iNat implements some essential types of observation annotations, such as observation date, observation place, and organism ID. Few additional annotations such as sex or general life stage are implemented in the “Annotation” feature.
But what do you do when this is not enough to satisfy your curiosity or your research interest? Here I’d like to discuss pros and cons of the alternative ways how to add more specific annotations.
(NOTE: I use the term “annotation” in its general sense and when I talk about the currently implemented “Annotation” feature I tried to use capital A or parentheses to make it clear)
-anybody can create: can immediately address specific annotation needs without attention from the iNat staff
-unstable: anybody can edit/delete: in contrast to “Annotations” the “Observation Fields” are not voted for by the community.
-observations without “Observation Fields” can not be filtered. This complicates crowdsourcing of Observation Fields in comparison to observations with missing “Annotations” which can be easily filtered.
PROs: as flexible as Observation Fields
CONs: only own observations
PROs: easy to use as a criteria in result filtering; neatly summarized by plots in the taxon page; based on community consensus
CONs: needs laborious implementation, unresolved details about how detailed/taxon-specific Annotations should be
Do you have your own annotation strategies? Or do you have a remedy for some of the CONs of existing features? Please share and I will update the list.