About the requests for ID, again. We need to consider moderating

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mikethecactusguy
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Re: About the requests for ID, again. We need to consider moderating

Post by mikethecactusguy »

When I was a "youth" there was a thing called the Dewey Decimal System. It required you to go to a library, search through thousands of little file cards to research a subject. It was slow, it was tedious, and it was frustrating. Hours spent at looking through books & through drawers of tiny file cards. If your frustration level got to high there was this person called a librarian who could asset you. They would steer you to the correct file drawer or even assist you by sending you to the correct row of books, And when you finally found what you were looking for It was very gratifyingly. On top of all that you were able to glean additional information as you researched your subject. It was a learning experience.

Fast forward to current times. Type something into Google and if you are lucky( google doesn't think for you based on previous search's) you will get thousands of hits, many useless but the few that show up on top are probably correct or close. And all it required was 30 seconds of your time. But did you really learn anything? Probably not.. And how much of the provided information is actually correct?

So you bought a cactus or succulent. Your newer to the cactus /succulent game. Your plant is not identified by the seller or grower since they themselves are uninformed. Or you take a picture of a plant you saw in a public/private place. You stumble upon this really cool forum that is very different from Facebook or other useless sites. You see that there is a specific identification sub-forum for cactus and succulents. But instead of looking through previous postings and spending time researching your "plant" you just post asking for an identification. Then on top of that selfish behavior you disappear after getting your answer and do not even thank the people that did your thinking for you.

Or, you do the above constantly. You never show the desire to actually learn anything about the Plants you continue to add to your collection. You buy something and immediately ask to have it identified. 75 post later, one see's that 45 of them are asking to identify your New Plant that in reality has been identified in 200 other posts. You show no interest in looking through previous posts, you have never looked on Illife or Cactus Art, and you personally have shown no interest in actually learning about your plants. One poster has posted hundreds of requests and only after being warned by Aiko did they finally start to try to identify their purchases, share the research and then ask for help

I constantly see a variant of the statement that " I want to know how to take care of this plant" It's a succulent, you give it water when its dry and bright to direct sunlight. The nursery or seller is the one who should be advising you as to how to care for your plant since you have no desire to actually learn about the plants care.

I admire the forum members who freely share their knowledge. anttisep, who posted above is a fountain of information. Our moderator Aiko is very knowledgeable. There are dozens more that I just can not name right now.

CactiGuide is a FREE site. The website is maintained for free. The bandwidth and storage space required for this site is paid by the owner. No one is asked to pay to help support this site. The Moderators work for FREE. Stop whining. Stop complaining that a moderator is too heavy handed. Enjoy this site for what it provides for FREE. Contribute to this site more than you TAKE. After asking for an identification, thank those who helped you. Add more pictures to show how the information you were provided with helped your plant to thrive. The blog sub-forum is perfect for that. Share more with fellow members than complaining you should be allowed to take as much as you want from this site. And as for "rules", we need them to keep some type of order to the site. If "rules' take the "fun" out of this specific site, just move on to the unregulated forums. Good luck getting any useful information from those sites.
Mike The Cactus Guy
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Steve-0
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Re: About the requests for ID, again. We need to consider moderating

Post by Steve-0 »

Hey, Mike, thanks for taking the time to keystroke all that. I worked in the Library in High School as a student assistant librarian and Audio Visual equipment operator. Ran the 16mm projectors and filmstrip projectors for whatever class needed to see a film. I do remember that card catalog quite well. I think we're close to the same age. I missed the live version of the Viet Nam Conflict by a year but was ready to go if called.

Anyway, well said. I searched the web and wanted to learn proper soil mix ingredients for my small cactus collection...since I knew just plain dirt in a pot was wrong as much as peat moss and a little perlite that store bought cacti come in. Found this site, got enough cactus soil mix recipes to make my head spin, and am enjoying the ride for the most part. Have way more cacti now, too. Since I'm on the uphill part of the curve I don't respond to many ID requests...but do look at most to learn. And you're spot on with a few who post as you describe. I also skip those now.

Kudos to Aiko for moderating what seems to be a 'sticky wicket' as to the absolute proper way to handle it. I think clarity of guidelines or rules is good and the READ THIS FIRST does that. We do have repeat offenders and that seems to be the 'bee in the bonnet'. Not my call...so I ignore those. But yes, I do agree with you. Flipping the coin over I can also agree with a viewpoint which includes wiggle room, mercy, compassion or leniency if you will.

