I really like this concept, although I worry that its implementation may not be feasible. In the last few months, I’ve been struggling to keep up with an overzealous identifier who has a tendency to agree with any identification suggestions presented to them. This results in a myriad of incorrectly identified research grade observations which slip past my radar and that of other identifiers, or, worse yet, erroneous community IDs. It got to the point where I rarely found an observation that hadn’t been reviewed by them, for better or for worse.
The main problem I have with this suggestion is simply how these points would be awarded. If user A adds adds a contradictory identification to an observation by user B, and user B changes their ID accordingly, then awarding points should be straightforward. If user B maintains their original stance, though, how would the algorithm know which user to favor?
A more difficult situation might be one involving four users: A, B, C, and D. If the first three have all agreed upon a certain identification, and user D contradicts them, then D would be overruled and the community ID would remain as determined by the first three. In this case, user D could easily be correct or incorrect. A similar situation might involve an observation made by user A with the other identifiers (B, C, and D) determining the community ID. Regardless of which side is correct, how would the algorithm know which users were more accurate in their determination(s)? Perhaps most difficult of all would be the scenario where user A (who posted the observation) is initially correct, but is convinced of an erroneous ID by user B. The observation would then reflect the identification suggested by user B, who would likely be seen as improving the accuracy of said observation and thus awarded points.
Don’t get me wrong, I really do like the idea. I just don’t see how it could be implemented successfully without an algorithm that already knows how to identify each organism, which would render the feature itself (and identifiers) unnecessary.
I feel that one of the easiest ways to avoid this situation (and make life difficult for overzealous identifiers) would be to award users with fewer points for simply supporting an established community ID. This would hopefully disincentivize just randomly agreeing to identifications on RG observations. As far as a badge system is concerned, I think that has some potential if implemented in moderation.