to get them. I
offer them in the hopes that somebody will gain something useful from them,
or that I'll gain something useful from a response. If I fail to
communicate effectively with you, that's more my problem than yours.

(3) There are dozens of criteria for criticizing posts. Do you really want
me to point out the flaws in your next post? Let's both hope I don't. Some
have bad grammar, some have bad spelling, some are dauntingly technical,
some are lacking information, and on and on. But I want all such posts to
keep coming, please.

Ironically, criticism of posts can actually *inspire* the use of banding
codes. Two people emailed me privately saying that they sometimes used
banding codes to avoid misspellings, which invariably cause the savages in
our audience to descend upon the unfortunate author.

(4) This is the most important one. There is no greater barrier to
effective communication than censorship. In its worst form, it effectively
shuts off communication altogether. If we required all posts to conform to
a lengthy set of rules, *regardless of the apparent value of any given
rule*, it would bring this forum to its knees.

I don't want to have to keep each and every shrill, self-righteous member of
this list happy. I consider my use of a banding code to be far less
offensive than the response it engendered, and I don't intend to be bullied
into the "right" way of writing. I just want to pass along notes and
questions about birds, and want to receive them in return.

Jim McCoy
Bellevue, WA
jfmccoy at hotmail.com

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