Updating the site
Our weekly updates must seem a little random (and even we sometimes find that to be the case as well), but there is method to this apparent madness; we have always wanted to represent the entire range of UK beetles and so we try to update accordingly so that all families include a broadly similar percentage of coverage. This is very frustrating because at certain times, when popular or spectacular beetles are in season but not featured on the site, we have to ignore them in order to maintain a balanced coverage. And there is nothing we can do to overcome this, mostly because it is what we want on the site but also because the person responsible for the actual updating i.e. the computery stuff, is a bit OCD about it. On the other hand we are very amenable to adding species if requested to do so, so please feel free to suggest things, either in the comments below or on our Facebook page, that might make the site more enjoyable. We will always try to accommodate such suggestions. A weekly update is about as much as we can sensibly handle, mostly because we can only get together once a week but also because it’s a lot of work and it quickly gets out of control if we try to be clever and add too much. Having said that we do have a backlog of about 230 species ready to be added so new material is not really an issue. On the plus side it has been an absolute pleasure answering emails and identifying specimens for people. This is very satisfying so please keep them coming. We will keep updating as usual but there are also a few really exciting things coming soon. We will try to add more foreign species because it’s also a goal of ours to expose UK entomologists to some of the wider world fauna and to see how insanely amazing it can be. There is a library revamp coming soon and we are determined to add a few blogs at regular intervals. Regarding the UK stuff we have decided to complete some of the smaller families so that we can indulge some of the larger ones later on in more detail. This applies to genera as well; continuing our coverage of some of the smaller genera we are soon going to cover the Poecilus ground beetles, and our first attempt at covering a large genus will follow soon after, in this case Pterostichus. Just how exciting can UK beetles get?!
There is a price to pay for being popular. It’s really nice to see a gradual increase in the number of people using our site, more so as the proportion of younger people grows, and also very rewarding when we get positive comments about the site. Not that we’ve had any negative ones so far. But along with this increase in popularity comes an increase in the number of comments telling us that our site is, basically, rubbish. It’s poorly presented, appallingly designed and very badly put together. As a result it is not appealing and is discouraging a huge number of people from taking an interest. We do not consider these comments as negative or even off-putting, because they invariably come from people who, for a not inconsiderable fee, can re-design it, make it look really professional and basically turn it into the most popular website in the whole world. We get about one such email each week and thus far we have ignored them all, even though fame and fortune awaits. Our attitude is basically ‘f**k that’. Of course the site looks a bit amateur, that’s because we are interested in beetles rather than website design, and that should be rather obvious to everyone. On the other hand it would be nice to revamp it in some way to make it more appealing, but more appealing to naturalists rather than people who take an interest in the design of our site. We do try, we really do, and we know it could be better designed but for crying out loud, most of the people trying to get us to pay lots of money for a redesign are from Asia although some are much more local, and I wonder, beyond wanting large amounts of money, what their interest is. Our website is free, anybody can use it and anybody can make suggestions on how it might be better. So to all the website designers and consultants and whatever else they call themselves, no thanks, we like the thing the way it is, at least for now, and would rather take advice from beetle people.