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RickNC

Fossil Of The Month...changes?

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RickNC

Myself and a few other members have recently been talking about FOTM. We believe that the contest would be more fair if there were more categories. It doesn't seem fair that a shark tooth would have to compete with something like a T. rex tooth. Those who do not collect sharks teeth would likely be unaware of the rareness of a particular sharks tooth, but not the rareness of a T. rex tooth. It seems that regardless of how rare a specific sharks tooth is for example, it is destined to lose the contest if something like a dinosaur fossil is entered as well.

I am not sure how else it could be arranged, but I am sure other members have some input here as well. Perhaps aquatic vertebrate and land based vertebrate would be two categories. At the end of the year the fossil of the year contest could be left the way it is.

Thoughts?

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PRK

The best FIND of the month IS just that.----------

there are enough specialized members here to vote fairly. AS LONG AS IT IS SELF COLLECTED

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RickNC

The best FIND of the month IS just that.----------

there are enough specialized members here to vote fairly. AS LONG AS IT IS SELF COLLECTED

By that logic we should lump vertebrates and invertebrates into one giant contest.

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sixgill pete

I have to agree with Rick. I have seen many amazing RARE sharks teeth on here that garnered very few votes for FOTM, losing to land finds. Ricks Alopias grandis tooth this month is a good example. First, this is a very uncommon tooth, but adding that his is the extremely rare serrated type, mastodon teeth are a dime a dozen compared to finding one of these.

In Dec 2011, I entered an ultra rare Carcharocles auriculatus parasymphyseal tooth, a tooth most people will never see, let alone find. IT gathered a whopping 7 votes. And many of the other rare and extraordinary sharks teeth I have entered have done not to well.

It is hard for all of us on here, as most of us are real amateurs, to understand the significance of every fossil. I know little of invertebrate fossils, and am sure there are members who know little of sharks teeth.

I think Rick has a rather valid point, this Forum has been a great experience for me, lets keep it that way for all going ahead.

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sixgill pete

The best FIND of the month IS just that.----------

there are enough specialized members here to vote fairly. AS LONG AS IT IS SELF COLLECTED

specialized is the key word here. if you are specialized in one type of fossil, do you truly understand the significance of another.

By that logic we should lump vertebrates and invertebrates into one giant contest.

Touche

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THobern

By that logic we should lump vertebrates and invertebrates into one giant contest.

I think we should have kept it that way. As for the difficulties some members may have finding nice fossils, we discussed this point when the categories were originally split. Firstly, there just isn't good evidence to suggest that certain fossils cannot win. Look at the past wins and you'll find that there's an eclectic range of winners. Secondly, the more you split the categories, the more you diverge from the point of the contest, to determine which is the best fossil. If the categories are split to ensure that everyone wins, you're simply celebrating mediocrity.

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Fossildude19

But then, by this reasoning, we would have to have a FOTM for many different categories, -

Lots of rare trilobites, echinoids, fish,brachiopods, etc are found every month as well.

I think it would get to be burdensome to the volunteer admin/mod staff who already spend allot of time policing/administering the forum as it stands now. :unsure:

I think that the people who actually run the forum would have to decide whether this is something they can invest more time into.

Regards,

PS: If I'm not mistaken, at one time, I believe that the inverts and plants and verts WERE all lumped together. It's only in the past few years we've had the two separate polls.

EDIT: Thobern beat me to it! :P

Edited by Fossildude19

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THobern

I have to agree with Rick. I have seen many amazing RARE sharks teeth on here that garnered very few votes for FOTM, losing to land finds. Ricks Alopias grandis tooth this month is a good example. First, this is a very uncommon tooth, but adding that his is the extremely rare serrated type, mastodon teeth are a dime a dozen compared to finding one of these.

In Dec 2011, I entered an ultra rare Carcharocles auriculatus parasymphyseal tooth, a tooth most people will never see, let alone find. IT gathered a whopping 7 votes. And many of the other rare and extraordinary sharks teeth I have entered have done not to well.

It is hard for all of us on here, as most of us are real amateurs, to understand the significance of every fossil. I know little of invertebrate fossils, and am sure there are members who know little of sharks teeth.

I think Rick has a rather valid point, this Forum has been a great experience for me, lets keep it that way for all going ahead.

http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php/topic/26369-december-2011-vertebrate-find-of-the-month/

How many people are ever going to find a jaguar tooth?

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THobern

There seems to be the sentiment that anything good should win. The point of the contest is that the best should win. Of course, every entry will be good, but that does not mean that it must be recognised as the best. Recognition will also be less meaningful if you dilute the significance of winning.

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PrehistoricFlorida

I think we should have kept it that way. If the categories are split to ensure that everyone wins, you're simply celebrating mediocrity.

