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9 hours ago, Tony Leukering said:

Why only "think?"

Perhaps because they don't know everything there is to know about birds like you do, but maybe they know enough to question things they're not 100% sure about, or maybe they just want verification of what they THINK they know. My question is, Why question anyone that doesn't speak with confidence when they ask for help? 

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23 hours ago, Tony Leukering said:

Why only "think?" There's no other large hawk in the New World (?) with that bright of an orange-red tail.

Since this has come up, I agree with what lonestranger said.  I value your contributions here and I know many others do too, but a question like "Why only 'think'?" is likely to be perceived as pointlessly hostile and belittling.  In contrast, something like, "You're right.  There's no other large hawk [etc.]" would give the same information supportively.

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1 hour ago, Jerry Friedman said:

Since this has come up, I agree with what lonestranger said.  I value your contributions here and I know many others do too, but a question like "Why only 'think'?" is likely to be perceived as pointlessly hostile and belittling.  In contrast, something like, "You're right.  There's no other large hawk [etc.]" would give the same information supportively.

I think what Tony is doing is good. I had people act the same way when I was starting out. It made me search through the field guide more, and study the birds more in the field, both of which are important when one is starting off.

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On 3/2/2021 at 10:01 PM, Connor Cochrane said:

I think what Tony is doing is good. I had people act the same way when I was starting out. It made me search through the field guide more, and study the birds more in the field, both of which are important when one is starting off.

I wouldn't recommended it unless the mentor knew the person well.  For one thing, it might turn the beginner off instead of encouraging them.  For another, if you try it often enough, at some point it will turn out to be insensitive to the physical or mental illness or the stress that keeps the person from remembering things

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On 3/3/2021 at 12:01 AM, Connor Cochrane said:

I think what Tony is doing is good. I had people act the same way when I was starting out. It made me search through the field guide more, and study the birds more in the field, both of which are important when one is starting off.

Along the same lines of what @Jerry Friedman said, the emotionless internet is not the place to do this. If I was birding and a random stranger came up to me and I pointed out a hawk and said "I think that's a Red-tail" and they replied with "why only think?" I would be very turned off, not only because I would have multiple reasons for why I wasn't positive and this random stranger just acted as though I'm just too stupid to realize that it's a Red-tailed Hawk, but because most random strangers aren't that belittling. 

Edited by Melierax
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On 3/1/2021 at 11:16 PM, Tony Leukering said:

Why only "think?" There's no other large hawk in the New World (?) with that bright of an orange-red tail.

When I was first starting out my biggest fear when learning birds was that there were birds that look identical or at least similar to whatever I think a bird is. For example, Ferruginous Hawks also have red-orange tails, and if I don't know the field marks to look for I could've gotten confused between the two. You were a new birder once - why would you not have been sure about an ID when you were first starting out?

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Just to clarify my own position, @Tony Leukering your knowledge is impeccable and I always love being able to defer to you for complicated ID's. Everywhere else, your commentary is extremely useful - but then you do something like this which seems like you're high and mighty on a bird ID pedestal and you don't seem to understand how new birders could possibly not be confident about an ID. I agree with @Jerry Friedman - you may have good intentions, but your statement just comes across as demeaning. You can see that your response was really just not helpful and inappropriate by reading the OP's reply.

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What was said can be interpreted in different ways. It has been proven that typed words can have their meaning changed by different inflection on a certain word in the sentence.  I agree with @AlexHenry "why only think?" can also be interpreted as encouraging the person to be more confident in their ID etc. We have had this discussion before and in an online forum anyone can choose to answer the question in any manner they want. The person looking for a replay can scroll through all of the answers and choose the reply they like the best and ignore the others. Some people give short answers, funny answers, long detailed answers, some ask questions back or provide resources or advise them to look it up online. Some people want to readily give the answer to the asker and some people want to teach them how to research it for themselves. Some people have more time to contribute and some have less. The ability to answer in the manner that best suits you is your choice. The rules are clear on what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. I think all answers are valuable and I appreciate input from multiple people. My 2 cents. 

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2 hours ago, AlexHenry said:

Perhaps you all are interpreting it wrong. Perhaps he is encouraging people to be more confident in themselves.

If that many people are misinterpreting the message, isn't it possible the message could be improved?

I understand NOW what Tony's trying to do.  However, his first several responses to me came across as brusque and arrogant.  For several months I wouldn't read his replies to anyone.  The content just wasn't worth the aggravation, esp. seeing spelling and grammar corrected on non-ornithological words and expressions.

I've been able to get past it but a new member who hasn't acquire the taste yet may find his approach more discouraging than otherwise.  I certainly did.

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