New Questagame feature

In the past 24 hours Questagame has begun to add comments to its observations. It’s obviously important for users on the app to be able to contribute IDs, but the comments themselves are irritating; they don’t actually contribute a vote/ID to the observation, but they nonetheless create a notification. I’ve received 100+ notifications today of comments reading ‘magpie’ or ‘galah’ on observations that are already RG. I have notifications for agreeing IDs turned off, so it’s annoying that what are effectively agreeing IDs, but without even the actual ID, are generating notifications. I believe this is affecting a number of users, especially those who frequently ID Questagame observations in Australia. Hoping to get the attention of a Questagame admin here in an attempt to resolve this.

Examples like this https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/28432425#activity_comment_3142575 are at least logical, because an ID is being made somewhere, but ones like this https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/28353035#activity_comment_3142587 seem redundant.

Obviously the second example would be no different to someone on iNat itself posting the same comment, but my main qualm here is that agreeing IDs are being treated as comments and thus creating unnecessary notifications.

We’ve suspended the Questagame accounts. It looks as if this has only been active a few hours and we’ve already received numerous complaints (e.g. this one)

Some background: Questagame (aka Andrew Robinson) implemented something similar to this (with IDs rather than comments) on Jul 5, 2018. Soon after he turned it on we asked him to turn it off in an email because:

  1. Questagame is using a different taxonomy than iNaturalist
    for example - I assume this is referring to Uca (sensu lato) whereas iNaturalist interprets Uca as sensu stricto
    https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/14278024

  2. there’s no channel of communication for the iNaturalist community to debate/discuss these identifications with real human beings

  3. they are generating notifications for iNat community members subscribed to these obs that they are interpreting as spammy (since they don’t clearly come from an individual user) and we’ve received several complaints.

We asked Andrew to use observation fields rather than identifications to record Questagame associated metadata since they don’t incur these 3 impacts. To his credit, Andrew did do as we asked one year ago. However, today, Andrew turned on similar functionality using comments instead of identifications. Had he contacted us before implementing this, we would have asked him not to due to concerns (2) and (3) and, more generally, because iNaturalist’s terms of service forbid machine generated content. We’ve also had some other concerns with Questagame’s use of iNaturalist described here.

2 Likes

Thanks for the response @loarie. Would be a shame to lose all that data if it did come to that.

We were looking into ways to solve the issue raised by kiwifergus - allowing communications between people leaving comments, which seemed to be the number one request from iNat users.

It’s a tricky thing to test. Will turn it off.

Is there any easy way to tag the QGame account such that it doesn’t send out alerts for every comment? Or that could allow people to easily block it (maybe blocked by default)?

Alternatively, is there a way for the comments to go in as IDs without causing the “Uca (sensu lato) vs. Uca as sensu stricto” issue? Would we need to switch away from our current GBIF taxon structure?

  • Andrew

Hi @thebeachcomber - understand and appreciate the annoyance. Thanks for alerting. We shut it off immediately.

Quick question: If the comments were NOT added to RG sightings, or, say, if they weren’t “agreeing” comments, could they be at all useful?

It would be easy for us to ONLY post comments that were new/different to what’s already there. (Ability to communicate back and forth with the commenter would be next step).

We have a lot of experts IDing sightings, and many of them disagree with iNat’s IDs, including RGs.

Also, keep in mind that none of the people IDing can see previous IDs, so they’re not jumping on any bandwagon, so to speak.

Keen to hear your thoughts.

This would be 100% useful, especially where experts are disagreeing (obviously as long as it still stays within iNat’s guidelines as discussed by @loarie).