Putting the culture into herpetoculture

Three more articles are now available on this site: one is new, two are old; all three deal with the social aspects of reptile keeping.

The Art of War on the Online Forums was my editorial for the September 2000 issue of The Ontario Herpetological Society News: it was a response to the flaming and nastiness on what was then the most popular reptile board, at least among my reptile-keeping friends and colleagues. I tried to parse out some of the more common causes for antisocial behaviour. (Since then, there has been an abundant literature on moderating online misbehaviour, but if it existed then, I wasn’t aware of it.)

How Volunteer Organizations Work — And Why They Don’t, my December 2000 editorial, was me using my bully pulpit to make a point about the OHS. A club needs to earn its membership: you can’t expect people to join your club without giving them a good reason to, I argued. It was a warning against inertia. Prescient, I suppose, because the OHS folded a few years later, pinned between volunteer burnout and membership indifference.

How to Write an Article for a Herp Society Newsletter is so new it hasn’t seen print yet: Bob will probably publish it in Chorus, the OARA’s newsletter, in the fall; I couldn’t wait that long, so here it is. In it, I identify some of the more common mistakes I’ve seen reptile hobbyists make when trying to write newsletter articles. As a newsletter editor, I always wanted more articles, but getting people to write them was hard. Getting good articles was harder.

There is a reason for posting these articles: I plan on doing some more writing on the theory and practice of amateur herpetological societies. Given how far behind I am on all my projects, I can’t say when I’ll have more to say on this subject, though.