From my usage of the site, it appears that the ‘Needs ID’ queue is inundated with observations that probably cannot be improved. There are also things like ‘species complexes’ and other below genus declarations that seem to be pseudo species level but are not research grade because of how the system labels these automatically. Do people tick this “No, it’s good as it can be” box? There are some genera etc. I would feel comfortable ticking this box for, but I am unsure exactly what it means, what the recommended practice is or how other folk and experts use the site. And I don’t want to step on anybody’s toes. It seems like a waste for many observations that are as good as they can be to either not be data points or to permanently clog up the pile.
Any advice or opinions would be appreciated!
“No, it’s good as it can be” is for taxa that cannot be identified visually (for example some slugs or insects need to be dissected in order for them to be identified, or for example some plants can only be identified up to genus level if they’re not currently flowering, or a bryophyte species can only be identified by observing its cells under a microscope and you only have a phone, or for example a bird in the photo is blurry or far away and you cannot see the markings that would let you ID it to species)
That’s just some examples, hopefully it makes sense! Out of my own observations, I got “Tenthredo mesomela complex” (insect) to research grade, Alchemilla sp. to research grade (these plants are not easily identified and need a series of photos including flowers and ventral side of leaf to be id’ed to species, my photo did not show the diagnostic features), Geum sp. (Plants can only be identified to species when they are flowering, and my photo only showed leaves)
Yes thank you that does make sense! I guess just because I see so many of these examples I felt like it isn’t being used and it would be presumptuous of me to start. But I suppose that is probably survivorship bias as the ones that have been ticked are no longer in the queue.
It is used, but be careful and only use it cases where you have the knowledge it can’t be ided further by anybody.
I’ll second what Marina is saying: Only use the “No, it’s as good as it can be” IF you are a taxonomic expert on a group of species and can demonstrate that there is no conceivable way to separate species from photos. Please don’t make the supposition that since some group of species are currently not separable in photos, that they are destined to remain that way. iNaturalist has been the platform used by professionals and non-professionals alike to investigate such cases and move the boundaries of identification forward!
Be aware that some observers may not want their observations checked “no, it can’t be improved,” even if you, the identifier are really very sure the observations can’t be IDed to a finer level. So, keep an eye on your notifications and be willing to uncheck that box if it makes someone happy.
Also, as @w4v alluded to above, observations at genus level can reach Research Grade if there are at least two IDs at the genus and someone checked “no, it can’t be improved.” For example, I leave my own hawthorn observations at Crataegus and, when I remember to, I check “no, it can’t be improved” if I didn’t see flowers or fruits. That way, if someone agrees with my Crataegus ID, the observation goes to Research Grade and doesn’t clutter up the Needs ID queue for years.
Thanks everyone. I agree, I am not attempting to irritate anyone or do things I shouldn’t. My main focus is learning to ID fungi, many of which cannot be identified to species without microscopy. For example there are legions of observations of Russula which are quite recognisable from a humans eye view photo of the cap to genus, but requires a suite of other information to think about the species.
Agreed with those above that recommend ticking this box only sparingly and in areas where you have expertise and are 100% sure others will not be able to make a better ID.
You probably know this, but you can tick the reviewed box to remove a “Needs ID” observation from your own queue so at least you don’t need to see it again!
I’ll just echo what has already been said - there are a number of Noctuid moth species that cannot be identified visually, and have been grouped into ‘Complexes’ and after two or three ID’s at this level I’ll check the box to get it to research grade. I use it sparingly - in those instances only. Even if I don’t think a photo is possible to identify - underside photos, wings not visible, blurred etc., I will NOT check the box. I’ll leave a note, but others may know or be able to sort it out.
I am not a naturalist, so I typically stay away from that box.
There is only one instance when I use it - that is when there are multiple organisms on a single observation. I generally comment to the user about it, asking them to separate, and if the observation comes up again on my list and still hasn’t been fixed some weeks later, I follow the Inat help files instructions about it. I ID to a coarse ID that includes all the organisms (often “Life”) and click the “No, it’s as good as it can be” box.
This has the benefit that if someone else agrees with my identification the observation flips to casual. Sometimes it seems to happen even if they identify to something different - I’m not sure how that works exactly, but it’s nice to have a method of dealing with these.
Sometimes I think I should check it for extremely poor-quality photos, just so some other person doesn’t have the hassle of looking at them, but then I’ve seen people identify some things from low quality photos so I’m hesitant on that one.
With 68.5 thousand ID’s you are a Naturalist whether you want to be or not! As a few folks have said above, only check the box if you are very familiar with the group. If something seems poorly photoed, just leave it unchecked. Perhaps in the future someone may be able to ID it. As I said above, I leave a note giving my impression - perhaps (or not) it will prompt someone else to take a look. iNat will likely accumulate a library of very poor photos. I hate to pass the buck, but it is something the administrators will have to deal with. I don’t think it is within my pay grade to make those decisions, except when I’m sure.
Where does one find this tickbox? I haven’t come across such yet…
It’s on the bottom of observation page.
Another example: a close-up of a yellow, dandelion-like flower, with none of the rest of the plant visible.
This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.