Site Talk forum: Plant ID Forum Subject Titles

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Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
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mellielong
Dec 18, 2015 2:27 PM CST
I received a notification the other day that some photos I had posted to the plant ID forum had been associated with a certain plant. However, I wasn't certain that it was indeed that plant as we had never really reached a consensus in the thread. I proposed for them to be deleted and they were. I honestly can't remember if I marked the thread as "solved, finished, or expired". Anyway, I noticed that the name of the thread had been changed to a specific genus and species name that we had been discussing as a possibility.

Does someone come along and rename the threads after they're marked as "solved, finished, or expired"? If that's the case, shouldn't we only close a thread if it's "solved"? Sometimes I close them if I feel like I got close enough. Often, I'm just looking for a genus to get me in the ballpark. In this case, we all agreed it was some kind of Eucalyptus but couldn't seem to nail down which one exactly, and that was good enough for me. If it was me that marked it as "solved, finished, or expired", I was thinking more along the lines of, "I'm finished because I'm satisfied I'm as close to an answer as I'll get without seeking the help of a professional botanist." If closing the thread means someone is going to rename it to a precise species, then perhaps the wording should be changed to simply, "solved". I'm not comfortable adding pictures, or having someone else add them on my behalf, if I'm not 100% sure of the plant. As a result, I changed my setting so no one can associate my photos anymore.
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
Clematis Irises Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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zuzu
Dec 18, 2015 2:42 PM CST

Plants Admin

This is a major problem and a very important consideration during the process of adding images to the database. We do occasionally look through the "unsolved" threads to see whether they've remained open only because the original poster never came back to mark the thread "solved." In those cases, we'll mark it "solved," but I've never changed the name of a thread, and I agree that it's not a step to be taken when there's any doubt about an identification.
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
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mellielong
Dec 18, 2015 6:03 PM CST
Thanks, Zuzu. I looked back at some of my threads in that forum and some of the titles had been changed, while others had the original titles I gave them. And some of the ones that weren't changed were ones that were solved and I was very confident of. So I was just a little confused as to what the process was.
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
Clematis Irises Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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zuzu
Dec 18, 2015 6:31 PM CST

Plants Admin

Beats me. I don't know who's changing the names or why they're changed in some cases and not in others. Confused
Name: Kim
Iowa (Zone 5a)
I kill ornamentals... on purpose.
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Spiders! Critters Allowed Birds Houseplants I helped beta test the first seed swap
Region: Nebraska Keeper of Poultry Rabbit Keeper Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Procrastinator Garden Ideas: Level 2
Chillybean
Dec 18, 2015 7:15 PM CST
I saw this and decided to go back through my posts in Plant ID...

On occasion I would title it what I think the plant may be, but try to remember a question mark at the end. This is one I had no clue when I posted it, but yet it has a title with the Genus name in it.
allthingsplants.com/thread/view/38370/Urtica-for-ID/

This was another that I had no idea initially when I posted what it could have been.
allthingsplants.com/thread/view/38746/Biennial-Beeblossom-Oenothera-gaura/

Maybe there is somehow a new feature that does this automatically? I was wondering if it is when images are imported to the database, but in the first one this was not done. A mystery, for sure :)
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Dec 18, 2015 7:42 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

@greene has the ability to edit the subject lines of threads in the Plant ID forum.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Dec 18, 2015 8:58 PM CST
??
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Dec 19, 2015 8:02 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

She asked for the ability to update the titles of the threads when an identification is made.
Name: Kim
Iowa (Zone 5a)
I kill ornamentals... on purpose.
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Spiders! Critters Allowed Birds Houseplants I helped beta test the first seed swap
Region: Nebraska Keeper of Poultry Rabbit Keeper Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Procrastinator Garden Ideas: Level 2
Chillybean
Dec 19, 2015 9:22 AM CST
Hmmm... not sure I care for that. I go back to old posts often searching for the titles I know them by.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
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greene
Dec 19, 2015 9:58 AM CST
Just so everyone doesn't think I am power crazy...

