Some items of note. We ask that you help us to spread the word about these items. Topics: Moderated Status, Spam/Application Process, Complete Signature Block
1 - Moderated Status
One our many jobs as moderators of this forum is to make sure messages are up to certain standards. When someone joins, we put them on moderated status. When a moderated-status person submits a message, it goes to us first for approval. If approved, YahooGroups sends that message to the group. If not approved, it is not sent. When a message is not approved, we try to send the member a personal message to tell them why it was not approved. If appropriate, we ask them to make changes and resubmit. The person usually sends us a nice note back to say they will do so.
Once we are confident that you post appropriate messages in the standard format, we remove you from moderated-status and allow your messages to go immediately to the group. Being able to send directly to the group is especially important when you want to inform us all of significant observations and are kind enough to do so in a timely manner so that fellow birders can share the experience of watching that bird. This is what OC Birding is all about and why we enjoy hosting it.
Top three reasons for message rejection:
a. Incomplete signature block (see #3 below)
b. Requests to identify a bird from a very poor description (usually incredibly short such as "brown bird with dark bill, what is it?") AND failure to consult a field guide
c. A report or a question about birding in areas outside of Orange County, California (use CalBirds for that)
2 - Spam & The Application Process
We also try to keep spammers out of the group. And believe me, they try to join, both via automated spam-bots and manually. Egads!
To thwart spammers/spam-bots, we require prospective members to write a brief biography and send it to us. We review it and make a judgement call whether to accept their membership. This process is very tedious and time-consuming. We're both very busy. Joel is retired-busy; you retired folks know exactly what that is. I have a full-time job, plus I teach on weekends, give talks and walks, and photograph.
Lately, we've had several new requests to join OC Birding (more than the usual influx). Many of these requesters are friends or acquaintances of existing members, for which we thank you. The other side of the coin is that we've had trouble reviewing/approving new memberships in a timely manner. We ask that you tell prospective members that we sometimes have a backlog of memberships to review and that we might not get to them for a few days, so be patient.
One source of delays is that someone will apply to OC Birding with one e-mail address and use a *different* e-mail address to send us their biography. Then we must try to match up applications with biographies, which is even more tedious and time-consuming. Please help us get the word out that one should apply for membership with the same e-mail address as the biography.
Top three reasons for membership rejection:
a. Failure to submit the biography
b. Submitting the biography after the deadline of 14 days (YahooGroups deletes pending applications after 14 days)
c. Spammer (one spammer was honest and wrote that he/she wanted to offer our members "an incredible financial opportunity"!)
3 - Signature Block
Several messages of late have lacked the proper signature. Sometimes Joel and I are busy, fail to catch an incomplete signature block, and allow these messages to pass into the message system. OC Birding requires that all posts are signed with your first and last name, plus the city of your residence. Add the state if you are not from California. Add the country if you are not from the USA (Add the planet if...). Please help us get the word out about incomplete signatures too.
Mission Viejo, CA
Owner & Co-Moderator, OC Birding
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]