Many identifiers haven’t put much about themselves on their profile, so when I see that someone has specialized in one taxa or another or identified a wide variety of taxa it gives me a better idea of what they’re interested in, which sometimes means the difference between me tagging them or not.
Finding out that someone has done 98% supporting IDs even though they’re the top identifier for a taxon usually means I won’t tag them.
But you can learn it without table of their ids, I’d say the only way to learn about their competence is to look at their ids, you can add tons of wrong leading ids that nobody just critiqued yet, or only id when you’re tagged because you’re busy, so have only supporting ids, maybe the main thing “needed” is to find out what kind of mistakes they do and how often, which table can’t show.
Ah, I was wondering why there were hundreds of observations of trees coming in from Hong Kong marked as Ginkgo when they obviously weren’t.
Indeed, I can learn much more about an identifier by examining their identifications in detail. In practice, I only have time to view a subset of their IDs, and usually not a properly random sample. I have a reasonably good idea of the skill levels of other active identifiers who are identifying the same things I am (mostly spiders and hover flies), because I’ve viewed >100,000 observations, many of which have their IDs.
But for low-volume identifiers and people identifying mammals, for example, there is not enough time for me to view all their IDs or even a representative sample. Being able to view the complete, automatically computed statistics about an identifier’s activity in less than a minute is a very, very efficient use of my time. High ratio of information-learned to time-expended. It’s true that the aggregate statistics can occasionally be misleading, but it isn’t an efficient use of my time to seek out the perfect person to ask for help instead of someone with a high probability of being good enough. I shouldn’t spend more time trying to figure out who to ask than I would have wasted asking multiple people (including other people’s time I would have wasted, not just mine).
If there were a way to quickly filter out people who have added tons of wrong leading IDs that nobody has critiqued yet, or to quickly find people who are expert but haven’t done much on iNaturalist yet, then I would certainly do that. Do let us know if you have any ideas about how it could be done. For now, Pisum’s creation is the quickest way I know of to go from knowing nothing about an identifier to knowing a few useful facts about their past behaviour.
It’s so far beyond “suspicion” at this point though.
Re: the influx of Hong Kong photos. It can be frustrating dealing with so many cultivated plants, but this is a highly urbanized area. A scraggly maize plant growing in a pot* is probably as natural a sight as some of these kids have seen.
- Two observations, same individual plant, taken from slightly different angles and posted by two different students.
As someone from Hong Kong, it is honestly quite frustrating to see all these cultivated plants and multiple photos of the same plant in different angles from different users. But I suppose that’s a catch-22 problem, I believe its important to get children to be more interested in the natural world and I certainly don’t want to discourage them from using the site (though in reality it’s likely once the project ends they won’t be using inat again).
I also have to point out that only about 30% of Hong Kong’s land area is urbanised. The rest of it is all natural. But I agree if the students restrict themselves within the urban HK I don’t expect much.
Good point. The high percentage of cultivated plants is likely telling us more about the distribution of students than of Hong Kong plants.
If there was a “haha” response I would have clicked on that.
Here is a website that you may find useful if you are curious and want to browse more on HK plants: https://herbarium.gov.hk/en/hk-plant-database/index.html
In the advanced search you can filter for native plants.
I know that I was surprised to realise how much nature there is in Hong Kong when you did so well in an earlier Bioblitz!
I admit to having done this! When I first joined iNaturalist my suggestions were all actually just suggestions, as I didn’t consider myself expert in anything. But as I gained credibility (whether warranted or not), some people would second what I suggested no matter how dubious, so I’ve gotten more cautious in making “suggestions.” Sometimes I do exactly what you’ve described to see if someone with a firmer opinion will commit, and then I second them. It’s not for fear of being corrected but rather for fear of being believed.
Was that the City Nature Challenge?
On the one hand, it’s nice that credibility is so easily gained on iNat, on the other hand my local actual botanical experts now think I’m some kind of prodigy?!
I think so. I went to Google Earth to see all the green spaces you have. Totally unexpected for what I think of as Hong Kong - many skyscrapers.
I know virtually nothing about fungi, but when I come across a mushroom that’s an Unknown, I’ve taken to seeing if iNat AI has a strong sense of what it is. If the AI can come up with an ID, I add that to the observation, but make the note: “This is iNaturalist’s suggestion.” Otherwise, I just ID it as Fungi, I’m afraid.
I’m hoping that noting that the tentative ID is from iNat, not me, will have two purposes: reminding the observer to use the AI themselves, and making sure everyone else knows I know nothing about Fungi!
That’s one particular thing I’m proud of about Hong Kong, surprising high level of biodiversity. But like most other places around the world they are diminishing due to human development.
The AI is very often terrible at IDing fungi
to be fair, i think that’s just a reflection of how hard it is for even knowledgeable people to ID fungi observations, and that is often, in turn, due to observers not capturing or not being able to capture the details needed for identification in their observations.