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Why should I want to know your life/UK/patch list?

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Old Sunday 24th June 2007, 12:07   #1
John Cantelo
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Why should I want to know your life/UK/patch list?

OK let me first make it absolutely clear at the outset that, within the bounds of good manners, decency and relevance, folks are, and should be, free to post whatever they please to this forum. However, one thing is really beginning to bug me; why on earth does anyone feel the need to add the current status of their life, British, county or patch list and what it was they last ticked to every darn message?

Why do I need to know whether ďMr SpartypantsĒ has a UK list of 410 or not? Each and everytime he posts. Or that his county list is 239? Each and everytime he posts. Or that his patch list is 112? Each and everytime he posts. Itís not even necessarily a good guide to birding competence. Letís be honest about it, even more so than before, a massive British list reflects no more than a possession of a degree of mania, a pager, a car, sufficient finance and a compliant (or easily fooled) employer. That doesnít mean people shouldnít twitch Ė itís their choice & good , very good, luck to them. Neither does it necessarily mean they are particularly skilled or knowledgeable birders (though they might be). Iíll admit though that in certain limited & specific contexts it can be relevant. If the debate is about life lists or county lists then fine! So if itís relevant and in context fine (though note that context is only widely known for the UK, but not for local sites or by and large, individual counties).


Do people add their lists as a matter of one-upmanship? I donít know, but if they do it largely backfires as far as Iím concerned. First the really big listers here tend not to post details of their list so if you need to boast about it Ö.. Second I find that thereís something undeniably vulgar about someone crowing about seeing the latest Ďbig rarityí when you know their last bird was something pretty darn common! I always suspect the competence of such forced flowers. (OK I know Iím being awfully provocative and entirely unreasonable here, but itís a feeling that surfaces however much I try to repress it). Third as Iíve no idea what constitutes a good list for Borcestshire or Little Snoring gravel pits so why bother? On the flip side there can be something admirable in the person who confidently makes a truly incompetent guess about a birdís ID, but honestly appends a UK list that most keen birders could muster in a decent spring. I admire their chutzpah.

So please tell me, why do you need to do it?

And for the record -
Life List Ė never counted.
European List Ė not counted that one either.
British List Ė have counted, but canít remember off hand Ė itís all those darn splits!
County List Ė itís on the KOS website if you really want to know.
Patch list Ė I worked it out once & itís in a notebook somewhere.
However, if suffixing list details to every posting was really that useful then I expect you can guess where Iím at!

John
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Old Sunday 24th June 2007, 12:10   #2
paulwfromtheden
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cantelo View Post
OK let me first make it absolutely clear at the outset that, within the bounds of good manners, decency and relevance, folks are, and should be, free to post whatever they please to this forum. However, one thing is really beginning to bug me; why on earth does anyone feel the need to add the current status of their life, British, county or patch list and what it was they last ticked to every darn message?

Why do I need to know whether ďMr SpartypantsĒ has a UK list of 410 or not? Each and everytime he posts. Or that his county list is 239? Each and everytime he posts. Or that his patch list is 112? Each and everytime he posts. Itís not even necessarily a good guide to birding competence. Letís be honest about it, even more so than before, a massive British list reflects no more than a possession of a degree of mania, a pager, a car, sufficient finance and a compliant (or easily fooled) employer. That doesnít mean people shouldnít twitch Ė itís their choice & good , very good, luck to them. Neither does it necessarily mean they are particularly skilled or knowledgeable birders (though they might be). Iíll admit though that in certain limited & specific contexts it can be relevant. If the debate is about life lists or county lists then fine! So if itís relevant and in context fine (though note that context is only widely known for the UK, but not for local sites or by and large, individual counties).


Do people add their lists as a matter of one-upmanship? I donít know, but if they do it largely backfires as far as Iím concerned. First the really big listers here tend not to post details of their list so if you need to boast about it Ö.. Second I find that thereís something undeniably vulgar about someone crowing about seeing the latest Ďbig rarityí when you know their last bird was something pretty darn common! I always suspect the competence of such forced flowers. (OK I know Iím being awfully provocative and entirely unreasonable here, but itís a feeling that surfaces however much I try to repress it). Third as Iíve no idea what constitutes a good list for Borcestshire or Little Snoring gravel pits so why bother? On the flip side there can be something admirable in the person who confidently makes a truly incompetent guess about a birdís ID, but honestly appends a UK list that most keen birders could muster in a decent spring. I admire their chutzpah.

So please tell me, why do you need to do it?

And for the record -
Life List Ė never counted.
European List Ė not counted that one either.
British List Ė have counted, but canít remember off hand Ė itís all those darn splits!
County List Ė itís on the KOS website if you really want to know.
Patch list Ė I worked it out once & itís in a notebook somewhere.
However, if suffixing list details to every posting was really that useful then I expect you can guess where Iím at!

