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Mr Q

What's Inbetween "Beginner" And "Experienced" ?

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Good debate though.

It is important that people pose the odd contentious one now and again. It says a lot for the membership that views can be freely expressed in a largely constructive way.

Keep posting Mr Q!

Paul

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Maybe locking it off might save another four pages of replies of disagreement to the idea , which might also be interpreted as 'rubbing it in' ... ?

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Maybe locking it off might save another four pages of replies of disagreement to the idea , which might also be interpreted as 'rubbing it in' ... ?

  I would still read them. Just saying "this" or "that" is a waste of time or a very good idea is of not too much value to me. But explaining why, in a civil manner IS. Isn't that what a forum is all about ?

  If I come up with 100 ideas that flop, so be it. At least I am trying to contribute in a positive way. Its always easy to complain about something but only if its done in a civil manner will it be useful. Flaming anyone on this forum site is not only a bad idea but reflects the sites image - a reason I joined in the first place. I hope your reply was not intended to be a "flame" and I will give you the benefit of the doubt and take your point seriously.

   And its up to the MODs whether a thread is locked or not - not you or I, though I feel the OP of the thread can ask if needed.

Edited by Mr Q
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I think I made my feelings known in my first reply to your OP , in a civilised manner ...  :smiley: ... a reply that was "liked" by a fair number of people I might add .

I have never intentionally 'flamed' anyone and was not doing so in my last reply , I'm sorry that you read it that way.

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Steve, we have made it clear that this thread does not need or warrant locking yet.

Views have been expressed, points argued and counter argued but currently remains within the CoC and, MrQ has taken on board comments made whether it not he agreed with them.

'You' have the option not to add anymore to this thread and ignore if 'you' feel it isn't going any further. Simple.

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We seem to be ignoring the obvious fact that a system as good as any is already in place.... the ranking in line with the number of posts made.

This is probably as good as it gets other than appointing an adjudicating panel to decide who should be classed at what grade...... which would be cause for riots, no doubt.

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I think if there's one thing that can be taken from this thread, when making posts, regardless of the amount of time you've been on sgl, it's important to make it clear where your experience level lies. I've seen people with many thousands of posts, asking questions relating to the very early stages of A.P. These people could probably run courses on visual observations, yet are complete newbies with A.P. By making your experience level clear in your opening post, it allows for replies to be better suited.

Regardless on where you stand on  a "level system" there are ways to reply that befit a forum touted as the "friendliest on the net".

edit:- I'm lucky in that I'm pretty much a newbie in all aspects of astronomy :).

Edited by auspom
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This is what is so good about the forums is that in this beginners section we are blessed with all these members who have a wealth of knowledge and experience in a vast amount of areas. I dare say not many people could answer every question but without their valuable input and friendly ways many of us newbies wouldn't be here now.

I agree, this is what makes this forum differnt than most, It encourages learning, and helps the newbies like myself ask entertaining questions, and experts get to be mentored by others, resulting in growth of more folks, and ultimately helping the entire group- we all have our areas of knowledge, and can never stop learning, or teaching where we can, especially in that which we have a passion.  I am thankful to see so many mentors willing to take their time (and patience with us newbies)

Phil

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I think if there's one thing that can be taken from this thread, when making posts, regardless of the amount of time you've been on sgl, it's important to make it clear where your experience level lies. I've seen people with many thousands of posts, asking questions relating to the very early stages of A.P. These people could probably run courses on visual observations, yet are complete newbies with A.P. By making your experience level clear in your opening post, it allows for replies to be better suited.

Regardless on where you stand on  a "level system" there are ways to reply that befit a forum touted as the "friendliest on the net".

edit:- I'm lucky in that I'm pretty much a newbie in all aspects of astronomy :).

  Such a good point! I am guilty of not thinking of all the many aspects of "stargazing" such as AP, variable star observing, etc. - of which I do not have any, certainly not enough, experience to help out most anyone in these fields. This is a definite oversight on my part but seeing it now, it does make a lot of sense.

   Even if still such a bad idea (my OP question), maybe the "beginners" forums are not specific enough as to the different aspects of the hobby? Maybe that was in the back of my mind when the idea for the thread came up. In any case, I have to admit it was an oversight on my part.

