How did the observation of Gerald the Muskrat go viral on inaturalist?

How did the observation of Gerald the Muskrat go viral on inaturalist?
I recently came across the observation of Gerald the Muskrat and after waiting 5 minutes for it to load and I was shocked by the amount of ID’s it had and I was wondering how it got so many Id’s.

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Members of the iNaturalist discord server talk about it a lot, but I’m not sure how it spread to those outside of the server

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It’s been referenced/linked on the forum too. & it’s splendid.

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It started with a school kid photographing the creature, then misidentified it. A surprisingly large number of school kids “agreed” with one another on the incorrect ID, and other kids posted different incorrect IDs, until there was a huge stack of wrong IDs and only one ID was was roughly correct.

So then, in order to get the correct ID to show, a really large number of us who knew what the creature was had to put in the correct ID, so as to overwhelm all those incorrect IDs, and get the algorithm to show the right one.

So extra people were called in to put a correct ID on it.

That is how the whole thing got started.

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I am completely surprised that Gerald didn’t factor into the re-branding… :)

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It may have been partly driven by my post in the Penang project thread.

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Well done @jwidness :)!!

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So is Gerald a muskrat for sure? Also, could the user upload more pictures if possible? Not sure how this could be confused for a groundhog though - I can get why the beaver if one does a quick glance.

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hey all, since we really have no idea what Gerald is, i made a separate iconic taxa icon for him, maybe we can get this added to the site for Gerald?
image

his tail is a question mark because, is it a beaver tail? is it a muskrat tail? Who even knows.

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I love it, though I feel that it lacks Gerald’s chunkiness

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Here’s a poll to see how people found Gerald:

  • Through the iNat discord server
  • I was called in to help get the observation to the right ID
  • I found a link on the forum
  • I was identifying observations and came across it
  • Other (please leave a commment)

0 voters

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Interesting. Can we see it? Can you post a link please?
Thanks, Florin

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Welcome to the forum @florin_feneru! Here’s the link: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/5890862 - you could vote in the poll that you found a link in the forum ;)

it could be made chunkier

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Other- a comment on a different obs with a wide range of id’s mentioned Gerald similarity and pointed to Geralds of the World.

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I found Gerald late, by looking at observations that had a lot of faves.

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I find Gerald scrolling through https://www.inaturalist.org/comments. You can’t miss him because the comments go on and on and on.

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I found Gerald here: https://www.inaturalist.org/home?tab=comments.

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It appears like Gerald may be an Ichneumonid. Supported by the Genus name, and the ovipositor.

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other-I found a link on the inaturalist world tour page.

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