Observers Mocking Identifiers?

In my years of using the internet forums in a crazed manner, in some years I might have faced depression and things that messed up my mind a little. I learn to troll and get trolled too.
In this case, the observer wants to identify the tree or plant and not the bird. He or she has communicated the desire to identify the plant. It is sometimes convenient to just use an existing photo, and not have to shoo away the bird.
What I’ve learned is not to read between the lines, in any forums, fb and various social medium. We are typing at a fast pace sometimes, trying to maximise the time in a ‘blitz’. I’ve personally chosen not to respond with thankyous and may not be able to respond if hit a dead link in the quest to find ids. Could that be perceived as mocking ? I donno how people will think. To add, people shouldn’t be thinking it is mockery, if an identity of a very broad nature is entered, like say flowering plants, aves etc…


I have posted some truly terrible bird photos that were IDed almost instantly (and correctly). One of the things I love about the iNat community is that there are people who can and do ID smudges, mangled bits of feather, a trodden-on bit of dung, etc. Sometimes I look for the worst photos of the organisms I know, just to see how bad a photo I can confidently ID.

I personally find this really impressive. My vision isn’t great, so I often see tiny organisms in my photos that I never noticed in the field. I find it inspiring to have an IDable community in one photo. In the park where I work we have almost 33K observations, but some species are documented only as ‘bycatch’ in a single photo where I was aiming at something else.

Sometimes, I take a photo of a bird from 100m away, and when I look at the photo later, notice it is holding a kind of seed or flower I’ve never seen before, and I really want to know what it is, so I tag @graysquirrel and often she can ID it in an instant.

None of this is done in mockery, and all of it is within the stated mission of iNat.


I think observers sometimes post observations simply to record that Species X was at Place Y, without any expectation of getting a confirming ID. Those observations may be frustrating to identifiers and will probably clutter up the Needs ID queue for decades, but I think it’s a legitimate use of iNat.


I do this. A lot of the time, I don’t care if it’s casual grade even, I just want the record for myself.


@robot Thanks for the link to the “Elephant Seal” project…I think. I’ve probably done those kinds of uploads a time or two, but that project just highlights how not to do iNat uploads. I have to laugh at many of them (“the feather behind the scaup”), but overall I find such offerings just annoying for … well, for lack of nicer words, how lazy and inconsiderate they are from the OPs. I tend to be OCD regarding my iNat uploads (cropping, etc.)–and for better or worse, that brings along with it an annoyance with anyone who doesn’t iNat exactly like me–but that’s my burden to bear. In the meantime, I’ll just keep giggling at those “Elephant Seal”-type offerings…and pass them by.


That’s me also. If I have to spend too much time and mental energy trying to figure out what an observer is trying to show me, I skip over it. My personal rule is that an identifier shouldn’t have to spend more time evaluating my photo than I spent preparing the photo and associated data.


Majority of the time when I have observations like that, I will zoom in and include the close up shot and the whole frame shot. I also use the notes to exclude what I am not looking to ID and include what I am looking to ID. Then I add it to the project. I’d actually consider it to be more effort than a lot of my other observations that are mostly straightforward and easy to produce and upload. I’ve definitely seen some that don’t feel that way at all, though. Like full frame shots with no other specification other than an ID that isn’t apparent. I haven’t encountered those much, or maybe at all, in that project. I think most people who use the project do it in a thoughtful and appropriate way, a way that intends to make it as convenient as possible for identifiers.


Well perhaps, but identifiers (who knows how many) aren’t going to know that the observation was posted purely for personal reasons and are still going to spend valuable time and energy trying to ID it… time and energy that could perhaps be better invested in IDing observations from observers who are actually interested and impatient to receive the input of identifiers. And who may lose interest in iNat if they have to wait too long for their observation to come to the top of the ever-growing pile of Needs ID.
Far from me to suggest that this use of iNat as a purely personal way of recording observations is in any way illegitimate, but I can’t really see how “cluttering up” the already bursting ID queue can be a good thing for either identifiers or other observers waiting eagerly to get an ID. Perhaps it would be possible in such cases to introduce a “Private” category that would remove the observations from the ID process altogether.

