I'll vouch for you Darnell. You've seen a lot really quickly, which bothers a lot of people. Shoot - it bothers me that you've seen stuff that I've been searching for for years (I don't deny it). Whether you were helped or not, who cares. Everyone's received some sort of help along the way. I also know you to work for your own spots, and you've even made discoveries in my own back yard that I've missed for years.
Plus on top of that, you are going to school for conservation. That all seems pretty legit to me.
As far as ignorance on the public forum, its gonna happen. People will jump to conclusions, make mistakes, get reamed out, etc. etc. That happens and most of us have been on both sides of it.
Yet, with all the negatives that people worry about in regards to the forum, the positives are still here. This forum, like it or not, serves as a platform for people from all different walks of life, and at all levels of herping. Some will never find anymore than a garter. Some will not return logs correctly. Some will walk into water with eggmasses. It's our responsibility to look out for that and hopefully deliver the message in a way that doesn't get overshadowed by its tone.
On the other hand, some will move on to track pines, or timbers, or go to school for conservation and who knows what the future holds for them. Why squash that excitement when it starts?
Zappalorti - What if he was a young adult who just found his first pine snake, and he puts up a picture of him holding it. Than we all jump down his throat. So he hides in the shadows and stops posting. He loses all the comraderie. He herps for another year. Finds a few more snakes, but can't share his passion with anyone. He's scared to. So he loses interest and applies to law school. Wouldn't that be a loss to the future of herps?
I say we police and moderate these forums, but why rip into people? We can educate without disrespect. Are there bad apples, sure. But ripping into them will just make them go into hiding and keep doing what they're doing. The good ones that get ripped into could be a whole different story. How many Zappalorti's (or pick your own herp guy) are we crushing as they just get started?
This forum can be used to foster passion and lead people to bigger, better things. For some, it might just be a stepping stone, for others a launching pad. I know my message will fall on a lot of deaf ears. But I roadcruised a soap box on the way in this morning, so I figured I'd use it.