Site Talk forum: Suggestion

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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
Jun 25, 2016 11:55 AM CST
We are still seeing new members posting questions, mostly in the Plant ID and the Ask a Question forums and there is no location information.

Perhaps the members of the "welcome wagon", whoever they may be - when they send their welcoming Treemail to each new person could mention the importance of location and instruct the new member how to find and complete their profile page.

Shrug! Crossing Fingers!
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
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
Jun 25, 2016 1:56 PM CST
I think this is always going to be a problem because of the fact that due to security and safety issues many people don't like to divulge personal information. Location does help a lot for identifying plants and if the poster can give a general idea of where the plant is growing there's a better chance of finding an exact ID.

I wonder if we could have a "guide" of sorts at the top of the Plant ID Forum: http://garden.org/forums/view/plantid/ listing the information needed to be able to offer an identification? I have no idea how it should be worded but for example something like the following:

~To have your plant identified, please list as much information about the plant as possible and upload photos of the plant in question. A photo of the entire plant, a photo of the leaves and (if the plant is in bloom) a close up photo of the flower will all help. Also of importance for identification is to tell us in what part of the world the plant is growing. If the plant is growing in your own personal garden and you prefer not to divulge your exact location, you can list a general area like your state or country, i.e. Kansas, Maine, Northeastern United States, Australia, England, etc. and whether the plant is growing in full sun, full shade, etc.~


Some folks ( *Blush* and I'm quite often guilty of this) scan past a lot of typing and don't read it thoroughly so we will probably always have to continue to gently ask for that information from some posters.

I will call the Plant ID Forum moderators to see if they perhaps have suggestions. @Calif_Sue @eclayne @jon @KentPfeiffer @zuzu
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Tip Photographer Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Hibiscus
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Horntoad
Jun 25, 2016 2:29 PM CST
It's not totally about securtity because when you ask them to put the information in their profile, they don't. But they will give you the information in the thread which is just as public as the profile.
wildflowersoftexas.com
texasnatureonline.com


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
Jun 25, 2016 2:50 PM CST
Oh, okay ... I know sometimes people are cautious and don't want to reveal any personal information, including their location. Maybe they just sign up to ask the question and don't think about filling in their profile info or stating their location until prompted by another member.

... so, perhaps no heading on the forum is necessary and we can just continue asking for their location when they post for an ID. Shrug!
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
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
Jun 25, 2016 3:01 PM CST
The flip side of that, tho, is if they DO include that information to begin with, they are much more likely to get a helpful answer right away, which would make them more likely to stick around. Maybe just a general note like: Please include photos if possible and at least general location information.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
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
Jun 25, 2016 3:55 PM CST
I still think they should be asked "where the plant is growing".Country, State/garden/wild? We have many long time members with profiles complete, that ask about plants they have seen in their travels. That question could be included in the instructions on the right side of the page, and it's not necessary to tell the world where they live.
[Last edited by ctcarol - Jun 25, 2016 3:57 PM (+)]
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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
Jun 25, 2016 4:01 PM CST

Plants Admin

Unfortunately, Lin, guides and instructions are rarely read. A message in boldface, circled in red on the home page of the ID Forum, says: "Attention: start a new thread for each plant that you need identified!" in spite of this, people persist in posting threads requesting ID's for more than one plant or, odder still, adding their own ID requests to the bottom of someone else's thread.

Besides, the current emphasis on location seems excessive to me. It can be necessary in identifying a weed or wildflower or in nailing down a species, but in most cases the plant can be identified without knowing the location. An azalea is always going to be an azalea and a cosmos is always going to be a cosmos, for example, regardless of the location, so there's no need to demand a location from the posters in these cases. I think a polite request for the location, in the cases in which location can be relevant, is sufficient.
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
Jun 25, 2016 4:50 PM CST
zuzu said: "Attention: start a new thread for each plant that you need identified!"


When I read those instructions I want to yell at the computer screen....It should say "Attention: only ONE plant for identification per thread!"

I agree that many people do not read the rules, the instructions, or whatever...but then they get rather pissy when we ask for information that we might need in order to give a better answer. It is excusable when new members don't know the ropes, but after a couple of months, or a couple of years I would think that the members should have figured out what is needed. That was not the point of my suggestion.

