Absolutely tired of plants not marked as cultivated - Solutions welcome

Well, it’s standing me in good stead now that the ID-a-thon is on. Unknowns from countries where I have never been, but that I learned because of seeing them in cultivation. And even long before my iNat days, learning to ID cultivated plants gave me a head start when traveling to a new place and seeing the same species in the wild.

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Somehow off-topic but, anyway, also related to the thread topic. We know that bioblitzes bear often an important load of unflagged observations of non-wild plants. So I wonder if these bioblitzes really manage in recruiting people in observing nature or it happens that, once the event if finished, those that attended the bioblitz mostly lose interest.
The big question is: are we spending our time to ID/flag these observations in order to encourage these people to improve their knowledge and in view of their permanence in iNat or are we just mostly wasting time?

PS: please, do not misundertand me, I really believe in the potentiality of these events to make people closer to nature.

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It would be nice if the news articles/social media postings that promote these events would make it clear that participants need to read the iNat Help section (at least) before jumping in, in order to have some idea of the purpose of the site and the “rules”, such as they are. They usually don’t, hence some of the problem.

No. If people didn’t plant it, it’s wild.

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Once again, separate the cultivated/not from the Needs ID / not dichotomy! I would like to mark all cultivated plants as cultivated, but if I can’t ID them at the same time, they may languish long in “Casual” purgatory. Please, please fix this, iNaturalist.

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That has bothered me from the very first day on iNat.
iNat needs filters so we can each choose what to see, and what to unsee.

As it is, we are encouraged to insist, no, no, it IS wild, it is (I want an ID, thanks)
Which in turn irritates the scientists.
If only we were encouraged to say - not wild, can still get an ID - but the scientists can filter casual.

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If you want to ID cultivated plants, you can filter by that and I don’t at all want to discourage you or anyone else from doing that. It’s important work and I’m even willing to encourage others who are like minded to do so. But please understand, this isn’t a visibility issue. If anything, the lack of IDs for cultivated plants is a focus issue. While I sympathize with your statement, intentionally leaving cultivated observations unmarked as cultivated (to make “more visible”) essentially forces other identifiers to look at these cultivated observations when they don’t want to. If you or the observer wants input on a cultivated Euphorbia, I am just a tag away, but I don’t like being distracted by these when I’m trying to figure out the populational variability of a species (for instance). Depending on the taxon or the place (especially Llano Estacado plants), I commonly have to go through once just to get the cultivated observations out before I can start my work. I know this is unrelated, but it is especially frustrating with student observations and one time users where they will never look at the identifications provided.

Ultimately, I kind of hate that this post thread has gone from “how can we address the problem of seeing too many cultivated observations” to one of “is it worth while to make cultivated observations more or less visible”.

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@nathantaylor , there is a problem you may not be aware of with identifying cultivated observations marked as casual. If you try this, you’ll get cultivated plants that need ID, but you’ll also get cultivated plants with six identifications, all agreeing. There is no distinction between casual observations that need ID and casual observation that are abundantly ID’d already. This wastes a lot of time. (I admire the people who wade through this mess.)

The effective way to solve this problem is to treat Needs ID vs. ID’d as a category completely separate from cultivated/wild. A different dimension, as it were. This probably requires a non-trivial change in programming, but I really, really want to see this change.

By the way, although I leave cultivated plants unmarked if they have no ID, I mark them cultivated if they have even one decent ID (and thus relegate them to the iNaturalist trash heap with plants that lack dates or locations or photos).

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I was unaware of that problem and like the idea of fixing it. I hope the developers can put it into practice.

That said, I still think it’s a problem leaving cultivated observations unmarked. For me, the broader IDs are generally not quite as bad since I’m typically not making more complicated identifications. Once you drop to about family, things get more annoying, and at genus, extremely annoying. That’s not to say that the broad ID observations don’t get in the way too. They do and can be exceptionally in the way, but this is usually in the case of student observations which are frustrating in their own right and there are other threads discussing this.

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I wasn’t referring to leaving observations IDed as unknown and then marking them as captive/cultivated. That certainly wouldn’t be helpful for the user; especially if they are new to iNat.

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I’ve seen this behaviour - and in different parts of the world. Its like some identifiers are so focused on data quality that they’ve forgotten that there’s a new user there to work with.

I will always attempt an id even if just to Plantae, always mark cultivated if I’m certain (seen way too many RG planted plants). & these days: always leave a comment to say what I’ve done, and leave a query to the user if I’m not sure whether the plant is cultivated or not. For recent observations, users often respond, to say that that they didn’t know about the option, or that they forgot to mark it up, or to explain that the plant is indeed self-set.

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I do that if I am certain, and can ID it to species. If I leave the ID wider than that, my courtesy to the observer is to let it stay visible until someone can get it to species (which is what the observer wanted, after all), and hope that whoever supplies that final ID will mark it cultivated.

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In my opinion mos of repeat offenders are school childrens

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I’ve seen so many cultivated plants at RG that I’m keen to get them marked up whatever stage they are at.

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That’s what iNaturalist wants, too. However, plants marked “cultivated” are unlikely to identified, so it’s a poor service to the observer to mark them cultivated before they’re ID’d. There’s an inherent conflict. Now, if iNaturalist would separate the Needs ID vs. Research Grade issue from the Cultivated vs. Wild issue . . . .

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If people were responsible and would mark them there’d be no problem to others to not do it, but I visit any USA location and see planted oaks or maples in a row near the street, 2 years at RG level.

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Exactly what I was trying to say. I don’t want to discourage someone who otherwise might have gone on to become a prolific and valuable observer. I think of it as taking the longer view.

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And then we get users with thousands of observations that have no idea about marking cultivated plants (not theoretically, we really see them all the time) , there’re other ways to show a user their effort is appreciated, to become a member of any community you first need to learn rules it lives by, it’s natural for a human and shouldn’t be a big deal for new user (if not everything is presented at once).

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3 posts were split to a new topic: “Wild” vs. “planted” vs. “naturalized”

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