What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

insect i.d.
Location:  Shelbyville, IN Midwest
September 22, 2010 1:57 pm
i have a green stinkgug-monarch butterfly-very tiny caterpillar-black hard shelled thin lined shape in the middle-where can i find scientific names 4 these? My son has a science project on insects.
Signature:  Thank you, Amy McClellan

Dear Amy,
With all due respect, we will not do your child’s homework, nor should you.  We are not in the habit of giving parenting advice, but we recommend that you have your son search our archives using our search engine, or visit BugGuide to research his own answers.  It is better that he fail now than later in life when there is no one available to do his work for him.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
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16 Responses to What's That Bug? will not do your child's homework

  1. [...] that is due in the imminent future.  The most popular posting on our site continues to be “What’s That Bug? will not do your child’s homework“.  Your email indicated that you have been attempting to ID this creature, and since there [...]

  2. SOMETHING says:

    That sounded pretty rude… You could have at least gave her the scientific names.

    • bugman says:

      Dear SOMETHING,
      Many things get lost in translation, and perhaps you have a different understanding of the term “rude” than that of our editorial staff. Our unabridged dictionary defines rude as “lacking delicacy or refinement; boorish; ungentle; unpolished; … uncivil or impolite in manner or action; insulting; impudent ….” We responded in a respectful manner and we advised the parent on some potential sources for the desired information. Plain and simple, not doing one’s own school work is cheating. As an experiment, we cut and pasted the names in the request into google and did a search. Here is what we found. Green stinkgug actually produced a desired result. See: http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=green+stinkgug&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8 The first result is Wikipedia and it actually corrected the spelling error, turning “gug” into “bug” and then providing the scientific name Chinavia hilare. Featured Creatures provides another scientific name Chinavia halaris. Another Featured Creatures page identified a different species, the Southern Green Stink Bug as Nezara viridula. Many, many more results are available with that one search. Moving on to monarch butterfly, at least three sites in the initial google search provided the scientific name Danais plexippus. Finally, “very tiny caterpillar-black hard shelled thin lined shape in the middle” is far to vague for us to provide any assistance, but google images nonetheless provides many visual choices. We provide a free service and we reserve the right to choose which requests we research. Our time is much too precious to respond to every desperate plea from parents and students, even through to the college level, because they are too lazy or they procrastinated. We stand by our conviction not to do other people’s homework. If that makes us rude, so be it.

      • I know how to define rude says:

        As a teacher I think it’s noble to refuse to simply provide answers to those looking for the easy way out and not looking to take the road less traveled (and that road seems to be traveled less and less as time goes on). I know how to define “Rude” as well as your editorial staff, and your responses have been the very definition of rude. She simply asked if you could help her to identify certain insects, or tell her where she can find a resource that could assist her with these particular insects. Initially, it sounded as though she was looking for a push in the right direction, and not to be handed the answers. I also understand you don’t have time to answer all the questions shot your way. What I don’t understand, if your staff is so over worked, and you must carefully pick and choose who you could be the most helpful to, which I’m sure is a daunting task, why publish Kim’s question with your rude, snotty, comment? Wasn’t there a question that were more worthy of your time? No doubt it was for the sole purpose of standing on your soap box to preach! At the time of her initial question, you had no idea, admittedly neither did I, what her intent was. It sounded to me as though she was a parent just trying to help her child, of unknown age or cognitive ability at the time she asked for your assistance, and not necessarily do the work for him. Aren’t parents supposed to try and help their children with their studies when they can, all in the name of taking interest in what their children are doing? I would be willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that mother’s time is twice as precious as yours, which not only makes you rude, it also makes you arrogant. Thank you for providing this free service, it’s a shame I will never use it again, and I will delete your site from my handout of acceptable online resources that I provide to my students at the beginning of each semester.