John
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Old Sunday 24th June 2007, 12:28   #3
John Cantelo
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Yeah, I know - just can't resist rattling the cage now and again! Anyhow I'm off to do some birding and will face the fireworks later this afternoon,
John
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Old Sunday 24th June 2007, 12:40   #4
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Hi John,

Ever thought of a career in the Diplomatic Corps?

My own pet theory is that we all like to think of ourselves as a bit macho, so watching cute little dicky-birdies goes against the grain somewhat. We are all competetive to a greater or lesser degree, therefore, if your list is longer than someone else's that makes you a better performer, so why not flash it about a bit!

I have to say, this habit of adding all your list details doesn't irritate me like it does you, but agree it seems a bit pointless.

Good birding

Ken
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Old Sunday 24th June 2007, 12:45   #5
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Does it matter enough to offend, annoy and embarass people over? Of all the things you could be righteously indignant about isn't this just about the most trivial? 'Light blue touch paper and stand back' - Fireworks are entertaining - mean-spirited winding up of people who have done you no harm isn't.

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Old Sunday 24th June 2007, 13:14   #6
Dougie Preston
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As you can see I don't post my lists (partly because they are rather pathetic!) but I think this listing culture is making people quite proud of what they have managed to see. Let's face it, as you said they need a lot of dedication even if not a lot of skill to achieve such figures.

I think the fact that you don't know what constitutes a good list in a certain area doesn't matter, as there will be someone else out there who does and probably keeps there own list of the area and so will get a sense of good hearty competition, which as I see it is what this game is all about.

As my list gets longer I must admit so does my skill.

Just to wind anyone out there who really cares about it, my UK life is currently at 323.
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Old Sunday 24th June 2007, 13:18   #7
matt green
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Originally Posted by Dougie Preston View Post
As you can see I don't post my lists (partly because they are rather pathetic!)
Same here!!

I don't often read what other members have posted as regards to latest lists etc, but certainly not bothered by it ~ I do like reading peoples favourite lyrics/poems etc at the bottom of their posts though (signature)

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Old Sunday 24th June 2007, 13:18   #8
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Originally Posted by John Cantelo View Post
Let’s be honest about it, even more so than before, a massive British list reflects no more than a possession of a degree of mania, a pager, a car, sufficient finance and a compliant (or easily fooled) employer.
Couldn't agree more (with very few exceptions) ... Amazing how many birders I've met who approach birding in this way but have trouble separating the most common species at times ... but it seems to impress those unfortunately unaware of this simple fact ... Mind you if I relied on/possessed any of the above perhaps I'd be singing from a different hymn sheet and might even take offence that such a thing was suggested, although I could name a few I've met who's Id skills of common birds don't match their list lengths

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So please tell me, why do you need to do it?

John
Personally I don't - but then I've got nothing to prove and aren't that competitive - interesting how it plays out on the ID forums too occasionally with interesting results
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Old Sunday 24th June 2007, 13:33   #9
paulwfromtheden
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I could never add a list as people would ask me embarrassing questions like: "Paul, you seem to have missed 'Barn Owl' and 'Knot' off your list...."
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Old Sunday 24th June 2007, 13:39   #10
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As it says on the side of all good fireworks..."Light blue touch-paper and retire..."
Millwall fans know all about that
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Old Sunday 24th June 2007, 14:53   #11
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Who cares if people add their lists? Does it really matter to you one way or the other?
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Old Sunday 24th June 2007, 15:26   #12
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I completely disagree with John. I think it should be compulsory to post at least national and self-found lists under posts, including latest additions. In that way, at least I know what kind of birder I'm dealing with:
- Dunnock or Meadow Pipit: I'm not talking to you!
- White-tailed Plover: Ah, twitching scum...
- Sykes's Warbler: my god, couldn't you ID that one in the field Ė and you call yourself a birder?
If you wish to add world totals, add the number of countries visited.
There are people who claim not to have lists, but still know what they have or haven't seen, so they are obviously hypocrites.

Lifelist: 1350 (26 countries); latest addition: Moustached Warbler. Dutch list: 410; latest addition: Red-flanked Bluetail. UK: 153; latest addition: Cetti's Warbler (heard). Patch: not counted; latest addition: Pallid Harrier. Heard-only counted, Category C not counted.

*** Contents of post are meant to be humorous, even if not conceived as such ***
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Old Sunday 24th June 2007, 15:31   #13
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I dont mind the bird lists its the need to post equipment lists i find a bit strange. But if thats what floats yer boat wheres the harm. My eyes tend to skim over them and i dont find it particualry obtrusive.
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Old Sunday 24th June 2007, 16:03   #14
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Must admit I have never come across any of the offending postings, either lists or equipment. But there again I am very selective which forums I look at.

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Old Sunday 24th June 2007, 16:20   #15
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I believe it's the lists put as signatures. I hate them.

