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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Open Source Betta Standards - COLLABORATORS WANTED!

Hey everyone!

I was inspired by a thread Witchipoo posted that I saw today about only members having access to IBC standards, and I had an idea...what if there were community dictated standards that everyone had access to? An Open Source Betta Standards Document.

Below is a brief explanation and idea as a put in the reply to the thread.

Just a thought, but I know in the software world (I'm in the video game industry) when there is something the community wants as a whole, a lot of people work together to make an open source version so that the entire community and industry benefit. What if we were to all work together to make an Open Source Betta Standards Document? That way people worldwide could all work together to define what is desirable for shows and breeding to help strengthen the betta community as a whole. People could organize local grassroots shows then based on these standards and I think it would create a new appreciation for the fish and raise awareness. We could have more categories than what is in the current IBC standards.

(Disclaimer on this: I'm not a breeder. I have 1 betta from a pet store. I love him to death and he is my child. I would love to get into breeding some day though.)

What do you guys think? I'm the kind of tech nerd that could make this accessible worldwide so anyone can access them at any time, so if you guys are interested in collaborating, hit me up!
So I want to know if anyone would like to be a part of this! I think this could be a great thing for the betta community worldwide. Is anyone interested? I know I am by no means an expert on show standards, but I've been learning by reading the threads here and I'm good at organizing/web stuff, so I would like to collaborate with you guys...the experts.

If you are interested, or have questions, reply below! I would love to hear thoughts from you guys!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
While they are nice standards, I have a couple of issues with it that would be addressed by the new standard I'm proposing.

1. It isn't terribly accessible because you have to download each chapter of the PDF separately. Accessibility is a must for something like this, and a web-readable version and a complete PDF are necessities. While one can argue that it is web readable, we have moved to a mobile age and that pdf reader widget would either be a pain on the phone or not work. With that many chapters, downloading the complete thing as a PDF is timeconsuming and not user friendly in any way, shape, or form.

2. While it is "open to all," it is not truly open source. It has a notice at the bottom of every PDF page that you can't "copy, translate, and/or use contents" of the standard without their permission. That isn't technically open at all, it is just available without having to pay for it. I would like to make something truly open source purely for the benefit of the betta community that can be changed as the community does, where people are able to do something as simple as translate it without having to ask people's permission. For instance this is the best example of something that is truly open source: https://www.blender.org/about/license/

You can :

You are free to use Blender, for any purpose
You are free to distribute Blender
You can study how Blender works and change it
You can distribute changed versions of Blender
Basically I want to make Blender, but for Bettas. lol
 

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On their actual forum all you need to do is join it and you can scroll through the standards without having to download pdf, Im pretty sure the b4a standards are everywhere.
Heres another site that has the standards set out like a book
https://issuu.com/bettas4all/docs/bettas4allstandard2012-english

What were you trying to do, like make a website with all the different standards on it? Or merge ideas and create new standards? Or have have I still missed the mark lol

It would be very interesting to be able to compare all the different standards against each other
 

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On their actual forum all you need to do is join it and you can scroll through the standards without having to download pdf, Im pretty sure the b4a standards are everywhere.
Heres another site that has the standards set out like a book
https://issuu.com/bettas4all/docs/bettas4allstandard2012-english

What were you trying to do, like make a website with all the different standards on it? Or merge ideas and create new standards? Or have have I still missed the mark lol

It would be very interesting to be able to compare all the different standards against each other
While I agree that it would be amazingly wonderful to have a website with all of the standards to compare, the issue is that they are copyrighted by each club, therefore you cannot share them. I would like to make something where you don't have to sign up for anything, anyone is free to share it, and like you said where ideas can be merged for the benefit of the community. I envision grassroots kinds of events where locals get together and hold betta shows, whether they are breeders, or simply got their betta from a pet store. School clubs where kids could work together to breed a spawn of show quality bettas, hold a little show using the standards, and learn about genetics and other valuables things in the process, while educating their peers that these are living things that shouldn't be kept in a bowl.

I essentially want to make betta shows and events so accessible and easy to host and understand that anyone with a fish and these open source standards can decide they want to host a show for their community.

