Standardize adding IDs from Observation Detail page vs. Identify


One to file under Really Lame Feature Requests That No One Should Vote For. ;)

A few differences I consistently run into between adding IDs on the Observation Detail page and Identify that would be helpful to standardize. On the Observation Detail page…

  1. If you start typing a comment, but switch to adding an ID, your comment text should get copied over to the “ID comment”.
  2. If you selected a taxon and then press enter, it should save the ID.

i don’t really understand why these have to be on two separate tabs on the observation detail page. why not just a taxon selection box + a comment box? if you fill in the taxon, it’s obviously an ID. if you leave the taxon blank but add a comment, it’s just a comment.

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It is likely related to the fact that identifications and comments are totally separate things from a database perspective. Ie comments associated with an observation are not stored in a table with either the observation or the identifications. The comments data structure holds comments on all elements of the site - observations, flags etc.


but even if you wanted to keep the data model unchanged, you can have the UI just direct the data to the appropriate tables. if taxon + comment, then write the data to the ID table. if just a comment, then write the data to the comments table.

i don’t think it makes sense to structure the data model the way they’ve done it (with comments attached to IDs in some cases but lone comments in other cases), but that’s another topic…

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Yes, but everytime you tried to just add a comment, I suspect you would need a prompt asking / reminding if you still want to add an ID or not ?


why would you need that?


To my mind (which admitedly may work in ways that are shall we say opaque) it would seem an odd workflow otherwise. Right now it seems pretty explicit to me the way it is designed, what do you want to do - add a standalone comment, do it on the comment tab, add a standalone ID, do it on the ID tab, do both, do it from the ID tab.

I’m not even sure how you would label a single interface ’ interact with observation’?


One other difference that I’m sure must have been discussed before :

  1. Computer Vision works from the ID box on the Observation Detail page, but not on the Identify page.

Unless I am missing something?

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True, but I definitely don’t want that one added to Identify unless it can be turned off.


Ha, I just wrote a feature request for more or less the same thing ;-) Here is what I requested, which is the same as bouteloua’s original plus an autofocus request:

When identifying on the Identify modal, the focus is in the field already and one just has to type the letters to get the dropdown. Then arrow down to name and click enter twice to save the ID.

Please can we have the same behaviour on the Identification tab on observation pages. When one clicks on the tab, one still needs to click in the field to give it focus. One also can’t press enter to save the ID, one has to tab twice to the Done button and then click enter.

I would definitely VOTE for this topic if I had any votes left…

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Heh, I had thought this was a bug to be fixed, not a potential feature that is “off”. Too many problems with this has made me automatically copy the text to clipboard anytime I type a comment, just in case.


I do that too! Especially when I’ve written a long comment with ID notes etc. This is because the comment doesn’t always save, especially if I’ve been on it for more than, say, half an hour. Sometimes the distractions and research time make a comment take a long time to write…


if a label is necessary, i think i would use “Identify or Comment”.


I’m not saying these wouldn’t be good additions, but I’m curious how often people are making IDs on the observation detail page rather than identify?


I do often. Especially in response to notifications like someone adding a finer ID to an ob or someone @ mentioning me to help them out, etc.

Also, if I want to add an ob to a traditional project, then I have to open the ob and may as well ID it there etc. Really hope we can add to projects on the Identify page at some point {hint hint ;-)}


Gotcha, thanks!


I still don’t like the identify page, always use the observations detail pages (I do periodically try identify to see if it is better :-)

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i occasionally use Identify, but I prefer using Explore + observation detail for most day-to-day identifying.

  1. i’m using mostly a touch device without physical keyboard. so i don’t get any benefits from keyboard shortcuts.
  2. pinch zooming in on photos works better (is less glitchy) from the observation detail page than from Identify.
  3. i like seeing everything on one page in the observation detail page than on separate tabbed sections in the Identify detail.
  4. i like seeing the RG indicator on the Explore page Grid and List views (which i don’t think is on the Identify grid view, or at least i haven’t figured out how to see it until you open up the Identify detail). ditto the casual indicator (i think).
  5. i like the bigger default photos on the Explore page grid display vs the Identify grid display. to get to the observation detail, it’s easy for me to throw them into new browser tabs.

I always add IDs from the observation detail page when

  • I find something on the dashboard from a user I’m following that I can identify.
  • I find something under the ‘Real Time Discussions’ tab on the dashboard that looks like something I might be able to idenitfy.

In addition to those examples, I’ve also been opening up the observation detail page if I’m identifying observations in South Korea and don’t recognize the username; that way I can also see how many observations the user has and add a quick ‘Welcome to iNaturalist’ message in English and Korean if applicable. (Maybe it’s possible to do something like that from the Identify page; I use a bookmarked URL that excludes all the frequent uploaders so it’s easier to find the casual users.)

Having said that, I have mostly gotten into the habit of copy-pasting my text if I’m alternating from comments to IDs. Not having to worry about that would be nice but I would not consider it a priority.

(I hope that was helpful!)


Thanks for the feedback, all. Although it hasn’t gotten many votes, this seems straightforward so I’ll make issues for them.

I don’t think we can implement this because it would then automatically force a computer vision ID suggestion, and we don’t want to create more of those if they’re not needed.