If you want to make excuses for why its ok to profit from others
I’m afraid you may have misunderstood my post. First, I presented a situation that was DIFFERENT than the one in the original post. Perhaps I should have made it a new thread, but to me it seemed related. Second, I tried to offer a solution to the problem described in the original post that respected the sport, the course, and the disc owners. I’m sorry if that didn’t come through with enough emphasis.
Regarding the situation I described, my point was not that it’s OK to take things that aren’t yours. My point was that in MY SPECIFIC EXAMPLE, some people intentionally abandon their discs. Perhaps this is a senseless philosophical distinction, but nonetheless it is one I find fascinating. When people throw into the pond I described they don’t say “I’ll be back soon” or “if only I had a long stick.” They stand on the edge, point to where their disc went in, and say “there is no way in hades I’d ever get in there.” And then walk away. That is what I call an abandoned disc. However, even then I believe, as I said, they should be given right of first refusal should the disc ever be extracted. When I got my Sidewinder back I gave the guy 10 bucks for it in hopes that he might contact others about their discs. I know that he didn’t though. He told me he pulled out about 20 discs and that I was the only person he called. I can even guess that the only reason he called me was because he couldn’t fully remove my name from the disc (it was obvious that he had tried) and so it would be hard to sell. Is he a jerk? In my opinion, yes. But is he stealing? In my opinion, no. I had no intention of ever going back for that disc, despite knowing exactly where it was. Contrast that to two other holes on our course that parallel a stream the entire length of the fairway. People go in the water get their discs all the time because it’s clear (unless it just rained) and it’s only about two feet deep. It’s also easy to lose a disc there because the banks are full of trees and brush. If you find a disc along or in the stream, it is assumed among people I know you will call the owner, because they obviously would have retrieved the disc had they known where it was. It was "lost" in the most traditional sense.
The thing that’s weird about our pond is that there are a lot of discs in one place, and very few people feel like they are worth retrieving. Maybe this is such a strange and isolated example that it should have been a separate thread or possibly not even mentioned at all. But here on our course the debate about “pond ethics” goes on ad nauseum, and I just thought I’d put it out there as a different example.
Regardless, something I was trying to point out and probably failed at is that returning a very LARGE number of discs at one time is a daunting task and is in itself a disincentive to contacting owners. Retrieving discs from unpleasant places takes time and effort (obviously, or else everyone would do it). Those who do so are generally looking for something in return for their effort. Usually they want free discs. I’m not trying to encourage their behavior. In fact, my goal is the opposite. Recognizing that people are sometimes selfishly motivated, I’m looking for incentives for those people to make the effort to call owners, rather than just erase names. Something like an organized “Disc Return Day” may be helpful in overcoming that obstacle. We haven’t succeeded at making it happen here, but since retrieval in the original post happens at a very specific time, maybe it would work there.