Let's Talk Annotations

I wonder if it could be set in the taxon page, whether to actively show gender in such situations. In some insects sex will almost never be discernable from a photograph, so it would be good to not be trying to graph that there too…

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Behaviors could include song/cry as well

Sorry if this has been mentioned before, but two annotations come to mind: dead (for bones, shells, dessicated speciments, roadkill, etc) , and sign (tracks, poop, trees gnawed by beavers, empty cocoons/pupae, feathers, exuviae, and so on). People adding observations of dead things or sign could really mess up some sorts of stats/research, since some things could have been there for many weeks, months, or even years. Those observations wouldn’t reflect the current presence of the organism, nor its life stage at that point in time.

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@davidenrique,
I think I’ve read here before that iNaturalist’s primary purpose is to encourage people to interact with nature.

Also, anyone using for research can filter out those annotations.

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It was suggested to me that I move a feature request to a comment, here, to whit:

It’s understandably common for folks to upload human-made objects that are incorrectly (and entertainingly) labeled by computer vision. This feature request would make is easier to correct these observations: select the label “human” and annotate “artifact/sign” rather than “human being/organism”. I believe something like this is already possible, but having the annotation option auto-populate would be convenient and would avoid derailing any computer-vision solutions.

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I don’t think programming time should be devoted to it. I don’t care for humans even being included and would rather the observations be deleted, not making a line between whether it was actually a human or evidence for a human. All photos are evidence of humans, the photographer/person that placed the auto-camera and creator of the camera.

I also don’t care for the general concept of auto-populating fields. There are tons of butterflies of unknown age, most of which are adults, I wouldn’t want the app to auto-populate “adult” though. I rather a human either do it, or not.

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As has been mentioned in the thread, albeit with many different names, people (myself, @schizoform, @davidenrique, @JeremyHussell, etc. because I don’t want to call evryone back to the thread) would like an annotation that denotes whether something is a sign, a proxy, an artifact, or whatever.

It’s a repetitive thing that has kept this thread alive for months.

I’m curious, and maybe @tiwane has an answer, has it been discussed or pitched to add an annotation, similar to the ubiquitous Life Stage and Sex choices, that indicates “Evidence Type” having choices like Specimen, Proxy (as a more general term), Artifact, Scat/Waste, tracks, or carcass?

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I suggested something (organism itself vs indirect evidence of organism) similar back in the old Google group, and the almost unanimous suggestion I got at the time was to use the observation field “Animal Sign and Song”.

@clay_s I wasn’t meaning to autopopulate the answer to a question, but to make the question more available (like the ubiquitous Sex selector noted by @parker_hopkins). @Star3 I just played with the “Animal Sign and Song” option, and it’s not that painful once you know about it. But I don’t think it’s up to the task, because there’s no selection suitable for human artifacts like sculptures, trash, etc.

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Oh, I have no problem with the annotations being available.

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@parker_hopkins @schizoform @davidenrique @JeremyHussell
As already noted, solutions are already available and in use through Observation Fields and the DQA.

There may well be Observation Fields better than these, but what I’ve seen used and have adopted for the scenarios indicated are:
For dead animals “Dead or alive”
For tracks, nests, feathers, scat, etc. “How was this Detected?” This has a drop down with a number of options.

Regarding photos of human artifacts, rocks, whatever that is not an organism, just click the thumbs down for Evidence of organism in the Data Quality Assessment. (Of course, if it’s a new community member I also try to buffer the Casual grade and big red X with a comment welcoming them and include the blurb in the Frequently Used Responses page for Not an Organism/Test Observations.)

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“Animal Sign and Song” has similar drop down options: tracks, scat, remains, call/song, evidence of feeding, evidence of egg laying, smell, scratching/scent post, nest, burrow, fur/feathers, shell/exoskeleton, shed skin, window print.
I think it’s pretty comprehensive, minus a category for body parts that are periodically shed but aren’t feathers, skin or fur (antlers, teeth, etc - calling them “remains” seems inaccurate).

I guess that is the only argument I would have in favor of a binary annotation (direct observation of the organism vs indirect evidence of the organism): there are so many overlapping observation fields ("How was this detected? ", “Animal Sign and Song”, etc) that filtering them all gets to be tedious.

Of course, annotations are not required fields, so even if that quick and dirty filter/sort existed, the searcher may still get results they didn’t want.

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I completely agree with you, especially since the number of pictures of plants that I’ve taken just have leaves on them.

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For sex, male and female don’t encompass the full range of sexual variation. Hermaphroditic animals, bisexual flowers, as well as other options should be added, in my opinion.

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I hope this is the right place to ask. Would it be possible to add life cycle phase (gametophyte, sporophyte) for seedless plants? That would seem a lot more useful than male/female. I’ve used male/female on some staminate and pistillate flowers, but for seedless plants it’s a bit of a head-scratcher for me. E.g. mosses being so small, there are often both sexes in the same picture, but you can only pick one sex for annotation. For a lot of fern gametophytes, you’d need a microscope to tell the sex and for many the two options are male and bisexual, there are no females. Only having those two choices and having them exclusive of each other doesn’t seem useful in these cases.

I would also suggest that even though you can tell male/female flowers for some plants, it might be more useful to have an option to choose vegetative vs. reproductive for seed plants. I’m sure that would get used a lot more than male/female and would tell you whether there’s a flower/cone/fruit in the picture or not. (Sporophyte/gametophyte doesn’t make sense for seed plants since the gametophytes are microscopic and usually hidden inside the sporophyte plant.)

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The response I’m getting for this is that there are Observation Fields that can take care of a lot of this, even though they’re much less convenient than annotations, and often have redundant fields.

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Welcome to the forum, @annkatrinrose!

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This could also be used for ferns more or less!
The presence of spores or sori on the fronds is important for the ecology of the species.
Also a gametophyte vs sporophyte annotation should exist, specially because some fern gametophytes are very striking.

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Just curious. For the past few days, “sex” has been showing up in the annotation list for plants. It seldom makes sense, but it’s up there first, before the phenological stage. Any reason for this?

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Hmm, the sex annotation for plants has been there for me since annotations were added to the site. I’ve learned to mostly just ignore/glaze over it, but do wish it were gone…

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