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Old Sunday 24th June 2007, 16:31   #16
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Is this thread an example of what is known on the web as "trolling"?
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Old Sunday 24th June 2007, 16:32   #17
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Well John, you've inspired me to add my totals to my signature. For some reason the wife's paying particular attention to the year list total!
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Old Sunday 24th June 2007, 16:39   #18
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Originally Posted by John Cantelo View Post
OKHowever, one thing is really beginning to bug me; why on earth does anyone feel the need to add the current status of their life, British, county or patch list and what it was they last ticked to every darn message?


John
I think it is to thwart people like me who have 'excluded from view' all the boring Members Lists section of the Forums.
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Old Sunday 24th June 2007, 18:17   #19
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You know, this always happens to me. For the first time in 10 years I work out my lists, put on my signature, and suddenly everybody deplores the habit.
I did it because I saw that others here did the same. Nobody knows who Coigach is, so at least it gives you some indication of my birding experience, though of course it doesn't prove that my birding skills are any better than anybody else's.
I guess there's lots of things here that I could ask the same question about. Why would I want to know what your favourite bird is? Why would I want to hear about your day? Who cares what's on your feeder? Let's agree to stick to informative things then. From now on we can only discuss identification features etc.
I dunno, if you analyse any part of life too much, it's all daft. Why would we want to pay oboxious youths millions of pounds a year to kick a ball around a lawn, and flock in our millions to watch them, paying out our hard earned money?
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Old Sunday 24th June 2007, 18:25   #20
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Great reply Xenospiza, with you all the way ;-)

My 'signature' has always been the same on Birdforum as a wake-up call to the list-obsessed, but they keep oversleeping and missing it. I think I would miss the little darlings if they went missing from my world though, I'd have to find another signature group to allow under my skin (cringeworthy birthday card style self penned attempts at poetry come to mind..)

Actually, that really is it - we need something to bring out the Victor Meldrew in us, it's kinda healthy I s'pose - in small doses. (I know a few birders who Keep scapegoats around to always them look good without having to get themselves above the (sub)standard of mediocre birder. That's sad.)

So, hey you kids, don't stop telling the world how proud you are to have somehow managed to have Bearded Tit lower on your Brit List than Black Lark, we really do loves ya for it!
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Old Sunday 24th June 2007, 18:48   #21
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I completely disagree with John. I think it should be compulsory to post at least national and self-found lists under posts, including latest additions. In that way, at least I know what kind of birder I'm dealing with ...
A compulsive lister, with or without great birding skills, is all you'd be able to determine. Doesn't bother me either way. It's what they have to say that determines the relevance of the "birder you're dealing with".
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Old Sunday 24th June 2007, 19:07   #22
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Damn. Is it really necessary to expend mental energy dishing up a "wake up call to the list obsessed"? I do wonder how people can become so wound up by some other people they dont know doing something different from them. Its really rather frightening to realise threads like these are not just "trolling" but actually based on something a bit more real.
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Old Sunday 24th June 2007, 19:07   #23
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Great reply Xenospiza, with you all the way ;-)

My 'signature' has always been the same on Birdforum as a wake-up call to the list-obsessed, but they keep oversleeping and missing it. I think I would miss the little darlings if they went missing from my world though, I'd have to find another signature group to allow under my skin (cringeworthy birthday card style self penned attempts at poetry come to mind..)
But who cares what you think? Why do you think your so called wake up call means anything to anyone? I'd never noticed it before. It's as irrelavent (and by the way, even more childish) than my lists. Let's get on with life.....
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Old Sunday 24th June 2007, 19:16   #24
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Well John, you've inspired me to add my totals to my signature. For some reason the wife's paying particular attention to the year list total!

LOL I thought it was funny Mark.
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Old Sunday 24th June 2007, 19:20   #25
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To be more precise, it’s not that folks post such details that bugs me, rather that I can’t see why they should want to do so. Nobody’s actually said why they do it either (at least not when I last looked). And neither, apart from a means by which to draw possibly dubious conclusions, has anyone said they found it of riveting interest. More seem interested in telling me that I’m dreadfully ‘mean spirited’ (which might be true!) or that it doesn’t worry them. As I tried to indicate, it seems to me that many, perhaps most, others will only tend to draw a negative conclusion.

I’m certainly not saying people shouldn’t keep lists or publish them somewhere if they like. I just can’t see why it needs to be endlessly repeated. It’s simply not that interesting to anyone else but you and whomsoever you feel you’re in competition with. I find the claim that it’s somehow ‘hypercritical’ to know which birds you’ve seen, but not the actual number bizarre. I don’t have a ‘cash register’ mind, it doesn’t automatically tally up what I’ve seen and if I haven’t bothered to count them then I don’t see why that’s hypocritical.

I’m not going to get distressed if people continue to post these details. It really doesn’t worry me that much. I’m more curious, than peeved,

Yours misanthropically,
John

Last edited by John Cantelo : Sunday 24th June 2007 at 21:55.
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