Problem with People Ignoring Description

I know that I don’t define the position of the birds, but I’m not sure if that would help. The user seems to be ignoring the description so even if I did include it, it might just be ignored. (Also, it’s not like I never include placements descriptions. Sometimes I do if I think it might not be obvious were the subject is. It just takes a lot of time to do sometimes and I don’t want to include placement if it’s not necessary.) I agree with @jimbee with this user not being more precise because most of the time he just lists all the species there and never asks where the individuals are. Also, if he has trouble finding them, why wouldn’t he just ask me to point out where they are?
As to the examples I gave, they aren’t all of the times that this particular user, and others, have done this. I’m pretty sure that he has added other IDs, but it’s hard to find the observations since I don’t know how to search for observations with comments.
Edit: I found another observation where he makes a disagreeing ID: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/31576648
And another user making a disagreeing ID (although she didn’t make a comment) also not responding to comments :
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/29453221

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I’d send the person a nice message thanking him/her for the advice and for narrowing down your identifications (he/she does seem to have some expertise from what I see), but explain you have your own system for posting photos which you prefer. You could add that you are sorry that he/she finds your system frustrating (from the comments, I think you also have a frustrated identifier) and add that you would understand if the reviewer decides against offering identifications for you in the future. However, you do not want any additional advice about how to post your observations. Then you have offered your olive branch, explained your position, and made it a direct request just in case you need to report. I can see both sides of the argument here, honestly, and I think there’s a communication breakdown. It would probably be best if the person decides not review your observations anymore. There’s no need to be so persistent on his/her part, since again, they are your observations.

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Thanks for that! I think I’ll do that if he doesn’t respond in a few days.

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Well now I know you’re a much nicer person than I am, lol.

Some people just get hung up on things they decide aren’t being done “correctly” by their definition, and it seems like that user is one of them. @octobertraveler 's idea sounds nice and polite but firm. If he doesn’t respond or continues doing the same thing after that I’d say block him. It sucks to have to do that but he’s not helping you and is causing frustration instead so I’d say it’s justified.

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Cropping the photos to show the subject animal(s) would help, or being more descriptive as to which bird in the photo is the one to be IDed (e.g., 3rd bird from the left). I found it confusing when I looked at these pics to know for sure what the subject was.

The reviewer shouldn’t have to work harder than the submitter in interpreting and then IDing a record.

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With all due respect, since there are multiple people doing the same thing, don’t you think it might be what you are doing rather than all these other people’s fault? I really don’t think you’ll be successful in continuing posting things like this and prevent people from not responding the way they are. The way you’re posting is perfectly allowable, but it’s obviously catching people off guard. Whenever I find that my actions are tripping up multiple people, I start to wonder if it’s not something that I’m doing. If it happens once, I blame the other person (don’t we all!), but if it happens with three people, I start to wonder!

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Another thing for everyone to keep in mind is that not everyone posting to iNat is seeking a second opinion on identification. Not sure if that’s relevant in this case, but it’s something I’ve experienced myself when submitting similar photos that have multiple subjects. iNat used to have a separate manual toggle to request identification help and the switch to everything starting as “Needs ID” erased some of that nuance. So I try to remember to approach other users’ observations not assuming I’m necessarily there to teach the user something or point out flaws.

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As usual, I think the first step should be to reach to the people involved and explain the situation and ask them (without implying any purposefully malicious actions on their parts) why they are adding the IDs they are adding. Direct communication is not always easy, but I think it removes a lot of the assumptions we make that can cloud our thoughts. Speaking personally, almost every time I’ve been angry or frustrated with someone it’s because I’ve assumed something about them or their actions. Once I talk to them directly, that usually goes away because I can see where they’re coming from (even if I don’t agree with them). If they don’t get back to you after a few days, then perhaps blocking or muting might be necessary. You can always reach out to help@inaturalist.org or a curator if need be.

iNaturalist is a social network and thus really a communication platform, one with a global reach, and it’s always good to remember not everyone is like you, and that people make mistakes, like not reading the description when they’re IDing observations. I agree with @pfau_tarleton that sometimes you need to reevaluate how you’re communicating (which includes the photos and observations descriptions) if what you’re doing is coming across as clearly to some people as maybe it could - which may or may not be the situation here. But I think it comes down to reaching and seeing if that works, first. My two cents.

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Note that the “annoying” reviewer actually devoted a fair amount of time trying to interpret these records and actually IDed the terns in one pic. He/she devoted more time than most of us would. If I can’t figure out quickly what I’m looking at in a record, I usually move on and don’t provide ID or comment. The burden is on the submitter to make the record as clear as it can be for ID purposes … assuming they want an ID.

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My opinion, it is necessary, if you want anyone else to verify your observations. You don’t want to take the time to do it and then you want to get upset that someone else comments about it. If other people verifying is not important, then mark your observations as casual.

