Many IDs and Zero Observations

I stick to IDing only in a limited geographic area, so whenever a new identifier appears on something I’ve IDed before, I tend to look at the person’s profile.

Recently, I saw a top identifier of Fritillaria, who based on profile and links is very passionate and expert in that genus.

What surprised me was that this individual had 0 observations, which I’ve only seen a handful of times before. Does anyone else here on the forum do this, and if so, why?

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Some taxon experts prefer to do ID only, perhaps in association with wanting to use iNat data for research. I don’t see any issue with it, we have some great identifiers who don’t also add observations.

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Perhaps using iNat under a different name to the one they use in paid employment (on iNat my opinions are my own)?

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There’re tons of experts with 0 observations, they use iNat for iding, so it makes sense. Their own records are likely in their own collections. e.g. @grigorenko

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I never thought of that but it makes sense

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I must admit the first few times I saw identifiers with few or no observations iNat I was a little skeptical. My skepticism was misplaced. I have no idea why they do what they do but I am glad for it. I’ve learned so much from them.

I’ll second @Marina_Gorbunova and say that @grigorenko has ID’ed observations of mine that nobody else has shown interest in. Each ID taught me something.

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Sonnia Hill is an excellent resource for plant IDs in east Texas. She has helped me a lot with Asteraceae. She doesn’t post observations on iNaturalist. https://www.inaturalist.org/people/sonnia

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Or their collections might already be indexed by GBIF through another database/venue and want to avoid duplicate GBIF entries.

And @grigorenko has provided very helpful IDs to a couple of my observations of neglected insect species!

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Time is also an issue: If you focus on IDing a whole family of animals or plants (in my case Bromeliaceae) you will find that there is little time left to upload own observations. Everyone has just a limited amount of spare time that she / he can use for inaturalist and for myself I found that I have either time to ID or time to do uploads, but rarely time for both.

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I put up minimal obs - most species just the once for my life list (and to show on my profile where and what I am interested in).

But I choose to ID where the need is great.
We each choose how best to use our time on iNat. I don’t want to upload ‘ALL the stuff I saw this time’, I don’t even photograph all of it. Others use iNat as a record of everything they see.

But if there are NO obs I appreciate profile details so I can evaluate their IDs. Kind explanatory comments work too - I also recognise @grigorenko from his IDs on insects.

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Or their collections might already be indexed by GBIF through another database/venue and want to avoid duplicate GBIF entries.

I don’t quite have zero, but with 14 obs to >26400 IDs I guess I come very close, and this is exactly the reason. Here in Denmark we have some good national recording sites, especially for my preferred taxa of fungi including lichens, where I have two thousand observations or so in total, and I would rather avoid double recording. Since that’s where the local community and experts are centralised that’s where the observations go, and then I use iNat IDing as vaguely productive good-feeling procrastination.

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the first few months i used the system, i made identifications without ever making any observations. i think it’s actually a good way to start off. i learned what folks in my area were looking at and what was hard to identify (and what would be needed to identify properly).

then the first couple of times i went out to make observations, i actually had a goal to clear up some of the identification controversies that i was seeing in the area (among blackberries and a Nymphoides), rather than just observing whatever was interesting.

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I know in the UK, because the national recording schemes have started drawing on iNat data, quite a few experts have joined iNat purely to help with managing that data. Many of these people have not made any observations - it’s just not what they joined for.

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I’m not sure, but I thought there was a requirement to have 50 observations before you can post a profile. If that’s the case, maybe the rule should be “50 observations OR 200 IDs” or something. I agree that a profile for the super-identifiers would be welcome.

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I certainly don’t but my nephew has nearly done this. He only uploaded observations at all because he wanted his account to not be hidden because I think iNaturalist will put some borders up until an account kinda proves they are a real person with intentions of using the site correctly. He just wanted to use the site to ID things and look at what other people have encountered. No real ulterior motive for wanting that, that’s just how he immediately wanted to approach the site. So he does it that way.

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Im also so grateful to @grigorenko for IDing neuroptera of Botswana. He does a wonderful job !

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I believe exceptions can be made by emailing staff

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Before they reach the threshold (I can’t actually remember what the number is), a user’s written profile will stay masked to any non-curators. Curators have an option on those profiles to basically flag the user as ‘honourable’/a non-spammer, and it will unmask their profile description

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…and what to avoid observing because it is already overrepresented. Yes, I’m that kind.

My IDing policy is this. I only ID genera or species that I have personal experience with. I will even pass on seemingly simple IDs like a North Florida corn snake because I don’t know the determining factors that give it its name. However, I do review all of the observations that iNatters I follow post. Sometimes I even troll other identifiers’ profile page(s) in order to find iNatters who post a lot of interesting flora and fauna. Nature is my passion and I Eat My Yard. Y’all should eat yours too!

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