Penang Intersecondary School City Nature Challenge Project


Hey folks, just letting you know I reached out to the creator of and asked them to tell their participants to refrain from making observations of food and such. So no need to reach out to them yourself.

However, I’m not sure this will be in time to stem the tide, so if you want to start marking things captive/cultivated, here is the Identify link:



Just as a note, filtering for Malaysia may be a better option, there are a large volume of records from new users, mostly very low quality, not all assigned to the project. I suspect a lot of the users are not in the project yet

Right now records are coming in from Malaysia at 50 to 100 per minute, almost all either unknown, or incorrectly identified by the computer vision. And it is only early morning there as I write this.

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I’ve also now reached out to the project creator. If you have the interest in helping (those of you who are waking up on Saturday with nothing to do…?), check Tony’s link, and if you don’t have patience right now for thousands of grossly misidentified & captive/cultivated observations, use Chris’s link.

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Looks like we’ll have to go through all the “research grade” stuff as well - they’re agreeing with each others’ mistaken IDs.



Actually my link has far more of the observation, more than double what Tony’s does.
As I write this about 42,000 observations have come in, almost all low quality, and either not identified or wrongly identified.
What i was doing last night was to focus on spotting things clearly wrong and at least knocking them back to a coarse ID before they could get agreed to. I likely barely made a dent as they were arriving faster than i could review them.
Less than 800 of tbe 42000 records are Research grade right now, so that issue thankfully appears to be going slowly.

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I’m going through some but I’m not taking the time to write up a whole paragraph about why I’ve marked something captive. In the interest of time and accomplishing the task, I’m just pasting the link to the help page:

Is that okay?



Mira, in this egregious case I am marking things captive as fast as I possible can with no explanation. If you can paste that in, great. I mostly wasn’t even coarsening/correcting ID mistakes for captive things, in the interest of trying to quickly move many observations to casual (not ideal).

Sorry I didn’t look closely enough at your link last night, Chris. Here’s what I meant (a Needs ID search excluding Malaysia):
Use that link ^^^ if you’d prefer to ignore these.

The project is up to 65K observations from over 1400 users. It is thankfully ending today. Staff will discuss other possible interventions on Monday. Patrick increased some capacity to minimize the impact on overall site performance.



Another link you can use is this one

Which is all the records from Malaysia from the past few days which have achieved Research Grade status grouped by species, so you can scan and see if anything looks unlikely.

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I dont mean to be cynical. but I think you may be just shouting into the wind. 99% of the records are coming in via the mobile app, where seeing comments is tough, plus new users who dont learn the app. Additionally past Nature Challenges show the vast majority of users will never return after the Challenge is over.

There’s no harm, but I fear very minimal benefit.



Yikes. I wonder if there is a way to leverage Seek to let people do this sort of project with Seek and create a species list that way. It would be full of wrong stuff, but wouldn’t matter so much. Maybe you already did that with the new updates?

what a mess. I will look at some too if i get a chance, but have a bored toddler on my lap now so may not get to for a bit. Unless there’s some broader way to deal with it and we shouldn’t even bother.



Here’s what mammals has turned into (and this isn’t even showing casual obs)

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I’m not sure if the site is breaking under the load, but it seems like a lot of apparent duplicates are getting added too (the same photo appears multiple times in your screenprint), I am seeing the same thing on birds etc.

This was not happening yesterday, maybe it is just more users finding bad things to do, but there might be a technical issue as well.



I haven’t seen duplicates like that this morning and I’ve gone through quite a few observations. The site is definitely slow at the moment, I would imagine due to this project. Thankfully the project be over soon.

The project itself doesn’t include RG observations, so Chris’s link is probably a bit better to use.



Those cat photos all by the same user are actually subtly different (though obviously still shouldn’t constitute multiple observations). If you compare the first one to the last one, you can see the cat turns her head, is at a slightly different angle, and takes up less of the frame. I’ve seen other “duplicates” of this style, but I’ve also seen the same photo re-posted by different users. As discussed previously, this isn’t really against the rules – if four people all saw the same thing together, they can technically all post the same photo. I’ve also seen what I think Chris is talking about – the same user posting the same image multiple times. Here’s the exact same image posted by multiple users (ok), but also twice by the same user (not ok).



site is super slow, I’m refreshing the page every few minutes is there anything I else I could/ should be doing to improve my workflow here? (after lunch :slight_smile:) no big deal…I’ll do whatever it lets me at whatever pace



Here is another example, I have no idea if this user actually submitted this 14 different times (it looks like the exact same photo), and id’ed it as 14 different things (I’ve corrected all the ID’s), or something went silly on their upload:



I’d suggest a workflow that involves a six-pack or the adult drink of your choice.

Just went over 95k records (they seem to have changed the rules so the project dropped to 58k, but records keep flowing in).



Frustrating. The whole approach should be re-evaluated. Cleaning up tens of thousands of more or less frivolous records shouldn’t be up to volunteers. New users generating 700 observations within 3 days of registering isn’t what I’d call “getting close to nature”. Promoting automatic species ID when its capability is heavily biased towards US/NZ organisms is counterproductive.



I almost wrote a very similar message yesterday, but held off for fear it would not have been as polite.

The end ‘result’ of this is:
Roughly 95,000 records added
Right now about 1400 are research grade, of those roughly 500 are from less than 10 species dominated by the same users entering dozens of records of the same species
There are still clearly wrong Id’s in the research grade records
Probably hundreds of hours of cleanup so far by site users, which has still not come close to cleaning it up
Thousands of incorrectly identified or unreviewed records impacting ranges etc (good news Charlie, we found a new stronghold for Coast Live Oak)

And in April or May, it will be maybe a hundred cities doing a nature challenge, not one. I dont know what the site staff expect of the community when that happens.

I sympathize with the outreach goals of the site, but this is not what the site is for, and I fear does damage to its credibility in terms of working with more serious bodies.

Sadly the only word that comes to mind for it is silly.



lol. but seriously, the main way i find a lot of my wrong IDs is via the range maps. I look at a species i know well, go find all the outlying points, and look at them. Usually they are wrong IDs or planted species (i mostly look at plants) but every now and then i get to see someone’s find of a new outlying population or invasive species introduction so that’s pretty neat. There are ways that could make that easier, like filtering for a species by not-location (coast live oak and not california) or improving the functionality of Atlases in terms of broader review and ID.

And i agree that this isn’t really what iNat should be fore, but i don’t think there is any broad agreement on that, thus my provocative and dead end post about changing the site ‘mission statement’. I think there is real danger of it getting diluted to the point of uselessness by this stuff, and it is already happening in some areas, but that is kind of a broader conversation. As someone else stated recently, exponential growth is really hard to do well for a community (or a species but that’s another whole issue) and i do thinkthe main goal of iNat over the next year or two should be to focus on core functionality and attracting more ID help. Good news though, the post from the retreat they just had mentioned doing just that! But we have to get through the city nature challenge first. (i guess this is one upside of the city nature challenge being timed at the wrong time of year for Vermont, i don’t have to deal with that flood)