Bypassing ID process

Hello community - Besides my findings in foreign countries (for which I gratefully accept id suggestions!) I also have findings from my own country (Switzerland). I work as a wild bee specialist and I do wild bee inventories at a professional level on behalf of municipalities and cantons of my country. I therefore have a large number of findings and corresponding photos of native Swiss wild bees. All my findings are determined in the laboratory by myself based on collected specimens and the determinations are double checked by one of the three leading Swiss Hymenoptera morphologists. This means that the names I publish for Swiss bees are already at the highest possible scientific level.
Unfortunately, there are also people on iNaturlist who make id suggestions without having the appropriate competences So when I would publish my Swiss bee photos/findings here and they have to go through the usual ID process, I’ll most likely have to deal with many incorrect identification suggestions and possibly my entries will never make it to the final/confirmed level on which they are alreday.
The question: Is there an alternative approach for such cases?
Thanks in advance for your opinions.
Best, Juerg

6 Likes

One option in such cases is to reject (opt out of) community taxon for individual observations; this is only possible after there at least one ID that does not agree with your own. This will keep the ID for the observation as the one that you have given it. However, your observations will not be able to become “research grade” until the community ID is the same as your own ID (in other words, you would still need additional IDs from skilled bee people to override any wrong IDs).

A couple of notes:
I’m in Germany, and my experience is that it is very, very common for unskilled users to put wrong IDs on their own bee observations, but it is rare that they do so on observations of other users. It does happen occasionally. In such cases, I recommend replying to them and asking them about their ID and/or explaining the situation (verified in the lab etc.); unless it is a very new user who doesn’t understand iNat, often they will withdraw their ID in response.

You can also tag some of the European bee IDers for assistance in overriding a wrong ID. I think most of them appreciate the chance to look at observations with good photos where all the necessary diagnostic features are visible (rather than the usual cell phone photos taken from tricky angles).

Note that iNat is based on the principle that IDers should be able to confirm the ID based on the evidence provided in the observation. So, for example, if the specimens were identified in the lab using microscopy, but you only post the photos taken in the field, most specialists will be reluctant to confirm the ID based only on the statement that it was checked by a leading expert; they will want enough information (photographic or in the notes) to be able to confirm it themselves.

16 Likes

What a fantastic resource. The comments by @spiphany cover many of the steps you can take to minimize the problem. My only other suggestion is to recruit one of your three experts to follow along after your postings to agree with determinations you both made in the lab. Even if you don’t post photographs of detailed features that other people can see, if you and your expert are confident you’ve got the correct ID, those observations will help train the CV to improve the quality of its suggestions. Ideally, you’d add a comment or a note in the description saying that you both keyed it out in the lab.

11 Likes

Welcome to the forum!

Very much agree with @spiphany and @janetwright

One thing to add is that if your observation data are already in GBIF via some other means/portal, it may not be necessary to upload them all to iNat.

Piggybacking on thinking about the CV, if you have a lot of potential observations to upload, you could prioritize those taxa which aren’t included in the CV model yet, as they are likely to have a disproportionately positive impact (and perhaps garner fewer novice IDs).

6 Likes

PS: if you are so inclined, you might consider sharing your knowledge as an IDer – regardless of whether this is a few dozen observations or a few hundred. There are a number of highly skilled experts on iNat who work on European bees (along with some people like me, who are not yet expert but learning), but there are not enough of us, so any additions to our ranks are welcome.

8 Likes

I suggest you copypasta a version of this as a note on each obs. That can both deter good intentions from novices, and reassure other taxon specialists. Identifiers can only work with the info you give us.

5 Likes

Yes, @terratypica welcome to the forum.

I took the opportunity to look at your observations and recognize that you have posted some high quality, close cropped, well focused images to support your observations. Such images are invaluable to the community as resources to help support identification of other observations.

I agree with what @spiphany has said in the first part of the quoted statement but I’m not sure his her remaining statement is correct [edit, in the context of the original question it is as pointed out by @spiphany below - apologies]:

1. I know that from the drop down caret (˅), A, beside your icon on the top of each page (?) one can go into their account settings, B, and choose Content and Display, C.

2. From here at the bottom of that page one can deselect accepting community identification.
image

I am currently busy working on increasing my knowledge of native bees through a program at OSU. With my images (now) I try to make notes and supporting close up images, some through the scope, that support the identification of my observation. It is a learning process for me as taking images through a scope can be challenging. In hind sight I would also like to note what document and page I used to key the subject. Providing this information can help us all learn.

With regards to what @cthawley stated about GBIF, my understanding is that if you retain full copyright of that observation. Please correct me here, but if this is done it will not be shared with GBIF and will not be a duplicate contribution. The downside is it narrows the availability of this information.

1 Like

Couple of thoughts. First is the concern that the ID’s are going to come from people without knowledge and skill is unfounded in this case: note who the top identifiers for bees in Switzerland are https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=7236&subview=map&taxon_id=630955&view=identifiers I also didn’t really see any of your Bee observations that had a bad ID from someone else?

Next as was pointed out, we can only work with the details provided, so if you got extra details from a laboratory examination please include those details. Here is an example that I did when I found a not previously recorded color variant https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/84235006

Next depending on who makes the ID here on iNat, a disagreeing ID may not be wrong. There is a barcoding dataset on GBIF that has some very obviously wrong ID’s that I have been trying to get corrected. So if someone disagrees, point out your extra details; they may not have seen it, or they may have noted something you didn’t.

4 Likes

There are two methods for opting out: universal and per observation. Universally opting out is done via profile settings, as you noted.

However, the thread creator indicated wanting to still accept community ID for observations made outside Switzerland. The only way to opt out selectively is to do so for individual observations, and this option only becomes possible when the community ID does not agree with your ID (you cannot opt out on individual observations preemptively).

(I’m a she, by the way.)

5 Likes

Yes, I checked the observations, and they all appear to be “All rights reserved”. All rights reserved observations will not be exported to GBIF which does reduce some of their scientific value/impact, though that’s a decision users are of course free to make.

3 Likes

Apologies here on a few levels. I have corrected and acknowledged above in my statement rather than delete so that there is still that context there. …and I normally check profies of who I am referring to and did not this time. Will endevour towards best practices.

6 Likes

No worries. I’m not offended, just wanted to note it for the record. I can edit out that bit of my post, if you wish.

1 Like

I’m all for leaving it as is.

1 Like

The licensing on iNat is a bit confusing, but it may be worth mentioning here that it is possible to choose separate licenses for the observation data and for the photos.

I am guessing that the reason for “all rights reserved” is to limit use of the photos without permission; however, if you want to allow the observation data (place, time, ID) to be shared and used more freely, you can choose a CC license for the observation while still restricting photo use. This setting can be changed under “content” on your profile.

2 Likes