Me three, quality (for and with good IDs) over quantity (photos of Every Thing I Can See - sigh)
I’ve been mulling over how to recruit new identifiers. A targeted outreach to natural resource colleges and agencies might be part of it. I know that there are staff in our state department of surface water quality who love aquatic inverts but are now pushing papers managing Clean Water Act programs as they have been promoted out of the field work jobs. Has this type of outreach been discussed before?
When I’m going through my camera reel I’ll just straight up delete photos if I don’t think they’re decent enough to ID stuff. Its why most of my worst pictures are bird pictures, since they’re generally the most likely to get an ID from something out of focus or far away.
I wasn’t so much hoping for skilled taxon specialists - as ordinary observers. If they helped a little with identifying, Bird Bug Buffalo Barracuda - they might, learn to upload obs that have a better chance of getting a good ID.
After hours of IDs on iNat, hiking on the mountain is wonderful. That plant over there - I have a sense of scale, the growth habit, I can look at leaves, fresh or old flowers or fruit. It has thorns. All those details add up to a quick and confident ID. Back to iNat, a random leaf, a different perspective of a flower. Sob.
We need more mid-level identifiers like me. Who can pick out the Bugs for the taxon specialists to dedicate time and effort to.
…as in, they would see which photos they can’t help with, and learn better than to upload photos like that.
I think a big part of the issue with getting people to start identifying, is that identifying on the mobile app sucks. I know they’re rebuilding it, but I feel like probably most people start as mobile-only users (I didn’t even know there was a desktop website when I started) and I seriously doubt any of them are doing much identifying. You can’t even filter by needs ID on mobile as far as I know. It may not even occur to you that you can do identifications for others.
I have faith they’ll improve the onboarding and identifying processes with the new app builds but for now the mobile-desktop jump is going to be a barrier to getting new/more IDers. As for getting people to make identifiable observations, I think it might be a good idea to explicitly prompt people to add photos of various features, particularly for static things like plants and fungi. Like, for plants, add some spaces that are labelled “leaf (top)” “leaf (underside)” “fruit” “entire plant” etc. Obviously people should still be able to upload without filling all the spaces but it would give new users an idea of what information identifiers might be looking for. And the prompts should be toggle-able so as not to annoy experienced users.
Then we would able to filter for ‘pictures of fruit’ and get what is says on the label. Instead of ALL the pictures from ALL the obs which include, a blurry picture of fruit among dozens of not fruit.
They have been for 2 years. I’m cranky and impatient at this point. It’d be a great way to kill time in the evenings on trips but man, ID’ing on the iOS app is just awful
In my opinion, identifying on the Android app is almost easier than on the web in some aspects. It is filterable in many aspects. I’ve heard that the iOS app is different, though, and I’m not trying to downplay that. But building new applications takes time, and at least we know they are still working on it.
Whereas I’ve been resisting using the mobile app because it annoys me that everyone expects you to download their app for everything. Book a ticket on Greyhound? Greyhound tries to get you to download the Greyhound app. Go grocery shopping? The grocery store tries to sell you on their app. Of course the city buses in this county can’t possibly use the same bus fare app as the ones in the next county – why, then you could manage with one app instead of two! Can’t have that! And the idea that there’s an app for everything in turn leads to the environmentally destructive tendency to constantly upgrade one’s device, to have enough room on it for all those apps.
I was very disappointed when the “solution” to my recent bug report was that the website isn’t designed for mobile uploads.
Can confirm, this happens. From time to time, I get a streak of 5-30 ID notifications, all from a dedicated identifier who has sat down to go over, e.g., all of subgenus Esula in her area, or all dicots in his town. Sometimes it is all the way to species, other times it is a bump one step down the taxonomic tree (eg from Order to Family).
The real fun is being the one to inflict a flood of ID updates on someone else. >:)
Agreed - have seen this happening many times and have come to anticipate it for certain taxa that I can get to genus and know there is an expert on iNat to push them to species but they identify in bursts rather than at a steady pace. I’ve probably also committed some of these every now and then. Sometimes I will specifically limit my ID search to e.g. observations older than 3 years to catch up on some of the older ones. Occasionally I come across a large batch of observations from the same observer, all perfectly identifiable, that somehow fell through the cracks before.
I’ve been the one doing that to others on Texas herps (it gets reciprocated sometimes). I have days I feel like ID’ing and days I don’t
The iOS app is pretty basic, there are times where I open the website on my phone’s browser because I need some of the functionality. AFAIK, there’s no way to add annotations in the app except cap/cultivated which I think is a not insignificant reason as to why so many observations never get them
A good way to ensure your observation makes it to RG (at least, it gives it a better chance) is to provide the best possible photos of your subject as possible to make sure that even someone unfamiliar with your area would be able to distinguish your observation from related species.
Working thru animal pre-mavericks from Africa. This has waited. 11 years. It is only the second obs on iNat. The first one is from 1988.
Imagine. An exquisitely beautiful, tortoiseshell, weevil!
Its always amazing to me when such a large, distinct animal with such good images can go so long without a proper ID
It is no longer amazing to me, unfortunately. If we took Diana’s ideal, where everyone identified 2.5 times as many observations as they uploaded – well, 64 of my last 100 identifications were to species. If that pattern holds across all 42,901 identifications I have provided, that would mean that I have provided 27,546 species-level IDs. So if everyone followed Diana’s ideal, then I could expect 10,982 of my observations to have reached RG. I have a total of 614 observations, of which 305 are RG. A little less than half.
So no, sadly, it doesn’t amaze me at all.