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

The problem is that I have access through Zoom via my University, which is registered with my actual name. I do not want show my real name for everyone to see on the internet. Hopefully, you understand my concerns. :worried:

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Oh, absolutely understood. I think you can change your display name to anonymize yourself. Would you do me a favour and test that out, maybe with a trusted family member?

Since it is a University account, I am not allowed to change the name.

Got it. Well, we may be using a different platform – you can write in a platform you would prefer on the signup sheet. I want these workshops to be accessible to everyone :)

That is great! Since we are talking about preferences, I prefer the iNaturalist Forum. It seem prudent to have another poll on people’s platform preference for the identification workshops. Do you mind if I do one? Or maybe people should just post their preferences in the replies?

Preferred Platform for ID Workshops
  • iNaturalist Forum
  • Zoom
  • Discord
  • Other

0 voters

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I’ll have a question on preferred platform in the sign-up for each individual workshop. The first workshop (Unknowns for Beginners) has been announced.

No, I mean there is no way to search for how many of a particular user’s identifications were applied to observations in the unknown category. Therefore we could not have a contest to see who ID’d the most unknowns. People could self-report it, but no judge would be able to verify.


I guess number of “leading” IDs would be as close as we could get.

An easy category for beginners - caterpillars - annotate Lepidoptera to larva.

Because people don’t say ‘Cultivated’ (they want an ID …) the distribution maps are skewed. I followup for our Cape plants. Is that Aloe striata in the middle of South America, planted in a garden? = marked as Not Wild. Is that, yes I can see it’s a plant, but what is it, is it really Aloe striata? = IDed up a level to fit.

Perhaps I’m not understanding - how would a real-time workshop be run on the Forum?

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Can one not send an invitation to an individual (nom de plume) to join a Zoom meeting and that person join via a web platform on a browser (say, on their smartphone) without using a desktop client that may be run on a Network such as a university - and as such one can be anonymous if they so choose, turn off their camera, and mute their microphone unless they have a question? They can then watch and listen to the video conference.

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I have no idea… But I’ll check it out.

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Something that might be fun is “most annotations”. Like most phenology anotations for flowering plants, or most life stage annotations for lepidoptera, or something like that. I haven’t seen that in this thread yet. That’s not a simple search to check for as the competition moderator, but it can be done with the API.


I would like to know more about Insects and Spiders to identify for the USA (if possible). And maybe for the wildcats of the world (I’m a cat fan).

But I’m down with just about anything you guys can cook up!

Just let me know when I can start!


what if you started with 0 IDs?

it might be interesting to vary the starting base for more options. for example, vary by iconic taxon (birds, plants, etc.) or by continent (plus open ocean). or instead of using your own IDs as the bas you could measure, say, % contribution to all IDs of that iconic taxon (to incentivize some to work on less-identified taxa).

i think for this and all other metrics, you would also want to clarify up front whether or not you want to include identifications on a given identifier’s own observations.

for the sake of the administrator (you), if you’re going to do this, you may want to pre-define the possibilities and then (randomly?) choose from the list of possibilities each week. as busy as you’ll be during the competition, you may not want to unnecessarily add the burden of having to create a category each week (and a way to measure it) while the competition is in progress.

it would be significantly easier to get metrics for casual than captive. that said, because captive is a subset of casual, and both should be relatively small in number compared to the total number of identifications, it might not be that much effort to deal with captive just once for grins.

this is hard because these are not consistently defined and may change by location and over time.

maverick and rank-level are easy to determine. most in a 24-hour period would be relatively easy, too, as long as you have fixed begin/end time – ex. 12AM UTC each day. if not fixed, then this would be much harder to determine. if you’re going to determine max per day, you might as well determine count of days with (at least n) identifications.

for unknowns, see below.

actually, this is possible (or at least it’s possible to infer unknowns), but it’s not straightforward to do, and the method doesn’t scale well either. so i guess depending on how many identifications you all do, it may or may not be worth the effort.

i’m not aware of a way to do this via the API in any way that is remotely efficient. can you provide more thoughts on how you would do it?

i agree that annotating is a good activity for some folks. that said, it may be difficult to get metrics for annotation efforts. see note above.

if i understand you correctly, this is very hard to determine. almost definitely not worth the effort.

there’s not a straightforward way to determine this, but it can be done, and it might be interesting.

this would be easy to determine.

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Thus the requirement to start with 100 IDs. On second thought, I could waive that requirement but count differently for people who start below 100.
On third thought, as much as I want to make this event welcome to newbies and have as many people as possible participate, there are already 70 more of y’all signed up than I was anticipating and there is still a long time before the sign-up period ends. I might put a cap at 100 participants for the sake of my own sanity.
If this goes well (I’ll do my best!) and I don’t burn out (no promises… …) the next time I do this I will likely make modifications on the rules of participation etc based on how the first one goes.

Oh I’m going to choose all the mystery% categories before the event even starts. Especially because for most of them I need to count how many IDs were made before the event so as to know how many were made during.

Thank you for all your feedback :)

Also, I’ve decided that the event ends at the end of February. Will update top post accordingly.


Such competition sounds nice :) Who is Gerald?

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Welcome to the Forum!
This is Gerald.

In suitable fashion, the almighty Gerald crashed my browser when I opened the link. Be patient…


for the sake of my sanity, the 2021 Jan/Feb ID-a-thon will be limited to 100 participants. If (this is a big if) there is another, those who missed out on the first will get priority placement in the second

If you’ve answered Maybe, this is your chance to make up your mind…

Well, it seems he was so difficult animal to identify! :D OK, I didn’t ID Gerald (yet?) so you can count me in the competition:)

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