Same observation, multiple observers

I recent ran across two users who seem to have been going through a garden together, photographing the same plants as observations. There are a few things going slightly awry here – the emphasis on cultivated specimens, the duplication of observations – but it also seems to pit the ‘encourage interaction with nature’ and ‘curate observations of nature’ goals against one another. Folks might want to log that they’ve seen creatures (and expand their life list), but the duplication would seem to undercut research intentions.

How would you handle this?

It also seems like this must come up often (e.g. groups of birders, school projects), but I didn’t find it in a quick search – my apologies to the moderators if my due diligence was insufficiently diligent.

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There is at least one other topic addressing it - short answer is that this is not a problem or discouraged. Both observers are welcome to document the same organisms, and this is a common practice on iNat.

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As long as they are not posting identical photos (as in they shared them, because someone was too lazy to take their own), that’s not really an iNaturalist violation.

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When I notice observations of what appear to be the same organism by different individuals, I try to link the observations together using the “associated observation” field.

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On iNat, “An observation records an encounter with an individual organism at a particular time and location.” So iNaturalist data is not great for determining abundance because we record encounters between organisms and humans. Thus it’s fine for multiple people to upload observations of the same organism since they are recording their own encounter with it.

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Sounds like the right answer is “don’t sweat it, and be glad they’re participating”. Thanks, everyone!

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Please, a clarification of abundance types. iNat data records the abundance of humans who are interacting with nature; that does not necessarily equal abundance of the observed taxon. Whether the difference affects research depends on the researcher’s objectives.

A scientist tracking the population and range expansion of a newly introduced species needs to differentiate 1 human recording 8 specimens (abundance of the taxon) at a particular place and time from 8 humans observing 1 organism (abundance of interactions) in an event.

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I don’t think this is explicitly an iNat issue, is it? I see the same photo for multiple observers all the time.

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