ID-athon May 2021! (and Mentorship Program)
74 signed up, 25 signed up for mentors.
Announcing the 2nd ID-athon! After the success of the first event and project here back in January-February, we’re doing it again, with improvements and additions based on feedback from the first time around!
The biggest difference is that this time, we have a mentorship system built in. We have eight great mentors, including myself, ready to teach various subjects at every level – from your first unknowns, to the most difficult sedges, and many things in-between.
If you’re already familiar with the event, or want to skip straight to signing up, here’s the link!
We will continue to monitor this post until the start of the event. Thereafter please ask questions on the relevant project journal posts
Also important: after the sign-up period, all updates will be posted to the ID-athon project journal. Join it if you want to follow our updates, including rankings and informative content. (Yes, the project is a little bare right now, it will look better soon…)
What is the ID-a-thon?
An ID-a-thon is a set of competitions based on the process of identifying on iNaturalist.
All participants will be working together to identify ALL the unknowns from a given region (at this point the location has not been determined – the location restriction is only applicable to the unknowns part, there is no geographic restriction in the other categories)
There are also optional competitive categories, each with a different goal. Competing = identifying observations. The categories are designed so that everyone, at every level of skill and experience, can have fun and a chance to win prizes.
You may sign up for as many categories as you wish; or you could sign up for none and simply help us with the Unknowns. An explanation of each category can be found below.
Competitors in each category are ranked; speaking generally, the more IDs you do, the better your score. Winners get prizes! Fun! And everyone gains and spreads knowledge! Even better!
Your identifications are counted automatically using the magic of the API. The project only exists to be a place to receive updates… and look at your fellow competitors’ cute pets.
One small caveat: only IDs made to observations which were uploaded before Februray 28, 2021 count, so as to focus on older observations.
Who can join?
Any number of people may participate. Last time we had 80 participants – let’s see how many we can get for round two!
Competitors will be in three "classes” as determined by number of IDs made before the sign-up period. These classes are Beginner (0-400), Identifier, and Power-Identifer (80k+).
There is no requirement or limit on identification experience. Those of you who are beginners are not only welcome, but encouraged to join! Power-identifiers will be able to compete on an equitable playing field. Beginners have an exclusive category, and beginners will each be matched with a mentor who can help guide your learning. More on the new mentorship program further on!
For everyone else (the regular “identifier” class), it’s business as usual – the default setting, as it were. We made this system in response to requests from the participants of the first event. We hope it works to make the event more fun for everyone.
When is the event running?
May 22nd to May 30th, inclusive. According to UTC+0 (the international date line).
The admins live in the United States, so updates will usually be posted when most of the world has already entered the following day.
What do I get from participating?
This event is purely for fun. Its goal is to onboard and encourage new identifiers as well as celebrate and encourage those of you who already identify on a regular basis.
You’ll be part of a little community all learning together. :)
There are also prizes, but they are all silly and have no monetary value. The prizes from the last event were rated 4 ½ stars out of five, so they’re probably going to be pretty good.
The categories are as follows:
Improvement: During the competition, try to beat your own daily average – the more you ID relative to your average, the higher your score! (to avoid this being too easy for beginners, the minimum to get a score is 20 IDs/day).
Mystery: It’s a mystery! You’ll get three hints. This is technically three categories at once, so one hint each. At the end of the competition, the categories will be revealed and you’ll find out if you guessed correctly – or spent the whole time identifying something for no prize at all! (except the prize of knowledge…)
Consistency: Try to identify every day of the event. If you miss one or two, that’s OK, but the more days you make an ID the better your prize!
Old Observations: Identify observations which were added more than five years before the start of the competition.
Beginners’ Challenge: An exclusive event for the Beginner class. You’ll get prizes for various achievements, such as reaching your hundredth ID during the event, or making a high percentage of Improving IDs.
Blue Has Too Many Notifications Challenge: An exclusive event for power-identifiers of all kinds. This was originally suggested as a joke, but if enough of you really want to do it, we will oblige. Blue has made about 100k coarse IDs. Of those, fewer than 35k have had any follow-up or improving IDs. Your challenge is to identify observations Blue has previously identified coarsely, bringing them to Order or lower. We will provide you with a special link to do so.
Additional/exact rules and details will be posted in the project journal.
Each person in the Beginner class will be assigned a mentor, but you get to choose which person you are most interested in through the sign-up form.
However, the mentors are here for all of you. We encourage everyone who wants to learn some new skills to sign up for one. You can choose one (or several) of the topics available. For example, @neylon would like to teach about bees, @sedgequeen would like to teach about plants of the Pacific Northwest, @henryy1355 would like to teach about fungi… and that’s only a small sample!
We are full! Those of you on the wait list will be contacted… eventually. No later than July hopefully
Every mentor has written a short "About Me’’ form, introducing themselves and listing the topics they would like to teach. You can read those in detail on this Google Document. If that’s not viable, you can also look at the summarized version in the sign-up form.
Mentors will help you throughout the competition. Most of our mentors have expressed that they hope to continue teaching afterwards, if they find a student with whom they get along well. This is your chance to gain a teacher who can help you grow as an iNat identifier, whether you started identifying yesterday or have been doing so for years.
I’m interested! How do I join?
Sign up here. It’ll take a couple minutes, and a little longer if you want to sign up for a mentor.
You also want to join the project, as once the event begins that will be the place to find updates, resources, and rankings.
You can join the project even if you don’t plan on competing, just as you can compete without joining the project.
Please note: the deadline to sign up HAS PASSED. After that point we cannot accept any more participants, nor make any changes to your categories except to entirely remove someone from the competition. This is to prevent our programmer from going insane. Thank you for your understanding.