Every forum I've ever been on since the BBS days (if anyone remembers those ) in the late 90's has had this very issue...differences of opinions and personalities and moderating the posts.

I got my cactus dirt question answered and much more ....so big thanks to all here!
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mikethecactusguy
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Re: About the requests for ID, again. We need to consider moderating

Post by mikethecactusguy »

Hey Steve-O
I remember signing up for the draft and then getting my card. It was right as the draft was put on hold. So I was so happy to be 4-H. Group 4 but Holding. I did not have to serve. I do regret not being able to take advantage of the older programs to assist in college and home buying. I don't regret having to not go to war. I had a few friends in my mid 20's that served. One was in the SeaBees and his stories were not fun.
I Get It that I'm a dinosaur when it comes to this subject. An age were I'd rather spend the time researching than immediately asking for help. Last month I did throw in the towel and posted a few too many requests myself. I found the humor not the fault when Aiko reprimanded me for posting to many requests.
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samhain
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Re: About the requests for ID, again. We need to consider moderating

Post by samhain »

Is doing things in an antiquated fashion somehow virtuous? Should I get a pack mule for my daily 80 miles of commute?
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Aiko
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Re: About the requests for ID, again. We need to consider moderating

Post by Aiko »

mikethecactusguy wrote: Sun Feb 21, 2021 3:51 pm I found the humor not the fault when Aiko reprimanded me for posting to many requests.
Ah, yes: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=45794#p382138.

I believe it helped, as you haven't been naughty since!
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mikethecactusguy
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Re: About the requests for ID, again. We need to consider moderating

Post by mikethecactusguy »

I have behaved myself. Yes.
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Aiko
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Re: About the requests for ID, again. We need to consider moderating

Post by Aiko »

Aiko wrote: Thu Oct 01, 2020 2:03 pm I have just put up four rules for identification requests (ID) for both the cacti and succulents section. See https://www.cactiguide.com/forum/viewto ... =3&t=45443.

Of course these are open to debate and I am very sure not everyone will be satisfied with these rules. But for now I would like to see if these can help to keep everyone a bit happier from now on.
Now the rules have been in place for almost five months we can have a decent idea if they have been an improvement.
So the main question is: how much of an improvement have they been? Have you noticed a change for the better or the worse?

(For me it is hard to answer this question myself as the situation has changed for me. No I now read all requests, as I potentially need to moderate them. Before that I tried to ignore them as much as I could...)
Last edited by Aiko on Sun Feb 21, 2021 10:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Panu
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Re: About the requests for ID, again. We need to consider moderating

Post by Panu »

^Definitely better. It is still ok to ask for ID, but with some homework done
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Minime8484
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Re: About the requests for ID, again. We need to consider moderating

Post by Minime8484 »

Definitely improved! Plus, it seems clear to me that people are *being educated* on their own AND by others thanks to the new rules. Win - Win.
Thanks, Aiko for a very difficult job well done!
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Re: About the requests for ID, again. We need to consider moderating

Post by Shane »

mikethecactusguy wrote: Sun Feb 21, 2021 1:08 am When I was a "youth" there was a thing called the Dewey Decimal System. It required you to go to a library, search through thousands of little file cards to research a subject. It was slow, it was tedious, and it was frustrating. Hours spent at looking through books & through drawers of tiny file cards. If your frustration level got to high there was this person called a librarian who could asset you. They would steer you to the correct file drawer or even assist you by sending you to the correct row of books, And when you finally found what you were looking for It was very gratifyingly. On top of all that you were able to glean additional information as you researched your subject. It was a learning experience.

Fast forward to current times. Type something into Google and if you are lucky( google doesn't think for you based on previous search's) you will get thousands of hits, many useless but the few that show up on top are probably correct or close. And all it required was 30 seconds of your time. But did you really learn anything? Probably not.. And how much of the provided information is actually correct?
I've been thinking about this for a while. I know posting stuff for ID or random googling isn't really a good way to ID things, but what is? I've found authoritative sources, but reading through every botanical description is not realistic. Even when you are sure of the genus, that can still leave hundreds of species. There must be a better way, no?