I'm not entirely sure that makes sense. In my sleep deprived head it does. Finals are killing me and I still have to finish up a level that is due tomorrow. lol
 

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Wait. Are you saying that you are trying to create a breeding, showing and judging standard that anyone can edit? I know you already stated you're not a Betta breeder, but may I ask what's your experience with breeding show quality pets?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Wait. Are you saying that you are trying to create a breeding, showing and judging standard that anyone can edit? I know you already stated you're not a Betta breeder, but may I ask what's your experience with breeding show quality pets?
No, not that anyone can edit. That people in the community have a say in and that people can adapt freely and that is accessible to everyone anywhere. Here is an example... Can everyone edit the core code of Blender that they distribute on their site? No. Are people free to adapt it and redistribute it in any way they see fit? Yes. Has that contributed to the quality of the program and the art that comes from it? Immeasurably so.

I think the definition of open source might clear it up:

denoting software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified.
Imagine that the standards are our source code. I'm not saying that any random person can go on and edit the core of these standards. I'm saying we make standards that are accessible in both the means of accessing the actual content and in understanding them, and that are adaptable, meaning that people can modify them and redistribute them as custom standards for their event or even to translate them into another language.

The Bettas4All standards are "open," but by that they really mean they are free to read. Bettas4All has a copyright and does not allow people to redistribute it, modify it, or translate it without their explicit written permission. They feel so strongly about this that they put this on every page, have a watermark over every image, and have a watermark in the background of every page.

I'm also not by any means claiming to be a qualified judge of what these standards should be for bettas, and no, I do not have any experience breeding show class animals. I do understand how important having breeding standards are though. That is exactly why I am proposing this. And though I know I'm not qualified to say what these standards should be, I do know that I am qualified to organize and contribute to making this happen because I have the tech knowledge to do so, and essentially you can apply the same pipeline and workflow to developing this standards document that you can to developing anything, whether it be a film, a product, a video game, a book, etc.
 

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I think I see what youre saying and in theory it sounds like an interesting idea, but youre going to need judges and respected people in the betta community to help create those standards and youre going to need to convince breeders to breed towards your standards instead of the one theyve been using. (unless your main targets are newbies who havent got any standards to use)

Setting up a show is hard work an needs money, (most clubs get this with paying members, entry fees and sponsorship which is why those members get "rewarded" with standards after joining)
Youre going to need a venue, hundreds of jars, shelving, heating, lighting aswell as judges who are familiar with your standards

I reckon to get newbies in on it have fun classes like most colourful, biggest betta, longest fins, angriest fish etc
I feel like a lot of people new to the hobby will be put off reading the full, detailed standards...unless you dumb it down to the basics and most important parts (for example a hm could be simplified down to long fins, 180, sharp edges, forward pointing dorsal, unpaired fit in a circle, smooth topline, even scales) alongside colourful diagrams of "good" and "bad" quality

Maybe you could ask local petstores to sponsor you and your club could hold shows outside the store
 

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I think you have a very one-sided, oversimplified, almost naïve view of this. Like, "okay I do the tech stuff and you guys figure out the breeding stuff". I admire your ambitions, but I think you need to familiarize yourself a little bit more with the breeding world before you decide whether or not this is a good idea. Spoiler: people are #%^*ing cruel. You seem to have a massive amount of faith in humanity - saying that the community can throw out ideas together about how these animals should be bred and make everything infinitely better. Well you can trust them with a software all you want. Trust them with the breeding standards of a live animal and you get bat%^*# crazy stupid mutants. To name a few: the extra mega wrinkly Chinese Shar-pei, the barely-able-to-breathe English Bulldog, the their-eyes-are-literally-crooked Celestial Goldfish, and many many many more. The modern German Shepherd with their crooked spines are one of my most hated examples. Nobody tweaked the core standards in these cases. They just sort of decided that people probably want a fish that has really huge eyes or a dog with really smooshed face. The other conformation standards regarding height, weight, distance between different eyes, ears and whatnot remain the same. They just created a line with a little more wrinkles, a little more sloped back, and before you know it you have deformed animals entering shows *and winning them*. Now eeeveryone breeds for sloped back in GSDs. Great! Tooootally won't end up in huge vet bills later in life. Besides, what's a little deformity if that's what people want to buy? I mean, we all know fancy goldfish are prone to SBD, right? But hey, it doesn't matter. A little pea, a little Epsom, and you're good to go. It's a small price to pay compared to their oh-so-adorable super round body. Right?

Again, I admire your ambitions. I understand you only have the best intentions at heart. But you cannot take your expertise in one area and just shove it down another. As the pet parent of victims of bad breeding, I strongly suggest you to do more research, and NOT to trust people that much. 90% of people out there don't know #%^* about Betta genetics and won't ever care to read up. 90% of people that came up to me saying "can I breed my dog with yours?" only wants to breed because they +*^€ing can. 90% of people out there don't ask themselves what can they contribute to the species and what they should avoid in doing so. That's how we got the "mini Huskies". That's how we got the super giant great danes. That's how we got the Rose Tail Betta.