  Perhaps, when a beginner posts a question, he/she should at least mention the area in the first sentence, such as, "I have a question on "*****" ", which some already do but it would be nice if all questions were worded this way. That way, by the wording of the question, each of us would better decide whether or not to chime in. Of course, this should not be "rule" but I think it would save a lot of time when deciding whether or not to jump in.  I know I spend a lot of time reading post questions in the beginners forums and wish I had a sense of their experience before deciding on what to respond with IF its in a field that I am experienced in.

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I'm in agreement with the folks pointing out the difficulty of creating ranks for users based on their experience.  I got my first scope almost two years ago now, but it took me almost 6 months to fully understand how to get the best of it.  I didn't even know what eyepieces were best for different objects! Even now, with 2 scopes under my belt, constellations and star hopping a breeze (most of the time!), and quite a few messiers and planets, I still consider myself a complete newbie! I can't see myself ever even considering being anything else.  There is so much to learn in this hobby and with so little time to practice (thanks weather!), it's not only a steep learning curve, it can also be a long one! 

I think in the beginning, I was asking more questions than answering them (to be expected, of course), but now I do try and 'chime in' when I think its something that someone hasn't considered and if its something that I too had problems/issues with and I think that the poster may benefit from hearing my experience.  I do always try to preface my answers with my knowledge (if any) of their equipment, or object etc. so that the poster knows (or can work out) whether or not to listen to me! 

Reading the posts on this thread, I think even if people tried to rank themselves based on their experience or knowledge - unless it was from a purely objective point of view - you would end up with the majority of users putting themselves in a beginner type category! I've never seen such modesty en mass!!  :grin:

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Reading the posts on this thread, I think even if people tried to rank themselves based on their experience or knowledge - unless it was from a purely objective point of view - you would end up with the majority of users putting themselves in a beginner type category! I've never seen such modesty en mass!!  :grin:

I think is an area where we would see some considerable differences of opinion. Modesty in expressing ones own skills is a very British trait. Some others have no such reservations in self assessment. The difficulty is realising that we each have different ways of expressing the same thing, so one person saying "Yeah, I've done a bit of AP", and another saying "Yes, I am expert in imagining", could have exactly the same level of expertise. That's why I feel that the onus is on the person seeking advice to compare the answers given (and general posting history / gallery images) against their own expectation of expertise.

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I think is an area where we would see some considerable differences of opinion. Modesty in expressing ones own skills is a very British trait. Some others have no such reservations in self assessment. 

I think we're also seeing a bit of the Dunning-Kruger Effect. I see this fairly regularly at work; the guys I trust are the one's who are less confident, 'cos they know enough to know there's things they don't know.

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Perhaps, when a beginner posts a question, he/she should at least mention the area in the first sentence, such as, "I have a question on "*****" ", which some already do but it would be nice if all questions were worded this way. That way, by the wording of the question, each of us would better decide whether or not to chime in. Of course, this should not be "rule" but I think it would save a lot of time when deciding whether or not to jump in.  I know I spend a lot of time reading post questions in the beginners forums and wish I had a sense of their experience before deciding on what to respond with IF its in a field that I am experienced in.

Is this not what the subject part of the post is for?

What maybe more useful to think about is that different forum groupings. I for one spend all my time looking at the 4 Beginners sections which takes some time to follow with the amount of posts that go in there. What I have found at times is that when I have decided to do a google search on something it has taken me to a different section in the SGL to find a wealth of information on what I'm looking for in one post. To try and watch everything that comes into SGL is quite impossible unless you do it full time and I feel that I am missing out on a lot of good information that it holds.

One example which I can give is that the last few weeks we've had a weather topic running. This has been great and has numerous pages of replies now, but is it really a Beginners Observing topic? No in my opinion. Now with the slight weather change this week that main topic is still running very lively and now two more weather topics have been created in two different sections of the Beginners groups. No if the original topic had gone dead a second new topic would be fine, but now we have three active topics all talking about the same thing.

I know the Mods do a great job and a very difficult job of keeping things sorted but rather than members experience levels the topics and groups may need to be looked at differently. How that would be done is a new topic.

