In the past year or two I’ve been identifying spiders in my region (around the Great Lakes in Canada and the US). The region has a lot of iNaturalist users, so I’ve accumulated quite a large number of identifications of the common species there. Unfortunately, I’ve done so many that I’m now among the top 5 identifiers for several common families worldwide, and now I’m regularly being asked to help identify spiders around the world. This wouldn’t be so bad, except I can hardly identify anything outside North America.
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/55940353 (today, Sunday)
Most of these requests are from users who don’t know anything about spiders and just tag one of the top identifiers listed on their observation. I feel bad about not being able to do anything for the ones outside North America.
What we have now:
As another absurd example, I’m currently listed as the global top identifier for Ground Spiders (family Gnaphosidae) because I’ve identified 340 Eastern Parson Spiders (Herpyllus ecclesiasticus), which are only found in eastern North America. I’ve only done 8 identifications of other species in the family.
What I’d like to have (hand-made mockup, don’t take this too seriously):
I’d like the dropdown menu to have the standard places the observation is in. I really, really want the default to be the continent or country. For example, in Europe the top identifiers of Classic Orbweavers would likely be goliathus, lutautami, and talgar-t64. In Russia, probably talgar-t64 and lutautami. The menu should also have an option to view the global top identifiers, the list we see now.
My hope is that this will cut out a step or two when users reach out for help, make it easier to get in contact with low-volume regional identifiers, and (of course) reduce the number of tags sent to identifiers like me who have ended up on global lists by identifying a lot of individuals from a handful of very common, easily-identified species in one specific part of the world.