Identification Etiquette on iNaturalist - Wiki

@charlie yes, this makes sense and is in line with what I generally do already. Thanks for the quick response!

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The other aspect that contributes to the thinking that one choice expresses disagreement and the other does not is that one choice ends up stating on the observation that there is disagreement and the other choice does not.

I think I can bring this up without talking about the DQAs, but I would like to see a statement of etiquette for this situation: Observer posts multiple photos, each of a different organism. Someone adds an ID for the first photo. One or more comments are added asking the observer to separate into multiple observations. Then with all the photos still there, another person (not a newbie) comes along and confirms the ID, leading to Research Grade. I think a statement of etiquette about continuing to add IDs in this situation might be helpful.

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Point well taken. Either the Wiki or the ID dialog (or both) probably need to be clarified and better aligned on this.

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Great thought, we should definitely cover that in the Wiki. Let’s see where the discussion goes on that for a while, and then come up with some wording to add. Suggestions all?

And welcome to the forums @ocean_beach_goth! Glad you have joined us.

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Yes, I think it would be worth adding a cautionary sub-bullet under #1, to look for multiple photos first, and if they are not the same species, leave a comment instead of an ID (with some suggested boilerplate wording). What do others think?

For any who haven’t seen it yet, there is also a separate discussion on this issue: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/easy-way-to-flag-multiple-species-observations/278

EDIT: some suggested boilerplate language for this situation can be found here:
https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/responses#multiple

EDIT: Wiki updated, see under #7.

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Yes, probably worth adding a “tip” or something under #3 for a potential identifier to check the existing description and comments first before deciding whether to disagree.

EDIT: Wiki updated, see under #3.

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Definitely, and I think the option to leave a comment when uncertain is worth working into the Wiki somewhere.

EDIT: Wiki updated, see under #1.

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Welcome to the club, you are in abundant company! For me, thinking in terms of “informative” instead of “instructive” sometimes helps.

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Thank you for this post. I plan on using it as an instruction manual to my students at the beginning of the semester. I generally get my students (about 70 of them) to do around 8,000 observations in a semester and I am constantly trying to help them with observations but one of the things they tend to shy away from is the identification part and this will help encourage them to get more involved. I personally get a lot of experience knocking back identifications with students because they can often have very strange choices for initial identifications.

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I think it would be good to mention the placeholder issue here (IDs on “Unknown” observations wiping out the observers’ placeholders)

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Or it wandered way out of range, like a certain fish that gained some notoriety on iNat recently

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This is how I understand it and treat it; that’s what the wording (both in the box and later as @paloma said) implies to me. If I made an identification and choose “I don’t know but I am sure this is GenusX” it means I don’t know enough to agree with the species ID but I agree with the genus, and I think it’s possible for other people to ID it to species.

For what it’s worth the exact text in this pop-up box was discussed extensively when the feature was added, so I don’t think it should be changed lightly.

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I usually withdraw my ID when I am wrong, just like what you said. I can’t think of any other situation when I’d do it. So if I make an ID (on my observation or someone else’s) and then someone who knows better than me makes a conflicting ID then I’ll withdraw mine, because otherwise more people will need to agree with the other person to reach Research grade to counterract my wrong ID (assuming in this case that I don’t have the experience to be comfortable with just agreeing with them).

But if I identify an observation as a Plant and then someone else says what species of plant it is, I wouldn’t withdraw my ID because that won’t affect that ID or status of the observation.

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ThankyouThankyouThankyouThankyouThankyouThankyou!!!

This is SO helpful! I especially like that it is written in such an accessible style. And the follow-on discussion is excellent as well. I have pondered many of these and have handled some situations rather less well than others. Ah, welcome to the human species lol.

So how do the site stats handle withdrawn IDs? Are they accounted for in any way? Does withdrawing an ID have any impact beyond that particular observation?

This point talks about doing research on the suggested taxon. Is it worth suggesting checking the commenter’s profile? If the commenter is the world expert on that taxon, it’s probably pretty safe to accept their suggestion. If all you find is “John Q. Public is a naturalist!” (or even a world expert in a completely different taxon) you probably want to do a little more research. Or is this getting too close to suggesting some people’s opinions are worth more than others’? Which I suppose they are, but there’s probably a nicer way to put it!

And a suggestion to add - I just realized that in identifying a sea anemone as Tribe Anemoneae I had consigned it to being a buttercup lol. Somewhere (maybe in the google group?) someone mentioned that “someone”/the great “they” somewhere were keeping a list of taxa that have been used for more than one organism/genus/whatever. If it’s not too long, perhaps we could include it? Or link to it? My guess (stab in the dark) is that there aren’t too many, and becoming familiar with the list could avoid a lot of embarassment!

Suggestion 2: do you want to expand the “hard/impossible to identify/verify to species level” part to include the comments about how different kinds of research look for different levels of granularity, and observations may serve many purposes? I keep thinking about a comment on the google group from someone who was responding to a comment about the undesirability of observations of flowers in gardens by saying that she had her class studying the activity of honeybees (I think), and the bees really didn’t care if the flower was cultivated/wild/native/imported/escapee/you get the picture - the class needed to know what flowers were around. Which is not to say I think we should encourage observations of potted aloe plants on someone’s apartment (flat) window sill, but again, you get the picture.

I think I’ve finally run out of things to say. Thank you again for doing!

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Don’t worry–I’ve seen this before. I suppose it’s easy to do because the photos are so tiny sometimes.

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Isn’t this a situation where you should turn off community ID for that observation?

(Edit: By the way would it be preferable for me to keep all my comments in one post rather than separating them like this? I’m sorry if that’s the case…)

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Some time in the past couple of days the forum told me I was unable to post because it would have been the third consecutive that was mine, and that I should combine.

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I would say do whichever keeps the flow of discussion the clearest, that the forum will allow. I wouldn’t worry about serial posts if you are responding to different folks, or unless the forum limits it like @paloma mentioned. Editing an existing post is ok too, but the longer time lapse before doing so, the more likely the edit will be missed by others, even if you label it prominently.

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I really wish I had that excuse lol https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/21464305

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