You have a point!
It is so rewarding to tag along on the sidelines as the taxon specialists tease the mystery along to … species.
I disagree that they have no value because they can, but I do this same thing, too. I have many observations and if I become aware that they will not be able to go very far, I usually just remove them at that point. I give everything a shot though, so it’s a waiting game. Sometimes leaving them up pays off but if I’m told by somebody that X characteristic is needed to get a better ID, I typically just delete it because it doesn’t have much value to me. Somebody else might find a lot of value in observations like that. Just not for me.
It’s a common family that flies through the warm part of the year, to id subfamily you need a very good look on the wing, some probably can be ided by looks alone to genus, but best to catch them and make all the angles, which I’m not fond of doing for something ranging from 5mm to 1mm. Something rarer I definitely won’t delete, at least for now. But I think for iNat it won’t change anything if they will allow family to go RG if you already can do it to subfamily.
I guess I could’ve specified, I apply that logic to all my observations, not just a specific type, like the one you mentioned. It’s an over-arching approach for me. I give it a shot, but if I feel like it’s a dead-end, I just delete it. Just my preference. I like having things be able to move forward but understand sometimes they can’t. My whole point just was that I do the same thing, but understand why others don’t. The value of observations like that to other people is something I can’t determine, but I know for me their value is quite little, so I just scrap them.
Not sure what your waiting period is but there are those that don’t get ID’d for years and then all of a sudden somebody who is a specialist goes in and ID’s scores of my old submissions. Often these are specialists who just joined iNat recently mainly just to do IDs. It is a waiting game as you noted but I can tell you IDs will come in for old ones unless the photos are so bad it’s impossible to even tell what the object is. It’s often impossible for me to know what a specialist needs so I just put as many different photos of the organism up and hope for the best.
It bothered me a lot the first few years on iNat to have observations that weren’t ID’d (I joined in 2016) but today I just leave them up. I see you joined iNat in 2021 so what I suggest is just to wait and that “need” to get an ID on everything or delete it will eventually pass and when a specialist comes in one night and ID’s 25 or 30 of your observations that have been languishing for years, you’ll be glad you left them up. In just the last few days I’d guess I’ve had 25 or more observations ID’d by specialists with many from 2017. But in the end it is your choice. Whatever makes you happy.
The waiting period is until somebody tells me the ID can’t move forward. Usually somebody will say a certain characteristic is needed or more clarity would be required, so if it isn’t able to go to at least a subfamily ID, I just delete it. Basically the ones that I know will sit at a casual grade because of their lack of information, I just delete. Unless somebody tells me flat out that it can’t move forward, I leave them alone to lie in wait. I probably said it in a confusing way before. I’ve had foggy tired person brain lately.
I actually had a really cool rare beetle observation be identified as such 2 years after uploading. That one nobody touched during those 2 years, so I left it there. I was really impressed and surprised at what ID it finally was given!
Not sure what your waiting period is but I just wanted to point out that there are those that don’t get ID’d for years and then all of a sudden somebody who is a specialist goes in and ID’s dozens of my old submissions often going back to 2016/17. Often these are specialists who just joined iNat recently mainly just to do IDs. It is a waiting game as you noted but I can tell you IDs will come in for old ones unless the photos are really bad. It’s often impossible for me to know what a specialist needs so I just put as many different photos of the organism up and hope for the best.
It bothered me a lot the first few years on iNat to have observations that weren’t ID’d.
In your case I meant ones that folks tell you can’t be improved. Often times a “super specialist” comes in armed with all the newest information and is able to ID them presenting almost an article on the subject.
But I do know what you mean. Since species like earthworms can’t be determined to species level in the field I don’t bother to shoot them. I rarely shoot a dandelion because I can’t tell the species apart. And I do scrap a lot of pics I take because I just don’t like them and know I can shoot the same organism to better advantage again.
Ultimately I support you 110% in doing what is best for you! That’s what iNat is all about. :)
Who said that? Earthworms are definitely idable in the field, at least with photos from the field, there’re groups that need dissection, but even those are idable by an expert (they just stick to what is the easy way for labs). https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?hrank=species&place_id=any&taxon_id=333586&user_id=marina_gorbunova&verifiable=any
For your photos I need to say you need an adult with eggs on them, with shots showing ventral side with placement of genital openings (male+female), then a shot of head to see its shape, shot to count segments from head to the end of eggs, then a shot or at least a look to placements of bristles on segment (coupled or not, how many groups there are vertically). A full body shot won’t hurt too.
Please don’t skip dandelions, first of all not everybody supports all the microspecies, second – many of them are idable from regular photos.
