Annotating animals as alive

I still don’t know why new annotation won’t have own graphics, it can show some interesting info on certain groups.

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The problem is that there is no way of differentiating observations of dead animals which haven’t been tagged as dead from alive animals unless the alive tag is used. I know you can filter by “not Dead” but that’s not the same as alive unless every dead animal is annotated (which there is no way of enforcing). If someone wants only alive animals filtering by the alive tag should provide them that.


Well, yes, of course - but that doesn’t have much practical value at the moment. There are currently 29.7 million observations on iNat, but only about 37500 of those have an Alive annotation - which is less than 0.13%.

It’s great that people are willing to spend their time adding annotations, and as I said before - every single one of them has value. However, I don’t think anyone should feel that they are under any obligation to add them. There are many different ways in which iNat can be legitimately used, and it’s up to each individual to decide how they want to volunteer their time in helping to maintain it. Personally, I think I can add much more value by suggesting identifications than adding annotations, so I choose to spend more time on that. I do still add a lot of annotations, but mostly only those where I can see an immediate practical benefit.


Submissions of leaves of trees ?
The tree that produced it is alive, the leaf is dead. My assumption is that it would get the alive marker, but open to feedback.

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Plants can’t currently be annotated as dead/alive. If they could be I would annotate as alive if I was certain the tree was alive* as the annotation applies to the whole organism rather than part of it. A feather was given as an example which could be annotated as "impossible to tell’ rather than dead which shows that the annotation should apply to the whole organism.

* Though when creating an observation this it’d be a good idea to include a picture of the tree too if possible.


Is this the official iNat stance on whether the annotation is meant to apply to the organism as depicted in the observation (it’s dead in the photos) or at the moment of the encounter (it was alive when collected)?

I thought, as @scharf mentioned, that the annotation was for those who didn’t want to see my dead animal observations (specifically, I thought it was in response to some of the issues brought up in the entrails thread). I need to know so I don’t incorrectly annotate other users’ observations.


I would say when it was encountered, as an observation of a collected species should use the date and location of collection.

One possible use for it would be to add a filter that would not show animals marked as dead, yes, but that hasn’t been implemented (aside from URL hacks on the Explore page or using filters on the Identify page). That won’t ever prevent the user from ever seeing any dead animals, but should reduce the number of dead animals turning up in searches.


Thanks for the clarification!

If I found a drowning insect in water and after i found it difficult to recognize and collect it, I must show it as “dead” or “alive”?

If it’s not moving probably it’s better to annotate as dead.

Thank you for your quick answer, Melody. I like to recycle dead insects and then try to identify them. But sometimes with the heat of the lamp of the binocular the legs begin to move… sometimes I release them, sometimes I want to study them and not. I was wondering the purpose of that. If I understood well, if the animal was alive and I decided to kill it for a scientific purpose, I will mark it as “alive”.

Yes, if you’re sure they were alive then you set alive, but if you didn’t collect it and it looked drowned I’d call it dead.

Sorry, and in the third case It was alive and decided to kill it, I will mark as …?

If you caught it alive or it got in a trap you annotate it as alive.