Amount of "Unknown" records is decreasing

State of matter Life thumbnail picture return. Thank you who ever it was.


However, it is possibly worth remarking at this point in time the current thumbnail for Life has all rights reserved.

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I’ll refrain from commenting on the feedback you received - it enrages me.
I invariably find that when I add a coarse ID to an organism I don’t know well, it gets refined fairly quickly. If it was left as unknown those hotshots wouldn’t have even found it.


Brief report from City Nature Challenge 21 unknowns: At the moment, Day 1 (4/30/21) is largely free of any not-plant observations. Not all cultivated plants have been marked, and relatedly a number of cultivated ones have been x’ed into Casual without getting a label yet. There are currently 8-8.5K still in non-casual for 4/30.

So, in case you like id’ing unlabelled plants without interruptions by spiders, the field is clear for that day. :)
(url still has the few cyanobacteria and stuff mixed in)


Having started working my way through this pile independently, I feel like I’ve seen every leaf in Taiwan…


It may be worth avoiding South Africa, but I can’t remember how to take a place out of an identify search.

Although iNaturalist recommends using some form of classification rather than none, in Cape Town during the City Nature Challenge, we try to refrain from applying high level plant identifications because it makes the coordinated identification process less efficient. For example, giving “Plant” or “Angiospermae” as an ID just separates all the plant observations among multiple large and fairly meaningless bins that need to be checked. Yes, a multilevel taxonomic filter can be applied but we’ve found that it is more efficient to have observers give no identification if they are uncertain and then have identifiers filter plant observations directly from the “unknown” category to family level or lower. This makes more observations reach a level where specialists can focus their efforts. We only apply this methodology to plants and particularly during the City Nature Challenge because we get a large volume of plant observations and there are so many species found in and around Cape Town. Once the identification period for the challenge ends, then any classification is sufficient though.

If you disagree and think there is a better way to handle identifying massive amounts of plant observations with relatively few identifiers, please let myself or the organisers know.


Put this in your url: &not_in_place=6986

Great to know, thanks for quoting that!

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See the hundreds of posts about this on the forum that disagree with this; I don’t think that person’s opinion will be changed.


Managing to skate around that person - we are leading the CNC with about four and a half thousand species. I am VERY grateful for any ID help we get.

Masses of marine life waiting for IDs, for people who enjoyed My Octopus Teacher. Or those who are missing their access to sea diving.

And the garden plants, which are exotic and unknown to me - but may be your oh so familiar wildflowers!

Only 9K unknowns for me to look at

These would be the almost 3K problem children which are trapped at a higher taxon?


I remember it was discussed somewhere but couldnt find, cant we categorize some of the observations under name beside the unknown like invalid or something until they are fixed, since they arent unknown, they just cant get ID tag because: many observation photos in one, statues/toys/papers etc, many organism in 1 photo etc.

I know we can mark as reviewed but, these can save time for IDers instead of everytime it will be checked by different times/people. It will really effect the IDing amount of unknowns. I think it will make easier and more unknown will be IDed in same timing. Also might get attention of observers to ID/separate at least on some point?

ps: sorry to mention this here if this resolved already :)

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Many organisms = id common ancestor an mark as as good as can be
satues, etc. = id of human


When you are sorting unknowns and the observer doesn’t understand the point of course IDs:


If you like id’ing plant unknowns without many nonplants in the mix, here is the mostly-plant set of CNC21 from early May, ~18k obs (that still have a some swaths of cultivated plants):

Edit: Hm, it could be easy to “tee up” chunks of unknowns by id’ing only a subset to leave a “richer environment” for a different id’er. Anyone know if there’s a request(?) thread for something like that yet?

I haven’t heard of that but it’s an interesting thought.

How exactly do you imagine it to look? Like choosing bunch of observations from id tab and marking them as a separate subset?

Right, I see it like, maybe someone is comfortable iding Unknown forbs in a region but doesn’t feel like iding other things. After their request, someone could id other records from the region but skip over the forbs because their “request partner” will get to them after the helper is done.

Also, I have the idea that “interested amateurs” can help pick out the Unknowns of interest to certain researchers so that they will see them faster, kind of like being their volunteer/informal “intern”. If someone says they would like to look into more Fungi in Ecuador, a helper could go through and pick those out of the Unknowns as part of their iding flow.

Also, annotation help is somewhat related and could go in there too? Or maybe that would be better as a different request thread.


Oh I really like that second idea! I’m happy to be an ‘intern’.


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