Possible Solutions to common State of Matter Life issues?

One example:


One possible solution might be a popup or something to say “This organism is not in the Kingdom selected by the observer–please review your ID”? There are too many of these on State of Matter Life in my opinion. The observer did nothing wrong and yet the observation is stuck for who knows how long. Other ideas welcome.


If an observer wants something ID’d that is not the most obvious thing in the picture, they should write a comment about it. In my opinion, IDing things in the background should be done with extreme care, because doing so messes with the AI and with people going through the photos. If the AI starts thinking that acacias look like hawks, it’ll start suggesting acacias when people upload hawk pictures, which will just make the problem worse. Many people don’t seem to really pay attention to what suggestion they click on when they upload observations. In addition, doing things like that makes it much harder for people to browse through images and check whether they’re correctly identified or not. I’ve been doing a lot of going through “research grade” observations, and those kinds of observations (with a tiny target organism in the background or something) are a real pain.

So to summarize, I think in situations like that it’s best to err on the side of IDing the most obvious thing in the picture, unless the observer explicitly comments about it. If they can’t be bothered to write a simple explanation, why should we bother to try to read their minds and give them exactly what they want?

(besides, In this particular case, the user’s name is also johnnybirder. That suggests he is mostly interested in birds.)


In a case like this an observer’s disambiguation goes a long way. A description statement like, “the bird is in another observation, this is for the plant” will make it clear it’s not a misclick initial id.

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i think people just need to pay attention. in the observation referenced in the first post, the first identification is by the observer, and the observer ids a plant. i can understand if someone is identifying too fast and accidentally ids this as a hawk, but if you recognize that the observer indicates a plant, why would you still id this as a hawk?


That was really my point–something that makes identifiers pay more attention. A pop-up would slow down a good proportion of the genus identifications in the wrong Kingdom, also, which are made by all kinds of people, including experts who do not respond to “@” messages. Another possible solution would be subtracting wrong IDs like this from the leaderboards, as a motivation to be a little more careful. Or how about a flag that just delays the ID from affecting community ID for 5 days?


i think a pop up would annoy more people than it helps. look at the first response to your topic. i doubt that a pop up would have stopped that person from making the hawk id.


He did. He identified the plant.


I agree. The observer has explicitly stated what he is trying to identify.

This is clearly stated in Identification Etiquette No 11:

@davidenrique please correct your ID.


The comment @johnnybirder has now added on the observation indicates that he is interested in more than birds. I don’t think relying on user names or icons is a good idea because people can be interested in more than one thing. I have a user name that is a bird and I also have a flower icon, and I do love both birds and flowers, but I also make observations of many other things.


and then there are these weird twists of turn … :roll_eyes:



This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

@karen33317 I could not disagree with you more, and I hope you didn’t already turn into action what you described here. Don’t infer from your own mindset on the actions of others. And do you imply the observer should go back the tree he photographed in 2015 to shoot it without a bird sitting on it?
Do you say I shouldn’t have uploaded all my plant observations from travels to foreign countries, because there are animals in focus, and at that time I was taking the pictures didn’t know iNaturalist even existed?
An initial ID by the observer can already be seen as a description. More written information would be always desirable, but is not required and 5 duplicates of the same photo are perfectly fine.


No, but I will imply that back in 2015 the person took the photo because of the bird NOT the wattle. So his observation is for the bird. I will imply the same to you as well. Whatever your photos are, you had something that was the primary reason to take the photo, that is the observation.

The stinkbug photo was taken 2 days ago and there is no reason why the person couldn’t take another photo.

You can disagree with me and I can disagree with you, that is what opinions are for. If you had looked, I hadn’t changed any IDs on either example, since I am still capable of honoring iNat’s wishes.

This is completely irrelevant. Original intentions of the photographer have zero relevance to the focus of an observation.


Why would this take away from the quality of iNat? Surely it adds to the quality because more observations/potentially more species are being added to it?


Exactly. I don’t think I’m wrong if I say iNat’s primary purpose is collecting distribution data. In that light, duplicate observations only adds value.


Right, this is where a few easy words (eg, “for the tree”) added by the observer will make a huge difference. Because misclicks and mis-selected autosuggestions as the starter id happen a fair amount.

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Here is an example for a probable misclick, maybe a problem of autosuggestion. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/33412446
Fortunately, this observation got struck as “state of matter life” only for a short time.

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Often after identifying one organism in the photo, another one is realized to be visible and so the observation can be copied and another one made for that. It makes a lot of sense to identify both the plant and the bird here (in separate observations of course). And, as yet another reminder, no, there is no requirement to take a prettier or more zoomed in picture, and it is inappropriate to comment on why the observer did or didn’t. The rule of thumb is ALWAYS to identify the organism the observer intended. Period.

No, it really doesn’t. This is how science, data collection, and general use of iNat works. It adds data and adds to the overall quality of the site. This is well established in teh both formal FAQs/directions and the informal etiquette. I’m sorry you don’t like it, but it’s just how the site works.


This is not true at all. This person is editorializing what they wish were the case, but it’s totally at odds with the site. They may have their opinions, we all do, but these opinions are contrary to the purpose and stated goal and protocol of the inat. Just ignore them and if they add inappropriate IDs, flag them. They barely use iNat anyway.