Or the observer could leave a copypasta note up top.

This is just for fun, for my records, please ignore for the Needs ID queue. Tx.

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I wish there were some way for the observer to categorize such observations, such that they don’t show up in Needs ID. Clearly, they are not Research Grade, but neither are they Casual in the usual senses of that word. The observations may in fact be of the species the observer noted, but they are just not identifiable by anyone else as that species.


It would help, but it would still be “cluttering up” the Needs ID queue and every IDer who passes through still has to open the observation, read the comment, mark as reviewed and move onto the next ob. Seems like nothing, but it’s all valuable ID time wasted on a personal observation that was never even intended for community attention.
Just a thought (off-topic, sorry), if a user opts out of the community ID, does the ob still turn up in the Needs ID queue? Never done it, so not sure how it works.

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I know this is true for some people in my area who are using the photos to mark the homes of bees that are not currently in the photo. I think it’s a legitimate use of iNaturalist, though it does take me a moment looking at a photo of dirt and a few grass leaves before I remember what’s going on.

A couple times, I’ve posted habitat shots of birds I can hear but not see. I write why I’m posting this for, say, Grasshopper Sparrow though there’s no bird in the photo. I think that’s OK. (I’m no good at sound recording.) Certainly this is not intended to mock anybody.

I also get thrown off my stride by good clear photos of a plant or plant part that are absolutely not identifiable but when I look at the observer I realize he certainly knows this plant and posted this to show us what the plant in question can look like, not to get an ID. Another legitimate use of iNaturalist, I think, though disconcerting.


Yes. Usually the only thing that moves it out of the Needs ID grade is to use the DQA. “It’s as good as it can be” is usually what is most appropriate. It will put it at casual.



And they get in-can-des-scent with rage - when I write ‘opted out’ in a comment. Since iNat chooses to grey out the info off to the side. Opted Out should be top centre so we can, deliberately choose, to include or exclude those. (That is global opt out for ‘all my’ obs not the case by case for good reason) That queue of patient and persistent and why-isn’t-this-working identifiers is also a waste of time.

(DQA to Casual … oh that will not be welcomed!)


Personally I don’t care if someone opts out of CID, or if they’re posting observations that can’t really get to RG status - iNat is a big tent and there are many reasons people use it. If someone’s opted out of CID, adding my ID to the observation may not change its data quality (although it might), but that’s no skin off of my back. As long as their use falls within the purview of the site, I’m happy to ignore their observaitons if I want to or am not in the mood to engage at the moment - there are plenty of other observations I can take a look at.

Because iNat is so important to us I think we sometimes forget that we don’t have to be responsible for fixing everything and if one thing is let slide it will ruin it for others.

That doesn’t mean I don’t get frustrated or that anyone shouldn’t be frustrated - it’s natural. But let’s assume everyone means well (because the vast, vast majority do), everyone’s coming to iNat from different backgorunds and needs, and that it’s OK to move on to the next observation.


They could just tick “good as can be” right away which would help (though not take it out of the ID queue right away).


don’t you need a second id to get this to happen? I wish it did work this way but last i checked it doesn’t.


Yes, I think they would need two. But if they check it right away, then only one IDer will have to interact with it (eg, they could give any ID, even just a non-disagreeing “Life”), which is an improvement over lots of IDers.


i wish more people would do non-disagreeing higher level IDs for observations like that. It’s too binary to either add a disagreeing ID and just totally knock it back involuntarily (justified for some observations but overused imho) or just click reviewed and contribute nothing to fixing it


Wouldn’t this immediately qualify for a DQA of “No” for “Evidence of an organism”, that is, without a photo or recording? I’ve occasionally included habitat images for context but only as a 2nd, 3rd, etc., image.

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