What counts towards a person's identification counts?

From @kueda here:

“It helps highlight people who don’t add a lot of observations but do help other people out a bunch.”


Thank you for your reply @bouteloua. I am not sure why counting ids of own observations would diminish that goal though. The people who help other people out a bunch would still come out; they would just come out even more if they also id their own observations (which doesn’t sound illogical to me).

I can see that there are distinct values in bringing observations into iNat and in IDing them, and I can see why it’s important to encourage both, and thus why they are tallied separately. I am just not sure why IDing one’s observations is not valued.

It seems to me that if someone makes the effort to try to ID their own observations, they are going one step further than someone who is “only” uploading photos, and this extra step is a very valuable one that should be very actively encouraged:

  • For beginners (and we all are, for nearly all taxa), trying to ID one’s observations is highly pedagogical: makes people understand better what they see, and develop their ID skills more actively. It will improve the quality of their future observations, as they learn which traits are key for identification (e.g., someone who tries to ID butterflies will soon realise the importance of taking photos of upperwings AND of underwings). It will (I predict) make people more likely to start IDing other people’s observations too.

  • If people are experts, then they are the best placed to ID their own observations. They set the record straight from the beginning, which helps other people learn. For obscure/rare taxa, self-IDs may well be the only correct IDs available, so it makes sense to me to highlight these people as “Top identifiers” for these taxa.

Many thanks for all your hard work. I am really enjoying iNaturalist.


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