Was I blind (fixing old IDs)

I’ve returned after a year and change. I missed, I estimate, some 15,000 notifications.
In an attempt to fix my old mistakes, I’m now going through all my mavericks. Soon after, I’ll use the almost-mavericks project to do another round of checking.

In the meantime I’m looking at my mistakes. and wow. was I actually blind. In some cases, sure, there is a well-disguised spider, an Alectoroctonum that looked a lot like it belonged in Esula, or a plant that really looks like a lichen. but in other cases? what was I thinking? was I even thinking??

oh man. I hope I’m not alone in this sort of experience.

[not to say that blindness isn’t a real struggle people do experience and which makes it very difficult to interact with iNat as a whole]


welcome back!


That’s how we learn! First we know nothing, then we think we know a lot, then we realise how little we actually know, and then we slowly learn more over time.


I’ve been on iNat since 2018. Yesterday this came up. Then I only knew our commonorgarden. Now years of hiking have taught me different. We have good people leading our Fynbos Rambles, who explain patiently and kindly, again, and again.

My learning curve on iNat about the biodiversity around me has been wonder full. Helped by (virtual) taxon specialists who also explain patiently and kindly, again, and again.


Now it’s my turn to whine, ever so politely, at newbies. Nice flower, but where are the leaves, the side view, the wide view?

I think it was @lotteryd ? Who posted a cartoon about Mount Stupid?


I would chalk it up to something that I hope is true for all of us: you know more now than you did. I’d be more concerned if I didn’t know more than I did a year ago.


My eyes work reasonably well, but my brain certainly needs training, or re-training in some cases. You are not alone. I don’t even want to think about my mistakes this early in the morning (it’s 6:30 AM here and I am just now drinking coffee), but it is great you are trying to correct old mistakes. If it’s any comfort, even before iNaturalist was invented, I saw more than a few mistakes on herbarium sheets or odonate exuviae labels, and so on.


Heh, that wasn’t me since I had to google it! I found this at https://www.ascpsychological.com/blog/mount-stupid/ from doing that, and I think I saw it around here one time. I can relate!



This is super relatable. Back in the beginning of IDing (when I started getting into plants) I had a lot of bad IDs. Now I get sporadic notifications that someone IDed one of those and just wonder what I was thinking. I also get notifications from “obvious observations” (even from the thumbnail) and click through expecting to open up one of these old observations only to see my ID was posted 2 days ago. I always wonder what I was thinking, I remember that ID session. Why did I ID that like that yesterday?

I’ve done enough data entry and checking to know mistakes happen, and to not let that bother me too much, amend my bad ID and move on. It’s not like I’ll ever run out of above class plants in NY even if I go full speed (and if I did there’s always PA or MI or ON where the flora is still pretty well known).

Good luck getting those notifications cleared, and feeling caught up again. I look forward to Euphorbia being a genus that goes quickly to RG again :)


I’ve done the same thing, wondered how I got something so wrong.

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Nice graph. I’m not in the Valley of Despair but neither have I climbed the Slope of Enlightenment. I’m sitting under a tree in between the two looking at the slope and trying to work up the energy. That hike to Mt. Stupid was exhausting.


ha! first thing I did was wipe them out without reading 'em. I looked at a handful of tags that caught my eye or if it was by a friend, but 99.5% of those notifications are gone. gone forever :saluting_face:

when I say fifteen thousand I’m not exaggerating. who has that kind of time


Oh yes, every once in a while someone will ID an old observation from me. When I check it out, I do question my original ID - what was I thinking? It’s clearly this other thing. Sometimes I want to go back and look at my original observations and see if there are other glaring mistakes, but there’s always more observations to ID.


The title really sums up how I feel about some of it, too. I can’t make sense of some of them. I just withdraw and hope the people who saw the embarrassingly incorrect ID will eventually see me ID something right and know I have at least some capability.


I don’t get agitated about my bad IDs, either on my own records or those of others. I do fix them as I find them. Science is a like a maze with lots of twists and turns and dead ends and sometimes you have to backtrack and start over. But despite the mistakes, it moves forward. Same for us as individuals, trying to learn and improve.


I don’t get agitated either. I know some thing really well and others I’m dipping my toes in and learning. I’ve also realized when I upload a bunch from a trip (especially when I use the app and not the computer) sometimes I move too fast and label the wrong photo. I’ve done it a couple times now that its like, “well that happened” and I change it and move on.

Welcome back! @astra_the_dragon

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When someone corrects the ID’s in my old observations, I look at them now and think “Why did I even think it was this ID and not that!? So stupid!” But then I also think “well a few years has passed, and I now definitely know more about how to ID so and so compared to before.”

You arent blind. You have learned a few more things and by doing so you also realize there is still so much more to learn (this goes to everybody else here).


@broacher posted about it too in: Tomatoes, berries, fruits, and vegetables - discuss!


I remember that you were identifying extremely quickly, and I thought at the time that you were somehow missing the observer’s notes or using such a small screen that you were not seeing the intended subject. Then, quite a bit later, something similar was happening with another identifier, and there was a discussion between one of the moderators and that identifier about the problem, which seemed to involve a method the identifier had come up with of searching Unknowns that was supposed to be faster. I got the impression from that conversation that by moving from one observation to another so quickly the observation the identifier was seeing was not the observation actually up for identification at that moment. That identifier was apparently able to correct the method because I didn’t see the problem any longer. So I’m wondering if perhaps you were also somehow identifying a different observation from the one you were seeing.

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I did use my phone for coarse IDs, and terribly fast as well. When I was identifying that way, it was usually in an attempt to endure/outlast an anxiety attack by keeping busy. I think my error rate was below 5% for Kingdom-level IDs, but it adds up. I’m happy to report that in the last six months I’ve had only two anxiety attacks, vs the almost daily ones I was suffering 1.5 years ago.

pretty sure no. unfortunately for my pride, fortunately for the data.


… there’s a lot worse things people do in an attempt to self-regulate through intense experiences, lol