I don’t remember who it was but I and others were advised we could only ID earthworms to the genus level. He came off as being a real expert and I somehow got the feeling he was writing a paper or book on earthworms.
Here are mine with the latest put at genus level:
you said: "From your photos I need to say you need an adult with eggs on them … " Was that passage meant for me? I didn’t post any photos did I?
To be honest, the dandelion bores me but they can be a beautiful flower. Just too many of them around here. Maybe next year I try to learn them,
Sorry, I meant to say for your photos.
But I didn’t post any photos at all. Maybe you meant to direct that passage to the original poster?
But no problem anyway. :)
I don’t get you, you said “I don’t bother to shoot them”, I said if you want to id them, you need these types of photos, that’s not about photos you had, but those you will make.
Oh OK got ya! I was totally lost! LOL Taking lots of photos (too many?) from different angles is my norm for everything pretty much that requires it but you’re saying that’s true of earthworms and that complicated? Now I’m thinking maybe the fellow that told me earthworms could not be ID’s to species level really meant I’ll never get 'em there and I’m sure he’s right. Thanks for the elaboration!
I just noticed I did post a link to my photos/observations! Now I see what you are talking about. My mistake! :)
I think a lot of people often shorthand leave notes too. (I didn’t read any linked obsv, btw, so this is in general speaking from what i’ve noticed)
Like…that’s a LOT to take photos of to ID to earthworms to species. Most people won’t do that (and some, maybe can’t if they don’t have macro gear?)
This is why I have taken to leaving more detailed notes whenever I can, for example, “This needs dissection” or “This needs chemical test” or “here if you want to try to get to species on red russulas, check this out for everything you need to test and document in your obs https://nirmi.sitehost.iu.edu/keys/russula/key.html”
Yeah the shorthand is “can’t really get this to species best left at genus” because that’s the reality for that observation…but if someone wanted to put in the effort…you could. I will admit sometimes being lazy myself -especially going through old obs on accounts with under 100 things not active for years, but if someone replies or @'s me I will help as much as I can!
Thanks for the explanation! To be honest I shoot them as a “spacer” between shots of two identical organisms such as salamanders. So I shoot one then a worm then the other salamander and when I get home I post the worm as a “spacer”.
I am struck by that word “woefully”. I have felt that - twinges of regret that all of my uploads could be made better, and concern over not giving them the loving attention that I think they deserve.
Over time, it seems that these feelings have decreased. The data now belongs not just to me, but to the whole community, and we care about it, collectively - all of it. Eventually it will all get looked at multiple times by multiple people.
But I do still grapple with feelings that I’m not doing enough for my own data. There are times when I barely keep my head above water, struggling to get all of my photos from yesterday cropped, reviewed, and uploaded with my best attempt at an ID before I head out today to take even more. I hear from some people that they almost always upload all of their day’s observations before the end of the day they took them. That’s not me. I seem to always want to spend too long taking too long a sequence in the field, too long cropping them at home, and too long agonizing over the ID of each one. Often a good number of them end up not uploaded at all, and the backlog grows …
I might even say I “woefully” overspend my time on these things and not enough on others. But who is this part of me that is not happy with myself for this? I think I may need to give myself a break. Through this “mis-application of effort”, I occasionally make discoveries that I otherwise would not have made. Maybe poor time management and a tendency to obsess over every data set is what I’m best at? ;) Also, I have noticed that when I do “skimp” on effort with a day’s photos, it is often just the handful of most promising looking ones that get uploaded, and the rest are lower value, and actually quite OK to skip.
So in the end, I think it’s all good. As long as we’re still having fun, still passionate about doing what each of us does best, still growing in understanding and skill, and still applying ourselves to making whatever kind of contribution we can, then we’re doing well. Each time we come back and give our time to this, we get to decide what we do not based on what we think we’re “meant” to do, but by focusing on the aspects of being here that engage us and reward us most.
It does seem to take forever to spend three or four hours in the field, then upload the photos to my laptop, delete the fuzzy ones, etc., then upload them to iNat, IDing them as I wait for the photos to upload. I rarely crop my photos and I don’t label each photo in my digital files, but still, it’s a long time. And I am one of those people who try to upload the same day, because otherwise I lose track of what’s what and whether I took the photo of the oak before or after the photo of the oak gall, and so on.
But there’s not much else I enjoy more, frankly. Yeah, give yourself a break, I say. It sounds as though you have perfect time management!
There’re many who only upload in winter. I try to upload as fast as possible, or it takes months, but in active day with 800+ photos a day, at day number 3-4 I loose it, and everything that remains I look at once in two weeks, uploading a dozen observations each time.