Poor quality photo observations from the past have received Research Grade

In the past, I was too eager to make observations, so there are a fair amount of poor quality photos. Some never reached Research Grade, so I deleted them. But some received Research Grade status, so I held off on deleting. I have tried a bit of searching, read several threads in their entirety (e.g. “What is evidence?”), and those have been illuminating, but I’m debating about deleting the others because of their poor quality evidence.
Thank you.

I’d say leave them. They are identifiable. They are evidence that an organism was present at the time and place. (I’m no an official voice for iNaturalist, but that’s what I think.) And believe me, yours aren’t the only poor quality photos posted.


any observation of any organism, research grade or not, is data. please, please, please don’t delete observations.


Agreed, unless you have reason to believe that the photos do not actually show the species they got identified to, there is no reason to delete them.


Agreed with the above posters - I have posted some really crappy photos when I don’t have my good camera (case in point here, from just this week) because I knew they were still identifiable. As long as you can see the diagnostic features for that taxon it’s best to keep them.

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I’ll add that we actually learn something from the poor quality ones too. Namely how poor does a photo have to be to make it unidentifiable. It also becomes useful for quantifying identification rates and observer effort. Not a huge deal if you did, but definitely no reason to delete.


I’ll add that if they are bird photos for instance, there are some very skilled folks here who can id on what to you might look like just a suggestion of a bird. :)


some of the blurry birds i have posted I have NO IDEA how people get IDs but there are just some amazing birders and with some habitats/colors/behaviors the selection is very limited


After posting that yesterday, I laughed when I saw an example this morning:


I’m a very novice birder. I use a simple, cheap Nikon and I am able to get picture of birds that are high in a tree. They are not perfect pictures and most of the time blurry. Sometimes, I just see movement and start to click. If we couldn’t submit blurry or imperfect pictures, I think it would be near impossible to get a lot of bird observations. I have had a few birds who did seem to pose for me, though. But that is normally not the case. I trust that experienced birders can tell by the shape, coloring, location and habitat, what the bird is and that’s how they can identify.


Not everyone has big expensive gear, nor do they have mad photography skills. When people “critique” photos in iNat, it is typically aimed at those that WANT to improve skills and gear, but that is not a requirement. iNat is about the observation, the momentary encounter between observer and creature/etc, in what ever shape or form that takes. Often it is fleeting, blurry, not ideal for identification purposes… but that doesn’t eliminate the value to science. They don’t have to be “perfect” observations to derive information from them. But all the same, I think it is good to be sharing information about what is and what is not good for identification purposes, because sometimes the opportunity exists to get those shots, or those angles, and if all it takes is someone suggesting a way to use the camera better, or a trick to “get up closer” without spooking the critter, then that is a valid way to “add value” to other peoples observations.

In short, what you are doing is fine. That others might suggest ways to make it finer, is a good thing!