Track and mark identifications made through "Agree?" buttons

I wonder if some “trust levels” would work? Such as no ability to agree with an ID on anyone’s observation (including one’s own) without some kind of history of being the first to ID something.

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That’s been discussed. I’m sure it will show up as a feature request here at some point.

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another interesting “agree behaviour” is when there are a number of refinements, and someone comes in and agrees to each one one after the other. First they agree to family, then to genus, then to species. When you point out to them that you can only make one ID, and that by agreeing to the species, they are overiding their genus level agreement, and that they should only agree with the one ID that they do in fact fully agree with, they change that behaviour.

There is no weighting system in iNat. Conservative and knowledgable identifiers have the same weighting as the school student who likes to call his mate a baboon. This is easily rectified if we get to know who the quality identifiers are, and add our weight to their ID. In other words, I am not neccesarily agreeing with the ID, but agreeing that another identifier is very likely to know what they are talking about.

The other factor involved, is how active is the dentifier? Someone who has just joined is likely to add agreement out of a misunderstanding of what that means, and then to further compound the problem, they become inactive and are not around to change their ID following a discussion and further information coming to light.

I think identifications from new users are hugely problematic. We don’t want to stop them outright, because that will take away a draw card to getting them to be more active. I know it led me to learning a huge amount (and a greater appreciation of how little I know), which probably would not have happened if I had not been able to have an influence on an ID from the outset.

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This may be tangential, but…

I didn’t realize I could ID things to genus or above in the beginning, thinking I had to know exact species or nothing at all, which fed into uploading unknowns or relying on AI (which I also misunderstood thinking it was to be relied upon as an expert [I discussed this in one of my early gg posts]) and fed into my eagerness to agree so I could show I was participating.

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I feel like a small number of pop-up text boxes (as you said in your first reply on this thread) that point out important details and common issues, like many websites have upon signing up, would help minimize a bunch of these issues.

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There is a third reason for a “blind” Agreement.
As a user from iSpot with a reputation system, when we moved our data from iSpot to iNat a lot of our identifications changes because of the absence of a reputation system on iNat.
So for instance, taking the genus Drimia that only three people on earth can really identify accurately (no field guides, difficult characters, etc.), on iSpot two of these people (the third did not join the site, but is now on iNaturalist) did most of the IDs and their Expert reputation sealed the ID.
This did not work when the data were transferred to iNaturalist, and so to ensure that the correct ID was the “Community ID”, we had a team agreeing to our expert’s IDs just to ensure that the most likely ID (by far) was the community ID.
Alas, it has stuck. When I see an ID by a taxonomic expert or by a high reputation amateur I simply agree. On iSpot I would never have done this because of my reputation. But on iNat I dont have a reputation so it does not matter that I agree without going to the monographs and keys. But if Jonathan Collwell IDs a Monkey Beetle or John Manning an Irid, I agree automatically because they are the world experts in those groups. If they are wrong, who on earth would know?

I agree that treating agreements differently from identifications is a cool ID. But then we need some additionally functionality. On iSpot that did agreements differently, one could not post an ID that was already on the observation: you had to agree to it. On iNat you can agree to a specific ID, to a community ID, or post an independent copy of an already existing ID (indeed, you can post a second copy of an ID that you made previously, which is weird, but handy if someone disagrees with you and you want to make a point - although I dont think that this was the intention).
Another difference from iSpot is that IDs and Agreements could not be altered. Once made, the only way to change them was to post a revised ID. That prevents people deleting mistakes (and any agreements made to it), and altering subsequent embarrassing explanations - which iNat allows. Users who deleted their accounts had their IDs reassigned as posted by Anonxyz (where xyz was a link to the user known only to site managers), and their reputation deprecated to novice.
I am not saying that iSpot was a good system, but include it here just for comparison and to explore options.

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I was about to vote for this Feature Request, until I read the responses, thought some more, and realized its not that simple.

First, I see nothing particularly wrong with using the “Agree” button. I use it all the time when I’m doing IDs - if I’m convinced that the leading ID is correct, it’s a lot faster than typing in an independent ID that says the same thing. So I’m not sure anything is accomplished by distinguishing it from using “Suggest an ID.” It’s often a useful shortcut.

In the specific case of an observer agreeing (perhaps blindly) with a lower-level ID, I agree that that’s often a problem, and essentially brings an observation to RG status with only one real ID. But there are also cases where an observer might agree for good reason, having actually thought about it and decided that another ID is correct. There is no way to distinguish these cases (without having a conversation with the observer), so penalizing the “Agree” button would penalize both thoughtful and thoughtless agreements.

