They weren’t worried about it because, as stated clearly by them, the data is a (wonderful) by-product and not the primary objective. And I am NOT dismissing the data as a by-product, just simply stating that the primary objective of iNat is not to create data, but to encourage people to re-connect back to nature and to see value in the natural world, and if we can accumulate some useful data in the process then that is a bonus. And while we should try and make that data as useful as we can, we need to keep in mind the primary mission, and not let the “re-connecting with nature” baby get thrown out with the “data not as useful as a small subset of the community would like it to be” bathwater. If you make all observations have to have a lifestage, as well as every other annotation type there is, because just as you want this thing, others will want that other thing, and so on and so on then all we have is another clunky general public un-friendly site like BugGuide.
I think CV will in time extend to annotations, but I think there is a lot of work to be done on the annotations still, and it would create “demand” to be applying it on a small subset of the data for a small subset of data users. I think CV still has a way to go with IDs before they are truly happy with it enough to push it out to annotations, but that is just me speculating.
The developers have indicated that CV is resource intensive, and resources are stretched… For example, there is an outstanding feature request to have the wording on the “explicit disagreements” pop-up question changed to better match the outcome of the selection made, and that is just a simple re-wording thing, and has been waiting for far longer than this feature request! It’s a small team doing amazing things, I think we need to just chill a bit! When I see statements like “if we wait, millions of observations will be uploaded without annotations”, I feel the need to point out that it is not a requirement that annotations be present on every observation.
Just as you might get upset at the notion of not capitalising on an opportunity to gather extremely useful and detailed data to the fullest, I get upset at the notion of someone, when handed a fiver for nothing, starts asking why they can’t have the twenty in your wallet as well. I appreciate it would help you a lot more than the five, but five is currently what I have to give! Next week I will likely be giving a fifty, but I’m not ready for that yet. I should point out that I am not iNat staff or development so it’s not even my “wallet”, but if someone did that to a friend of mine I would be just as wary of them.
I still seriously question your need to have every iNat Lep observation annotated. It kind of implies that you can’t do what you are doing unless they are. We can make the same argument that the IDs would be so much more reliable and better if every observation had dorsal and ventral views, but that is not ever going to be a requirement. Or spiders must show dissections and micro of genitalia, or dna must be submitted… where does it stop?
Another analogy, if I may… David Attenborough commentaries on a documentary and covers 4 different species in that hour. You could argue that the information that he is presenting could be so much improved by just increasing that species count to 6, or 8… that would be twice as much learning in the hour than the original format of 4. And he could accomplish it by just talking faster! Just getting to the point quicker would surely make what he is doing much more effective. But no, that is not the objective of the documentary. You can get far more information from a textbook than you can from a documentary. But what audience does that textbook have? If we turn that documentary into a video version of the textbook, what audience would the documentary have? But by the same token, we can capitalise on imparting “some” knowledge with that format, but I seriously think the mission of the documentary is not to educate people, but to raise awareness, draw attention to issues, to get people to value the natural world. The education is just a wonderful by-product!
This is where iNat is succeeding where BugGuide is not… The simplicity of it… The flexibility of it… The mass appeal of it… and most of all, the joy of it. iNat predicates itself on the observation, the acknowledgement, if you will, that another organism exists on this planet besides yourself. To borrow from Avatar, “I see you”. An organism in a place at a time. Those are the only requirements for an observation, apart from the obvious “observer” needed to make it! The ID is a secondary thing, the annotations are a secondary thing, the fields and discussion are all secondary things. The lifelists, the leaderboards, the “big days”. The range maps you can build with the data gleaned from these observations… all are secondary things. An observation without an ID is a valid observation. And if those three things are all you require to have a valid observation, then there is literally nothing stopping anyone on this earth from making an observation. THAT is the reason i believe iNat is experiencing explosive growth. Where that growth gets retarded is where we start putting other constraints and requirements on observations. A class in Penang go out and make observations as part of a class project, and instead of being encouraged to find wild animals to observe, they are lambasted for observing cultivated plants and accepting CV suggestions that are “obviously” wrong. A woman on a sunday drive around Queenstown is chastised for not getting out of the car to get a better photo of a tree, because the scientist identifier thinks that if the observation is not going to be useful, she shouldn’t bother putting it up.
I think discourse needs an alert when you go over a certain number of words, like it did for replies that were less than ten characters!
I’ll sum up… I’m FOR using CV on annotations, I just think it is premature to do so. I don’t think EVERY observation needs annotations, but the more that have them the better. I think the primary focus should always be on simplicity and flexibility in the observation process. And finally, I think the teams original objective for the site needs to be honoured above all else, but dang, if we can honour that AND do these other things, then cool.