Ed. Note: Moments after posting this letter, WTB? received a comment that chastised us for making negative remarks.  Please let us know if we have failed in our mission to educate by adding your own comment.

Whats this bug
Location: Florida
November 5, 2010 4:24 pm
I was just wondering what kind of bug this was. I got home from school and it was under my shirt??? But I have never seen one before.
Signature: Dont make no diffrence

Five Banded Tiphiid Wasp

Dear Dont make no diffrence,
We surely hope you were not sending this email immediately after your English class because there is no evidence of grammatical retention.  In the interest of contributing to your knowledge of science and your appreciation of nature, we researched your request and we have determined that this is a male Five Banded Tiphiid Wasp,
Myzinum quinquecinctum, which you may verify on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide, the Five Banded Tiphiid Wasp is:  “A slender, shining black wasp, with yellow crossbands. Males are more slender than the females and have an upturned black hook at the end of the abdomen. There are 5 yellow bands on the abdomen of the female (the second is broken in the middle) and 6 narrow, more regular ones in the male. Both head and thorax are marked with yellow. Legs of the males are strongly yellow, but they are reddish in females. Wings are brown.”  Male wasps are incapable of stinging.

Location: Florida

13 Responses to Public Humiliation or Not?: Five Banded Tiphiid Wasp

  1. Pamella says:

    I would like to discourage WTB from making negative remarks to its fans, especially school children. We do not submit our questions to be criticized for poor grammar. I would think WTB would ENCOURAGE people to be curious enough about insects to feel free to come here without fear of public humiliation.

    • bugman says:

      With all due respect, we do not feel that there was anything negative in our identification response and it is difficult to publicly humiliate someone who decided to self-identify as “Dont make no diffrence”. We feel strongly that care should be taken whenever something is committed to the written word, especially when the communication is being submitted for publication. We generally do not edit our reader’s letters, nor correct the grammar. We try to uphold a standard of communication and open dialog. We feel that we have critiqued rather than criticized the shortcomings in the querent’s use of the English language. Perhaps you are privy to information that we overlooked in the original communication, but we cannot be certain that a child sent the email. We are firm believers in lifelong learning, and many students are adults. Anyone who is studying should be open to having mistakes identified so that they may be corrected in the future. If “Dont make no diffrence” is a child, the child needs to learn to appreciate the beauty of language and how to use it correctly.

      • Don't make no sense... says:

        I came to this site to ask about a wasp, I see fit to look elsewhere. I’m fairly certain that i will be “made fun of” for asking a dumb question if this is how you see fit to respond to your followers. There is always a tactful way to “critique” a comment. I wasn’t aware that I was coming to a bug site to have an English class. Have a fantastic day!

        • bugman says:

          We do offer a public service free of charge and you may exercise your prerogative not to use it. For the record, we like to draw a distinction between asking a dumb question (and we feel there are no dumb questions) versus asking a question dumbly, which is a condition that is currently rampant on the internet due to laziness. If you fear humiliation, you may always peruse our archives and try to self-identify your wasp without ever engaging our editorial staff.

  2. SGraves says:

    Obviously your querent is not a regular reader or he/she would know not to sign his/her question that way since you would be all over it like …. a mantis on a moth. Moreover, I’m not sure what “dont make no difference” to him/her, the signature or the bug identity.

  3. arysse says:

    “We surely hope you were not sending this email immediately after your English class because there is no evidence of grammatical retention.”

    Wow! What bug crawled up your pants and bit you?

  4. hot_taco says:

    I’m with bugman. We don’t know if this was submitted by a child, and even if it wasn’t it should have had the proper written word.

    Isn’t that what the child is in school for, to know the proper grammar and know the difference between don’t and doesn’t?

    If no one spotted it, it’s not proper to have two negatives in a sentence.

    IMO this wasn’t criticism, just a slight critique of their sentence structure.

  5. aussietrev says:

    I think anyone that cannot make the effort to at least be polite when asking for help from a website deserves a grammatical kick in the backside at the very least. If it is a child then the parents deserve one as well. Given the arrogant tone of the nom de plume I’d think more likely a teenager that has never learned respect for anyone. A sharp reprimand I think was well deserved.

  6. N. Fritz says:

    Reminds me of the premise of Stephen Fry’s Kinetic Typography: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7E-aoXLZGY

  7. nocturnelle says:

    I believe that the chastisement of grammar was justified.

    Reading something like that, written that poorly, is painful.

  8. Your daddy says:

    This bugman is a douche bag period. IDGAF what you think about someones English. Just answer their f^(*!#& question or f^(* off,

    • bugman says:

      Thankfully you are NOT our daddy. We absolutely do not abide cussing on our site, so though we maintain we do not edit the letters or comments we receive (bad grammar and all) we absolutely do edit for foul language since many of our readers are young and otherwise sensitive to profanities. We believe in free speech and the First Amendment, but we also tightly control the content on our site. If you do not like our policies, nor our commitment to providing accurate information while celebrating the beauty of the English language free of charge, you are free to troll the internet and bully elsewhere. We actually prefer that you be gone and never return. For the record, we did answer the question.

  9. Kayla says:

    Hmm…I know this post is REALLY old, so I’m sort of gravedigging here, hope that’s not too annoying. I don’t want to lecture anyone, either, as in the past 9 years, everyone has grown a lot and that includes the bugman and, hopefully, whoever wrote the question. I’m not even sure why I’m typing this up, but here goes.

    In my work, I generally have a lot of very poor grammar thrown at me. It makes me cringe, but, since my work is unrelated to English spelling/grammar, I don’t mention it, unless it is to ask someone to clarify what they mean. Many of my clients are not native English speakers and it’s impressive they’re confident enough to reach out to me knowing they’re not fluent at all.
    I get your frustration here, and maybe the kid needed to be told, but I’m betting his English teachers/grades told him the same thing in a less public manner. Not sure what they told him stuck.

    All that aside, signing an inquiry with “Dont make no diffrence” was pretty heinous, and could be construed as a form of disrespect. They want your attention and help, but don’t have the desire to interact in…a socially acceptable manner [not really sure how to word that]. You’re under no obligation to coddle anyone, especially if you don’t mind getting a few criticisms yourself here and there.

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