Many observations lack photos of key parts of an organism that are important for identification. For example: close-up photo of a flower but no leaf photo, top of mushroom but no gill pattern, back of an insect but not the face, I’m sure there are hundreds of examples.
To help beginners or even people who are observing an unfamiliar taxon, have optional photo prompts that pop up after a taxon is selected. The prompt would say something like “These parts are important for identification” then list the parts, then have two buttons “Add more photos” and “I’m done.” Turn it on by default for new users but let users turn the feature on or off in the settings.
I think the list of parts should use very simple terms, not something that needs a glossary. For example: back of flower, upper leaves, fruits, top of head, lower leg, top fin. Sometimes habitat or host is really important so that could be a pointer too.
It won’t be enough for the most difficult taxa but I believe it would help both identifiers who want a little more information and observers who are frustrated that their observations don’t get identified.
Some administrative points:
- The list should be short. Don’t make users scroll through a laundry list of desired shots. 3 or 4 should be enough.
- It should probably be restricted to curators but let everyone flag the taxon to request changes. Boiling down the most important parts of a taxon takes some research and/or experience.
- The curator should be able to copy the list to direct descendant taxa.
- It’s probably less important for the web upload since most users are uploading photos taken much earlier.
This idea came from this discussion: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/roles-of-taxonomic-experts-on-inat/13363