Thoughts on Responding to Less Experienced Observers

I see! Thanks for that clarification

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For observers, one can quickly do a crop of the image, so as to show what the focus is. I often do a crop, then add the original as my 2nd photo. Comments are nice.

For identifiers, polite comments are nice, but I’m sure someone saying a quick “no” might be more in a hurry, than trying to be impolite.

Yes, this platform is for novices through expert scientists and everyone in between. This is really great because people are learning, and I hope wanting to preserve and conserve habitat, land, species, etc. There are guidelines for using the platform, but it is up to the end users to manage identifying stuff.

If someone isn’t into that part of it, they can opt out of Community ID. So, that’s a possibility.


When I joined I had alot of encouragement from people which is why I am still here now and try to encourage new users.

So when I see a new user I always try and help them, give a reason why I give what ID I do - usually add in a smiley face and then see what they do. If they reply or agree with my ID I will keep on helping them. If they ignore what I say - and consistently do that - after a while I do not bother with their obs and skip along to others.

Sometimes a new user does not realise they have to agree with an ID - I didn’t when I first started - so if they reply I but not agree, I explain the agree feature. I have a few “standard” lines I use that I can copy and paste into new obs.


well… if they don’t themselves know that the ID is right it’s actually better if they don’t agree with it and just let it be. see


Keep in mind that when you do this it becomes part of the image file and thus our computer vision model will be trained on it. This probably isn’t an issue if only a few people do it, but if it’s done on a large scale it will likely have a negative effect on computer vision’s accuracy. We do want to add an annotation feature that would allow something similar but not affect the image itself, but that likely wouldn’t be available for a little while. For the time being, it’d be best to used the description text to specify which organism the observation is for, or just crop to that individual.

Agreed, although it is difficult when you are trying to appeal to the gamut of experience levels. I’d like for us to have better onboarding for someone’s first few observations, that will explain what each field means. Something we’ll be doing more thinking about in the next few months, hopefully.


But this can be an issue in terms of incorrect personal IDs overriding corrections and affecting the data, right? Especially if they leave the platform, it becomes indefinitely uncorrectable.

I believe they would be ineligible for Research Grade if the observer opted out of Community ID, right @tiwane?

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If the Community ID and the observer’s ID match at the species level, it should reach RG. eg

But yes, as @jilliankern said, if the observer’s ID doesn’t match the Community ID, the observation won’t reach RG.

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Thanks for the heads up on that issue. It never occurred to me that that would hinder the what I am guessing is the image recognition for species suggestions. Description box it is.

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Using the description box is a great way to handle it. Upload your edited photos to an image-hosting site (imgur, photobucket, etc.) and include an image link in the description or as a comment and you’d be able to highlight features/individuals in the observation while also keeping the actual iNat images ‘natural’.


I find that, most of the time, creating an image that is tightly cropped along with a context shot setves the purpose of making the target apparent. The cropped image is #1, and context shots follow. It’s one of the reasons i rarely use the phone app except for unexpected obs - too much time and hassle trying to do it on the small screen. The only times it’s not really adequate is when the original image is somewhat low res and cropping (thus enlarging) just degrades the image too much. As i mostly observe this in pix from the phone, i don’t have to deal with it that much.


I agree with your point of view. I am a recent participant to iNaturalist. The site is wonderful. In my short time I have gained lots of knowledge. Though, I am no biologist, I find the natural world fascinating.

Nobody likes to be redivided, me included. Often times local or colloquial names are used that an that an identifier is unfamiliar with. That being said, I always ask for help in my description for creatures/plants I am unsure of. That seems to get polite responses mostly. One example, was my calling an anemone a Christmas based on the guides explanation, the field guide used and location. An identifier quickly changed my selection to Painted. I did not agree with it but eventually came to the same conclusion after a few more agreed with him but I still believe it was a Christmas.

It is all kinda frustrating because one does this stuff for enjoyment and when one gets criticized for their efforts, eventually some will leave and in truth that is a loss for the over all body of work for iNaturalist. None of us intend to sabotage because we all have good intention to progress the importance and connection we have with the natural world.


When others disagree with you, there exists a wonderful opportunity for a learning moment. All that is needed is for someone to be bold and ask the questions! Of course, it might be they that do the learning, but thems the breaks :)


As a new user, I expect people to have different opinions about what a sighting is. That is how the system works. If the disagreeing party posts why, I might change my opinion. If not, I’ll examine photos closer to see if I should change my mind.

Someone posting a simple “No” would be a turn off though. Just don’t post anything if you don’t have time to say why, just log the different choice.


Tightly cropped is also better for those of us with Third World speeds on the internet … I have to wait … a long time … for zoomed in images to load.


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