There seems to be the sentiment that anything good should win. The point of the contest is that the best should win. Of course, every entry will be good, but that does not mean that it must be recognised as the best. Recognition will also be less meaningful if you dilute the significance of winning.

I could not agree more. I was against splitting the verts and inverts in the first place. Also, the more the contest is split, the fewer entrants there will be in each category. Meaning the winning fossils will get more and more mediocre which will ultimately result in reduced participation. I used to enjoy verts and inverts being pitted against each other, and I, extreme vert guy here, would occasionally vote for a deserving invert. Whereas now, I rarely even look at the invert contest.

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Malcolmt

I think that having the verts and inverts separate is a good compromise. I for one know absolutely nothing about vertebrates except for a few species of green river fish. As a consequence unless it is an amazing find like a tricerotops or other spectacular museum piece I am going to gravitate towards voting on what I know, which is a limited sub selection of invertebrate material. I agree that even within the invertebrates the range is wide and often unfair to the collector of rare and less showy material. How do you compare a ulra rare gastropod or brachiopod against a crinoid plate, complete crab or killer trilobite.

As it stands we do not get a lot of voting getting placed in the two categories we have now, for that reason alone I think that further splitting the categories only waters down the concept. In past months I have voted on some ultra rare invertebrate finds only to see at the end of the vote that they got 2 or 3 votes and that the not so rare killer display piece got 10 times the votes. Regardless of the fact that our forum members have found some pretty rare material , that rare material is not always great for display. As someone said in one of the previous posts. It is after all fossil of the month which somewhat suggests that the display and prep aspect of the fossil is a very important part of the equation. The contest is not rarest fossil of the month. As much as I love to look at the burgiss shale material at the ROM here in Toronto it is really the showcase dinosaaur material that brings in the visitors..........

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Scylla

... I for one know absolutely nothing about vertebrates except for a few species of green river fish. As a consequence unless it is an amazing find like a tricerotops or other spectacular museum piece I am going to gravitate towards voting on what I know, ...

I never let ignorance prevent me from voting :P But I agree that the current split seems to be a good compromise. If we had a separate shark tooth FOTM then the categories would continue to multiply (trilobite of the week, ammonite of the annum, etc) I think that the specialists should and can do a better job of educating the rest of us on the unique finds so that we may better appreciate the awesomeness of the finds. :popcorn:

Edited by Scylla

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Missourian

A short description of the reason for inclusion would be helpful. If there are, say, two trilobites, I would tend to vote for the 'prettier' one. But if I knew the 'somewhat uglier' one was much rarer, then I would likely vote for it.

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PrehistoricFlorida

A short description of the reason for inclusion would be helpful. If there are, say, two trilobites, I would tend to vote for the 'prettier' one. But if I knew the 'somewhat uglier' one was much rarer, then I would likely vote for it.

Of course this would have to be done by an unbiased person/moderator, certainly not the individual submitting the fossils.

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Scylla

Of course this would have to be done by an unbiased person/moderator, certainly not the individual submitting the fossils.

Yes an "uninterested" party

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Auspex

It is simply impossible to quantify a universal criteria for excellence or desirability, as each voter has their own bias. The reason the 'contest' is called "Fossil of the Month", not "Best Fossil of the Month" recognizes the strong roll played by popularity in the selection process.

As it is, the Forum benefits by getting to display (and archive) the creme de la creme offered every month, and specialist collectors have an opportunity to foment appreciation of their particular fascination, by providing a thumbnail biography of the specimen.

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Missourian

Uninterested party.... unbiased person/moderator

But then if one 'padded' the description of their fossil, there is always the risk of being called out on it. "This Eldredgeops is pretty and super rare." :)

Edited by Missourian

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Fossildude19

I don't see the admins or mods vetting every find posted, to see if it actually is "rare or unusual" in some way.

If a person feels their find is special, they should just add a note as to why they think so, If they say it's the only one ever found, well, then, they should give supporting arguments/relevant info to show that is the case. Or if we doubt the poster's veracity, we as the voters should check up on the find to verify the truth.

Honestly, the Member's Collection sub-forum, the Member's Gallery and the Hunting Trips sub-forum can and should act as the showcase for a "prized" "rare" or "special" find.

A FOTM award (while a nice acknowledgement and honor), is not the end all and be all, nor is it needed, to diplay personal pride in an ultra rare or exquisite find.

I personally believe that the contest as it stands now is fine.

Regards,

Edited by Fossildude19

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RickNC

All good points and many I had not considered. I wasn't arguing for a shark tooth category or anything like that. Maybe more of a terrestrial and aquatic category.