A few months ago I had asked @dave if the original poster could be given the ability to make changes to the subject once the identification was made. Dave could have asked the moderators to do this; he could have assigned the task to any member. I volunteered to be one of the people to work on this. It was his decision to give me (only me for now) the task and I am happy to help. In truth, I thinks I'm being used as a Guinea Pig but I don't mind one bit. Thumbs up
+++++++

Here is a longer explanation for those who like to read lots of words:

This began when I asked @dave if there could be a way for the original poster to change the subject once the identify has been made. It was his decision to grant me the ability to make the changes which I started doing in mid-October.

I'm not yet finished as there are over 3,000 threads to read through in the Plant ID forum. Some of them I have to read several times.

Some folks who start a thread asking for an ID will follow the rules and remember to let others know that the plant has been identified.
But not everyone remembers. When that happens it is necessary for the viewers to read every word in every post to discover if an agreement has been made as to identity of a plant (or plants in the cases where there are several different plants lumped into one thread*). Lots of folks just like to skim and not read every word.

If there is a definite identification, and especially when the OP has added their image to the database, the subject can safely be changed so readers can see the true name instead of a subject such as:
"Popped up in my compost bin", or
"What the heck is this?", or
"Help, please" or
"Another one for ID", and my all time favorite
"I think you nailed it!!!" sometimes followed by Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!

In some cases the conversation indicates that there has at least been an agreement as to genus. In that case I will change the subject to (example) Rumex; for ID.

In some cases the original subject includes pertinent information such as "in the shade in Brazil", "shade plant", "growing at the beach", etc. and those words remain in the subject and are not removed.

The original poster and other members may decided that the plant can not be identified.**
They may then click on "Mark this solved, finished or expired". Not everyone remembers to do this, but those who do will see the word "Identified" in front of the subject, making it appear that the plant has been identified...even if the plant has not been identified. (???)

In a perfect world every person requesting an ID would stick with the conversation, be prepared to answer questions, to add more photos of specific plant parts to assist in the identification process. The members may request additional photos, location, time of year, sun/shade?, vine?, evergreen? and it helps if the OP responds to assist.

In some cases the chit chat gets diverted to other things such as memories of childhood gardening, recipes, etc. Lots to read through...all very interesting. Thumbs up If the subject reflects the plant name, or at least the genus, readers have a better chance of learning more about the plant in question and the chit chat becomes frosting on the cake. Hilarious!

Hurray! Check this out! One unexpected benefit to reading every word in every post is that I have finally discovered the thread where @JRsbugs was given her special name of Super Sleuth. The subject has not been changed; it reads: Calling all Hickory detectives.
Here it is:
http://garden.org/thread/view_post/179595/
The original poster was @flaflwrgrl who was so impressed with the detective work done by Janet aka JRsbugs to identify the tree as a Red Hickory (Carya ovalis) that she said, "I'm going to start calling you Super Sleuth! "

Did I change the subject of some threads? Yes, but was given permission to do so.
Did I make any mistakes? Probably a few and for that I apologize.
Did every original poster follow through to mark their thread as solved, finished or expired? No...but Shrug! maybe they'll come back later to do that. Whistling
Am I finished? Not yet, but I'm reading as fast and as accurately as I am able.
+++++++

*Even though the instructions state that there should be only one plant per thread in the Plant ID forum it is sometimes necessary to post more than one when making a comparison.

**Having a successful identification allows the images to be added and helps to grow our ATP database. However, if a decision cannot be reached the photo of the NOID plant can be added to the Bin of Unidentified Photos - a holding space, but here again, not everyone does this. Sad
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Dec 19, 2015 11:51 AM CST
I like the thread title being updated when identified!
Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
Charter ATP Member Organic Gardener Garden Photography Bee Lover Dragonflies Cat Lover
Butterflies Birds Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Spiders!
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JRsbugs
Dec 19, 2015 1:04 PM CST
Some sites allow the original poster to add the name to the title. One is diptera.info which I used quite often when I was learning about flies. Most people left the original title so others weren't confused by a title change, then added a '>' with the ID added after. If the ID wasn't certain but likely, then a 'cf.' can be added which 'confers' that the ID is likely but can't be proven. I know that some people who were involved in identification were annoyed when a poster changed the title which is understandable, they didn't want to waste time looking at a thread they had already checked out.