Anyway, my suggestion was for the "Welcoming Committee" people. Except for the one person who welcomed me I really do not know who they are but I know that any time there is a new member, someone from the selected group says hello and welcome to each new member; just thought it would be a good idea to add a few lines about the importance of location (even if it is just the nearest large city) in gleaning better answers.



Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
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
Jun 25, 2016 6:48 PM CST
I was told that the "Welcoming Committee" was going to be discontinued, although I'm not sure at what point.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
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
Jun 25, 2016 7:36 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Somewhere around the first of June ( I forget exactly when), we transitioned our oldest daughter Katie to be the sole welcoming committee, so it does still exist, but it is an NGA "staff" and not our wonderful volunteers who spent countless hours through the years welcoming new members.

Believe me- new members rarely if ever read the email. Additional information won't help. However, we do all we can to encourage members to include their information. That's really all we can do.


NGA COO, Wife, Mom, and caretaker of 90 acres and all that dwell there.
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
Jun 25, 2016 7:38 PM CST
Way to go Katie! Thumbs up
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
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
Jun 26, 2016 12:32 AM CST
I don't think anyone should badger people about their location. I've actually widened my own profile location in response to all this hoop-lah. If you recognize the plant in question, let the poster know what you think it is. If they have asked a care of plant question, answer how you would address it in your region. If they want to complete their profile, they will. If not, oh well.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
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
Jun 26, 2016 4:32 PM CST
If the management is under the impression that people do not read Treemails then there is no use in my offering the suggestion so I will withdraw my suggestion.

As a new member I did read my Treemails; I appreciated receiving a warm welcome and knew that if I had any newbie questions I would be able to contact the person who had welcomed me to the site. For me it was a positive experience.

Hurray! Katie Good luck in your new job!



Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
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kqcrna
Jun 27, 2016 5:34 PM CST
You can always ask the poster for location. But I agree, many people just don't want their personal information floating out there. Our personal info is everywhere nowadays. If you are ever the victim of identity theft, you'll understand better.

Karen
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jun 30, 2016 6:15 PM CST
I think there is a second category of question-asker who won't read or respond to suggestions or even red-bold-flashing dire threats,.

In the "Ask a Question" forum, we get a lot of "drive-by questions". The original post is very short and shows little time or thought. Then they never reply to questions or say "thank you" or "that sounds right or wrong". I often wonder whether they even come back to read the replies.

But such is life. I'm glad that 3-4 people usually post lots of good answers based on "If THIS is case, try THIS". At least in the future, if someone has a question similar to the thread title, they may read the replies and learn something, or contribute an idea that everyone else missed. The only person gaining nothing from such a thread would be the original poster!

Especially when the question shows ZERO time and very little thought, and the OP never posts again, I assume that their maximum investment in ATP/NGA is going to be the 15 seconds of typing "how due i improv my soil".

If they won't even say whether their soil is sand, clay or gravel, when asking how to improve it, are they likely to look for, find and fill out a form?

People who intend to become real, participating "members" as opposed to drive-by shooters probably will, whether we ask them too or not, after they settle in.

Maybe some people are spooked when they get multiple responses and are too shy (or something) to actually participate in a discussion. ???

BTW: thread topics like "Help!" are less likely to attract an answer than stating the problem or request in the topic. But that's been a problem everywhere since the days of 300-baud modems. Perhaps since cave paintings were invented!
Name: Karen
NM , AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Adeniums Garden Art
Plumerias Hibiscus Houseplants Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Dog Lover Cat Lover
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plantmanager
Jun 30, 2016 7:35 PM CST
I read all of my treemails when I first joined. I was very happy to have emails from Woofie and Greene, and did ask them more questions as I started to post and surf the site. I'm glad your Katie will be doing this now. It's a big job, so kudos to you, Katie!
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jul 3, 2016 5:08 PM CST
Way to go Katie. Hurray!
Name: Katie Whitinger
Jacksonville, TX (Zone 8a)
Raises cows Dog Lover Farmer Keeper of Poultry Region: Texas The WITWIT Badge
Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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Katie
Jul 4, 2016 1:19 PM CST
Thank you! I enjoy doing it and hope to continue for a long time!

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