I see these deformed animals suffer due to our selfish nature in a daily basis. Don't give me more animals to cry over. Think about the animals as much as you think about the humans.
 

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Something like this could be a wonderful teaching tool. If experienced breeders, keepers and fanciers could be found to help collaborate and form a core membership. I could see a "Betta fish club" becoming something quite popular. A mentoring program could be set up from the beginning. There are only 2 shows a year in my area, I would love to see regional clubs setting up educational booths, holding shows and contests and working to bett'mer the lives and health of bettas.
Might be a pie in the sky dream, but there it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I think you have a very one-sided, oversimplified, almost naïve view of this. Like, "okay I do the tech stuff and you guys figure out the breeding stuff". I admire your ambitions, but I think you need to familiarize yourself a little bit more with the breeding world before you decide whether or not this is a good idea. Spoiler: people are #%^*ing cruel. You seem to have a massive amount of faith in humanity - saying that the community can throw out ideas together about how these animals should be bred and make everything infinitely better. Well you can trust them with a software all you want. Trust them with the breeding standards of a live animal and you get bat%^*# crazy stupid mutants. To name a few: the extra mega wrinkly Chinese Shar-pei, the barely-able-to-breathe English Bulldog, the their-eyes-are-literally-crooked Celestial Goldfish, and many many many more. The modern German Shepherd with their crooked spines are one of my most hated examples. Nobody tweaked the core standards in these cases. They just sort of decided that people probably want a fish that has really huge eyes or a dog with really smooshed face. The other conformation standards regarding height, weight, distance between different eyes, ears and whatnot remain the same. They just created a line with a little more wrinkles, a little more sloped back, and before you know it you have deformed animals entering shows *and winning them*. Now eeeveryone breeds for sloped back in GSDs. Great! Tooootally won't end up in huge vet bills later in life. Besides, what's a little deformity if that's what people want to buy? I mean, we all know fancy goldfish are prone to SBD, right? But hey, it doesn't matter. A little pea, a little Epsom, and you're good to go. It's a small price to pay compared to their oh-so-adorable super round body. Right?

Again, I admire your ambitions. I understand you only have the best intentions at heart. But you cannot take your expertise in one area and just shove it down another. As the pet parent of victims of bad breeding, I strongly suggest you to do more research, and NOT to trust people that much. 90% of people out there don't know #%^* about Betta genetics and won't ever care to read up. 90% of people that came up to me saying "can I breed my dog with yours?" only wants to breed because they +*^€ing can. 90% of people out there don't ask themselves what can they contribute to the species and what they should avoid in doing so. That's how we got the "mini Huskies". That's how we got the super giant great danes. That's how we got the Rose Tail Betta.

I see these deformed animals suffer due to our selfish nature in a daily basis. Don't give me more animals to cry over. Think about the animals as much as you think about the humans.
I really think you might be misunderstanding what I mean. This is not me putting a massive amount of faith in humanity. I have pretty much none (they suck that all out in college and replace it with sleepless nights and an unhealthy dose of cynicism). I have done research. I have an understanding of why the show standards are the standards. It creates healthy fish, and this is me thinking about the animals. This would not produce more animals to cry over. This is something that WOULD produce healthier animals. It isn't that everyone gets to add what they want to it. I'm not just being like guys write what you want and I'll put it on the web. This is stuff that would be verified based on current standards and what currently creates beautiful, healthy fish.

And like I said, the core that would be distributed isn't something that just anyone can change. It is something they can take and adapt to suit their needs. For instance, what if someone wants to teach kids about bettas and show standards? That document wouldn't exactly be kid friendly just because of the way that it has to be formatted and written. They could adapt the document however to a kid friendly betta lesson. What if someone can't read in English? This would give people the freedom to translate it so that other people can read what makes healthy beautiful fish.

I am by no means proposing anarchy in this. I am proposing freedom within order.

What I see on here are experienced breeders that love their fish and love Bettas and want to make them better and raise awareness and keep them from ending up in little bowls. I know that because I have spent the past month reading their spawn logs and journal posts, amazed and fascinated. I know that if we work together to do something like this we could better bettas as a whole, and their community.

