Opinion on the computer vision icon?

Hi there. As you all probably know, an ID is marked with the computer vision icon when someone uses computer vision to ID something. I personally don’t like this icon, because it feels like a mark of shame that shows that you might not know what you’re doing. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think badly of people who use computer vision.

It’s nothing strange when someone who makes the observation uses computer vision, but people might get suspicious when you clicked a computer suggestion when IDing someone else’s observation. It makes you look like you’re not very experienced, even though you might have used the computer suggestion just to click a species you already know is the right one. It feels strange to have to type the name of a species even though the computer is already showing it for you to click. But still, it feels awkward to accidentally submit a computer suggestion ID because I forgot to type the species name myself. What do you think of the computer vision icon?


If you ID a lot of stuff, then I think your record can speak for itself. CV saves me so much typing time, I’m happy to give credit where credit is due.


I’m an experienced identifier. I rarely rely on the CV and when I do I post a comment saying the ID is from the CV rather than me. But you know what? I use the CV a lot to save time typing in the name or to provide a name for a species that I know but I can’t remember how to spell. If someone assumes the CV symbol means I don’t know what I am doing, can’t ID the species myself, and just rely on the CV, they’re simply wrong. The problem is with the person making assumptions like that, not with the symbol.


I identify especially grasshoppers and katydids, particularly from Argentina, and know what I’m doing there. I’m often curious how well the CV recognizes certain species (sometimes the correct species is the only suggestion, sometimes it’s among several suggestions). And as already mentioned, it saves typing time. No problem with the icon here.


Like @typophyllum , I am curious to see how well the CV does and which species it can ID well.


And I wonder if clicking the icon to agree reinforces the computer’s vision.
I too click it instead of typing. I use iPhone only, typing gets difficult with older hands.


If you click on the icon, a message-box is shown which describes what the icon represents. It explains pretty clearly that the CV is just a tool, and that the label merely indicates that someone has used it. There’s no hint given there that goes beyond those basic facts.

In my experience, people who actually know that they don’t know what they’re doing, often seem quite happy to point that out in comments - so it’s hard see any real problem here. You even say yourself that you “don’t think badly of people who use computer vision”. Do you really think it’s common for iNat users to claim that the icon represents “a mark of shame”? If so, perhaps the best approach would be to avoid fanning the flames, and try to promote a more positive interpretation instead…

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Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude. I know this is a very nice community, I didn’t mean to make the assumption that people are biased or not nice. I’m sorry if what I said came off as rude.


I’ve always wondered this, too! I used to avoid using the computer vision suggestion in case it damaged my credibility, but lately I feel like “rewarding” the computer vision for getting it correct lol. I feel like it probably learns either way, but I’m also curious if it helps at all.


Rewarding the model… that’s a nice way to see it! I hope it does improve from IDs. Even if it doesn’t, it could be a nice way to see the icon; you’re showing people that the CV works.


This doesn’t feel like a rude question at all- and it’s something I’ve thought about a lot myself :)

I initially had a little concern that upon seeing the icon next to my ID, people might think I’m relying on computer vision rather than my own knowledge, but ultimately I think it’s cool that the computer vision can recognize what it is and I like feeling like I’m “reinforcing” that sometimes.

I completely understand what you’re saying though, I will admit I sometimes specifically avoid clicking the suggestion to prevent the icon from popping up and potentially implying I needed the computer to make an ID, but after a year of identifying, I think I’ve built up my own credibility that it doesn’t bother me much anymore :)


If anything, I would make it larger and red, it’s not a shame if you know what you id, but many don’t and it should be clear for those who like to blindly agree.

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As an IDer I think it’s very helpful: I am more likely to explain a disagreement if the CV icon isn’t there, especially if it’s an unexpected mistake.


I prefer to click thru to the taxon page to see.
Included in CV, or is it still Pending? (waiting for 100 photos, about 60 obs)

iNat adds new species every month, always interesting to click the internal link and see what has been added for my ‘plants on the Cape Peninsula’

Latest CV model was trained on data exported last month on February 19th and added 1,603 new taxa

I like to see if CV agrees with me, if it ‘knows’ that taxon, if it offers something else similar and nearby. No different to using a relevant field guide - which I don’t necessarily have on my shelf, or online and not behind a subscriber / paywall.

Typing leu con to get https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/320039-Leucospermum-conocarpodendron CV wins. Every. Time


Personally I like it because it takes some of the blame off of myself when I get stuff wrong lol. I make a lot of observations of things I know nothing about, so when I upload them I have nothing work with except the CV suggestions. Sometimes those suggestions can be pretty wild, so it’s nice to know the icon is there to show why my initial observation IDs might be far off.

I don’t often use CV for making IDs for other people so it doesn’t bother me too much in that sense, but I totally get what you’re saying. Sometimes I purposefully type stuff out even when the correct suggestion is right there just so it looks like I know what I’m talking about. I don’t think it matters all that much though. It will only harm your reputation if you consistently get stuff wrong.

Here’s a thought: Maybe there should be a similar icon that shows when an ID came from clicking the “Agree” button (if there isn’t already one).

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Wait, there’s people that look at the CV icon and think that means that people don’t know what they’re iding?

Honestly I just use it a lot because I’m monumentally lazy.

I bet 95% of my stuff (or more) has the icon. I don’t care. Like, do I know this is E. Americanum? Yes, there’s literally nothing else in the area that’s a look alike (maybeeeee E. Rostratum but its range is pretty far south of me.) I still hit computer vision because its just ridiculously convenient. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/154759724


I made a post on here about this before. I had somebody insult me for using the CV once. A kind of “you didn’t even know, you had to use the CV” thing, to invalidate me thinking it was something different from them. It was a couple of years ago so I don’t remember everything but I’m pretty sure it was a robin or a starling, something really common like that, and I knew the difference between them and had just hit the wrong one. It made me feel really stupid and bad about myself that I was minimized over an error. And I would’ve felt a lot worse if I actually hadn’t known the difference. I still avoid using the CV casually because of that, even though I know there’s nothing wrong with using it.


I’m with @lothlin almost everything I ID says ‘you needed to use CV’ That is my preferred workflow. And I always check that iNat is displaying the ID I asked for. Sometimes the result is … I didn’t choose that, never heard of it! Delete. Try again.

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I’ve done the same thing. I was uploading common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins from my trip to England and hit the wrong species on one of the photos. I don’t remember which way it went, but someone pointed it out and I felt like an idiot for a while because they are very different. But I still use the CV since I upload multiple photos at a time. No one has made me feel like I didn’t know what I was looking at and honestly I still don’t even know where I would find this “you used CV” icon. But also not looking for it.

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Yeah. I always double check. And if its a species I’m unfamiliar with, i dig into it more to make sure that it did give me the correct ID.

But seriously if anyone thinks i need the computer vision to help me ID grey squirrels in ohio, ive got some magic beans to sell them