General Articles Right About Right Ask the Experts

Article © Julian Dignall, uploaded October 11, 2012., or “Planet” to use its affectionate slang name, was launched in 1997. Later, over Christmas in 2003, the forum was launched. Forums had become the natural successor to bulletin boards and email lists — it is funny to talk to younger folks today and they’ve just never heard of such things! The forum endures however, it’s been here ever since and it’s used a lot.

At the time of writing, the fall of 2012, I made some changes in the way the forum is run. I had a lot of catfish friends, experts in their fields, performing the moderating duties. This worked well to start with, but over time it is a long hard slog. Rather than lose their expertise, many have hung up their moderator gloves and are awarded expert status. The main issue - a phenomenon I call “post jading” - is that it becomes really hard to write a reply to a question that’s been asked so many times before. It’s even harder when, if the answer isn’t what the poster wanted to hear, they are a little, well, unappreciated. This might sound as if experts are aloof, but newcomers to the forum often take some time to realise that this is an international community with deep roots. The guys here have been here since 2003 or thereabouts. Try researching “Corys and sand” or “breeding plecos” and you will see the brain melting amount of info already present - much was penned by our expert team.

As I am fond of saying, the forum is a broad church, the challenges of moderating such an international group of catfish beginners to world class experts is significant. It occurred to me that I needed to split the subject matter experts in the forum from the role of policing it. And so I created the experts group as a resource to draw upon when it appears a question is unanswered.

The team are listed below. I cannot stress firmly enough the universal wish that you do not private message (PM) an expert with your query. You can imagine answering a question for the umpteenth time might become a bit wearing, but answering a question in the knowledge that it will help no one other than the asker — well that’s why “ask the expert” PM questions are not allowed. What we would encourage you to do if your question is not being answered is use the PM link to the right of the topic you are not getting an answer to and PM the expert (listed below) with a polite request to comment. They will do so publicly so you get your question responded to and it is there for the benefit of all others thereafter.

So, here’s the procedure.

First, perform two specific searches, one across the whole site and one in the forum. Check that what you’re going to ask isn’t already there or isn’t best answered by bumping (adding to the end of) an old thread.

Second, check at least five days have passed since your most recent post.

Third, pick an expert from the fields below and PM them from your topic asking for some input - this will provide an easy link for the expert to your topic. Please, remember not to ask the question in the PM, just ask for some input on the (public) topic. This will help everybody.

Username Specialities Joined
Barbie General fishkeeping, pleco breeding 2003
Birger African catfishes 2003
Borbi Loricariidae, esp. identification 2006
corybreed Callichthyidae (Corys et al) 2004
Coryman Callichthyidae (Corys et al) 2003
Janne Loricariidae, esp. breeding 2003
Marc van Arc Auchenipteridae 2004
medaka Catfish Breeding 2003
Shane Collecting fishes in nature, General fishkeeping 2002
Silurus Taxonomy & General Science, Asian Catfishes 2002
Yann General fishkeeping 2002
Jools Anything not above 2002

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