Add screen in the app(s) for finding and weighing in on disagreements

Because community identification is such an important part of iNaturalist, I’ve often thought that there should be some sort of dedicated Identification screen in the iNat app(s). However, I recognize that it’s hard to cram all the functionality of the web Identification screen into the small display of a mobile device.

So instead of making a stripped-down version of the web Identification screen for the app(s), I think it would be nice to make a screen that would show you the most recent identification disagreements (ex. and allow you to weigh in on those.

Besides serving as a focused Identifications screen for the app, I think it would act as sort of a nice news feed of observations being challenged in real time. These are often the most interesting observations because they often give you insight on what is commonly misidentified and how to identify things properly, and being able to see these in real time would allow you to see what identifiers are focused on at any given moment and jump in right away to help out.

Below is a sample of what that screen could look like. (I’m going to call it the “Controversies” screen just for a lack of a better name for now.)

screen mockup

Generally, I think it would be nice to provide the following filters for the screen:

  • (lookup box) Place (if not filtered for a particular place, maybe default it to a 50km circle around the currentl location)
  • (lookup box) Taxon (of the disagreement)
  • (checkbox) Users that you follow (which would filter for any disagreements initated by any of the users that you follow)

This screen would display observations related to the latest disagreementst that fit your filter criteria, including very basic information about the observation (date, location, notes), along with a summary of the identifications.

Going top to bottom on the sample screen:

  • Not pictured, but there should be a button in the top left of the screen allow you to select other features in the app
  • Not pictured, but there should a button in the top right of the screen to allow you to make the filter selections described above.
  • You would be able to swipe left and right to go through multple photos and sounds associated with the observation
  • You could tap on photos to expand them
  • You could tap on the location to show more detailed map
  • You could tap on notes to show more details of the notes, if needed
  • You could top on the identification summary to open up the full observation detail
  • At the bottom of the screen, you could tap the left and right buttons to go forward or backward between observations. (Maybe you could have an option to also mark the observation as reviewed when going forward.)
  • If you tap on the “Weigh in” button, it would open up a selection list that includes the existing unique identifications, or a “something else” option. if you select “something else”, you would get a new screen to select your taxon.
  • Not pictured, but maybe you could also have a pen next to the “Weigh In” button to allow you to add a comment.

I would definitely use this. My worry would be that very new and inexperienced users leaving blatantly incorrect identifications and then not ever responding to messages. Not sure how that could be mitigated.

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my hope is that because these will be the latest disagreements, the users who choose to weigh in will have the benefit of being able to comment to receive guidance from an identifier who is likely actively identifying.

not always but often on disagreements, identifiers will leave comments or at least be willing to leave comments if prompted. so i’m hoping this actually speeds up the learning of new users.

i also find that while new users will often agree with existing bad identifications or with bad CV suggestions, they don’t seem to as often make bad identifications when there is an active disagreement (presumably because they would have to select from multiple options rather than just one). the design of this screen should purposely bypass new CV suggestions, providing only the taxa from existing identifications for quick selection, along with an option to manually select a taxon (although they could still get CV suggestions if they go to the observation detail).

nothing is oerfect, but i’m thinking this is the best kind of workflow for most people on a mobile device for casual identifying.

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You’ve convinced me.