Something like this could be a wonderful teaching tool. If experienced breeders, keepers and fanciers could be found to help collaborate and form a core membership. I could see a "Betta fish club" becoming something quite popular. A mentoring program could be set up from the beginning. There are only 2 shows a year in my area, I would love to see regional clubs setting up educational booths, holding shows and contests and working to bett'mer the lives and health of bettas.
Might be a pie in the sky dream, but there it is.
^^^ This is the kind of thing I want! Proper education because of accessible, easy to understand, and adaptable standards.
 

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To begin a venture like this a structure would need to be adopted. I can say from experience with several breed specific dog clubs, that an undertaking like this can be a years long process.
I would suggest a structure like the bs dog clubs, a national "parent club" that writes standards, codes of ethics and goals. Split up in to regions, each region would work to form splinter clubs that are then given access to materials. They would follow the standard COE and general goals of the national club.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
To begin a venture like this a structure would need to be adopted. I can say from experience with several breed specific dog clubs, that an undertaking like this can be a years long process.
I would suggest a structure like the bs dog clubs, a national "parent club" that writes standards, codes of ethics and goals. Split up in to regions, each region would work to form splinter clubs that are then given access to materials. They would follow the standard COE and general goals of the national club.
I like this idea. Organization and structure are the basis of any undertaking. I honestly think that if the right collaborators are found a basis could be created by the end of this year to continue to build upon, and we could probably have a couple clubs minimum up and running and educating about betta care if not even about basic show standards at that point.
 

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I think this is a great idea. Though I can see why many of you have the opinions you do.

Funding was the first thing that came to mind when I first read about this. Other than that, was coordinating ect. I do believe that it is ambitious but I also think that nothing happens overnight. Rather than critique let's toss ideas into the tank and see what we come up with. You never know what can happen, sometimes you don't get what you set out for but still get something useful and positive out of it.

Here are some of my thoughts.

- When I first started breeding for show it was very hard for me to find resources. I eventually found http://www.bettaterritory.nl/ which helped me a lot. But it wasn't the first link when I googled it to say the least. Plus IBC didn't have anything for nonmembers. Even on here I had to sift through many threads to get some info or just ask some questions on posts. Long story short, lets make a sticky with as many reference for show breeding as possible. Just to make things more accessible for our community.

- Many references are already there, plus I think IBC has been the norm since 1966. How can we improve without infringing copyright? Do we have anyone in this community with enough experience and knowledge to be able to do so?

- What are some outlets we can take advantage of that haven't been exploited yet? (youtube, social media, charities, ect)

- What is the ultimate big picture? What do we really want to achieve? If it's having an open source standard, than we honestly have that already. Mission complete I guess lol.

Just my rambling thoughts. Please be kind, I didn't proof read any of this and was just typing my thought. Don't hold me to every word lol.

I will say this. It's always better to humor an idea and let it develop to see if it turns into something (especially if you can benefit from it). Rather than shoot it down right away. You can hold me to this.
 

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I picture more than just an open to any Standard.
I know there are clubs out there, but they are few and thier "recruiting" is nonexistent, frankly. I would love to see an organized network of regional clubs. Holding shows and events, including fundraisers. Things like donated item auctions, a Parent Club Online Magazine
{I have done this, I learned how from one of the first developers of Online Mags} that could sell ads for everything from fish to craft items to used to retail.
A well established, highly sucessful example is www.afghansonline.com
It's not a breed club magazine, but it could be with a tweek or two.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I picture more than just an open to any Standard.
I know there are clubs out there, but they are few and thier "recruiting" is nonexistent, frankly. I would love to see an organized network of regional clubs. Holding shows and events, including fundraisers. Things like donated item auctions, a Parent Club Online Magazine
{I have done this, I learned how from one of the first developers of Online Mags} that could sell ads for everything from fish to craft items to used to retail.
A well established, highly sucessful example is www.afghansonline.com
It's not a breed club magazine, but it could be with a tweek or two.
An online magazine would be awesome for this! And yes it could be self funded from advertising and not require membership fees because of that.

@alec - I'll write up my thoughts more clearly tonight. Have to go for now. One last final!
 

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I think this is a great idea. Though I can see why many of you have the opinions you do.

Funding was the first thing that came to mind when I first read about this. Other than that, was coordinating ect. I do believe that it is ambitious but I also think that nothing happens overnight. Rather than critique let's toss ideas into the tank and see what we come up with. You never know what can happen, sometimes you don't get what you set out for but still get something useful and positive out of it.

Here are some of my thoughts.