        • Bob says:

          ER NO!!!
          A parent ‘helping’ the child with homework would consist of the request, followed by any research that had been carried out and a request for basic pointers.
          Simply asking for the names of the insects and stating that it was homework, is just crass .
          That sort of parenting should at least be trying to teach the child the art of deception , by removing “it is homework” from the question.
          At least the kid is learning the life skills needed to get others to do their work for them.

        • Bugs no Bunny says:

          These people get really nasty when they think they can get someone on line to dig up the information THEY should be finding themselves. I look at thousands of pictures and tons of sites trying to identify the local things I see. Only as a last resort do I ask for help. This is a very nice, informative site with many photos. He should have attempted to identify as many as possible not just say “identify these for me”. YOU are not bound to provide any information at all especially not do anyone’s work. I don’t see anything rude in your answer. Classic case of trying to make you the bad guy when HE is the rude inappropriate one. Good for you!!

  3. Spars with Mantids says:

    Brilliantly done! Not rude in any way. Well known as it should be that the ones who run this site do so of their own volition, their time must also be divided amongst any number of other tasks per day, noting that they have few personnel only makes things harder. That being the case I believe it was all in fairness to rightly refuse to help in this case, especially when simpler solutions could be found on large search engines that did not end up wasting someones time. Better it will be for a child/adolescent to learn how to stand on their own two feet now than be dependent on another for years to come.

  4. Xyzzy says:

    Obviously the parent shouldn’t be doing his/her kid’s homework, let alone asking a stranger to give them the answers. From what I have read, parental overhelp is an increasingly common problem caused by kids being given mountains of homework even in early elementary school. So while the parent shouldn’t have asked, the chances are that the kid in question is already doing more than we did at a similar age.

    I agree with WTB not supplying the answers and making a public statement on the topic to deter future visitors from asking. That said, the wording/tone *was* quite a bit harsher than it needed to be, and doing it by holding the parent up by name as an example to others showed a serious lack of class. It would be a good idea to add a note on any contact pages for the site stating that WTB will not supply homework answers to parents or students in order to avoid further unpleasantness.

  5. Considering that you do this work and keep us informed for free on your own time I think your answer was just fine. It was an insulting request, whether she realized it or not.

    I am a web designer. If someone emailed me via my contact form saying Little johnny was having some problem with his design and could I fix it for him, I would likely have given a similar answer.

    Nobody asks plumbers or electricians or doctors for free advice and work, either.

    • bugman says:

      Thank you for your support Sharon. Some days find us and our responses a bit feistier than on other days, and on the day we wrote that response, we were unusually ornery. That said, we probably would have thought it regardless of when it was responded, but our courtesy filter was obviously turned off when we first read the request. Since we work in higher education, we are struck more each year by the sense of entitlement that seems to be growing among college students. In the Age of the Internet and Global Interconnectivity, information is just a click away, and when there is an opportunity to interface with a real individual, the door is open to making demands.

  6. Vanessa says:

    Monarch Butterfly? They really can’t even make the effort on finding that name all on their own? Finding that name would have been easier than finding this website if they even bothered to try. The problem is that they didn’t even bother to try.
    I think your response was absolutely spot on and as nicely put as was appropriate.
    If someone can find their way to the What’s That Bug website – they can just as easily find their way to Wikipedia, BugGuide, Google Image Search, and the dozens of other avenues available to try and narrow down the names that they are trying to obtain. If you have found yourself here then it is safe to say that you are fairly computer literate.
    Unfortunately, I would like to see their side but I cannot – the last time I did homework, the internet didn’t even exist. And look at how many people managed to do okay and graduate? Even with a world of information and resources at our fingertips – there are still some people who want others to spoon feed them the information. I don’t blame anyone for refusing to do that.
    One of the most important skills that every single child needs to develop is how to be resourceful and the internet makes that absolutely dead easy to boot. The most successful adults in the world are often the most resourceful ones as well. They certainly didn’t go through life with everyone just giving them all the answers that they needed. It is ridiculous for anyone to suggest that it is better to give children all the answers they need instead of teaching them how to be resourceful.

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