I’ve been going through “casual” observations, and I’ve been noticing quite a few with obvious organisms in them where different people have marked “no” in the box for “evidence of organism.” I’m not sure why. Since I lean towards taking phrases literally, I’ve been adding “yes” votes, but am I missing some informal convention on iNaturalist to ignore organisms in certain photographs for some reason? If so, what might those reasons be–likelihood of not being identifiable to species? photo may have been taken as a landscape shot?
Possibly people mark it to get rid of a duplicate observation when someone uploads the same thing multiple times? That’s all I can think of.
I’ve been going through the captive/cultivated sections recently and finding huge numbers of obviously NOT cultivated organisms being marked as cultivated, so perhaps there are just some people who enjoy vandalizing things into casual-land as well.
Sounds like you’re doing a good job. That box should be used for pictures of rocks, furniture, photos which are so blurry as to be completely indiscernible etc. I have used it for landscape shots when there are no plants which are identifiable.
If you hover over the down vote you can see who said there isn’t an organism. Try tagging them and asking.
I’ve done that in the past a lot while “taking care” of dupes in the absence of an “official” mechanism for duplicate handling. But then I tailed off since I realized that it may be confusing in the long run- and sure enough there’s this thread now. ;)
Identifiable to what level, though? There do seem to be a lot of landscape photos with plants in them that are marked “no evidence of organism.” I’m wondering what level of identification most identifiers think is sufficient in order to be considered an organism for purposes of the checkbox. My idea was to have that discussion here rather than ask individually on all the different observations.
This is how I’ve thought of the checkbox’s use in the past–for non-life only.
I hadn’t thought of that. I may have recently inadvertently added duplicates back into the “Needs ID” pile. I’m glad I asked. Maybe I will stop trying to “rescue” observations from the casual pile, since it would not be convenient to go looking for duplicate observations from there.
This isn’t super on topic with the thread, but why do people care so much about duplicates? Yes they’re redundant but I don’t really see why they’re so problematic.
If there’s not a clear focus or organism in the center of the shot. If it’s just grass or indistinct trees, it’s never going to get a reasonable or useful ID, and the “community taxon cannot be improved” mechanism would make it casual too. So it’s effectively doing the same thing.
Well, this isn’t really true and this is part of the problem. People are using this checkbox to mark observations they feel can not be identified, but that isn’t what it is for. If you can see there is say, a tree, but you can’t tell what it is, you shouldn’t use this checkbox. If you can add a helpful ID that’s good and you can also check ‘no further ID needed’ if you are confident it isn’t possible to identify it further (But please do be confident that this is true for others, not just you… some people are very good at identifying things from blurry photos). I don’t think the ‘no organisms’ box should be used to get rid of landscape shots. That isn’t what it is for.
It isn’t though. If it is a grass, you can identify to Poaceae - still family not genus level so not research grade but could still be useful. If you can identify to genus it can be research grade. And they are tracked differently. ‘No evidence of organism’ observations are removed from maps and most queries i believe. So yeah… i don’t think it should be used this way.
In this case I ID to a coarse level and mark as cannot be improved. not often tho
I recently started doing this when I was going through Unknowns and hit a huge patch of one user’s observations that were mostly three instances with lots of photos in separate obs. I commented on a few, and on one they replied with “Thanks!” but made no move to combine them. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough? Anyway, I decided to pick the best, most identifiable-looking photo from each set and mark the others as “no evidence of organism”. I’d be happy not to… if there was a better checkbox or something specifically for duplicates. Otherwise, I think this is better than leaving them all to become RG because nobody else noticed the duplication.
I get your point about the end result being the same, but only if there is an attempt to make the identification. A lot of the “no evidence of organism” observations are left at “Unknown,” possibly because it’s kind of a contradiction to say there’s no evidence and then make an identification.
I have noticed these, too. Sad to say, but it does appear in some instances that “no evidence of organism” is read as “something I’m not interested in.”
In that context what I meant was photos which are just green or brown and completely blurry. Nothing distinct is visible.
I do see the point you’re making. I rarely use this checkbox myself. I’ll be more careful when I use it in the future.
Well, if you’re talking about completely blurred photos it’s not you I’m talking about. I’ve absolutely seen blurry but totally identifiable photos of distinctive species marked as no evidence of organism. Think a big Joshua tree for instance. Yes it’s blurry but no way it could be anything else. It’s a valid observation.
I generally vote “No” for “Evidence of Organism” for geological observations or images that are completely black. For stuff like toys, furniture, etc, I tend to just ID them as Homo sapiens. If I can discern an organism in a landscape shot I tend to add a coarse ID, although the DQA info pop-up currently says that for “Evidence of organism” uses “landscapes” as an example where one should vote “No”.
I definitely think it shouldn’t be used for duplicates, which aren’t a major problem - iNat data aren’t great for abundance anyway.
I agree. Yeah, they’re annoying to wade through when IDing sometimes, but if I go hiking with 12 other inatters, as I did last weekend - when something cool comes by, we all want a pic. Is 12 people each uploading their own observation of an organism really any different from 1 person uploading the same organism 12 times?
In my opinion, yes. Neither adds any scientific value, but in the first case, the duplication enables different people to add the organism to their life list / species count and observation count. In the second, nothing is gained but the observer’s observation count is wrong.
It’s a vote often used for duplicates, so if you revote it back please don’t do that without checking other observations of a user, I think generally people comment about it, so it’s hard to miss, but if a person has hundreds of duplicates (and this happens sometimes), commenting on each one is just too much.
Because they are very problematic, I don’t know what is really confusing in it, one organism should be in one observation, not in 10, there’re guidelines and there’re thousands of people who do good job on uploading their observations, and then there’re users who don’t care and upload thousands of observations that take huge amount of time for iders to wade through, where every animal is in 15 observations, where also multiple organisms in one observation, where no captive and cultivated organisms are marked, these types of problems are on the same level. I don’t know what to say, it’s wrong and it degrades work of other people who care, as they are shown as equal.