I really like the idea of collecting especially useful ID information on taxon pages, mentioned in the post iNaturalist 2019 Team Retreat Follow-Up:
Investigate ways to capture comments and ID remarks that are useful for making identifications and including them on the taxon page and in identification tools.
I’m starting this thread as a place for people to discuss this feature. Here couple few thoughts & leading questions - interested to hear other people’s thoughts:
How broad do we want this information to be, and how should it be curated?
I think it would be easy for this to get out of control, and that this information should be curated so that it captures/links to information that is particularly valuable, but everyone will have different opinions on what meets that threshold. Some general guidelines might be useful. For example: information that might not be included in a field guide or key [e.g., out-of-season ID tips, regional info, …], especially good diagnostic photos/illustrations, thorough side-by-side comparisons of easy-to-confuse species, etc. This is also related to the following question.
(How) do we want to incorporate information from outside sources?
Tony’s post specifically mentions “comments and ID remarks,” and I think journal posts are an obvious extension. What about external sources? Are we moving towards including more of the sort of information you might find in a key or field guide? Do we want to link to keys that are available online (e.g., FNA)? If so, how much de we need to consider taxonomic differences between iNat & linked references? What about something like a non-iNat blog post with really good comparison photos of similar species?
How do we make this information discoverable?
If someone is choosing an ID for a taxon that has good additional info on the taxon page, should the system pop up a suggestion with the information? With a link to the information? Only if the user has certain functionality turned on? Only if identified at a higher taxonomic level? How should this work with the computer vision/auto-id-suggest system? I’m interested in how this information might be incorporated into “identification tools,” not just taxon pages.
In the short term, I think adding More Info links to taxon pages is a reasonable workaround/good way to get started collecting this information (thanks for the tip, @tonyrebelo). I’m trying to get in the habit of adding these when I find particularly good information on species that are difficult or often confused. For often-confused species (e.g., Platanthera psycodes & Platanthera grandiflora), I add the same link to multiple taxon pages - this makes the information easier to find, but is a bit repetitive & time-consuming on my end. The option provided to have descendant taxa inherit a link could be useful in some cases, but I’ve found myself most often working with a few species in a genus, so doing it once at the genus level and having descendant species inherit would save me some time but would result in irrelevant links for many of the species. I think it would be very helpful if I could create the link once and have an option to select other taxa to have the link added to. As an example, I’d like to create a More Info link to this page for the four species of Erythronium disambiguated therein, but doing this individually on four taxon pages is a bit of a pain. If we’re moving towards a new system then it probably isn’t worth adding this functionality as a stopgap, but being able to link multiple individual taxa to the same information does seem like a useful feature.