Critques of citizen observations

Maybe I am mistaken, but is not one of the main goals of this site to encourage global citizen observations of the natural world? I must admit I am a bit tired of comments that suggest object for scale or to get closer (such as up in a tree) for the goal of getting a research grade ID. I dont know about other observers but I do not carry ladders and microscopes and rulers when I am out walking and observering the envoronment. I dont fault anyone that does. May I suggest that if an ID cannot be made for lack of detail or scale or whatever the reason, just simply suggest a taxonomic category family, genus or whatever that is in place of critiqing observations.

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there is no obligation to do any of that when taking photos for iNat. You can gently remind them of t hat if you want.

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Welcome to the Forum, @felix1112 :)

You can always politely decline, as the purpose of iNat is to help you connect with nature. Those who ask you for more are also engaging with nature, in a different way, by trying to ID observations.
Don’t worry, most identifiers will indeed leave a more general ID. I do all the time :)

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Thank you

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Thank you. I do understand there are differing folks and hence differing goals. I get that and I appreciate it. Just sometimes I wonder it its better for me to keep my walk in the woods observations for myself and not bother posting. I agree some identifiers will simply suggest a slip back to genus or family or whatever. Usually I agree to it and move on. I get the sense there are some that are competing for IDs. Thats fine i dont have any ojection to that until it gets distracting. If I tag someone for help sometimes they explain why they can agree or not and that is fine also.

Thank you for your response.

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You are always welcome to post, or not to post. We’re glad to have you here :)

There is no requirement for quality on iNat (though us identifiers do appreciate a photo that is in focus).

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This is the point of asking an observer for more detail.

If someone asks for an ID, but the image is lacking certain detail then I will ask them if they can supply certain information. And I appreciate it if someone asks me as well. That way I learn as well for next time what to observe.
Beyond that it is ID’d to a higher level. If I get asked, and can not supply the info then I just say so.
Some things can not be identified at face value.

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Thanks trh blue. When I can get an in focus photo I do the best I can with what I have with me. I have taken photos of ospreys, bald eagles, great blue herons and others that are in motion or flight and sometimes the device I have available is not the best. (some of us have limited means). I would love to always post a great photo and my posts are admittedly a mix of very good photos and some less so but they are what I have. At times it can be a red fox running across the lawn in winter and I grab a device to quickly snap a photo through a dirty window. Perhaps, I should reconsider that approach? I will give it some thought. Thanks for your advice.

If you’re having fun, it’s all good. I started out with just my phone and hand tremors from an injury. I’m still using my phone (albeit a newer one, and the injury is healed) to take photos. Granted, I focus on plants, which are less prone to running away.
You can post photos that aren’t identifiable. You can post observations with no photo at all. Think on it as much as you like.

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Hi, and welcome to the forum. Well, the problem you state has a contra question: do you want your observations IDed or are you happy with just observing without much interest what you are observing (excluding the creatures you are already familiar with - red fox, blue heron, etc.)? If the latter, then just don’t pay attention to the comments. If the former - do pay attention. The comments explain why you don’t get IDs on your observations or confirmation of your IDs.

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And there are frustrated observers wondering “why can’t iNat give me a better ID? I love nature but nobody will take a little time to help me learn more.”

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yeah this is a really good point too. I primarily use the app to make observations. Sometimes when reviewing them later, i see that a photo came out horrible and has no chance of an ID. In those cases I sometimes just delete the photo (unless i want it there for some other reason). No obligation at all but photoless observations are fine too.

If someone is really harassing you about this you can email help@inaturalist.org and let them know,

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Thank you Jurga-li. To answer your question. I am happy just observing. That is a good point you are making. I added inaturalist to “just observing” based on a suggestion that I could share my observations and perhaps it would help researchers. I suspect you are correct, if I am happy just observing then just do that. Post, don’t post, pay attention to comments or not. Knowing the “scientific name” of a thing is of limited benefit to me except in common agreement of language in discussing with others. If the comments get under my skin then maybe this isn’t the place for me. Thank you

Good point tallastro. All of the comments here in the forum are helping me to decide my course of action going forward. I have loved the world before inaturalist and can love it without inaturalist. So really makes no difference in real terms for me. I need not name things just enjoy them. I fear maybe I have gotten off course by allowing a desire to share observations to cloud the joy of the observation itself.

Thank you

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This is right attitude. INaturalist is indeed about fun. Though it might be tricky with a point at helping researchers. We are pesky lot, you know - we need confirmable data :-)

A lot of identifiers, myself included sometimes, forget that not everyone is asking for an identification for every observation they post. I find myself on both sides, unfortunately sometimes sharing unwanted information or critique and also receiving it as well. Observations are boldly labeled NEEDS ID, so it’s an understandable conclusion without a great solution.

I hope you decide to stay though! A gentle reminder, like “oh it’s OK I don’t need a species ID for this one, I’m just using iNat to log my nature observations for myself” can help clarify that. Also yep, it’s not required to post a photo, I have a lot of observations without photos too.

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Hello! Welcome to iNaturalist!
I love making identifications, although I have found that there are a limited number of species I can do it with. One of the things I specialize in is a flower that requires a picture of leaves for species ID. I often find people love to take pictures of the flower, but will completely overlook the leaves.
If this is omitted I do identify to genus level, but I always make a comment about how leaves are needed for species ID. Should I not do this? It just seems to be the goal of most people to get to species level, and if I can help them understand how to attain that then I thought I might as well. It’s not a question of equipment or ladders or microscopes or rulers, so I thought if I could just pass out the information it would be helpful.

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I understand. I do not suggest inaturalist is not of great value. Researchers have different agendas and goals. I think my answer at least for the near term is to drop out of Inaturalist for a while and see how it feels. If better then I stay out if I feel a preference to share then upload an observation.

Thank you all for comments, I believe I have a plan at least for the near term. Return to simply observing, with or without camera and hang back from inaturalist for a while.

Peace and all good things to each of you.

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Thanks for sharing your perspective, I think it serves as a good reminder of all the different ways people might use iNaturalist. I do hope you’ll return. :) We’ll close this topic in the meantime, but please do let us know if you’d like it reopened by sending forum_moderators a direct message. Thanks!

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