I understand it creating more work for the site staff. I am site staff on a forum just like this one.

Edited by RickNC

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sixgill pete

How many people are ever going to find a jaguar tooth?

Very true, how many people will ever find an auriculatus parasymphyseal? I am not trying in any way to diminish the amazing finds of any one else by any means. My intention was to illustrate, how can something like mine or Ricks teeth or any other similar find compete against these land finds. They are larger and hence, better display pieces. More eye appeal so to speak.

All of you have brought valid points, and as Rick said, a shark tooth specific category is not what I had envisioned, just a way to separate land and aquatic.

Personally, when I vote, I try to look at rarity, quality and at times research when I am not familiar. I try not to let eye appeal rule my vote.

In the end, it is of course, site admins call. All we are looking for is input from all forum members.

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Bullsnake

Personally, when I vote, I try to look at rarity, quality and at times research when I am not familiar. I try not to let eye appeal rule my vote.

.

This is exactly the conclusion i'd drawn as I watched this thread. I needed the nudge from the eye appeal, or, 'I know him so he's got my vote', etc...

Great discussion, and contentions from both sides.

Thanks

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THobern

Very true, how many people will ever find an auriculatus parasymphyseal? I am not trying in any way to diminish the amazing finds of any one else by any means. My intention was to illustrate, how can something like mine or Ricks teeth or any other similar find compete against these land finds. They are larger and hence, better display pieces. More eye appeal so to speak.

All of you have brought valid points, and as Rick said, a shark tooth specific category is not what I had envisioned, just a way to separate land and aquatic.

Personally, when I vote, I try to look at rarity, quality and at times research when I am not familiar. I try not to let eye appeal rule my vote.

In the end, it is of course, site admins call. All we are looking for is input from all forum members.

Yes, but the point is that its the find of the month, not the rarest find of the month. People will judge the fossils by an array of criteria, of which rarity is only one.

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JohnJ

I think we should have kept it that way. As for the difficulties some members may have finding nice fossils, we discussed this point when the categories were originally split. Firstly, there just isn't good evidence to suggest that certain fossils cannot win. Look at the past wins and you'll find that there's an eclectic range of winners. Secondly, the more you split the categories, the more you diverge from the point of the contest, to determine which is the best fossil. If the categories are split to ensure that everyone wins, you're simply celebrating mediocrity.

I never let ignorance prevent me from voting :P But I agree that the current split seems to be a good compromise. If we had a separate shark tooth FOTM then the categories would continue to multiply (trilobite of the week, ammonite of the annum, etc) I think that the specialists should and can do a better job of educating the rest of us on the unique finds so that we may better appreciate the awesomeness of the finds. :popcorn:

It is simply impossible to quantify a universal criteria for excellence or desirability, as each voter has their own bias. The reason the 'contest' is called "Fossil of the Month", not "Best Fossil of the Month" recognizes the strong roll played by popularity in the selection process.

As it is, the Forum benefits by getting to display (and archive) the creme de la creme offered every month, and specialist collectors have an opportunity to foment appreciation of their particular fascination, by providing a thumbnail biography of the specimen.

It's good to occasionally revisit the reasoning behind why things are the way they are, and many sound points have been raised. I still think the rationale behind the current format is the best compromise. As Tim suggested, it takes time to moderate and post the contest each month...something I'm very familiar with after handling it for more than 2 years. :) In addition to the 'ups and downs' of a normal daily life, I know Cris has his hands full with the contest. So, I hope that most of our members will still enjoy the education, fun, and wonder of the finds shared in the current format.

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Coco

Prepare two competitions a month (vertebrates and invertebrates) need a lot of time and work. On a french forum of which I am administrator, I participated in the organization of a monthly pics competition on fossils and minerals with a precise subject each time. It is really a lot of work, and we abandoned for that reason.

I think that the current formula is good, and I am not sure that we have the right to ask for more work to our administrators. They already spend a lot of time with the security, the technical problems and the respect of the laws of the forum.

I also think that sometimes, some members proposed photos ... could be better quality, and so collect more votes. This criterion can also be interesting for the competition.

Me too I try to base myself on the rarity of the proposed specimens, but also on the pic quality, on the explanations given with the photo etc... My vote doesn't still go to the sense of the winner, but it isn't important. The important is to propose a fossil, and to vote ! ;)

Coco

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RickNC

As some mentioned, what about a short blurb on why you think your fossil is FOTM material? I know personally I rarely vote for fossils I know nothing about. I'm not trying to ruffle any feathers with my post here, just get people thinking. I have a site like this and I know what a contest like this entails. I also have learned that you cannot make everyone happy but sometimes members question an aspect of the site which brings about needed change.

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