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Go outside on a clear night with a Dob and no sky chart - how many DSOs can you find? How many stars can you name? Could you point the scope at some of the prettiest coloured double stars? Would you be lost with nothing to look at? An experienced amateur astronomer would find plenty, several dozen at least, me - I'd be struggling to find a dozen DSOs from memory alone! Having a poor memory like mine doesn't help of course but on the other hand, the technical stuff - the nuts and bolts, electronics, software and optics, those things I'm more comfortable with at a higher level. So there is no simple answer. I suppose an astro-imager doesn't actually need an intimate knowledge of the night sky, reliant as he is on GOTO with computer support. The observer however develops a close relationship with the changing constellations and the treasures within, and frequent re-visits to favourite objects and serendipidous discoveries slowly builds up over years into an intimate knowledge of where things are. There's a lot of room within the hobby for different folk with different interests.

ChrisH

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I think it is more useful to categorise the questions rather than the poster. As has been mentioned above, a very experienced observer might be a complete novice when it comes to AP. The easiest way to categorise the questions is by placing them in the correct part of the forum. If an experienced observer posts a question in "Getting started with Imaging" it can be deduced that it is a beginner's question on that subject.

If I had one criticism of SGL, and it is only slight, I think there are too many forums to choose from when posting a new topic or question. I find it difficult to keep track of what is going on in the individual forum areas so usually rely on browsing the recent activity across the board. If there was an area for Newbie-type questions and a general discussion area I think it would be easier to keep track and to separate the experienced/inexperienced questions.

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As a new member to SGL i have followed this thread with interest and cannot see how its possible to categorise members into beginner, intermediate and experienced. as some have said already astronomy is a massive subject and to be experienced on the subject as a whole would be difficult, post count is very crude but anything else would be subjective.

I personally am useless at AP, Moon, Sun and Never tried Radio. What i can do will reasonable success is to find small fuzzy blobs without goto, but without a baseline have no idea what level to place myself.

This Forum is great, the reply's people give are really a great help.  

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Amongst other things a large hole in the wallet, learning goes way past the Experience lvl...:)

Edited by Tinker1947

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Obviously there are differing levels of experience, and on differing timescales, but to stratify forum contributors with labels is a ghastly idea. Most people are pretty upfront about what they do and don't know, but it's great to have all levels of experience contribute to the threads, no matter how basic.

I've found this to be the friendliest, most helpful and welcoming forum i've ever joined, and it / the members have helped formulate my ideas about the potential that amateur astronomy holds for me.

To fret about labels misses the point - Smiles per hour, not miles per hour!   :smiley:  :smiley:  :smiley:  :smiley:

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   RickM - That would explain some of the replies. I didn't know this - here in the U.S., its kind of the opposite where modesty is "thrown out the window with the baby and the bath water".

   KrisLX200 - Your description of an experienced (visual) observer fits me well except for one part - after some 50+ years at it, I can never run out of things to observe just from memory of their locations, size, magnitude, etc.. My aching back determines my observing session time limits :sad:  So before an observing session, I try to find new objects using star atlases and objects listed in the deep sky forum. Not only is the amount of years I have spent visual observing, the weather here offers 10 times more clear sky nights than in the U.K.

   But time (in years) of observing is not the only qualification of "experienced". Even now, I'm still trying for new objects mentioned in these forums :eek:  Years ago I gave up on keeping observing logs (the pile was very high) and now just enjoy what I can find and observe - the true "guts" of stargazing. :grin:  I hope many others out there reach this rewarding level of experience but in the U.K. with its limited clear, moonless skies, I wonder if that is possible :sad:

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Its a funny thing really - I've been reading books and can identify a number of stars, constellations and other celestial objects, so on the one hand, I would appear to be at least at intermediate level. On the other hand, I've been observing seriously for just over a year with binoculars and only bought my scope in August, and am still learning how to use it, making me a beginner? And at the time of writing, I have 60 odd posts too, which only says that I've been on this forum for a short time.

I guess that my point is that the whole thing is such a minefield and highly subjective, that it would be pretty difficult to have a one-system-catches-all kind of thing going on, and as others have said, it should be down to the individual to be honest about their own abilities, and for folks to research people's histories a little before they trust every word that is written. I suppose it is a little like life in general....?

For the record, I class myself as a beginner, with some knowledge, but little experience.....

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