Wednesday, July 11, 2012

about exceptions to Nature ID posting rules

Myocastor coypus
picture taken at Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in Portland, OR
June 23, 2012

It surprised me to receive 223 blog visits since summer road trip published 2 days ago. Nature ID is usually not that popular. So it occurred to me that I should explain three of my posting rules that may not be obvious to the average blog visitor.

First, I always backdate posts of featured CA nature to the photo date in order to accurately document when (e.g., I published colonial orb weaver on 08/14/11 even though the entry shows the actual date of the picture from a year before of 08/04/10). Since this practice is rare for blogs, I do not get many visits on newly published backdated posts, and it confuses some folks who use RSS readers, which often only pick up entries backdated to about 3 months before. To add to the confusion, I do have exceptions to my backdate rule, such as photos taken from outside of CA, a handful of miscellaneous posts, and wordless Wednesday. The reasoning for these exceptions is as follows: when I'm traveling, I focus on the moment and blogging rarely enters my mind -> I occasionally like to share my travel or non-nature pictures -> and by posting currently dated entries, I want to let readers know I haven't abandoned Nature ID.

Second, I'm quite thorough and consistent about including labels for identification (e.g., plants) and location with all of my nature photos taken within the boundaries of CA. For all photos taken outside of CA, I do not include identification labels. Even though introduced nutrias are also found in CA, the above photo wasn't taken here; therefore, I am not including any labels with this post for mammals, and I do not have a specific location label like I do for CA locations. The purpose for this practice is so people can click on identification label links, see what I have personally found in CA, and not be mislead by things I have pictured from elsewhere in the world.

Third, I have my settings open to all comments, because I maintain it should not be necessary for anyone to have gmail or an OpenID-type blog simply to make a comment on Nature ID. Of course this opens me up to all sorts of spam, anonymous or otherwise, especially those trying to sell pharmaceuticals from other countries or promoting websites that have nothing to do with nature or relevant topics. In my zealousness to report spam, I sometimes delete legitimate comments. My apologies to those few anonymous commenters.

These rules and exceptions may seem trivial and arbitrary, but they are important to me for the integrity of Nature ID.


Imperfect and tense said...

Dear Katie, Thanks for clearing up any misunderstanding as regards posting details. However, you did not adequately explain why the river rat appears to be propelling itself backwards by sneezing. Apparently :o)

Mike said...

First visit to your site, interesting image of the River Rat. Feel free tp browse my site.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Graeme, only you could come up with such a fun explanation of the nutria! It was devouring the duckweed and paid little notice of us.

Hey, Mike. You have very nice photographs on your blog. Will need to take some time to read through some of your blog posts.

The Field of Gold said...

Interesting about how you use dates. My blog came about because I wanted a good record, but it's not news. The posts stand on their own interest and mostly will not age.
However it seems the blogging system is oriented about news and updates. So the older posts don't get that much traffic. Strange.
However there are some older ones which get a lot of traffic, mostly driven by google searches.

Jennifer said...

I like your rules and the way you keep things true to the date they were taken. I would do the same thing.
I've never seen a river rat....this is a cool shot with it being surrounded by all that duckweed.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Kerry, yep, the blog format isn't ideal for what I set out to accomplish, and I had little idea that anyone would ever read what I've created.

When I started this blog, I had noticed several of my local coastal flower field guides were off by several months about the bloom times of what I was actually observing. I wanted to document my own records and to have a way to find those through labels and archives (hiking/observation dates), e.g., I can quickly find posts about what I've seen in past Julys by using the archives. Plus, it can take me a couple of weeks or more before I get around to figuring out specific IDs, which could be misleading if I published to the date of when I got on the computer to write a blog post.

You have an extensive list of past posts in your sidebar, so that helps. Unfortunately, I found the search feature on blogspot (top left corner) doesn't work all that well, e.g., even when I searched for kauri tree I still don't really know if you've ever featured it on your blog.

And, I'll admit I purposely picked blogspot over WordPress for the google search engine possibilities. Somehow the recent automated spammers have figured out my historically most popular post, and I now get 10-15 spam comments/day on that single post. I do know several professors and students find my blog through google searches, so that's a benefit.