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MOBirders,

First of all, I want to apologize to anyone whom I might have given the impression that I hate wolves and want them all shot. I don't think my personal feelings about this topic or any other are relevant to my role as a moderator of this list, but the fact is that I have nothing against wolves.

And I want to explain that when Susan or I state that a post is off-topic, it does not mean that we disagree with the content of the post, or don't think it's worthy of discussion. It only means that we feel it is not relevant to the topic of this list. I am sure that we all share many interests outside of birds and birding, but I also know that we have many other sources to go to for information and discussion about those other interests. This list is where we talk about topics related to birds and birding in and around Missouri.

I also want to explain that most of the time, we deal with minor issues like this one privately, so as not to interrupt the discussion with frequent ADMIN posts. But when we notice the same minor issue happen repeatedly, we think that perhaps a general reminder of the list guidelines is in order, so we make a public post. And as several of you have pointed out, we had more than one off-topic or borderline posts last week. Because of that, I made a public ADMIN post.

I chose to respond to that particular post because it was the most recent, and because it was arguably the most off-topic, having nothing to do with birds, birders, birding, or Missouri. But it was intended as a general reminder, and I didn't mean to single out that particular subject. Certainly I didn't mean to suggest it was the only post that was off-topic. I'm sorry if it appeared that way.

Admittedly that's the downside with handling issues off-list: to everyone but the parties involved, a private response looks just like no response, and our apparent silence might look like consent. I'd like to think that the quiet interventions, while not directly visible, are evident in the overall climate of the list, but I do realize that when people see only the public emails, it may seem that the list guidelines are being inconsistently applied. And I regret that, but the only alternative I can see would be many more ADMIN posts to the whole list, and Susan and I both think that this cure would be worse than the problem.

And finally, after assuring you that we are in fact doing something even when it doesn't look like it, I need to say that there are times when we get behind on reading posts, and occasionally we miss something entirely. So if you ever see a post that you think is off-topic or otherwise inappropriate, and don't see a response from us, please don't hesitate to contact us about it. Your help and feedback are always appreciated.

Thank you for your participation on MOBirds-L!

Dave Scheu
MOBirds-L list co-owner
St. Louis, MO