- When I first started breeding for show it was very hard for me to find resources. I eventually found http://www.bettaterritory.nl/ which helped me a lot. But it wasn't the first link when I googled it to say the least. Plus IBC didn't have anything for nonmembers. Even on here I had to sift through many threads to get some info or just ask some questions on posts. Long story short, lets make a sticky with as many reference for show breeding as possible. Just to make things more accessible for our community.

- Many references are already there, plus I think IBC has been the norm since 1966. How can we improve without infringing copyright? Do we have anyone in this community with enough experience and knowledge to be able to do so?

- What are some outlets we can take advantage of that haven't been exploited yet? (youtube, social media, charities, ect)

- What is the ultimate big picture? What do we really want to achieve? If it's having an open source standard, than we honestly have that already. Mission complete I guess lol.

Just my rambling thoughts. Please be kind, I didn't proof read any of this and was just typing my thought. Don't hold me to every word lol.

I will say this. It's always better to humor an idea and let it develop to see if it turns into something (especially if you can benefit from it). Rather than shoot it down right away. You can hold me to this.
Disclaimer: I'm gonna use some game design terms as analogies to further explain my reasoning and to better explain the concept. I fully understand that I am talking about the lives of fish and that these lives aren't just a game. They are living creatures. I love my fish, and I am trying to better the quality of life for bettas everywhere by doing this. What I am doing is applying theories of design to the creation and distribution of information. Hear me out, as it will actually make more sense when I am done.

I agree we should not discredit any ideas, as all ideas are valuable in the brainstorming phase. Ideas are exactly what I want. I apologize if my explanation is long winded. I just want to better explain the reasons for doing this, and for some of the things I've previously said. I hope that what I say sounds kind, as you requested. Honestly I think it might just sound lecture-ish, but I really do not mean to lecture. I'm only trying to explain as clearly as possible and there is no ill will intended! I am honestly quite happy that you are interested in hearing ideas! :)


Before I move any further though, I think it would be best to explain what I mean by the word accessible, as I think of it in a different way than most because it means something different in the game industry. We use it to mean that the game is not only easy to get a hold of, but it is easy to understand, there isn't a high learning curve, the design is simple but elegant, etc. (Not to be confused with accessibility design, which is designing so that people who might have physical impairments can still play.)

So when I say accessible, I not only mean easy to access and found in one place, I mean easy to read and understand. Something anyone could pick up and use to learn. That is accessible design.

With that said, as for the information sticky, while that is a good start, it still requires people to click the links and read each article, it isn't terribly mobile friendly, and it isn't a PDF for easy offline access. It would be more accessible than what we currently have, which isn't much, but it could be improved. Ideally, this is something people could print out and have in person to show and educate others with, as nothing is more accessible than a simple piece of paper.

While there are many out there already, they are not this accessible. I'm talking something so accessible that there is a big button in the middle of a page that says "Download" and once you click it you have the full PDF document to print or view in your PDF program of choice, along with having it be completely web readable. (I know I keep mentioning https://www.blender.org/ but they really have the open source distribution nailed and are the best example by far of this sort of thing.) You don't have to sign up for anything, you don't have to deal with scrolling through web pages for the information you need, etc. We will not be infringing on any copyrights because we will not be using their pictures, wording, or layout. Facts are facts. If you say a halfmoon's tail should reach a full 180, that is regarded as general knowledge that anyone would know if they keep or breed bettas, so that isn't considered infringing. Diagrams can be custom made for this, and would actually be very easy to produce. Photos of fish can be used with permission and credited or we can take some ourselves. Perhaps there is no single person with enough knowledge on all of the types of bettas to make a standards doc. That is why we collaborate though. So we have many experts on different types verify information.

There are many outlets that haven't been taken advantage of yet, or that have been simply under utilized. I actually hope to have a personal project regarding betta fish up on one of these outlets within the week if my code doesn't have bugs (fingers crossed). And by organizing to create something as simple as this we can easily post it to the types of outlets that you mentioned.

The ultimate big picture? I guess it could be summed up by this: To improve bettas, their quality of life, promote the breeding of healthy fish, and educate the public by distributing accessible, open source materials such as standards documents and information.

I would love to see the clubs be integrated later down the line that witchipoo mentioned, but we need to have materials for distribution first. So for now, creating those materials and making them accessible is my goal.

While there is a free standards document, the Bettas4all standards, it is not accessible or truly open source. It is just free to read.


I hope that makes some sense. I'm exhausted after finals this week. lol If you guys want me to clear anything up, keep asking away!
 
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