We need a daily lottery for mob identification

I think it would be good fun if the iNaturalist team randomly selected a user each day to receive identification help from everyone else. Sort of like sending out a “Bat Signal” for somebody in need. It might be formatted like the “Observation of the Day” except it would feature the lucky user’s profile pic and include a link to their non-RG observations. Aside from making the recipient’s day, a lottery like this might help publicize the good work that identifiers do and thus might nudge lurkers into getting involved in more than just posting observations. It would also generate good PR for iNaturalist because the winners would likely post about their good fortune on social media.


Meanwhile we have IdentiFriday and Mission Impossible.


Maybe a country/state/region of the week for a mini-ID-blitz instead? That would offer a chance for most identifiers to find some observations of interest to work with and to get into the groove.
Individual users would be tricky, I think. Some people are finicky about how they like their stuff identified. Others may specialize so much that many identifiers can’t help them – for example as a plant person, I’m not much help to someone who just observes insects. Finally, some people have a bunch of unidentified things because their observations are tricky to deal with – blurry photos of distant grasses or lots of fungi that can only be identified with microscopy. After that would be the whole “choosing people fairly” issues – would people with very few observations be skipped? what about people with mostly research grade observations? what about people who never do IDs themselves versus people who do? what about all those users not currently active? etc.


Bird signal :rofl: I love it! This is a neat idea too, I can see that being a good feature to request


Bro. There is a Muskrat that needs our help being identified more than any one user.



I initially submitted the idea to Feature Requests but it got stuck as “pending.” So decided to post here, instead.

In general, Feature Requests are considered over a 1-3 day period (occasionally longer in the case of complex requests or if staff/moderator time is limited). During that time, they will show as “Pending”, but they aren’t really “stuck”.


Fiber really makes a difference when loading that page again. lol

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What’s the difference between ‘need’ and ‘want’?

(Ask any parent.)


No! No! Don’t click that link! (Unless you have a lot of bandwidth and time to spend.)


Too late. I clicked that link. I guess my laptop/network has the power to render it. Eye opening for me as a relative newcomer.


The project Geralds of the World has observations that are fun to browse through.

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I’m new here, but having read a couple threads, I agree with @m_whitson that a “user of the day” is a Bad Idea for not only the reasons given, but any time a user gets highlighted, for positive or negative reasons, all sorts of unintended consequences happen. Not only are some users’ observations not suitable for mob identification as mentioned, but some people would not like the extra attention and may be “scared off”. I am not going to suggest “apply for mob help” because that could be abused too. I much prefer the idea of #IdentiFriday or a specific geographic area.

Also, what is “good PR” for iNaturalist? We want new users (and improving users) who respect the scientific aspect of the project, not more observations of chicken nuggets. :grimacing: I prefer promoting iNat on a person-to-person level, or if in social media, with more context.


That could be a lot of fun! Maybe try it out as a pilot first, like in one state/province/etc., to see if it would work. And make it an ‘opt-in’ thing, where people could enter their username if they want to be eligible. And whoever wins could write up a short statement, saying what kind of help they want (plants of the US desert southwest, moths in England, etc.), and whether they want suggestions for improving their observations.


Yes, I agree that this would be tricky, and with some of the potential challenges that @annross pointed out. Some users might not want this attention, as I think it could lead a lot of inexperienced IDers to want to “help out” by adding less certain IDs which could be very frustrating. A user could also be inundated with notifications. If this were something done at the user level, I think it would need to be “opt in”.

I think targeting ID blitzes towards underserved areas/localities would be cool, though this does happen via user-initiative somewhat already.


I’m getting cold sweats thinking about trying to sort out my observations if this were to happen to me - I’ve got too many fungi on my page.


This is an awesome idea. Perhaps a randomized user is not the best, especially since many users post more prolifically than others or have different quality photos. A region of the day sounds like a better idea, ideally with 100K observations or so. This could be a city, county/county equivalent, state/state equivalent, or country.
More than half of my plant observations from 2020 are not RG, so this could be helpful to others who share the same fate.


I was envisioning a selection/notification process something like, “Hey, iNaturalist staffer here. Want to be featured for the Bird Signal identification flash mob? We just pulled your number out of a hat and can queue you up for next week if you’re OK with that. If you’re unfamiliar with the Bird Signal flash mob, it’s just a fun way to get thousands of fellow users focused on a single account for a day, to hopefully get some IDs for observations that have languished too long without RG status. No pressure. LMK.” The iNaturalist admins could simply pass over users who don’t want their observations identified or who don’t answer.

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So … while I have the attention of potential identifiers.
500 people make 50% of IDs across iNat. We need help.


August for Africa

https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/pre-maverick with over half a million obs. Tweak the ID link to your chosen taxon / location / taxon and location combo. I am working on Africa, but plenty more for the rest of you - Africa too if you wish. Join the project to get a link to find your own Pre-Mavericks - where you are That One blocking the ID.

@jamesjarrett00 the links are in this comment


I’ve done something similar with randomly selected profiles that have recently started accumulating observations. I skim through them IDing what I can before moving on.