I have learned quite a bit about bananas since my first plant and finding Bananas.org. I want to thank you all! I also would like to say that the Expert badge by my name looks really good
. I'll admit I was fairly literate in the growing plants department, but bananas sent me back to shool...so to speak. I never had tried to grow plants that didn't like the cold and died.
A lot of stuff has been brought up regarding testing. For someone to get recognized and ahead in this world there is test after test as you aquire knowledge and skill. There is a test required for the Master Gardener program and you can't be a doctor without your share as you go thru school. The military does it that way, the colleges do it that way, the martial arts schools do it that way, so why shouldn't we do it that way? This would give all our members something to show for their knowledge, and also something to strive for if less than expert.
Now... I can tell some of the members who have the most experience with bananas, but alot of them have had years of formal training either hands on at a nursery/plantation, or through some type of school/apprenticeship program. Those individuals are a valuable resource and should get the credit they deserve! On the other hand, just because you've spent years doing something doesn't mean it qualifies you as an expert. It's what you get out of the work and what you pass along to others. Example: You can work in a tire shop for years, yet know nothing about how tires are made or what the best tire would be for certain applications. At the same time, someone on a Formula 1 pit crew may have had extensive training on tires and which to use for what track conditions or course, but will not know which tires are best for their family's car for the highway. This is where the test fits in. It tells the world how well you were paying attention, but it needs to be somewhat universal.
I am up for any test you might have, but the test must consider all participants goals. I don't particularly have any big desire to learn everything there is to know about the species bananas, as I enjoy the edibles more and the challenges of growing them in a marginal habitat and mixed with other plants/plantings. I do have a stronger knowledge of what it takes to bring a banana thru a tough winter without total loss. Have I perfected my procedures to the point of no loss? No. But my average is getting better, and I keep trying new things. I will be naturally less likely to be able to answer questions about species bananas. Don't get me wrong...I have some species bananas, and enjoy them too, it just doesn't matter to me like it matters to someone like Gabe. InkCube on the other hand has alot of plantation experience and how to get the most production.
Back to the 'going thru school' references, I feel we would need a series of tests, say 5-7 of them, starting out very simply with the first test with something like 'name the parts of a banana plant' and if you get a certain percentage correct you get a badge like 'Banana Apprentice' or 'Banana Friend', and then get to go on to the next test which would be a bit harder (like what are the top 5 diseases to affect bananas or some such) and ending with the 'Expert' level 7 tests later. You would need to pass the first test before you could take the second test. I also like the time limit and random questions to foil web surfing the answers. The toughest part is tailoring each test so that cold or warm climate, edible or species, no matter where in the world you are, you can achieve each level. Another possibility is an expert test for each area of banana growing (species, cold growing, production, diseases)
Whan it comes to the expert badges, it should go to someone who is an expert at bananas, not just posting about bananas without substance. Good luck with this Jarred! Don't forget your no.2 pencils!