On the identify page, why does the source for suggestions default to "observations" instead of "visually similar"?

Visually similar seems far more useful.


Definitely agree


I personally do use the “Observations” filter more frequently than “Visually Similar” in the Suggestions tab. That said, just crossposting this related discussion for consideration if the filters are modified: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/compare-suggestions-source-visually-similar-filter-by-taxon-by-default/673


I usually want to take a look at other observations of the species in question first to see the variability and if it’s a good match. If it’s not, then I go to ‘visually similar’.

Honestly, it doesn’t really make much difference to me which way it is though.


I tend to go with Visually Similar since I try to ID observations from all over the world, many of which don’t have IDs at all, but if I’m restricting my Identify search to something where I’m a bit more knowledgable, I tend to use Observations. I’d have to double check but part of the motivation here might be to reduce extra hits on the computer vision model. But I’m not sure.


Well, I’m a fan of the Checklist option myself, at least when I already have some idea of what I’m looking at. For places where checklists have been curated, it makes sure that I consider species that might not yet have observations in iNat (which I then look up in other sources). Species with no iNat observations will also not be represented in Visually Similar. Have definitely found a few new taxa on iNat this way. And for places where checklists have just been automatically assembled from observations, the checklist option is generally equivalent, and again, Visually Similar will only cover the most observed taxa.

That said, I do also use Visually Similar when I’m stumped or need a memory jog. And it seems easy enough to change between all the options in any case. So if there is a majority preference for a new default, that won’t bother me one way or the other.


I almost always want checklist and state level. I’ve probably clicked visually similar by accident more times than intentionally. I think the way to make everyone (except the devs) happy is to have it be a sticky setting.


I suppose it depends on what you tend to ID. The " observations" (wait, is just me or did this used to be called “seen nearby”?) setting probably seems more useful if the image in question is already ID’d to a reasonably fine taxon, or if you’re in a geographic area where the computer vision never suggests the correct thing. For me, neither of those tend to be true.


Great idea. I’d love all sorts of features to have sticky settings! But given we’re still waiting for the notifications revamp, I’m not sure how likely we are to get any other new features.


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