Announcing the (JANUARY) 2021 ID-a-thon (all welcome)

registration is now closed. For further updates please join the Project

Anyone who:

  • has at least 100 IDs as of January 1st, 2021
  • is not Gerald
  • either comments here, messages me, or votes Yes in the poll below, by December 28th that they want to sign up
  • New: there is a limit of 100 participants (sorry)

will be entered into the competition.

What is the prize?
I dunno, I’ll make a certificate for you. Or a meme* or something. Mostly, the warm feeling you get from supporting a website you enjoy.
*due to popular request, there WILL be at least one custom meme prize. you guys/

How does it work?

All IDs must be on observations which were uploaded before October 1st, 2020, because I want to encourage identification of older observations. I can provide a handy link to eligible observations ;)

IDs do not have to be to species! Any new ID from Kingdom down is good.

There will be a few categories, to allow people with different interests and levels of experience to all enjoy themselves. Category names are written “category%” as a reference to categories of “speedrunning” in videogames.

improve%: how many new IDs have you added in proportion to when you started?
eg start at 100, now you have 105 – your score would be 105%
total%: how many new IDs have we been able to do together?
mystery%: a surprise category that will change every week. It will usually be something silly, eg gerald%

How are the categories counted?
Everyone who enters will be in all categories simultaneously. I will have a link available with a custom Identify URL for each category, or you can just do your usual thing and see what happens.

I will count only IDs made on or after January 1st 2021, until the end date. There will be a separate count and separate rankings for each category. In addition to an overall winner, there will also be weekly progress updates counting progress from that week. You can win any or all categories for any given week or overall.
Since each category is different, the counting method may differ for each one. I’ll choose an exact definition closer to the start of the competition.
mystery% will be hinted at at the start of the week, and revealed at the end of the week when results are posted.

Depending on the level of interest and engagement, I may track updates here, or on a Project. I may also add more categories if people show special interest. We will see.

When does it end?
The end of February 2021.

There are workshops now!
Check out this post to sign up

A small caveat: if I think you’re trying to rig the system by e.g. just hitting Agree on RG birds 10,000 times (why would you even?) I’ll send you one and only one warning before booting you from the list.


If there’s no meme for a prize, we riot


Actually, to avoid clutter:
(you can still message me if you want)

I want to join
  • Yes
  • Maybe
  • Nah

0 voters

Anyone signing up from Dec 20th onward will have to use this poll. Please don’t sign up twice unless you are changing your previous vote.
…because I’m closing the first for admin reasons.

I want to join
  • Yes
  • Maybe
  • Nah

0 voters

(I will not technically be entered ;)


I definitely want to join, but can you give some more details on how categories work?

1 Like

I added some more info to the top post. If you have more specific questions, please let me know and I’ll answer them as well.

1 Like

Thanks, that cleared it up a lot.


And please, no wagering.


There’s enough interest here that I’d like to add one or two more categories. Please suggest some. New categories must be something that will be fun for everyone, including beginners!
eg. no ‘‘whoever just adds the most IDs’’, that’s not fun because some people (like, um, me) add thousands of IDs a week and newcomers will give up trying.
Suggestions for categories may be submitted until Dec 25th, at which point I’ll choose ones that are actually good, and make a poll for participants to vote for categories they want.

1 Like

Most Maverick IDs
Most IDs on January 1st while nursing a hangover.
Most IDs in a 24-hour period.
Most IDs on “Unknown” records.
Most Kingdom-level IDs.

maybe the last 3 are actually realistic or desirable.


LOL. so long as it’s measurable, and doesn’t incentivize bad behaviour.
I may take some ideas and modify them, if that’s OK.
sillier suggestions may or may not appear as mystery% categories


I like it, but I don’t think there’s a way to count/search for that.


please send “handy link to eligible observations”

1 Like

For example, here’s one that can work for ''improve%" – you can modify taxon, location, or several other parameters:

You can customize it yourself or I’ll make one for you if you’re not sure how. Check out How to use iNaturalist’s Search URLs - wiki for tips.

I’ll be giving exact parameters for each category, so that it’s transparent what will be counted and what is not, closer to the event.

1 Like

Subcategory for " Most IDs of Muskrat"?


This inspired me to look up iNat’s oldest obs… they’re mistakes, obviously, since no one was photographing birds in year 2 CE!


“Most observations from 1477 identified.”


I just learned about the 1477 Thai date glitch! And earlier this week I learned that in android programing, day zero was Dec 31 1969 and a bunch of observations with blank dates got assigned to that date… So many weird things in programing.

Anyway I am getting off topic here.


This is wonderful! I’m in! What time-zone will be used to start? Will those of us in NZ and a couple of Pacific Islands get an advantage as we are first over the international dateline?


The time zone / cutoff used will probably be approximate and based on what time of day I happen to update the rankings P:
Although, any searches/filters will be using whatever iNat uses, which does not appear to be EST.

I’m not kidding when I say completely informal lol


This is getting a lot more attention than I expected. I offered on the Hackathon thread to do workshops so I guess I will.
Workshops will be held for groups between 3-10 people at a time

Sign up here

sign me up for
  • Let me see poll results first
  • Unknowns for Beginners
  • Somewhat More Advanced Unknowns and Life
  • Plants for Beginners
  • Somewhat More Advanced Plants
  • Moderately Advanced Euphorbia ID
  • Other (I will comment)

0 voters

OK so I can’t actually see who is signing up for each… But that’s OK, once I’ve got a sense of which will actually happen I’ll make separate announcement(s).

Update Dec. 21: There’s enough interest that all of these will happen. Closing poll so I don’t anxiously check it ten times a day any more lol