Observers Mocking Identifiers?

Sounds like a bit of an edge case. In general, iNat asks not to include habitat shots that don’t include the organism, but a habitat shot zoomed way out which does contain the (tiny and unidentifiable) organism is technically ok.

If there were really no way to assess/ID the organism in a pic, but I still wanted to make an observation, I’d tick “No” for Evidence of Organism on my own observation so it would be there, but wouldn’t end up in the pile for reviewers.


If an observation of mine is DQA to casual is because of “It’s as good as it can be,” I’m not averse to just deleting it. That DQA rating is tantamount to saying that it isn’t useful. Plus, it makes it not useful for my life list.

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I generally try to avoid DQAing other people’s obs to casual - I’ve said this much on other threads though, I really only try to use it on groups I’m really sure of, like Russula.

Though I’m sure there are some people out there that are more casual about it.


Jason, I quite disagree. There will indeed be many cases of images of small (currently) difficult to ID groups for which that DQA is appropriate, but science marches on, and I have shown in my own moth research that there are many identification challenges–previously dismissed by experts–that can be resolved with careful examination of the burgeoning volume of online images.
Images of plants without diagnostic features, or images of insects which are blurred or lack diagnostic detail will be appropriate for that DQA, but not just “difficult to ID” taxa!


Yes. It’s not a good idea, though I’ve done it. But it is one of the allowable uses of iNaturalist and sometimes it has some value, at least for one’s own records.

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i’m much more bothered by someone forcing something back to genus/family because they ‘dont know’ about an ID that I am confident in, than i am someone marking it as can’t be verified and it ends up casual. I don’t think it removes it from your life list does it? And i can still use the observation for my own purposes. If i let it go back to genus level i can’t do that. (but of course if i agree the ID might me wrong i often bump it up as well)


There are two possible things going on when people push something back to genus or whatever. If they’re doing it because they individually don’t know, nothing else, that’s bad. However, if they’re doing it because they think the photo lacks traits needed for identification, then I think they’re justified in pushing it back. And you’d be justified in explaining that some distinguishing trait is in fact visible or that you saw the distinguishing trait that isn’t in the photo.

In any case, pushing something back to genus is not (in my opinion) an example of mocking the identifier, though it can be very frustrating.


well a lot of the time it is intermediate. Like they don’t know and they can’t tell and they think no one else can tell but i am confident I can tell. I am good at picking out plants by gestalt and a lot of time people just don’t believe me, in real life people come to realize i actually can identify them but i can’t prove myself to everyone on a website so i just kind of gave up and made less observations of that sort. But i dont think people should be pushing them back. I think casual is a better place if they think they can’t tell but i am confident. So i reject community ID on those which ends up doing the same thing, but is maybe more confrontational.

But yeah asking for clarity is fine of course. Sometimes my ID is just wrong.


Kind of reminds me of cormorant ID some 50+ years ago. I’d spent a summer observing cormorant behavior. I could often ID the three species here even in flight. I’d do that when with other birders I knew. They insisted no one could ID them in that situation. (Didn’t help that I was female and they were male.) Now? People routinely distinguish them in flight. Sigh.


Yeah it is amazing what people can pick out when they are tuned in, though some people more so than others. I’d say in general, when inat was new i was just trying to fill out the map and collect as much data as possible, and now i don’t tend to post things if i don’t see diagnostic features, at least for plants (for other taxa i often don’t know them). I wish there were better ways to add and track media-less data, but it isn’t really what iNat is set up for.


I feel you on the needing ID data that just aren’t available in pictures - there is a not insignificant amount of mushrooms where taste and/or scent is diagnostic (or at least really helpful in separating out look alikes) and that’s just something that most people don’t think to record when they’re taking pictures.


13 posts were split to a new topic: Identifying by gestalt

THIS. is sooo important with any internet things that involve two or more ppl talking. You cant see their face, or hear their voice, so you can’t tell if they are young (unless they say so, and most young iNatters I have met are actually impressive with their knowledge and maturity)

This is a situation where involving teachers, i.e. teachers accessing the kids’ accounts and guiding proper behavior would be helpful, but that’s another discussion, and I agree that is just better to be ignored.

@lynnharper summerizes this well:


I have to admit I do this all the time… I’m definitely quite ‘plant-blind’, and I only occasionally go out of my way to specifically take photographs of plants. But there are hundreds of plants in the backgrounds of my images of animals, and I figure at least some of them are worth uploading. I barely know anything about plants, so I don’t know what’s identifiable and I don’t know what’s interesting, so I just upload pretty much everything with a very coarse ID. I don’t expect the majority of them will ever receive much of an ID, but if even one of the sightings is useful then I figure it’s worth uploading them. And maybe in time I’ll start to learn some IDs and start to learn what can and can’t be identified.


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