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Fall Fund Drive

Bestow Your Wisdom Upon Me

(If this is an inappropriate topic for this forum, I will erase it, just say the word.)

Hi, all! My name is Mandy. I'm a wacky/weird spider fanatic who loves this site. I am pretty sure that I have had some sort of comment conversation with some of you, but not all. So I thought I would say hi and mention that my 'area' is spiders, though I am no certified expert and there is MUCH that I do not know. I am very excited to have just been given the honor of editorship. However, I am hesitant to use it yet and feel I should shadow you awesome people a little longer so I don't make any silly mistakes. John VanDyk made sure to leave a link to the 'help' tab in the "you're an editor now" email...which yes, is very helpful and necessary, but I thought there MUST be more than that for the editors. I mean, you all are so in sync and great at what you do, so where is the master list of editor do's & don'ts? Besides introducing myself, that is the reason for this forum post. I beg of you to bestow your wisdom upon me! Please tell me your pet peeves and any tips that I may need as an editor. Basically the DO's & DON'Ts would be perfect. And should I expect any hazing or... ;)

Thanks for reading you guys!

the wisest advice...
...is the one you've already given yourself: "sit back and watch you guys do what you do a little longer"
this is almost verbatim what i sometimes say to the rookie eds seeking advice
[hey, i'm still a rookie myself, after all -- but i watched the BG works from the sidelines for 9 months]

Stick with clerical/janitorial jobs, and don’t sweat it.

About that ‘Page Creation Tips’ article –- you may read it but use with utter discretion. I find its thrust and concept misguided and advise editors against using those tips at all. Filling info pages (esp. at species level) with more than skeletal information [numbers--range--hosts] is a waste of time.
Concentrate on ways to add value to the Guide. The Guide is unique and unrivaled in providing the image--name association; it is in this direction we must focus our efforts, not digesting and copying information available elsewhere.

The second wisest advice is, use my advice cautiously :-]

Welcome on board
We need all the help that we can get. There are many clerical jobs that can be done before you start feeling confident about other tasks. In the meantime, I suggest that you skim through the forums, starting with the older ones; there are some very useful things here and there. Also, read this one. If I think of others I will add them later.

 
Perfect, thank you!
Reading the forums sounds like a good homework assignment. And thank you for the welcome, Beatriz!

welcome on board :-)
I checked your bio page to see what time zone you're in - since here in Philadelphia, the timestamp on the post is 4:17 a.m. - and yes, I read all seven paragraphs. You sound just like me with my coccinellids! My house was full of containers of beetles, larvae, aphids (a beetle's gotta eat), interesting caterpillars, and semi-improvised photo equipment all summer. By raising multicolored Asian lady beetles (H. axyridis for much-shorter short), I became familiar with every larval instar, and when I became an editor, one thing I knew I could do was go through the unidentified coccinellid larva photos, find H. axyridis, and move the photos to the species node.

I became an editor during the height of summer ID Request and spent a lot of my time making relatively easy moves of critters that had been identified by others. I may not know one Melanoplus grasshopper from another, but if someone's already said "That's Melanoplus femurrubrum" I can certainly tag it, find the correct species node, and move the image there. I was very careful not to move things that hadn't been reliably ID'd by specialists or the more-experienced entomophiles among us. And I was not comfortable with Frassing anything but the blurriest images of the most common species after they had been reliably ID'd, or it had been determined (in writing) that they couldn't be ID'd because of the blurriness. Fortunately, with ID Request slower and being so well-attended-to, there isn't a lot of Frassing to do.

My biggest reason for wanting to be an editor, in addition to moving lady beetles and larvae to the right place w/o having to ask someone else first, was adding to Info pages. That's a great place to start: for the species you know well, check the Info page and see what you can fill in, streamline, or explain better. If you know that a particular spider lives in X habitat or its eggs hatch in about Y days, and that's not on the Info page, you can add it. Fixing typos and dead links is undersung but valuable, too.

Often, contributors in the Web Site Improvements forum will post information or list corrections for a species page they're familiar with: someone who rears caterpillars will say "You can add these plants to the Food section," or a copyeditor will say "This is misspelled, that sentence is unclear." It's great to help all of them to help BugGuide!

 
Thanks, Abigail!
Thank you for the hints & tips! Maybe my first 'mission' could be the Steatoda grossa guide page. I could add a little info that I have picked up here and there, as well as my first hand experience with the species. And I love to help others so I think this move to editor will be fun for me. And I am so happy to be surrounded by you and the other extremely nice, knowledgeable, and helpful editors here. I feel very comfortable!

And it's nice to know that you are the ladybug lady! I would like to find/make a list of all the editors' area(s) of expertise or preference. I bet a list like that has been made before? If so, maybe you could point me in the right direction? I haven't delved into the older forum posts yet, so perhaps its already there.

On a side note, I have what I think to be a Psyllobora vigintimaculata and a Mulsantina picta...ID'd by matching patterns by someone who knows nothing about ladybugs (ME!). It looks like the Twenty-Spotted already has plenty of photos in the guide, but I'm going to take a few pics of the M. picta and maybe you can ID it for me. There are only a few of them in the guide. Are they uncommon?

Oh, and I have VERY irregular sleeping schedules, lol. So sometimes I am a night owl. Don't be surprised if the time stamps are like that in the future. :)

 
CA lady beetles
There are a couple of possible Psyllobora spp. in California, so I'd like to have a look at yours. I don't know if Mulsantina is particularly rare, but I checked a list of their reported prey and it has a lot of arboreal aphids and scales. So they might be up in the trees and less-frequently encountered than the beetles that inhabit lawns and gardens.

 
Editors and other helpers
Lynette listed all the people that helped her in her account page. You may find that useful.
A few more tips: 1 and 2

And happy holidays.

 
Getting to know the other editors...
Not that I haven't said it already, but "Welcome aboard, Mandy! The advice you've already gotten from Beatriz and Abby is well worth taking. Guide pages are an area of the site that are always in much need of attention and improvement. I couldn't agree more with assigning yourself the "homework" of delving into the archived forum topics -- in addition to learning a wealth of insect-related information from this endeavor, it will also provide you with a history lesson of sorts regarding long-standing issues and ideas that have been floating around for years.

In response to your question about whether there is a list of editors and their areas of expertise -- I have wondered this myself since having been made an editor. I know that often this info is contained within their individual bio pages, but I've yet to hear of any consolidated listing. So, awhile back, I started making my own makeshift list. Thus far, I've identified the names of 109 of the 123 editors and have areas of expertise listed for a handful of them. If anyone has their own list going and/or wants to help me expand on mine, just let me know and I'd be happy to share my notes.

 
Lots of editors
I had no idea there were that many editors!

A minute ago, I found a spider that I knew needed to be frassed and I frassed it! I was really nervous the whole time for some reason, but I just had to see how it worked. Did I do okay?-->

 
Nerve-wracking, isn't it?
The "first frass" is always a nail biter. (See the personal e-mail I just sent you for more on this topic.)

I think you did just fine and I wish that all frassed images were accompanied with that helpful and friendly a comment. The only way I think you could have improved on it might have been to link "epigyne" to the glossary entry, in case that word is unfamiliar to the contributor. But that's really just like an "extra bonus points" maneuver. (*smile*)

 
Good idea...I went for the extra bonus points! :)
^

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