Hi friends. As our website gains more and more viewers — and in turn, more and more commenters — we’ve seen an influx in comments geared towards park visitors on camera, as well as an increasing amount of political-focused comments. Because of this, we have made a couple revisions to our community guidelines: https://explore.org/communi…. The notable additions are:
“Our national parks cameras sometimes have park visitors in view. For privacy reasons, please refrain from taking and sharing photos of them, or posting commentary about any people you notice on camera.”
“If discussing politics, please focus on policy, not people — insulting language or disparagement of public officials will be moderated.”
I know at times it will be impossible to share a photo without a human in view. I want to clarify that this is not against the rules. What’s against the rules is posting photos on chat specifically to capture a view of a human, or with the intention of commenting on their presence and behavior. We’ve had a great increase in photos/captions like this that are outright violent. We will be passing these comments to the proper authorities to protect the safety of park visitors and employees. This is not the environment we want to cultivate on explore.org, and it’s a privacy issue for park visitors.
Today Mike Fitz published a great piece on the history of bears and humans at Brooks River, more about park guidelines, and information on how you can report serious concerns to the park: https://blog.explore.org/be…. The comments on this blog post are an open place for you to discuss your questions regarding bear/human interactions, but please still refrain from posting photos and videos of park visitors on the blog. Thank you for helping us keep the explore.org community focused on education and the beauty of the bears.
Though the response to our community guideline adjustment has been mostly positive, I do want to dispel a few misconceptions:
1. The priority is to prevent this chat from devolving to hate speech about park visitors. If you haven’t seen any hate speech that’s “that bad,” it means your volunteer moderators are doing a great job, because we’ve seen some scary stuff in the last few weeks. As the streaming service for this park, we have a responsibility to mitigate that.
2. explore.org is not a security camera or reporting tool and was never intended to be. As far as this chat board goes, we are here to make educational observations and witness nature. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t report worrying events to park authorities. In fact, this is us encouraging you to direct it there instead of airing it here. No one who can enact change will read your commentary here.
3. We love and care about these bears and we care about their well being. We will do everything in our power to advocate for them using effective outlets. It’s no secret that explore.org doesn’t charge to watch its cameras/make ad revenue/fundraise, so you know we are not in it for the money. We are a passionate group of nature-loving people who want to share this view with you.
Hope this clears a few things up. You can always email us with questions, or ask them here.
Just how important is an individual animal? How might the famous bearcam bears influence conservation efforts? Please help us answer those questions and more by taking this survey.
Are You There Brown Bear
Mike Fitz has launched a Community Science Project where your snapshot can help monitor information about the bears you see on the cams.
This community science project will supplement the Brooks River bear monitoring program by recording observations of bears during and outside official monitoring sessions, essentially extending one aspect of the bear monitoring program through an entire summer and beyond as long as the webcams are functioning.
To participate: After taking a Snapshot, click on Community Sciencebelow your snapshot