JB1's picture

Edible crab

Observed: 16th June 2011 By: JB1JB1’s reputation in InvertebratesJB1’s reputation in Invertebrates
Edible crab
Species interactions

No interactions present.


dejayM's picture


It'll be a while Tony before this sees Likely and Other Observations. There's a mild (well meaning) tradition here (UK) that people who correct a misspell or add a second identical ID (which you consider a Bug) get given few agreements.
I know because I am a victim.
Of interest to those who might come here, perhaps you would explain what you mean by the Common Name link being the cause? I understand that Common Names are completely ignored by the 'computer'. perhaps you meant the typed in 'Latin' name?

Tony Rebelo's picture



The question was why does iSpot not give the correct link if you click on the name and where is the "other observations" carousel.

The answer is the ID is wrong and so iSpot cannot find the species name link (click on the two species names in the ID boxes) nor are there any other observations with the same wrong scientific name.

For the links to Wiki, NBN and EoL iSpot cannot find the scientific name, so it searches the common name and then provides links via this to the correct Scientific name, even though the scientific name is wrong.
I would consider this a bug, rather than a clever "fix"

So for fun I have posted a third observation to show this. Let us see how the stiff British upper lip takes it.

dejayM's picture


Yes, I understand that now (and after responding to your Forum comment http://www.ispotnature.org/node/449604#comment-177280) I had not seen such an outrageous demonstration - you should be a Curator somewhere!
Will iSpot check all the obscure Common Names to attribute a Latin one? And if not how can we influence it regarding vernaculars?
Upper lips will remain pretty stiff I assure you!

Tony Rebelo's picture

Will iSpot check all the obscure Common Names? NO!


iSpot ignores any Common Name(s) if there is a valid Scientific name.

If I posted a correct Scientific Name (I wont - I dont believe in posting duplicates: it is WRONG) iSpot wont see the Common Name: it wont even consider it. So I could call this Blackbumbed Bee and iSpot will not notice. Or I could use anything else: iSpot will not care.

It has to be so. iSpot has no way of knowing all the !XÛ, Zulu, Xhosa, Venda, Tsonga, Tswana, Swazi, Sotho, Ndeble, Afrikaans, etc. Common Names for this Scientific Name, so has to accept anything. And ignore them in making IDs that are scientifically meaningful.
Also, I might want to put in several Common Names: for example in Chile I might want to give both the Spanish and English names for my species. If iSpot considered Edible Crab (Cancer pagurus) and Buey de mar (Cancer pagurus) and Edible crab, Buey de mar (Cancer pagurus) as 3 separate species, how ridiculous would that be!

You know jolly well I am curator at www.ispot.org.za !!! No need to be facetious! (and how else would I be able to give so many languages - now - general knowledge: which one of the above is not an official language in South Africa!!! And: what is that language's claim to fame! - and for a bonus point: what is Cancer pagurus's Common Name for each? (I will accept a non-official name if you can provide a source))

Tony Rebelo's picture


Illustrates nicely the folly of what you called mild tradition.
It is just wrong.
And stupid.

If you want iSpot to work, then you need need to be correct. You can be wrong with the Common Name, but if you screw up the Scientific Name then iSpot will not work properly.

At this stage iSpot is missing some tools that we desperately need in southern Africa :: one of them is to generate a species list (from the projects page - for a region or survey or atlas or project). And when this is implemented then these errors will give horrific and meaningless results.

Fix them and change your culture or expect "garbage out" when iSpot matures and considers output instead of just input. For instance, imagine how this will feed into the NBN data - a straight out mismatch of Latin names, so discarded as meaningless and a tick against iSpot's reliability and the ability of Citizen Scientists to be trusted with making identifications!!!

There is a lot at stake here! Forgiveness or Science: the two are not necessarily compatible!

Thistle's picture

The Problem

Isn't the problem that where there is no correct scientific name, iSpot tries to go by the common name?

I'm all for the use of common names: they're what are used by non-specialists and vary from place to place. For example, "edible crab" might not be recognised in north-east Scotland but most folk will understand if you ask for a "partan". They add to the richness of everyday language. On the other hand, for more formal scientific communication - which is international - then the unique scientific name must be used. Great care must be taken when translating between them, particularly from common to scientific.


dejayM's picture

iSpot Common Name database

Yes Ian, there's been a lot of discussion in iSpot about >>Common Names<< . I beleive that local names should have a part to play here. A near novice might do well, nowadays, to type in the only name for a Cancer pagurus that they know and get a good result. Searching for partan they will immediately see that it is also called the Edible Crab and may also be known as Jokus nonsensicus.

JoC's picture

Always something new to learn from iSpot.

1. I did not notice that I had agreed to a wrongly spelled ID. on this post. I have now switched my agreement to the correct spelling.
2. the algorithm used by iSpot - latin name searched for first; if it fails, the common name.
So thank you.


ChrisMcA's picture

Yes,JoC, what is wrong is

Yes,JoC, what is wrong is that Ispot 'corrected the spelling' (yes,I get it now,Tony,via the common name); if it hadn't then the likely ID would have been in black with no wikipedia links,as in http://www.ispotnature.org/node/342063 ,easily noticed by an experienced Ispotter, & you wouldn't 7 get agreements to a misspelling