Thanks for the link to that old thread greene, that was a lot of research, I enjoyed reading it again.

I personally think it would be a better idea if the original poster could add the name to the title themselves. Very often it is assumed that a positive ID has been given when it was only a suggestion, that can cause too many wrong entries in the database. Postings of any sort seem to me to be a personal thing which the original poster would wish to have control over. That's how I feel about it anyway, I don't wish to negate greene's enthusiasm though. Is there a way posters can choose to be in control of their own threads?
Name: Trish
Jacksonville, TX (Zone 8a)
I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Roses Herbs Vegetable Grower
Composter Canning and food preservation Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Organic Gardener Forum moderator Hummingbirder
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Trish
Dec 19, 2015 5:19 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Janet- many times in an ID forum, the OP is a relatively new member and/or an infrequent poster and they aren't likely to know to change the title, or just may not care to do so.

Relying on the OP isn't going to work in that case. Thoughts?

The ID forum is certainly a tricky case! We want to help out as many people as we can- both at the time of requested help, as well as later. Doing so without stepping on any toes, and (hopefully) with as little manual work as possible. Easy, right? Green Grin!

It's always good to re-evaluate how we do things and work toward that perfect solution Thumbs up
NGA COO, Wife, Mom, and caretaker of 90 acres and all that dwell there.
Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
Charter ATP Member Organic Gardener Garden Photography Bee Lover Dragonflies Cat Lover
Butterflies Birds Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Spiders!
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JRsbugs
Dec 19, 2015 6:27 PM CST
I'm not sure newcomers will always be hanging around Trish, it they don't then yes, it may be a good idea to change the title. On the other hand, some might be annoyed that 'their' thread has been changed, get the hump and leave. Not everybody is aware of the good intentions here. Green Grin! Besides, everyone is different in how they view things.

Does it really matter so much that the title isn't changed? Newcomers who post in the ID forum, and who are new to plants and identification, can get a little carried away in their enthusiasm of naming their plant. It takes a long time to know how to exercise restraint, and to feel that to name every plant you have isn't always possible and that neither does it matter if you don't. I know, been there done that. Hilarious!

I know that on the diptera forum it didn't take long for most people to pick up on the fact that you can add the name to the title.

Does anyone else have thoughts on this? I'm sure Dave and Trish would like to know the general feelings on the subject. I tend to err on the side of caution, experience tells me to.

Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Dec 19, 2015 7:00 PM CST
I tend to agree with mellielong. I've seen many that were thought to be id' d and later changed as someone else posted. I've also seen those that were kept open for further comment. I think Janet has the best solution. Not all of us get on this site every day, and it would be difficult to find one that was posted awhile ago if the name was changed.
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Dec 19, 2015 7:10 PM CST
When I look at the plant ID forum often I don't have time to read the entire thread. It is nice to come back and see right in the title WHAT the plant is besides just "identified". Saves me time but I still learn.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Dec 19, 2015 8:03 PM CST
Would it work to simply notify the OP that the thread title was going to be changed, and ask for their input and/or approval of the change?
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Dec 29, 2015 8:08 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

I wanted to let everyone know that I rescinded the power to edit subject lines of threads. In hindsight, I see that before granting this power, I should have first sought feedback and counsel from Trish and the admins, but I didn't and because of that I deprived myself of the chance to be warned that this might cause some hard feelings from the posters. I'm sorry for any hurt feelings this caused.
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Dec 30, 2015 11:28 AM CST
No hurt feelings here ... and I doubt anyone could ever stay upset with you for long Dave!
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
Charter ATP Member Organic Gardener Garden Photography Bee Lover Dragonflies Cat Lover
Butterflies Birds Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Spiders!
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JRsbugs
Dec 30, 2015 3:16 PM CST
Dave, you deserve a Group hug from all of us. You have examined your internal conscience and connected with our collective spirituality.

It is the sign of the man. Angel

I love the way you and Trish interact. Equally, that interaction floods through all you do. That is why you have created such a great site with such a loyal group of people. Can't you all just feel the good vibes? Lovey dubby

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