Take this plant for example:
20210201_145426_copy_756x1008.jpg
20210201_145426_copy_756x1008.jpg (179.46 KiB) Viewed 7831 times
You could eliminate 90%+ of Crassula from your search based on morphology, leaving a small number of species to research more closely. However, my source https://www.crassulaceae.ch/de/artikel?akID=31&aaID=2 just has a list of species which really is not useful at all for identification

Maybe we should add a pinned post about how to properly identify plants for people who do want to put in the effort. I mean I feel like we're asking people not to submit lots of IDs without giving a good alternative (other than google, which as others have noted is hit or miss)

On another note, reddit, especially the r/succulents group, is a good place to get IDs, and in particular the kinds of answers beginners often want (like "Out of the thousands of Echeveria hybrids, what is this one?"). That's where I go when I have an ID request I feel isn't worthy of this forum. We might recommend it to people who want more IDs than we can give (you can do I think 5 a day there, so 35 a week; that would bury our forum)
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Re: About the requests for ID, again. We need to consider moderating

Post by DaveW »

The main difference since I started in the 1960's was people used to buy basic books on the subject to identify plants. Now books are "old hat" and they use the Internet instead. The problem is books tended to be written by somebody with some knowledge of the subject, but now anybody can post on the internet and it is misleading for beginners since there are many wrongly identified plants on it, even as to genus. Google Search just brings up anything with that name, it does not sort "the wheat from the chaff".

However even books can be a problem where there is no sense of scale and the person is a beginner. I remember reading where a lady had identified her Echinocactus grusonii as a Rebutia from a small picture in a book giving no sense of size. That can often be a problem on this forum where there is no sense of scale. Seeing the plants "in the flesh" obviously eliminates this mistake, which is one of the advantages of being a member of a cactus club and taking plants for identification by others.

However we were all beginners once so we should not be too hard on those wanting identifications. The only thing asked for is not to post too many images per week for identification and probably no more than three images in a post. A lot of images in a post is self defeating since those viewing have often forgotten what the first image was before they get to the end, therefore don't bother and move on to something more interesting to them. We know everybody would like all plants in their collection named, but it often takes time even for those growing these plants for years to satisfactorily decide the name of some plants we grow. Therefore don't be in too much of a rush since a name does not change the plant itself.

I admit the problem these days, unlike my early days when the plants used to come with labels (tags) with their names on, is now the wholesalers just put them out as "Cactus" or something similar. Also if they have a label it is usually just has basic growing instructions. People here are willing to try and name your plants for you, but please don't try and get your whole collection named in one go since that is "overkill" for the viewer.
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Re: About the requests for ID, again. We need to consider moderating

Post by Aiko »

I am not the moderator of the identification section anymore. I now get back to try to ignore the identification requests as much as I can again instead of needing to read them to be able to act when needed. The moderating job now (again) lies in the hands of the general moderators (of which I see only two are still active here).

I personally really think this part of the forum needs someone dedicated to keep it okay for everyone and avoid it from getting out of control. If anyone is willing to take up the role of moderator specifically for the identification section, please get in contact with Daiv, the forum administrator.
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Re: About the requests for ID, again. We need to consider moderating

Post by DaveW »

I think the basic idea now is don't try and post too many species at once for identification. Say only pictures of three or four species at a time from various angles if needed and not too many posts for identification per week. Trying to identify your whole collection at once can be a turn off for those whose help you want to identify them since by the time they have scrolled to the end of all the pictures they have forgotten what the first was and may not bother to scroll through them all again.

You can post your other plants for identification in subsequent weeks so no need to post all in one go. As to identification, if you can try and at least pinpoint the genus all well and good, but we realise those new to the hobby cannot often tell the difference between a cactus and an other succulent therefore will make allowances.

That of course only applies to requests for identification. If pictures are posted in other sections for travelogues or the entertainment and education of the viewers there is no real limit per post.
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Re: About the requests for ID, again. We need to consider moderating

Post by DaveW »

Coincidentally the link below was posted on the BCSS Forum which shows most of the Dutch commercially grown plants they sell to UK Garden Centres and no doubt other countries too that may help first in identifying the common plants you find in Garden Centres or stores.

https://www.arianecactus.be/plantenlijs ... al=en&id=1

At least it may find the genus for you as a start to asking for identification.
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Re: About the requests for ID, again. We need to consider moderating

Post by mikethecactusguy »

Thanks DaveW. The link has been bookmarked and saved. Very helpful in identifying smaller plants. Should be a big sticky in both I.D. forums with a big note: "Check Here First before Posting"
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