[Tweeters] RE: 4 letter codes - good for a minority at the expenseof the majority?

Thomas Mansfield tmiseattle at msn.com
Tue Mar 20 19:43:25 PDT 2007

Lest we not forget that Matt, in posting the Tweeters report that sparked
this current flurry, did use both the code and common name in his posting.
All that was missing in Matt's posting was the scientific name - which
Stewart added for everyone's further edification/education. Who could ask
for more? As a forum, Tweeters worked. Now, enough (from me).

tmiseattle at msn.com

>From: Brett Wolfe <m_lincolnii at yahoo.com>

>To: Stewart Wechsler <ecostewart at quidnunc.net>, Matt Bartels

><mattxyz at earthlink.net>, Tweeters email list

><tweeters at u.washington.edu>

>Subject: [Tweeters] RE: 4 letter codes - good for a minority at the

>expenseof the majority?

>Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2007 19:28:20 -0700 (PDT)


>Well Stewart, nice try, but this IS still an open forum for birds. As such,

>I agree with the compromise folks that seem to win this thread every year -

>write out the name at least once so folks who are new, and the folks who

>just refuse to learn or think about what they are seeing, but use the codes

>thereafter if you so choose. You have placated the masses, and should be

>free to write in the manner most appropriate to your own style. If y'all

>decide to ban outright (as we Washingtonians seem so wont to do these

>days), then this forum will cease to exist for many good birders, myself

>included, because I won't wish to be associated with such a forum. Ban cat

>threads all you want, but don't ban ANY bird discussion. Period.


> All I ask is that you try to be more open-minded to the compomise that

>can happen here. We are all adults here, right? I know that I and many

>others have previously promised to write out the names whenever we use the

>legitimate 4-letter AOU bird codes. If one of us happens to forget once in

>a while (I'm sure it isn't malicious in intent), can't you just let it skip

>once instead of starting this damn annual flame war? We are all bird lovers

>right? Right? Goodness I hope so!


> Good birding everyone, and please try to remember that we can all

>compromise and be happy instead of trying to push other folks around.




>Stewart Wechsler <ecostewart at quidnunc.net> wrote:

> "And if you are interested in what all of the AOU codes are (they

>are ... far quicker to write if you see a big mixed-species flock)"


> I would agree that 4 letter codes can be valuable to learn for exactly

>the purpose above - that is for quickly taking field notes, but not for

>communicating to an audience that mostly hasn't learned them. (I've used 4

>letter codes for botany field work, but can't imagine using them to post to

>the native plant society list) While they save time in the field for those

>take a lot of field notes and who choose to learn them, they will use up

>time for every other Tweeters subscriber that spends time pondering which

>bird they are or spends time reading a subject line or post that they don't

>understand because they didn't choose to take the extra time to figure it

>out .


> They are also a good tool to communicate with what I expect is a small

>minority of Tweeters subscribers that have memorized them or the few who

>can guess every one in a second - i.e. good for you. By using them you

>will save yourself a few seconds of typing and then use up what I would

>expect is a much larger cumulative number of seconds or minutes spent by

>the rest of the Tweeters subscribers for whom it is not worth the time to

>learn them - i.e. bad for the rest of us. I would also expect that the

>"inner circle" that knows these codes are people that tend to post more and

>are more likely to be getting each e-mail as it is posted rather than being

>on the daily digest. There may be a disproportionately small number of

>people that find the posts frustrating that would post their thoughts and

>objections and confess that they don't know something that the "inner

>circle" knows.


> I would be curious what percentage of subscribers have learned these

>codes. I'd bet it is under 10%.

> Stewart Wechsler

>West Seattle

>mailto:ecostewart at quidnunc.net



> -----Original Message-----

>From: Brett Wolfe [mailto:m_lincolnii at yahoo.com]

>Sent: Monday, March 19, 2007 7:08 PM

>To: Matt Bartels; Tweeters email list

>Subject: RE: [Tweeters] Montlake confounding codes - WTSP & WCSP = White

>thrsparrow and Wh Crown sp



> Ignore this Matt. You did what you were supposed to and wrote the bird

>names in your email. And as the reigning King County birding champion, you

>have to apologize to no one.


> The codes told me what I immediately needed to know, and anyone else who

>is interested in the Montlake Fill woulda read your note and jumped over to

>the Fill. Cue another 20 emails whining about 4-letter codes in 3, 2, 1....


> And if you are interested in what all of the AOU codes are (they are

>actually quite easy to learn with few exceptions, and far quicker to write

>if you see a big mixed-species flock), you can get them here:



> Cheers!


> Brett A. Wolfe

> Seattle, WA

> m_lincolnii at yahoo.com


>Stewart Wechsler <ecostewart at quidnunc.net> wrote:


>You've all heard it from me before, but if I know if no one says something

>again others will follow suit and start to do more subject lines in

>frustating code, slowing down everyone else's figuring out what their

>e-mails are about and whether or not they want to take the time to open

>those e-mails. For those who don't use these codes every day WTSP =

>Zonotrichia albicaulis and WCSP = Zonotrichia albifrons.


>Stewart Wechsler

>West Seattle

>mailto:ecostewart at quidnunc.net


>-----Original Message-----

>From: Matt Bartels [mailto:mattxyz at earthlink.net]

>Sent: Monday, March 19, 2007 10:30 AM

>To: Tweeters email list

>Subject: [Tweeters] Montlake Fill monday morning - WTSP &




>Hi all -

>I made a short visit to the Fill this morning before the rain really


>Over in the garden by the CUH buildings, a tan-striped White-throated

>Sparrow was hanging out in the southeast corner.

>Best sign of spring was the pugetensis White-crowned Sparrow song

>filling the air -- up until today, I'd only heard gambelii songs.


>I didn't see the Cinnamon Teal[s] recently reported, but the ducks &

>geese were out in good numbers, including the 6 Greater White-fronted

>Geese, hundreds of American Wigeon, & a few Wood Ducks.


>Good birding,


>Matt Bartels

>Seattle, WA




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