The third issue in the proposal is the suggestion to

There are also legitimate reasons for an observer to initially provide a high-level ID (see this discussion: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/why-do-some-serious-power-users-add-so-many-unknown-observations/282/29). In my own experience with the bulk-upload interface, I’ve found it easier to let things upload with default IDs (sometimes blank, sometimes erroneous), then go back and add add/correct the IDs. I don’t see any reason to require additonal IDs for this case, and I can’t see a way to distinguish this case from the problematic case, unless we force all IDers to add a comment explaining their reasoning.

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I also often use the higher level ID, when I want to get to the “Compare” button. Sometimes it is purely to because I have a blank (sorry, old age!) as to the species or genus name I am looking for, but I know the taxon at the fine level well.

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This might seem tangential to the topic, but I interpret the topic to be how do we avoid or find ‘unsafe’ research grade observations. One thing that would be useful is if we could search/filter by the number of identifications that a research grade observation has - if it has only two (or less ;-) identifications we might want to double check. (Personally I would find searching for zero identifications and/or comments would be useful for dealing to the ‘Unknown’ pile of observations too)

–Tony

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I do this fairly often as well. Sometimes I do it because it is faster than consulting other references to refresh my memory which species in a genus (e.g.) are found in a particular area.

Since this request has been sitting untouched for a while, and I’m the only one who voted for it, I figured I should edit it for clarity, in part prompted by a post where I explained the difference between agreements and independent identifications in a way that people seem to like.

Sorry if I missed it somewhere else in the discussion, but I’m not seeing how this is going to be very helpful if it comes with no information about the motivation behind the Agree. I use Agree the same way as

My ID rate would slow down a lot if I felt the need to avoid the “stigma” of using Agree.

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It should provide all the same benefits provided by the icon that shows that an ID was picked from the list generated by the computer vision thingy, namely making it much easier to tell whether an identification should be double-checked or not. Note that the computer vision icon also comes with no information about the motivation behind its use.

To a certain extent, that is a desired outcome of this change. However, there are several different places where there are “Agree?” buttons. The worst one is on the identification thumbnails page, where you can’t see if an observation has more photos, or comments, or see the location and date of the observation before you click the button. I suspect you are using one of the other ones. I would vote for removing the worst one if that topic were a feature request.

I’m unfamiliar with the apps, so there may be some “Agree?” buttons there which are getting frequently misused, as well. The point is, we don’t know, so it would be good to track their use.

Yeah, that’s why I asked. I’m always double-checking IDs regardless, because I know that Computer Vision gets used in lots of different ways, some better than others, and IDs without Computer Vision aren’t necessarily any better on average. It would be likewise with Agrees.

And I do agree that the agree button on ID thumbnails needs to be re-thought, for sure.

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So I’m puzzled. How do you enter an ID without selecting it from CV? I mean, you can’t just type an ID in - you have to pick it from the list, which is generated by CV, no? Do you type in a bit and then select it? Does that bypass the CV icon? What if I put my cursor in the ID field and CV pops up with the right ID, right on top? If I choose it, do I get the icon? If I look down the list and then choose the top one? If I just don’t choose the top one? I don’t mind getting the icon when I’m really “being bold” and having a guess, but on the occasions when I actually do know the correct ID I’d prefer that it not be flagged :-)

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As soon as you type something, you’re searching the complete list of taxon names and common names. So the list that’s generated when you type nothing is a list of suggestions from CV, and the list that’s generated when you type anything is search results, thus not CV. I think if you submit what you typed without clicking a result, it’s entered as a placeholder.

There’s also the Suggestions tab of the identify modal. I’m pretty sure selecting one of those counts as using CV.

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Hey, don’t know if you were a google group user but this was discussed a bit here and may be interesting to you:
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/inaturalist/xgx2tErzBqo/AdUW3DLLEgAJ

:)

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[off-topic] For those of us who came on board in the “post-Google group” era, links back to the Google group produce the message “This group either doesn’t exist, or you don’t have permission to access it. If you’re sure this group exists, contact the Owner of the group and ask them to give you access.”

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Thanks for letting us know

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Google just updated Google Groups which might have caused this. I futzed with some settings and I think you should be able to see it now (it worked for me if I was signed out of Google in my browser). If it’s not working, can you please direct message me so we don’t derail this topic?

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