Respectfully what else would you like the original submitter to do to reduce the burden?

In each case I looked at, they submitted a record, noted there were other species present in the photo, and did an ID which clearly indicated what the observation was for and was applicable to only 1 thing in the photo.

Cropping or zooming a photo so as to exclude everything else only on many cases leads to blurry poor quality photos, and in many cases a reference versus other things to the relative size of subjects is actually helpful.

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I think you’ve misinterpreted what I meant here. I’m not saying that this user is ‘bad’ in any way. He has even been helpful: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/20231882. What I am saying is that some people, including this user, seems to be ignoring my description and won’t respond to comments and tags. I just used this particular user as an example since it was recent and I could find some examples easily. Here is another example of 2 other user seemingly ignoring the description I had: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/18191327. In the beginning there is a blue jay call mixed with titmouse, so I added the description just in case, especially since I didn’t know the species originally. 2 people still [seemingly] ignored it and didn’t respond to comments and dissenting IDs. Only one of them finally changed his ID when I tagged them. I don’t know how I would have made which ID I wanted any clearer in this observation.

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Just to validate the frustration I’ll share a recent one of my own where there is no description but my ID is challenged without comment or any effort to research my ID. While not the same as ignoring comments, ignoring an observer’s ID without effort to understand what might be happening is equally as frustrating.
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/31078939

Thanks to this thread I was reminded to go back and check on the status when I realized I hadn’t tagged the name of the IDer in the first place. Also, realized the genus isn’t an option but that’s for another thread.

I’m just taking this as a reminder to do my due diligence when both observing and IDing. So, thanks!

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That one could have used a description of what the subject was.

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The ID should make it clear. If you ID a blue jay on a bush, do you need to describe that you mean the bird, not the bush?

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So if it were you IDing would you have likewise disregarded my ID because I didn’t additionally make a comment?

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I would have, not intentionally. But, when I looked at your observation, I went “oh coneflower” and didn’t even realize the flower had a disease on it. If people want to try and avoid confusion, then the description should be able to clarify it. In your case a description would clarify, in the case of brennafarrell, her description doesn’t solve the confusion.

…and I am not picking on anyone or their photos etc. Just if people want to avoid confusion and/or get upset about people’s comments… then do what it takes to make it as clear as possible.

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No, I would’ve said I have no idea what a Phytoplasma is but I know a Purple Coneflower when I see one (if I was a botanist that is). And that’s what I see in this picture. A lot of reviewers don’t spend more than a few seconds reviewing a record and they might miss the complexities of a photo (more than one organism featured). And in this case, there was a lot more going on in this picture than the flower – but a reviewer wouldn’t know that since the submitter didn’t bother to explain.

Again, the reviewer shouldn’t be devoting more effort than the submitter put into their record. This is a rule I learned from my wife, a teacher, who has to grade hundreds of papers from students who don’t bother to provide necessary details in their work and then wonder why their grade wasn’t so good.

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gotta say, if i went to a teacher saying “this is a phytoplasma and im looking for people to help me narrow it down if possible” and the teacher said “oh yeah thats a purple coneflower” id be more than a little upset. with teachers as well as identifiers i think theres an expectation that they will put in a little more effort into looking at the context to give their best possible help. identifiers arent even getting paid.

this thread reminds me of when i posted a parasite on an atala butterfly pupa and my description said something like “NOT the atala pupa - it looks like something is parasitizing it” and someone IDed it as insects and said something like “looks like a chrysalis”. went to the users page and they made it abundantly clear they are not open to constructive criticism. i pinged them multiple times anyway, no luck. when someone was able to offer a proper ID, the observation was stuck so i just deleted the whole thing, reposted it, and pinged the person who gave the right ID last time. i assume thats an acceptable move? i wish you could put your description in big flashy wordart sometimes…

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Agree with your wife in the context of school and when someone isn’t putting in effort in a recognizable and verifiable pattern. Do not agree with you here though. You are insinuating that a lack of effort on the observer’s part (am I meant to describe every single photo like clay suggested? If so, that’s a feature request to change the iNat guidance for what is required from observers) justifies laziness on the part of IDers. No one has an obligation to provide an ID and there is no lack of effort on my part. If the IDer doesn’t know what something is then they can either research it to be sure they need to disagree or move along.

It seems bizarre to expect that I can just head over to your observations and start changing things because, “oak leaf in the corner, who cares that the observer chose Northern cardinal.”

Also, why we would perpetuate such a degree of haste in identifying is beyond me. I don’t think either of the responses make sense. If you didn’t realize there was a disease pictured, the ID chosen by the observer would be an excellent first clue at the intention. Frequently, as an IDer, I will take a few seconds before altering someone’s ID, but that’s because the way I think, it is my responsibility to check on something before altering the work of another.

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